To the Friends of our Lord Jesus Christ

13 September 1858


[MS in Oberlin College Archives, 7/1/3]


Oberlin 13. Sept. 1858.

To the friends of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At the recent meeting of the Trustees


of Oberlin College ^ it unanimously agreed,

that without longer delay, an opportunity

should be offered to the church to endow

the theological department of the college.

To carry out this resolution Reverend

Henry Cowles was appointed an Agent

to acquaint the friends of Christ abroad

of the nature of our work. the extent

of our success. Our present prospects

& our wants. It is believed by us at

Oberlin, that the Church needs only

to understand the facts in the case

to feel it a privilege to share with us

in this good work. We think they will

gladly give permanency to this departm

ent when ever the facts are laid

before them. This it is the object of Br.Cowles

to do, wherever he has an open door.

[page 2]

A brother who has spent many years of

his life in agencies for benevolent enterprises,

has visited us more than once, & has spent

days in ascertaining the details of what

has been done here for the cause of God.

How it has been done. At what expense

it has been done. What we are still doing,


& how, & ^ what expense. What we need

to give the requisite support to the Faculty,

& provide other facilities for the prosecu

tion of our work, has expressed the

opinion that the whole history of educati

onal enterprises affords no instance in

which so great good has been done with

so small means, & that the church needs

only to understand the facts to con

sider it a privilege to furnish all

the pecuniary aid we need.

Confiding in the justice of this opinion

we have resolved to submit the whole

question to the prayerful consideration

of the Church of Christ. & ask her to

share effectually with us in this

[page 3]

good work. Br.Cowles can state what has

been done for education Missions, Revivals

Antislavery, & the various branches of reform.

Also the bearing of our work upon the

sectarianism of the Church, as well as

upon the religious & political state of

our nation. May the Lord give him

wisdom to rightly represent us &

the work to which the Lord has called

us & when the brethren & sisters under

stand us let them do whatever they

think will please our Lord Jesus Christ

Your Br. & fellow laborer in

the Lord. C. G. Finney.


The general endowment of the College in the form of scholarships, which had saved Oberlin from bankruptcy in the 1850s, was of no particular help to the Theological Department, because theological students were not required to pay tuition. (See R. S. Fletcher, History, p. 895)



It looks as if was should have been inserted between it and unanimously.

At the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees, during August 18-26 1858, the main subject of discussion was the reorganisation of the Theological Department. On Friday 20th August:

The subject of agencies in connection with a provision for the Theological Department was now brought up & very fully discussed.

Arising out of the discussions, at the meeting the next day, it was

Voted that Revd. Henry Cowles be appointed general soliciting agent with power to appoint other agencies & to superintend generally (with the advice of the Prudl Comee[)] the endowment of the Theological department & the College generally.

See "Board of Trustee Minutes", Oberlin College Archives.