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heard and seen to be appreciated. He came in a time when he was most needed, when the mere experience of the reformed inebriate was becoming threadbare. His stirring appeals aroused the flagging strength of the cause, and reänimated its adherents. Once only, the devices of fiends for a short time prevailed, and by means of a drugged mixture administered under the guise of friendship, he was drawn from the path of rectitude; but being reelaimed by his friends, he has ever since been a more uncompromising foe to rum drinking than ever. When the idea of totally restraining the traffic in intoxicating drinks was developed in the Maine law, it found in him a firm supporter and zealous advocate. To the great work of the temperance reformation he has consecrated his life, and for its welfare he hesitates not to sacrifice the best energies of his being. When intemperance shows its monster head he is ready to strike a blow at his life. He has now crossed the ocean, and is lecturing to the benighted millions of Europe, speaking words of encouragement to the fainting, and assisting the slave of the winecup in high places and in low to break the thralldom which enchains him, and become free. No one without his experience could have done his work; and we do not hesitate to rank him among the most distinguished of American reformers.
CHARLES G. FINNEY.
It is astonishing how many different appearances are given of an eminent person by different biographers. In reading Scott's or Alison's history of Napoleon, we should never dream that he was anything but a tyrannical usurper wading through seas of blood to the throne of the world; while in the account of Mr. Abbott we see but a stern and resolute patriot, who from the sense of duty unwillingly offered human sacrifices upon the altar of his country. We have noticed the same shade of difference in various representations of the subject of the present sketch. One of these was a late memoir of Dr. Nettleton, containing allusions to Mr. Finney, which we shall refer to again, remarking here that there is perhaps no man of the same religious eminence living, about whom society at large has as great variety of opinions as of President Finney. Political squabbles, though of not half the importance, have always taken a more vital hold of society in general than theological discussions, and it is owing perhaps to the reason that the true position of this distinguished theologian is no better known to the world. Having taken some pains to investigate and ascertain the facts
in regard to his character, we hope to give it a fait delineation in the following paragraphs.
Charles G. Finney was born in Litchfield county, in the year 1792. Two years after, his parents, who were in moderate circumstances, removed to "the Black river country," New York, with their family, where Mr. Finney spent the years of his childhood. His character as a leader began to develop itself in vouth ; in sports his associates ranked him among the foremost, yet in school he was studious, and it is remarked by an early acquaintance, that mathematics was to him but a recreation. By the intense vigor of his intellect he was enabled to master easily what other boys did only by close application, and he found considerable time to wield the sledge at his father's anvil. Here he took his first lesson in moulding the hot iron to a desired shape, and here he first felt in his own breast the glowings of a fire which should send forth glowing truths, to arouse men from the slumbers of carnal security, and light the fires of reform. Here he learned the force of one strong arm under the control of a brave heart and clear intellect, and while his physical system was gaining muscular strength from continual action, his mind was as constantly acquiring an energy no less needed to prepare him for his great work. At the age of twenty he returned to Connecticut and commenced teaching a day-school and giving instruction in music,
at which he gained considerable reputation. He subsequently returned to New York, and entered upon the study of law, which he completed honorably ; was admitted to the bar, and practiced for a time in that state. Up to this period, though not wild, he had paid no particular personal attention to religious subjects. He was what is called a strictly moral mau, but now being led to a more thoughtful contemplation of divine truth and the claims of God upon him, he perceived that his life had been one of rebellion and sin; and, yielding to the powerful convictions of the Divine Spirit, he submitted his whole being to God.
His plans and purposes now took a new direction, and he consecrated himself to the ministry. After studying theology one year at Auburn Seminary, at the age of thirty he commenced preaching as an Evangelist, in the larger cities of New York. It was during the powerful revival that attended this portion of his ministry that he and Dr. Asahel Nettleton came somewhat into collision.
Dr. Nettleton was nine years older than Mr. Finney, and had then been laboring as an evangelist for twenty-one years, principally in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. He was a preacher of altogether a different character from Mr. Finney, being mild and persuasive, and had won the affections of the people among whom he had labored and doubt
less been exceedingly useful. He was now worn
. with the excitement and toil of twenty years of activity, and was unable to go on with the work. To an impartial observer it would seem that God had raised up Mr. Finney for the express purpose of filling his place. Many hearts had become hardened by long continued repetition of the same truths in much the same style, and there was need of a new energy and power in the delivery of the truth, to make it effective. In saying this, we do not speak forgetfully of other means, and especially of the Divine influence, but God has ordered that the success of his kingdom shall depend to a certain extent upon human instrumentalities, and in the economy of grace they are as much needed as some inducements presented only by a divine power. The earnest fervor of Mr. Finney, accompanying his lucid expositions of the requirements of God's law, constituted him the man for the emergency, and he applied himself to the work with a zeal which won for him and his adherents the name of " Western Wild Fires."
But, to refer to the biography before spoken of, which alludes to Mr. Finney in a manner quite unkind and uncourteous, to say the least : It characterizes the work of grace in which Mr. Finney was engaged as
“great religious excitement;" accuses him of “harshness and severity ;” says that “multitudes were reported as subjects of renewing grace," and