The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Gerrit Parmele Judd
4 November 1836
[MS in Judd Family Papers, Ms Group 70, Box 3.6, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii]
Address: Garrett Judd M.D.
Missionary at the
per Miss L. Smith } Sandwich Islands
Packet Boat near Rome Oneida co. N.Y. 4 Nov 1836.
Dr. Br. Judd.
I am now on my way from Oberlin
Ohio, where I spend my Summers, to N York city where
I spend my winters. Prehaps you are aware that I
am connected with a Theological Seminary in Ohio &
that I also continue to sustain the relation of
Pastor to the "Broadway Tabernacle" church in N.Y.
The school with which I am connected is a University.
Including a preparity school College, & Theological
seminary. Males & females are united in the same
class & go if they desire it through all the depart
ments. We have, I believe about 300 students at present.
Many of our young people are expecting to become
foreign missionaries. One of these, Miss Tenney, is now
on her way to your Islands. We have recently had
a powerful revival at Oberlin & I hope many of the
young people are better prepared to enter into
the work than before.
I have fallen in with Miss Lucia Smith on boar[d] the
Packet, now on her way to Boston to join the Mission
family for your Islands. I wrote a line by Miss Tenney
now Mrs -----, I cant remember his name, to Br. Gulick
in reply to one recd from him. You are aware that I
once purposed to visit the Sandwich Islands, but
was taken too ill to go, on the very day I was to
have started from N York to take passage at
N. Bedford. I went up the Mediterranean. I am
now a good deal recovered from the difficulty
under which I then labored, viz a bowel complaint.
But last winter I got over done again & have
nearly laid aside with hoarseness for nearly a
year. I have been a good deal better of late
so as to be able to take hold at Oberlin.
Our people in N. York have recently desired
me to rest again in order to which they wish
me to go to the Sandwich Islands & return
through India, visiting the Missionary
Stations. I hope however that I shall not be obliged to go.
It is possible however that I may go yet this winter.
I suppose that you keep along in your knowledge
of our affairs about 6 months behind our dates.
We have had much shameful controversy here in
& out of the Presbyterian church. The subject of
the emancipation of the Slaves is now the absorbing
topic & has swallowed up almost all other
excitements for the present. There are comparatively
few revivals recently. But as we hope to complete the
triumph of Abolition in a year or 2 more I am
in hopes that the revival spirit will not be grieved
away but that we shall have more powerful revivals than
ever. Weld is the leader in the Abolition movements. The
cause is gaining ground with great rapidity.
I have left My wife & family at Oberlin in good health.
Will you present our kindest regards to Mrs Judd. I have
sometimes thought of becoming a foreign Missionary
& going to your Islands, in case my health seemed
imperiously to demand a southern climate.
How long would it require to get the language
of the people so as to be able to address them
in their own tongue. I need to rest from publick
labors about a year. Can I acquire much
knowledge of their language in that time?
I have a 1000 things to say but must lay down
my pen. I want to inquire about the spiritual state
of the Missionaries, for from what I saw up the
Mediterranean as well as from the fact that some of our
Missionaries have returned home as cold as an
Iceberg, & also that so little is accomplished by
them, I have reason to fear that many of our
Missionaries need a Missionary to wake them up
before they will ever do much.
Dr. Br. Judd, do you "walk with God".
Does your Dr. Wife live in the light of his
countenance? Are the Missionaries holy men
& women. Do they prevail in prayer? Do they
love one another? Are they temperate in all [things]
I must say that I have felt many discourag[ements]
& distressing apprehensions in regard to the spiritual
state of some of our missionaries. The writings of
some of them seem to me to indicate a state
of extreme blindness & hardness of heart & unbelief
as to the power of the gospel. They seem to me not
to have the Apostolic Spirit, but to be by far too
secular in their views & effort. This I have not
observed so particularly of the Missionaries at your
Islands as elsewhere. Some of our Missionaries
in the east seem to me to be living & travelling
more like Ministers of State than like Apostles
& followers of him who traversed the burning sands
of Judea on foot & had not where to lay his head.
The policy pursued by some of our Missionaries in
the east appears to me to be very secular & blind.
But I must stop. The Lord be with you forever. C. G. Finney.
The letter was duly delivered. Henry Dimond, in a letter back home to his family from Honolulu, dated April 24th 1837, wrote:
Mr. Finney writes to Dr. Judd that he thinks of coming to the S. Islands. Tell him we shall be glad to see him, he will find a good climate, nor do I think anyone will quarrel with him about new measures. Many of the missionaries preach plain and faithfully to the people. I do not think there are many cases of marked conversion such as we like to see at home.
(Julia Dimond Wood Kramer, Let Us Go Shouting to Glory; the Story of Ann Maria and Henry Dimond (Privately Printed, 1984), p. 197.)