Lost and Restored – 3
Aimee Semple Mcpherson
CIRCLE I. The Ushering In of the Dispensation of the Holy Spirit
Accompanied by Mighty Signs and Wonders On the day of Pentecost some three thousand souls were saved. Then we see Peter and John going up to the Temple to pray, pass a lame man at the beautiful gate who asks alms of them. Peter answers: “Silver and Gold have I none;” (I do not think the Pentecostal people ever were or ever will be overly blessed with silver or gold) “but such as I have I give unto thee; in the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk.” The lame man was healed instantaneously, and whether the priests in the Temple believed in manifestations or not I know not, but at any rate the man went into that Temple walking, leaping and praising God.
In Acts 5:16 we see the multitudes out of the cities round about Jerusalem bringing sick folks and those who were vexed with unclean spirits, and they were healed every one. Sick were brought forth into the streets, and laid on beds and couches that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. Signs and wonders were wrought everywhere by the hands of the Apostles true to the word of Him who had said, “greater works than these shall ye do because I go to My Father.”
While the tree seen in Circle One stood in its perfection, the Church stood blazing with the full Pentecostal Power and Glory of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ words were fulfilled, and in deed and in truth they were endued with power from on high. Timid Peter, who had feared a little girl who had asked him if he knew Jesus, was timid no longer. Illiterate men and women were turned into flaming evangels.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not unto the Jews alone, but also unto the Gentiles. In Acts 10 we see Peter answering the voice of the Lord who spoke to him through a vision, going down to preach Jesus unto the Gentiles. While Peter yet spake the Holy Ghost fell on all that heard the Word; the Jews who came with Peter were astonished that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gifts of the Holy Ghost, for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Again in these wonderful days of the former rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we see Saul, on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians, slain and prostrated in the road by the power of the Spirit, hearing the voice of Jesus saying: ‘‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” Later we find Paul not only converted and baptized with the Holy Spirit with the Bible evidence of speaking with other tongues (1 Cor. 14:18), but himself preaching salvation and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 19 Paul, finding certain disciples at Ephesus, asks them whether they have received the Holy Ghost since they believed. They tell him “No.” They have not even heard whether there was any Holy Ghost. “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake in tongues and magnified God!’ This marvelous manifestation of speaking in other tongues accompanied the infilling of believers with the Holy Spirit everywhere. Simon offered money for the power to bestow that which he saw and heard.
The Tree With Its Perfect Fruit
Every gift and Fruit of the Spirit was manifested in the Church till the 9 gifts and the 9 fruits of the Spirit hung as 18 perfect apples upon the perfect tree. “For to one was given by the Spirit the Word of Wisdom, to another the Word of Knowledge by the same Spirit, to another Faith by the same Spirit, to another the gift of Healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of Miracles, to another Prophecy, to another Discerning of Spirits, to another divers kinds of Tongues, to another the Interpretation of Tongues.” The sick were healed, miracles wrought, and when messages were given in other tongues in the assembly, someone gave the interpretation. (I Cor. 14:27). Each of the 9 Fruits was in the Church: Love, Joy, Peace, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance, Longsuffering, so we have the perfect picture visualized in “Circle 1” of the Chart on the fourth page. Thus ends the first chapter of the early Church History, leaving the tree rooted and grounded in the faith of Jesus, every limb, branch, leaf and fruit in perfect power and strength.
CIRCLE II. The Palmerworm at Work
O glorious days of harmonious love and unity, days when none called aught that he had his own, days when the children of the Lord had all things in common, days when they were beaten and imprisoned, days when prison bonds were broken, signs and wonders were wrought, how we have often wished they might have continued.
These puny minds of ours only feebly grasp events of the past, and are utterly unable to probe the depths of mystery shrouding the future. Unlike us, however, the great mind and eye of the Almighty God beholds the future as clearly as the past. Before His burning eyes of Fire, and the Glory of His presence, darkness turns to day, and the deepest mists are rolled away. Looking thus ahead with dear, unerring eye God saw, and moreover prophesied through the prophet Joel, that the Church would not always retain this glorious state of Power, saw the palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm and the caterpillar were going to rob and strip and mutilate and destroy this perfect tree with its gifts and fruits. He saw that the Church, or tree, was going to lose gradually more and more, till it would be left desolate, barren and despairing. The falling away and destruction of the perfect tree did not occur in one day. It was a gradual deterioration accomplished day by day and stage by stage.
One day the palmerworm appeared, eating and destroying as it went, until as the years went by the gifts and fruits of the Spirit began to disappear from view. Not so many sick were healed as of yore, not so many miracles were performed, faith was on the wane, when someone in the assembly had a message in tongues there was no one who had the gift of interpretation, messages in prophecy were not so frequent as of yore. The fruits of unselfish love and joy and peace were also attacked by the palmerworm who grew bolder and bolder day by day. Gradually the eighteen apples began to disappear from the staunch and upright tree which had stood so gloriously heavy laden for many years after the day of Pentecost.
This state of fruitlessness was indeed a condition worthy of lamentation, but the pity of it all is that the devastation did not stop with the havoc wrought by the palmerworm. Other years and other worms took up the work of destruction where the palmerworm had left off, and “that which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten.”
CIRCLE III. The Locust at Work
The work of the locust is of course wrought upon the leaves. Sweeping over vast territories of country, he strips and lays barren all that he touches. Thus, not only were the gifts and fruits of the Spirit lost sight of by the vast majority of believers, but the personal incoming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking in other tongues was also in a great measure lost sight of. The old-time seekers’ meetings, the earnest prayer and praise meetings were disappearing; formality and sectarianism were taking their places.
As humility, godliness, and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit vanished, persecution and reproach vanished also. As meetings of the older order were converted into dignified services of a more orthodox form, the Holy Spirit as a gentle dove was quenched and grieved and stifled till He silently withdrew His wonder working manifestations, and joy and gladness were withheld from the sons of men.
Because it meant too great a sacrifice, too much emptying out and humbling in the dust before God, too much seeking and waiting, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was not received as of old. Then came men who professed to have the Holy Spirit in a new way, i.e., without the Bible seal or evidence of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. This simplified matters greatly, and the professor no longer needed to be a possessor. Thus, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was lost sight of by many, though there always was a remnant of a faithful few Spirit-filled saints through whom God manifested Himself in a real and supernatural way.
It was a sad day when the leaves were thus stripped from the tree and the locust had done its work, but days that were still more sad were to follow, for we read “that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten.”
CIRCLE IV. The Work of the Cankerworm
After the fruit and the leaves had been destroyed, the cankerworm immediately made his appearance and began his work upon the branches and tender shoots of the tree, making cankerous and unsound that God fearing walk of Holiness above the world and sin, so long enjoyed by the children of the Lord. As the sap, the life of the tree, was consumed and the branches became more and more cankerous, and unsound things that used to seem sinful appeared sinful no longer, the world that used to be barred outside the doors of the Church now leaned back in contented languor in the cushioned pews, or sang in the choir.
Christians let down more and more in the high standard of Holiness unto the Lord which they had been holding aloft and now it trailed bedraggled and unnoticed in the dust. Quickly upon the trail of the cankerworm followed the caterpillar, and we read that “that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.”