To Edwin Lamson

10 February 1864


[MS in Finney Papers 2/2/1]


Oberlin 10th Feb. 1864.

My Dear Br. Lamson.

Yours of the 1st. inst is recd.

As I make exertion to forward

the work of grace here I am settled

in the persuasion that my strength

is insufficient at present to meet the

wants of the Union Evangelical Mission.

Your letter reveals a discouraging

state of things so far as union is

concerned. I like the spirit of

Br. Coolidge's letters. If the society

is made up of such spirits good

will result from the movement.

Let them persevere without casting

reproach upon any one, taking

as little notice of opposition

as possible. If that city is ever

shaken spiritually it must be

through mighty prayer. Br. Kirk

is a good man. In common with

all of us he has his infirmities. He

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will advise according to his highest

wisdom & do what else he can to

help forward the enterprize.

If they will only hold on in

mighty prayer deliverance will

come, for God is able of the stones

in your streets to raise up the

effectual instrumentality. I do not

think it a fact that should stumble

them that as yet the human help

they seek is not on hand. They must

first be shut up to God. When they

are so & are not discouraged, but

wax more & more humble, but

determined to prevail in prayer

If in this spirit they settle upon

it to make a life long effort

for the redemption of Boston

they will not fail, but sooner

or later prevail in spite of all

opposition. Why Br. Lamson

let the praying people take

courage - lay all on the altar,

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& consecrate themselves to this

great work & hold on, not

looking back & they shall

not fail to realize their

expectations. I do not expect

they will directly accomplish

much through their present arrange

ment for preaching. Prayer meetings

rightly conducted & used can

accomplish wonders. I wish I could

be there to assist in their prayer

meetings, even if I could not

preach much. Such meetings

may be made the most powerful

of revival instrumentalities.

Br. Lamson, help the brethren. Dont

let them be discouraged. If they dont

do better for themselves perhaps my

God will strengthen me to come when

they have prevailed in prayer.

I am as well & better than when

you last saw me, but my

power of endurance is much less

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at present. My nervous system that

has been so long tried, has recd a

pull back by the sudden failure

of my Dearest wife. However I am

less broken by it than I feared, yet

more so than I was aware of until

within the two or three weeks past.

I wrote last to Br. Coolidge just before

I recd your & his last which came

by the same mail. Will you not

see him & strengthen his dear hands.

I am glad that Br. Kirk has

committed himself to the enterprize.

I wonder if ever Br. Stone & Kirk &

Dexter will ever cordially unite

in one effort. God bless them &

guide them. I have not seen

the tract on evangelists of which

you have spoken. Can you not

send me a few. With love

to Dear Mary & many kisses for

the little sweets. I am as always

your Br.

C. G. Finney



Finney had received the following letter from Kirk:

Boston, Jan. 26, 1864.

Rev C. G. Finney,

Dear Brother,

I am in the Union movement with all my heart. But whether the Lord will condescend to use it I do not know.

Mr. Coolidge has shewed me your letter to him. It is dictated by Christian wisdom throughout. The expression, "Bro. Kirk was committed against me" is too strong to express the case as it is.

It is this that leads me to write to you. I am not against you. I simply can not labor with you in promoting the work of converting souls. I need not repeat what I once said to you of our difference in regard to practical religion. I need not add other reasons which bring me to the conclusion that I can not profitably and satisfactorily labor with you in this blessed work.

But I wish you distinctly to understand that I do not oppose you as an Evangelist, nor present any objection to the Union Committee, (whom I have advised from the beginning,) from sending for you. If you come here to labor, I will not do any thing to hinder your usefulness, excepting simply not to be with you, unless I shall see that I can do more good by cooperating than by absenting myself. In any case I shall pray for you and your labors.

Do not believe that I have any personal animosity toward you. All the difference between us is in matters of judgment.

May God guide you in this and all other matters.

Yours in the fellowship of the Gospel

Edw. N. Kirk.