Late President of Oberlin College


This is 100% Finney with no deletions or additions.


THE continued interest manifested by the Christian public in the sermons of President Finney, which were first published now nearly sixty years ago, bears testimony to the vigour of his reasoning and to the grace and unction of his expression. During this century at least, he has had no equal as an interpreter and preacher of the Gospel. The audiences which he moved and guided to the acceptance of the truth, always included many persons of the highest intellectual order. So clear was his conception of the truth, that he was unable to utter an obscure sentence. So profound was his conviction of the justice and love of God, and of the unreasonableness and folly of sin, that he could not but speak with inspiring eloquence when beseeching men to be reconciled to their Lord and Saviour.

Many of the sermons collected in this volume we remember to have heard from the preacher's own lips. It is, of course, impossible through the medium of the printed page to reproduce all the marvelous power attending the sermons in their original delivery. But Professor Cowles was a sympathetic reporter, and had long practice in writing out the discourses of the great preacher he so much admired, and thus was able to present a remarkably correct report. As an additional guarantee of faithful representation, the reports were read by Professor Cowles to President Finney before their original publication in the Oberlin Evangelist, and so have upon them the stamp of the preacher's own approval.

The sermons of the present volume were selected by Professor Cowles and arranged for publication before his death, and they are now given to the public under the conviction that they present with unrivalled clearness phases of truth in need of special emphasis at the present time, and that they have permanent value both as models for the preacher and as sound philosophical discussions of many of the central themes of the Gospel. President Finney had the rare ability of so interpreting the divine plan of salvation as at once to instruct the theologian and to bring its moving thoughts to bear with all their power upon the hearts of the common people. We rejoice in the larger circulation which the present form of publication will give to this selection of sermons. Through the columns of the Oberlin Evangelist they reached a highly appreciative circle of readers in their day. It augurs well that in their present form they are likely to reach many thousand more, and to have a larger share in moulding the theological thought of the present generation.