The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Edwin Lamson
1 February 1862
[MS in Finney Papers, 2/2/1]
Oberlin, Ohio. 1st Feb. 1862
My Dear Br. Lamson,
I recd your kind letter of
last summer & have been so ill
until recently as to let writing
alone. I was able to meet with
my class twice a week last summer.
About the first of Sept. I became
much worse & was confined to my
bed for more than two months. Since
that I am gradually gaining
strength & am beginning to renew
my correspondence with loved friends.
Norton came home last night to spend the
sabbath, says he wrote you yesterday.
I recd the pamphlets you sent me & thank
you for them. "The experience of a congrega
tional minister", I had recd before from the
Author. "The Divine Order" has much in
it that is true & some things dangerously
false. It is monstrously out of joint in
its Psychology. This is all the more
unfortunate as the professed object
of the book is to clear up the mental
phylosophy of sanctification & tell us
what mental acts to perform.
1. He rightly teaches that all holiness or virtue
belongs strictly to voluntary & acts & states.
That holy love is benevolence or good will.
2. That strictly speaking there is no moral
character in involuntary states of mind
i.e. in mere feelings or emotions. But
3. That the heart of the mind is the
sensibility & not the will. Hence the
heart is altogether involuntary & hence
again the heart can have no moral
character according to his own teaching.
4. That entire consecration is entire obe
dience to God, but not sanctification.
5. That the will cant act until desire
in the sensibility is excited. &c &c The
will has no power to act in simple
obedience to conscience but must have
the imperator of corresponding desire.
This is a old dogma in philosophy
but it is contrary to consciousness. Who
does not know that he affirms ^ obligation
to obey God & conscience whatever his
desires may be & whether he has any
desire about it. & what virtuous
man does not know that often
he must deny his desires & go
against them with the whole
force of his will.
What he says about giving up our own
will & accepting the will of God uni
versally & unconditionally is true &
excellent. Now if he had told us
that this is sanctification, as it is
the whole of true obedience, & that
the baptism of the Spirit & the cons
equent state of sensibility is the
consequence & the seal of sanctification
he would have cleared the subject
of some of the fog in which his
false psychology had enveloped it.
But I can not go into the subject now
O, how I wish I could preach a
few times in Boston on this subject.
How does Br. Stone like this, Divine
["o]rder". It is a pity that the Divine
order should be misconceived.
How is Dear Br. Stone. Give our
kindest love to him & his dear wife.
How is our dear Mary? Do let us know
all about you all. Thank you & Mary
for your kind interest in Nortons
affairs. The Lord has given him
a good place I think. Mrs F. is
as well as usual. Ange & Julia
are at present with us. The
Lord has been teaching me most
graciously & lovingly. Will not Mary
spend the next summer with us.
Now do think of this. Dont say it is
too far. Do you not know that the
difference of latitude & longitude is just
the thing for her. She needs another
climate for several months & to be
where she can rest & have home
friends & society. This is the place for her &
the children. God bless you & her & the children
C. G. Finney.
[along left-hand margin of page 1]
P.S. Mrs. F. & Norton & Julia & Ange all join in abundant love to you all.
At the start of this line Finney had written:
but smudged it out and continued the sentence form the previous line.
A smudge at the beginning of the line has obscured the start of this word.