Titus Coan
Missionary to Hawaii

An excerpt: "The fame of this man of God spread abroad, and wherever he went the people "thronged him." When he could not go to them they came to him. From all parts of the island they flocked to Hilo. "Whole villages gathered from many miles away, and made their homes near the mission house. Within the radius of a mile the little cabins clustered thick as they could stand. Hilo, the village of ten hundred, saw its population suddenly swelled to ten thousand, and here was held, literally, a camp meeting of two years. At any hour of the day or night a tap of the bell would bring together a congregation of from three to six thousand. Meetings for prayer and preaching were held daily. Congregations so vast and so long continued have not often been assembled since Apostolic times, and the Spirit came down upon them as on the day of Pentecost. The preacher himself was thrilled by the scene, and catching an inspiration from the thousands of eager eyes and listening ears, felt lifted up with a strange power. "There was a fire in his bones." Were the congregation ever so large and tumultuous, it hushed at the sound of his voice. He said: "I would rise before the restless, noisy crowd and begin. It wasn't long before I felt that I had got hold of them. There seemed to be a chord of electricity binding them to me. I knew that I had them, that they would not go away. The Spirit would hush them by the truth till they would sob and cry 'What shall we do?' and the noise of the weeping would be so great that I could not go on." (Read the rest of this short biography)
Close to where Coan was living in Hilo was the Mauna Loa Volcano. At some point it erupted and he spent many days approaching the molten streams, making observations. It was feared that the lava would cover Hilo but suddenly it quieted down, something which Coan felt came in answer to prayer. This excerpt comes from a Memorial written on his life. (Read about Coan's adventures)

Another Short Biography: A Memorial (From the Friend's Review)

An extract: "In the autumn of 1837 a protracted meeting of eight days was held at the Station, of which T. Coan wrote: ''God wrought for us. I opened the meeting with a sermon from the text, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord.' Great effect was produced. On the second day of the meeting God came in terror. The sea rose suddenly to the perpendicular height of 15 or 20 feet, and fell in one mountain wave upon the shore, sweeping away nearly 100 houses with all their tenants. All was sudden as a peal of thunder. No premonitions were given. None had time to flee. The scene was awful. Hundreds were engulfed in a moment. To the people the event was as the voice of God speaking to them from out of heaven, 'Be ye also ready.' Time swept on. The work deepened and widened. Thousands on thousands thronged the courts of the Lord. Everywhere the trumpet of jubilee sounded loud and long, and as clouds, and as doves to their windows, so ransomed sinners flocked to Christ." (Read the rest of this instructive Memorial)

The Hawaiian Revival

Titus Coan was made for the work God had for him, and he controlled these great masses. He preached with great simplicity, illustrating and applying the grand old truths, made no effort to excite but rather to allay excitement, and asked for no external manifestation of interest. He depended on the word, borne home by the Spirit. And the Spirit wrought. Some would cry out, "The two-edged sword is cutting me to pieces." The wicked scoffer who came to make sport dropped like a log, and said, "God has struck me." Once while preaching in the open field to two thousand people, a man cried out, "What shall I do to be saved?" and prayed the publican's prayer; and the entire congregation took up the cry for mercy. For a half hour Mr. Coan could get no chance to speak, but had to stand still and see God work. (Read the rest of what Pierson has to say on the revivals in Hawaii under Titus Coan)


Titus Coan:
Life in Hawaii (pdf)

Titus Coan: Short Biography (pdf)

Lydia Bingham Coan: Titus Coan: A Memorial (pdf)

(Click here for many more quotes)

On Academics: "I am pent up here amid the venerable lore of ages, and hurried from field to field of metaphysical, ethical and theological research. After examining the various and contending theories, the magisterial dogmas, the abstruse and subtle disquisitions, the vain and unsatisfying speculations, the grave and confident conclusions of numerous theological disputants, I gain relief from their perplexing speculations by taking my precious Bible and stealing away close to the feet of Jesus. He has told me, when I want anything, to ask Him, and His promise never fails, He never upbraids. He does not, indeed, answer all my irreverent inquiries, but He teaches me not to dive beyond my depth, nor soar amid brightness too dazzling. With Jesus for my teacher, I can sit and quiet myself as a wearied child."

"I have now another class in the prison. Most of them I hope are converted. 'Tis truly affecting to hear some of them confess their former sins, and with bursting hearts tell of the love of Jesus. I love to go into that prison, because Jesus loves to go there. I often feel as if I wanted to wash the feet of those who are Christ's freemen there, for it seems as if my Master would do it."

"At one place where I preached, there was an old and hardened Chief, who neither feared God nor regarded man. I preached to him fearlessly, personally, pointedly, calling him by name, and in the presence of his people I charged home his guilt upon him, and in the name of the Lord urged him to immediate repentance. He was much moved, and promised repentance the first day, but I was not satisfied that his proud heart was broken. On the second day I renewed the charge. He stood the siege for awhile, but at length his feelings became insuppressible, and all on a sudden he broke forth in a cry that almost rent the heavens. The sword of the Spirit was in his veins. He submitted on the spot, and appears like a newborn babe. The effect of this scene on the congregation was overwhelming. The place was shaken. Multitudes cried out for mercy, and multitudes turned to the Lord. I could tell you of many similar facts. God has done great things for us. I feel like lying in the dust and adoring His grace.

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Coan's Letter: Condition of the Churches

An Excerpt: "I do not believe that the precious, precious cause of missions is to be left to a blind and mad indifference, and that the lamps of life which are shining, though dimly, upon the benighted nations, are to be extinguished for want of oil. But I did and do feel that our love to our bleeding Savior is too cold, and our pity for our perishing brethren and sisters in lands of brooding darkness is too feeble. We are not awake to our privileges. Bronze gates are open, iron bars are broken, and the voice of the Eternal calls the church to improve the opportunity, lest Satan shall pre-occupy the field, and scatter the seeds of infidelity, which shall prove a more stubborn obstacle to the blessed Gospel than the old paganism." (Read all of his letter on the condition of the churches)

A Letter to his Nephew

"My Dear Nephew:
"If you are filled with the spirit of love and obedience to Christ, and an earnest, pure desire to win souls for the Master, your life will be useful and happy. I presume you do not belong to the class of young Christian students who spend the seed-time of life, and the flower of youth, in preparation to be useful, but rather, that while diligent in your studies you are 'fervent in spirit' and in prayer; and active in all proper ways and seasons in doing good. A very important part of our preparation for the service of the Master consists in earnest labors to save souls while we are cultivating our mental powers by study. I would not make myself an example of fidelity, but would bless the Lord for inclining me, long before my decision to study for the ministry, and during my theological course, to watch for souls, and to improve opportunities by the wayside and everywhere, as Providence gave them, to speak a word for Jesus. And these exercises did not hinder but helped my studies, as they brought me into contact with humanity in its multiform shades and aspects, and helped me much during my whole ministry in winning souls for Christ. How many pious and ardent young men have studied hard in college and seminary with the hope of future fruitfulness, when disease and death rapped at the door, took them suddenly away, and called them apparently 'empty handed,' or with 'nothing but leaves,' to their last account. Thus we are admonished to work while it is day, to sow our seed in the morning, in the evening, beside all waters, and everywhere and always to be found working in the Master's vineyard, until he comes to call us to a higher service. My prayer shall ever be that you may be fully consecrated, and meet for the work and warfare of life, having put on the whole armor of God."—Titus Coan

From a Letter to His Children on his 80th Birthday

"God gave me a happy childhood, a cheerful youth, a vigorous manhood and now a calm old age; and my heart is still young, and in sweet sympathy with all the radiant beauties of nature and in harmony with the diapason of the illimitable universe. I am not old, I cannot be old, for I am in early childhood,—in the first dawn of my being,—and I am now studying the alphabet of immortality. Ah the illimitable, the immeasurable, the boundless, the Infinite that spreads around and rises above me, without horizon and without zenith.''

His Comments on War

"All this must come to pass, and its coming will be hastened just in proportion as Christians one by one come out of cruel and bloody Babylon, and by word and deed, and by patient suffering if called to it, bear witness against the heathenish and the brutal customs of war. War will never be abolished by the timid, the conservative, and the wise men of this world, who call peace men and peace societies foolish and fanatical; who say 'you must take the world as you find it,' 'you cannot stop war, and all your theories on the subject of peace are Utopian, because impracticable, and you may as well let the matter take care of itself But war will cease in spite of these reasons, and it would cease at once all over Christendom if every professor of the Christian religion would arise and shake himself from the blinding dust of the war system, and resolve to have no more to do with the bloody code, but to obey the Royal law, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' Such a united and decided testimony from the church, headed by her cloven-tongued ministry, and her thunder-toned presses, would silence all the batteries of our enemies, and stanch the red blood that flows in broad waves over the world."

Powerful Preacher

Preaching Abilities

"It is also to be observed, that he declares a mighty out-reaching of his heart in loving desire towards his hearers, also an all-conquering assurance possessing him at such times of the irresistible, penetrating power of the Word upon the souls of the hearers. To my mind these are most pregnantly significant expressions of that combined power of faith and love with which our departed friend was gifted by the Holy Spirit to wield the Divine Word, for the salvation of such a multitude of souls as gave evidence of true conversion to Christ through his preaching. (Read all the excerpt on his preaching)


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