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Lectures On Revivals Of Religion by Charles G. Finney


The work of reporting these Lectures was undertaken for the purpose of increasing the interest and usefulness of the New York Evangelist. The Reporter is wholly unacquainted with short-hand, and has, therefore, only aimed to give a sketch of the leading thoughts of the discourse. It is hardly necessary to mention that Mr. Finney never writes his sermons, but guides his course of argument by a skeleton, or brief, carefully prepared, and so compact, that it can be written on one side of a card, about half as large as one of these printed pages. His manner is direct, and his language colloquial and Saxon, and his illustrations are drawn from the commonest incidents and maxims of life. The Reporter has aimed to preserve, as much as he could, the style of the speaker, and is thought to have been in some degree successful. If, in any cases, by letting his language run in a colloquial strain, he has made the copy more simple and homely than the original, he hopes to be pardoned easily for a fault by no means prevalent.

If any one should attempt to criticise the style of these Reports, he will assuredly lose his labor; for the only ambition of the Reporter has been, to make such a use of language as should fully convey the meaning, and fairly exhibit the manner, of the Lecturer. When words have done this, they have done their great work. The notes were taken with a pencil, and transcribed in great haste, and sent to the printer without revision. In preparing them for publication, in this form, Mr. Finney has reviewed them with reference only to this point -- the correct expression of the sentiment. The style of an off-hand sketch has been preserved, partly of choice, and partly from necessity. There was no time to remodel the work, and the public voice seemed to be, that it was more attractive and more useful in its present condensed form. Mr. Finney has, therefore, done little more than to amend where the Reporter misapprehended the meaning, or did not express it with sufficient distinctness. He has enlarged in a few places where the illustrations, as given by the Reporter, seemed to be incomplete.

My labor with these sketches is now done; and its results are sent forth in this permanent form, with the prayer, that God would employ the book, as he has already done the newspaper edition, to rouse, and teach, and strengthen his people, and to guide, unite, and encourage zealous Christians of all classes, in the great duty of saving sinners.


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