Women’s rights? Aimee Semple-McPherson was a woman evangelist back in the 1920’s, scorned, scoffed, ridiculed and controversial even until today, she single-handedly established the second largest Pentecostal denomination in America. She stands a model of amazing success in a time and culture quick to discriminate women (particularly women ministers). From her autobiography titled ‘This is That’:
SALVATION AND THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, Iwill answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isa. 65:24.
OUR prayer-answering God who sitteth upon the throne, whose ear is ever open to our cry, and whose heart is touched by our infirmities, was already answering the cry of this poor, unworthy child. He had set on foot a chain of events which was to lead not only to the salvation and baptism of my own soul, but which was to lead me out into His vineyard and make me a worker in His dear service.
It was just a few days after my prayer at the open window of my bedroom that (my rather having come into school for me) we were driving along Main Street on the way home, eagerly talking over and planning my parts in the grand Christmas affairs and concerts in the various churches and halls then looming above us. How pretty the store windows were in their Christmas dress of green and red and tinsel!
But look! Over there on the left hand side of the street there was a new sign on a window,which we had not seen before. It advertised a “Holy Ghost Revival”with old time “Pentecostal Power,” and announced meetings every night and all day Sunday.
Turning to my father, I said: “Daddy, I would like to go to that meeting tomorrow night. I believe this is the place, that I have heard about, where the congregation says “Amen” right out loud, and where sometimes the power of God falls upon the people, as it used to fall upon the old time Methodists. It would be loads of fun to go and see them.”
“All right, daughter, we can go tomorrow night before your rehearsal in the town hall,” he replied. And thus it was that the next evening found us in the back seat, (where we could see all) in the little Mission which had recently been opened for the revival.
The congregation seemed to be largely composed of the middle classes. None of the wealthy or well-known citizens of the town were there. Dressed as I was in worldly attire with my foolish little heart filled with unbelief and egotism, I felt just a little bit above the status of those round about me and looked on with an amused air as they sang, shouted, testified and prayed.
True to the reports which I had heard they had an “Amen Corner” with a Hallelujah echo. Bright testimonies and earnest zeal left not a dull moment.There was something strange about these people; they seemed to be so in earnest.
Then at all young man, six feet two inches in height rose to his feet on the platform and taking his Bible in his hand opened it and began to read. His was a frank, kindly face, with Irish blue eyes that had the light of heaven in them, chestnut brown hair, with one rebellious brown curl which would insist in falling down close to his eye no matter how often he brushed it back.
Without a moment’s hesitation he opened his Bible at the second chapter of Acts and read the 38th and 39th verses. (There is one thing about these Holy Ghost meetings where the Power of Pentecost is preached, one cannot attend them very long without learning that there is a second chapter to the Book of Acts. I learned this in my first meeting.)
The evangelist – Robert Semple – began his discourse with the first word of his text:
“Repent.”Oh, how he did repeat that word – Repent! REPENT !! R-E-P-E-N-T ! ! ! over and over again. How I did wish he would stop and say some other. It seemed to pierce like an arrow through my heart, for he was preaching under divine inspiration and in power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. He really spoke as though he believed there was a Jesus and a Holy Spirit, not some vague, mythical, intangible shadow, something away off yonder in the clouds, but areal, living, vital, tangible, moving reality dwelling in our hearts and lives– making us His temple – causing us to walk in Godliness, holiness and adoration in His presence.
There were no announcements of oyster suppers or Christmas entertainments or sewing circles made no appeal for money. Not even a collection was taken. It was just God, God, God from one end to the other, and his words seemed to rain down upon me, and every one of them hurt some particular part of my spirit and life until I could not tell where I was hurt the worst.
“Repent!”The evangelist went on to say that if the love of the world was in us the love of the Father was not there: theatres, moving pictures, dancing, novels, fancy-dress skating rinks (why, it just looked as if somebody had told him I was there, so vividly did he picture my own life and walk), worldly and rag-time music, etc., he condemned wholesale, and declared that all the people who were wrapped up in this sort of thing were of the devil, and were on their way to hell, and that unless they repented and that right speedily, renouncing the world, the flesh and the devil, they would be lost eternally damned forever.
I did not do any more laughing, I assure you. I sat up straight in my seat. With eyes and ears wide open I drank in every word he said. After he had finished with the word “Repent,” and explained what true salvation meant – the death, burial and resurrection that we would know as we were identified with our Lord, he began to preach on the next verse “And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Here he began to preach the baptism of the Holy Spirit, declaring that the message of salvation and the incoming of the Spirit should be preached side by side and hand in hand, and that for a Christian to live without the baptism of the Holy Spirit was to live in an abnormal condition not in accordance with God’s wishes. He told how the Holy Spirit was received in Bible days and how the recipients of the Spirit had spoken in other tongues – languages they had never learned – as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Suddenly,in the midst of his sermon, the Evangelist closed his eyes and with radiant face began to speak in a language that was not his own – but the words of the Holy Spirit.
To me it was the voice of God thundering into my soul awful words of conviction and condemnation, and though the message was spoken in tongues it seemed as though God had said tome:
“YOU are a poor, lost, miserable, hell-deserving sinner!” I want to say right here that I knew this was God speaking by His Spirit through the lips of clay.There is a verse in the 14th chapter of I Corinthians which says the speaking in tongues is a sign to the unbeliever. This was certainly true in my case.From the moment I heard that young man speak with tongues to this day I have never doubted for the shadow of a second that there was a God, and that He had shown me my true condition as a poor, lost, miserable, hell-deserving sinner.
No one had ever spoken to me like this before. I had been petted, loved and perhaps a little spoiled: told how smart and good I was. But thank God that He tells the truth. He does not varnish us nor pat us on the back or give us any little sugar-coated pills, but shows us just where we stand, vile and sinful and undone, outside of Jesus and His precious blood.
All my amusement and haughty pride had gone. My very soul had been stripped before God– there was a God, and I was not ready to meet Him. Oh, how could I have looked down upon these dear people and felt that I was better than they? Why, I was not even worthy to black their shoes. They were saints and I was a sinner.
We had to slip out early, before the service was over, and how I got through the rehearsal I cannot say, but one thing I knew, and that is that during the next seventy-two hours I lived through the most miserable three days I had ever known up to that time.
Conviction! Oh! I could scarcely eat or rest or sleep. Study was out of the question.”Poor, lost, miserable, hell-deserving sinner” rang in my ears over and over again. I could see those closed eyes and that outstretched hand that pointed to my shrinking, sinful soul that was bared before the eyes of my Maker.
I began enumerating the many things which I would have to give up in order to become a Christian – there was the dancing. I was willing to part with that – the novels,the theatre, my worldly instrumental music. I asked myself about each of them and found that I did not count them dear as compared with the joy of salvation and knowing my sins forgiven.
There was just one thing, however, that I found myself unwilling and seemingly unable to do. I knew that I could not be a Christian and recite those foolish Irish recitations and go through those plays and dialogues. A child of God must be holy and consecrated, with a conversation covered with the blood of Jesus. My Bible said that even for one idle word (let alone foolish words), we should have to give an account before the judgment throne of God. Yet it was too late now to cancel my promises for Christmas, too late to get others to fill my place. Evidently there was nothing to do but wait until after Christmas in order to become a Christian.
But how could I wait? I was desperately afraid. I trembled with conviction. It seemed as though every moment which I lived outside of God and without repentance toward Him was lived in the most awful peril and gravest danger of being cast into hell without mercy. Oh, that every sinner who reads these words might feel the same awful conviction upon his soul!
The second and third day I fell to praying something like this:
“Oh, God, I do want to be a Christian. I want to ever love and serve You. I want to confess my sin and be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. But oh, please just let me live until after Christmas, and then I will give my heart to You. Have mercy on me, Lord. Oh, .don’t, don’t let me die until after Christmas.”
Many people smile now as I testify of that awful terror that seized upon my soul,but the eternal welfare of my soul was at stake – for me it was going to be life or death, heaven or hell forever.
At the end of the third day, while driving home from school, I could stand it no longer. The lowering skies above, the trees, the fields, the very road beneath me seemed to look down upon me with displeasure, and I could see written everywhere:
“Poor, lost, miserable, hell-deserving sinner!”
Utterly at the end of myself – not stopping to think what preachers or entertainment committees or anyone else would think – I threw up my hands, and all alone in that country road, I screamed aloud toward the heavens:
“Oh, Lord God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Immediately the most wonderful change took place in my soul. Darkness passed away and light entered. The sky was filled with brightness, the trees, the fields, and the little snow birds flitting to and fro were praising the Lord and smiling upon me.
So conscious was I of the pardoning blood of Jesus that I seemed to feel it flowing over me. I discovered that my face was bathed in tears, which dropped on my hands as I held the reins. And without effort or apparent thought on my part I was singing that old, familiar hymn:
“Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.”
I was singing brokenly between my sobs:
“Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”
My whole soul was flowing out toward God, my Father.
“M-Y F-A-T-H-E-R!” Oh, glory to Jesus! I had a heavenly Father! No more need for fear, but His love and kindness and protection were now for me.
When I came to the part in the song that said:
“Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love”
I knew there would be no more worldly music for me, and it has been hymns from that time forth. And when I sang:
“Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee”
I knew that did not mean at the dance hall nor the skating rink. Bless the Lord.
“Take my lips and let them sing
Always, only, for my King.”
No more foolish recitations and rag-time songs.
“Oh, Jesus, I love Thee,
I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies
Of sin I resign.”
Song after song burst from my lips. I shouted aloud and praised God all the way home. I had been redeemed!
Needless to say I did not take part in the entertainments, and many in our town thought me fanatical and very foolish. Nevertheless the succeeding days were brimful of joy and happiness. How dearly I loved God’s Word! I wanted it under my pillow when I went to sleep, and in my hands when my eyes opened in the morning. At school, where I used to have a novel hidden away inside of my Algebra and Geometry, there was now a little New Testament, and I was studying each passage that referred to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Of all the promises in which I found comfort there was none, I believe, that compared with the simple promises of
Matthew7:7 to 11
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
“For everyone that asketh receiveth and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”Here He assured me that if I asked bread He would not give me a stone, also that He was more willing to give me the Holy Spirit than earthly parents were to give good gifts to their children.
I would get about so far with my reading, and oh, the Bible seemed to me all so new, so living and speaking, (and it was God speaking to me), that unable to wait another moment, I would excuse myself from the room, go down to the basement, fall upon my knees and begin to pray:
“Oh, Lord, baptize me with the Holy Spirit. Lord, you said the promise was unto even as many as were afar off, even as many as the Lord our God should call. Now, Lord, you’ve called me, the promise is unto me; fill me just now.”
The girls found me thus praying and did not know what to make of me so utterly was I changed. No more putting glue in teacher’s chair or helping to lock him in the gymnasium, or practicing dance steps in the corridors at noon hour. A wonderful change had taken place – all old things had passed away and all things had become new. I had been born again and was a new creature in Christ Jesus.
Each day the hunger for the baptism of the Holy Spirit became stronger and stronger,more and more intense until, no longer contented to stay in school, my mind no longer on my studies, I would slip away to the tarrying meetings where the dear saints met to pray for those who were seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
What wonderful hours those were! What a revelation to my soul! It was as though heaven had come down to earth. So much of the time was I away from school that I began to fall behind in my studies for the first time, and although the final examinations were near, I could not make myself take any interest in Algebra or Geometry or Chemistry, or anything but the baptism of the Holy Spirit and preparing to meet my soon-coming Savior in the air.
Then came the day when the principal of the High School sent a letter to my Mother which told her that unless I paid more attention to my studies I was certainly going to fail.
And to make matters worse, the same day one of the S. A. officers came to call upon Mother, saying:
“We really are surprised and think you do wrong in letting your daughter go to that Mission. You being connected with the work for so many years, it sets a bad example to other people for you to allow her to be in any way associated with them.”
When I went home that night Mother was waiting for me. She gave me a very serious talking to, and wound up by issuing the ultimatum:
“Now, if I ever hear of your leaving school and going down to that Mission again, or to the tarrying meetings, I will have to keep you home altogether. I will not have you talked about in this way.”
I went to school on the train the next morning as the roads were banked high with snow, and all the way in I was looking out of the window at the falling flakes of snow and praying for the Lord to fix it all some way so that I should be able to knock until He opened or else to baptize me at once.
Walking from the train to High School it was necessary to pass both the Mission and the Sister’s home where I often went to tarry for the baptism. As I went past the latter I looked longingly at the windows, hoping that she might be there and that I could speak to her from the sidewalk without going in and thus disobeying Mother’s command, but not a sign of her did I see.
I walked slowly past, looking sadly and hungrily back all the way ; then finally came to a halt on the sidewalk and said to myself:
“Well, here now, Jesus is coming soon and you know it is more important for you to receive the Holy Spirit than to pass all the examinations in the world. You need the Holy Spirit – oil in your vessel with your lamp – in order to be ready for His appearing.
“As you have to make a choice between going to school and seeking the baptism I guess you won’t go to school at all today, but will just go back to the sister’s house and make a whole day of seeking the baptism.”
With this I turned and walked quickly back to the house, rang the door-bell and went in. I told the sister my dilemma, and she said quietly:
“Let’s tell Father all about it.” So we got down and began to pray. She asked the Lord in her prayer either to baptize me then and there or to arrange it someway that I could stay until I received my baptism.
The Lord heard this prayer, and outside the window the snow which had been falling in light flakes, began to come down like a blinding blizzard. My heavenly Father sent out His angels to stir up some of those big, old, fleecy clouds of His, and down came the snow and – causing the window-panes to rattle, and one of our old-fashioned Canadian blizzards was on!
The entire day was spent in prayer and at night on going to the depot to see about my train home, the ticket agent said, through the window:
“Sorry, Miss, but the train is not running tonight. The roads are blocked with snow. We are not able to get through.” Oh, Hallelujah! I was not sorry a bit.
Then the thought came – “This will not do you much good, for you will have to call Mother on the telephone and she will ask you to go to her friend’s home to stay, and warn you not to go near the Mission.” But when I went to the telephone and gave the number, Central said:
“Sorry, wires all down on account of the storm.” This time I did shout”Glory” and ran almost all the way back to the sister’s home.
The storm increased, and as fast as the men endeavored to open a pathway, the Lord filled it in with mountains of white snow, until at last all thought of getting through while the storm lasted was abandoned.
Oh, how earnestly I sought the baptism of the Spirit. Sometimes when people come to the altar now and sit themselves down in a comfortable position, prop their heads up on one hand, and begin to ask God in a languid, indifferent way for the Spirit, it seems to me that they do not know what real seeking is.
Time was precious, for while man was working so hard to shovel out the snow, and God had His big clouds all working to shovel it in, I must do my part in seeking with all my heart.
Friday I waited before the Lord until midnight. Saturday morning, rising at the break of day, before anyone was astir in the house, and going into the parlor, I kneeled down by the big Morris chair in the corner, with a real determination in my heart.
My Bible had told me “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matt. 11:12. I read the parable again of the man who had knocked for bread and found that it was not because he was his friend, but because of his importunity, that the goodman within the house had risen up and given him as many loaves as he had need of. Now Jesus was my friend; He had bidden me knock, and assured me that He would open unto me. He had invited me to ask, promising that I should receive,and that the empty He would not turn hungry away. I began to seek in desperate earnest, and remember saying:
“Oh, Lord, I am so hungry for your Holy Spirit. You have told me that in the day when I seek with my whole heart you will be found of me. Now, Lord, I am going to stay right here until you pour out upon me the promise of the Holy Spirit for whom you commanded me to tarry if I die of starvation. I am so hungry for Him I can’t wait another day. I will not eat another meal until you baptize me.”
You ask if I was not afraid of getting a wrong spirit, or being hypnotized, as my parents feared. There was no such fear in my heart. I trusted my heavenly Father implicitly according to Luke 1, wherein He assured me that if I asked for bread He would not give me a stone. I knew that my Lord was not bestowing serpents and scorpions on His blood-washed children when they asked for bread. Had He not said, if your earthly fathers know how to bestow good gifts upon their children, “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” Lu. 11:13.
After praying thus earnestly, – storming heaven, as it were, with my pleadings for the Holy Spirit, a quietness seemed to steal over me, the holy presence of the Lord to envelop me. The Voice of the Lord spoke tenderly:
“Now, child, cease your strivings and your begging; just begin to praise Me, and in simple, child-like faith, receive ye the Holy Ghost.”
Oh, it wasnot hard to praise Him. He had become so near and so inexpressibly dear to my heart. Hallelujah! Without effort on my part I began to say:
“Glory to Jesus! Glory to Jesus!! GLORY TO JESUS!!!” Each time that I said”Glory to Jesus!” it seemed to come from a deeper place in my being than the last, and in a deeper voice, until great waves of “Glory to Jesus” were rolling from my toes up; such adoration and praise I had never known possible.
All at once my hands and arms began to tremble gently at first, then more and more,until my whole body was atremble with the power of the Holy Spirit. I did not consider this at all strange, as I knew how the batteries we experimented with in the laboratory at college hummed and shook and trembled under the power of electricity, and there was the Third Person of the Trinity coming into my body in all His fullness, making me His dwelling, “the temple of the Holy Ghost.” Was it any wonder that this poor human frame of mine should quake beneath the mighty movings of His power?
How happy I was, Oh, how happy! happy just to feel His wonderful power taking control of my being. Oh, Glory! That sacred hour is so sweet to me, the remembrance of its sacredness thrills me as I write.
Almost without my notice my body slipped gently to the floor, and I was lying under the power of God, but felt as though caught up and floating upon the billowy clouds of glory. Do not understand by this that I was unconscious of my surroundings,for I was not, but Jesus was more real and near than the things of earth roundabout me. The desire to praise and worship and adore Him flamed up within my soul. He was so wonderful, so glorious, and this poor tongue of mine so utterly incapable of finding words with which to praise Him.
My lungs began to fill and heave under the power as the Comforter came in. The cords of my throat began to twitch my chin began to quiver, and then to shake violently,but Oh, so sweetly! My tongue began to move up and down and sideways in my mouth. Unintelligible sounds as of stammering lips and another tongue, spoken of in Isaiah 28 :11, began to issue from my lips. This stammering of different syllables,then words, then connected sentences, was continued for some time as the Spirit was teaching me to yield to Him. Then suddenly, out of my innermost being flowed rivers of praise in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance (Acts 2:4), and Oh, I knew that He was praising Jesus with glorious language, clothing Him with honor and glory which I felt but never could have put into words.
How wonderful that I, even I, away down here in 1908, was speaking in an unknown tongue, just as the believers had in Bible days at Ephesus and Caesarea, and that now He had come of whom Jesus had said – “He will glorify me.”
I shouted and sang and laughed and talked in tongues until it seemed that I was too full to hold another bit of blessing lest I should burst with the glory. The Word of God was true. The promise was really to them that were afar off, even as many as the Lord our God should call. The Comforter had come, lifting my soul in ecstatic praises to Jesus in a language I had never learned. I remember having said:
“Oh, Lord, can you not take me right on up to heaven now? I am so near anyway. Do I have to go back to that old world again?
“Hypnotism,” you say? If so, it is a remarkably long spell and an exceedingly delightful one which has lasted for fourteen years, making me love Jesus with all my heart and long for His appearing. Besides this you must take into consideration that there was no one in the room to hypnotize me. I was all alone when I was saved, and all alone when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
“Demon power” – “all of the devil,” someone may say. If so the devil must have recently gotten soundly converted, for that which entered into my soul makes me to love and obey my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to exalt the blood and honor the Holy Ghost.
“Excitement,” you say? Never! It has stood the test too long, dear unbeliever. In sickness,in sorrow, even in the gates of death He has proved Himself to be the Comforter whom Jesus said He would send.
Hearing me speaking in the tongues and praising the Lord, the dear Sister of the home in which I stayed, came down stairs and into the parlor, weeping and praising the Lord with me. Soon Brother Semple and other saints gathered in. What shouting and rejoicing! Oh, hallelujah! And yet with all the joy and glory, there was a stillness and a solemn hush pervading my whole being.
Walking down the street, I kept saying to myself:
“Now you must walk very softly and carefully, with unshod feet, in the presence of the King lest you grieve this tender, gentle dove who has come into your being to make you His temple and to abide with you forever.”
The next day was Sunday. The storm had cleared away; the sun was shining down in its melting warmth. Attending the morning services at the Mission, we partook of the Lord’s Supper, and as we meditated upon His wonderful love, His blood that was shed for us, His body that was broken on the tree, it was more than I could bear.
Oh, who can describe that exceeding weight of glory as He revealed Himself, my crucified Savior, my resurrected Lord, my coming King!
School-mates and friends were standing up to look over the seats to see what had happened to me, but I was lost again with Jesus, whom my soul loved.
A friend of our family left the meeting, and going to the telephone called my Mother.(The wires which had been down during the storm, unknown to me, had been repaired). He said:
“You had better come into town and see to your daughter, for she is again disobeying your orders. She is at those meetings, shouting more than any of them.”
Poor Mother! She was frantic to think her daughter should so far forget her dignity and disgrace herself in such a manner. She called me to the phone and I heard her dear voice saying:
“What in the world is this I hear about you? What does this all mean?”
I tried to answer, but the Holy Spirit began speaking through me again.
“What’s that ?” she demanded. I tried to explain. Then came her voice stern and forbidding:
“You just wait till I get there, my lady; I will attend to you.”
(Just to relieve the tension of your mind, I will run a little ahead of my story and tell you that since then my dear Mother has also received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit just as they did in Bible days).
Returning to the sister’s home, I sat down at the organ, awaiting in some trepidation and fear, I confess, the coming of my Mother. To keep my courage up I sang over and over that old, familiar hymn:
“I will never leave thee nor forsake thee;
In my hands I’ll hold thee;
In my arms I’ll fold thee;
I am thy Redeemer; I will care for thee!”
What would Mother say ? Would she understand? Why, it had not been so very long since the power of God used to come down in the dear old Salvation Army. Had I not heard her tell how Brother Kitchen (whom they used to call “the Kitchen that God lived in”) had shaken as he kneeled in prayer, until he had gone clear across the platform and had lain stretched out under the power at the other side? Had I not heard my Father tell how the old-time Methodist Church used to have this same power? Praying God for strength and wisdom, I sang on
“E’en though the night
Be dark within the valley,
Just beyond is shining,
An eternal light.”
Six o’clock arrived – so did Mother! I heard the jingle of the sleigh-bells suddenly stop in response to my Mother’s “whoa!” Then an imperious ring of the bell shivered the tense silence within the house. Slipping down from the organ stool I caught my coat and hat in my hand as I hastened to the door. Mother met me, and with:
“My lady, you come right out and get in here this minute,” lost no time in bundling me into the cutter. The Sister and Brother both tried to get a word in edgeways, to reason with and explain to her, but she would hear none of it, and in a moment we were off.
All the way home Mother scolded and cried and almost broke her heart over her daughter who had, as she supposed, been cast under some dire spell by those”awful” people. Oh, praise the Lord! No matter what the devil called them he had to admit that they were holy anyway, and that’s more than he could have said of many professing denominations, now, isn’t it?
Being an only child, loved and petted, it needed only a word of scolding or remonstrance to bring the tears, but now, when she was scolding me more severely and saying more harsh things than she ever had in my life, for some mysterious reason I couldn’t shed a tear. I felt duty bound to squeeze out a few tears, out of respect to her feelings, but I could not do it to help myself. All I could do was sing and sing and sing – all the way:
“Joys are flowing like a river.
Since the Comforter has come;
He abides with me forever,
Makes the trusting heart His home.”
The Spirit within rose up and filled me with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Poor Mother would turn to me and say:
“Oh, Aimee! do stop that singing. I can’t understand how you can sing; you know your Mother’s heart is breaking. Surely you don’t call that a fruit of the Spirit.” But it did not seem as if I were singing at all: it just seemed to sing itself and came out without any effort.
“Blessed quietness, holy quietness,
What assurance in my soul;
On the stormy sea, Jesus speaks tome,
And the billows cease to roll.”
Upon our arrival home we found my Father sitting by the dining-room fire, with his head in his hands, saying:
“Humph! Humph! Humph!” He always did that when he felt very badly over something. Leading me up to him, Mother said:
“Now I want you to tell your Father all about it. Tell the way you acted out before those people.” Well, it certainly did sound dreadful to tell it, but Oh,that something kept whispering and echoing in my heart:
“E’en though the night
Be dark within the valley,
Just beyond is shining
An eternal day.”
When at last they sent me to my room, I kneeled down quickly and began to pray. It happened that I was kneeling beside the stove-pipe hole and could not help overhearing a part of the conversation between my parents. It was something like this:
“Oh, what shall we do? Those people have got our girl under their influence, hypnotized her – mesmerized her or something.”
“It is perfectly useless to argue with her, for no matter what we say, she really thinks she is being persecuted and will hold to it all the more tenaciously.”
“Oh, what shall we do?” With this the door closed and I heard no more.
Oh, how can I describe the joy and the glory that had come within my soul? that deep-settled peace, that knowledge that He would lead and guide and would bring all things out right.
When next my Mother permitted me to go to school she told me of the decision which they had come to, namely, that if I went near those Pentecostal people once more they would take me away from school for good, education or no education. As she told me this the Holy Spirit gave me wisdom to make this reply:
“Mother, the Bible says that children are to obey their parents in the Lord, and if you can show me by the Word of God that what I have received is not in accordance with Bible teaching, or show me any place where we are told that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the Bible evidence, speaking in tongues, is not for today, I will never go to the Mission again.” I staked my all on the Word.
“Why certainly I can prove it to you,” she replied. “Those things were only for the Apostolic days. I will look up the scriptures and prove it to you when you get home tonight.”
Dear Mother – she had been a student of the Bible and had taught Sunday School and Bible class for years. Oh, would she be able to prove that all these manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power and presence were only for by-gone days? I was not very well acquainted with the Bible on this subject, yet knew that what I had received was from God.
Assured that Mother would search the Bible honestly, I had pledged myself to stand by the consequences: Whatever the Bible said should stand. Thus it was that we both turned to the Word of God as the final court of appeal to settle the whole matter.
Mother got out her Bible, concordance, pencil and pad, and with heart and mind full of this one thing, immediately sat herself down at the breakfast table, spreading her books out before her, without pausing even long enough to gather up the breakfast dishes for washing – the lamps were not cleaned, and the beds were unmade.
(Oh, if any unbeliever will sit down with an open Bible and an unprejudiced heart,there is no need for us to defend our position, so clear is the Word of God on this subject).
It was half past eight in the morning when I left home for school. At five-thirty, when I returned, Mother was still seated at the breakfast table, with her Bible and paper before her, and – would you believe it? – the breakfast dishes were still unwashed, the lamps uncleaned, the beds unmade, an unheard-of state of affairs for Mother, ever an excellent housekeeper.
I waited with bated breath for her decision. My heart softened within me as I saw by her reddened eyes that she had been weeping. Oh, what would her answer be? The smile upon her face encouraged me to ask:
“Oh, Mother, what is it?”
Now, dear reader, what do you suppose she said? With shining face she replied:
“Well, dear, I must admit that of a truth, this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel, which should come to pass in the last days!”
She had found that, away back in Isaiah 28:11, He had said – “With stammering lips and another tongue will I speak to this people“– that the prophet Joel had clearly prophesied that in these last days there should be a wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit, likened unto the latter rain, wherein the sons and daughters, the servants and the maids were alike to rejoice in this glorious downpour.
With one spring across the room, I threw my arms about my Mother’s neck, squeezing her till she declared I had almost broken her neck. How happy we were as we danced around the table – laughing, crying and singing together:
” ‘Tis the old time religion,
And it’s good enough for me”
If everyone who is skeptical of the reality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit would take the Word of God and search from cover to cover, he too, would be convinced without the shadow of a doubt that “This Is That.”