GN vol. 20, no. 10, 1 October 1929
GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.
By the late General William Booth.
("War Cry," November 21, 1914.)
A good deal of attention is given to what are known as the extraordinary "gifts of the Spirit"—that is, the ability to do something which is beyond the power of man to do without the direct operation of God. Such gifts as these were, without doubt, possessed by the apostles both before and after the death of our Lord. They had the gift of tongues; that is, they received suddenly the power to speak languages which they had never learned. They had the gift of healing; that is, they cured the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, unstopped the ears of the deaf, and restored the dead to life instantaneously without the use of ordinary means. They wrought miracles; they caused events to happen that were contrary to the usual course of Nature. Those were very remarkable gifts, proving that God was with them, because no man could do these things unless God was operating directly through him.
These gifts were useful, inasmuch as they called attention to those who possessed them, declared that the mission of these Officers was Divine, and justified men everywhere in believing what they had to say.
For this reason they were important to the world, and their possession to-day. might be a great blessing to mankind. There is not a word in the Bible which proves that we may not have them at the present time, and there is nothing in experience to show they would not be as useful to-day as in any previous period of the Church's history. No man, therefore, can be condemned for desiring them, and the recent remarkable signs and wonders wrought amongst us not only demand, but shall have, our most profound and sympathetic consideration.
It must never be forgotten that all real healing, whether of body or soul, whether accomplished in a moment or in a year of time, whether done apparently without, or through, the use of means, are alike effected by the direct operation of the power of God. IT IS GOD WHO SAVES.
And it must ever be remembered that all gifts— ordinary or extraordinary—alike come from God. If God were to come to you offering to bestow upon you these extraordinary gifts of which we are speaking; if He said, "I will give you the power to heal the sick; upon whomsoever you lay hands, they shall be healed of whatever sickness they have; at your commands devils shall be cast out, and by your faith mountains shall be moved; but it can only be on condition that those gifts shall not be allowed to be idle. They must be exercised, and exercised solely for My glory and the salvation of men; not to gratify your pride or feed your ambition, or make money, or give pleasure, or in any shape or form promote your own honor and glory and bigness." What would you say? Would you not cry out, "Far be it from me, Lord, that I should desire Thy gifts to spend them on my selfishness and lusts. If Thou wilt give them I will not sell or use or barter them for either money or pleasure or fame or anything else; but, on the contrary, I will faithfully and constantly employ them for Thy glory, to induce men to save their souls and to love and serve Thee."
But how is it, with the gifts He has already imparted—with the hands and feet and brain and heart and money and time and influence you already possess?
Are you using these for yourself, or are they laid on the altar, purified with the blood and consecrated in the burning flame of a holy, spiritual, enthusiastic devotion to the interests of your Saviour and the salvation of the blood-bought world?
Far be it from me to say one word that would stay the longing of any heart for the extraordinary gifts already mentioned. I LONG FOE THEM MYSELF. I believe in their necessity, and I believe they are already amongst us. By all means let us have the perfection of the Divine method of working. The poor infidel world should be made to see all of God that is possible, in order that it may believe.
Let us covet, let us seek earnestly—nay, let us.never rest until we possess in all its fulness this celestial passion.
MRS. BOOTH'S ADVICE TO PARENTS.
I have often listened in wonder to the stories from parents, of the way in which their children, especially their sons, set at nought their most reasonable requests, break all their domestic rules, almost mock them at their own tables, trample on the feelings and rights of the younger members of the family, stop out at night, and run into debt for all manner of extravagances as though they (the parents) were perfectly helpless in the matter, and only to be pitied arid condoned with. Sometimes I have ventured to say: "Well, but whose fault is all this? Who finds the money and the home which renders all this possible?"
It never seems to have dawned upon such parents that they are really the most blameworthy parties in the matter, and that God regards them as abetting their children's ruin. You say, "What can I do?" I will tell you what I should do, and what I believe God requires of you.
"I should have an interview with the two youths together, and should review the situation of things from first to last. I should show them that I had awakened to my own responsibility, and also to my past folly. I should tell them that I perceived that I was only helping them further into sin and ruin, and that I had made up my mind that our relations must be entirely altered —that, unless they were prepared to submit to my regulations and to conduct themselves at least decently and honorably, they could no longer live under my roof, or be partakers of my substance.
(The first of a series of three articles from the "War Cry." Look out next month for Mrs. Catherine Booth on "The Holy Spirit," and, later, for what a bandmaster said on the same subject; to be followed by Army "field officers' " orders in practising Divine Healing.)
A DYING WOMAN'S PRAYER.
A dying woman, in her last moments on earth, prayed very earnestly for her only son, as he knelt beside her. "Oh Jesus," she cried, "send someone to take care of my little boy!" When the mother died and was buried, the little lad was turned out of the house, without money and without a single friend. He went to the cemetery and threw himself on the new-made grave, and remained there all night, weeping at times and sleeping at times. In the grey light of early morning a laborer, going to his work, saw the strange sight of a ragged boy sleeping on a new-made grave. He woke him, and the lad, starting up, said: "Did Jesus send you to take care of me?" The laborer replied: "I think Jesus did send me to take care of you. Come to my home." As the child trotted beside him he said: "It was very dark and very cold and very lonely, and you were such a long time coming that I thought you would never come."