Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947).
Smith Wigglesworth was born in the year 1859 in Yorkshire just ten miles from Bradford. His was a very poor family and at the age of six he was working in the fields pulling and cleaning turnips. At seven he went to work in a woollen mill each day for 12 hours. All this left him without any formal education at this formative age. From his earliest years he had a deep hunger for God. His grandmother was an old fashioned primitive Methodist. She would take him along to these old fashioned revival meetings. She would have been about twelve years old when John Wesley made his last of twenty visits to Bradford. When he was eight years old she took him to to one of these revival meetings, as the believer's danced around a big stove clapping and singing about the Lamb, he looked with faith to the Lamb of Calvary and was born again. At testimony meetings when he would stand to testify he would burst into tears out of frustration of his inability to speak. One memorable night as he wept three old men came to him and laid their hands upon him. The Spirit of God came upon him and from then on he was able to witness for his Christ. The first person he led to his Saviour was his own mother. When ten years old he was confirmed at the Episcopal Church, as the Bishop laid hands upon him he was filled with a great consciousness of Gods presence similar to that which he would receive forty years later when Baptised in the Holy Ghost. When thirteen his family moved to Bradford and attended the Methodist church.
Three years later the Salvation Army opened in Bradford where he joined them in all nights of prayer and fasting and in reaching souls on the street. At work he came under the godly influence of a Plymouth Brethern man who taught him about water Baptism and the second coming of Christ.
At twenty he moved to Liverpool for three years which was a powerful time of soul winning on the streets and among children.
When he returned he married 'Polly' who was working with the Salvationists, he started his own plumbing business which soon swallowed up all his time. Through busyness he grew very cold in heart but his wife burnt brighter. Soon he came back to the Lord and over the next years burned brighter still in winning the lost to Christ. Every day he went out to work his heart cry was to win souls. Every week he would gather sick people from Bradford and take then to a work in Leeds where the sick were prayed for, he saw many miracles before his eyes. The leaders were going away to the holiness Keswick convention and left the reluctant Wigglesworth in charge at the meeting, but to his amazement he saw a crippled Scotsman healed. Shortly after this he made his stand for healing and holiness and opened a weekly meeting in Bradford where they prayed for the sick and saw mighty miracles on a regular basis. Then he was hit badly by appendicitis, the doctor said he would shortly die but God healed him and raised him up. Though seeing the lost saved and bodies healed he still felt he was lacking the scriptural signs of the fullness of a true Pentecost.
It was in October 1907 at the age of 48 that he first heard that a group at Sunderland under A.A.Boddy were speaking in tongues and operating gifts. Like himself this group was part of The Pentecostal League run by Reader Harris, so he made his journey their. His rough blunt seeking for these tongues was mis-understood by some. A number of friends warned him that tongues were of the devil. After four days of seeking God he was much blessed but had not spoke in tongues. Before leaving he went to the church manse to say good-bye. He said to Mrs. Boddy "I am going away, but I have not received the tongues yet." She replied "It is not tongues you need, but the Baptism." He protested this saying he already had the Baptism. His experience 14 years earlier after waiting on God 10 days and of being purged from his anger was what he called his Baptism. But he asked her to lay hands on him before he left, she did then had to quickly leave the room. The fire fell. Gods power come upon him and he saw Christ exalted. He was so conscious of the cleansing Blood. He could no longer speak in English but began to praise God in tongues as the Spirit gave him utterance, just as they received on the day of Pentecost. His first task was to Telegraph home that he had been Baptised. When he arrived home his wife was indignant, fully beliving she had the Baptism without need for tongues. She put this to the test and made him preach that next Sunday. She was so shocked and convinced by his powerful preaching that she also shortly after received the baptism with speaking in tongues.
The tongue tied plumber became a powerful orator. From this time they answered many calls to go preach this message of Pentecost. In many of these meetings the Spirit of God would fall mightily. He also started an Easter convention like that held at Sunderland. They continued in this manner until 1913 when his dear wife died suddenly.
He was now 52 years old. Very quickly the door opened for him to go to the USA for the first time. While there the Great War started, he also ministered in Canada and New Mexico with powerful anointing. When he returned to Britain he joined the Pentecostal Missionary Union council and at his annual convention in Bradford raised much money for the mission work in Congo. The 20's and 30's would be marked for him travelling internationaly to Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Sri Lanka, Austraila, New Zealand and the USA.
Smith Wigglesworth left a profound mark on the Pentecostal movement worldwide. The lost were saved, bound set free, sick healed and dead were raised up to the glory of God. It was the IIWW which stopped this travelling, during the war years he constantly travelled to many small churches across Britain. He began to weaken and sicken in body but in 1945 God touched his servant quickening and renewing his body and strength. That year at the Preston convention which he chaired, 1000 believers gathered, 20 new missionaries were sent out, 150 were baptized in the Holy Ghost and 20 were converted. It was at the funeral of a friend in 1947 at the age of 88 that he went to be with the Lord. He had been humble and bold, rugged and refined all at the same time.
by Keith Malcomson.
Edited from "Pentecostal Pioneers Remembered" by Keith Malcomson. Copyright 2008 by Keith Malcomson. No part of this article may be reproduced without the permission of the author.
EVER ENCREASING FAITH by Smith Wigglesworth
EIGHTEEN SELECT MESSAGES by Smith Wigglesworth
"PENTECOSTAL PIONEERS REMEMBERED"
by Keith Malcomson.
Here is a story long untold and mostly forgotten, of faith, power and glory.
These testimonies cover most if not all of Smith Wigglesworths' fellow-labourers and fellow-pioneers. For the first time read a thorough overview of the other men and woman that he stood shoulder to shoulder with. Also read of one of the most neglected and forgotten areas of Wigglesworth life.
This book commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Pentecostal Movement in Great Britain & Ireland, 1907-2007. Herein is the story of the Men, the Movement, the Message and the Miracles that became known as the Pentecostal Movement. These testimonies are timeless, powerful and stirring but sadly most of these pioneers have long disappeared from the sight and remembrance of the church. This is a very simple attempt to stir up the mind of the church to remember these men and women who so impacted families, cities and nations by a life of consecrated prayer, crowned and sealed with Holy Ghost power. Amongst them you will find pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets and apostles. Although all these pioneers were born in Britain & Ireland yet their ministries deeply affected the world. Their influence and power was amazingly greater than their birth, upbringing, number, education or financial resources. These testimonies will deeply inspire another generation to go and do likewise.
"I take great pleasure in writing the foreword for this book written by Keith Malcomson...I believe the reading of this book...of how God used these men to recover the spiritual in their day will greatly encourage us, especially the preacher, to believe God to do it again." B.H. Clendennen
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QUOTES FROM WIGGLESWORTH
None of you can be strong in God unless you are diligently and constantly hearkening to what God has to say to you through His Word. You cannot know the power and the nature of God unless you partake of His inbreathed Word. Read it at morn and at night, and at every opportunity you get. After every meal, instead of indulging in unprofitable conversation round the table, read a chapter from the Word and then have a season of prayer. I endeavor to make a point of doing this no matter where or with whom I am staying.
You will do more in one year if you are really filled with the Holy Ghost than you could do in fifty years apart from Him.
How is it that the moment you are filled with the Holy Ghost persecution starts? It was so with the Lord Jesus Himself. We do not read of any persecutions before the Holy Spirit came down like a dove upon Him. Shortly after this we find that, after preaching in His home town, they wanted to throw Him over the brow of a hill. It was the same with the twelve disciples. They had no persecution before the day of Pentecost; but after they were filled with the Spirit, they were soon in prison. The devil and the priests of religion will always get stirred when a man is filled with the Spirit and does things in the power of the Spirit. And persecution is the greatest blessing to a church. When we have persecution we will have purity. If you desire to be filled with the Spirit you can count on one thing, and that is persecution. The Lord came to bring division, and even in your own household you may find three against two.
You ask, "What is faith?" Faith is the principle of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit, who inspired the Word, is called the Spirit of Truth, and, as we receive with meekness the engrafted Word, faith springs in our heart-faith in the sacrifice of Calvary: faith in the shed blood of Jesus; faith in the fact that He took our weakness upon Himself, has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains, and that He is our life today.
There are evil powers, but Jesus is greater than all evil powers. There are tremendous diseases, but Jesus is healer. There is no case too hard for Him. The Lion of Judah shall break every chain. He came to relieve the oppressed and to set the captive free. He came to bring redemption, to make us as perfect as man was before the fall.
This Bible evidence is wonderful to me. I knew I had received the very evidence of the Spirit's incoming that the Apostles received on the day of Pentecost. I knew that everything I had had up to that time was in the nature of an anointing bringing me in line with God in preparation, but now I knew I had the Biblical Baptism in the Spirit. It had the backing of the Scriptures. You are always right when you have the backing of the Scriptures and you are never right if you have not a foundation for your testimony in the Word of God.