The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Samuel Merwin, Charles A. Boardman, and Leonard Bacon 22 April 1831
[Autograph signed letter in Bacon Family Papers, Box 2, Sterling Library, Yale University.]
Samuel Merwin (1781-1856) had been the minister of the United Church in New Haven since 1805, but was soon to resign owing to ill health. (See Franklin B. Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, Vol 5 [New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1911], pp. 523-5; and American Congregational Year for the year 1857, pp. 118-119).
Charles A. Boardman (c.1788-1860) was minister of the Third Church in New Haven. He was there from March 1830 to September 1832. (See Emerson Davis, "Biographical Sketches of the Congregational Pastors of New England" Vol. 5, Typescript in Congregational Library, Boston.)
Leonard Bacon (1802-1881) was pastor of the First Congregational Church in New Haven from 1825 until his death.
Addressed to: Rev. Leonard Bacon.
New Haven, Connecticut
Postmark: AUBURN NY APR 25
Auburn 22nd April 1831
Rev Messrs Merwin Boardman & Bacon.
Your joint communication of the
12 inst. came to hand 3 days since. I have
read it once & again, prayed over it &
have come to the conclusion that it is not
duty to go at the present time to New Haven.
The following are among the reasons that have
led to this conviction.
1. Your letter does not convey the impression
that there is any special necessity for more
ministerial labor than your people already
2. The fact that the revival is already
in rapid progress shows that the Lord
does not need me there.
3. I am inclined to the opinion that you
will do better without me than with me
on account of the prejudices of your people
to which you allude.
4. All my ministerial brethren with whose
opinions I am acquainted are of opinion
that I ought not to go at present.
I did not see the letter of Dr. Perine
to which you refer. I have showed him your
letter & in view of all the circumstances
he concurs in the opinion that I ought not to go.
As to measures I should have no fears of any
clashing in views or practice as I never place
much stress upon any particular measures.
The simple preaching of the gospel is in my
view the great instrument of saving souls. every
thing that regards measures further than this
must of course be regulated by circumstances.
5. The work in this region is increasing & the demand
for ministerial effort is [also] daily increasing. In many
places there are no ministers, in others not half
6. These large Vilages are of great importance,
in their moral influence, to the church & world.
The Spirit of God is now at work in all of them
& we ought to labor & pray that they may be subdued.
7. There is now, and has been recently [but] very little open
opposition to these revivals, since ministers are
agreed the wicked are surely silent. they are
8. My calls are so numerous & pressing far & near
& that in many places where help is greatly needed
that I can not see why I should go to you who
have so much ministerial help already.
As to the noise about "Taylorism" & "Finneyism" to which
you allude I care nothing about it. The time [is] fast going
by when the idle prattle about isms can frighten people. After
all in this country people will finally think for themselves.
I know the paramount importance of Cities
over other places, & other things being equal
I suppose that we should choose them as
the centre of revival efforts, but on reading
& reflecting upon your letter it does not
make the impression upon my mind
that I am more needed or could be more
useful there than here.
Upon the whole Dr Brethren, I do not feel
that I have sufficient evidence that your
invitation is the voice of God, in as much
as you have an abundance of ministerial
help probably of the best kind, & the good
work is progressing prosperously in your hands.
I think that I ought to believe that I am
more needed here than there.
The work is going prosperously in this place.
And now beloved brethren "I commend you
to God & to the good word of his grace", praying
earnestly that you may be more & more
holy & successful in winning souls to Christ.
Your Brother in great haste
C. G. Finney
[along the left hand margin]
P.S. Please present my fraternal regards to Dr. Taylor & his brethren in that Seminary.
I should be extremely happy to see them. I am glad that they do not fear to speak their minds. If bigots should fondly cling to their old philosophy & cry "great is Diana"
I do not suppose that on that account we should spare their errors. I hope that in the spirit of meekness they will continue to use the amputation knife until all the diseased limbs of theology shall be removed.