Where Art Thou? – By Lewis Williams

Chapter 7

A Campaign Abroad

Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Our souls are on fire. We are having a cloud-burst from above; are in one of the best meetings of our lives. The fire is falling and power is coming down. We are on a four months’ trip in Scotland and Ireland. Have been to Ardrossan and Glasgow in Scotland, and Belfast, Ireland, and are now here at Newtownards, Ireland. These folks are sweeping in, in a way that makes our hearts fairly dance. It is a delight to find people hungry for the truth, and willing to walk in it when they see it. How we wish some of our friends in America could see, or be in this meeting. Think of the people working hard until 7 P. M. daily, and filling and packing a building forty minutes later. How they get home, get their suppers, and get to the meeting we do not know, but they are doing it nightly. God is blessing them. Such listeners! They never take their eyes from the preacher; hardly stir or move, but with eyes riveted drink in the truth. No running out before the close, and, once convinced, out they come. We have not gone once into the audience to deal with them, but remained on the platform, and they have tumbled out and down on their knees to seek God. Have seen young women, when the place was so packed they could not get out to the aisle, spring over the back of a bench and kneel at the altar, soon to come up with the tell-tale shine on their faces. The long altar has been crowded full to overflowing, and as many as five fourteen-foot benches turned into altars at one time. One night we counted fifty-one seekers, all at the altar at one time. Another time fifty-five, and there have been times when there were more than that number. And so many young men! And how they do sing! “There is Power in the Blood” seems to be a favorite, and we have heard them marching in companies around the town at eleven o’clock at night singing until windows came open and doors were unlocked to listen. Truly God is at work.

Quite a number of business men, besides the pastor, are among the number sanctified since the meeting began. Yesterday was a day never to be forgotten. In the morning God helped us to preach on the Second Coming of our Lord. Would to God those who think it a side-track had been in that meeting, and witnessed what we did. Old men, young men, old women, young women, business men, laboring men, and those from all walks and vocations crowded forward. Sinners to be pardoned, believers to be sanctified, until many benches were converted into altars for the penitent forms, until it seemed the whole house would be made into an altar. And it came near it for the entire congregation went to their knees. We could only kneel down and commit the whole thing into the bands of the Holy Ghost. What a time! How they did pray, and how God did answer, until we felt that Heaven was not far away. The morning meeting broke up after two o’clock in the afternoon. At night the meeting began at 6 P. M., and we began preaching at 7 P. M., with wife running an overflow meeting nearly. At 8 P. M. there were three rows clear across deep with seekers. Mrs. Williams came in and took hold of the prayer-meeting, and we ran to the other meeting and preached again, and returned at 9 P. M., to find over fifty had been seeking, and all prayed through but one man, and such a time! It was like stepping into — well, we cannot describe it; but it was glorious.

This meeting has gone beyond all former ones we have been in on this trip. The large lecture room along side of the church has been packed, and the large church thrown open and packed, even the gallery. It is simply wonderful to see the way people struggle to get to the altar, the place is so crowded. Seat after seat is turned into an altar to accommodate the seekers. Since Sunday two meetings are going on at the same time; wife at one place and I at the other, and the Holy Ghost over all. Night before last they had twenty-three seekers at the church and we had seventy-eight at the same time, and the place was packed until eleven o’clock. And when it broke up a crowd of nearly three hundred converts marched the streets singing, “There is power in the Blood.” We have fallen in love with these Irish people, and have promised (D. V.) to come back. Last night things were jammed at 7:20, and before the service ended one hundred and twenty-six knelt at the altar seeking pardon or to be sanctified wholly, and most all professed to find what they came after; and then hat night they marched again. We will never forget it. God bless these folks.

We sold a number of Holiness books, including Dr. Godbey’s Commentaries, “Pentecost Rejected,” and “The Tobacco Vice,” by A. M. Hills, and “The Old Man,” by Dr. Carradine. One brother, the district steward, wants us to send him a supply of Holiness books, and he is going to put them on sale in his store.

We closed happy and looking for Jesus to come. Bless His name!

(The following appeared in the Christian Witness, March 25, 1905.)

Some weeks ago I sent you a report of a campaign conducted by Major and Mrs. L. Milton Williams, of Fishkill-on-Hudson, in Ardrosson, Scotland.

Before saying anything about the work accomplished in other places, it might be well to say a few things about the spiritual condition of Scotland generally.

The present fight going on between the Legal Free Church and what was the majority part of the Free Church, which united with the United Presbyterian Church, has created a condition in church life that will take many, many years to overcome.

The fight is a fight for property and social standing, not a fight for souls.

Scotland is Calvinistic, it breathes in everything you read, in everything you hear. “Once in grace always in grace” is accepted as the true position of all who by faith claim Christ as their Savior; this, too, when the life gives no evidence of fruit unto holiness, when purity is not desired and grace is non-existent. How much the spiritual life of Scotland has suffered from this it is impossible to say.

The Methodist churches fill a very small place in the religious life of Scotland. I believe this is largely so, from the fact that the definite second work of grace known as sanctification, as taught by John Wesley, has no place in the preaching of the preachers, or in the life of the people. It is my firm conviction that the Methodist churches in Scotland would have had greater success, been a mightier force spiritually, and accomplished greater things for God, had they maintained their glorious standard of heart purity and the baptism with the Holy Ghost. What an opportunity they have missed!

Keswickism has been making some headway in Scotland. “Being filled for service” is the popular phrase oft heard and oft emphasized. What sad confessions are heard on every hand. They say, “We went to the conventions, we followed the injunctions of the speakers, believed we were filled for service, returned home, began to serve, as we thought in the Spirit, when lo, before we knew it, something happened that took away our blessing, and we were powerless in the things we tried to do.”

Such, then, is the soil where true holiness is to take root. From our standpoint it is the other extreme of the theology of Scotland, and almost every professing Christian here is a theologian. They delight in controversy. They are not so much seekers of the new, as defenders of the old, and until you have demolished the old, the new they will not seek. The battle in which Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been engaged in Scotland and Ireland has been terrific but grand and glorious.

After Ardrosson came Glasgow. Here they spent two weeks in the Seaman’s Chapel. The spoils of war were many. Many were shorn of their creed. Many started for the kingdom, many entered into perfect rest.

Best of all some students in the Glasgow Bible Training Institute, a school begun out of Moody’s work in Glasgow, received the blessing and are standing true to this day. Great things are expected of them in their active ministry.

Then came Belfast. Here the work was in a Methodist mission. The time was Christmas and New Year and many preparations for festivities interrupted the work. Nevertheless, God was present and much blessing was received.

After Belfast came Newtonards. What is here written is taken from a report sent to the Christian Advocate in Belfast: “Services were held every evening, Saturdays included, and there were a number of afternoon services held, some for children and some for adults. On Sundays the meetings were almost all-day gatherings, with intervals for dinner and tea. From the commencement the power of the Holy Ghost rested on the work. At the first service some came seeking pardon and some the blessing of entire sanctification, and right on to the present, every night some came forward seeking mercy or cleansing. On several nights there was a real breaking down in the after meeting, both in the church and lecture hall. On one night seventy-eight came to the altar, on another night one hundred and one, on another one hundred and twenty-seven, and on the second Sunday at three meetings one hundred and forty-three came out seeking for blessing. Hundreds have testified that their sins are forgiven, and some of the older Christians have been enabled to rejoice in hearts cleansed from all sin; some who have served Christ for many years testified to the fact that it was an old-fashioned Methodist revival. The penitent forms used for those seeking mercy were simply bathed with tears and spotted from end to end.

The final mission of the series was in Motherwell, Scotland. The writer was converted there some twenty years ago. It is the center of much evangelistic and spiritual work. Every phase of teaching has had a chance here.

The prominent teachers of Keswick are invited here every year to hold holiness conventions. Whatever good was accomplished you never heard any one say that they had been “cleansed from all sin,” or that they had received the blessing of sanctification at these gatherings. Much prayer had been made in behalf of the mission to be held in Motherwell. Now that it is past, the people themselves say that such a mission was without a parallel in the town’s history. The hall was packed nightly and on Sabbaths the large town hall was packed to overflowing, many unable to gain admission. I never heard Brother Williams preach with such power, never saw the Word take such effect, never did I see a people thoroughly aroused. The scenes at the altar were beyond description. Old and young came forward. They came in twenties, forties and sixties. They always knew what they came for — pardon or purity — what sights; what groanings and what prayers, then what peace, what glowing faces and what triumphant shouts! Past the midnight hour were found seekers on their knees praying their way through. They refunded stolen money, they confessed crimes, they took off gold adornments, they laid aside pipes, tobacco and cigarettes, they made up old-time friendships. The citadel had been stormed, the garrison had surrendered. God and entire sanctification had won a glorious victory.

Holiness has come to stay in Scotland. The books, “Old Man,” “Pentecost Rejected,” “Ideal Pentecostal Church” have been placed in hundreds of homes. The country needs teachers of holiness. Brother and Sister Williams have done grandly. Their ministry has not been in vain. To God be all the glory. Amen and amen. — Rev. George Sharpe, E. V., Congregational Manse, Ardrosson, Scotland.”

(After reading the above, I wrote the following which appeared in a later issue.)

The morning mail has just brought to our door your issue of date March 23, in which we read, “A Campaign Abroad,” written by Rev. Geo. Sharpe, of some things that God allowed us to see while in Scotland and Ireland. The same mail brought us a letter from the treasurer of the Church (Methodist) in Newtonards, Ireland, and on reading the two there has been a train of thought awakened in our minds, and thinking perhaps you would allow us a little space in your columns we send you the following: First, I wish to quote from the letter above referred to. The writer, who is a business man and employing quite a large staff of help in his business, says: “The majority in my business are now converted, the last one being the girl who keeps the books. We swarmed around her in the prayer-meeting; all prayed, and lastly, she herself; then the light broke in and the joy bells rang. The mission (special services) is still going on and the place is full every night, and there are conversions almost every night; about twenty last night and twenty-five the night before. Altogether between eleven and twelve hundred have been to the penitent form since you started the meeting. There are open-air meetings held during the meal hours at the factories and at different places every evening before the service. The ‘Dutchman,’ as you christened him, is in great form, and the young fellows are doing splendidly. Several times they have stayed nearly all night for praise and prayer. Tramps have been converted and are getting on well. A man told me one night he would not go to the penitent form at all. A few nights afterwards he walked up to the front and fell down, before the invitation was given. A young lady who sought sanctification when you were here, got it the other morning at three o’clock. I met her on the street the evening before, and the first question was, ‘Have you got entire sanctification yet?’ I did not say, ‘I hope I had,’ or ‘believe I had,’ but simply that ‘I had,’ and the reply seems to have encouraged her. The pastor has gotten the blessing, and no mistake, and is working harder than ever. The mission may keep on, until you come back; then we shall have a high old time. (I promised to return to Ireland for another visit). You will need to bring your big Tabernacle with you, as we do not stock anything of the kind over here. May the work go on here, and with you. We prayed hard for the meeting at Motherwell and are glad that you had the victory.”

Here is a church (Methodist) which flung its doors open to the preaching of the full truth The first man to come to the altar to seek the experience of entire sanctification was the pastor, a good, clean, straightforward, godly man, who had a clean, clear-cut conversion and who had no doubt as to his call to the ministry. He had had revivals in every charge where he had served and was loved and held in the highest esteem by his present congregation. He was followed to the altar by his leading official men, with the above named consequences.

That meeting had been going sixty-three days when the above letter was written, although the evangelist only remained fifteen days at the beginning of the meeting. The church as a body swept into a new experience, and now note the results. That meeting is still going on and at the time the above letter was written between eleven and twelve hundred had been at the altar. The country is stirred, perhaps, as it has never been before on the subject of salvation. Whole families have swept into the kingdom and hundreds of young people have turned from a worldly life to God, and the work is still going on. Now what would have been the results had that pastor refused to walk in the light, sought the experience that he said he believed in when he was ordained, and that church closed its doors against the proclamation of a Gospel that saves men from all sin?

We have in mind another town and another church, of the same denomination. Holiness knocked for admittance. Some of its members had professed to have had the experience. The pastor found excuse to keep the doors of that church closed against the proposed meeting, though it was to be conducted by one of the leading evangelists of the country, whose name and writings are known from ocean to ocean, and of the same faith and doctrine that he (pastor) had sworn to teach. Again holiness knocked for admittance to that church, and as many times the doors were closed against it, forcing the meeting to outside and independent sources. I repeat, straight, clean men, ministers of the same denomination, and on whose lives not a flaw could be found, were called to conduct the meetings and help proclaim the glorious truth, but not only were the doors of that church closed, but the pastor took an attitude that threw his influence against the work, going so far as arguing with the seekers, etc. What have been the results? That church has each winter tried in vain to have a revival. It called evangelists, who were not pronounced teachers of entire sanctification as a second definite work, to its help, but after some two weeks of effort, the meetings closed, and the number of converts could be counted on the fingers of the two hands. Last winter another special effort was made and sister churches, which had also held aloof from the holiness meetings, and pastors who had advised even unsaved men to remain away from the holiness meetings, together united in meetings for weeks, and not a single convert was made. What is the condition of that church today? Its pastor is a tobacco user, its leading official men likewise, some of whom recently figured in a burnt-cork negro farce at the opera house. Some of its members, who had started for God, are backslidden and away from God. They have told us this with their own lips. Its young people sneer and slur at those who profess to be sanctified and are living holy lives, or at God’s plain statements about holiness and entire sanctification. This is not fiction, but simply plain statements of truth, as it exists today.

Now, noting the difference of the conditions in the two churches spoken of in this article and remembering the difference between the actions of the two pastors, the question we have in mind is, who is to blame, and who will be responsible at the bar of God for the results. One, with meeting still going on and salvation sweeping the neighborhood, accomplishing what God called her into existence to perform: the other locked arm-in-arm with the world, the flesh and the devil, while souls are going down to Hell, souls that could have been reached and brought to God, had that pastor been true to his vows of consecration and the church true to her own doctrines. What a reward will the one receive from the right hand of Him who sitteth upon the throne, when he makes a return of his talents; and there come up with him the souls that have been, as a fruit of his ministry and his life, washed in the precious blood, and stand with him in undisputed evidence before his Maker. What about the hundreds of homes of prayer, sending out into the world their boys and girls from the sanctity of the family altar? How many drunkards saved, and girls kept from a wayward life?

But what will the other man have to say to his Christ for his actions? He cannot say he did not know, for he did know. What will he say when he meets, in judgment, those who were turned away from the truth by his actions? What will that church say, when hundreds who might have been saved at her altars, but were doomed to darkness forever, face her with her actions at the judgment bar?

Does any reader say the above churches are exceptional cases? Let him ask almost any of the holiness evangelists and teachers of this country about those who have closed their doors against the proclamation of the whole truth of God’s revealed Word regarding holiness and the sanctified life. As to the first church mentioned, thank God such can be found, but only here and there, it is true. We are in one at this present writing, that bids fair to assume such proportions. Grace M. E. Church, Warren, Pa., with Rev. E. C. Deleplain as pastor, a lifelong friend of the writer. We are now in the midst of a gracious outpouring of the sanctifying Spirit. Church packed to the street; conviction deep; altars, front and side seats lined with weeping, groaning, pleading seekers after pardon or purity. Last night between fifty-five and sixty men and women, some of whom were the officials of the church, down at the altar weeping and with tears streaming down their faces, crying out loud to God. The night before there were ninety-one and for a week the church has been crowded and many are sweeping into liberty and light. Old debts are being paid, old grudges confessed, and set right, stolen things are being put back. Only yesterday we listened to a call from over the phone, telling of stolen money being confessed and replaced. God is in the camp and the end is not yet. Oh, that a tidal wave may sweep apostate churches and backslidden preachers out of the way, and God get a chance to honor His great name and cause. — Milton Williams.