To Charles Cullis

c. 1873


[Published in Charles G. Finney, Innocent Amusements (Boston: Willard Tract Repository, [1873] ), pp 27-28.]


Pres. FINNEY, in forwarding his revision of the above tract, for publication by the WILLARD TRACT REPOSITORY, accompanied it with a note to Dr. CULLIS, in which he said:


"The previous pages contain a condensation of three short articles that I published in the Independent. I recollect that the editor of the Advance, and one of the editors of the Independent, both of whom had published what I regard as very loose views, approving, and recommending the worldly amusements of Christians, criticized those articles with an asperity that seemed to indicate that they were nettled by them. They so far perverted them as to assert that they taught asceticism, and the prohibition of rest, recreation, and all amusements. I regard the doctrine of this [page 28] tract as strictly Biblical and true. But, to avoid all such unjust inferences and cavils, add the following lines,


"Let no one say that the doctrine of this tract prohibits all rest, recreation, and amusement, whatever. It does not. It freely admits all rest, recreation, and amusement, that is regarded, by the person who resorts to it, as a condition and means of securing health and vigor of body and mind with which to promote the cause of God. This tract only insists, as the Bible does, that 'whether we eat or drink,' rest, recreate, or amuse ourselves, all must be done as a service rendered to God. God must be our end. To please Him must be our aim in everything, or we sin."



Daniel Steele wrote to Finney on 14 July 1873: "More recently I have commended your articles on Masonry and on the Enduement of the Spirit. The latter are now published in tract form by Dr Cullis." So this tract was published sometime in 1873.

The articles were "Innocent Amusements" The Independent (November 7, 1872), p. 3; "Worldly Amusements" ibid. (December 26, 1872), p. 1; and "Is It a Bondage?" ibid. (December 12, 1872), p. 1

See the editorial, "Finney on Amusements" in The Independent (New York: 2 February 1873), p. 240. Finney was alerted to this editorial by H. E. Dickinson in a letter dated 25 February 1873. The editorial was written by Washington Gladden (see Jacob Henry Dorn, Washington Gladden: Prophet of the Social Gospel [Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1967], p. 57). Gladden wrote:

We give large space in this issue to President Finney for the promulgation of what we regard as an utterly mistaken theory of the Christian life. … .

Gladden wrote: "There have been periods in the history of the church when such ascetic views have prevailed, but they have not been the only fruitful periods." (ibid.)