Azusa Street Testimonies
Charles H. Mason
“These signs shall follow them that believe. In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17, 18).
I had a false interpretation in my heart concerning the speaking in tongues. I did not take it literally as I did “they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” For years God had given me the knowledge of healing, and He had marvelously wrought with me and many cases of disease had been delivered. I interpreted the speaking in tongues to mean that we left off blaspheming, etc. Both when I got to the place where, hungering and thirsting for God, I consented to His Word, I saw that we did not need that interpretation, that the only reason we were not enjoying the speaking in tongues was because we did not accept it.
Then I felt I had gone to the end of myself. I had the care of a pastor over many flocks far and near and yet was so hungry and thirsty. The Lord showed me the humility of Jesus. How He came and presented Himself for baptism with the rest. I saw that I should not be above my Master. If He needed the Holy Ghost, I needed it to do the will of God, and Jesus would give me a better consolation to my own heart.
In order to loosen my hands from everything, the Lord showed me how Moses was concerned about Jethro's sheep in the desert. He saw the bush of fire and God got his attention and got him on the ground where he could speak to Him. He showed me how the disciples forsook their nets, and even when they had received their commission, He stopped them to tarry at Jerusalem that they might receive the promise.
I had a great desire in my heart to come to Los Angeles. I had preached the Pentecost to my people and they were hungry for it. When I came, it was not strange to me for the Lord had showed it to me in a vision. I went to the altar and the Lord put a parable before me, “If you were going to marry would you be sad?” I said, “No, when I was going to be married, I was glad.” He showed me this was wedlock to Christ. If there was anything imperfect about me, He would make it right and marry me anyway. Then my faith was settled and laid firmly hold on the promise.
As I arose from the altar and took my seat, I fixed my eyes on Jesus, and the Holy Ghost took charge of me. I surrendered perfectly to Him and consented to Him. Then I began singing a song in unknown tongues, and it was the sweetest thing to have Him sing that song through me. He had complete charge of me. I let Him have my mouth and everything. After that it seemed I was standing at the cross and heard Him as He groaned, the dying groans of Jesus, and I groaned. It was not my voice but the voice of my Beloved that I heard in me. When we got through with that, He started the singing again in unknown tongues. When the singing stopped I felt that complete death, it was my life going out, but it was complete death to me. When He had finished this, I let Him hold my hands up, and they rested just as easily up as down. Then He turned on the joy of it. He began to lift me up. I was passive in His hands, I was not going to do a thing. I could hear the people but did not let anything bother me. It came to me, “I charge thee, Oh daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up nor awake my Beloved until He please” (Song of Solomon 8:4). He lifted me to my feet and then the light of heaven fell upon me and burst into me filling me. Then God took charge of my tongue and I went to preaching in tongues. I could not change my tongue. The glory of God filled the temple. The gestures of my hands and movements of my body were His. Oh, it was marvelous and I thank God for giving it to me in His way. Such an indescribable peace and quietness went all through my flesh and into my very brain and has been there ever since.
This article was published in The Apostolic Faith , February-March, 1907. C.H. Mason was the founder of the Church of God in Christ, reportedly the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States.
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