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The Invalid Singer; Life and Writings of Minnie D. Bateham;
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Seba : Cabinet of Natural Curiosities : Amazon. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities Bibliotheca Universalis Subscribe Seba. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. When immortal souls were at stake he insisted that one should not be too nice about the means utilized for their salvation. A certain amount of excitement he believed to be absolutely necessary to get most people to act.
It should be the aim of the pastor and the evangelist, said Finney, not to please men but to warn them in a most direct and impressive way of the imminent danger of their damnation.
In this they did not succeed in any large way nor was either faction persuaded of its errors. The chief result seems to have been to attract more attention to Finney and his great success as a revivalist. One of the towns to profit most by the building of the Great Western Canal was Rochester. Its flour mills were already important at the time of the second war with England, grinding wheat from the rich Genesee Valley with the power of the falls of the Genesee River.
But the cost of transportation of the flour ate up much of the profit until the canal, passing over the river at Rochester on the famous stone aqueduct, gave easy access to the markets of the world. In four new mills were built and seven more before In Rochester had had a little over population; in it had nine thousand. This booming community provided a sounding board for various public figures.
The actor Edmund Kean condescended to favor the inhabitants with a performance of "The Iron Chest"; the editor-politician Thurlow Weed began in Rochester his climb to political power, and Sam Patch chose the falls of the Genesee for his most spectacular and last leap in Rochester would be satisfled with nothing less than the ultimate in the way of preaching.
The Presbyterians were already well established among the New Englanders in Rochester. The original First Presbyterian Church, located west of the river and just north of the canal on the site of the present city hall, was under the pastorate of the Rev. Joseph Penney. In addition there was the Second or "Brick" Presbyterian Church and the Third Presbyterian Church on the east side, both founded soon after the opening of the canal.
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Joel Parker, a graduate of Hamilton, where he was a classmate of Asa Mahan in , and just out of Auburn Theological Seminary, had established the latter society in , and it had thriven under his aggressive leadership. As early as the fall of , Josiah Bissell, an eider of this church, had invited Finney to Rochester, challenging him with an account of the sin existing among the "canawlers.
In September Finney arrived in Rochester to supply the pulpit of Parker's Third Church and "revive" the congregations of all three Presbyterian societies. The pulpit of the Second Church was vacated soon after he appeared. Penney of the First Church gave him every encouragement.
The way was opened for Finney to boom religion in the Genesee boom town. Finney fulfilled all expectations. Henry Brewster Stanton, a young orator and politician, a reporter on Thurlow Weed's Monroe Telegraph, went to hear him. Late in life his recollection of the occasion was still clear. Light hair covered his forehead; his eyes were of a sparkling blue, and his pose and movement dignified.
I listened. It did not sound like preaching, but like a lawyer arguing a case before a court and jury The discourse was a chain of logic, brightened by felicity of illustration and enforced by urgent appeals from a voice of great compass and melody. Finney was a sensation. At one of the early meetings held in the old First Church building every seat was taken and hundreds stood in the aisles. The structure began to give way; the walls spread and a scantling fell through the plaster of the ceiling.
The congregation stampeded and trampled some in the crowd that stood about the doors. A few even jumped out of the windows into the filthy water of the canal. The accident seems rather to have stimulated the excitement than otherwise. Robert L. Stanton, who was in the panic, was converted and, along with a hundred others, including his sister and his brother, Henry Brewster Stanton, joined the First Church early in January.
It was on the very day following the stampede that the Rev. John Jay Shipherd, who was to be the founder of Oberlin, arrived in Rochester on a canal boat from the East. He was a son of the Hon. Zebulon R.
Shipherd, the Troy lawyer who had been a member of Finney's praying band, and was on his way to the Connecticut Western Reserve where he hoped to perform useful service as a home missionary. He and his wife and two sons and a school-teacher friend stayed over the week-end in Rochester in order not to profane the Sabbath by travelling on Sunday.
It was a great opportunity, too, for him to renew his zeal and consecration in the warmth of Finney's presence. Shipherd preached in the Second Church in the morning, heard the great evangelist in the evening, and enjoyed "some agreeable private intercourse with him. On Monday he took a canal boat west, happy in the benediction of his idol and in the knowledge that the "work of God" in Rochester was moving on with such power.
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From September 10, , to March 6, , Finney preached 98 sermons and attended un-numbered "anxious meetings. At the end of four weeks of Finney's preaching the Observer reported: "On the Sabbath no place of worship is large enough to contain the multitude that assembles Such a revival, perhaps, was never experienced where less disorder was witnessed, or less open opposition manifested. But he kept up the furious pace through January and February. A final great effort was made in late February and early March, an effort in which the evangelist was assisted by nine other ministers from various western New York communities.
Among these were the Rev. William Wisner, who had been conducting successful revivals in his church at Ithaca during the winter, and Asa Mahan, now pastor at the nearby canal town of Pittsford. Developments at Rochester had attracted so much attention by this time that hundreds came from a considerable distance and the church buildings were taxed to capacity.
Sometimes it was necessary to hold simultaneous meetings, and on one occasion Finney preached the same sermon on successive nights to capacity crowds in the Third and Second churches respectively. Near the end of a long life of conservative, "old-school" Presbyterianism, Robert L. Stanton remembered that "all Rochester was moved that winter The atmosphere.
You could not go upon the streets, and hear any conversations, except on religion.
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Converts poured into the churches. As has been noted, a hundred joined the First Church at one time in January, About the same number altogether were added to the Second "Brick" Church by profession of faith. Wisner accepted a call to be settled over this congregation and carried on the work thus begun by Finney with great success until Altogether, in the four and a half years of his pastorate new converts were admitted.
The Third Church admitted converts in Finney had more trouble finding the right man for this pulpit. Asa Mahan was seriously considered, but he went to Cincinnati. The place was offered to Fayette Shipherd, but he felt bound to stay with his parents in their advancing age since brother John Jay had left for "the valley. The former fell into dissension and lasted only from to , but the latter, under the lay leadership of such able and enthusiastic Finney men as George A.
Avery and Michael B. Bateham, into the Rochester Central Presbyterian Church and was later chiefly instrumental in securing Finney's services for the revivals of and The influence of Finney's success at Rochester was felt in many other communities. Letters poured in upon the evangelist in ever increasing volume begging for his services. Keep, the son of the Rev. John Keep of Homer, came to Rochester to hear the great evangelist.
Invalid Singer, Life and Writings of Minnie D. Bateham
He had just left Yale because of his participation in the great Conic Sections Rebellion, when the sophomore class refused to recite Conic Sections unless they could have their textbooks open. He had not yet found "spiritual peace" and decided to go to Rochester, hoping that the great Finney would help him. Sometime in December he appeared in the "flour city," "rather tall , Keep were said to be "much overcome with the intelligence.
Keep and the congregation of the Homer Presbyterian Church were urging Finney to come among them. He did not come, but John Keep and his son Theodore were added to the ranks of the Finney men. John Keep was a native of western Massachusetts, the seventh of nine children of a poor farmer. He entered Yale College in and "passed regularly, without interruption through the four years' course of study," waiting on table part time in the dining hall to pay his way. After studying theology privately for some time he was ordained in and preached for the next sixteen years in the Scotch-Irish town of Blandford, Massachusetts.