There were two very striking cases of conversion in this place; and there were two very striking cases of instantaneous recovery from insanity during this revival. As I went into the meeting in the afternoon of one Sabbath, I saw several ladies sitting in a pew, with a woman dressed in black who seemed to be in great distress of mind; they were partly holding her, and preventing her from going out. As I came in, one of the ladies came to me and told me that she was an insane woman. I said a few words to her; but she must go; and that she could not hear any praying, or preaching or singing; that hell was her portion, and she could not endure anything that made her think of heaven.
I cautioned the ladies privately to keep her in her seat, if they could, without disturbing the meeting. As soon as the singing began, she struggled hard to get out. But the ladies obstructed her passage; and kindly, but persistently prevented her escape. After a few moments she became quiet, but seemed to avoid hearing or attending to all the singing. I then prayed. The Lord gave me a great spirit of prayer and a text from Hebrews: “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
My object was to encourage faith, in ourselves. and in her; and in ourselves for her. As I proceeded she began gradually to raise her head and look at me from within her long black bonnet. As I proceeded to urge the people to be atoning sacrifice of our great High Priest. all at once she startled the congregation by uttering a loud shriek. She then cast herself almost from her seat, held her head very low, and I could see that she “trembled very exceedingly.” As I proceeded she began to look up again, and soon sat upright, with face wonderfully changed, indicating triumphant joy and peace. There was such a glow upon her countenance as I have seldom seen in any human face. Her joy was so great that she could scarcely contain herself till the meeting was over; and then she soon made everybody understand around her that she was at liberty. She glorified God and rejoiced with amazing triumph. About two years after I met with her, and found her still full of joy and peace.
Taken from Charles Finney’s autobiography.