How God's Power Came
by Andrew Storm
He was known as the Apostle of Faith, and if anyone deserved
to be described as "full of faith and of the Holy
Ghost", it was him. He lived and walked continually
in the presence of God. And the miracles that accompanied
his ministry were of the sort that have seldom been seen
since the days of the apostles. People born blind and
deaf, cripples - twisted and deformed by disease, others
on death's door with cancer or sickness of every kind,-
all were healed by the mighty power of God. Even the dead
in 1859 into poverty, Smith Wigglesworth was converted
by the Methodists at eight years of age. Even then, he
was hungry for God and hungry for souls. He was in the
choir of the local Episcopal church. "When most of
the boys in the choir were twelve years of age they had
to be confirmed by the bishop. I was not twelve, but between
nine and ten, when the bishop laid his hands on me. I
can remember that as he imposed his hands I had a similar
experience to the one I had forty years later when I was
baptized in the Holy Spirit. My whole body was filled
with the consciousness of God's presence, a consciousness
that remained with me for days. After the confirmation
service all the other boys were swearing and quarreling,
and I wondered what had made the difference between them
Frodsham, 'Smith Wigglesworth, Apostle of Faith', pg 13.
-Most of the following quotes are also taken from this
Wigglesworth was fully-immersed in water by the Baptists.
But please remember that all of his early years of ministry
and seeking God came well before the 'Azusa Street' Revival
and the early Pentecostal movement. Smith had a hunger
after God, and he experienced many breakthroughs into
new levels of anointing even well before he experienced
the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
He was already renowned for his healing ministry, and
had seen God move in great power, even well before the
new Pentecostal experience was being talked about. Unlike
us today, who basically begin with Baptism in the Spirit
as our first real anointing, for Smith this was the culmination
of years of seeking and hungering after God, and so it
was much closer to a real New Testament enduement of "power
from on high".
Wigglesworth: "I had the grounding in Bible teaching
among the Plymouth Brethren. I marched under the blood
and fire banner of the Salvation Army, learning to win
souls in the open air. I received the second blessing
of sanctification and a clean heart under the teaching
of Reader Harris and the Pentecostal League. I claimed
the gift of the Holy Spirit by faith as I waited ten days
before the Lord. But in Sunder- land, in 1907, I knelt
before God and had an Acts 2:4 experience..." (Pg
119). He described this experience as follows: "She
[Mrs Boddy, a minister's wife] laid her hands on me and
then had to go out of the room. The fire fell. It was
a wonderful time as I was there with God alone. He bathed
me in power. I was conscience of the cleansing of the
precious blood, and I cried out: 'Clean! Clean! Clean!'
I was filled with the joy of the consciousness of the
cleansing. I was given a vision in which I saw the Lord
Jesus Christ. I beheld the empty cross, and I saw Him
exalted at the right hand of God the Father. I could speak
no longer in English, but I began to praise Him in other
tongues as the Spirit of God gave me utterance. I knew
then, although I might have received anointings previously,
that now, at last, I had received the real Baptism in
the Holy Spirit as they received on the day of Pentecost."
this experience, there was no stopping Smith Wigglesworth.
He was a flame for God, and the fire fell wherever he
went. He said: "I believe God's ministers are to
be flames of fire. Nothing less than flames. Nothing less
than mighty instruments, with burning messages, with hearts
full of love. They must have a DEPTH OF CONSECRATION,
that God has taken full charge of the body, and it exists
only that it may manifest the Glory of God.
A Baptism into death in which the person is purified and
energized..." He was certainly possessor of an audacity,
a daring, a boldness the like of which has rarely been
seen in Christendom in modern times. It was not uncommon
for him to announce in his meetings: "Every sermon
that Christ preached was prefaced by a model miracle.
We are going to follow His example. The first person in
this large audience that stands up, whatever his or her
sickness, I'll pray for that one and God will deliver
him or her." And the first person to stand, even
if they were the most deformed cripple, would be healed!
another typical occasion, a man came forward for prayer
for stomach pain, and, commanding the pain to be gone,
Wigglesworth punched the man in the stomach so hard that
he was sent half-way across the room (completely healed)!
This kind of thing happened more than once. Wigglesworth
believed in COMMANDING the sick to be healed in Jesus'
name. His was an aggressive, holy faith. He was a "violent"
man, taking ground from the devil by force. And yet he
was also a man of great compassion, as well as of great
authority. The devil certainly felt it when Smith Wigglesworth
number of people were also raised literally from the dead
under Smith's ministry. Here is his own account of one
occasion: "My friend said, 'She is dead.' He was
scared. I have never seen a man so frightened in my life.
'What shall I do?' he asked. You may think that what I
did was absurd, but I reached over into the bed and pulled
her out. I carried her across the room, stood her against
the wall and held her up, as she was absolutely dead.
I looked into her face and said, 'In the name of Jesus
I rebuke this death.' From the crown of her head to the
soles of her feet her whole body began to tremble. 'In
the name of Jesus, I command you to walk,' I said. I repeated,
'In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, walk!' and
she walked." (Pg 59). Not only was this woman raised
from the dead, but she was instantly healed from a terrible
illness also. She began to testify to people of her death
experience and restoration. It has been recorded that
Smith Wigglesworth raised 23 people from the dead in total,
over the years of his ministry.
time when Smith was waiting at a bus-stop, a woman was
having trouble getting her small dog, which had followed
her, to go home. First she tried sweet-talking it, and
asking it to please go home. But after awhile of trying
this to no avail, the woman suddenly stamped her foot
and said severely: 'Go home at once!' The dog immediately
took off home, with its tail between its legs. 'That's
how you have to treat the devil', said Wigglesworth, loudly
enough for all those waiting at the bus-stop to hear.
And this was his attitude toward the devil, every moment
of every waking day. He literally traveled the world in
the 1920's and 1930's, and thousands were saved and healed
everywhere he went. Often he would arrive in a place almost
unknown and unheralded, but within days there would be
thousands thronging to hear, the power of God demonstrated
in his meetings was so great. God was truly glorified
everywhere he went.
was a man who walked and lived in the very presence of
God. And yet, in many ways he was a very natural, down-to-earth
man. And neither was he afraid of issuing the odd stern
rebuke. His object was to be in constant, unbroken communion
with the Father. He had spent hours and days fervently
seeking God in his early years, but later, "Although
his life was a combination of incessant prayer and praise,
and every word and work was an act of worship, he was
not given to protracted periods of fasting and prayer."
(Pg 122). Instead, he had learned the secret of being
in continuous, intimate communion with God (sometimes
withdrawing quietly into himself for this purpose), even
when he was in a crowd of people. He walked by faith,
and he was "in the Spirit" at all times. This
was one vital secret to his success. He said, "There
are two sides to this Baptism: The first is, you possess
the Spirit; The second is that the Spirit possesses you."
(See 'The Life of Smith Wigglesworth' by Jack Hywel-Davies).
He had counted the cost, and everything was God's. He
was a man who truly understood GODLY AUTHORITY, and he
WALKED in it by faith. He said, "'Be filled with
the Spirit,' so filled that there will be no room left
for anything else." That was the way he lived. Full
of audacity, full of daring, "full of faith and of
the Holy Ghost."
one occasion, he recalled, "I was traveling to Cardiff
in South Wales. I had been much in prayer on the journey.
The carriage was full of people whom I knew to be unsaved,
but as there was so much talking and joking I could not
get in a word for my Master. As the train was nearing
the station, I thought I would wash my hands... and as
I returned to the carriage, a man jumped up and said,
'Sir, you convince me of sin,' and fell on his knees there
and then. Soon the whole carriage of people was crying
out the same way. They said, 'Who are you? What are you?
You convince us all of sin'..." (Stanley Frodsham,
'Smith Wiggles- worth, Apostle of Faith', pg 80).
episode reminds me very much of another bold, forthright
and anointed evangelist - Charles G. Finney, who had found
after a mighty Baptism of the Holy Spirit some years before,
that even passing comments that he made pierced people
to the heart with conviction of sin. He had gone on to
become one of the greatest Revivalists of all time. (He
died in 1875).
Wigglesworth placed great emphasis on purity and holiness,
like all true Revivalists. He said, "You
must every day make higher ground. You must deny yourself
to make progress with God. You must refuse everything
that is not pure and holy. God wants you pure in heart.
He wants you to have an intense desire after holiness...
Two things will get you to leap out of yourselves into
the promises of God today. One is purity, and the other
is FAITH, which is kindled more and more BY PURITY."
(Pg 125). This one statement contains what is probably
the key secret to Smith Wigglesworth's outstanding success
in God. And it is obviously a key that is well worth remembering
for us also. Another point to remember is that Smith was
very aware of the dangers of money, and guarded himself
carefully against the possibility of covetousness entering
in. He was truly beyond reproach in this area also.
is my belief that Smith Wigglesworth was a kind of
"forerunner" of the kind of ministries that
are about to arise in our day. I believe that the coming
apostolic ministries, who will be bearers of true Revival
in these last days, will combine the daring, miracle-working
faith of a Smith Wigglesworth with the deeply convicting
'repentance' preaching of a Charles Finney. And they
will move under a mighty anointing that combines the
best of both of these types of ministries. What glorious
days these will be! Smith Wigglesworth himself died
in 1946 at the ripe old age of 87, a flame of God to
the very end. May he be an example to us all.