He was the youngest of 15 children. Standing six-foot three-inches tall, his piercing eyes and leadership ability gave him such recognition that he soon was apprenticed to become a lawyer, even though he had never been to college.
But then something happened. He had an Isaiah experience. He found himself at age 29 as ignorant of the gospel as a heathen, but he did believe that the Bible was God’s word and started reading it. He began to be severely convicted, till, on one Sunday evening in the autumn of 1821, he made up his mind that he would settle the question of his soul’s salvation once and for all and make peace with God.
For two days he wrestled with God and it seemed to him that his heart grew harder and harder. Finally a verse came to his mind, then you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart. Eventually he came to seek God. He describes that he was struck with a “rising of my sould” so great that he rushed into the back room of the office to pray. He said
There was no fire, and no light in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for sometime afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. On the contrary, ti seemed to me that I saw Him as I would see any other man. He said nothing. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet. I wept aloud like a child and made such confessions as I could as choked up as I was. I continued in this state for a good while, but when became calm enough to break off the interview I returned to the front office and . . . as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit descended upon 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 awaves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God . . .
That was the conversion of Charles G. Finney. He had an Isaiah experience and from that encounter he became a mighty evangelist who shook America during the second Great Awakening. His hunger drove him to seek God; His search led him to encounter God; his encounter led him to wonder; his wonder led him to willingness and his willingness led him to witness. In short, He learned to “hallow the Name!”