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Persecutors Put to Silence, And Converted

The following is from the Autobiography of that wonderful revivalist, Charles G. Finney. The circumstances as related occurred early in his ministry, at Gouverneur, N.Y.

Charles Grandison Finney (1792 - 1875)

I have said that there was a Baptist church, and a Presbyterian, each having a meeting-house standing upon the green, not far apart; and that the Baptist church had a pastor, but the Presbyterian had none. As soon as the revival broke out, and attracted general attention, the Baptist brethren began to oppose it. They spoke against it, and used very objectionable means indeed to arrest its progress. This encouraged a set of young men to join hand in hand, to strengthen each other in Opposition to the work. The Baptist Church was quite influential; and the stand that they took greatly emboldened the opposition, and seemed to give it a peculiar bitterness and strength, as might be expected. Those young men seemed to stand like a bulwark in the way of the progress of the work.

In this state of things, Brother Nash and myself, after consultation, made up our minds that that thing must be overcome by prayer, and that it could not be reached in any other way. We therefore retired to a grove, and gave ourselves up to prayer until we prevailed; and we felt confident that no power which earth or hell could interpose, would be allowed permanently to stop the revival.

The next Sabbath, after preaching morning and afternoon myself for I did the preaching altogether, and Brother Nash gave himself up almost continually to prayer - we met at five o’clock in the church, for a prayer-meeting. The meeting-house was filled. Near the close of the meeting, Brother Nash arose, and addressed that company of young men who had joined hand in hand to resist the revival. I believe they were all there, and they sat braced up against the Spirit of God. It was too solemn for them really to make ridicule of what they heard and saw; and yet their brazen-facedness and stiff-neckedness were apparent to everybody.

Brother Nash addressed them very earnestly, and pointed out the guilt and danger of the course they were taking. Toward the close of his address, he waxed exceedingly warm, and said to them: “Now, mark me, young men! God will break your ranks in less than one week, either by converting some of you, or by sending some of you to hell. He will do this as certainly as the Lord is my God !. “He was standing where he brought his hand down on the top of the pew before him, so as to make it thoroughly jar. He sat immediately down, dropped his head, and groaned with pain.

The house was as still as death, and most of the people held down their heads. I could see that the young men were agitated. For myself, I regretted that Brother Nash had gone so far. He had committed himself, that God would either take the life of some of them, and send them to hell, or convert some of them, within a week. However, on Tuesday morning of the same week, the leader of these young, men came to me, in the greatest distress of mind. He was all prepared to submit; and as soon as I came to press him, he broke down like a child, confessed, and manifestly gave himself to Christ. Then he said: “What shall I do, Mr. Finney?” I replied: “Go immediately to all your young companions, and pray with them, and exhort them, at once to turn to the Lord.” He did so; and before the week was out, nearly if not all of that class of young men, were hoping in Christ.

Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893

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