Apostle of Faith, chapter 6.
We have often heard Smith Wigglesworth say that it did not matter where he went in the scripture for a text, he nearly always ended up preaching that the Lord not only forgives all sin but heals every disease.
His constant message was just “Christ.” He would say of him: “There was never one who came into the world with such loving compassion and who entered into all the needs of the people as did the Lord Jesus. And he declares to us, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my father.’ God wants us all to have an audacity of faith that dares to believe for all that is set forth in the word.”
But we will let him continue his own story:
One day I was in Sweden. While I was walking along I saw a man fall into a doorway. There was immediately a throng around him and they said he was dead. I immediately used the power and authority of the name of Jesus Christ, and instantly that man was delivered. He had been troubled that way for many years. The Lord told me to make him a public example, so I invited him to come to the meeting, and he came and told of his deliverance. He mentioned the most awful things that the devil had been telling him, and then he told us that the devil had gone right out of him.
While I was in Ceylon I was sent to a certain place to pray for a woman, who was surely in a terrible condition with cancer, and nearly dead. The house was full of people, and I preached Christ to them. I said, “I know this woman will be healed but I want you to know the power of my Lord. I want you to know him who can save you from sin and can deliver you from all the power of the devil.” I prayed for the woman, and her deliverance was so marvelous and it had such an effect upon the people in that home that they went to the newspapers and had the story published. The woman herself came to the meeting and told how the Lord had completely healed her. Christ told us, “These signs shall follow them that believe.” What is it to believe? It is to have such confidence in what the Lord said that we take him at his word, simply because he said it.
I remember one day that I was asked to visit a woman who was dying. When I got into the room where the woman was, I saw that there was no hope as far as human aid was concerned; she was suffering from a tumor and it had sapped her life away. As I looked at her, I knew that there was no possibility of help except the Lord would work a miracle. Thank God I knew he was able. I said to the woman, “I know you are very weak, but if you wish to be healed and cannot lift your arm, or raise it at all, it might be possible that you could raise your finger.” Her hand lay upon the bed, but she lifted her finger just a little.
I said to my friend, “We will pray with her and anoint her.”
After we had anointed her, her chin dropped. My friend said, “She is dead.”
I looked into her face and said, “In the name of Jesus I rebuke this death.” From the crown of her head to the sole of her feet her whole body began to tremble. “In the name of Jesus, I command you to walk,” I said. I repeated, “In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, walk!” and she walked.
My friend went out and told the people that he had seen a woman raised from the dead. The woman’s doctor heard of it and went to see her. He said, “I have heard from Mr. Fisher, the elder, that you have been brought back to life, and I want you to tell me if that is so.” When she affirmed it he asked, “Dare you give your testimony at a certain hall if I take you in my car?”
“I will go anywhere to give it,” was her willing reply. She came to the hall looking very white, but there was a lovely brightness on her face. She was dressed in white, and I thought how beautiful she looked.
This is what she said: “For many months I have been going down to death, but now I want to live for my children. I came to the place where it seemed there was no hope. I remember that a man came to pray with me and said, ‘If you cannot speak, or cannot lift up your hands, if you want to live, move one of your fingers.’ I remember moving my finger, but from that moment I knew nothing else until I was in the glory. I feel I must try to tell you what the glory was like. I saw countless numbers of people; and oh, the joy and the singing! It was lovely, but the face of Jesus lit up everything. Just when I was having a beautiful time the Lord suddenly pointed to me without speaking, and I knew I had to go. The next moment I heard a man say, ‘Walk, walk in the name of Jesus!’ If the doctor is here, I should like to hear what he has to say.”
The doctor arose and tried to speak, but he could not at first. His lips quivered and his eyes looked like a fountain of water. At last he said that for months he had been praying. He felt that there was no more hope, and he had told them at the house that the woman would not live much longer. In fact, it was only a matter of days. He acknowledged that a miracle had been wrought through the name of Jesus. That doctor wrote to a friend of his and said, “If you ever get a chance to hear Wigglesworth, you must certainly do so; hundreds of people have been healed in this place.”
I received many telegrams and letters asking me to go to pray for a certain woman in London. They did not give me full details. I only knew that the woman was in great distress. When I arrived at the home the dear father and mother of the needy one took me, one by one hand and the other by the other hand, and broke down and wept. Then they led me up into a balcony. They pointed to a door that was open a little and they both left me. I went into that door and I have never seen such a sight as that in my life. I saw a beautiful young woman, but she had four big men holding her down to the floor, and her clothing was torn as a result of the struggle.
When I entered the room and looked into her eyes they rolled, but she could not speak. She was exactly like that man who saw Jesus and ran to him when he came out of the tombs, and as soon as he got to Jesus the demon powers spoke. The demon powers that were inhabiting this young girl spoke and said: “I know you. You can’t cast us out; we are many.”
“Yes,” I said, “I know that you are many, but my Lord Jesus will cast you all out.” It was a wonderful moment. It was a moment when he alone could cope with the situation. The power of Satan was so great upon this beautiful girl that in one moment she whirled and broke away from those four strong men. The Spirit of the Lord was wonderfully upon me, and I went right up to her and looked into her face. I saw the evil powers there; her very eyes flashed with demon power. “Though you are many,” I cried, “I command you to leave at this moment, in the name of Jesus.”
She instantly began vomiting. During the next hour she vomited out 37 evil spirits and she named every one of them as they came out. That day she was made perfectly whole. The next morning at 10 o’clock I sat at the table with her at a communion service.
During a visit to Los Angeles in 1948, I was told the following incident by the one who entertained our Greatheart at the time he was holding a tent meeting in that city. He had just begun to preach one night in the tent when there was great commotion in one of the front seats. A lady had fainted. A number gathered around her. Wigglesworth cried out, “I rebuke you, you evil devil, for disturbing this meeting.” Immediately, all over the tent, people were criticizing him for his harshness.
But the sequel to this incident justifies his action. A few days later the husband of the woman who had fainted came to the house to see Mr. Wigglesworth. “My wife has been sick for years,” he explained, “and I have had to wait on her. Every morning I would have to carry her breakfast to her bedroom on a tray. But everything is different since the night you rebuked that evil power in her. The next morning she said to me, ‘You won’t have to bring my breakfast to me this morning. I am perfectly healed, and I’m going to get up and prepare the breakfast myself.’ And she has done this every morning since. Doubtless she has been oppressed by a spirit of infirmity, but since you rebuked it the other night when she fainted, the thing has gone and now she is perfectly free.”
During the latter years of Smith Wigglesworth, he was accompanied by his son-in-law, James Salter, and by his daughter, Alice. The latter undertook most of his correspondence and the former greatly helped to minister faith to the different audiences as he told of the many remarkable miracles and signs that have followed the preaching of the word in the Belgian Congo in Africa. Mr. and Mrs. Salter tell of hundreds of miracles which they saw following the prayer of faith of our Greatheart.
Like his Master, he was a man of authority. He was called to pray in Kansas City for a demon-possessed woman. When he reached the home the demon power in the woman was most violent in its curses. He commanded the evil spirits in the name of Jesus to depart. He then prepared to leave the home. All the way that he walked to the door the woman followed him, and from her mouth there poured out a tremendous volume of curses. He did not say, “I guess I did not pray the prayer of faith; I had better go back and pray again.” To him such a course would have been failure. He turned and spoke to the demon power in that woman with authority saying, “I told you to leave.” That was enough. The woman was completely delivered and her pastor stated later that she had no recurrence of demon possession.
All the following cases of healing recorded in this chapter have been told us by Mr. James Salter. Wigglesworth would often startle us in a meeting by saying, “Just to let you see that the Lord is in our midst and his power is present to heal and to bless, we are going to have an exhibition, a demonstration. In the Acts of the Apostles we read of ‘all that Jesus began to do and to teach.’ His doing preceded his teaching. Every sermon that Christ preached was prefaced by a model miracle. We are going to follow his example. The first person in this large audience who stands up, whatever his or her sickness, I’ll pray for that one and God will deliver him or her.” Mr. Salter says:
How often our hearts have quaked as we have heard him make that bold announcement, for there would be cancers, consumptives, people in wheelchairs, others lying on folding beds, twisted, pitiful cases of all kinds of diseases. Secretly we have hoped that one of the simple cases would stand, and not one of the far-gone cancer cases or deformed cripples.
On one occasion we shook in our seats, as in answer to his challenge, a poor, twisted, deformed man, having two sticks for support, struggled to his feet.
When Brother Wigglesworth saw him, he did not turn a hair. In his characteristic manner he asked, “Now, you; what’s up with you?” After he had taken stock of the situation, he said, “All right, we will pray for you.” He had the whole assembly join with him in prayer, and then, addressing the man, he said, “Now, put down your sticks and walk to me.” The man fumbled for a time; then he let his sticks fall to the ground and began to shuffle along. “Walk, walk!” Brother Wigglesworth called, and the man stepped out. “Now run,” he commanded, and the man did so to the amazement and great joy of all who were present, and to our unbounded relief!
In Sweden his preaching on divine healing and water baptism so stirred up the doctors and some ministers of religion that they combined in presenting a petition to their parliament. This resulted in Brother Wigglesworth being forbidden to touch the people or lay hands on any of them in public for their healing. One day he was preaching in a park when it was estimated that a crowd of at least 20,000 people had gathered to hear him. A number of government representatives were present to insure that he carried out the law—and he was equal to the situation. He asked all who were sick to stand if they could; and failing that, to indicate in some way their need and he would pray for them. He said, “Now each one lay hands on himself and I’m going to pray that the Lord will heal you.” The sick people laid their hands on their own afflicted parts and he prayed a simple prayer. of faith. Hundreds were blessed and healed as a result. In this way he kept within the law.
During his latter days he used this simple method on scores of occasions, when he had a very large audience and he knew it would take hours to pray for every one who needed help. Thus it was that in a park in Stockholm, Sweden, was born what he later referred to as his “wholesale healing” method. Actually this was forced upon him by the action of the Swedish government. It is quite safe to say that hundreds of people were healed by this method and that such healings were permanent. [See chapter nine for Mr. Wigglesworth’s own description of this first experience in wholesale healing.]
In one large city where we had two meetings a day for a month, this method was used every day because of the huge crowds who sought his ministry. One man had sat in front of the platform in an endeavor to get some idea of what the preacher said. He had been deaf for 40 years. During one of these wholesale healing demonstrations he suddenly began to swing his head about in a fantastic way and then ran out of the tabernacle. He returned to the evening service to testify. He said that he had been stone deaf for 40 years, but that during the morning meeting, while the preacher prayed, something seemed to snap in his head and a noise like the firing of a big gun filled his ears. That was why he ran out of the building, up to the top of the road, and from there he could hear the preacher’s voice quite plainly. During the rest of the services, he was so pleased that he could hear that he sat on the back seat and in the farthest corner from the speaker so that all would know that he now could hear quite well.
In the same meeting was a war veteran whose spine had been damaged by a bullet wound. During a wholesale demonstration he too was perfectly healed. Two or three people were healed of cancers at the same time. A little boy was lifted up on a table. One of his legs had been two inches shorter than the other. His father raised him to tell the audience what had taken place. The boy testified, “When the preacher told the folks to move their arms or legs or whatever was diseased, I pushed out my short leg and it became just as long as the other one.” The result of this miracle was seen by about 1,500 people.
During the same campaign one woman stood up and said, “I am a great sufferer. I have been in the hands of the doctors for a long time, and at present I have a floating kidney, gallstones, and chronic appendicitis.” Along with many others she arose at the time of the “wholesale healing demonstration,” and when prayer was made she was perfectly healed. There were hundreds of people blessed, healed and delivered in those meetings by that method, and although those meetings were twenty years ago the results are permanent. Only today [19 November 1947] here in Los Angeles, California, a lady stood up and testified that she was healed in those services.
In a large city in Arizona, a center to which thousands of tubercular people came to live in the desert surroundings to take the cure, we had a series of meetings. The news spread very rapidly among those folks and some traveled considerable distances to be present in the services. There were rich and poor—all classes and in all stages of lung trouble. Here also he used his wholesale healing method among the people. One lovely young lady, far advanced with the disease, rose as he made his challenge.
“Stand out in the aisle,” he called to her, and she did so, her bosom heaving with excitement and her cheeks flushing. Through the great effort she was gasping for breath.
“Now,” he said, “I am going to pray for you and then you will run around this building.” He prayed and then he shouted, “Run, woman, run.”
She said, “But I cannot run, I can scarcely stand.”
“Don’t talk back to me,” he called; “do as I have said.”
She was reluctant to move, and so he jumped down from the platform and urged her to run. He helped her a little, and she clung to him until she gathered speed; finally she galloped around that big auditorium without any effort. When seen some considerable time later, she was quite well.
There was another woman in the same meeting that he told to “run.” When she showed her reluctance and would not start, he pushed her. She clung to him, and together they ran around the building a few times. Her legs had been locked by sciatica and her feet were so crippled that she could scarcely walk. God completely delivered her, and every day after that she walked to the meetings instead of using the streetcar because she was delighted to have the full use of her limbs again.
He called his dealing with individuals “retail healing.” A lady stood in line one day in Leeds, England, waiting for a bus. A nurse in uniform was next to her and they engaged in conversation. They discovered that they were both Christians and then the talk turned to the subject of sickness. The woman told the nurse that she had a son with a diseased thumb and she contemplated taking him to the hospital. “Don’t do that,” said the nurse; “they may take it off. I’ll give you the address of someone who will pray for him and the Lord will heal his thumb.” By this time the bus had arrived; and although it was not going in the way the nurse wished to travel, she boarded it with the lady so that they might continue the conversation. On the bus the woman said to her, “I, too, am sick. I have a cancer on the breast.” Taking a small book from her bag, the nurse wrote on it the name and address of Smith Wigglesworth. “Write to him and you will get a reply.” Having finished her work for God, the nurse alighted at a convenient stop.
The sick woman wrote to Brother Wigglesworth, so we went to visit her and found the cancer in an advanced stage. Prayer was made for her, and then we left to make the 25-mile journey home. God completely delivered the woman, making her well and strong in her body. Feeling extremely well, she undertook to decorate her house. While emptying a cupboard she found an old Bible, and on opening it her eyes fell on a passage she had underlined with red ink. It read, “Thine health shall spring forth speedily.” She had marked that passage 12 years previously; then had forgotten it and had not claimed the promise of God’s word. Her faith was strengthened by her experience and by the word that had been fulfilled so literally to her. Some years have elapsed since this incident, but she has had no further trouble with the cancer.
In Acts 19.11-12 we read, “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” Special miracles in hundreds of cases were wrought through handkerchiefs that Brother Wigglesworth sent to sick people, and hundreds of letters were received telling of the miracles that were wrought. Volumes could be written containing nothing but answers to such cases. Every kind of sickness and disease has been healed by this method. The handkerchiefs have been placed in pillowcases, in sleeping suits, etc., and drunkards have lost appetites for strong drink; smokers have left off tobacco; wayward sons and daughters have been brought back to Christ; separated couples have been reunited. They have been used for every conceivable kind of need, trouble, and sickness.
There is one especially interesting case of a lady who sent for and received a handkerchief. She said she was in a dying condition with cancer. When the handkerchief arrived she placed it on her pillow, intending to apply it in the presence of her husband and family. While lying there she began to feel the presence of God from the nearby cloth until a healing in her body took place. Today there is no sign of cancer. Smith Wigglesworth always made it clear that behind all the methods or means used was Jehovah the healer, and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
He was always unpredictable. He sometimes did things that were extraordinary, but later on we found that he had really been led by the Holy Spirit. On one occasion as he was ministering before a very large audience, he seemed needlessly severe in his dealing with a lady and she fell to the floor. “Lift her up,” he said, and again she fell. This time some of the people nearby remonstrated with him, but he answered that he knew his business, that he was dealing with a devil and not with a woman. Again she was lifted to her feet and as she stood a huge cancer fell from her to the floor. That was the answer.
Frequently his methods were misunderstood and his motives were misinterpreted. Yet be persevered lovingly with a single eye toward God and a holy sincerity toward the people. He was not moved by criticism. He would say, “I am not moved by what I see or hear; I am moved by what I believe.”
“He was moved with compassion,” was Smith Wigglesworth’s daily experience. Tears would run copiously down his cheeks as he ministered to the afflicted. How tender he could be in dealing with children and aged folks! How he would valiantly storm heaven with his praying for the pain-wracked and suffering ones.
Race distinction was a thing unknown to him. Black, red, yellow, all sought his ministry and all were blessed by his prayers and his gifts. He ignored social distinctions in his ministry, and he could be very severe on anyone who sought private claims on his attention on such grounds.
In one city he was working hard for a month with three meetings each day. God was at work among the people. Cancers were cured, legs strengthened, the deaf were being healed, all manner of healings were being wrought, and best of all souls were being saved. One day the chief pastor, who had built and paid for the hall where the meetings were being held, and who also had two assistant pastors, said, “There is a lady in this city who is very ill. I feel that if she would be healed the effect on the people would be very great. Would you visit her, Brother Wigglesworth?”
He replied that he was very busy with three meetings each day, with praying for the sick and assisting those who were seeking to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and that this did not leave him very much free time. However, the pastor persisted and pressed the matter from day to day, emphasizing the social standing of the lady and her husband in the city; and also the effects that such a healing was bound to have on all who knew them.
“Well,” said Brother Wigglesworth, “how can we fit in such a visit?” It was finally decided that the call should be made on our way to the evening meeting. Because of the status of the lady and her family all three pastors accompanied Smith Wigglesworth, my wife and me to the house, which was located in the best part of the city.
We drew up at the door, rang the bell, and were ushered into a palatial room. From there we moved into a very large bedroom. There like an eastern monarch on a throne sat the gorgeously robed lady in a rainbow-colored pile of lovely embroidered cushions.
Smith Wigglesworth stood and stared at such a sight. Then he said, “Well! You certainly look comfortable!”
“I beg your pardon,” she snapped.
“I said, ‘You look very comfortable!’”
She let loose in a storm of abuse which left her exhausted.
“Oh!” he said, “I can see that you are not ready for me yet. Good evening.” And so saying he walked out of the house and entered the waiting automobile.
My wife and I followed him out and ventured to suggest that he had been a bit harsh with the lady.
“I know my business,” he said.
The pastors remained in the bedroom for some while in an endeavor to placate the lady. When they came out they pleaded with him to go back and pray with her, but he was adamant, saying: “No, she is not ready for me; let us go to the meeting.”
We were all much disturbed in our spirits over the affair, but if he felt anything he certainly did not show it, for he went through the service with a mighty unction of God upon his preaching and upon his praying for the sick.
The next morning we had the service at the usual time. The Spirit of the Lord was graciously with us and at the close of the address an invitation was given to all who wished to “come nearer to God.” He said, “If you move forward only a foot, you will be blessed; if you move forward a yard, you will get more. If you come up to the platform we will pray for you, and God will meet your needs with his supply.”
All the audience moved, but a stately lady led them. In her desire to be first to get to the front, she fell prostrate. It was the lady whom we had left in the bed the previous evening. After we had left her she had deeply repented. God had healed her, and now at the morning service she publicly consecrated her life to God. She was a broken woman, profuse in her apologies. Again we had been wrong in our judgments and God had vindicated Smith Wigglesworth’s action.
On 28 November 1947, I was in Bethel Temple, Los Angeles, and was told the following three incidents. A man stated: “I was born in Norway and heard Brother Wigglesworth there about 22 years ago. I was dying with tuberculosis. One lung had already collapsed; but after he prayed for me, God healed me and I put on 26 pounds in weight in a very short rime. Then we moved to America and lived in Chicago. My wife was very ill with lung trouble and spit blood continually for three years. I took her to one of Brother Wigglesworth’s meetings in Chicago. She was prayed for and delivered from her sickness. We had had no children up to this time, but after my wife’s healing the doctor found that she was pregnant. He remarked, ‘It is a great tragedy. It certainly will mean the death of mother or child.’ Both survived the ordeal. Two more children also were born, and the children and the mother are well and strong.”
Another family—husband, wife, two grown-up daughters and a son—presented themselves to us at the close of the service. They had traveled more than 120 miles to be present at the meeting. They had written to Brother Wigglesworth for a prayed-over handkerchief. The father was suffering from acute appendicitis and the son had a large growth on his neck. When they applied the cloth, the father’s pains all ceased and he was healed of the appendicitis. The lump on the boy’s neck burst, the swelling disappeared, and he has had no further trouble with that over a period of years. The man said, “We were not able to let your father-in-law know about this, but we have traveled all this distance to tell you. We thank God for his ministry.”
Another person came to us in the same meeting and said: “I was with Brother Wigglesworth in England for a whole day and we had meals together in his home in Bradford. In the afternoon he took us to a nearby park where we sat and talked for awhile. During that short period he led two men to the Lord, and he prayed for two others for the healing of their bodies. He seemed to be so busy that my friend and I decided to take a short walk. When we returned we found him kneeling by the side of another man pointing him to the Lord Jesus. He prayed and preached all the time we were with him and appeared to live for God for the help of other people.”
Smith Wigglesworth would give no place to the devil, and to outsiders at times he seemed to be extremely rough and uncouth. The following incident sets forth his attitude toward the devil. One day when he was waiting for a bus, a little dog attached itself to a lady standing near him. Evidently she had hurried out of the house thinking she had left the dog behind her. Somehow it had gotten out and followed her, to her annoyance. She bent down and patted it on the head and said, “Now, you must run home, dear; I cannot take you with me.” The dog’s response was to wag his tail until all his body shook, but he made no move towards home. “You really must go home now, my little pet,” she said sweetly. By that time the bus was in sight and she was desperate. Stamping her foot she said severely, “Go home at once!” The little dog was scared by such an attitude; he put his tail between his legs and scampered off as fast as his legs could take him. “That’s how you have to treat the devil!” Wigglesworth said loudly enough for all who were waiting for the bus to hear.
James H. Taylor of West Roxbury, Mass., wrote of a meeting of Wigglesworth’s in Washington, D.C.:
I think it will help our testimony to state that we had seats in the second row (front) from the healing corner, so that what happened during the healing hour was almost within hand reach. Just before the meeting began, we had noticed that a young girl, with crutches, was coming in. She was assisted by a man and woman. Her legs absolutely dangled, with the feet hanging vertically from them. From her waist she seemed to be limp and powerless. Room was made for her in the front row. When the invitation to be saved was given, she attempted to go forward aided by her assistants. Brother Wigglesworth, on seeing her start, said, “You stay right where you are. You are going to be a different girl when you leave this place.”
When the rest had been dealt with Brother Wigglesworth turned to the girl and, having been told her trouble, said to the people, “This girl has no muscles in her legs; she has never walked before.” He laid his hands on her head and prayed and cried, “In the name of Jesus Christ, walk!” Looking at her, he said, “You are afraid, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“There is no need to be. You are healed!” he shouted. “Walk! walk!” And praise God she did—like a baby just learning! Twice she walked, in that characteristic way, the length of the platform! Glory to God! When we left the room, her crutches were lying on the seat, and on reaching the sidewalk we saw her standing, as others do, talking with two girl friends. Glory to God in the highest and on earth—healing to those who believe. Amen.
The woman who assisted her forward was her mother, and the man was her uncle, who wept like a child during her healing. He testified in the evening meeting that she walked up the stairs at her home without assistance, repeated the fact that she had never before walked, and stated that her mother, who went forward for healing for a swelling on her breast, when asked about it said, “It’s gone!”
Wonderful things happened at the evening meeting also. One brother testified to the healing of a cancer of two years’ standing. A poor sick man whom the doctors had given up, whose legs were useless, except for slow motion, was healed and ran twice around the hall! When asked how many had been healed during the week’s services, at least two hundred rose. Well, what shall I say—but praise God?
Labels: Apostle of Faith