Published in the Pentecostal Evangel, April 28, 1923.
Faith that Prevails, chapter 5.
“Ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” The disciples had been asking whether the Lord would at that time restore again the kingdom to Israel. Christ told them that it was not for them to know the times and seasons which the Father had put in His own power, but He promised them that when they received the Holy Ghost they should receive power to witness for Him in all the world. To receive the Holy Ghost is to receive power with God, and power with men.
There is a power of God and there is a power which is of Satan. When the Holy Spirit fell in the early days, a number of spiritists came to our meetings. They thought we had received something like they had and they were coming to have a good time. They filled the two front rows of our mission. When the power of God fell, these imitators began their shaking and muttering under the power of the devil. The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon me and I cried. “Now, you devils, clear out of this!” And out they went. I followed them right out into the street and then they turned round and cursed me. There was power from below, but it was no match for the power of the Holy Ghost, and they soon had to retreat.
The Lord wants all saved people to receive power from on High—power to witness, power to act, power to live, and power to show forth the divine manifestation of God within. The power of God will take you out of your own plans and put you into the plan of God. You will be unmantled and divested of that which is purely of yourself and put into a divine order. The Lord will change you and put His mind where yours was, and thus enable you to have the mind of Christ. Instead of you laboring according to your own plan, it will be God working in you and through you to do His own good pleasure through the power of the Spirit within. Someone has said that you are no good until you have your “I” knocked out. Christ must reign within, and the life in the Holy Ghost means at all times the subjection of your own will to make way for the working out of the good and acceptable and perfect will of God within.
The Lord Jesus gave commandment that the disciples should tarry until they were endued with power from on High, and in Acts 2 we read how the Spirit of God came. He comes the same way today and we don’t know of the Holy Ghost coming any other way.
I was holding a meeting, once, in London, and at the close a man came to me and said, “We are now allowed to hold meetings in this hall after 11 o’clock, and we would like you to come home with us. I am so hungry for God.” The wife said she, too, was hungry, and so I agreed to go with them. At about 12:30 we arrived at their house. The man began stirring up the fire and said, “Now we will have a good supper.” I said to them, “I did not come here for your warm fire, your supper or your bed. I came here because I thought you were hungry to get more of God.” We got down to pray and at about 3:30 the Lord baptized the wife, and she spoke in tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. At about 5 o’clock I spoke to the husband and asked how he was getting on. He replied, “God has broken my iron, stubborn will.” He had not received the Baptism, but God had wrought a mighty work within him.
The following day, at his business, everyone could tell that a great change had come to him. Before he had been a walking terror. The men who labored for him had looked upon him as a regular devil because of the way he had acted; but coming into contact with the power of God that night completely changed him. Before this he had made a religious profession, but he had never truly entered into the experience of the new birth until that night, when the power of God surged so mightily through his home. A short while afterwards I went to this man’s home, and his two sons ran to me and kissed me, saying, “We have a new father.” Previous to this these boys had often said to their mother, “Mother, we cannot stand it in the home any longer. We will have to leave.” But the Lord changed the whole situation that night as we prayed together. On the second visit the Lord baptized this man in the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit will reveal false positions, pull the mask off any refuge of lies and clean up and remove all false conditions. When the Holy Spirit came in, that man’s house and business and he himself were entirely changed.
When the Holy Spirit comes in He comes to empower you to be an effective witness. At one time we were holding some special meetings and I was out distributing bills. I went into a shoemaker’s store and there was a man with a green shade over his eyes and also a cloth. My heart looked up to the Lord and I had the witness within that He was ready to change any condition. The man was crying, “Oh! Oh!! Oh!!!” I asked, “What’s the trouble?” He said he was suffering with great inflammation and burning. I said, “I rebuke this condition in Jesus’ name.” Instantly the Lord healed him. He took off the shade and cloth and said, “Look, it is all gone.” I believe the Lord wants us to enter into real activity and dare to do for Him. “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.”
At one time a lady wrote and asked if I could go and help her. She said that she was blind, having two blood clots behind her eyes. When I reached the house they brought the blind woman to me. We were together for some time and then the power of God fell. Rushing to the window she exclaimed, “I can see! Oh, I can see! The blood is gone, I can see.” She then inquired about receiving the Holy Spirit and confessed that for ten years she had been fighting our position. She said, “I could not bear these tongues, but God has settled the whole thing today. I now want the Baptism in the Holy Ghost.” The Lord graciously baptized her in the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will come when a man is cleansed. There must be a purging of the old life. I never saw anyone baptized who was not clean within. I never saw a man baptized who smoked. We take it for granted that anyone who is seeking the fullness of the Spirit is free from such things as these. You cannot expect the Third Person of the Trinity to come into an unclean temple. There first must be a confession of all that is wrong and a cleansing in the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
I remember being in a meeting at one time, where there was a man seeking the Baptism, and he looked like he was in trouble. He was very restless, and finally he said to me, “I will have to go.” I said, “What’s up?” He said, “God is unveiling things to me, and I feel so unworthy.” I said, “Repent of everything that is wrong.” He continued to tarry and the Lord continued to search his heart. These times of waiting on God for the fullness of the Spirit are times when He searches the heart and tries the reins. Later the man said to me, “I have a hard thing to do, the hardest thing I have ever had to do.” I said to him, “Tell the Lord you will do it, and never mind the consequences.” He agreed, and the next morning he had to take a ride of thirty miles and go with a bag of gold to a certain party with whom he dealt. This man had a hundred head of cattle and he bought all his feed at a certain place. He always paid his accounts on a certain day, but one day he missed. He was always so punctual in paying his accounts that when later the people of his firm went over their books, they thought they must have made a mistake in not crediting the man with the money and so they sent him a receipt. The man never intended not to pay the account, but if you defer to do a right thing the devil will see that you never do it. But when that man was seeking the Lord that night the Lord dealt with him on this point, and he had to go and straighten the thing the next morning. He paid the account and then the Lord baptized him in the Spirit. They that bear the vessels of the Lord must be clean, must be holy.
When the Holy Spirit comes He always brings a rich revelation of Christ. Christ becomes so real to you that, when, under the power of the Spirit, you begin to express your love and praise to Him, you find yourself speaking in another tongue. Oh, it is a wonderful thing! At one time I belonged to a class who believed that they had received the Baptism in the Spirit without the speaking in tongues. There are many folks like that today, but if you can go with them to a prayer meeting you will find them asking the Lord again and again to baptize them in the Spirit. Why all this asking if they really have received the Baptism? I have never heard anyone who has received the Baptism in the Holy Ghost after the original pattern asking the Lord to give them the Holy Ghost. They know of a surety that He has come.
I was once traveling from Belgium to England. As I landed I received a request to stop at a place between Harwich and Colchester. The people were delighted that God had sent me, and told me of a special case they wanted me to pray for. They said, “We have a brother here who believes in the Lord, and he is paralyzed from his loins downward. He cannot stand on his legs and he has been twenty years in this condition.” They took me to this man and as I saw him there in his chair I put the question to him. “What is the greatest desire in your heart?” He said, “Oh, if I could only receive the Holy Ghost!” I was somewhat surprised at this answer, and I laid my hands on his head and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Instantly the power of God fell upon him and he began breathing very heavily. He rolled off the chair and there he lay like a bag of potatoes, utterly helpless. I like anything that God does. I like to watch God working. There he was with his great, fat body, and his head was working just as though it was on a swivel. Then to our joy he began speaking in tongues. I had my eyes on every bit of him and as I saw the condition of his legs I said, “Those legs can never carry that body.” Then I looked up and said, “Lord, tell me what to do.” The Holy Ghost is the executive of Jesus Christ and the Father. If you want to know the mind of God you must have the Holy Ghost to bring God’s latest thought to you and to tell you what to do. The Lord said to me, “Command him in My name to walk.” But I missed it, of course. I said to the people there, “Let’s see if we can lift him up.” But we could not lift him, he was like a ton weight. I cried, “Oh Lord, forgive me.” I repented of doing the wrong thing, and then the Lord said to me again, “Command him to walk.” I said to him, “Arise in the name of Jesus.” His legs were immediately strengthened. Did he walk? He ran all round. A month after this he walked ten miles and back. He has a Pentecostal work now. When the power of the Holy Ghost is present, things will happen.
There is more for us all yet, praise the Lord. This is only the beginning. So far we have only touched the fringe of things. There is so much more for us if we will but yield to God.
Do you want to receive the Spirit? “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” I am a father and I want to give my boys the very best. We human fathers are but finite, but our heavenly Father is infinite. There is no limit to the power and blessing He has laid up for them that love Him. Be filled with the Spirit.