[anzac] THE REVIVAL & THE SHERIFF - Finney.

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2004 13:16:17 -0600
MODERATOR:  Below is another extract from my
book on Charles Finney - which I hope to have ready 
for release in about a week or so. The reason I have 
stopped work on other projects to concentrate on this 
book is because I believe Finney's Revivals hold the 
most essential message to the church right now: That 
we must have "agonizing" prayer and 'John-the-Baptist' 
preaching to enter into the next great Revival. This 
is a "now" message and the time is urgent, I believe.    
-God bless you all!  -Andrew Strom.
****************************************** 
The REVIVAL and the SHERIFF
-by Charles Finney.

I found that the spirit of prayer was prevailing, especially 
among the female members of the church. The wives of 
two of the elders were greatly exercised in prayer.

I called in at Mr. H's and found him pale and agitated. He 
said to me, "Brother Finney, I think my wife will die. She 
is so exercised in her mind that she cannot rest day or 
night, but is given up entirely to prayer. She has been all  
morning in her room, groaning and struggling in prayer; 
and I am afraid it will entirely overcome her strength." 
Hearing my voice in the sitting room she came out and 
upon her face was a most heavenly glow. Her countenance 
was lighted up with a hope and a joy that were plainly 
from heaven. She exclaimed, "Brother Finney, the Lord 
has come! This work will spread over all this region! A 
cloud of mercy overhangs us all; and we shall see such 
a work of grace as we have never seen." Her husband 
looked surprised and knew not what to say. It was new 
to him, but not to me. I had witnessed such scenes 
before, and believed that prayer had indeed prevailed.

The work went on, spread and strengthened, until it 
began to show unmistakable signs of the direction in 
which the Spirit of God was leading from that place. It 
soon became clear that the work was spreading in 
the direction of Rome and Utica. 

I went to Rome [NY] and preached three times on a 
Sunday. To me it was clear that the Word took great 
effect. I could see during the day that many heads were 
bowed down with deep conviction of sin. I preached in 
the morning on the text: "The carnal mind is enmity 
against God" and followed it up with something similar 
in the afternoon and evening. 

I told pastor Gillett that he could circulate the information 
that there would be a meeting of inquiry on Monday 
evening. It was at the house of one of his deacons. When 
we arrived we found the large sitting room crowed to its 
utmost capacity. Mr. Gillett looked around with surprise, 
for he found that the meeting was composed of many 
of the most intelligent and influential members of his 
congregation. We spent a little while attempting to 
converse with them, but I soon saw that emotions were 
running so deep that there was danger of an outburst 
that would be almost uncontrollable. I said to Mr. Gillett, 
"It will not do to continue the meeting in this shape. I 
will make some remarks, such as they need, and then 
dismiss them." 

Nothing had been said or done to create any excitement 
in the meeting. The feeling was all spontaneous. The 
work was with such power that even a few words of 
conversation would make the stoutest men writhe on 
their seats, as if a sword had been thrust into their hearts. 
It would probably not be possible for one who has never 
witnessed such a scene, to realize what the force of the 
truth sometimes is, under the power of the Holy Ghost. 
It was indeed a sword - a two-edged sword. The pain that 
it produced when searchingly presented in a few words 
of conversation would create a distress that seemed 
unendurable. 

Mr. Gillett became very agitated. He turned pale, and 
with a good deal of excitement said, "What shall we do? 
What shall we do?" I put my hand on his shoulder and in 
a whisper said, "Keep quiet, keep quiet, Brother Gillett." 
I then addressed them in as gentle but plain a manner 
as I could, calling their attention at once to their only 
remedy. I pointed them to Christ as the Savior of the 
world, and kept on in this strain as long as they could 
endure it, which was but a few moments. 

Mr. Gillett became so agitated that I stepped up to him 
and taking him by the arm I said, "Let us pray." We 
knelt down in the middle of the room where we had been 
standing. I led in prayer in a low, unimpassioned voice, 
interceding with the Savior to lead all these sinners to 
accept the salvation which He offered and to believe to 
the saving of their souls. The agitation deepened every 
moment, and I could hear their sobs and sighs. I closed 
my prayer and rose suddenly from my knees. They all 
arose and I said, "Now please go home without speaking 
a word to each other. Try to keep silent, and do not 
break out into any boisterous manifestation of feeling; 
but go without saying a word, to your rooms." 

At this moment a young man so nearly fainted that he 
fell upon some young men that stood near him, and they 
all partially swooned and fell together. This produced a 
loud shrieking, but I hushed them down, and said to the 
young men, "Please set that door wide open and let all 
go out in silence." They did as I requested. They did not 
shriek, but they went out sobbing and sighing, and their 
sobs and sighs could be heard till they got out into the street. 

The next morning, as soon as it was day, people began 
to call at Mr. Gillett's to have us go and visit members 
of their families whom they said were under the greatest 
conviction. We found a most extraordinary state of things. 
Convictions were so deep and universal that we would 
sometimes go into a house and find some in a kneeling 
posture, and some prostrate on the floor. 

Mr. Gillett immediately gave notice that at one o'clock 
there would be a meeting of inquiry. By the time we 
were there, the large room was crammed to its utmost 
capacity. Men, women, and children crowded in. 

This meeting was very much like the one we had had 
the night before. The feeling was overwhelming. Some 
men of the strongest nerves were so cut down by the 
remarks which were made, that they were unable to 
help themselves, and had to be taken home by their 
friends. This meeting lasted till nearly night. It resulted 
in a great number of hopeful conversions, and was the 
means of greatly extending the work on every side. 

The state of things in the village, and in the neighborhood 
round about, was such that no one could come into the 
village without feeling awe-stricken with the impression 
that God was there in a peculiar and wonderful way. As 
an illustration of this, I will relate an incident. The sheriff 
of the county resided in Utica. There were two court-
houses in the county, one at Rome, and the other at 
Utica; consequently the sheriff had much business in 
Rome. He later told me that he had heard of the state of 
things there, and he and others had done a good deal 
of laughing about it in the hotel where he boarded. 

But one day it was necessary for him to come to Rome. 
He said he was glad because he wanted to see for 
himself what everyone was talking about. He drove in 
without any particular impression upon his mind at all, 
until he crossed what was called the old canal, a place 
about a mile from the town. He said as soon as he 
crossed the canal, a strange impression came over him, 
an awe so deep that he could not shake it off. He felt as 
if God pervaded the whole atmosphere. This increased 
the whole way, till he came to the village. He stopped 
at the hotel and observed that the owner looked just as 
he himself felt, as if he were afraid to speak. Several 
times during the short time he was there he had to rise 
from the table abruptly and go to the window to try and 
distract himself and keep from weeping. He observed 
that everybody else appeared to feel just as he did. 
Such an awe, such a solemnity, such a state of things 
he had never had any conception of before. He hastened 
through with his business and returned to Utica; but as 
he said, never to speak lightly of the work in Rome again. 
A few weeks later he was converted.

It is difficult to conceive so deep and universal a state of 
spiritual feeling, with no instance of disorder or tumult or 
fanaticism, as was witnessed at Rome. There are many 
of the converts of that revival scattered all through the 
land; and they can testify that in those meetings the 
greatest order and solemnity prevailed, and the utmost 
pains were taken to guard against everything objectionable. 

The Spirit's work was so spontaneous, so powerful and 
so overwhelming that it was necessary to exercise the 
greatest caution and wisdom in conducting the meetings, 
in order to prevent an undesirable outburst of feeling that 
would have quickly exhausted the emotions of the people, 
and brought about a reaction. But no reaction followed. 
The moral state of the people was so greatly changed 
that Mr. Gillett often remarked that it did not seem like 
the same place. Whatever sin was left was obliged to 
hide its head. No open immorality could be tolerated 
there. I have given only a very faint outline of what passed 
at Rome. A faithful description of all the moving incidents 
that were crowded into that revival could make a volume in itself. 

~[From the forthcoming book "Charles Finney - Revivalist...
-The Essential Revivals in his own words."]
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