G. C. Bevington, Remarkable Miracles Through Prayer And Faith
I went to Hamilton, Ohio, once to hold a meeting, and, as usual, took my small drug store with me, consisting of four quart bottles of medicines, a box of pills, and two plasters. That was my regular outfit. I often think that I took up more room in my suit case for medicines than for Bibles and books. Well, I was assigned to a fine room in a hospitable home, and set my medical outfit on the mantel, so as to have them handy, as I took of all of the remedies every day. In this precious home there were several dear children, one of four summers. She came into the room, and spied that outfit on the mantel; and as it was something new to her, as her parents used no medicines, she ran out into the kitchen, and said, “Oh, Mamma, you des tome ere,” as she tugged at Mamma’s apron. But Mamma, being busy kneading bread, paid but little attention to the little child’s appeal. But the little tugger was determined to have a hearing, so she kept pulling and jabbering.
Finally the Mamma said, “What do you want? Mamma is busy now.” “Oh, Mamma, you des tome ere, and see att de preacher’s dot.” So, to please the child, she followed her into my room; and as the child came in the door, she pointed up to the mantel, at that curious outlay — strange looking things to the child, as I suppose she had never seen a bottle. Well, I raised my eyes just in time to catch the expression on the mother’s face, which, had I been able to properly read, would have saved me much perplexity. However, that strange look, as she turned back for the kitchen, set me thinking. Though I could not diagnose the meaning enough was visible to trouble me, as I could not get away from that expression. However, I kept praying and reading the Word, preparatory to delivering the great message that night. Well, the message was delivered; but it fell flat, like my first biscuits I ever made — flat and heavy. Of course, I had no trouble in finding plenty of excuses for the apparent failure. But next day, symptoms were somewhat alarming. Such peculiar feelings! I n ever felt just like that before; but was quite well adapted to excusing myself, as I had been sanctified only about a week, and hence had not entirely given up my ability as an excuse maker.
This power seemed to have wonderfully revived on this occasion, so I kept at it. But my excuses seemed to fail in producing the desired effect, so that by noon I was in a terrible mixed-up mess; and the great difficulty was that I could not locate the trouble. I examined myself prayerfully, and I believe honestly, and came in on the animal from various angles, approaching the thing but not being able to get him landed sufficiently to get rid of him. So I preached, or tried to, that night. I thought that I did better than the night before, and gave the credit largely to a man and his wife who sat before me during the preaching, as they seemed to be praying for me all the time. So I said, “Now, if I can get that couple to come every night, I can preach all right. But that prop was knocked out from under me, and I was cast o n a tempestuous sea. The next day I was still worse, so I helped myself quite freely to the medicines on the mantel; but they, too, seemed to have gone off with the crowd, and were quite useless. So I went to my usual resort, the woods, and spent all day out there examining myself, thinking that maybe I was deceived, and had never been sanctified. But God showed me that I had been. Well, then, maybe I had lost out. So it was a reconnoitering, and digging and boring, and blasting all day; yet I could not get the thing landed. Finally, I went to the house, and said, “Brother, you will have to take the meeting tonight. I don’t know just what is the matter with me, but I can’t preach tonight. I will tarry here before God, and see if I can get located.” So he said, “I will help you out.” They well knew what was the matter with me, though they never even hinted that they were praying for me, over that outlay on the mantel. They were doing their talking to God, and He was doing His best to talk to me, and it was a time, sure. I did my best at treeing the critter, and kept getting farther out in the thicket, as it seemed to me.
I put in a restless, sleepless night, and the next morning went to the woods. I had not been there long until this sentence came to me, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Well, I paid but little attention to that, as that was not what I was after; but the thing that brought this heaviness, as sickness had never done that. That Scripture kept coming at me; but I was not sure that it was Scripture, though I knew I had heard it or read it, (we are always sure to get in the brush when we give Satan the benefit of the doubt.) So I still persisted in throwing that sentence entirely out; but it would not be put out, and just kept coming at me. I stood this firing as long as I could, and went to the house, and said, “Sister, is there such a passage in the Bible, as ‘I am the Lord that healeth thee?’ ” She said, “Yes,” and got the Bible and showed me the passage; but never said a word to show that she and her husband were praying for me relative to that outlay on the mantel. Then I began to think that God wanted to heal me; but I had heard so many at the mission testify to healing, and then when sick, go for their doctor or medicines, that I had arrived at the point where that had but little effect on me, as I supposed that those whom I heard testify were fair samples of what healing is. But all that reasoning failed to bring relief, so I began searching the Scriptures, and of course found plenty of evidences that Christ healed, and also the disciples; and I found that healing was taught in the old Scriptures. But, of course, it must have been dropped back there with the disciples; if not, then why wasn’t it preached in our Methodist Churches, as they were surely the nearest to the Bible of any. In fact many of our M. E. preachers had told us that Divine healing was only for the disciples; and of course that settled it, as the preachers had gone through colleges, and what they did not know would be foolish for me to undertake to fathom out.
So having that settled, I again proceeded with the investigation of that dark horse hidden away, causing me so much trouble. But, somehow, those M. E. preachers, with all their collegiate advantages, failed to keep that matter settled; it would roil up, and get me all mixed up. So I went out to the woods again, and there came another sentence to confuse me. Asa took medicine, and he died. Now that was the way it came to me. The medicine is not in that passage; but it says that he went for the doctor, and we all know what that meant. I went back to the house, and asked about the passage. The sister got the Bible, and that should have settled it. I went into the room, all tangled up, and said, “What does all this mean? I am not after the pros and cons of medicines; I am after the cause of this awful feeling,” and yet I knew that I was a most miserably mixed up fellow. I got down on my face, with my head near the fireplace board, just a little below where my young drug store was located. I said, “Lord, Lord, what does all this mean? What is the matter with me? What has all this Scripture to do with my case just now?” “I am the God that healeth thee,” came as an answer. I said, “O God, dost Thou mean that I am to give up all these old faithful standbys? Why, how can I ever do it?” (And the tears were just pouring down my cheeks.) “Here are six different kinds of medicine that have been my guide, my strength, my all; and, oh, how can I give them up?” My hard feelings against those people who claimed healing, yet when sick took medicine, had affected me in such a way as to render it impossible for me to take Jesus as my Healer and still use this medicine. It seemed a settled fact that if I was going to take Jesus, I must drop the six great remedies. But God had His hand on me, and He had to answer the prayers of His faithful servants with whom I was stopping.
I was called out to dinner, and there came the husband, holding up a mashed thumb, and saying, “Wife, look here!” I noticed that she just smiled, and I thought, “Oh, what a hardhearted wife!” Why, I thought that she should have dropped dinner, and made a great fuss over that awful thumb; but, no, she never paid any attention to it, but just went on with the dinner, a-smiling, while to me it was a sickening sight. He worked in the tool factory at Hamilton, and had gotten his thumb between two heavy stones, some way; and there it was with two-thirds of the nail gone, and the other third a-hanging. I went to my room, and got my bandage paraphernalia consisting of soft rags, Castile soap, and so on, and said, “Now, while wife is getting dinner on, I will just do that up for you.” He gave no signs of turning the case over to me, but just stood there laughing at my outfit. “Well now,” I said, “maybe you think I am not an expert at this. Why, I have worked at it several years among the poor in our mission locality, and am good at it.” Just then in came the wife with a steaming dish of mashed potatoes, and she, too, was laughing. I had the twofold object in view! First, to show them a kindness; second, to show my efficiency as a wound dresser; but they just laughed, as my explanations and references to my ability seemed only to add fuel to the flame. Then I began by giving the great healing properties of my salve, also of my soap and soft rags; but all this failed in making any impression to my liking. When they had laughed until they were laughed out, the wife kindly said, “Brother Bevington, we never use any of those things.” “You don’t? Why, what in the world do you do? Don’t you wrap up a wound with something to heal it?” “No, no! ” “Why, what do you do?” “We just trust Him,” she said, pointing up.
Well, then for the first time it dawned on me as to what all this wretchedness meant, and where it had come from; and I just turned and went to my room, without eating any dinner. I fell down as before, with my head toward the mantel, and wept great tears. Finally I said, “Lord, Lord, oh, for such a faith as theirs!” Give me some evidence, Lord, that I can live without these six remedies — some unmistakable evidence, something that I can and will rely on.” Dear reader, I was something like Elijah — I wanted to die. But I was not fit then for translation. Ah, that was a memorable day, marking one of the grandest epochs of my life, after sanctification, Glory to God! I tell you all hell put up a stiff fight in those three or four days of intense darkness; but, bless God, the light came, and I have been walking in it this thirty-one years, and they have been years of victory over that question of healing, as not a drop of medicine has ever entered my mouth since then.
Well, I will finish. There I lay fighting out one of the greatest battles of my life. I was waiting for some evidence, and suddenly I heard a noise, but never raised my head. Yes, I actually heard a voice; and down the mantel came those bottles on long legs as I had seen them in advertisements. They walked down the wall, turned and walked between my head and the mantel, and out of the window. Then came the plaster, and then the box of pills; and I heard the pills rattle as plain as I ever heard anything. When all had disappeared out the window, I took that as the evidence and got up and took the whole four quart bottles out, and smashed them up; and took the pills and the plasters out to the kitchen and consigned them to the flames. Thus ended the years of slavery to the medicines. I returned to the room, and oh, what glory flooded me! I just wept and shouted and laughed. The sister came in and I told her the whole thing; and oh, how she did laugh! We had an old Methodist Camp Meeting right there.
Now, in my haste I have left out one point that may be worth something to others. When the brother would not allow me to dress his hand, then Satan came in and said, “Now, he is just fooling you.” As he came home at 5:30, I went out at 5:00 into the back alley, and hid behind a coal house to watch him as he came, supposing that he would have a rag on his thumb, but would take it off before entering the house, so as to fool me. Well, I lay there for three-quarters of an hour, with the sun pouring down on me, while I was waiting to catch him. By and by he turned into the alley some fifteen rods away. He was swinging both hands, and a-singing a song I had taught him, and no sign of a rag on his thumb. Well, I was ashamed, and slipped back into my room. I felt condemned, and pleaded for forgiveness, and got it.
I love to think of that memorable hour when, with my soul flooded with glory, I just walked the floor. I was willing to abide by the results. I did not know whether I was to be healed or not, but took it for granted that all that had been done was for my good and God’s glory. If it was to suffer, He would give me grace to bear it. This all occurred about 2:00 or 3:00 p. m., and I was not out of that room ten minutes until I was accosted by Satan, who came as an angel of light, and informed me that I had made a terrible mistake. He said, “Now, Satan had you do all that, and you should have had better sense than to do as you did; for you haven’t money enough to replace that much-needed outfit, as it would take about $6.50.” Well, I was quite young in the work, and thought, Can this be God talking to me? It must be, for how could Satan be so interested in me? I was reminded of what those good old sainted Methodist preachers told us four years ago, and here I had ignored their noble efforts to keep me out of fanaticism, and had actually gone into fanaticism, trampling over their counsel. And that word “fanaticism,” how it did penetrate my very being, as it was quite a new word to me. I had been looking it up since the smash-up, and had become terror-stricken at its definition, yet so unconsciously had been drawn under its mighty crushing influence. You see I had gotten into the maelstrom, and been engulfed by its power. I tell you I was astounded.
I went into the kitchen, and told the sister what I had experienced. She said, “You have done just right, and all this afterclap is of Satan.” She then got the Bible and showed me that healing is for us, and gave me their experiences; and I began to feel better. She said, “Now, when husband comes in to supper, you will find that his thumb is healed.” “What,” I said, “that terribly smashed thumb healed?” “Yes, it will be healed.” And I said, “Without a rag on it?” “Yes, all without remedies, as we never use them.” And sure enough, when we came out to supper, while the thumb was red and tender, it was not a bit sore; he never experienced any inconvenience with it only as he would hit it, and then the hurt was very brief.
That night, at family prayer, I said, “Now, brethren, I want you to anoint me and pray for my healing.” “Well,” the sister said, “we haven’t any oil, but God understands, and it will be just as well.” So we got down. They had a sweet little tot (the one who had led her mamma in to see what the preacher had ). She was sitting under papa’s chair, and mamma said, “Now, honey, you lead us in prayer.” She said, “Dear Jesus, I’se so dad tos papa smashed his fum, and dat de preacher seed it, tos it’ll help him to trust Desus. Amen.” Well, a very short prayer, but, oh, its length has never yet been explored. Thirty-one years have passed, and I am not yet to the end of that giant prayer of that little three-year-old tot.
Then they came over to me, and laid their hands on me, and prayed the prayer of faith for my healing. While I had no evidence of any kind, yet I just took God at His word. They said, “Brother Bevington, we believe that you are a healed man.
The last night that I preached before getting swamped, a young lady came to the altar for sanctification, and they postponed the meetings until the preacher should get shaped up. So I preached on the next night (Sunday) and this girl came again, but did not get through. I closed the meeting, expecting to go to Cincinnati on Monday. But this girl came, and said, “Brother Bevington, I want to get through. Can’t you remain over and have a meeting at our house tonight, as I do believe I could get through then?” I said, “Why certainly.” So we planned to have meeting at her house that night. I was invited to another home for dinner, and about 3:00 p. m. I felt the old symptoms coming on me. Of course Satan was there, and in thirty minutes I was as deathly sick as I had ever been. I stood on the promises, but kept getting worse.
As meeting time drew near, two young men came; and as they entered the room both stood speechless with amazement for several moments, and I was about as silent as they were just then, as I was, oh, so deathly sick, and the house seemed to be spinning at a tremendous rate. Finally, the silence was broken by one’s saying, “Why Brother Bevington, what can be the matter with you? I am a doctor’s son; I will go for Father, only two blocks from here, and I left him at home.” “No,” I said, “Well,” one said, “you are as white as a sheet; you are in danger; the doctor’s son says that you are in great danger.” I said, “Well, boys, I took Jesus for my Healer last night, and I am going to leave my case in His hands.” “Yes, but you are dying now.” “Well, I am ready for the translation, and don’t want to interfere with God’s plans; no more doctors, boys.” I said, “Lead me out onto the porch (as heart trouble was my trouble). They led me out, and it was all they could do to hold me. I was thrown violently at times, and t his seemed to be one of those times.
They insisted that I must have a doctor, and I was just as determined not to have one. I said, “Hold on to me and lead me down the steps,” as I needed some air. Just then the man of the house came, and he assisted them in getting me down the steps; and he, too, insisted on having a doctor, but soon said, “Well, I have no time to fool away with fanatics.” So he went into the house. I was then blind. Only three times in my long fights with my weak heart, I went blind. I said, “Lead me to the fence.” They did so, and I got hold of it, but seemed to be getting worse. The doctor’s son said, “Well, I will run down and tell them that there will be no meeting tonight.” I said, “No, don’t do that, as there will be a meeting.” “Why, man, you don’t know the danger you are in,” he said. “Well, there will be a meeting, for God told me to remain over for that purpose. Lead me out into the street, and keep a firm hold on me; don’t let me go.” Well, we had some great tussling out there, but they managed to hold me well enough to keep me from getting hurt. I began to plead the promises, and really felt that Jesus was going to deliver me. I said, “Boys, pray,” as we went staggering and plunging down the street, a very unpopular sight on that street at that time of day. After one block had been passed, I said, “Boys, we are going to have the victory,” as I could see a little, though suffering greatly. I began praising God, and one said, “You don’t look much like a subject to be praising God.” I soon began to feel better, and my sight kept returning, and I praised God all the more. People stopped and listened to me praising God in my condition. Some thought that I was a drunken man, others that I was off in the upper story; but I just allowed them to have their own opinions, and kept praising God. One more block was passed, and I could see the house, so I just holloed as loud as I could yell. I soon said, “Boys, let me go,” and I raised my right hand and praised God for real victory. Though I reeled some, yet I held on, and in te n minutes I was as well as I ever was. Oh, hallelujah! That was the last of the rheumatism or heart trouble for about fourteen years.
I now relate the incident which followed. We went into the house, and had a most blessed meeting. This girl prayed through, and received the Holy Ghost in all His fullness. She came and sat down beside me, and said, “O Brother Bevington, this is most wonderful, it far surpasses anything I ever dreamed of. I had a vision. Oh, such a sight; I saw hundreds of little faces, not as our children’s faces are, but, oh, so many, and every child had its little hands out beckoning to me to come and teach them. There was a great long arch, and huge red letters on it, which read ‘Fiji’.” I said, “What?” and she told me again. “Why,” I said, “that is a call to the Fiji Islands, to go as a missionary and teach them of Jesus.” She rose, with both hands up, and tears of joy falling fast, as she said very softly, “Glory, glory! ” In fourteen months she sailed for the Fiji Islands. Dear Brother Gamble helped us to get her there. She spent sixteen years on the field, and then went to Heaven from there. But many a time before going, she said, “O Brother Bevington, what if you had given up and taken medicine? — where would I have been?” She firmly believed that if I had taken medicine after accepting Jesus for my Healer, I would never have recovered from that sickness, and she would never have been sanctified. Let that be as it may, praise God that He enabled me to take the stand I did on that memorable night.
Now, reader, this volume is to set forth the power of God as might be manifested in these days of doubt and skepticism — not to set forth what was done in Christ’s day. We are not living in Christ’s day nor the Apostles’ days. Let us grasp the possibilities of our day from a Bible standpoint, and from no other. The manifestations of the power of God all comes through consecrated prayer, earnest, believing, real solicitous prayer; prayer that moves Heaven; prayer that will not take, “No,” for an answer.
Now, not having names in reference to dates and incidents, I may get some things slightly mixed up; but they will stand the scrutiny of Heaven, whether they run the gauntlet of the critics down here safely or not. I want to say that I did not find it so easy to mind God in regard to my call to the evangelistic field, as some seem to have found their calls. I saw my defects standing out greater than the power of God, and had quite a time before I could venture out where I could fully trust God; and also to get to the place where He could trust me, which is of the two most essential. But this healing was a great boon to me; it removed many hindrances that stood like mountains towering farther up than I could see, as these hindrances had engulfed my every effort to mind God in going out.
Dear Brother Nichols, a blind, sanctified preacher, took me up into West Virginia, and gave me some valuable lessons on trust. He gave me the boost that has enabled me to lift many a one out of a tangled wire net, as I spent the whole winter back of Huntington, in cottage prayer meetings, being with Brother Ails and others, and the power of God was manifest.
I remember being out in the woods in prayer, one night in the spring. I had been wrestling nearly all night for that locality, and I said, “O God, I must have some evidence that I am in the center of Thy will.” And as I lay there, I just cried out in great raptures, as wave after wave of glory flooded my soul. I shouted and laughed and cried until I just had to get up and give vent by running and jumping over logs and brush piles for over three hours. The glory fell unmistakably, and I tell you I did not have to ask any one to come to the altar that night. The row of ten chairs was filled before I was half through preaching, and the seekers were in earnest. No one had to tell them.
to pray; it wasn’t necessary to lift up their hands; we didn’t have to shake religion into them. No, indeed, that all-night prayer had knocked off the scales, and they had a vision, and now they walked up to it. So it is prayer, not money, not congratulations, not large crowds but prayer, that brings victory.
I was in a meeting in Ohio, and there was a man there in the lumber business, who came to me, saying, “Oh, you ought to hold a meeting down where I live.” “Well, Sir, where do you live?” “I live twenty-two miles from here.” So I prayed over it, and felt somewhat inclined to give the matter further consideration. I asked him for the names of the leaders, and he gave me two. Then after the meeting closed where I was, I went to the woods, to get the mind of God, and was impressed to go. But as I seemed to be running up against some pretty hard problems in this hollow log, I concluded to wait longer before God, so as to be definite and sure. I spent forty-eight hours longer in this commodious hotel — the hollow log — making 120 hours, getting things straight from headquarters. Amen! I tell you it pays to know what we are doing when it comes to dealing with God, or minding Him. That is where the trouble is with so many, they jump at conclusions when they should go slow.
Brother Knapp taught that nine times out of every ten we get our impressions from Satan, so we need to wait, get still, get where God can actually talk to us. So I searched for the mind of God, and He gave me the clear assurance that He wanted me to go to this place. “Well,” you say, “what was or is this assurance?” Well, read on, and you will get a fair sample here.
After I had gotten real still, free from everything else, He showed me the road that I was to take, and then a clump of trees and a road that was little traveled, running off to the left and down to a schoolhouse, so that between the main road and this branch was quite a grove of small trees. The schoolhouse stood down a slope; and back of the schoolhouse was a creek; and back of that a large cornfield, and away back of that a large farmhouse, a large barn and out buildings and a windmill. I said, “Amen, Lord, that is good enough.” I backed out of that hollow log, and went down to the house, and told the family where I was going. I got some dinner and started out on the twenty-two mile walk, with two heavy suit cases, filled mostly with books to sell. I traveled until sundown, and then stopped at the house, and asked for a drink. I gave out some tracts, and talked salvation to the man, and told him where I was bound for. Well, we talked salvation until after dark. I got so interested in his soul and that o f his wife; and did not know whether I could stay there all night or not. But he said, “You stay with us tonight.” The next morning he said, “Now, see here; you are going down there on uncertainties. I know that man you have to deal with; he is a German. Now down the road there is a church, but we have no Sunday School here, and no services. If you will stay here, I will give you the best room in the house, and you will have all the time you want to pray. Give us a meeting, and then go on to this other place, as you have no dates.” Well that looked pretty reasonable and seemed to be good logic — a great trap that Satan sets, and he gets lots of victims too. Now this was a case where it paid to pray through as Satan would have stood a pretty good chance of side-tracking me if I had not spent hours in that log, getting the thing straight. Yes, it pays to get plain, definite orders, if it does take 120 hours. I said to this man, “I can’t stop now; maybe I can come back.” But he, knowing the obstacles and failures at the place where I was going, thought that I ought to stay sure. But I went on.
Now, I gave out tracts all along the road, and when I got within ten miles of the schoolhouse, I told the people where I was going, and what for. One woman said, as she looked very doubtful, “Oh, I do wish that you could get a meeting and a Sunday School at that place, as the people are getting desperate there; they are so ungodly and so wicked that they just go to the woods Saturday night, and play cards and gamble and drink beer and fight and have rooster fights until Monday morning. Oh, I wish you could, but — “. Ah, how many get stuck on that “but!”
Well, I went on, and when within four miles I stopped to get a drink. I gave out tracts, and told the family my mission. The woman sat down and said, “Oh, I do hope that you can get something started, for they are so wicked down there, and their wickedness reaches all over the country.” She said, “You see that girl there in the garden. She is thirteen and my only living child. This summer my husband goes every Saturday over to the rock houses in the woods, where they gamble and swear and chew and smoke and tell all sorts of smutty yarns; and he takes the girl with him to do the cooking, and she, being innocent of the danger, rather enjoys it. I have done everything I could to prevent it, and have tried to get the neighbors to help me break up their hellish work; but the men are all in it, and they like to have my girl there to do the cooking for them. I have become nearly distracted, for they leave here about one o’clock Saturday and don’t get back until Monday. Often they do not come back until night, and I have all the stock to look after.”
Well, I went on, praying and giving out tracts. But I forgot to mention another place where they wanted me to stop and have a meeting in a forsaken Baptist Church. These two opportunities proved to be important later. My burden increased as I journeyed on. I soon met a man and wife, and gave them some tracts. They asked my business; and when I told them, they shook their heads and went on. But they stopped, and said, “You had better stir up some of these hollows, for I tell you that you will be fooling away your time in that awful neighborhood.” I said, “These are the ones that Jesus came for.” “Yes, I know; but if you knew what we know, you would never stop there. There has been many an attempt there, but all have failed, and left the place worse every time.’
So I jogged along, thinking and praying, “O God, this is Thy work; what does it all mean?” “What’s that to thee; follow thou me?” was all the consolation that I could get. Well, that was enough, too. Hallelujah to His dear name!
But this fellow wasn’t satisfied, and he turned around and overtook me, and said, “Now over the other side of that hollow is where I live. We will give you a good room and all you can eat; and there you have a certainty, but up at that schoolhouse is a dark prospect, and if there is a place on earth that needs a meeting and a Sunday School it is our neighborhood; and we will see that you get some money, and you will get none where you are aiming for.” Well, you see that was quite an inducement, but that was not the place. So I thanked him for his kind offers, and said, “I may come back when I get through out there.” He said, “You will be of no account when through there, even if you come out alive.” But I had received my orders back there in that hollow log, and preferred rather to mind God, and run the chances than to accept his invitation.
Soon I saw a faint road branching off to the left; and as I was looking for that, I at once saw that this was the place, as there was the diamond-shaped clump of trees, and this faint road ran down to a schoolhouse. Then I looked back of the schoolhouse, and there was the creek and the
cornfield; then there was the large farmhouse away back, and the large barn and the windmill. “Well,” I said “this must be the place.” I went down through this clump of trees, and tried the door of the schoolhouse, but it was locked. I went through weeds higher than my head, to the back end of the schoolhouse, and there got down on my face, and praised God for landing me safe, right at the spot He had showed me back there in the hollow log twenty-two miles away. “Father,” I said, “I am so thankful that I escaped those enemies that I encountered on the way, who tried to get me off Thy line. Oh, dear Lord,” I said, “I am so glad that Thou madest it possible for me to pray clear through, and get orders; and I am so glad that Thou hast so fixed me up that I am perfectly willing to run the gauntlet though facing some muscular giants, swaying their clubs, aiming to scare me off. Thou wilt enable me to run through without a scratch.” Well, I lay there for some time, praising God and thanking Him until He let the glory right down into my soul. I had to get up and run.
I left that spot about 10:00 a. m. I think, and stopped in the next house and gave out some tracts. I then enquired where Mr. R_____ lived. The woman said, “In the second house on the right.” I thanked her, and started on. Then she said, “Say, aren’t you a preacher?” I answered “Yes, ma’am.” “Well, are you going to hold a meeting in the schoolhouse?” “I expect to,” I replied. “Oh, I do hope that you can, but — .” There it was again, that “but.” Well, I wasn’t running on “buts”, so on I went.
I soon saw the house, and the large barn on the left; and I saw a great big fellow out in the truck patch, cutting weeds, as there had been much rain, and he could not plow his corn. I set my suit case down, and said, “Good morning.” He looked up and responded cordially. I said, “Is this Mr. R_____?” “Yes, what of it?” “Well,” I said, “I am a holiness evangelist.” And before I could finish the statement, he had straightened up on his hoe handle, and said, “A what?” “Why, a holiness evangelist,” said I. He repeated it, and then said, “I have seen all sorts of evangelists, but I don’t believe that I ever saw one by that name.” “Well, Sir, just come out here and look a holiness evangelist right in his two eyes.” He came out to the fence, and said, “Well, what do you want of me?” “Well, Sir, I want to get in that schoolhouse that you have control of, and hold some meetings, and get someone saved, and organize a Sunday School.” “Well, Sir, I would be delighted to unlock that door and let you get in for that goo d purpose; but, my dear Sir, they have notified me from the wiggle tail in the puddle to the giant of the throne that I must not unlock that door for preaching, as the benches are just about all whittled up. I am sorry that I can’t unlock the door, as my wife, I know, would be real glad, and she would take hold and help; I am of no account at that. But as it’s about dinner time let’s go up and have some dinner.” So we went.
The wife felt so bad because John would not open that door. Nothing was said about his authority or power, but the meeting hinged on that door, and it was the all-important item the next nine days. Well, when dinner was over, he said, “Mr., I was down at the mill three or four weeks ago, and a friend, a trustee, over on the other road, told me that they have just finished their new schoolhouse, and if I should run onto a preacher, to send him over, as they would like to have a meeting there and have a Sunday School started.” So he led me out onto the porch, and said, “That place is Pumpkin Hollow. You go back down the road until you come to the first pair of bars on your left; turn in there, and cross that bottom, go up a hill, and follow that road down across another hollow through a strip of woods, and on. ‘Tis three miles. Well, I must go up the road,” he said, “and I hope that you will have a good time over at Pumpkin Hollow.” So I picked up my grips, and said, “Pumpkin Hollow, hey. Yes, but that isn’t what I am after.”
So down the road I started, and said, “Well, Lord, where am I going?” “What’s that to thee; follow thou me,” came as my only answer. So I kept going, and soon came to a hill, a long one on the right when a voice said, “This path is the way.” So up that immense hill I started with my two suit cases. “Well, Lord, where in the world am I going?” “What’s that to thee?” So up I went, asking no more questions. Finally I reached the summit of the hill, and dropped the suit cases under a large oak tree; and the same voice said, “This is the place.” Now I want to remind you that the hindrance to having the meeting was that locked door. So I just stayed under that tree nine days and nights. I had nothing to eat; I did not want anything, as I got such a burden to get that door unlocked, for I knew that God had sent me there to hold a meeting, and that now Satan was hindering. My business now was to pray that door open, as ‘twould be no use to try to break it down, and to go off and give it up would be disobeying God or disregarding His wish or orders. You may ask, why did it take nine days to get an answer? Simply because I could not get still enough any sooner.
After the first twenty-four hours, Satan came down, and argued the situation. I had a conflict with him most every day, then he brought up Pumpkin Hollow as a much better site than this where I was lying there under a tree contracting a cold that would break up all meetings that year, and probably land me in the grave, prematurely. It had rained three times, while I was under that tree, waiting to get that door opened. So ’twas, one thing and then another for the eight days and nights. So on the beginning of the ninth day, I began to see that I was getting still; and at the fifth hour of that day I rose from off my face, and held up the Bible, praising God that the door was going to be opened, and said, “Now, Mr. Devil, if you have any more material down in hell, just bring it on.” I had met every objection that he had offered with the Word. And, Sir, he could not rake up another proposition, had exhausted all the resources of hell on me, and was completely whipped out.
So I dropped down again on my face, feeling sure that I was near the door’s opening, and at noon, I saw that I was actually getting still; and, oh, how desirous I was to keep still — I did not want to breathe, and several times I held my breath until I had to pound my lungs to get breath — as so many times when getting close to the object desired I would hold my breath, and would just be able to reach it, while at other times I would not, and have had some difficulty in getting my breath. So I kept getting smaller and smaller, smaller and smaller, until I saw myself as a little worm not over an inch long, and began to say, “Glory,” very softly. I repeated it and saw that I was not losing ground by it, but rather felt assured that victory was near. At 2:15 p. m. I was, oh, so still, and said, “Now, Lord, Thou wilt open that door.” Suddenly I heard a key go into the lock, and heard it turn, and saw the door open; and as it opened, it left a circling mark where it rubbed on the floor. I said, “Oh, glory, ‘t is open!”
But I felt that inasmuch as this meeting had been such a hard pull from the start back there in that hollow log, I had a right to do as Gideon did — ask for two witnesses — so I dropped on my face again, and said, “Now, Lord, Thou didst answer twice for Gideon, and Thou wilt for me.” I settled down, and in fifteen minutes was as small as before; and in five minutes more I heard the same as before, and saw the mark plainly. Then I jumped up, looked at my watch, and saw that it was twenty-five minutes of three. I stood there praising God for the wonderful victory of the nine days’ conflict, picked up the suit cases, and went down the hill. I saw Mr. R_____ out in the truck patch again; and he saw me, and halloed, “Well, well, how is Pumpkin Hollow?” I made no replto that, and he said, “You had a good time, I reckon.” “I have been having a fine time.” “Well, I knew you would,” he said. “Well, we just got through dinner; go up to the house and get something to eat.” So in I went, and his wife said, “Oh, I am so glad to see you.” She said, “While we were eating dinner, John had to get up three times to answer the phone, relative to the meeting here.”
Now, please note that in the first place I did my duty in giving out tracts all along that twenty-two mile trip, and telling the people what I wanted. So God then had some foundation to work on As soon as I reached that tree, God began to work on these people, and through them, by having them phone to Mr. R_____ as to the meeting. Then as I began to get still up there under that tree, God had three of them call him up and remind him that they ought to have a meeting there. Well, he got tired of that and, after answering the third call during that dinner, he said, “Wife, how is Nance?” Nance was a bald-faced mare that had been crippled about two weeks, and was on the pasture. “Why,” said his wife, “she is all right, I guess, as I saw her running and kicking up her heels just before dinner.” “Well,” he said, “you get Frank (their boy ten years old) and tell him to bring her up, and put the saddle on her, and go over to Pumpkin Hollow, and tell that preacher that as soon as he gets through there to come over. ” So when he said that was the very time that I heard the bolt turn in the lock, saw the door open, heard it rub on the floor, and so on.
Now someone asks, What is the witness? Well, here was the witness in this case, the witness, the evidence, that my petition was answered. I was there nine days to get that door open; and as soon as Mr. R_____ gave his consent, then God gave me this witness. So we can rest assured of some kind of satisfactory witness.
After I had done justice to a fine meal, Mrs. R_____ gave me the key, to go down and unlock the schoolhouse to air it. They would phone around as to the meeting that night. As I passed Mr. R_____ in his truck patch, he said, “Well, you go down; there may be some women and children out, we men folks are after the foxes, as they got to killing off our chickens. We met and organized a Fox Band, and I was put in as captain. We have invested a lot of money in hounds — we have about twenty — and we all go out, about thirty of us men, every night. So there will be no men at the meeting, but there may be some women and children and boys and girls.” “All right, Mr. R_____ , I have the key, and that is the main thing.” I went down and, of course, was anxious to see that circling mark caused by the door; and as I unlocked and pushed the door, it rubbed on the floor, and made the mark just as I had seen it. I said, “Oh, glory to our God!” I just stood there and wept and laughed and shouted for about an hour — had a blessed time rejoicing to know that God would take so much pains to show me so many things, all of which were to assure me of the right way.
Well, I closed the door, got down on my face behind a shoe box, and began a stampede on that organized Fox Club. I prayed for nothing else from 4:00 until 7:30; but stuck to that club of thirty unsaved men, souls for whom God sent His son. At 7:30 I heard quite a racket outside, barking of hounds and talking of men, and I heard the captain say, “Well, boys, let’s go in and see what the fellow is a-doing.” So they all dismounted, tied their thirty horses, and marched in about 7:45. I got up off my face, shook hands with each one, and at the same time gave each one a nice new song book, and said, “Now let’s have a few songs. “Well,” said the captain, “we are not going to stay but just a few minutes.” “Well, what time you are here help us sing,” I answered. So I bowed my head and asked the Lord, “What song shall we sing first?” as I felt that the whole thin hinged on that first song and the Spirit said, “Will there be any stars in my crown.” Well, I was not very partial to that song for a lot of sinners, but dared not to question. So I called for it, and the captain said, “That’s it exactly.” It was what they all wanted, and I tell you they did sing it. I called on the captain to lead it, and he sang well and got wonderfully enthused over it. Before that song was finished, the house was packed. So I called for another song, and that was a great favorite to all of them. I gave out seventy-five books, and saw that the children had books. How they did sing! Well, listen; that song service in answer to prayer burst up that great Fox Club. I didn’t get to preaching until after 8:30. I preached thirty minutes, and then had another song service, holding the captain to lead and said, “Now, captain, we want you to take charge of this singing and have all of your songs selected before church; and can’t you meet here at 7:00 to drill some? Well, that suited them, so no more was said about those chicken thieves.
Now, I won’t tell of all that occurred there, but the meeting lasted nine weeks. On the fourth night, the captain stepped out as I closed my message, and with tears in his eyes he said, “Boys, we want and need this kind of salvation. Come on, let’s have it.” The whole thirty came and I tell you they went to praying. By twelve o’clock, midnight, the captain bounded to his feet; he was the first to pray through, and he did some wonderful jumping and shouting, and he preached there as he walked back and forth by those twenty-nine men weeping and praying until 4: 00 a. m. Three prayed through; seven women also had come forward, three of whom prayed through, and the captain’s wife was seeking sanctification. She was the only regenerated person in the neighborhood when the meeting began. In all over 200 knelt at the altar, and most of them prayed through as ’twas not quite so hard to get them to go straight and hence to get through. It would be quite interesting to relate many of the unusual incidents. So many s aid, “Oh, what if Bevington had failed under that tree!” So it pays to mind God, even if the way is somewhat befogged with conditions that we don’t understand.
There was a large holiness hall built there, and they wanted me to take charge of the work; and I believe I should have done it, but I had so many calls. I said that I would come back often, and I did; but in a few years a sharp, shrewd preacher got in there and organized his church, and in three years there wasn’t a sanctified man or woman there except the captain’s wife who stood straight, and died a-preaching sanctification.
I was holding another meeting in Ohio, and was invited to another place. So, when through with this meeting, I went to the woods to settle this call. I crawled into a hollow log, as it was quite chilly, in the fall; and there God told me to go, so I went. I preached three nights, when I was notified that I could not preach any more in the schoolhouse. Knowing well that God had told me to come, again I went to the woods, and into another hollow-log.
I lay there five days, and then came a puzzling circumstance. I began to get hungry, which usually means that the fast is called off; but I knew that I did not have the victory I was praying for, so I decided to remain in there until I heard from Heaven, or died in the log. My hunger was increasing and I was feeling weak, both of which were usually good evidences that the fast was called off, or that I was through. I mention this to show the danger of getting in ruts, as God works entirely apart from ruts.
The log was somewhat small, so that I was slightly cramped, and occasionally stretched out as best I could, by extending my arms out in front of me. While I had been telling the Lord that I was hungry and also that I was not satisfied thus far, on the second twenty-four hour watch after I began getting hungry, as I stretched out my arm, my hand struck something unusual there. I found more like it and, gathering them up, I concluded that they were acorns, and was impressed to eat them. Well, I never was fond of acorns; but, oh, they tasted so good. But I said, “How could acorns get in here?” as these seemed fresh. How long had they been in there, and how did it come that I had not felt them before, as I had been extending my hand out that far for some time? These questions came up and had to be met some way. Well, I ate the six acorns, and felt refreshed. This was at 6: 00 p. m. — I struck a match to find out the time. I lay there all night, and the next morning in stretching I found six more acorns. I felt all around but could find only the six. Now, I found six fresh acorns in that hollow log three times a day for four days, until I had prayed the matter through, making in all ten days that I was in that log. Well it became quite a curiosity to me to know how these six acorns got in there, so on the last day I crawled out of the log, left my shoes at the entrance as a pretense that I was in there, and went some distance to a hollow tree and there concealed myself. At 11:45 there came six large gray squirrels. Each one jumped up on that log and dropped his acorn down a knot hole. I said, “Wonderful, wonderful, my God, here Thou hast been feeding me through these six squirrels;” and I just wept for joy to think that He was so mindful of my needs as to have these dumb animals obey Him. I said, “Elijah isn’t the only one who was fed by animals.” I crawled back in, oh, so humble. I have often wished that I could live feeling as humble as I have felt at times like this!
Well, I spent four hours more there, and then saw thirteen men and women down a-praying just outside the schoolhouse that I had been put out of ten days before; and they did not know that I was in the neighborhood. So out I got; and as I started down the hill, here came the man who had put me out of his home and the schoolhouse. He was bareheaded, and looked like Indians I had seen in Dakota, so wild and reckless. I didn’t know just what to make of his actions. But I knew that I was in order, so we met, and he shouted, “O brother, pray for us. I am so glad to see you. Pray for us. I have been in hell these ten days.” So we got down there by a log, and if ever you heard a man pray he did. He surely was in earnest. We remained there two hours pleading his case, and he prayed through in good shape, and said, “Now, come into our home again, and we will open the schoolhouse tonight.” So we had a blessed time there for three weeks. Many sought and found God, all because I stayed in that hollow log even if I did get hungry. Oh, folks give up too quick; they just do whatever Satan says. Satan drove me out of that man’s home and out of the schoolhouse; and if I had done as many would have done — gone off and given it up — where would those souls have landed?
Someone found out by some means that I had been in that log and claimed that the squirrels fed me; and on the way to my lodging apartments he overtook me, and said, “Mr. Bevington, I understand that you have been up on the hill in a hollow log, and that you claim the squirrels fed you acorns there.” I said, “How did you learn such stuff as that?” “Well, I got it straight, and I want to know the truth of it.” “Well, I would like to know where you heard it.” “Never mind that. Answer my question, please.” “Well, Sir,” I said, “I did and do claim that six squirrels fed me three times a day.” He stopped me on the road, and said, “Mr. Bevington do you know that you are a thief? ” “No, Sir, I don’t know that.” “Well, Sir, you are, and I can prove it to you. Those squirrels were putting up their winter food, and you ate it all up.” Well, I tell you that staggered me. I said, “Could it be possible?” It looked like it, so I went home considerably worked up about that transaction. The next day, for a better under standing of it, I went up there at 4:00 p. m., and crawled into that log, and could not find an acorn. I kept that up for three days, but no acorn. So that settled the question, and left it clear that God had made caterers out of the squirrels for this special occasion. I felt just like lying low at Jesus’ feet, and giving Him a chance, believing that He would work all these things out, as He knows best.
Now we will go back to the subject, Healing. I am pretty well convinced that a large portion of our sickness is on us just because we allow Satan to put it on us. When Wednesday night comes, Satan knows that all he has to do is to just affect us a little. He knows that there are only a few who will not allow him to do so. He deals out his aches and pains in quite large quantities, to those who will allow him in order that they may have some excuse to stay at home.
I tell you God wants us to get to the place where we will believe the promise, “I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Ex. 15:16) and take a firm stand against Satan’s bold attacks — stand for our “Blood-bought right.” I have fought him face to face on this line. We produce no effect at arms’ length, and he is too great a swordsman for us to tackle him on that line.
I was called to conduct a tabernacle meeting in Ohio. I prayed over it and went, and was met at the train and escorted to a hotel. In the afternoon I was waited on by six of the leaders, four men and two women, saying, “Now, Brother Bevington, when do you want your money, now, or at the close, or in installments? We are prepared to pay you all you want.” Well, that was a great surprise to me, as I was not generally troubled with much money. I often had to walk away at the close of my meetings. I said, “What are you in the habit of paying?” “Well that depends on the number of singers the evangelist has, and as you are going to lead in the singing, we will give $80.00.” “Whew! $80.00!” I said, “Where do you get this money from?” “Oh, that isn’t for you to discuss or think about. You are just to conduct the services, and we are to see to the paying, as we don’t want the evangelist to be encumbered with any of the expenses.” $80.00, I thought; that was more than I had gotten at times in a whole year. Their liberality set me to thinking, and I said, “Well, how do you get this money?” “O brother, we don’t want you to be bothered with that at all. The evangelists that have been here pay no attention to that. You just say whether you want it now or at the close.” “Well, brethren, I feel like insisting on knowing how you raise this money.” So one of the sisters said, “Well, in the first place we have gate fees. And then we have stands on the grounds, and get lots of money out of these.” “What do you sell on these stands?” “Oh, candies, cigars and tobacco, soft drinks, popcorn and so on; lunches and meals, and most anything that we can make money out of.” “And you have been conducting this camp on those principles allowing all of that stuff?” “Why, yes. How would you expect to make expenses from any other source?” “Well,” I said, “my people, you have the wrong man here. I never could allow such as that.” “Why!” they all exclaimed, “you don’t set yourself up as so much better than those other noble, grand evangelists that have been running this camp for years, which stands out second to none in the great state of Ohio?” “Well,” I said, “I have nothing to do with them. This is a personal matter with me. I cannot do anything here under those conditions.”
That was Thursday p. m.. And Friday morning here they came, about twenty of them, and said: “Now see here, Brother Bevington, we have advertised these meetings extensively, at a great expense; and we can’t afford to have them fail now; it would forever ruin this noted camp. And we never can meet the expenses unless we do as we have always done, which of course is perfectly right and legitimate as any reasonable person will admit.” They were positive, but I stood my ground. One woman on the committee rose up, and said, “Well, we don’t want this crank here, as he would not preach to suit us and would meet with failures on all lines. We will send and get our old standby.” (And I knew him to get drunk most every time that he held a meeting and got money.) Then they all rose up, and said, “Well you will have to pay your hotel bill, and walk out of town unless you have plenty of money.” I said, “I am a good walker.” They felt somewhat roiled up.
So I packed up, went down and paid my bill, and had eighty-four cents left, and thirty-six miles to walk with two heavy suit cases. But I started, walked about a mile and a half, and sat down under a tree, and said, “Now, Lord, I am able and willing to pack these grips the distance, but I feel like asking you to give me a lift.” I felt like going back a little farther, some five rods, for a more extended prayer, leaving the grips under this tree by the road. I had a good prayer, a praise service — good rejoicing time — and then feeling pretty well muscled up for the trip, I rose and started down to the tree, and saw a man and a woman sitting in a two-seated wagon, eyeing my grips. As I came to them, I gave them a hearty handshake, and gave them some tracts. The man said, “Isn’t your name Bevington, the one that is going to hold the camp here this summer?” “Well, my name is Bevington, but I will not hold the meeting. ” Well they both laughed. “What are you doing here?” “Well, I have been having a prayer a nd praise service up there” (pointing to a log). They both laughed again and said: “We heard you praying up there and thought we would stop and hear what you were praying about.”
He said, “We stopped down at the store as we came through, and they were telling what a crank they had engaged to conduct their camp. They were setting you out in great shape. So we drove up here. Wife said, ‘I believe that is the noted crank. Let’s stop.’ So here we are, as we thought we would like to see the fellow that possessed all those remarkable characteristics; but we don’t see that you look much different from any of God’s children. But where are you going?” “I am going to L_____.” “Well, we are going through there, so jump in.” So that man took me into his home, as he lived at L_____; and he and his wife and daughter and a lot more got regenerated and sanctified.
You may say, “Did you not feel led to go to the tabernacle; and, if so, what were you going to do thirty-six miles from there?” Well, Sir, God had His thought for the whole affair. He wanted this man and wife and daughter to work for Him, and He had to take this circuitous route to get them. They went into evangelistic work; but had I compromised, this family probably would never have been saved. I have seen and heard all three of them testify on the platform at the Cincinnati Camp many a time, and they lived blessed lives with God. If God had undertaken to tell me what He wanted, He probably could never have made me understand it; so He sent me to this noted camp, and then on to the road. And then He had the man come along purposely that I could meet him. And instead of having the meeting at this popular tabernacle with eighty dollars staring me in the face, He had me go to Louisville with only a little change, and no visible encouragements.