These sermons were preached by Pres. Finney at Oberlin during the years 1845-1861, and reported from his lips by myself. In taking these reports I aimed to give the heads of the sermons and all the important statements verbatim, to retain always the substance of thought, and especially to seize upon the illustrations and present their essential points. Taken down in a species of short-hand, they were subsequently written out, and in every case read to Pres. Finney in his study for any corrections he might desire, and for his endorsement. Consequently these reports present truthfully the great doctrines preached, and in good measure it is believed the method and manner of his preaching.
Few preachers in any age have surpassed Pres. Finney in clear and well-defined views of conscience, and of man’s moral convictions; few have been more fully at home in the domain of law and government; few have learned more of the spiritual life from experience and from observation; not many have discriminated the true from the false more closely, or have been more skillful in putting their points clearly and pungently. Hence, these sermons under God were full of spiritual power. They are given to the public in this form, in the hope that at least a measure of the same wholesome saving power may never fail to bless the reader. - Henry Cowles
Charles Finney was a descendant of the New England Puritans, and was born in Connecticut. Many are inclined to regard Finney, 1792-1875, as the greatest evangelist and theologian since the days of the apostles. It is estimated that during the year 1857-58 over a hundred thousand persons were led to Christ as the direct or indirect result of Finney's labours, while five hundred thousand persons professed conversion to Christ in the great revival which began in his meetings.