To Jacob Helffenstein

8 March 1832


[Autograph signed letter in Finney Papers, Box 9.]


Boston 8 March 1832.

Dear Brother Helfenstein.

Your favor came to hand

to day. I must reply in a word. As to the measures

used in your protracted meeting, I have seen enough

to know that it is impossible to form a correct

opinion of a measure unless all the circumstances

under which it was adopted are before the mind.

Whether measures are new or old is nothing in

my judgment. We have the law & gospel in our

hands & are to take the best way in our power

to bring men under their influence. In regard to

measures I do not ask whether the measure

is [new or old] expressly commended or recognised in scripture.


The questions are, Is it consistent with the bible.

I.E. Is it not inconsistent with its letter or spirit?

or bad?

Is its tendency goodŸ&emdash; Is it so liable to abuse

that the precedent would be dangerous? Or not?

Is it a common sense way of brining truth

in contact with the mind? [Or] Is it so strange

as greatly to shock the church & lead to vain


gangling? Or is it so in accordance with

common sense as to have the good sense

of thinking men in its favor. Does God own

& bless it. Is it consistent with order, & conducive

to deep thought & solemnity. Such questions as these

I should ask & the answer, would settle my

mind. I will not express an opinion in relation

[along the left-hand margin of page 1}

# If as some contend we must use no measures for which we have

not an express "thus saith the Lord," I would ask what "thus saith the Lord"

have the Churches for nearly all their forms of publick worship. & many

other things.

[page 2]

to your meeting. I presume had I been on the

ground, your views & my own wd not have materially

differed. The least said about such things the better.

As to every thing like confusion, or that naturally

leads to it, it should in my judgment be avoided

by all means. What you say of loud responses I should

think reasonable, & do not think you & I should differ

on that subject. I know Br. Burchard well. He

needs instruction much. Br. Myrick wrote me expressing

this opinion. Br. Johnson wrote me a long letter from

which I should think that he has been excited upon

this subject. He thought I ought to have written to you instead

of Br. Gillett. I have informed him why I wrote to Br. G.

& need not repeat what I said to him as you have

probably seen it. I want to say to you, & let you

say to our friends in that region confidentially

that they are watched, that if they are not on

their guard I fear that we shall soon have a

second edition of the New Lebanon convention.

Already letters are circulating. One was recd in

this city a few days since from a D.D. in that state

complaining bitterly of various things. Strictly inter nos.

If they dare do it, we should soon have a fire around

our ears. & let any thing be done which shall afford a

handle & you will again see a tremendous conflict.

I could tell you much upon this subject.

Let our brethren be on their guard. I dont mean

that they should be afraid to do their duty. But

[page 3]

they must not suppose that the Devil is dead

or asleep, or that the battle is so far won

that the soldiers may be for a moment off

their guard. I communicate these sentiments

to you. It would be well to keep my letter to

yourself as every thing from me will be laid

hold of to increase the excitement that

about measures. My health has b

poor this winter. Almost every one has

& multitudes have died. Our meetin

greatly from this source. My family h

deal ill also. Mrs Finney has now a c

days old. of course is ill. The rest of u

comfortable. The Lord is here especially a

congregation to which I preach. I shall proba

be there early in the summer & I hope you will

not leave till [I] come. Our Love to your dear wife.

I would say that I am sorry that she is sick

were it not that her sickness is of God.

Br. H. the truth is, that every revival man

must be himself, & must & will have a way

of his own. If his way is not unscriptural it

is unreasonable & ridiculous to complain

that "he followeth not with us." & so "forbid him."

It is desirable & indispensible that men should be

different in their manner & to some extent in their

measures. Different manners & measures arrest the

attention of different classes of society. So that

more are saved than if all preachers were run

in one mould. When shall we have an edition of

common sense from any D.D. Your Brother.

C. G. Finney


[along the left hand margin]

P.S. Dont understand me to insinuate that the same men who attended

the New Lebanon convention would again think of any such thing.

But other men are getting very uneasy. some at the west & some

at the east.