The Baptism of the Holy Ghost – Charles G. Finney

by Charles G. Finney (1792-1875)

In the following excerpt, Finney recounts his empowering by the Holy Spirit while alone in his law office after his conversion in the autumn of 1821. From his Memoirs of Rev. Charles G. Finney (New York: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1876) pp. 20-21.

“But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without my recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Ghost descended on me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.

No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. The waves came over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more”; yet I had no fear of death.

How long I continued in this state, with this baptism continuing to roll over me and go through me, I do not know. But I know it was late in the evening when a member of my choir–for I was the leader of the choir–came into the office to see me in this state of loud weeping, and said to me, “Mr. Finney, what ails you?” I could make him no answer for some time. He then said, “Are you in pain?” I gathered myself up as best I could, and replied, “No, but so happy that I cannot live.”

He turned and left the office, and in a few minutes returned with one of the elders of the church, whose shop was nearly across the way from our office. This elder was a very serious man; and in my presence had been very watchful, and I had scarcely ever seen him laugh. When he came in, I was very much in the state in which I was when the young man went out to call him. He asked me how I felt, and I began to tell him. Instead of saying anything, he fell into a most spasmodic laughter. It seemed as if it was impossible for him to keep from laughing from the very bottom of his heart.” – Charles G. Finney

Comments

  1. Yes, I must share my testimony as well. It is about identical to his above except I did not plead for it to stop. It was like being immersed in liquid love, the most beautiful love that is beyond our imagination. I had been seeking and reading the Bible, no one had witnessed to me, I did not know there was such a thing as this. I felt Jesus calling to me to ‘give myself over to Him completely,’ and after reading more one day I did this, it all happened one summer. I fully surrendered to the God of the Bible, Jesus, and believed all that was said about Him. I did not expect anything to happen, but then from my innermost being it was like a tube started filling up and then overflowing and my heart and whole being were flooded with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and it seemed to go on for hours. I could not talk as it was such a holy experience. It was the agape love of God. It changed me from the inside out forever, the circumcision of the heart. Now the Spirit was in control and not the flesh. I felt power over sin and over evil, it had no power over me anymore. I’m not saying I was perfect after this, just had the power to win the struggle. Some Bible verses to describe this along with those mentioned above include Romans 5; 5, Galatians 5; 22-23, 1 Corinthians 13, John 13-17, John’s epistles also. Many also confuse this with speaking in tongues. These are 2 different things. You can get the baptism and never speak in tongues. There are diverse gifts that are distributed, some get prophecy, some get healing, some get teaching, some get tongues…. some, but not all. Some get interpretation of tongues, etc. 1 Corinthians 12-14 explains how that works. In the early church many did get tongues but that was described as the least of the gifts, not the best one. I know there are many who fake the gift of tongues and just babble some incoherent nonsense and claim it is a ‘prayer language,’ when the Bible describes tongues as true man made languages that others can understand if they grew up with that language. Many never had the baptism, they just focus on ‘tongues’ and babble some utterances but it’s not real. Then sadly you get all those wolves who deny these things are for today, but they are, the devil just doesn’t want you to have this. Seek the Lord in earnest and He will give this to you!

  2. Oh Lord, restore covenant with me and my family concerning the Holy Ghost Baptism, and don’t reject my family just because none of my ancestors ever spoke in tongues.

  3. oh how i pray to be baptised too ,lord jesus ineed that great experience

  4. I pray I can also be filled and hv a wonderful experience with the Holy spirit

  5. Lord,I believe in the baptism by the Holy Spirit.
    I submit to your command to be filled
    I lay hold of the promise to be baptised.
    You are willing lord.Come Lord am willing even tonight.

  6. Had the same experience after being a Christians for 2 years. Prayed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, several days later was impressed to witness to an old friend. Again prayed that the Holy Spirit would lead me and was impressed to tell them that Jesus was God. Starting quoting every verse about Jesus being God, like you have seen me you have seen the Father, I and my Father are one. When I quoted what John the Baptist said about Jesus, something happened when I got to the phase “he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost”. I had intended to say Holy Ghost & fire, but when I said “he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost”, I baptized just like Finney described. It was amazing, no words can fully described it. The waves continue for sometime, then it flow out of my innermost being. I still experience this on a regular basis, but not a dramatic as the first time. For me there is a strong sense of the Majesty of God. There is a river the flows from his throne unto his own. Jesus said if anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink . Jesus is the fountain of living waters. The river is still flowing because Jesus lives and he is God. He will baptize everyone one with the Holy Spirit or with fire. Jesus is still baptizing believers with the Holy Spirit and he will baptize unbelievers with unquenchable fire. Jesus will be glorified by all.

    1. I was so glad to find Mr. Finney’s account. I had a similar experience when I accepted the Bible as true in May of 2015. I had no idea what was happening to me. Yours is the first that I’ve found since then. Thank you for sharing this. I feel His presence every day. I feel truly blessed.

  7. Similar experience upon my bed I had been summonsed into the throne room of God then s2iftly transitioned to my bed and the greatest intensifying presence of what felt like light electricity power and love enveloped my entire being I could say nothing for sometime It felt like God himself never have I experienced anything before it ir after but I want to again and again and uf he allowed transfer to others to free them from Any Doubt that He Is Real

  8. ..oh how i pray the Lord visits us too in such a way in Jesus Name!

  9. Great testimony. God we need such move in our lives. Visit us Lord.

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