The following "Lectures on Theology" were taken from handwritten teaching notes by Charles G. Finney. The notes were copied and typed by Gordon Olson while visiting Oberlin College in 1953. According to Mr. Olson they were found in the fourth floor historical locked section without a file number under teaching notes.
Concerning these lectures Mr. Olson wrote:
". . . I also found an Introductory Course, Lectures I to XII, 266 pages, handwritten, which I estimated from references made to be about 1860. Its content suggests what Finney intended to be part of Volume I of his projected four volume series on Systematic Theology, only II and III of which were published and were reprinted somewhat revised in a single London volume in 1851 and abridged in 1876 for the common U.S. printing."
Since then the handwritten notes, along with most of the Finney papers at Oberlin College, have been put on 11 reels of microfilm available through the Oberlin College Archives. The notes are difficult to read. In the retyping of these notes (by Rick Friedrich in August of 1998) for the computer, Olson's typing was not verified. The latter was only corrected on obvious spelling mistakes or typos. Some of the questionable words or phrases were left unchanged.
A few words of warning to the reader: At all costs, do not read the body of the work without reading from beginning to end; being careful to remember his definitions. Also, do not abandon the work when you come across statements that are not proven. He often, here as elsewhere, did this as a means of introduction, and later proved it and expounded upon it in its proper place. Above all, note the METHOD he mentions (Lecture I. 16 points) that is essential to the understanding of Divine truth. One CANNOT understand the work at all, who passes lightly over those points and who fails to meet their demands! The editor could have saved years of confusion and hardness of heart had he been shown these VITAL prerequisites. No doubt the same is true for the scores of theologians that history reveals. Seminaries are not nicknamed "cemeteries" for no reason. Let us therefore heed his words and remove this reproach on God!