Apostle of Faith, chapter 4.
We continue the story in our Greatheart’s own words:
My wife was a great preacher, and although I had no ability to preach, she made up her mind to train me for the ministry. So she would continually make an announcement that I would be the speaker the next Sunday. She said she was sure I could preach if I only tried. When she announced me to speak, this would give me a week of labor and a good deal of sweating. I used to go into the pulpit on Sunday with great boldness, give out my text, say a few words, and then say to the congregation, “If any of you can preach you can have a chance now, for I am finished.”
She would have me try again, but it always ended the same way. She was the preacher and I encouraged her to do it all. But I found out that when you have a burden for lost souls, and the vision of their need is ever before you, the Lord, as you look to him, will give you expression to your heart’s compassion and make a preacher out of you. We held open-air services for 20 years in one part of the city of Bradford. It was as I ministered in the open air week by week that the Lord began to give me more liberty.
My wife and I always believed in scriptural holiness but I was conscious of much carnality in myself. A really holy man once came to preach for us and he spoke of what it meant to be entirely sanctified. He called it a very definite work of grace subsequent to the new birth. As I waited on the Lord for 10 days in prayer, handing my body over to him as a living sacrifice according to Romans 12.1-2, God surely did something for me, for from that time I began to have real liberty in preaching. We counted that as the Baptism in the Spirit. And so, at our Mission on Bowland Street we stood for both healing and holiness.
We never believed it was right for us to do all the preaching. And so we gave two or three of our young men and women a chance every week. These young workers developed and the result was that many of them became wonderful preachers.
We thought that we had got all that was coming to us on spiritual lines, but one day we heard that people were being baptized in the Spirit and were speaking in other tongues, and that the gifts of the Spirit were being manifested. I confess that I was much moved by this news.
One day, I saw a man coming to the house, and noticed that he had very great difficulty in getting up the steps to our front door. But he managed to pull himself up some way or other by the railing, and when he had taken a seat he said: “If my people knew that I was coming to your house, they never would have let me come. You have a worse name than any man I ever heard of.”
I said, “If that is your opinion of me you had better clear out of my house, for I do not want anyone here that does not believe in me.”
“Oh,” he said, “I believe in you. Please do not put me out. If you knew my terrible condition, you would not send me away. Put your hand on my leg, will you?”
I did, and found it was like a board, not like a leg. I said, “It feels strange. What’s the trouble?”
“It is a cancer. All the leg, from top to bottom, is cancerous. Oh, you will not send me away, will you?”
I replied, “I will not send you away. I will go and see what God says about this.”
As I waited before the Lord these words came to me: “Go, tell that man to fast 7 days and seven nights, and his flesh shall become like a little child’s.”
I told him what the Lord had given me for him, and he said, “I believe all that God has said to you, and I will go home and do all that God has told me to do.”
Four days later I was looking through the window and here was this same man; but instead of having to take hold of the railing and pull himself up like a sick man, he jumped up those steps and came running around the house like a boy, crying out, “I am perfectly healed!”
I asked, “What are you going to do now?” He answered, “I am going back to fast a further three days and three nights, but I thought I would let you know what God has already wrought.”
The next time he came to our house he saw my daughter Alice and heard her say that she was going to Angola in Africa. “I would like to have a share in this,” he told her as he pulled out a handful of gold coins, saying: “That’s my gift towards your going to Africa.”
Then he turned to me and remarked, “Have you heard the latest? They are receiving the Holy Spirit at Sunderland and speaking in other tongues. I have decided to go up to Sunderland to see this thing for myself. Would you like to come with me?” I declared that I would be delighted to go. He said, “All right, you come along with me and all expenses will be paid out of my purse.” He was so happy at having been healed, and he surely was glorifying God for the miracle that had been wrought in his life.
I wrote ahead to Sunderland to two people who had been saved in the work in Bradford and who had gone to live in that town. The report had come to them that what was happening was a very dangerous error and that speaking in other tongues was from an evil power. In order to save me from this terrible error they arranged for a very wonderful woman to be on hand to warn me. And so the first things I heard were false reports.
When they had said all they had to say, I suggested, “Let us pray.” The Lord gave me real liberty in prayer and after I had prayed they said, “Don’t take any notice of what we have said. Obey your own leadings.”
It was a Saturday night when I went to the meeting, which was held in the vestry of the parish church at Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. What I could not understand was this: I had just come from Bradford, where the Spirit of God was working mightily. Many had been prostrated, slain by the power of God the night before. I left for Sunderland. It seemed to me that there was not the power in this meeting that we had in our own assembly in Bradford. I was disappointed. But I was very hungry for God, and He knew my hunger even though nobody seemed to understand me.
I can remember a man giving his testimony that after waiting on the Lord for three weeks, the Lord had baptized him in the Holy Spirit and caused him to speak in other tongues.
I cried out, “Let’s hear these tongues. That’s what I came for. Let’s hear it!”
They answered, “When you are baptized you will speak in tongues.”
According to my own opinion I had been baptized in the Spirit. Thinking back to my 10 days of waiting on God and the blessing I had received as a result, I had called that the Baptism in the Spirit. So I said to them, “I remember when I was baptized, my tongue was loosed. My testimony was different.”
But they answered, “No, that is not it.”
But I was seeking with all my heart after God. On Sunday morning I went to a Salvation Army prayer meeting at 7 o’clock. Three times in that prayer meeting I was smitten to the floor by the mighty power of God. Somewhat ashamed of my position, lest I should be misunderstood, I tried to control myself by getting up again and kneeling and praying.
At the close of the service the captain said to me, “Where are you from, Brother?”
I answered, “I am from Bradford. I came to Sunderland to receive these tongues that people are getting here.”
“Oh,” he said, “that’s the Devil they are getting up there.”
But anyhow, he invited me to preach for him that afternoon, and we had a very wonderful time. But they were all persuading me not to go near the Pentecostal people and not to seek the speaking in other tongues.
Pastor Boddy, who was vicar of the Episcopal church where those first Pentecostal meetings were held, gave out a notice that there would be a waiting meeting all night on Tuesday. It was a very precious time and the presence of the Lord was very wonderful, but I did not hear anyone speak in tongues. At 2:30 in the morning Brother Boddy said, “We had better close the meeting.” I was disappointed, for I would have liked to stay there all night. I found I had changed my clothes and left the key to my hotel room in the clothes I had taken off, so a missionary brother from India said to me, “You’ll have to come and sleep with me.” But I did not go to bed; we spent the night in prayer and received great blessing.
For four days I wanted nothing but God. But after that, I felt I should leave for my home, and I went to the Episcopal vicarage to say good-bye. I said to Mrs. Boddy, the vicar’s wife: “I am going away, but I have not received the tongues yet.”
She answered, “It is not tongues you need, but the Baptism.”
“I have received the Baptism, Sister,” I protested, “but I would like to have you lay hands on me before I leave.” She laid her hands on me and then had to go out of the room.
The fire fell. It was a wonderful time as I was there with God alone. He bathed me in power. I was conscious of the cleansing of the precious blood, and I cried out: “Clean! Clean! Clean!” I was filled with the joy of the consciousness of the cleansing. I was given a vision in which I saw the Lord Jesus Christ. I beheld the empty cross, and I saw him exalted at the right hand of God the Father. I could speak no longer in English but I began to praise him in other tongues as the Spirit of God gave me utterance. I knew then, although I might have received anointings previously, that now, at last, I had received the real Baptism in the Holy Spirit as they received on the day of Pentecost.
Labels: Apostle of Faith