Life testimony is always of interest, especially in such connection as the present. Hence we venture to preface with these remarks. Born on a farm, of humble parentage, in the south-east corner of Pennsylvania, December 14, 1871, my life naturally bade well for a very uneventful one. But the purpose of God, so carefully concealed in every life, takes little note of circumstance or environment. His is a sovereign choice. Ours but to fall in with Him and obey. The power is with us to frustrate the whole. And most people do. But, “before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” (said God of Jeremiah), “and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee” (separated thee to Me); “I have appointed thee a prophet unto the nations.” Divine preference we cannot explain, but our highest joy should be to simply, contentedly work out faithfully His purpose for us. All such are “greatest” in the kingdom of heaven. A desire for greatness constitutes us “least.” “Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not,” Jer. 45:5.
But children of seeming mere accident oft-times receive even an extraordinary commission from the skies. This is hid with Him. “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Come and see.” Oh, that God’s weak ones might be encouraged to obey their convictions from Him. “The lame take the prey,” Isa. 33:23. The weak and foolish and despised are used that no flesh might glory (1 Cor. 1:29). God must have the honor. Evidence, the miner boy, Evan Roberts, rocking the cradle of the present world-wide movement (brooding) of the Spirit. Personally, I thank God for even a humble place in the “Latter Rain,” the “Last Call” of God. I barely entered in. The rafters were almost too low (as at Azusa St.). The Topeka flood rose seven feet, and so must this, submerging every intellectual conceit.
The following is written for the glory of God, and to inspire some soul to obedience to individual call. No work or calling of God is small. “Now unto Him.” Born a weakly child, at one year of age I was given up to die, but the Lord seemingly had need of even me. I grew up practically an invalid, and was consequently left much to myself and solitary thought, doubtless escaping many prevalent vices thereby. I became of a philosophical turn of mind, naturally, and my thoughts were thus early drawn toward a search for God and good. I was much misunderstood, and few prophesied any good of me; thought I would amount to little. We must let God judge. I seemed to have gotten into the wrong connection, largely, even the wrong family.
Hard work was our lot. Several times my life came near being destroyed, before I finally reached service for God. Mother was good and kind, but had not much religious light. She could not lead me into the kingdom. I think she had not herself been “born again.” She had no church relation. But she taught me bed-time prayers. Her life was one of suffering and hard toil and fear. Father had been a Roman Catholic, but left his church, through the perfidy of a priest, and had become practically an infidel. On neither side had preacher or priest ever been heard of in the family. Doubtless some had gone home to heaven, but left no particular light or testimony to shine on my path. It was all dark. Through this religious gloom I was left to grope my way to the God who had already called, and was calling me.
The light really sprang up in thy soul for the first time at twenty-one, and for one year I followed it closely, yieldingly, desperately, as my only hope, with little instruction or particular encouragement, guided only by Him. I was as ignorant as a heathen of its real meaning, or of the plan of salvation. God led me Himself. I had heard almost no preaching up to the time I became converted. From a child, however, I had hungered for God, though I scarce understood my real need. At sixteen my health became so poor I despaired of life and sought help from the skies, but only the mute stars answered me. However, God knew me.
Strangest of all, my then unsaved aunt had prophesied when I was but four years old that “Frank would be a preacher.” Of this prophecy I knew positively nothing until I had been preaching at least five years. My aunt herself was converted sometime after me.
At twenty-two I was suddenly, gloriously saved. Alone in my room on the fourth floor of a boarding house, in Philadelphia, Oct. 15, 1893, the matter was finally settled, the darkness gave way, floods of light illuminated my whole being, the burden rolled off. God spoke Himself into my soul, made Himself powerfully known. I ran down stairs, and a block and a half, to a little Gospel Mission I knew of but had never entered, and breaking in on them told my simple but eloquent story of what had just occurred. It broke up the service and everybody in the house. A scene of glory filled the place.
I immediately united with the Grace Baptist Church, at Broad and Berks St., and Russell H. Conwell, the pastor, baptized me. Upon receiving my experience, he declared that God had chosen me for some special service. God grant that I may realize at least His full purpose for me, whatever that may be.
A few months later I realized His call most definitely to me to preach the Gospel, and began the preparation. I was prepared just about this time, through the study of the Word, and my own heart’s hunger, by the light of the Spirit alone. I had never heard it preached or testified to until eight full months after I had entered in, and had been trying to tell others what had happened to me. Soon after my call to the ministry I left my business, stepped out by faith, plunged into slum mission work, and later began traveling as colporteur and evangelist.
What knowledge I secured for preaching came through night theological school, books (often going hungry to secure them), and practical experience, mostly derived on the wing. I felt there was little time to lose. From the first I had a desperate passion for souls, and the conception of a great Savior, who could reach them. My vision was very large. I was full of faith and zeal. I was reaching out after the power of God to effect this, and realized many precious and powerful anointings of the Holy Ghost, for service.
Various demonstrations, manifestations, have been mine for years. These, however, I regarded as but incidental, in the main. My eyes were on Him, my desire toward Him, the Holy Ghost, Jesus enthroned. Nor have I cared for theological distinctions, or systems, particularly. There are many schools. All hold some good. No one has possessed all. Conscious realization has been my aim. According to faith and conception it has been unto me. The mind of the Spirit for us at the time should be our quest.
I soon found out, however, that I was reaching out, desiring and realizing, beyond the holiness people, with whom I had become later associated. They seemed to little understand me. God had led me step by step in contact with various religious bodies for perfecting. Many, like myself, for years have been being prepared for present developments by God, through enlargement of vision of possibilities, the mind of God and personal desire for realization. “A body didst Thou prepare for Me,” again, as for every fresh revelation, manifestation of the Spirit of God, in the line of development to the final consummation of “the sons of God.” These are the “bruised ones,” of necessity, that in time He comes to set at liberty. They are misunderstood, abused, resisted, persecuted, by those who think they thus even do God service. The natural man “receiveth not” in just whatsoever measure he fails to prove up. They persecute him that is born of the Spirit in greater degree, just as of old. The subtle principle of jealousy, unbelief. The Pharisees of old. The same principle holds good in the natural world. Columbus is loaded down with chains, etc. The next generation build our monuments, after present truth brought forth becomes established.
I soon began to travel extensively in the States. Forty-three have been traversed, up to date, for God.
Married at twenty-eight, in the will of God, with a three-fold witness direct from the skies some weeks before, at the same moment to myself, my wife (now), in different parts of the city of Pittsburg, and a friend five miles away, as to the mind of God favoring this union, I settled down for a little time. But soon the missionary spirit was urging me to still farther fields, the region still beyond. A certain vagabondism in the blood, some one has said, is necessary for the making of a good missionary. Such was Paul. I may have had the former qualification at least.
The Spirit had shown me long time before I traveled South that such was in His will, at future date. This trip was finally made on the Moody Gospel wagon, from Chicago, for a starter, after a walk of three hundred miles to reach that city. Later I traveled a thousand miles through the Southland on foot, to preach to the destitute and forsaken. This was before my marriage, however. For some years God had shown I should reach California also for Him. My heart travels worldwide to-day for souls, especially in prayer. Jerusalem and Palestine have been promised me ever since I realized my call to preach, if I keep faithful. I must reach them, I feel, if only to pray. The world-wide call to evangelism is heavy upon me. But I anticipate.
Finally we left Pittsburg for Colorado, driven by my ill health. God’s agent to move me. A year later we reached California.
Again a strange premonition must mentioned. When we left Pittsburg I remarked quietly that we would be back in just five years. The statement passed out of my mind. I never recalled it until last spring (1907), when, after some months of prayer, because of calls from the East we had become assured it was the will of God for us to return. I had never had anything but the very strongest desire to remain on the Pacific Coast since reaching it. Just before we started back across the Continent the Spirit reminded me of my declaration, just five years before, and I recognized it prophecy. But in the meantime God had wrought out His purpose in my life, as I shall now declare; my little part in the “Pentecost,” for which He brought me to the Coast and to Los Angeles. And the news was to be carried by myself in person back across the Continent, where I had before been. Two years were spent in Northern California before the Los Angeles experience.
And now comes both the gladdest and saddest experience of my life, and that to which I owe practically all of present specific realization, attainment and commission. All of present interest and recital circles around this. God had given me Isa. 58:12, when lamenting the destitute condition of my lineage, spiritually. “They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.” Little Esther was born to us in Pennsylvania. We carried her to California with us. In Colorado she nearly slipped away from, us. She was a frail child, too tender for this hard, cruel world. But we kept her by prayer. The poor man’s “one little ewe lamb” was pleaded, and God could not take her. But in California little Ruth came to live with us. (And later John Wesley.)
Little “Queen” Esther was very spiritual. One day when only three years old she sensed my danger by the Spirit, a mile away, at home, while I was digging in a deep ditch. She pulled her mother to her knees and pleaded with her to pray for papa. They did so. On coming home we compared the time, and it was exactly the time I got out of the ditch, just before tons of sand caved in that would have crushed and buried me. Many times she was used to bring the smile to my then care-worn face, though herself a great sufferer. She used to take delight in inciting me to smile. “Etchie (Esther) make papa aff” (laugh), she would gleefully cry. God knows I needed it. Sickness and sore privations in His service had well nigh finished me. I had come to California (as I thought) because of this. “Thou didst hide Thy face; and I was troubled.” I needed His smile. She used to sing “Beauty for Ashes Here” in her childish way until my heart would well nigh break under its load. God was seeking, to comfort me even through her, but I never realized it as I should until she was gone. I never appreciated her as I should. I was too much bowed down. I kissed her one morning for the last time in consciousness, little realizing it was the last. Ah, that I could recall those days again, clasp her in my arms and give her the time and attention that I should, to get acquainted with her before she must leave me. But I did not, and the opportunity is gone forever, at least here below. I allowed myself to be swallowed up with sorrow, “the spirit of heaviness.” May some other soul be warned. Some things can never be recovered. The awakening was awful, when too late. And yet I would not dare call her back if I could. But oh, the loss, the sorrow, for a lifetime. I must now wait until I can meet her there. My heart must not grow hardened. God forbid that. I must not, cannot, dare not forget I miss her so. Only God’s grace can comfort and heal. God in mercy lightens the sorrow, as He said He would. Our little ones slip away so easily. Let us be warned. Oh, make the most of them. You will not miss or appreciate them till too late, when they are gone. It was a new experience for me. I had hoped my little Esther would stand by me on the mission field. But God saw better.
At this time I had lost the forward vision of younger years. Beaten and rejected by the ecclesiastical powers. This was saddest of all. The “hardening” of the years of unbelief in the people had also affected me. I had lost my zeal. To be sure I expected to remain true to my calling, but had little faith for anything much to happen, except to hold my own, and possibly gather a few souls in new fields. I thought with most people then that Jesus would soon come, of very necessity, if there should be left anyone for Him to come for, and deliver a little frightened crowd out of a dark corner. This had become the popular pessimistic view. How we excuse our failures, lack of faith. No wonder Jesus said, “Howbeit, when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” That question was directed to the Church, first. The “fearful and unbelieving” shall have their part in the lake of fire, from among this class, for failing God. A multitude of souls that faith should reach are involved in this sin of omission. We are but just learning its real meaning. To be sure wicked men in general shall wax worse and worse, and the nominal church will continue to grow colder, as a whole, but there should be a numerous company coming up while these are going down, and for this the Spirit labors especially to-day. While comparatively they will always be a small company, yet numerically they shall yet be a mighty host, especially when augmented by the increase from the ripe heathen fields that God is calling to-day in this last outpouring of the “latter rain.” The Christian (?) nations are cursed with light refused, and become darkness. There is no contradiction of Scripture statement, foreknowledge, in this. The highways and hedges are also being scoured for the “last invitation.” The “eleventh hour” workers are going forth.
The ground was prepared in the old dispensation, the seed sown in the early centuries, the “former rain.” The “dark ages” represent the seed lying in the ground. In Luther’s time the blade sprang up, in Wesley’s time the ear was formed. Now the full corn in the ear is being ripened and completed for the harvest. The “latter rain” comes just in time, to effect this. It must be gathered speedily or be lost, spoiled. The harvesters are being prepared to-day, through the “Pentecost.”
But I had lost sight of that which I had seen in part from the beginning, and had striven for for years. I had been beaten down. My faith for souls was practically all leaked out. He would now give me His faith. But as yet I did not see this. I must have definite preparation, dealing. And this time there must be no energy in the flesh. I must be finally prepared, individually, for the vision and the service, for the deposit of the Spirit necessary for to-day. We had fondly hoped that our little family might never be broken by cruel death, but oh, how little we know of what is best for us for the working Out of God’s plan. We must be broken, ground to a pulp, in order for the realization of God’s highest preparation for us. Some must be sacrificed for others’ good. Some are but born for this. It is the penalty for our broken state. But in the “restoration of all things,” all things will be restored. Our sacrifice will yield its increase then. “Hope thou in God.” We shall yet praise Him, together.
And so we moved to Los Angeles, in beautiful Southern California, just before Christmas, 1904. I had felt strangely drawn to this city for some time. It seemed somewhat to resemble Jerusalem of old, in its religious interests, of many and varied colors. Its mixed races and creeds, gathered from worldwide sources, and every State in our Union, made it a most interesting place. Possibly there is none other like it outside of old Jerusalem. God has His eye especially on it, for a multitude of reasons, in His plan. The people are coming that way. It is the American Mecca, Jerusalem for the Saint. And geographically exactly opposite old Jerusalem, also. We had only been in the city a short time when little Esther died. It was an awful awakening. I was staggered, stunned. Could I after all have mistaken the mind of God? The country seemed so beautiful. I had really thought to preserve her life longer through this change. I am afraid I also had thought to give too much attention to my own physical man. I felt I had earned a rest. I was very tired and worn. But oh, so many preachers have come to Southern California, only to backslide. This was not at all in God’s thought for me. Bless Him! He had a new service just ahead for me and must awaken. Man’s extremity is ever God’s opportunity. He brought me to my extreme. I was practically a failure, for my faith and zeal had waned. But I knew of no one who was doing any better. Many will testify to this. We had about run out generally before this change, individually in our work, while personally our hearts may have been clean, and true to God.
It was God’s preparation in helplessness, for the present work. The former wave of quickening had again receded, just as after Luther’s time, etc. God has brought us back up through the ages as a Church on stated waves of restoration. Each time the tide has brought us through the ages toward primitive realization, and the truth brought in on this wave in the purpose of God has been thus established. But when the pendulum has again swung back, the retrograde motion begun, or when the breathing spell has been had, the Church prepared for another step, the breath of God is again felt and we go up further and higher still; that part of the Church that can be moved. Our need has been felt and we have cried once more for help, and God sends it. Out of seeming failure to higher success still.
For years many have been prepared for just this present time, in all parts of the world, through various processes; the ministry of intercession given of the Spirit for its accomplishment, the thought and desire of God imparted. My own awakening, or reawakening to this plan, was brought about through the loss of my little girl. She was out three and one half years old, but “being dead she yet speaketh.” God must needs set fire to my barley fields to get my attention for this. And as Joab of old could only be delivered the message that way, so God could only speak to me His thought by driving me in desperation of need to Him to know what meaneth this. And then He told me. But my little treasure, my heart’s love, was gone. She was the price. She had done her work up early and gone home in the morning. A little “morning glory.”
She seemed to have been born for just this, and only this. She had passed through the great ordeal ahead of me, but left me here so lonely. My heart was crushed. I loved her as I loved my life. I would have died for her. I thought of the long trip from earth to heaven as it seemed to me then, for such a little mite of a pilgrim. Oh, how I longed to go forth with her, into the great beyond. She had been so frail. Too tender, the dear Lord told me, to stay here. He showed me He would take her, just before she died, but spared her until I was willing to give her up, that it might not quite kill me. He must have her. I did not yet know why. He showed me I was prolonging her suffering by my prayers. Then I gave her to Him. I know not how. He helped me, did it for me. Her pain ceased. She folded her own little hands, after reaching up for something she seemed to see and wanted, and she was gone.
The next day, beside the little black box that held all that was left of her to me, and that soon to be put away, God began to speak to me. Our covenant was renewed. He showed me He had done this to get my heart to Him in a new, deeper way. He told me my little Esther should still go hand in hand with me, after lost souls, but from the other side. Her memory, the memory of His dealing thus with me, should be the incentive. He told me not to mourn, but hasten to gather the multitude of souls He would give me in exchange for my little jewel, required of me. It was a fair exchange. I accepted it as such, though my heart was bleeding so. To the glory of God, I have never had a rebellious thought. He has kept me. I knew that He knew best and all was well. He told me it would not seem long, for He would fill my hands so full of work that I would take no account of passing time. And it has been so. The vision was a mighty one.
Oh, how swiftly the days pass by. Time flies so rapidly. More rapidly every day. And God is working rapidly. All things are hastening to a speedy end. It is drawing very near. The six thousand years of this poor old sin-stricken world’s labor and sorrow are almost over. The seventh shall surely usher in the Sabbath, the Millennium. I shall soon meet Esther again. We will rejoice together over our reward. She holds my hand. It grips me to the Throne. Jesus is coming soon. They that go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall come again with rejoicing very soon. All is well. Little Esther is saved from the distress to come. I soon shall be. When we pass over we shall only be sorry for those left behind. We will joy for those who meet us there. Heaven is so real to me now. The things of Eternity so sure. Life is so serious. Oh, we must not trifle.
In the presence of death how real eternal interests become. We now have treasure there. Something we dare not lose. They are gone, but thank God we know where. We sorrow not as those who have no hope. I carried the form of little Esther in the coffin on my knees in the carriage, and laid her away on a dark and stormy day, to await the resurrection morning, without a cloud or pain. Oh God, the freshness of that morning air! I seem to breathe it even now, in anticipation. By faith I do. And the messages given to the baptized saints to-day, through the blessed Holy Ghost, is that “Jesus is coming soon.” Let us keep busy for Him. He spoke to me one day on the street, some weeks after “Pentecost,” “Work quickly; I come quickly.” I stood still, with bated breath. Ah, it is a tremendous thing to change worlds after all. Far more than we know. After little Esther’s body was laid away I begged the Lord to open the door speedily. One week later I began services in Peniel Mission, Pasadena. There had been no quickening in the whole country. When God gave me the revelation and the promise beside that little coffined clay, He gave me a “gift” of mighty faith, for it was not mine. Mine was all gone. The spirit of obedience was given me. The spirit of prophecy came upon me. A mighty ministry of intercession fell upon me for the realization of the vision.
At that time I did not know of a single thing out of the ordinary taking place in the whole wide religious world. Nor had I expected it before, as I have just described. The Revival in Wales had started a few weeks before, but the news had not reached me. Evan Roberts I had not yet heard of. I knew nothing of brother Smale until months later, when he returned from Palestine and Wales. But my cry went up for “Pasadena for God.” I began to ask for and prophesy mighty things. The mission boys took up the cry. I marveled at my own change in faith. I only dimly understood it as yet, but it was God. The boys were “dug out” in that meeting, precious material, all called of God, and the Spirit soon thrust two of them under the Lake Avenue M. E. Church. They began to pray. The revival broke out there, and in two weeks two hundred knelt at the altar. The city became stirred. Workers came in from all directions. The saints became enthused. “Pasadena for God” became the cry.
I soon began to claim the whole State for Him. “Pentecost” was the thought that was laid on my heart. I was directed of the Spirit to write for the “Way of Faith,” and began to prophesy. God showed me He would use the “Way of Faith” to report the coming “Pentecost.” Workers began to come in from other States, and foreign fields. To every one who interviewed me as to the purpose of their leading here I would declare they had been sent for “Pentecost.” This was months before the Spirit was finally poured out in the present nature and form. The vision rapidly enlarged before my mind, faith steadily increased. I prophesied more and more. Indeed, through all the past distress, the fluctuations of feelings and zeal, my faith has never changed, has not been in anywise materially affected by it. It was given from the heart of the great God, His eternal purpose, buried in Him from the ages, as sure as the Rock itself. The ministry of intercession was the most real and tremendous. Indeed when Zion travails is when she must bring forth. I was in pain, as a woman, to be delivered. It seemed as though I carried a nation on my heart. In fact I did. My concern grew to the nation, then the world. My heart pumped out such energy that it seemed it must break down. It seemed my mind would be sapped of its very blood through the tremendous concern, solicitude and agony of those fifteen months of solid prayer prior to the final “outpouring” in the Spring of 1906.
Day and night the Spirit was heavy upon me for this, until it seemed that I must die. My precious wife remarked to a friend that I would die (I did not hear it), but God promised that I should “not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” “They that have gathered it, shall eat it, and praise the Lord.” The neighbors would frequently hear me groan in spite of all I could do, and would ask if I was sick. I was, for the sins of the people. “The groanings that cannot be uttered” had seized me. I was in birth pangs. At night I would roll and groan in my sleep, and wife declared I was pleading for souls even then. The mighty divine compassion, travail, agony for souls had gripped me, and I could not shake it off. The child must be brought forth. No one else could possibly feel this as I did, except such as might be similarly exercised. Language utterly fails to describe.
I looked and listened far and wide for some one who could enter into this with me. But I found none. (There was a single exception. I must mention dear Brother Boehmer, who helped me much.) Of course there were some, but God hid them away from me. No man really seemed, however, to “stir himself up to take hold on God” in an effective way. None seemed but in a very small measure to understand my tremendous concern. Most seemed to be burdened only for themselves, if indeed at all.
God put me through about three months of the most excruciating heart-searching, individually, after the loss of my little darling, until I had no heart or desire for myself, but my life seemed to literally depend on seeing others helped. I could not live except for this, and only for this. In no other way could I escape myself. Friends came to me during this season of heart-searching and tried to lift me up, but I refused, for I knew that God had placed me there, and He only might bring me out, after His work was done with me, lest I lose the benefit.
But God “saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor,” Isa. 69:16. It is even so very largely today. And this in spite of this most wonderful of heaven’s offered privileges. For this God wonders. Read the requirement of God in Ezek. 9. The slaughter weapon follows the sealing. Only those found crying and sighing, for the abominations, are spared. And that long centuries before Christ. Ah, let the “priests weep between the porch and the altar” indeed. Thank God, since the “latter rain’ was born in Wales, and brought up in India, the floods are being poured upon the dry ground, in California, and the nation, and world-wide, in Pentecostal power. And “there is lifting up,” from the pall of unbelief and fear, spiritual depression, hardness and ecclesiastical deadlock of the centuries more or less, but especially of these later days.
Later on during the summer of 1905, Brother Smale came home from Wales, and God made a Moses of him in Los Angeles. But before this the news had come of the awakening in the little principality in the British Isles, and it fanned our embers indeed into a flame. We began to really understand. As soon as I heard of Brother Smale and the meetings started in his church, I went at once, and the Spirit witnessed to the work in line with my vision. I threw myself into it with my whole soul. We had some wonderful manifestations, and the Holy Ghost largely led. I believe the dear Lord wanted to give us “Pentecost” then had we been able to enter in at that time. But we were not out in the clear. During those months preceding the “Pentecost” the Spirit was constantly seeking a company through which He could manifest Himself, and gather the people.
He used various agencies and instruments just as far as He could. But a company must be discovered to whom and through whom He could finally reveal Himself in the power that should prove the “burning bush” to draw the people aside again to see “what meaneth this.” To Him would “the gathering of the people be,” when He was fully revealed. All was expectancy, and growingly so, but He must “overturn, overturn, overturn it,” until He should come whose right it was. Jesus must have all the glory. This men were slow to render Him.
After the Spirit had made several desperate efforts, and a number had failed Him, He finally succeeded with a crude, weak “body,” that at least would not glory in the flesh in His presence, whatever may or may not have been the result since. There was little to commend itself even in this, aside from a desperate abandonment and childish faith. But these were the prerequisites for the beginning of the work.
A number of times during my ministry of prayer I had visions of the need, and the work to come. At one time God showed me His rejection of the church in its present condition. He repulsed them as He would an enemy marching against Him. Another time, while in prayer, I saw the whole human race before me. Their condition in God’s light was most pitiable. They resembled a large insane asylum turned out doors, in violence and blood, not knowing for what they so fiercely strove. Then the hill of Calvary appeared in the distance, as the murky atmosphere of earth lifted, and I saw Jesus on the cross. God said, “This is the cure.” These visions would appear before me like pictures, thrown upon the canvas of the mind. “Your young men shall see visions.”
Sometimes I would lie awake all night traveling in prayer all over the States, where I had gone before, and the Spirit would kindle fires of promise everywhere. I would prevail with God. This has been later realized. Many times I was led of the Spirit to some vacant hall, and there in the night hours I would pour out my soul and the answer would come, almost before I called. It was a perfect circuit. The Spirit made intercession “according to the will of God.” Whole congregations were surprisingly revived. The Spirit would fall upon them most unexpectedly, and on many individuals, at the same hour I prayed for them. They were generally puzzled to understand the meaning of it all. They saw no connection in the matter. But God was working. It was my ministry. The Spirit generally kept me in such close touch with the battle that I knew beforehand when some new development would take place, and prophesied of it. It always came to pass.
Like Abraham of old, God seemed to desire to confide in me. Ofttimes I seemed to be given the map of war. I seemed to sit at a great keyboard and press buttons of faith, while the electric currents of God’s potency would sensibly leap forth in all directions through the universe. I was literally consumed with desire of prayer. Sometimes the conflict in the heavenlies would be terrific in its shock. I seemed in my spirit to draw a knowledge of the spiritual conditions from the four quarters of the earth. This brought a terrific strain, naturally, on my whole physical and mental being. And yet this soul travail is one of the very sweetest experiences man can realize. The fellowship of Jesus’ sufferings.
One night, after a most severe agony of travail, prostrate on the floor, as I usually was, Jesus appeared to me, and oh, the memory of that meeting can never be erased from my mind, in time or eternity. He stayed some time (this was months before “Pentecost” came), and my soul and whole being seemed to flow down like molten metal before Him. I worshiped at His feet. I was lost in Him. Time and place were completely forgotten. There was no sense of them. It was the “pure Spirit”. I would have been there yet had He not withdrawn. Quicker than mind could think my spirit recognized Him, and I hailed Him, “Blessed Jesus,” worshipping Him. He was revealed to my soul. For days I seemed to walk in heaven, in that marvelous Presence.
It strengthened me greatly in my calling to intercession, and in assurance of the outpouring. He is showing Himself alive to many of the dear ones today. Many have caught sight of Him. Sometimes the travail of soul would become so great I could not live at home. God had taken away, almost, the spirit of preaching, except when I would prophesy of the coming work. I was practically shut up in my closet fifteen months. When the pressure would get too great I would go out, driven of the Spirit, and something always came to pass. Things would be stirred for God mightily. Then I would go back to prayer again. My message at such a time was generally an exhortation to prayer. Like the prophets of old I would sally forth, hurl myself upon the people like a whirlwind, then hide away again. Few people understood me, most feared me, but God knew what He was about. It is all clear now.
At one time I felt so pressed it seemed I must have help. The battle was so hard. The saints had largely quit praying, for the time. I always seemed to feel the change. When the people were praying I was relieved. When they failed the burden almost crushed me. I prayed for help, and the dear Lord showed me He was sending Mother Wheaton, the prison evangelist. I had met her months before. But she might have been in the heart of Africa for all I knew, at that particular time. Three days later she arrived. She looked me up, and I said, “Well, mother, you are here.” “Why, yes, what do you know about it?” I said, “The Lord told me you were coming.” Said she, “I was in Baltimore, about to start for Florida. The Spirit said, ‘Go to Los Angeles,’ and here I am.”
Very soon I had need of her. I became so burdened that night I could not go to bed. I believe I should have died attempting to sleep. I called on her for help, and she got under the burden with me. Together we prayed through. Many and marvelous were the experiences in prayer and preparation before God finally secured the little simple, humble company who received the Spirit in April, 1906. I threw myself full length in a last agony of prayer, my strength all gone, to reach this, and it came. My work was done. That particular burden left me then. It remained largely now for others to carry it on. I was so exhausted I could hardly live. I had prophesied of the final outpouring also, just before it came. But I still had one more most important part to play, in connection with the San Francisco Earthquake. During those fifteen wonderful months I had also been given a tract ministry, and thousands had been published and circulated, through faith. Just one month before the final outpouring, which kindled and spread the fire, the Spirit gave me the “Last Call.” In all, before “Pentecost” and since, over a quarter of a million of tracts have been published, all through faith. At this writing I have no stock on hand. Some forty odd messages in tract form were given me personally, by the Spirit. Some mistakes were made. I missed His mind sometimes. But the call has gone forth, the “last call,” world-wide. And I know God has separated and commissioned me to world-wide evangelism, as many others. “God, even God, the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined forth. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness; for God is judge Himself. Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify unto thee; I am God, even thy God,” Psalm 50:1-7. This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.
“When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like unto them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then said they among the nations, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Though he goeth on his way weeping, bearing forth the seed; he shall come again with joy, bringing his sheaves with him,” Psalm 126:1-6.
Judgment, also, is beginning, at the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17). It must be sifted, shaken (Heb. 12:25-29). “A noise shall come even to the end of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh,” Jer. 25: 31. Is not this being realized today? What mean as all this concern, interest and distress? Men’s hearts are failing them for fear. They are not prepared. God is working, pressing men with a last mighty, world-wide call for their final decision. I would rather live six months with the privileges of to-day than fifty ye of ordinary time. “A sound of battle” is also in the land. “Destruction cometh.” The nations are arming to the teeth in greed and horrid purpose of murder. They both hate and fear one another. The waves of lawlessness rise higher and higher each succeeding time, to lash their organized furs on their oppressors. The retribution of sin. A great arm of hell fast growing out to clutch with demoniacal power the throat of all law and society. Only He (the Holy Ghost) restraineth, and will restrain, till He “be taken out of the way,” with the ascending Bride. Then shall that “Lawless One” be revealed, the Anti-Christ, the heading up of all sin. Capital and labor must both take the “mark of the Beast,” Brain and muscle, forehead and hand. Only the Kingdom of Christ, in righteousness, shall stand. The times of the Gentile nations are nearly full, Israel is fast returning to Palestine. The showers are also returning, the “latter rain,” physically, to bring forth the abundance of the promise. Jesus must return soon. Events hasten Him.
Pasadena, Cal., March 17, 1908.