The Oberlin Evangelist
May 23, 1860
Pres. Finney's Labors in Bolton, England.
Commencing in December last, Pres. Finney labored three months in Bolton, and preached from eighty to ninety sermons, with most encouraging results. The Bolton Guardian of April 7th improves the occasion of his closing services to group together the apparent results and offer some "Remarks on the Revival Services generally." The editor speaks of the very large attendance, sustained through a three months' period, the services protracted far beyond the time usually allotted, and repeated five or six times each week. Independents, Baptists, Methodists and Churchmen participated fraternally.
Of the preaching he writes thus: "Plain, logical, direct, outspoken, and in a conversational tone, the people felt that the preacher was near them. He did not wander into the regions of dry, doctrinal discussion, nor continue himself to theological routine in the singsong style, too generally adopted in the pulpit; but he led his hearers into the philosophy of every day life, and dealt out truths which came home to the 'business and bosoms' of all present. There was great breadth in his preaching; it confronted the rich sinner and the poor sinner; the employer and the employed; the Pharisee and the careless; the lofty proud and the affectedly humble; each and all were met, by truths of a seasonable and fitting kind. Under such preaching it cannot be wondered at that many who were 'already perfect,' confess that it has done them good."
The writer states "on good authority, that upwards of 2000 persons have been brought to the stage of inquiry, and not less than 1200 have been converted. Of the latter number, nearly three-fourths had previously made a profession of religion, but had never possessed the root of the matter."
At the close of his labors in Bolton, a public testimony was given him in a manner common in England--a "presentation service," in which a large meeting is held, and a brief address and a purse of gold are presented. This is the address:
To the Rev. Charles G. Finney, Principal of Oberlin College,
Ohio, Untied States, America.
REV. AND DEAR SIR:--It is with deep regret, but also with cordial feeling and devout gratitude to the Father of mercies and God of all grace, that we assemble to bid you "Farewell" at the close of your arduous labors in our midst. We own the Providence which directed your steps to our town, and we feel that we can never cease to be your debtors for the earnest and self-sacrificing efforts which you have made, while with us, to deepen the spiritual life in our own hearts, to increase our devotion and enjoyment of the gospel, to secure the salvation of our friends, and to extend the Redeemer's kingdom in this important and densely populated district. Some of us owe to you our own souls; others the salvation of near relatives and dear friends; and all of us, without exception, have derived unspeakable benefits from your labors. And we gratefully record the fact that these blessings have been shared by vast numbers of our fellow townsmen; that some thousands have been awakened to a sense of the claims of religion--that many hundreds have found a peace and new life in Christ Jesus--that family religion has been greatly promoted--and that there have been large accessions to our various churches. Now that your labors have come to a close, we feel bound to acknowledge the grace of God which has been manifested in and through your instrumentality, and we beg you to receive the assurance of our deep and fervent esteem for your person, and our ceaseless interest in your labor. Wherever you go, we will follow you with our earnest prayers and deepest sympathies. May you be long spared to labor, and after you have finished your course with joy, may you receive the crown of life that fadeth not away, and shine as the brightness of the firmament in the kingdom of our Father forever and ever. Accept the small token of our affectionate regard, which Mr. Barlow will present in the name of your numerous friends, and believe us ever cordially yours."
The occasion was one of deep feeling and solemnity; and Mr. Finney expressed his sense of kindness shown him by many of the gentlemen present.
A similar "presentation" was made to Mrs. Finney on another occasion and the highest testimonials given to her of her valuable labors. To all which we trust all Christians will be of one heart to say: "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory for they mercy and for the truth's sake."
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