(Mr. ) Bartleman attended the meetings on Bonnie Brae Street, and whenthey moved to 312 Azusa Street. He was there with them enjoying thewarmth of Pentecostal fires. Bartleman, who was there at the begin-ning of the revival, best described those early days also in his book,Azusa Street:
Brother Seymour generally sat behind two empty boxes, oneon top of the other. He usually kept his head inside the top oneduring the meeting, in prayer. There was no pride there. Theservices ran almost continuously. Seeking souls could be foundunder the power almost any hour of the day or night. Theplace was never closed nor empty. The people came to meetGod—He was always there. Hence a continuous meeting. Themeeting did not depend on the human leader. God’s presencebecame more and more wonderful. In that old building, withits low rafters and bare floors, God broke strong men andwomen to pieces, and put them together again for His glory. Itwas a tremendous overhauling process. Pride and self-asser-tion, self-importance, and self-esteem could not survive there.The religious ego preached its own funeral sermon quickly.
No subjects or sermons were announced ahead of time, and nospecial speakers for such an hour. No one knew what might becoming, what God would do. All was spontaneous, ordered bythe Spirit. We wanted to hear from God, through whomeverHe might speak. We had no respect of persons. All were equal.No flesh might glory in His presence. He could not use the self-opinionated. Those were Holy Spirit meetings, led of the Lord.It had to start in poor surroundings to keep out the selfish,human element. All came down in humility together at Hisfeet. They all looked alike and had all things in common, inthat sense at least. The rafters were low, the tall must comedown. By the time they got to Azusa, they were humbled,ready for the blessing. The fodder was thus placed for thelambs, not for giraffes. All could reach it.
We were delivered right there from ecclesiastical hierarchismand abuse. We wanted God. When we first reached the meeting,we avoided human contact and greeting as much as possible. Wewanted to meet God first. We got our head under some benchin the corner in prayer, and met men only in the Spirit, know-ing them “after the flesh” no more. The meetings started them-selves, spontaneously, in testimony, praise, and worship. Thetestimonies were never hurried by a call for “popcorn.” We hadno prearranged program to be jammed through on time. Ourtime was the Lord’s. We had real testimonies, from fresh heart-experience. Otherwise, the shorter the testimonies, the better.
A dozen might be on their feet at one time, trembling under themighty power of God. We did not have to get our cue fromsome leader; yet we were free from lawlessness. We were shutup to God in prayer in the meetings, our minds on Him.All obeyed God, in meekness and humility. In honor we “pre-ferred one another.” The Lord was liable to burst through any-one. We prayed for this continually. Someone would finally getup, anointed for the message. All seemed to recognize this andgave way. It might be a child, a woman, or a man. It might befrom the back seat or from the front. It made no difference. Werejoiced that God was working. No one wished to show him-self. We thought only of obeying God. In fact, there was anatmosphere of God there that forbade anyone but a fool fromattempting to put himself forward without the real anoint-ing—and such did not last long. The meetings were controlledby the Spirit, from the throne. Those were truly wonderfuldays. I often said that I would rather live six months at thattime than fifty years of ordinary life. But God is just the sametoday. Only we have changed.
Someone might be speaking. Suddenly the Spirit would fallupon the congregation. God Himself would give the altar call.Men would fall all over the house, like the slain in battle, orrush for the altar en masse to seek God. The scene often resem-bled a forest of fallen trees. Such a scene cannot be imitated. Inever saw an altar call given in those early days. God Himselfwould call them. And the preacher knew when to quit. WhenHe spoke, we all obeyed. It seemed a fearful thing to hinder orgrieve the Spirit. The whole place was steeped in prayer. Godwas in His holy temple. It was for man to keep silent. The shek-inah glory rested there. In fact, some claim to have seen theglory by night over the building. I do not doubt it. I havestopped more than once within two blocks of the place andprayed for strength before I dared go on. The presence of theLord was so real.
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