Compiled by

The Father of Revivalists

CHARLES G. FINNEY, Apostle of Revival.   The
        spiritual experiences which render Finney's name
an outstanding one in Revival annals began soon after he
entered the office of Mr. Benjamin Wright, at Adams, N.Y.,
in 1818, when, as he assures us in his "Memoirs:" "I was
almost as ignorant of religion as a heathen.   I had been
brought up mostly in the woods.   I had very little regard
to the Sabbath, and had no definite knowledge of re-
ligious truths."

   In the course of his legal studies, however, he found that
sundry authors made frequent references to the Mosaic Law
and therefore, for professional reasons alone, he purchased
a Bible.   He also came into contact with a number of pro-
fessing Christians, but they were dead and worldly, and he

pointed out to them, in frigid terms, that their prayers
were never answered: "You have prayed enough since I
have attended these meetings to have prayed the devil
out of town, if there were any virtue in your prayers.
But here you are, praying and complaining still."
further reading the Bible, however, it struck Finney that
the reason why their prayers were not answered was simply
because they did not comply with the revealed conditions
upon which God had promised to answer prayer.   The
thought, at any rate, relieved his doubts; yet he was
brought face to face with the question, whether he would
yield his whole being to Christ or pursue a career of
worldly emulation and personal aggrandisement.
   While hesitating thus between ambition and Christi-
anity, he seemed to hear a voice speak from heaven to his
soul, and he resolved to seek the Lord, if haply he might
find Him.   Going out into the woods to pray, he found a
sanctuary between some fallen trees; but he realised that
he was more anxious lest some passer-by should notice
him than he was to have his sins forgiven and become a
child of the Kingdom.   Then, while he was broken and
abased before God, the Spirit impressed upon his mind the
words from Jeremiah 29:12-13: "Then shall ye...find [M]e,
when ye shall search for [M]e with all your heart
  Thus he
sought, and thus he found.   On the same evening, as he
went to his room, as he said: "It seemed as if I met the
Lord Jesus Christ face to face.   It did not occur to me then,
nor did it for some time afterwards, that it was wholly a
mental state.   It seemed to me a reality that He stood
before me, and I fell down and poured out my soul to

   The news of his conversion was received with incredu-
lity, so bitter had he been against the church-members.
"If religion is true," scoffers had said, "why don't you
convert Finney?   If you can do that, we will believe in
  Even the minister, with whom he had often
spoken, refused to credit the story.   But, in the evening,
there was a general movement towards the Presbyterian
Church.   The place was thronged with an expectant con-
gregation; and Finney, without waiting for a formal
opening, related, with simplicity and directness, his
experience of the Lord's dealing with him.   That meeting

was the beginning of a Revival which changed the charac-
ter of the district.
   Finney immediately commenced the long and arduous
and faithful labours which have associated his name so
closely with the stirring word, "Revival."   He went at
first into new settlements, and preached in school-houses,
barns, and groves.   Religion was at a low ebb, and the
people thought much of the works of Tom Paine.   Uni-
was strong, and ridicule was poured upon
Evangelical preaching.   Now came Finney with his close
reasoning, plain speaking, and simple faith, his spirit
of prayer and eager anticipation of vast results.   Wher-
ever he went, extraordinary scenes were witnesses.   He
continued his labours till 1875.

[ Twice-Born Men ] [ Christian Home Bible Course ]