The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Theodore Dwight Weld
30 March 1829
[Autograph signed letter in Weld-Grimké Papers, William L Clements Library, University of Michigan. Published in Barnes and Dumond, Letters of Theodore Dwight Weld, pp. 22-25.]
Reading 30 March 1829
My Dr. Weld.
Your letter, as usual without
date, came to hand on Saturday & I hasten to reply.
I have been on the point of writing to you for some
time, but have been so pressed with other duties, that
it has hitherto been neglected. God has done & is
still doing a glorious work here. It is particularly
powerful among the men & those of the higher class
in society. Numbers of young men are among the
hopeful subjects. I wish I knew whether there is any
place for them at your School.
I left the revival in Philadelphia in as promising a
state & I think more so than at any former period.
The fire was carried to several of the other congregations
after I left, as the young converts & convicted sinners
& praying christians scattered about &c.
I was laid up last week [with] a severe inflamation
in my eye. I am now convalescent. My eye is yet so
weak that I cant write long.
This is a most horribly wicked place. Those who know,
say it exceeds New Orleans. Nothing like a revival
here, ever before. The mass of the people are germans.
They are nearly all members of the church. But Oh
such churches. Why Weld, they dont pretend to select
pious men for Elders. You would be astonished at
such ministers & professed christians.
In learning the conduct of these german ministers, I
often think of Polloks discription.
"Most guilty, villanous, dishonest man!
Wolf in the clothing of the gentle lamb!
Dark traitor in Mesiahs holy camp!
Leper in saintly garb! assassin masked
In virtue's robe! vile hypocrite accursed!
I strive in vain to set his evil forth.
The words that should sufficiently accurse,
And execrate such reprobate, had need
Come glowing from the lips of eldest hell!"
I cant begin to describe the state in which this region is,
& has been for many years. Such horrid wickedness of every kind.
Such a state of society. Such wealth & pride & abominations,
I hope have not been seen since Sodom. And yet, they think
they are a very religious people. Whenever they are going to the
communion they abstain for several days from sottish
drunkenness, fighting, publick gambling generally, brothel hunting
&c &c, & when it has gone by, they to their abominations again
with most voracious appetite. This is the way they say, that
their Fathers went to heaven & they choose to go to heaven in the
good old way. In these infernal delusions their ministers
I am told uphold them, & indeed tell them they are good enough
I have labored under much disadvantage here from
not understanding the german language, as the mass
of people understand English but very imperfectly. If I
could speak the german, I have no doubt that thousands
of those ignorant creatures would be soon converted, as the
scales have fallen from so many eyes that the rest are
disturbed & the charm seems to be breaking up, & the
sorcery of hell in which they have been bewildered
appears to be desolving. Among that class who
understand English the work has already been
very general, nearly all the first people in the
congregation are hoping & many m who have
attended our meetings from other congregations.
But I promised to leave a place for Dr. Wife to add a
poscript. I shall leave here as soon as I can feel it
duty. May spend the summer at the north.
Am as usual pressed many ways. How is your heart?
I want to say 10000 things. Love to "all the holy brethren."
Have you! Have the young men generally a spirit of prayer?
I meant to have written to brother Gale long since, but
[h]ave been so overrun as not to do it. Love very
particularly to him & to his D family. I am under
great obligations to them. Do you pray for me?
I am exceeding glad to hear you speak of Burchard
as you do. I love that man Do give my love to him.
I am strongly inclined at times to recommend him
to this people as a Pastor, as his talent would fall in
peculiarly with the taste of this people. They need a
pastor immediately & it is greatly desirable if possible, to
obtain one who can speak german, this makes me
hessitate about recommending any man from the
north although they must have revival man, & I know
not where they can get one here. Yours as ever, C.G. Finney.
The following is added by Lydia Finney across the page in the margin:
Husband has left a little space for me to add a line. I have just returned from a female prayer meeting, and have only time to thank you for your kind P.S. That dear Sister of mine is ripe for heaven, and why should I wish to detain [her] here, to drink the bitter cup of life any longer. If it is the Lords will to take her hence, then his will be done. My love to her, tell her I shall expect to see her again, if not on earth, in eternity. Love to all friends, Pray much fo[r] [m]e, your Sister in Christ L. R. Finney.
Addressed: Oneida Academy, Whitesborough, New York.