Highlights of the Latter Rain Outpouring (1906)
By: Elder Glenn A. Cook
In the early Spring of 1906, Brother Seymour arrived here (in Los Angeles) from Houston, Texas. He had been a hotel waiter in Indianapolis. While there (Houston) he attended meetings for some time where the people spoke in tongues. The Holy Ghost had fallen in Topeka, Kansas, quite a while before this, and had spread as far as Houston. Brother Seymour did not receive his baptism at the Houston meeting. The doctrines preached by this people were very confusing, and there was a lack of love and power in meetings. The writer later on learned about this visitation Topeka. The leader became puffed up, declared himself the progenitor of the movement, and would strut around with a high silk hat like a dictator. The results that followed could not be otherwisr but great confusion in doctrine and the absence of the spirit of love.
When Brother Seymour arrived in Los Angeles he did not have the baptism, but surely was meek and humble, and could preach love and a clean life as a preparation for the baptism. He received the baptism a short time after the power fell. He gathered together a small group of people, black and white, and started a meeting in the old church building.
A few benches and chairs, with a packing case for the pulpit was was the equipment. Every time he preached he would quote from Mark 16 and Acts 2:4, insisting that no one had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost unless they spoke in tongues. This caused a great deal of opposition by the holiness people who began to attend the meetings. The writer was preaching in a tent at Seventh and Spring Streets when some one told him about the meeting. He went to the meeting, thinking he might be able to straighten the people out in their doctrine, as he had been professing this experience for a number of years.
I was not alone in this effort, as many more preachers and gospel workers began together to contend with Brother Seymour. But the contention was all on our part. I never have met a man who had such control over his spirit. The Scripture that reads, "Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them," was literally fulfilled in this man. No amount of confussion and accusation seemed to disturb him. He would sit behind that packing case and smile at us until we were all condemned by our own activities.
Although most of the holiness people who attended continued to reject the preaching, all had a secret reverence and admiration for this man who really lived what he had been preaching for years, of sanctified life. It was the wonderful character of this man whom God had chosen that attracted the people to keep coming to this humble meeting.
The meeting had been running for about a month when the power fell. My, what a change took place. When I saw Sister Moon's shinning face and heard her sing in the Spirit, I felt as though I had never had any experience. That old building seemed to have been annexed to Heaven and had become the habitation of legions of the Heavenly Host. People began to pour in from everywhere, representing all religious beliefs.
After asking forgiveness of Brother Seymour and all the rest, for all my hard sayings, I fell on my face and began to pour out my soul in prayer, but could not receive the Holy Ghost. Then followed a period of about five weeks of repenting and prayer. My eyes were seldom dry during this time, and although quite a number had spoken in tongues and the building was filled with people, I seemed to get farther and farther away from God.
I felt that I was really lost and unless I received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues I would miss all. When I had just about given up all hope, the Holy Ghost fell on me as I lay in bed at home. I seemed to be in a trance for about twenty-four hours, anf the next day in the meeting I began to speak in tongues.
The crowds kept increasing until the people could not get in the building. It was on a little used side street, and soon the street was filled with people from every walk of life, and every nationality. The meetings would start at about nine in the morning and run continually until far into the night. There was such a drawing power about the place that saint and sinner wanted to be there all the time.
I was working on a daily newspaper at the time, but my work had lost all interest. I would weep and cry as I went about my work until my wicked companions said that I was going crazy. About this time the Lord spoke to me and told me to quit my work, as He had something for me to do. I resigned my position, and a few days afterwards Brother Seymour made me his business manager without salary. No one received any pay in the meeting, and no offerings were taken. A box was on the wall by the door, and all support came through this box or in the mail unless handed to workers by individuals.
A few days after I took my new position, a rancher came to me and said the Lord had spoken to him in the field to come to town immediately and give me $20.00. I was just about broke when he met me, and after handing me a $20.00 gold piece, said that the Lord had told him to give me $20.00 every month, which he continued to do for over a year. There was never any lack of funds for every purpose needed, although money was seldom if ever mentioned in the meetings.
One of the great features of the meetings was the singing of heavenly anthems in the spirit. I was seldom away from that old building for nearly a year, except to go home to sleep, and much of the time slept in the building in a room adjoining Brother Seymour. We all seemed to live in an atmosphere that was seperated from the rest of the world. Evil speaking, and even evil thinking was all departed. We were saturated with the spirit of love and prayer and the days passed all to swiftly.
The Apostolic Faith paper was soon published, telling about the wonderful outpouring. The first number issued was 5,000 copies, and soon 50,000 was the number. People began to pour in from all over the United States and Canada, and from different parts of the world. The place was packed morning until far into the night, with many receiving the baptism all the time. We had one communion service and footwashing that lasted until day break. Over twenty different nationalities were present, and they were all in perfect accord and unity of the spirit.
In recent years I have heard preachers speak lightly of the Azusa Street Meeting, saying they had just as good meetings under their ministry. The old timers can only feel sorry for such and pity them.
In this meeting you are not only baptized in the Holy Ghost, but also lived in such a heavenly atmosphere of love that you never can forget it, and all else seems so empty and void. Even as I write these pages, the memory of the meeting comes floating back, my eyes begin to swim with tears, and such a longing and yearning seizes me for a return of such a condition. I can feel that sacred fire still burning, and the conviction that God will again visit His people in a like manner before the present dispensation ends.
If God's people would only come together and forget about doctrines and leaders whose vision is blurred by building churches and collecting tithes, having only one objective, and that, to be filled with all the fulness of God, I know God would answer prayer.
Doctrines and teachings have their proper place in the Gospel plan, but that over-powering, drawing power of the love of God must come first, a lack of this love that nothing can afford.