Message Delivered at Leicester, Good Friday Morning, April 18th, 1919
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
I am glad for this privilege and providence which we enjoy this morning, but I hope that we will not forget the millions that do not have them. The only way or them to have the light is for us to take it to them. I think if the Holy Ghost had His way, thousands and possibly millions would be reached by this nucleus here this morning. I believe the Holy Ghost will give us a vision, but it is useless to have a vision of Calvary unless a vision of lost humanity is connected with it.
I have been coming to your country for a number of years. I have been deeply impressed. I like your country and the character of your people, but I have left every time disappointed and dissatisfied.
There was a desire in my heart that something might be brought here, not by tradition, not by education, not by popularity, not by intellectuality, but by the supernatural work of the Holy Ghost. I have never seen anything to satisfy that desire until now. I am leaving in three or four days and going to the field of the world's tragedy and the supreme work of carnality which has been gathering for twenty centuries. I am not going just to see something, but I am going there to have woven in the fibers of my soul a thread that could not be gotten by print or from any tongue, but by prayer and walking over the fields, and standing in the place where the supreme sacrifice of humanity has been made. I know I will have your prayers. I am leaving much when I leave. It is not in haste, but by special prayer and special providence.
A great many people do not understand what we are going to say this morning. I do not know that they ever will; but it is true, it is experimental, it is supernatural, it is inexplicable and it is inexhaustible. This meeting has not been produced as a pastime, and it has not come into Leicester on the waves of the wind or on the breath of the air, or by carnal preparation, but it has been dropped down from heaven, and I think you are honored with one of most supernatural nuclei that this world has today. Be careful how you treat it, take the lessons you get from it, sacrifice for it, and the world will be blessed by it.
I have read this morning of the topless, sideless, measureless, and unknown secrets of the Holy Ghost in the inspired word. There is no bottom and there are no sides. It has not been discovered by brains, it can only be found by faith. It is staggering and inspiring; it is educating and refining; it will lift every burden from every heart; it will destroy sin, and eternity will bring results from it.
The union between God and man by the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire is the final work of Divinity for humanity, and it lasts through time and eternity if we walk in the light. Now, in this union there never enters affection; in this union there never enters friends or foes, climate or country, tradition or education. This union is supremely the work of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing that will stand before a man who is filled with the Holy Ghost, everything crumbles beneath his feet, and everyone is blessed by the presence of that man. I am speaking now of one man, a man from any society or locality, any color or class, of any age, with any talent or lack of talent, brains or lack of brains, ability or lack of ability. God has coined out some of His choice gems from the scrap iron piles that have been neglected by human thought and society, and He has placed them where they will shine for ever and ever. He has taken out characters, and He has so changed them that they do not seem to have any relatives, they simply recognize what God has done. The world has buried them in the sands of neglect and despair. Just let the Holy Ghost pick out the man, choose him where He will, and let Him do a supernatural work in his heart, and it will stagger hell and defeat the devil. He is able to do it.
Faith has no defeat, faith knows no defeat. Feelings are treacherous and dangerous and damnable, friends may become the mightiest foes. Riches may fly away on the wings of the morning, and leave one in the depths of poverty, a millionaire may become a pauper, but a man filled with the Holy Ghost treads on solid granite which has been laid by the hand of God. Martyrs and missionaries and holy men have walked upon it, and they speak to the world today, and say there is nothing better. I want you to see that the little flickering flashes and emotions that are stirred by the tongue of eloquence and the knowledge of man, will fade away. They are shallow and disappointing, and they will send people to hell, but the revelation of God, born in eternity and brought by Divinity to the heart of humanity lasts for ever. There is no defeat in the realm where the person lives who has the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost. "But," somebody says, "I don't have victory." That is your own fault, not mine. Faith never spelt defeat, faith never read a book with defeat in it, faith never walked a carpet with defeat under it. Every other thing has been defeated, and every other plan has crumbled, but faith lives when it cannot speak, it lives when it cannot feel. It lives in simplicity, it lives in humility, it lives in time, and it lives through eternity. It lives in God. It lives. It lives and never dies! The germ of faith is in the broken heart of Divinity and it is revealed by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and it has produced results that will last through all eternity.
I have thought of numbers of places that I would like to be in this morning. I have a message not simply for this place, but for the world. God woke me early this morning and begun to speak to me. The first thing I asked for was an answer to prayer, and I believed I would get it. I got out of bed and I wanted a fire. I went to the match box and I looked in, but there was no match. I took the box to pieces, but I could not find a match. There were three ornaments on the mantelpiece, but they were empty. They were like some of you. When people are empty you can put anything in them, when a preacher is empty you can put anything in him, and when a Church is empty you can fill it with the moving picture show and the rummage sale, and every other damnable thing that is being used by hell to please carnality in the twentieth century. In one of the ornaments there were some burnt matches, but I knew it was useless to try and use them. I went back and prayed a little longer, and the Holy Ghost said, "You can have a fire, sure, you can have a fire." I said, "If You say I can have a fire I will have one." I went again and I started with my match box. I went to the next place, and the next, and in one of those ornaments there was a big match. I took that match and thanked God that He answers prayer today, in the same old-fashioned way. It blessed me nearly to death.
I have been to so many places this morning and I hardly knew when it was time to come to meeting. I want to tell you that our selfishness and our tradition has nearly damned us. Answers to prayer are hanging on the door knob and the bed posts. The devil said, "Oh, ring that bell and you will get some matches." But I got out of that swan with its head to the east an answer to prayer. I went to New York, and wanted to come here, and the authorities said, "You can't have a ticket." I left the office and went down and looked at the water, and the Holy Ghost said, "You can go. I took the train and went back home, and Mrs. Stalker said, "What did they say? I told her they said I could not come, but the Holy Ghost said I could. A few days later I went to hear a man speak. I don't very often go, but I went that day, and that man got up and said it would be an impossibility for anyone to cross the Atlantic without special authority, and the people believed it. I sat back there and the Holy Ghost said, "You can go."
I was just about to come when the war broke out, and I went to the agent, but he advised me not to go. I went home and went to my room, took my Bible and prayed a little, and the Holy Ghost told me I could go to Central America. I went down there and everything was all right. They had malaria and people were afraid I should get the disease, but I was not a bit afraid. I stayed there four months, never slept on a bed and never had a meal in a house, but some people received the Holy Ghost and have been going on ever since. I was entertained in one beautiful place, and they drove out the hogs while I had my supper, luncheon or tea. I returned thanks and ate willingly, and the folk came to the meetings and were saved from sin. The hogs have never been back since, but the Holiness Movement is going on. I want to encourage some of you who are thinking that Holiness is just for a little select company. The world is dying for this message. I want you to see that the faith that was answered down in Central America was answered this morning on my mantelpiece. That is exactly it. There is no defeat to faith. Faith picks out of a little thing, made by a man's hand, an answer to prayer. Faith can go to Central America, with malaria all around, and get answers to prayer.
Faith never has been defeated and it never will be. I don't say you are defeated -- some of you look as if you are, but I say faith never is. A man filled with the Holy Ghost was never defeated, he has never spelt defeat. He has stood under hell's artillery, he has gone without a morsel of bread, he has been on the mountain top at midnight, he has been on a rough sea, and all but faith has been defeated. I want you to see this morning that when you get that faith, burned in you by the Holy Ghost, you can be a source of blessing to a lost world. If you miss it you will be a disappointment to God, and you will be locked up in a devil's hell, asking for a drop of water. I am not saying these things in haste. I am giving you the secrets gathered from the most sacred places on earth, from the darkest hour of the midnight, from the most extreme conditions. I have prayed over them and I bring them to you this morning, as a most sacred trust. If you do not see them all in a minute, if they do not glisten with diamonds that are said to be in them, if the change is not so radical, if you will meet the divine conditions God will do a real work. The Holy Ghost is faithful.
When you go into the mental realm you go into a limited realm, A man only has so many brains. Some have business brains, and some have other brains, but, beloved, the mental realm is limited, people Can only go so far. In the physical realm you Can only do so much, you Can only stand so much pain, you can only bear so much sorrow. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. I want you to get this thought this morning because of what the Holy Ghost wants to speak to your soul. You are limited, you can only go about so far, and about so long, then you must rest, you must sleep.
I was talking to an engineer who had been working extra hours and he had not slept for a long time. He said his engine was running along and he was sound asleep. The fireman reached over and shook him and told him he dare not sleep with his hand on the throttle. He said he would have passed any station, he was so fast asleep. His mind could not stand the strain. His responsibility was the same, his hand was on the throttle, the people were in the sleeper and they were expecting to arrive at their destination, but the man was asleep.
That, truly, is a picture of the modern Protestant pulpit, with its educated ministry, controlled by carnality, and entertained by intellectuality. It is asleep. Asleep, there it is. And he said, "Mr. Stalker, I do not know how many stations I would have passed, my hand was in its place, but I was asleep." That is the way man is made, he can only stand so much. He is limited. When the Holy Ghost comes to take possession of the mind and the body, He takes you into the realm of the unlimited, the realm of the supernatural. He takes you into the place where you can drop down in any little sod house and have an interest in the world's redemption, and after you have been in heaven for a million years you will have people come to you and tell you that your prayer and your obedience in Leicester was the cause of their being saved in China, or in Africa, in Japan, or the islands of the sea. I believe it as much as I believe I am here.
Oh, this narrow conception of life, a little something to eat or wear, and some people to flatter you. It is child's play, it is chaff, it is cheap, it will do for hell, but the Holy Ghost will take you into a realm where you live in the heart of God and in the heart of needy humanity. You will not need a house much. Jesus did not have any house. I have one, but I use it very little. When one started to follow Jesus, He said, "The birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." Beloved, when you get a vision of Calvary's cross, outside Jerusalem's wall, with the long-haired Rabbis, with the doomed and almost damned city, you will not live in a little space, you will not live in a little corner or crevice, you, will live in the great will of God. The waves of the will of God touch every broken heart for whom Jesus died, and you are willing to go and live in them This thought of living like Carnegie in his five million dollar mansion is only cheap stuff. I would rather live in a sod house, I would rather have no pictures on the wall, and go up to the judgment bar of God and hear "Well done."
Faith knows no defeat, and a man filled with the Holy Ghost is just as victorious when they are picking up his ashes after he has been burnt at the stake by the persecuting forces of hell. Paul was just as victorious when his head rolled from the block as he was when he stood on Mars Hill. He was just as victorious in the shipwreck and when he went to land on the board. Madam Guyon was just as victorious in the Bastille as she was outside. Many of you have looked down when you ought to have looked up, you have gone down when you God wanted you to go up. Get the Holy Ghost, not a profession, not a little success; let Him come in and take control and there will be fruitage in eternity.
The most lonesome character that the sun ever shone on is the man who is filled with the Holy Ghost, he cannot go with his family and his friends. Some of you do not see that, but you will never see the center or the circumference of the will of God until it is revealed by the Holy Ghost. John was taken to the Isle of Patmos by his persecutors, and he was so lonesome. They landed him on the sand on a Sunday morning, and he had a Holiness meeting, he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day. I saw my family, -- I was next to the baby -- I saw my father and mother with tears in their eyes when they took my hand and I said "good bye." I have never seen them since. I used to be in their presence, but the Holy Ghost came and He called me out. You do not realize all it means. I am not saying that for sympathy. I am saying that for God to burn something into your hearts. You cannot go with your family, you must go with the Holy Ghost. A preacher cannot go with his congregation, they are going to hell. He can go with them as long as he will entertain them and satisfy their fancy, but when he goes into the Holy of Holies and he gets secrets at the midnight hour direct from the Holy Ghost, they will leave him and he will be lonesome. You cannot go with the people and go with the Holy Ghost. Such characters are isolated, they have found their secrets in the sand and they were precious. They were inspired by the Holy Ghost and we read them today. Think how lonesome Daniel was when he went into the lion's den. He prayed in the upper room with his window open. They meant to stop him praying, but he was filled with the Holy Ghost and he knew God so well that when they put him in the lion's den he said:
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take; These things I ask, for Jesus' sake.
The old lion was tied by the rope of prayer, or possibly he would have joined him; but its mouth was closed. Daniel could say it and, out of that den, that dark, dingy den, with the strongest of beasts, that lonely character could get an answer to prayer that has staggered carnality and the authorities for centuries. That is what you get in isolation. Everybody who has received the Holy Ghost has been different from the rest of the family.
Listen, there is a little place tucked away on the hill yonder. Some carpenters live there and a few other Classes, and from that little isolated place One came. The people had said, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? " It seems to me there are some Choice places. "Can any good thing Come out of Nazareth? " Faith. They said to Paul, "Don't go down there, they are going to kill you," and they put their arms around his neck and hugged him. He put them off, he clipped affections. "What mean ye to weep and to break my heart? I am ready to die." "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Good-bye, no affections ever crossed over the threshold of a man's heart who was filled with the Holy Ghost. He will tread upon the fine Cords of affection as if it were a mud road. He will see faces filled with tears, but he will walk steadily on. He will pass by every tender, touching thing and press his way through, he will have victory. Many a husband is going to be damned because of his wife, many a parent is going to hell because he has failed to take his proper place in his family, and many a family is going to be wrecked because there was no odd one who would step out and go with God. A man filled with the Holy Ghost lives and dies in the will of God. He gets in and he never wants to get out. This old world has no attractions and no fascinations, the things that take the attention of other people are tossed up like tops and toys, he lives in the will of God and there is nothing for him outside of it.
The germ of faith placed in the heart of the pure always lives under the blood and under the direction, the comfort and the counsel of the Holy Ghost. That is where it finds its life and that is where it has its fruit.
God wants to speak to somebody about a country this morning, He wants to speak to someone about a community, He wants to put a dagger in somebody's soul that they may have a larger outlook from this hour. I do not say it because of the presence of anyone, but the atmosphere that has been thrown around me by the nucleus of faith and prayer has enabled me to tell out by the fireside some secrets that have not been worded for years. This old world is not ready for them. A man filled with the Holy Ghost has no life, no inspiration, no object, no cause for living outside the will of God. When he is out of that he is out of his environment, when he is in that he is content.
This morning God wants some people who will receive the Holy Ghost and give their brain cells, fresh and clear, for Him to use, some who will have enough vitality to get the secrets from heaven and give them out to others. There may be too much activity, and too much noise, but there never has been too much meditation, too much revelation, or too much prayer. We are coming up to Easter, but how many are going to get anything out of the open grave? How many are going to stop with the sign "Christ is risen? " How many are going to stop with the crowds and the new hats and the new dresses? How few are going to get out of Easter what is in Easter. If the sun ever shone on an Easter-time when we needed the secrets of the Holy Ghost it is now. Let us walk softly and prayerfully and get something from heaven.
A man filled with the Holy Ghost lives in the supernatural. He lives away up yonder, ahead of the crowds. Beloved, the hardest thing I have to deal with is to know that there is before every heart a life in the Holy Ghost that few ever enjoy. It is a very important thing. I would not urge, I would not over-reach, but I would have everyone who is not sure that the Holy Ghost has come, to enter into a Covenant and let Him in.
Supernatural possibilities, eternal realities and constant victory lie before all who are willing to step out with God and honor the Holy Ghost. I have not said a thing this morning that you cannot find in the Bible. It has been produced by holy character and holy lives. I want to say, beloved, there is no competition; you have a field all your own and there is a world almost damned that is waiting for this message. Mrs. Stalker and I stood for hours, under deep conviction, as we saw the hungry multitudes come up. They were sick and they were suffering and they came to the idol that was made of stone. Its head was rubbed, its sides were rubbed, the hands were rubbed nearly off, and the feet were scarcely there. Why? So much of the world's need had come there. They had come, and if their sides were hurting they had rubbed the sides of the idol. They expected from that idol what they must have from the broken heart of the Son of God. They went away sick.
We have come to the day when the Holy Ghost alone can do the work, He alone can give the vision, He alone is equal to the emergency and the opportunity. Beloved, you can miss it; you can sit in meeting and miss it; you can go out of this meeting and go to hell.
Ananias and Sapphira did. You can be where the silken thread of the cord of the Holy Ghost has been handed down and the waves of prayer have come from the ocean of God and you can go out and hear the hissing of serpents, and the weeping and wailing and the gnashing of teeth. You will never be the same again when you leave this meeting; you cannot sit in this atmosphere and ever be the same. You are nearer hell or nearer heaven. You are more sealed and withered by carnality or the germs of faith are gripping and grasping the need of the hour.