Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Peter Gulick (1797-1877), missionary in Hawaii . . . new book on James Brainerd Taylor's "uncommon Christian" classmate at Princeton

Missionaries in Hawai'i: The Lives of Peter and Fanny Gulick, 1797-1883 is a new book on an "uncommon Christian" classmate and close friend of James Brainerd Taylor.

Especially noteworthy is Peter Gulick's emphasis on self-denial, one of the five pillars or traits of uncommon (biblical) Christianity as stressed by J. B. Taylor. Gulick wrote in 1841,

I trust our [eight] children will all learn that life is not given us, that we may enjoy ourselves, but that we may glorify God by denying ourselves.

During the revival-filled 1820s of the Second Great Awakening, Peter Johnson Gulick (1797-1877) and James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829) were students together at the two New Jersey schools of Lawrenceville Academy (now The Lawrenceville School) and Princeton University. In fact, at Lawrenceville the two were roommates.

James Brainerd Taylor
Upon beginning his studies at Lawrenceville, Taylor wrote on January 23, 1820, that Gulick is "a pious, humble Christian, and I think as suitable a companion for me as could be found. He is about three weeks ahead of me in pursuit of the same object" (i.e., Christian ministry).
--> See page 39 in John Holt Rice and Benjamin Holt Rice, Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor, Second Edition (New York: American Tract Society, 1833). Free online copy available here.

Along with two other students, Gulick and Taylor founded one of America's earliest student religious societies, the Philadelphian Society of Nassau Hall (1825-1930). The Philadelphian Society is the spiritual parent to today's Princeton Evangelical Fellowship (1931- ) on the Princeton University campus.

Author Clifford Putney's book is the first extensive work devoted to the progenitors (patriarch and matriarch) of the missionary-rich Gulick family.

For 46 uninterrupted years (1828-74), Peter and Fanny Gulick served as pioneer missionaries in The Aloha State. Some structures Peter helped build still stand today and are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, including Kaua'i Island's Gulick-Rowell House on the former Missionary Row in Waimea.

From the 1820s to the 1960s, members of the Gulick clan could be found throughout the world doing missionary work. This makes them one of America's greatest missionary families and most important evangelical dynasties.

For a synopsis of Missionaries In Hawai'i, click here (University of Massachusetts Press).

For my "Customer Review" of the book at Amazon.com, click here.
--> UPDATE: For my full review of Putney's book, see the online journal Global Missiology, January 2011 (Vol. 2, Nov. 8)
I am persuaded God leaves his children on earth for the sole purpose of glorifying Him and the Great Question with every one should be by what use of my time and talents can I most effectively promote this object?
Peter Johnson Gulick, 1840
Perhaps you would ask if we were not sometimes sorry we were missionaries. No never never. I thank the Lord almost daily that He permitted me to be a missionary.
Fanny Gulick, 1875