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FROM NOTES BY THE EDITOR OF THE N. Y. EVANGELIST,
CHARLES G. FINNEY AND JOSHUA LEAVITT,
ANDOVER-HARVARD THEOLOGICAL UBRARI
HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL
STEREOTYPED BY F. F. RIPLEY,
Let it be remembered, that these Lectures were delivered to my own com gregation. They were entered upon, without my having previously marked out any plan or outline of them, and have been pursued, from week to week, as one subject naturally introduced another, and as, from one lecture to another, I saw the state of our people seemed to require.
I consented to have the Editor of the Evangelist report them, upon his own responsibility, because he thought that it might excite a deeper interest in, and extend the usefulness of his paper. And as I am now a Pastor, and have not sufficient health to labour as an Evangelist, and as it has pleased the Head of the Church to give me some experience in revivals of religion, I thought it possible, that, while I was doing the work of a Pastor in my own church, I might, in this way, be of some little service to the churches abroad.
I found a particular inducement to this course, in the fact, that on my return from the Mediterranean, I learned, with pain, that the spirit of revival had greatly declined in the United States, and that a spirit of jangling and controversy alarmingly prevailed.
The peculiar circumstances of the church, and the state of revivals, was such, as unavoidably to lead me to the discussion of some points, that I would gladly have avoided, had the omission been consistent with my main design, to reach and arouse the church, when she was fast settling down upon her lees.
I am far from setting up the claim of infallibility upon this or any other subject. I have given my own views, so far as I have gone, without pretending to have exhausted the subject, or to have spoken in the best possible manner upon the points I have discussed.
I am too well acquainted with the state of the church, and especially with the state of some of its ministers, to expect to escape without censure. I have felt obliged to say some things, that I fear will not, in all instances, be received as kindly as they were intended. But whatever may be the result of saying the truth as it respects some, I have reason to believe, that the great body of praying people, will receive and be benefited by what I have said.