How Pentecost Came To Los Angeles


Brothers Boehmer and Allen received the “baptism” about this time. March 11, 1908, I received a letter from Brother Sawtelle, leader of the Christian Alliance work in Portland, Oregon, to come north and hold some meetings for them. God had shown me that we would be called out again. I recognized His call. We were to go north and east again. Brother Boehmer now decided to go with us in the work. I felt we had come back to the coast largely to get him out. I was exhorting the saints all winter to push out in the spring for God. About a dozen followed us, to different points, as we started out again. I began to feel the world-wide call heavily upon me, also. The Lord seemed to show me the oceans must yet be crossed for Him. And this we realized later on. Like Peter the Hermit I felt at times like stirring all Christendom with my cry for a revival.

March 25, we started north, for Portland, Oregon. We reached Stockton safely. It was hard to leave Los Angeles. I saw a hardening coming over the work and was much burdened for it. Oh, that we might know “the time of our visitation,” and lay up corn, not dissipate our blessing. We were to need it all, to be established, as the past years have proven. We have had our “seven years of famine,” as well as plenty. I spoke six times at Stockton, where I found the “flesh” pretty strong. But God gave the victory. It was the same old story. They were expecting God to baptize their strength, instead of their weakness. I suffered much here physically, from cold and neuralgia.

Little John was taken very sick. We next stopped at Carrie J. Montgomery’s Home at Beulah, near Oakland, for a few days. While here I visited San Francisco and went over the stricken city. I had not been there since the earthquake. In spite of two years’ labor almost night and day to repair the damage, the whole city still lay practically in ruins. A few towers had gone up, in the shape of modern buildings, but they were only an apology for a city. There was still so much rubbish they could scarcely clear space enough to rebuild. Many streets were even yet so twisted, sunken, and raised, that it was difficult to make one’s way along them. It looked like a straggling country town, largely gone to ruin, instead of the proud city it once had been. Many cheap wooden buildings had gone up. But the proud mansions still lay as they had fallen, in total ruin.

Sin seemed more openly rampant, if possible, than ever, the people more reckless and abandoned. Dens of infamy were running full blast in the very midst of the ruins where thousands of lives had been lost. Space was cleared, buildings run up, and the dance with death moved on. The dives were the first to be restored. God was openly defied. In fact boasting against Him could be heard on every side. What fools sin makes of men. A skull and cross-bones, illuminated by an electric light, adorned the entrance to one of the most infamous dives. I felt I wanted to get away. The wrath of God seemed hanging over the place.

We took the boat from here to Portland, and had a rough voyage. Most of us were sick. But God brought us through. Stopping at Astoria we got steadied up a little. We reached Portland in the morning, and wife and the children went by train to Auburn, Wash., to visit some friends we had known earlier in Los Angeles. I preached in all about twenty-four times in Portland, at the C. M. A. Brother Boehmer was with me. God blessed preciously, but we did not break through fully. There was too much opposition and conservatism. Altogether however, much good was accomplished, and the saints especially were greatly benefited and blessed. Brother Sawtelle was very kind to me. Later he left the Alliance, to enter a profession. He became discouraged because he could not go on with God in the Alliance, and so quit the work entirely. It was a very pitiful case. He was a good man. They gave me sixty-three dollars, while in Portland.

I ran on to Auburn, Wash., and found wife and the children well. After two days I started meetings at Tacoma. Here I preached ten times, at the Christian Missionary Alliance. God wonderfully blessed, and several received the “baptism.” We had a very sweet spirit at this place. Great love and unity prevailed. The Lord was pleased with this. They gave me twenty dollars. At Seattle I visited Brother Gourley’s mission, preaching there once. Boehmer and. I took a little side trip by boat to Victoria, B. C., on Vancouver Island. I spoke at Brother Burns’ mission in Seattle also. Taking my family from Auburn we left Seattle for Spokane, over the Great Northern railroad.

God gave us a furnished home to ourselves to live in while in Spokane. We could not have been treated more kindly. Brother Herbert Bursell had called us there. We found a strong company of fine saints at this place. I preached thirty-five times in all and we had some very powerful meetings. We were there three weeks. The meetings began in a home, but they opened a mission before we left. At times I had much soul travail. Often God broke through until I could not preach. We had powerful altar services. The saints were hungry for teaching. I suffered much from neuralgia at Spokane. Brother Boehmer left us here, to visit his brother, and unite with us east again. Besides our living expenses they gave us one hundred dollars. We needed a lot of money to make our next connection, so we did not have any too much. The love of the saints in Spokane for us was very deep.

We passed through Deer Lodge, and Butte, Montana, and near the Yellowstone Park, via the Northern Pacific railroad, on the way to Minneapolis. At Minneapolis I spoke four times in the little mission, to a precious company of saints. I visited Minnehaha Falls while there also.

We ran on from here to Chicago. I visited Zion City, and then preached at Brother Durham’s mission. Our next stop was at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here I preached once, and we passed on to Toledo, Ohio, where I spoke twelve times, at the Pentecostal Mission. We had very precious meetings. God especially favored me with illumination in the Word. They gave us twenty-four dollars here.

Our next stop was at Alliance (Ohio) Camp Meeting, where we had been the year before. I preached nine times at the camp. It was a harder fought battle than the year before. There had been much fanaticism and lawlessness developed. The “flesh” tried to run the meetings. I spoke on “soul-travail” with great help from God. The Lord began to break through. Little John was taken with convulsions and the devil tried to kill him. The saints were not under the burden as they needed to be. They were there too much to have a good Time and get blessed. I preached one afternoon under a very heavy anointing. Just as we sat down at the supper table and were about to eat, the Spirit suddenly fell upon us. We had a table with “all things common.” The Lord seemed to desire to show His pleasure at this condition. The fire ran through the whole camp in a powerful way. The supper remained untasted for an hour. Many went down under the power. It was a deluge. I preached again that night. On two occasions during the camp nearly fifty were swept down under the power at one time. There were many missionaries there. In fact the missionary spirit ran high. The newspapers were more abusive and untrue than ever. But they thus did our advertising for us, free. Many received the “baptism,” numbers were saved, and quite a few healed. The supreme thought was that of Jesus’ soon coming, and the evangelization of the world in preparation for this.

I was getting very tired in body and mind. At Grand Rapids the devil had seemed to take possession of the very children where we were staying, for my benefit. They would tear around the house until midnight, without a cause, simply to wear me out. I was so tired I could hardly live. At Toledo the enemy would catch the thoughts out of my mind while I was preaching before I could express them. I was under especial illumination of the Spirit at this place, capturing new territory from the devil. One can always tell in preaching when they have gotten onto new territory, not before recovered. The enemy is always discovered, and generally makes a furious attack upon you.

We stopped at Pittsburg next, at the Christian Missionary Alliance, with Brother Whitesides. Here I preached four times, and wrote five articles for the “Way of Faith.” I preached three times also at Braddock. The saints gave me forty dollars. We went on to Philadelphia and I left my family with my parents at Michener, Penn., not far from there. Brother Boehmer had rejoined us at Alliance, Ohio, and was now with me again. We went together to Rochester, N. Y., stopping at Elim Home. Here I preached four times. I had the message one night, but the leader refused to let me speak, because I had already preached over an hour in the afternoon. She was not used to letting God choose His own way. Human reason prevailed with her and she took the meeting in her own hands. The Lord dropped it right there. A crank got up and wore them all out with a long harangue. Then they allowed me to get up and deliver my message. A great burden came on Brother Boehmer and myself one night after going to bed. For over an hour we were tremendously pressed by the Spirit in prayer. We felt it was for some one. The next morning a preacher in the Home told of having received the “baptism” during the night. Then we understood. The burden had been for him.

We started for Toronto, Canada, visiting Niagara Falls on the way. At Toronto I spoke at Brother Sawder’s mission one night, and at Brother Hebden’s another. At both places God greatly blessed us. We then went to Brother Craig’s mission at Camden street. Here I spoke fourteen times in all. I preached also at the C. M. A., for Pastor Salmon, and at Sister Builder’s home. One night the Spirit held us all through the service in silence at Brother Craig’s. The Lord would not let me say a word, though the Spirit was heavy upon me. I tried never to speak unless God gave me something to say. Pastor Craig could not understand this. He had not received his “baptism,” and was very brainy. He was a good man, but seemed oblivious to the influences of the Spirit. It requires a copper wire to receive and carry a current of electricity.

The Spirit wrought very deeply in the meetings at Toronto. But the leader was very much tried with me because he did not understand the Spirit. He expected things done the old way, new wine in the old skins. The Lord had given me a premonition of conditions in Toronto before I reached there. Thus the Spirit often prepared me for my ministry. The Lord would give me the message for the place and prepare me to meet the particular conditions and need. He put the quiet spirit on me for Toronto. There was too much “flesh” there. The first two or three days He would not even allow me to look around town to note the differences between English and American customs, though they were many. He did not want my spirit taken up with earthly surroundings. It was a close ministry. Later I was allowed to look around a little. The “fleshly” ones largely dropped out at the first message. They could not live in such an atmosphere.

We next stopped at Potter Brook, Penn. I spoke three nights there, but it was haying time and hard to get the farmers out. We went on to Elkland, near by. Here we had a great battle. A child had a whining demon, and a dog seemed possessed with barking. This disturbed the meetings greatly. I spoke four times at the latter place and many received help and blessing. We rode twelve miles with a hired livery wagon to catch the early morning train on the main line, and reached Michener, where my family were staying, that evening.

We next went south, to Falcon (N. C.) Camp Meeting. Here I preached eight times. One night I was burdened all night in prayer. I could not sleep. The next day God came in the camp in great victory. The Spirit helped wonderfully. A multitude of people were there. We had some great altar services and many souls were wonderfully helped. Sinners were saved, and saints filled with the Holy Ghost. Some were healed. I had asked the Lord for forty dollars from the camp, but He told me to ask Him for fifty dollars. The trip was quite expensive. At the close of the camp Brother Culbreth handed me just fifty dollars. I had not even hinted about money. Someone else handed me six dollars. In Toronto God had shown me that Brother Sawders, whom they had invited to this camp, would not be there. I was not invited nor expected but God had shown me I was to go in his place. This, of course, I had kept to myself. Sure enough, Sawders did not get there. God knew. The devil had thrashed me up to the last minute about going to Falcon without an invitation. It was an expensive trip. I had promised the Lord if He would give me forty dollars at Falcon, I would leave five dollars for the work there. But he gave me fifty dollars instead, and six dollars extra, to pay my pledge with. The Lord will never go in debt to us.

Dr. Hood wrote in the “Way of Faith,” from the Falcon camp, as follows: “The preaching was of a high order. We were sorry of the inability of Rev. J. E. Sawders to be present, but we are sure the Holy Ghost guided in the matter, for he sent us ‘a man of God’ with a message most timely, and direct from the throne. We refer to Rev. Frank Bartleman, whom I believe to be perhaps the most humble and saintly person with whom I ever came in contact. He came to the pulpit from off his knees, charged with the power of God, and would hold the large audience in a very quiet way for hours as he delivered the message for “this hour.” I believe he is truly one of God’s men for this day.” - Dr. D. H. Hood. I record the above with humility and shame, and only pray that I may become at least somewhat like the high order this dear brother has so graciously accredited to me.

I wrote myself at this time, in brief, concerning the situation at Falcon camp, as follows: “The Spirit impressed me while at Toronto that dear Brother Sawders would not be able to get to Falcon, and made known His desire for me to go. So I went without further call, just in obedience to Him. We are getting our calls that way these days, and God is also seeking to release us from the responsibility of choosing the workers ourselves. Dear Brother Culbreth was kind and patient, both toward friend and foe, in a most marked degree. Evidently God knows his man. An able heart of love is a most capable thing. Dear Brother Floyd Taylor reminded me of the little brown bird to whom God has given no fine plumage, but has recompensed with a most beautiful song. Doubtless God keeps some samples in affliction, for His glory. Mephibosheth was also ‘lame in both his feet,’ but he ‘ate at the king’s table,’ and dwelt in Jerusalem.’ (Brother Taylor was a cripple.) God bless these humble southern brethren. They have been an inspiration and an example to me,” - F. Bartleman, in “Way of Faith.”

Brother Pike, editor of the “Way of Faith,” wrote regarding the Falcon camp meeting: “Rev. J. H. King, one of the regularly appointed leaders, preached with unusual unction and power, and the voice in preaching and prayer of Rev. F. Bartleman was like that of one of the old prophets, with the Pentecostal enduement Superadded. ‘From his knees to the pulpit,’ may be literally said of this Heaven-anointed messenger, and though his bodily presence is weak, it is soon apparent that he is a man sent of God, and he speaks with authority. We have rarely heard more unctious preaching than that of Brother King on Sunday night, and Brother Bartleman on Monday morning.” - J. M. Pike. I sincerely appreciated the kind words of Brother Pike on this occasion. We generally get enough of the other kind to keep us humble, but I really feared the brethren had overestimated me. I only prayed I might not prove too great a disappointment to them. They had at least set a goal for me to strive for.

We came back to Washington, D. C., where I spoke four times with much blessing. We stopped in the home of Mother Perry. A precious sister was restored in these meetings. We stopped at Baltimore, where I also preached four times. Brother Boehmer seldom spoke in public. He had a wonderful ministry in prayer, and traveled with me for that purpose. His ministry was a hidden one. But I am satisfied it had much to do with the victory in our meetings. God may perhaps reward him even more than myself, though I did practically all of the preaching.

I removed my family from Michener to Peekskill, N. Y., to my wife’s people, and then went to New York City and spoke twice at Forty-second Street Mission, for Pastor Robert Brown. From there Boehmer and I went to Boston, to attend a Pentecostal convention. It was a fierce battle. The “flesh” was simply rampant. I gave a message in the morning against the “flesh.” Both afternoon and night a message was given in the same tenor, by different parties, both ignorant of the nature of my message in the morning. And yet the leaders would not heed. They confessed to me some years later that they were wrong on this occasion. They took their own way and came into great grief and shame. God is not mocked. They refused to be corrected by the Spirit.

We next stopped at Springfield, Mass. Here I spoke three times, at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church, at “Rock Rimmon.” We stopped in Sister Weavers home. She was a very wealthy woman. Brother Cullen was the pastor. He had been a missionary in South America, and spoke Spanish fluently. The Alliance later sent him to Portland, Oregon, to fill the place of Brother Sawtelle, whom they had removed to Texas. Brother Cullen was later drowned at Portland. He was a good man and his end seemed very pitiful.

Boehmer and I returned to Peekskill for a few days’ rest, and then went west to Grand Rapids, Mich., to attend a prayer convention. Riding all night through Canada we reached Grand Rapids safely. Here we stopped in the Pentecostal Home, with Sister Noble. I preached a number of times at the convention. But we had a great battle. They opposed the Pentecostal testimony and experience. God had sent me there to stand for this, I had such a soul travail one evening I rolled off the bed onto the floor, and under the bed. The battle was awful. I tried to run from it, and called up the railroad station to find out when the next train left town. But the line was busy. While waiting my eyes fell on a Scripture motto just over the phone. It read: “My times are in Thy hand.” The Spirit smote me with conviction. I had not felt clear in leaving, but was under strong temptation. We stayed and fought the battle out. God gave us victory. But I received no offering from this meeting.

We next went to Indianapolis. Here Boehmer bought himself a watch. At the same time he bought one for me, for a present. I was needing one. Thus the Lord rewarded me for my faithful stand at Grand Rapids. I had a feeling we were due for a freshet of God’s power at Indianapolis, after our desert experience at Grand Rapids, and remarked as much to Boehmer. And sure enough, it came. We found a convention on at Indianapolis. This we had not known of. We had not been invited. But the Lord had appointed it.

Brother Copley, and the Brelsford family, were there ahead of us. The Lord gave me a number of messages. We had a wonderful time. In fact I had not felt the power of God in such measure for a long time. There was tremendous opposition also, but God gave the victory. The work had been split into two factions. They came together in the meeting but were not reconciled. At one meeting the Spirit was so mightily on me in the message that the opposing faction held on to their seats and stiffened their backs to keep from yielding. I have seldom seen such resistance to the Spirit of God, and by Pentecostal saints, at that. It was simply awful. One night they had arranged for foot-washing. I gave the message that night and by the time I got through I think they had forgotten all about the foot-washing. They were too busy getting right with God, and with one another. Their souls needed washing more.

The Lord blessed me much at Indianapolis. I was so glad I had obeyed Him and gone there. I was there by His invitation purely. But I seldom if ever had felt such a wonderful flow of the Spirit before. The message seemed to be fairly drawn out of me in preaching. I felt almost drawn off the platform by the hungry desire of the people. I could not talk as rapidly as the thoughts came to me and almost fell over myself trying to speak fast enough. At one meeting when I was through the slain of the Lord lay all over the floor. I looked for the preachers behind me and they lay stretched out on the floor too. One of them had his feet tangled up in a chair, so I knew they had gone down under the power of God. I stepped over near the piano, among the people. My body began to rock under the power of God and I fell over onto the piano and lay there. It was a cyclonic manifestation of the power of God. We left the convention with great victory. I had not received a penny since leaving home and the devil was tempting me much over the matter. But the Lord kept assuring me He would make it up to me later on. I had to take His word for it, for I could not understand the situation. It was a new one to me. But I knew God had spoken.

We proceeded to Alliance, Ohio, where I spoke twice to the Bible Students. Our next stop was at Beaver Falls, Penn. Here I preached five times in all, at the C. M. A. Brother Rossiter was in charge. I had stopped here, between trains, the year before. We had a most precious and profitable meeting. I was much pressed in my body, being attacked by a terrible neuralgia pain in my stomach. Much of the time while preaching I had to hold on to the desk in front of me and every effort seemed to drive a knife thrust through me. When I attempted to pray the very demons seemed to attack me, with extra pains. God was trying to get the leaders here into the Pentecostal experience and all hell was moved to oppose it. They were very precious workers. Sister Rossiter was especially deep in the Lord. I seemed to be battling for them, and for my own life also.

Brother Rossiter was a very active man, and very nervous. He could not get quiet. While I was preaching and the Lord wanted to get hold of him he would be running around looking after the ventilation, etc. The ventilation was all right, but he could not rest. The habit had grown upon him until only God could deliver him from it. This he himself realized, and begged me to pray for him. His mind was always at work. Nothing hinders God more than this, especially when waiting on Him for the “baptism.” The mind must cease from its own operations and activities before God can get possession of it. And this is just where the death comes. We must be “sealed in the forehead,” so to speak. Our own activities must die. The Lord chased dear Brother Rossiter all around the church trying to get hold of him. But He could not catch him while we were there. Otherwise he was a most blessed man. But the Spirit could not get His way with him. At Findlay, Ohio, some time later, I had a convention, where the leader was so nervous the enemy had him on his knees on the platform striking matches and examining the straps on the pedals of the organ, while I was trying to preach. When a preacher is out of the Spirit the devil can get him to do the most fool things to hinder the success of a meeting. God was trying to deepen the work there and get the preacher quiet. But He could not.

Perhaps the most distressing experience I ever had with a preacher in the “flesh” was at a convention just outside of New York City. A representative company of saints were there from many points. It was in the early Pentecostal days. This preacher was determined to preach, though I was burning up with the message. He wore the people out with a blackboard demonstration of mere statistics, long drawn out, while the saints groaned and waited for the message from the Lord. It was too late when he quit. Most of the people had to go early. I suffered for months over this defeat for the cause of Christ. Years later I met saints who had been at this meeting. They declared they were still waiting for that message that had been hindered. They felt they had missed a message of peculiar import for that occasion. I have seldom had such an anointing. We sometimes hear people say, “My message will keep.” If God has given you a message for the people present, and for that hour, it cannot keep. When God gave a message to the prophets of old, or to the Apostles, it was to be delivered at a certain occasion, to a certain people. And just so today with a real messenger of the Lord, who is led by the Spirit of God in his ministry. The message, if not delivered on time, is lost.

It is hard for preachers to get the ‘baptism.” They must die to so much self-ability, activity, etc. It puts self absolutely out of business. To become nothing is too hard for them. They may lose their position, support, reputation, etc. But God has always something better for us. We will have nothing left but God when the Spirit is through with us. But most of us cannot trust Him, so we go on our own way, follow our own calling. To he a real servant of God, obey. His orders implicitly, with no plans of our own, is a path few care to tread. It comes too high.

Sister Rossiter was wonderfully visited of the Lord at this time. He laid hold of her in a very deep way for a deeper possession of her than she had ever known. But she struggled hard. I think she was afraid she might have to die to the Alliance. She was a blessed woman, a wonderful instrument for God. But to follow Jesus only is a very narrow way. We were kept awake all one night by the Spirit. No one could sleep. The Spirit was like a wind blowing through the house. We all prayed all night in our beds. Boehmer and I were stopping with the Rossiters. God wanted that pair for something far greater than they had ever known. What became of them later I have never learned.

Boehmer and I returned to New York City. I visited my family at Peekskill, and then returned again to New York City. We called on Sister Weaver, with whom we had stopped at Springfield, at her request. She had a home in New York City also. All the previous day the words of the hymn had been ringing in my ears, “God is faithful, etc.” The Spirit had said to me when we left Grand Rapids, “Ye have need of patience,” when tempted over the money phase of the situation. The evening before we went to see Sister Weaver I seemed to feel the promise was near fulfillment. Sister Weaver knew nothing of my sacrifice on my trip west. I had received only a very few dollars on that trip. The workers ahead of us got all the money at Indianapolis. I had paid out of my own pocket forty dollars.

The morning we went to see Sister Weaver, Brother Boehmer had asked the Lord to give me fifty dollars. He had means of his own at this time and was bearing his own expenses. I was also impressed to ask the Lord to speak to Sister Weaver to give me that amount. We were about to start for Columbia, S. C., enroute for California again, and we had very little money on hand. While we were on our knees praying at Sister Weaver’s, before leaving her, the Lord told her to give me just fifty dollars. No one had said a word to her about my needs. She handed me that amount. So the Lord had kept His promise and given me my fare back that I had expended on my last trip, west. But I had to be willing to make the sacrifice in faith, and wait until the end of the trip to receive it back.

At New York City I spoke three times at Forty-second Street mission, and then went to Nyack, New York, C. M. A. Training School. One of the faculty, whom I knew, and who was Pentecostal, asked me if I would speak there again this year, and then we both broke out in a holy laugh. The Spirit witnessed His pleasure. The opposition was great by this time at the school. He arranged the meeting by telephone, as we were some distance from Nyack. The faculty were caught off their guard. Five minutes later they would have canceled, the engagement if God had allowed them to. They subjected me to an attempted severe censorship before I went to the platform, as to what I would preach. It tied me up a little, but the Lord gave victory. I was speaking to the students. And they were a hungry lot. I was allowed to speak again the next morning, after sleeping in the building. God touched their hearts in the end. I returned to New York City and spoke four times at “Glad Tidings Hall.” The Lord greatly blessed us. Next I took my family from Peekskill to my brother Will’s, in Philadelphia, and ran up to Michener alone to bid my aged parents good-bye.

Boehmer and I then took the train for Providence, R. I., to attend a convention. Here I was the principal speaker, speaking eighteen times in all. We had a time of suffering. The leader hindered me much in the spirit, wanting everything run a certain way. But I had to obey God. I was not playing religion. I would rather farm for a profession. The people were very hungry, but the devil tried to hinder my messages. The Lord had faithfully warned me beforehand of this very situation.

I had a peculiar experience at this convention. God was wonderfully blessing my ministry. Preachers and leaders were coming in from many points. The message was largely new to them. The Lord so preciously used me that some got their eyes on the preacher. The Spirit could not stand for this naturally, so one afternoon, with a full house, come to hear the speaker from Los Angeles, the Lord told me to go and sit back of the piano, out of sight, to the end of the meeting. It was time for the people to have this lesson. In those days I would rather have gone to the woods and prayed many a time than to come before the people to preach. I was tired of the adulations of the people, preferring to get away from them, and alone with the Lord. Some of them were very much tried with me, for they had no message that after noon. But God knew his business.

I asked the Lord to give me fifteen dollars from this convention, and the leader without knowing a thing about this, handed me just fifteen dollars in a sealed envelope, before I left. It was a small, poor mission. I was not covetous for money. All I wanted was the privilege of working for God, and being used in blessing to the people. But I needed help to get my family back to California.

We started south for Columbia, S. C. Here I preached for Brother Pike at the Oliver Gospel Mission. The “Way of Faith” office was in this connection. I got a little chance to rest and pray here, with my family. I had been writing for the “Way of Faith” for a long time. We had practically meetings every night, however. Much intercession for this work was given me. Many of our meetings were taken up largely with waiting on God.

And He met us in a wonderful way. Brother Pike was himself much blessed in these meetings. He was a very precious child of God. I spoke also at a Presbyterian church. I helped publish my little book, “My Story of the Latter Rain” (now out of print), while here also.

While we were here one of the workers in the mission had the mumps. Brother Boehmer and I were called to pray for him. The Lord had shown me sickness ahead before we started south. But I did not understand it then. Brother Pike handed me forty dollars when we left Columbia. That helped to clear the way for California. I had written for the “Way of Faith” for years without pay. In fact I have never written for any paper for pay. I could no more do so than preach for salary. We take what God gives us. I have written as many as 550 articles for the religious press, with not more than a half dozen failing to get in print, but have yet to write a single one for pay. My labor has been one of love. “Freely ye have received, freely give.”

Brother Pike, editor of the “Way of Faith,” wrote as follows regarding the meetings we held with him: “A remarkable meeting is now in progress at the Gospel Tabernacle, Columbia, S. C. It is remarkable for the prolonged vocal and silent prayer that is being offered, and for the unusual manifestation of the Divine presence that is being realized. Brother F. Bartleman is supposed to be the leader, but he will do no leading unless consciously prompted by the Holy Spirit. So the meetings are left perfectly free to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It is very certain that for depth of spirituality no such meetings have ever been held in the Tabernacle before.”

Brother Pike wrote again, so complimentarily of my visit to Columbia, that I almost hesitate to reproduce it. He set a very high mark for me. He wrote as follows: “We have been enjoying the companionship and ministry of Brother Bartleman for the past two weeks, and have received a stimulus to our faith, and learned lessons which will be of great value to us in our experience and work in the future. The prayers that have been bottled up in Heaven, and the seed that has been sown in our midst, are sure to produce marked results in the future. Brother Bartleman’s quiet ways, and his insistence upon quiet, prayerful waiting upon God, will find ready acceptance only among those who are accustomed to intimate fellowship with the Deity, and who know the blessedness of stillness. We are fully persuaded that God has some remarkable manifestation of His presence and power in store for this institution if He is permitted to have His own way, and much of it will be due to the intercession and influence of this devoted brother, who leaves blessings wherever he goes.

“We do not know the secret history of how this man of God was brought into connection with the “Way of Faith,” but that the whole arrangement was of God we have not the shadow of a doubt. He is a man after the editor’s own heart, and we are sure that his connection with this paper was brought about by God, in the fullness of time. The pressure of the Divine presence is sometimes so great upon him that food has no attraction for him, and possibly he sometimes errs on the line of abstinence. Hence his appearance frequently indicates weakness, if not emaciation. God has committed to him, in large degree, the ministry of intercession; but he has also given him special messages for the present time to the saints in every part of the world. They are being delivered in various sections of the United States, and Canada, by the living voice, and through the paper they reach the saints in all nations. We commend him to the prayers of God’s people everywhere, for, be very well assured, that he has come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” - J. M. Pike.

I think perhaps no one knows better than myself how far short I fall at all times of being worthy of such high commendation, but I give it here to show the wonderful spirit that existed between brethren in those days. If we erred it was on the right side after all. I wrote regularly for some years for the “Way of Faith,” my articles for a long time appearing almost weekly.

We stopped next at Atlanta, Ga., where we received a hearty welcome from Sister Sexton. The Lord blessed our ministry much there. Brother Boehmer left us at Columbia, for Altamont Bible School. He later took up pastoral work for himself in the south. We were glad we had helped to get him into the field definitely for God. (He is still active in the work at this writing.) We had some blessed meetings in Atlanta. Little Ruth developed the mumps there. She evidently had contracted them at Columbia. Here then was the sickness the Lord had shown me before we started south. Little John began to show symptoms of them also. Hell began to rage. I was preaching twice daily.

My main message here was the revelation of Jesus in the “baptism.” It was the same message God had held me to at Eighth and Maple. The great danger was the people worshipping the sign of “tongues,” rather than the Lord, thus making a brazen serpent of it again (a “piece of brass.”) It must be Jesus first of all. The Holy Ghost reveals Jesus. Both Ruth and John had the mumps now. The question was, would wife and myself escape them. But I went on in the work, trusting God.

I left my family here and took a little side trip to Birmingham, Ala. Here I began to suffer much in my body. The mumps evidently were working on me, though I refused to acknowledge it. At Birmingham I had a fierce battle. I met some most precious saints there, but there were some very strange spirits working in the meetings. Brother Pinson was in charge. He was a precious brother, but he had his hands full. The devil evidently wanted to ruin the work. We had a fair share of victory and blessing in spite of the enemy. I began to suffer intensely in my body. I was sick. The spiritual fight was one of the hardest ones I had ever been in. This caused me much suffering in my spirit. The weather was also very hot.

I found many professing a very high state of holiness here. But there was much of “self,” and the spirit was very hard. When “holiness” loses its sweetness it is a fierce thing to come in contact with. This was largely the condition among the opposers of “Pentecost” in Birmingham. A backslidden spirit can become positively devilish, and that in the name of holiness even. I preached ten times in Birmingham.

Returning to Atlanta we started for Houston, Texas. The children had recovered from the mumps. We passed over the same track at night, this time in a Pullman sleeper (the only kind they had on this train), that I had walked the ties over, some years before, as a street evangelist to Mobile. I had some hours between trains at New Orleans, and visited the French quarters there. We reached Houston Dec. 24, just in time for Christmas. I began to develop the mumps on the train the night before. Wife was also beginning to have them. We went to Brother M. E. Layne’s home. I got our trunks from the depot, and went to bed, just in time. I was to have attended a convention there.

God had opened a beautiful home to us there, with every care. We could not have been treated more kindly. I had one of the worst spells of sickness I had ever had. What I suffered was awful. I felt like dying. My jaws locked solid until I could not get a knife-blade between my teeth. But for the fortunate fact of having some front teeth out I could hardly have taken any nourishment. After a week of awful suffering however I began to recover. Wife did not have them quite so bad and was able to wait on me. The Lord protected the family we were stopping with from getting them. We prayed they might be spared, after the kindness they had shown us. They had several children. After three weeks I was able to get out, though very weak, and spoke a few times at the close of the convention. Here I met Brother E. N. Bell for the first time. We can never forget the kindness of Brother and Sister M. E. Layne to us at this time, in whose home we were staying.

I wrote for the “Way of Faith” while sick in Houston, the following observations on the life of a pioneer Pentecostal evangelist, as follows: “The Pentecostal preacher of today is obliged to spend most of his life in old drafty halls, with the poorest kind of ventilation. That means constant tearing down. The nervous strain brings on neuralgia and chronic congestion, through constant cold contracted, and overwork, for there are so few to do this strenuous kind of work today. This means a “living sacrifice,” and the evangelist must find a place to rest, or go under shortly. We have said nothing about the separation from one’s family, whose company others are able to enjoy. Then there are hundreds of other things the people know nothing about, such as dangers in traveling, constant change in beds, food, climate, etc. And we have said nothing of the spiritual conflict, the centering of spiritual opposing forces in each battle, and the constant, awful pressure of the forces of evil of the highest order. One is drawn upon for their utmost resources constantly. The worker is on the floor so much, on his knees in prayer in the meetings, that cold drafts in drafty halls sweep the body constantly. It is hard to keep off your knees in the present work. In fact you are driven to your knees and face in prayer constantly, and that for hours at a time. The remuneration generally is little if any more than expenses paid, and the evangelist is simply a channel in constant, strenuous use, soon to be worn out, and often then cast aside. His only refuge seems to be Heaven. But Jesus is coming soon. Then we shall need nothing more.” - F. Bartleman. Old worn out Pentecostal horses are too often turned out by the roadside, to pick what grass they can find, with poor teeth, until they mercifully die. They are not as a rule turned into a fat pasture, after they are of no more service, to end in comfort and free from care the remainder of their days. Many are under the sod already, from overwork and neglect.

Our next stop was at San Antonio, Texas. Our money was all gone. Little John was taken very sick again. I felt on the train a warning that the devil was about to attack him, but tried to throw off the impression. He had not yet shown any symptoms of sickness. But that night he had convulsions. We spent a terrible night fighting for his life, on our knees, in prayer. The very demons seemed to attack us. He had both grippe and the malaria. We were stopping in the home of Brother and Sister Smate. He was finally delivered.

I preached in all about ten times here. My back pained me terribly, and I was still weak from the mumps and the hot weather. The grippe was attacking me also. I preached at a tent meeting where I met with much fanaticism. My message ran three false prophets out of town. The devil fairly howled. There were many soldiers encamped here and I preached a number of times to these boys in a little mission. I was looking to God for our fare to Los Angeles, and received several letters from a distance with money, after a fierce battle in prayer, and we were able to get on to Phoenix, Arizona. The devil had seemed determined to kill us in Texas. While at San Antonio I visited the old Alamo fort and mission, where Davy Crockett had made his last, heroic stand.

We had a pleasant journey to Phoenix. Running along the Rio Grande we could see old Mexico on the opposite side. We passed through El Paso, and received a warm greeting at Phoenix. We were very tired, and did not have our fares from there to Los Angeles. They were very kind to us in Phoenix. A sister went to look for rooms for us, while I prayed. I soon had the witness that she had found what we needed. Sure enough, she returned soon, having secured housekeeping rooms for us. We now began meetings in a little mission conducted by Brother Scull. We were there nearly three weeks. I spoke twice daily, and three times on Sundays. We spent more time at the altar than we did in preaching, however. The Lord met us in a very deep way.

We had a hard fight with the devil to begin with. Someone threw a rock through the window one night. It just passed over our heads. We were praying with a poor drunk at the altar. The devil did not want to lose his servant. In fact he even sent a preacher all the way from Pasadena, Calif., to oppose me here. So the enemy met me before I reached the state line, to oppose my return to California. But God gave the victory.

Little John was taken very sick again at Phoenix. I battled for his life one whole night in prayer. Was much worn out myself by this time. The money was given us here for our fares to Pasadena, where the Lord showed me we were to locate in California. We arrived there safely February 26, 1909. We had prayed for a home, not knowing where to go. I sent a note to one of the saints that we were coming. Mother Wheaton and Brother Crary met us at the depot. A new Pentecostal Home had just been opened up, at 786 Winona avenue, and they dropped us in there. Thus God had provided again, without our foreknowledge.

I stayed at home over two Sundays, to rest up, and then plunged into the work again. I visited old Azusa Mission, where the Lord met me in great power. At Eighth and Maple He also blessed me wonderfully. I also visited the Upper Room Mission, at 327½ South Spring street. When nearly home one night, in Pasadena, on Winona avenue, about 11:30, two dogs came tearing out at me from a nearby yard. They were known as vicious and dangerous, having already bitten a number of people. Their owner had gone to bed. Strangely enough, just at the same moment the street light went out. It was “the hour of darkness.” Hell seemed suddenly turned loose upon me. The attack was so sudden and unexpected I did not even have time to think. But I cried out instinctively the name of Jesus for help. Instantly the dogs fled from me as though they had been shot. The light came on in the street again at the same moment. It was a strange coincidence. I am sure the devil set the dogs on me. He evidently had the light turned off some way also. But God delivered.

The Lord met and blessed me wonderfully both in Los Angeles, and at Hermon, in preaching, after this. He often broke me up with His love until I would weep like a child, especially at the Upper Room Mission. The leader here opposed me much. His spirit was largely unbroken and he thought me weak. He even implied at one time that I was mentally unbalanced. But he did not understand the love of God. Charles C. Finney, the great evangelist, once said: “If you have much of the Spirit of God, it is not unlikely you will be thought deranged by many. You must make up your mind to be so judged, and so much the more as you live the more above the world, and walk with God.”

Blog editor: This chapter is not proof-read and may contain small spelling errors.

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