Let us bow our heads just a moment for prayer.
Our gracious Heavenly Father, it is indeed with privileges that we have of approaching Thee, our God and Saviour. Hearing this marvelous song, How Great Thou Art, it thrills us because that we know that Thou art great. And we pray that Your greatness will be manifested to us anew, this afternoon, as we speak. And it is fallen my lot, for the first time in many years, to try to go back into life's past, and I pray that You'll give me strength and what I need, Lord, to be in this hour. And may all my mistakes in life only be a steppingstone to others, that would bring them closer to Thee. Grant it, Lord. May sinners see the footprints on the sands of time, and may they be led to Thee. These things we ask in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Amen. (You may be seated.)
[Brother Glover says, "Could you pray for these handkerchiefs before you start?"--Ed.] I'll be glad. ["There's those and these to pray for."] All right, sir, thank you. As this sainted man, Brother Glover, that I've known now for some years, had the privilege of being with him a while last evening. And he's told me he had been laid up for a little while, rest. And now, at seventy-five years old, is returning back into the service of the Lord. I'm not half as tired as I was before I heard that. I thought I was tired, but I don't believe I am. He had just placed here to me some handkerchiefs, in the form of envelopes, and so forth, where they're inside and already backed.
Now, any of you in radio land, or here, that desires one of these handkerchiefs, and you would, the Angelus Temple sends them out constantly, all the time. You could write right here to Angelus Temple and they'll pray over it, because I will assure you that it's the Scripture. It's a promise of God.
And if it would be that you'd want me to pray over one for you, why, I'll be glad to do that. You just would write me at post office box 3-2-5, 325, Jeffersonville, spelt J-e-f-f-e-r-s-o-n-v-i, double l, e. Jeffersonville, Indiana. Or if you cannot think of the post office box, just write "Jeffersonville." It's a small city, population about thirty-five thousand. Everyone knows me there. And so we would be glad to pray over a handkerchief and send to you.
And, now, we have had great success in doing this, because... You'll have a little form letter with it, that people around the world pray every morning at nine o'clock, and at twelve o'clock and at three o'clock. And you can imagine, around behind the world, what time of the night they have to get up to make this prayer. So if all these tens of thousands, and times thousands, are sending prayers to God at that very same time for this ministry, your sickness, God just can't turn that away. And so now we, as I say, we don't have any programs, we're not wanting one penny of money. We're just... If we can help you, that's what we're here for. And let us...
Someone is bringing another bunch of handkerchiefs.
Now, if you do not have a handkerchief that you wanted to send, well, then you just write, anyhow. If you don't need it right now, keep it in the Book of Acts, in the Bible, the 19th chapter. And it'll be a form of a little white ribbon that will be sent you, and the instructions how to confess your sins first. And (thank you) how to confess your sins. You must never try to get anything from God without first being right with God. See? And then you're instructed in this to call your neighbors in, and your pastor. If you got anything that's in your heart against anyone, go make it right first, and come back. And then pray, have a prayer meeting in your home, and pin this handkerchief to your underneath garment, then believe God. And at that very three hours, each day, there'll be people around the world praying, a chain around the world.
And now it's yours, absolutely free, just send. And, now, we will not be writing back to you to dun you or to tell you some program that we have. We want you to support a program, but we don't have any for you to support. See? So you... It's not to get your address, it's just merely accommodation and a ministry of the Lord that we're trying to carry on.
Now let us bow our heads. And if you're in radio land, have your handkerchief laying there, just put your own hand upon it while we pray.
Gracious Lord, we bring to Thee these little parcels, perhaps some of them look to be maybe little vests for a baby, or some little undershirt, or maybe a little pair of booties, or something, a handkerchief, that's going to the sick and the afflicted, Lord, it is according to Thy Word that we do this. For we read, in the Book of Acts, that they taken from the body of Your servant, Paul, handkerchiefs and aprons, because they believed that Your Spirit was on the man. And unclean spirits went out of people, and afflictions and diseases left them, because they believed. And now we realize, Lord, that we're not Saint Paul, but we know that You still remain Jesus. And we pray that You'll honor the faith of these people.
And it was said once that when Israel (trying to obey God) had been caught into a trap, the sea before them, the mountains on either side, and Pharaoh's army approaching. And one has said, that, "God looked down through that Pillar of Fire, with angered eyes, and the sea got scared and rolled back itself, and made a path for Israel to cross to the promised land."
O Lord, look down again, when these parcels are laid upon the sick bodies in commemoration of Thy living Word. And may the disease get scared, look through the Blood of Thy Son, Jesus, Who died for this atonement. And may the enemy be scared and move away, that these people might move into the promise, that "Above all things," that it is Your desire "that we prosper in health." Grant it, Father, for we send it with that--with that attitude in our heart. And that's our objective. We send it in Jesus Christ's Name. Amen.
Thank you, Brother Glover. Thank you, sir.
Now, tonight being the closing of this part of the revival, I do not know whether it will be broadcast or not, but I'd like to say (if not) to the radio audience, that this has been one of the finest meetings that I've had for a many, many years. It's been solid, sound, most loving, cooperative meeting that I have been in for a long time.
[A brother says, "We're on the air till a quarter past four, brother. And they are listening to you, all over southern California, out into the islands, and on the ships. We get messages from them. And so you got a big audience, thousands and tens of thousands."--Ed.] Thank you, sir. That's very good. Glad to hear that. God bless you all.
And I certainly have always had a warm place in my heart for the Angelus Temple, for its stand for the full Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, now, it--it seems to be more personal to me now. It seems like, after meeting everyone and seeing their fine spirit, I seem like I am just more one of you than I used to be. God bless you, is my prayer. And... [Audience applauds--Ed.] Thank you, kindly.
Now, it was given out that today I was to kind of talk to you a while on: My Life Story. That's a hard thing for me. This will be the first time I have tried to approach it for many years. And I would not have time to go in details, but just part of it. And, in here, I've made many mistakes, done many things that was wrong. And I'll desire, that you in the radio land and you that are present, that you will not take my mistakes to be stumbling-stones, but stepping-stones to bring you closer to the Lord Jesus.
Then, tonight, the prayer cards is to be given out for the healing service tonight. Now, when we speak of healing service, doesn't mean that we're going to heal someone, we're going to "pray for someone." God does the healing. He's just been very gracious to me, to answer prayer.
And I was talking to the manager of a famous evangelist, here sometime ago, and it was asked why didn't this evangelist pray for the sick. And the evangelist said back to the manager of my meetings, said, "If... This evangelist believes in Divine healing. But if he would start praying for the sick, it would interrupt his service because he's sponsored by churches. Many churches and many of them does not believe in Divine healing."
So I have an honor and respect for the evangelist because he's keeping his place, his post of duty. He could perhaps... I could never take his place, and I doubt whether he could take my place. We all have a place in the Kingdom of God. We're all jointed together. Different gifts, but the same Spirit. Different manifestations, I meant to say, but the same Spirit.
And, now, tonight the services will begin... I think they said the concert begins at six-thirty. And, now, if you're out in the radio land, come in to listen to this. It's... It'll be beautiful, it's always.
And then I wish to say that the prayer cards will be given out immediately after this service, just as soon as this service is dismissed, if you're here and want a prayer card. I was instructed in there just a few moments ago, my son or Mr. Mercier or Mr. Goad, they'll be giving out prayer cards. Just remain in your seat. As soon as the service is dismissed, just remain at your seat so the boys can get down through the line and get the prayer cards given out just as quick as possible. That'll be in the balconies or on the floor, wherever, the bottom floors or wherever you are, just remain in your seat and the boys will know that you're here for a prayer card. And then tonight we'll be praying for the sick. And if the Lord does not change my thoughts, I want to preach on the subject tonight, If You'll Show Us The Father, it will Satisfy Us.
Now I wish to read for a text this afternoon, just to start off the Life Story, found over in the Book of Hebrews, the 13th chapter, and let's begin here about... I would say about the 12th verse.
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go... therefore to him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Now that is kind of a text. For, you see, if it's a life story, or anything pertaining to a human being, we don't glorify that, and especially a man's past, if it's been as dark as mine has been. But I thought, if we read the Scripture, God would bless the Scripture. And my thought is: That here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Now, I know that you're very fond of Los Angeles. You have a right to be. It's a great, beautiful city. With its smog and what-more, yet it's a beautiful city, fine climate. But this city cannot continue, it's got to have an end.
I've stood in Rome (where the great emperors) and the cities that they thought they would build immortal, and dig down twenty feet to even find the ruins of it.
I've stood where the Pharaohs has had their great kingdoms, and you'd dig down in the ground to find where the great Pharaohs ruled.
All of us like to think about our city and our place. But, remember, it cannot stand.
When I was a little boy I used to go to a great maple tree. In my country we have a lot of hardwood. And then we had this maple tree, the sugar maple, and what we call the "hard maple" and "soft maple." This great gigantic tree, it was the most beautiful tree. And when I would come in from the fields, of working in the hay and the harvests, I would love to go to this big tree and sit down under it and look up. And I'd see its great, mighty branches sway in the wind, great huge trunk. And I said, "You know, I believe that this tree will be here for hundreds and hundreds of years." Not long ago I took a look at the old tree, it's just a snag.
"For here we have no continuing city." No, nothing here on the earth that you can look at will continue. It's got to have an end. Everything that's mortal has to give away to an immortality. So no matter how good we build our highways, how fine we make our structures, it all has to go, for here there's nothing can continue. Just the Unseen is what continues.
I remember the house that we lived in, it was an old log house chinked with mud. I... Perhaps maybe many never seen a house chinked with mud. But it was all chinked up with mud, and the great huge logs that was in the old house, I thought that house would stand for hundreds of years. But, you know, today where that house stood is a housing project. It's so much different. Everything's changing. But...
And I used to see my father, he was a rather a short, stocky man, very strong, and he was one of the strongest little man that I knew of. I met Mr. Coots, a fellow that he used to work with in the logs, he was a logger, and about a year ago, and Mr. Coots is a very good friend of mine, and a deacon in the First Baptist church, and he said, "Billy, you ought to be a real powerful man."
And I said, "No, I'm not, Mr. Coots."
He said, "If you took after your daddy, you would be." Said, "I seen that man, weighing a hundred and forty pounds, load a log on the wagon by himself, that weighed nine hundred pounds." He just knew how to do it. He was strong. I'd see him come into the place to wash and get ready for dinner, when Mother would call him.
And we had an old apple tree out in the front yard, and then there was three or four small ones along towards the back. And right in the middle tree there was an old looking glass, had been broke, mirror, large one. And had been tacked on the side of the tree with some nails bent in. Kind of like what some of you carpenters listening in would call "coat hangers." It had been bent in to hold the glass in its place. And there was an old tin comb. How many ever seen an old tin... the old-fashioned tin comb? I can just see it.
And then there was a little wash bench, just a little board with a little slanting leg beneath it, tacked against the tree. A little, old, half sulfur pump there that we pumped the water out, and we washed at this old tree.And Mama used to take meal sacks and make towels. Anybody ever use a meal-sack towel? Well, I'm sure I'm feel at home now. And those big, old rough towels! And when she'd give us little kiddies a bath, she'd... feel like she was rubbing the hide off every time she rubbed. And I remember that old meal sack. And she'd pull some of the strings out and make little tassels, to kind of decorate it up.
How many ever slept on a straw tick? Well, I'll--will say! How many ever knowed what a shuck pillow was? Well, Brother Glover, I'm at home now, sure enough! Straw tick, well, it hasn't been too long since I just come off of one, and it was... Oh, it's good sleeping, cool. Then in the wintertime they take the old feather bed and lay on it, you know, and then have to put a piece of canvas over the top of us because the snow blowed in the cracks in the house, you know, where the old clapboard shingles would turn up, you know, and the snow would sweep through it. And, oh, I can remember that very well.
And then Pop used to have a shaving brush. I... Now this is going to get you. It was made out of corn shucks, a shaving brush with corn shucks. He'd take mother's old lye soap that she had made, fix it up and put it on his face with this corn shuck brush, and shave it with a big, old straight razor. And on Sunday he'd take the pieces of paper, stick around his collar, they wore celluloid collars and put it around the collar like this to keep the lather from getting on his shirt collar. Did you ever see that done? Why, my, my!
I remember a little old spring down below, where we used to go get a drink of water, and get our water out of an old gourd dipper. How many ever seen a gourd dipper? Well, how many of you is from Kentucky, anyhow? Yeah, well, just looky here at the Kentuckians. Well, my, I'm right at... I thought it was all Okies and Arkies out here, but look like Kentucky is moving in. Well, they did strike oil in Kentucky a few months ago, you know, so maybe that's some of them's coming this a-way.
And then I remember when Dad used to come in and take his wash for dinner, he'd roll up his sleeves, and them little short stubby arms. And when he'd pull up his arms to wash, throw the water up on his face, them muscles just wadded in his little arms. And I said, "You know, my daddy will live to be a hundred and fifty years old." He was so strong! But he died at fifty- two. See? "Here we have no continuing city." That's right. We cannot continue.
Now let's take a little trip, all of us. There's every one of you here that has a life story, just as I do, and it's good to stroll down memory's lane once in a while. Don't you think so? Just go back, and let's all go back for a while, back to similar experiences as little children.
And now the first part of the life story. I'll just give it a little touch, 'cause it's in the book and many of you have the book.
I was born in a little mountain cabin, way up in the mountains of Kentucky. They had one room that we lived in, no rug on the floor, not even wood on the floor, it was just simply a bare floor. And a stump, top of a stump cut off with three legs on it, that was our table. And all those little Branhams would pile around there, and out on the front of the little old cabin, and wallowed out, looked like where a bunch of opposums had been wallowing out there in the dust, you know, all the little brothers. There was nine of us, and one little girl, and she really had a rough time amongst that bunch of boys. We have to respect her yet today from the things that we did in those days. She couldn't go with us anywhere, we'd run her back, she was a girl. So she couldn't take it, you know. So we had... And all...
Remember that back behind the table we had just two chairs, and they were made out of limb bark. Just old hickory saplings put together, and the bottom of them laced with hickory bark. Did anybody ever see a hickory bark chair? Yeah. And I can hear Mama yet. Oh, later on when we got into a place where she could have a wooden floor, with those babies on her lap like this, and rocking that old chair just bangity, bangity, bang on the floor. And I remember to keep the little ones from going out the door, when she would be washing or something, she'd lay a chair down and turn it kind of cater-cornered across the door, to keep the little ones from getting out when she had to go to the spring to get water, and so forth.
And Mother was fifteen years old when I was born, Dad was eighteen. And I was the first of the nine children. And they told me that the morning I was born...
Now, we was very poor, just the poorest of poor. And we did not even have a window in this little cabin. It had like a little wooden door that you open. I doubt whether you ever seen anything like that. A little wooden door that opened instead of a window, you keep it open in the daytime and you closed it at night. We couldn't turn on the electric lights or even burn kerosene in those days, we had what you call "a grease lamp." Now, I don't know whether you ever know what a grease lamp was. Well, what do you... And did you ever buy... burn a pine knot? For just take a pine knot and light it and lay it upon a lid, it'll burn. And that's... smoked up a little bit, but they had not furniture, anyhow, to smoke up. So it just... the cabin got the smoking. It drawed good 'cause there was plenty of roof up there for it to draw through. So it...
And I was born on April the 6th, 1909. Course, you know, that makes me a little over twenty-five now. And so, the morning that I was born, Mother said that they opened up the window. Now, we had no doctors, there was a midwife. Just... And that midwife was my grandmother. And so when I was born and my first beginning to cry, and Mother wanted to see her child. And she was no more than a child herself. And when they opened up the little window, just at the break of day, about five o'clock. And the... There was an old robin sitting by the side of a little bush. As you all have seen the picture of it in my book of my life story. An old robin was sitting there just singing for all that was in him.
I've always loved robins. Now, you boys out in radio land, don't shoot at my birds. You see, they're--they're--they're... Them's my birds. Did you ever hear the legend of the robin, how he got his red breast? I'll stop here a moment. How he got his red breast... There was the King of kings was dying one day on the Cross, and He was suffering and no one would come to Him. He had no one to help Him. And there was a little brown bird wanted to take them nails out of the Cross, and he kept flying into the Cross and jerking on those nails. He was too little to pull them out, and he got his little breast all red with blood. And ever since then his breast has been red. Don't shoot him, boys. Let him alone.
He was sitting at the side of the window, a-chirping as the robins sing. And Dad pushed back the window. And when they pushed the little window door back, that Light that you see in the picture come whirling in the window, says my mother, and hung over the bed. Grandmother didn't know what to say.
Now, we are... was not a religious family. My people are Catholic. I'm Irish on both sides. My father is strictly Irish, Branham. My mother is Harvey; only, her father married a Cherokee Indian, so that broke the little line or the blood of the Irish. And Father and Mother did not go to church, and they married out of the church and they had no religion at all. And back there in the mountains there was not even a Catholic Church. So they come over in the early settlers, two Branhams come over, and from that sprung the whole generation of Branhams; is the genealogy of the family.
And then she opened... When they opened this window and this Light stood in there, they did not know what to do. Dad had bought him (Mama said) a new pair of overalls for this event. He was standing with the... his arms in the bib of the old overalls, like the woodsmen and loggers used in those days. And it frightened them.
Well, after I had got up maybe ten days old, or something, they taken me up to a little Baptist Church called "Opossum Kingdom," Opossum Kingdom Baptist Church. That's quite a name. There was an old circuit preacher, the old-fashioned Baptist preacher came through there about once every two months. On... The people would have a little service together, they'd go sing some songs, but they had preaching every so often on the circuit rider. They paid him each year with a sack of pumpkins and a few things like that, you know, that the people would raise to give him. And the old preacher came by, and there he offered prayer for me as a little boy. That was my first trip to church.
At the year of about... something a little over two years old, the first vision taken place.
Well, they had told around in the mountains there that "This Light came in." So they tried to figure it up. Some of them said it must have been the sunlight reflecting on a mirror in the house. But there was no mirror in there. And the sun wasn't up, so it was too early, five o'clock. And then, oh, they just passed It by. And when I was about... suppose be near three years old...
Now, I have to be honest. There's things here that I do not like to say, and I wish I could bypass it and not have to say it. But yet, to tell the truth, you must tell the truth if it's on yourself or your people. Be honest about it, and then it's always the same.
My father was a long way from being a religious person. He was a typical mountain boy that drank constantly, all the time. And he had gotten in some trouble in a fight, and there had been two or three man almost killed as they fighting, shooting, and cutting one another with knives, at some kind of a party up in the mountains. And Dad had been one of the ringleaders of this fight, because that there had been a friend of his had got hurt, and had hit someone with a chair. And had... The man had a knife out and was going to cut Dad's friend on the floor with this knife, through his heart, and Dad took his part. And it really must have been a terrible fight, because they, from all the way down to Burkesville, many miles away, they sent a sheriff up after Dad, horseback.
So the man was laying at the point of death. Might be some of his people listening in. I'm going to call his name, Will Yarbrough was his name. They probably... I think some of them is in California, of his boys. But he was a bully, great powerful man, killed his own boy with a fence rail. So he was a very powerful and wicked man. And so there was a great knife fight between he and Dad. And my father almost killed the man, so he had to run and leave Kentucky and come across the river to Indiana.
And he had a brother that lived, at the time, in Louisville, Kentucky, was the assistant superintendent of the Wood Mosaic Saw Mills in Kentucky, in Louisville. And so Dad come to find his older brother. Dad was the youngest of the boys, of seventeen children. And so he came to find his older brother, and while he was gone for almost a year. He could not come back, because the law was looking for him. And then when we had heard from him by letter, signed by another name, but that he had told mother how it would be that she'd hear from him.
And then I remember one day the spring (this little cabin) was just behind the house. And during that time after... There was nine... eleven months difference between me and my next brother, and he was still crawling. And I had a big rock in my hand, and I was trying to show him how hard I could throw this rock in the old mud, where the spring had run out of the ground and made the muddy ground. And I heard a bird, and it was singing up in a tree. And I looked up to that tree and the bird flew away, and, when it did, a Voice spoke to me.
Now, I know you think I could not think and remember that. But the Lord God Who's Judge, the earth and the heavens and all there is, knows that I'm telling the truth.
That bird, when it flew away, a Voice came from where the bird was in the tree, like a wind caught in the bush, and It said, "You'll live near a city called New Albany." And I've lived, from the time I was three years old until this time, within three miles of New Albany, Indiana.
I went in and told my mother about it. Well, she thought I was just dreaming or something.
And later we moved to Indiana and Father went to work for a man, Mr. Wathen, a rich man. He owns the Wathen Distilleries. And he owned a great shares. He's a multimillionaire in the Louisville Colonels and baseball, and so forth. And then we lived near there. And Dad being a poor man, yet he could not do without his drinking, so he went to making whiskey in a still.
And then it worked a hardship on me because I was the oldest of the children. I had to come and pack water to this still, to keep those coils cool while they were making the whiskey. Then he got to selling it, and then he got two or three of those stills. Now, that's the part I don't like to tell, but it's the truth.
And I remember one day, from the barn, coming up to the house, crying. Because out at the back of the place was a pond, it... where they used to cut ice. Many of you remember when they used to cut ice and put it in sawdust. Well, that's the way Mr. Wathen kept ice out there in the country. And Father was a chauffeur for him, a private chauffeur. And when this pond was full of fish and when they could go to cutting the ice and bring it in and put it in the sawdust, then when the ice melted in the summertime as it went down, it was kind of clean I suppose, more like a lake ice, and they could use it, not to drink, but to keep water cold, put it around their buckets and their milk, and so forth.
And one day packing water from back out at this pump, which was about a city block. I was squalling to who wouldn't have it, because I had come from school and all the boys had went out to the pond, fishing. I just loved to fish. And so they all got to go fishing but me, and I had to pack water for this still. Of course, my, that had to be mum, it was prohibition. And I... It was such a hardship. And I remember coming along there with a stumped toe, and I had a corn cob wrapped under my toe to keep it out of the dust. Did you ever do that? Just put a corn cob under your toe like this and wrap a string around it. It holds your toe right up like a turtle head almost, you know, sticking up. You could track me everywhere I went, with this corn cob under my toe; where I'd stump it, you know. I didn't have any shoes to wear. So we never wore shoes, sometime half the winter. If we did, we... it was just what we could pick up, somebody would give us. And clothes to what somebody, charity would give us.
And I stopped under this tree, and I was sitting there just squalling (it was in September) because I wanted to go fishing, I had to pack several tubs of water with little molassey buckets, just about that high, half a gallon, 'cause I was just a little lad of about seven years old. And I'd pour them in a big tub and then go back and get another two buckets and come back, pumping it. That's the water we had. And they was going to run off a batch of that corn whiskey that night, these man with Daddy, up at the house.
And I was crying, and all at once I heard something making a noise like a whirlwind, something like this (now, I hope it isn't too loud), going "Whoooossssh, whoooossssh," just a noise like that. Well, it was awful quiet, and I looked around. And you know what, a little whirlwind, I believe you call them a little cyclones. In the fall of the year they pick up through the corn field, you know, the leaves and so forth, in the autumn there, the leaves are just begin turning. And I was under a great white poplar tree, stood about halfway between the barn and the house. And I heard that noise. And I looked around, it was just as quiet as it is in this room. Not a leaf blowing nowhere, or nothing. And I thought, "Where's that noise coming from?" Well, I thought, "Must be away from here." Just a lad. And it got louder and louder.
I picked up my little buckets and squalled a couple more times and started up the lane, I was resting. And I got just few feet from that, out from under the branches of this big tree, and, oh, my, it made a whirl sounding. And I turned to look, and about halfway up that tree was another whirlwind, caught in that tree just a-going around and around, moving those leaves. Well, I thought nothing strange about that because it just in that time of year, and the autumn, why, those whirlwinds come. Little... We call them "whirlwinds." And they pick up dust. You've seen them on the desert like that. Same thing. So I watched, but it didn't leave off. Usually it's just a puff for a moment, then it goes, but it had already been in there two minutes or more.
Well, I started up the lane again. And I turned to look at this again. And when It did, a human Voice just as audible as mine is, said, "Don't you never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way. There'll be a work for you to do when you get older." Why, it liked to scared me to death! You could imagine how a little fellow felt. I dropped those buckets, and home I went just as hard as I could go, screaming the top of my voice.
And there was copperheads in that country, snakes, and they're very poison. Mother thought, coming alongside of the garden I had perhaps got my foot on a copperhead and she ran to meet me. And I jumped up in her arms, screaming, hugging her and kissing her. And she said, "What's the matter, did you get snakebit?" Looked me all over.
I said, "No, Mama! There's a man in that tree down there."
And she said, "Oh, Billy, Billy! Come on?" And she said, "Did you stop and go to sleep?"
I said, "No, ma'am! There's a man in that tree, and He told me not to drink and not to smoke."
"Drink whiskeys and things." And I was packing water to a moonshine still, right then. And He said, "Don't you never drink or defile your body in any way." That's immoral, you know, and my child... young manhood with women. And to my best, I have never one time been guilty of such. The Lord helped me of those things, and as I go along you'll find out. So then, "Don't drink or don't smoke, or do not defile your body, for there will be a work for you to do when you get older."
Well, I told that to Mama, and she just laughed at me. And I was just hysterically. She called the doctor, and the doctor said, "Well, he's just nervous, that's all." So she put me to bed. And I never, from that day to this, ever passed by that tree again. I was scared. I'd go down the other side of the garden, because I thought there was a man up in that tree and He was talking to me, great deep Voice that spoke.
And then sometime about a month after that, I was playing marbles out with my little brothers, out in the front yard. And all at once I had a strange feeling come on me. And I stopped and set down aside of a tree. And we were right up on the bank from the Ohio River. And I looked down towards Jeffersonville, and I seen a bridge rise up and go across that, the river, span the river. And I seen sixteen man (I counted them) that dropped off of there and lost their lives on that bridge. I run in real quick and told my mother, and she thought I went to sleep. But they kept it in mind, and twenty-two years from then the Municipal Bridge now (that many of you cross when you cross there) crossed the river at the same place, and sixteen man lost their life building that bridge across the river.
It's never failed to be perfectly true. As you see It here in the auditorium, It's been that way all the time.
Now, they thought I was just nervous. Which, I am a nervous person, that's true. And, if you ever notice, people who are inclined to be spiritual are nervous.
Look at poets and prophets. And look at William Cowper who wrote that famous song, "There is a fountain filled with Blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins." Did you ever... You know the song. I stood by his grave not long ago. Brother Julius, I believe, I don't know, no... yes, that's right, was with us over there at his grave. And there, after he had wrote that song, the inspiration left him, he tried to find the river to commit suicide. See, the spirit had left him. And people like poets and authors and... or not... I mean prophets.
Look at Elijah, when he stood on the mountain and called fire out of the heaven and called rain out of the heaven. Then when the Spirit left him, he run at a threat of a woman. And God found him pulled back in a cave, forty days later.
Look at Jonah, with enough inspiration when the Lord had anointed him to preach there in Nineveh, till a city was the size of Saint Louis repented with sackcloth. And then when the Spirit left him, what happened to him? We find him up on the mountain after the Spirit left him, praying to God to take his life. And, you see, it's inspiration. And when these things happen, it does something to you.
Then I remember coming on up. I got to be a young man. (I'll hurry to make it within the next little bit.) When I got to be a young man I had ideas like all young man. I... going to school, I'd found them little girls. You know, I was real bashful, you know. And I finally got me a little girlfriend. And like all little boys, about fifteen years old, I guess. And so, oh, she was pretty. My, she had eyes like a dove, and she had teeth like pearl, and a neck like a swan, and she was really pretty.
And another little boy, he... we were buddies, so he got his daddy's old model-T Ford, and we got a date with our girls. And we was going to take them out, riding. We got enough, about two gallons of gasoline. We had to jack the back wheel up to crank it. I don't know whether you ever remember that or not, you know, to crank it. But we was going along pretty good.
And so I had a few nickels in my pocket, and we stopped at a little place and got... you could get a ham sandwich for a nickel. And so, oh, I was rich, I could buy four of them! See? And after we had eat the sandwiches and drank the coke. I started taking the bottles back. And to my surprise, when I come out, (women had just start falling from grace at that time, or from womanhood) my little dove was smoking a cigarette.
Well, I've always had my opinion of a woman that would smoke a cigarette, and I haven't changed it one bit from that time on. That's right. It's the lowest thing she can do. And that's exactly right. And I thought I... Now, the cigarette company could get after me for this, but, I'm telling you, that's just a stunt of the Devil. It's the biggest killer and sabotage this nation's got. I'd rather my boy be a drunkard than to be a cigarette smoker. That's the truth. I'd rather see my wife laying on the floor, drunk, than to see her with a cigarette. That's how...
Now, this Spirit of God that's with me, if That is the Spirit of God (as you might question), you smoking cigarettes has got a slim chance when you get there, 'cause that just... every time. You notice it on the platform, how He condemns it. It's a horrible thing. Keep away from it. Lady, if you have been guilty of that, please, in the Name of Christ, get away from it! It breaks you. It'll kill you. It's a cancer by the carloads.
The doctors try to warn you. And then how they can sell you that stuff! If you'd go down to the drug store and say, "Buy... I want to buy fifty-cents worth of cancer." Why, they'd come lock them up. But when you buy fifty- cents worth of cigarettes, you're buying the same thing. Doctors say so. Oh, this money-mad nation. It's too bad. It's a killer. It's been proved.
Well, when I seen that pretty little girl just acting smart, this cigarette in her hand, that liked to a-killed me, 'cause I really thought I loved her. And I thought, "Well..."
Now, I'm called a "woman-hater," you know that, because I'm always kind of against women, but not against you Sisters. I'm just against the way modern women act. That's right. Good women should be packed along.
But I can remember when my father's still up there running, I had to be out there with water and stuff, see young ladies that wasn't over seventeen, eighteen years old, up there with man my age now, drunk. And they'd have to sober them up and give them black coffee, to get home to cook their husband's supper. Oh, something like that, I said, "I..." This was my remark then, "They're not worth a good clean bullet to kill them with it." That's right. And I hated women. That's right. And I just have to watch every move now, to keep from still thinking the same thing.
So, but now, a good woman is a jewel in a man's crown. She should be honored. She... My mother's a woman, my wife is, and they're lovely. And I've got thousands of Christian Sisters who I highly respect. But if they can respect what God made them, a motherhood and a real queen, that's all right. She's one of the best things that God could give a man, was a wife. Besides salvation, a wife is the best thing if she is a good wife. But if she isn't, Solomon said, "A good woman is a jewel in a man's crown, but an ornery one or no-good one is water in his blood." And that's right, it's the worst thing could happen. So a good woman... If you've got a good wife, brother, you ought to respect her with the highest. That's right, you should do that. A real woman! And, children, if you've got a real mother that stays home and tries to take care of you, keeping your clothes clean, sends you to school, teaching you about Jesus, you should honor that sweet old mother with all that's in you. You should respect that woman, yes, sir, because she's a real mother.
They talk about the illiteracy of Kentucky mountains. You see it in this here dogpatch stuff. Some of them old mammies out there could come here to Hollywood and teach you modern mothers how to raise your kids. You let her kid come in one night with her hair all messed up, and lips... slips, (what do you call that?) make-up stuff they put on their face, and her dress all squeezed to one side, and been out all night, drunk, brother, she'd get one of them limbs off the top of that hickory tree and she'd never go out no more. I'm telling you, she'd... And if you had a little more of that, you'd have a better Hollywood around here, and a better nation. That's right. It's true. "Just try to be modern," that's one of the tricks of the Devil.
Now, this little girl, when I looked at her, my heart just bled. And I thought, "Poor little fellow."
And she said, "Oh, you want a cigarette, Billy?"
I said, "No, ma'am." I said, "I don't smoke."
She said, "Now, you said you didn't dance." They wanted to go to a dance and I wouldn't do it. So they said there was a dance down there, what they called Sycamore Garden. And I said, "No, I don't dance."
She said, "Now, you don't dance, you don't smoke, you don't drink. How do you have any fun?"
I said, "Well, I like to fish and I like to hunt." That didn't interest her.
So she said, "Take this cigarette."
And I said, "No, ma'am, thank you. I don't smoke."
And I was standing on the fender. They had a running board on the old Fords, you remember, and I was standing on that fender, sitting in the back seat, she and I. And she said, "You mean you won't smoke a cigarette?" Said, "And we girls has got more nerve than you have."
And I said, "No, ma'am, I don't believe I want to do it."
She said, "Why, you big sissy!" Oh, my! I wanted to be big bad Bill, so I sure didn't want nothing sissy. See, I wanted to be a prize fighter, that was my idea of life. So I said... "Sissy! Sissy!"
I couldn't stand that, so I said, "Give it to me!" My hand out, I said, "I'll show her whether I'm sissy or not." Got that cigarette out and started to strike the match. Now, I know you're... Now, I'm not responsible for what you think, I'm just responsible for telling the truth. When I started to strike that cigarette, just as much determined to smoke it as I am to pick up this Bible, see, I heard something going, "Whoooossssh!" I tried again, I couldn't get it to my mouth. And I got to crying, I throwed the thing down. They got to laughing at me. And I walked home, went up through the field, set down out there, crying. And it was a terrible life.
I remember one day Dad was going down to the river with the boys. My brother and I, we had to take a boat and go up and down the river, hunting bottles to put the whiskey in. We got a nickel a dozen for them, to pick them up along the river. And Dad was with me, and he had one of those little flat... I believe they was about a half pint bottles. And there was a tree had blowed down, and Dad... And this man was with him, Mr. Dornbush. I had his... He had a nice boat, and I wanted to find favor with him 'cause I wanted to use that boat. It had a good rudder and mine didn't have no rudder at all. We had just old boards to paddle with. And if he'd let me use that boat... So, he done welding and he made the stills for Dad. So he... They throwed their leg up across that tree, and Dad reached in his back pocket and pulled out a little flat bottle of whiskey, handed it to him and he took a drink, hand it back to Dad and he taken a drink, and he set it down on a little sucker on the side of the tree that went out. And Mr. Dornbush picked it up, said, "Here you are, Billy."
I said, "Thank you, I don't drink."
He said, "A Branham, and don't drink?" Every one died with their boots on, nearly. And he said, "A Branham, and don't drink?"
I said, "No, sir."
"No," Dad said, "I raised one sissy."
My daddy calling me a sissy! I said, "Hand me that bottle!" And I pulled that stopper out of the top of it, determined to drink it, and when I started to turn it up, "Whoooossssh!" I handed the bottle back and took off down through the field as hard as I could, crying. Something wouldn't let me do it. See? I could not say that I was any good (I was determined to do it), but it's God, grace, amazing grace that kept me from doing those things. I wanted to do them, myself, but He just wouldn't let me do it.
Later on I found a girl when I was about twenty-two years old, she was a darling. She was a girl that went to church, German Lutheran. Her name was Brumbach, B-r-u-m-b-a-c-h, come from the name of Brumbaugh. And she was a nice girl. She didn't smoke or drink, or she didn't dance or anything, a nice girl. I went with her for a little while, and I'd then about twenty-two. I had made enough money till I bought me an old Ford, and I... we'd go out on dates together. And so, that time, there was no Lutheran Church close, they had moved from Howard Park up there.
And so there was a minister, the one that ordained me in the Missionary Baptist Church, Doctor Roy Davis. Sister Upshaw... The very one that sent Brother Upshaw over to me, or talked to him about me, Doctor Roy Davis. And so he was preaching, and had the First Baptist Church, or the... I don't believe it was the First Baptist Church, either, it was the Mission... called the Missionary Baptist Church at Jeffersonville. And he was preaching at the place at that time, and we would go to church at night, so... and we'd come back. And I never did join church, but I just liked to go with her. Because the main thought was "going with her," I just might as well be honest.
So then going with her, and one day I... She was out of a nice family, And I begin to think, "You know, you know, I oughtn't to take that girl's time. It isn't right, because she's a nice girl, and I'm poor and I..." My daddy had broke down in health, and I... There wasn't no way for me to make a living for a girl like that, who had been used to a nice home and rugs on the floor.
I remember the first rug I ever seen, I didn't know what it was. I walked around the side. I thought it was the prettiest thing I ever seen in my life. "How would they put something like that on the floor?" It was the first rug I had ever seen. It was one of these... I believe it's called "matting rugs." I may have that wrong. Some kind of like "wicker" or something that's laced together, and laying on the floor. Pretty green and red, and big rows worked in the middle of it, you know. It was a pretty thing.
And so I remember I made up my mind that I either had to ask her to marry me, or I must get away and let some good man marry her, somebody that would be good to her, could make her a living and could be kind to her. I could be kind to her, but I was only making twenty cents an hour. So I couldn't make too much of a living for her. And I... With all the family we had to take care of, and Dad broke down in health, and I had to take care of all them, so I was having a pretty rough time.
So I thought, "Well, the only thing for me to do is tell her that I just won't be back, because I thought too much of her to wreck her life and to let her fool along with me." And then I thought, "If somebody could get a hold of her and marry her, make a lovely home. And maybe if I couldn't have her, I could know that she was happy."
And so I thought, "But Ijust can't give her up!" And I was in an awful shape. And day after day I'd think about it. So I was to bashful to ask her to marry me. Every night I'd make up my mind, "I'm going to ask her." And, why, what is that, butterflies, or something you get in your...?... All you brethren out there probably had the same experience along that. And a real funny feeling, my face would get hot. I didn't know. I couldn't ask her.
So I guess you wonder how I ever got married. You know what? I wrote her a letter and asked her. And so her... Now, it wasn't "dear Miss," it was a little more (you know) on the love side than that. It was just not a--an agreement, it was... I--I wrote it up the best I could.
And I was a little afraid of her mother. Her mother was... she was kind of rough. And, but her father was a gentle old Dutchman, just a fine old fellow. He was an organizer of the brotherhood and trainmen on the railroad, making about five hundred dollars a month in them times. And me making twenty cents an hour, to marry his daughter. Uh! I knowed that would never work. And her mother was very... Now, she's a nice lady. And she was kind of one of these high societies, you know, and prissy like, you know, and so she didn't have much use for me anyhow. I was just an old plain sassafras country boy, and she thought Hope ought to go with a little better class of boy, and I think she was right. And so... But I--I didn't think it then.
So I thought, "Well, now, I don't know how. I can't ask her daddy, and I'm sure not going to ask her mother. And so I got to ask her first." So I wrote me a letter. And that morning on the road to work, I dropped it in the mailbox. The mail... We was going to church Wednesday night, and that was on Monday morning. I tried all day Sunday to tell her that I wanted to get married, and I just couldn't get up enough nerve.
So then I dropped it in the mailbox. And on at work that day I happened to think, "What if her mother got a hold of that letter?" Oh, my! Then I knowed I was ruined if she ever got a hold of it, 'cause she didn't care too much about me. Well, I was just sweating it out.
And that Wednesday night when I come, oh, my, I thought, "How am I going to go up there? If her mother got a hold of that letter she will really work me over, so I hope she got it." I addressed it to "Hope." That was her name, Hope. And so I said, "I'll just write it out here to Hope." And so... And I thought maybe she might have not a-got a hold of it.
So I knowed better than to stop outside and blow the horn for her to come out. Oh, my! And any boy that hasn't got nerve enough to walk up to the house and knock on the door and ask for the girl, ain't got no business being out with her anyhow. That's exactly right. That's so silly. That's cheap.
And so I stopped my old Ford, you know, and I had it all shined up. And so I went up and knocked at the door. Mercy, her mother come to the door! I couldn't hardly catch my breath, I said, "How--how--how do you do, Mrs. Brumbach?" Yeah.
She said, "How do you do, William."
I thought, "Uh-oh, `William'!"
And--and she said, "Will you step in?"
I said, "Thank you." I stepped inside the door. I said, "Is Hope just about ready?"
And just then here come Hope skipping through the house, just a girl about sixteen. And she said, "Hi, Billy!" And I said, "Hi, Hope." And I said, "You about ready for church?"
She said, "Just in a minute."
I thought, "Oh, my! She never got it. She never got it. Good, good, good. Hope never got it either, so it'll be all right, 'cause she'd have named it to me." So I felt pretty fair.
And then when I got out of church, I happened to think, "What if she did get it?" See? And I couldn't hear what Doctor Davis was saying. I looked over at her, and I thought, "If maybe she's just holding it back, and she's really going to tell me off when I get out of here, for asking her that." And I couldn't hear what Brother Davis was saying. And I'd look over at her, and I thought, "My, I hate to give her up, but... And I... the showdown's sure to come."
So after church we started walking down the street together, going home, and so we walked to the old Ford. And so all along the moon is shining bright, you know, I look over and she was pretty. Boy, I'd look at her, and I thought, "My, how I would like to have her, but guess I can't."
And so I walked on a little farther, you know, and I'd look up at her again. I said, "How you feeling tonight?"
She said, "Oh, I'm all right."
And we stopped the old Ford down and we started to get out, you know, around the side, walk around the corner and go up to her house. And I was walking up to the door with her. I thought, "You know, she probably never got the letter, so I just might as well forget it. I'll have another week of grace anyhow." So I got to feeling pretty good.
She said, "Billy?"
I said, "Yeah."
She said, "I got your letter." Oh, my!
I said, "You did?"
She said, "Uh-huh." Well, she just kept walking on, never said another word.
I thought, "Woman, tell me something. Run me away or tell me what you think about it." And I said, "Did you read it?"
She said, "Uh-huh."
My, you know how a woman can keep you in suspense. Oh, I didn't mean it just that way, you see. See? But, anyhow, you know, I thought, "Why don't you say something?" See, and I kept going on. I said, "Did you read it all?"
And she said, "Uh-huh."
So we was almost to the door, and I thought, "Boy, don't get me on the porch, 'cause I might not be able to outrun them, so you tell me now." And so I kept waiting.
And she said, "Billy, I would love to do that. She said, "I love you." God bless her soul now, she's in Glory. She said, "I love you." Said, "I think we ought to tell our parent, the parents about it. Don't you think so?"
And I said, "Honey, listen, let's start this out with a fifty-fifty propo- sition." I said, "I'll tell your daddy if you'll tell your mother." Rooting the worse part off on her, to begin with.
She said, "All right, if you'll tell Daddy first."
I said, "All right, I'll tell him Sunday night."
And so Sunday night come, I brought her home from church and I... She kept looking at me. And I looked, and it was nine-thirty, it was time for me to get going. So Charlie was sitting at his desk, typing away. And Mrs. Brumbach sitting over the corner, doing some kind of a crocheting, you know, or them little hooks you put over things, you know. I don't know what you call it. And so she was doing some of that kind of stuff. And Hope kept looking at me, and she'd frown at me, you know, motion to her daddy. And I... Oh, my! I thought, "What if he says, `No'?" So I started out to the door, I said, "Well, I guess I'd better go."
And I walked to the door, and she started over to the door with me. She'd always come to the door and tell me "good night." So I started to the door, and she said, "Aren't you going to tell him?"
And I said, "Huh!" I said, "I'm sure trying to, but I don't know how I'm a- going to do it."
And she said, "I'll just go back and you call him out." So she walked back and left me standing there.
And I said, "Charlie."
He turned around and said, "Yeah, Bill?"
I said, "Could I talk to you just a minute?"
He said, "Sure." He turned around from his desk. Mrs. Brumbach looked at him, looked over at Hope, and looked at me.
And I said, "Would you come out on the porch?"
And he said,"Yes, I'll come out." So he walked out on the porch.
I said, "Sure is a pretty night, isn't it?"
And he said, "Yes, it is."
I said, "Sure been warm."
"Certainly has," he looked at me.
I said, "I've been working so hard," I said, "you know, even my hands is getting calluses."
He said, "You can have her, Bill." Oh, my! "You can have her."
I thought, "Oh, that's better." I said, "You really mean it, Charlie?" He said... I said, "Charlie, look, I know that she's your daughter, and you got money."
And he reached over and got me by the hand. He said, "Bill, listen, money ain't all things that's in human life." He said...
I said, "Charlie, I only make twenty cents an hour, but I love her and she loves me. And I promise you, Charlie, that I'll work till these... the calluses wear off of my hands, to make her a living. I'll be just as true to her as I could be."
He said, "I believe that, Bill." He said, "Listen, Bill, I want to tell you." Said, "You know, happiness, don't altogether take money to be happy." Said, "Just be good to her. And I know you will."
I said, "Thank you, Charlie. I sure will do that."
Then it was her time to tell Mama. I don't know how she got by, but we got married.
So, when we got married, we didn't have nothing, nothing to go housekeeping. I think we had two or three dollars. So we rented a house, it cost us four dollars a month. It was a little, old two-room place. And someone give us an old folding bed. I wonder if anybody ever seen an old folding bed? And they gave us that. And I went down to Sears and Roebucks and got a little table with four chairs, and it wasn't painted, you know, and we got that on time. And so then I went over to Mr. Weber, a junk dealer, and bought a cooking stove. I paid seventy-five cents for it, and a dollar and something for grates to go in it. We set up housekeeping. I remember taking and painting a shamrock on the chairs, when I painted them. And, oh, we were happy, though. We had one another, so that was all necessary. And God, by His mercy and His goodness, we was the happiest little couple could be on the earth.
I found this, that happiness does not consist of how much of the world's goods you own, but how contented you are with the portion that's allotted to you.
And, after a while, God came down and blessed our little home, we had a little boy. His name was Billy Paul, in the service right now here. And a little later from then, about eleven months, He blessed us again with a little girl called Sharon Rose, taken from the Word of "The Rose of Sharon."
And I remember one day I had saved up my money and I was going to take a little vacation, going up to a place, the Paw Paw Lake, to fish. And on my road back...
And during this time... I'm leaving out my conversion. I was converted. And was ordained by Doctor Roy Davis, in the Missionary Baptist Church, and had become a minister and have the Tabernacle that I now preach in in Jeffersonville. And I was pastoring the little church. And I...
No money, I pastored the church seventeen years and never got one penny. I didn't believe in tak... There wasn't even an offering plate in it. And what tithings I had from work, and so forth, had a little box on the back of the building, said, little sign on it, "Insomuch as you have done unto the least of these My little ones, you have did it unto Me." And then that's how the church was paid for. We had ten-years loan to pay it, and was paid off less than two years. And I never took an offering of no kind.
And then I had, oh, a few dollars I had saved up for my vacation. She worked, too, at Fine's Shirt Factory. A lovely darling girl. And her grave is probably snowy today, but she's still in my heart. And I remember when she had worked so hard to help me to have enough money to go up to this lake to fish.
And when I was coming back from the lake, I begin to see, coming into Mishawaka and South Bend, Indiana, and I begin to notice cars that had signs on the back, said, "Jesus Only." And I thought, "That sounds strange, `Jesus Only.`" And I begin noticing those signs. And it was on anywhere from bicycles, Fords, Cadillacs, and what-more, "Jesus Only." And I followed some of them down, and they come to a great big church. And I found out they were Pentecostal.
I had heard of Pentecostal, "But they were a bunch of holy-rollers that laid on the floor and frothed at their mouth," and everything that they told me about. So I didn't want nothing to do with it.
So I heard them all carrying on in there, and I thought, "Believe I'll just walk in." So I stopped my old Ford and walked in, and all the singing you ever heard in your life! And I come to find out there were two great churches, one of them called a P.A. of J.C., and the P.A. of W., many of you people might remember those old organi... I think they're united, called now, and called the United Pentecostal Church. Well, I listened at some of their teachers. And they were standing there, oh, they were teaching about Jesus and how great He was, and how great everything was, and about a "baptism of the Holy Ghost." I thought, "What are they talking about?"
And, after a while, somebody jumped up and started speaking with tongues. Well, I never heard anything like that in my life. And here come some woman up through there running just as hard as she could. Then all of them got up and started running. And I thought, "Well, brother, they sure ain't got no church manners" Screaming and shouting and carrying on, I thought, "What a bunch this is!" But, you know, something about it, longer I sit there, the better I liked it. There was something seemed to be real good. And I begin to watch them. And it went on. I thought, "I'll just bear with them a while, 'cause I'll... I'm close to the door. If anything starts just rashal, I'll run out the door. I know where my car is parked, just around the corner."
And I begin to hear some of them preachers, was scholars and students. Why, I thought, "That's fine."
So it come supper time, and said, "Everybody come to supper." But I thought, "Wait a minute. I got a dollar and seventy-five cents to go home, and I..." That's all I had for gasoline money. Just taken that to take me home. And I had my old Ford, it was a pretty good old Ford. It wasn't backslid, it was just like this one out here, just wore out. And it... I actually believed that Ford would go thirty miles an hour, but course that was fifteen this way and fifteen this a-way. You see, put it together, you have thirty. And so it... I thought, "Well, that night I think I would go out and after the..." I was staying for the night service.
And, oh, He said, "All of the preachers, regardless of denomination, come to the platform." Well, there was about two hundred of us up there, I went up. And so he said, "Now, we haven't got time for you all to preach." He said, "Just walk by and say who you are and where you're from."
Well, it come my time, I said, "William Branham, Baptist. Jeffersonville, Indiana." Walked by.
I'd hear all the rest of them call themselves, "Pentecostal, Pentecostal, Pentecostal, P.A. of W., P.A.J.C., P.A.W., P..."
I walked by. I thought, "Well, I guess I'm the ugly duckling." So I set down, waited.
And, that day, they had fine, young preachers out there, and they had preached powerfully. And then they said, "The one's going to bring the message tonight is..." I believe they called him, "Elder." And their ministers, instead of "Reverend," it was "Elder." And they brought an old colored man out there, and he had one of these old-fashioned preacher's coats. I don't guess you ever seen one. Long pigeon-tail in the back, you know, with a velvet collar, and he had just a little white rim of hair around his head. Poor old fellow, he come out like this, you know. And he stood there and he turned around. And where all the preachers had been preaching about Jesus and the great... how great He was, and so forth, that old man took his text from over in Job. "Where was you when I laid the foundation of the world, or when the morning stars sang together and the Sons of God shouted for joy?"
And the poor old fellow, I thought, "Why didn't they put some of them young fellows up there to preach?" Great... the place was packed and jammed. And I thought, "Why didn't they do that?"
So then this old fellow, instead of preaching what was going on down here on earth, he begin to preach what was going on in Heaven all the time. Well, he took Him up at the beginning at the beginning of time, and brought Him back in the Second Coming down the horizontal rainbow. Why, I never heard such preaching in my life! About that time the Spirit hit him, he jumped about that high and clicked his heels together, throwed his shoulders back and went tipping off that platform, said, "You haven't got room enough up here for me to preach." And he had more room than I got here.
I thought, "If That'll make an old man act like that, what would It do if It got on me?" I thought, "Maybe I need some of That." Why, he come out here, I felt so sorry for the old fellow. But, when he left, I was feeling sorry for myself. And I looked at him go off of there.
I went out that night, and I thought, "Now, the next morning I'm not going to let nobody know where, who I am." So I went, and that night I pressed my trousers. I took the... went out in the corn field to sleep, and I went down and bought me some stale rolls. You... bought a whole bunch of them for a nickel. There was a hydrant down there, I got some water. So I knowed that would last me a little while, so I got me some water and drank it, and went and eat my rolls. And come back and got another drink of water. Went out in the corn field, took the two seats and laid my little seersucker trousers in there, pressed them on the seat.
And, that night, I prayed pretty near all night. I said, "Lord, what is this I got into? I never seen such religious people in my life." And I said, "Help me to know what this is all about."
And the next morning I got down there. Invited us for breakfast. Course, I wouldn't come and eat with them, because I had nothing to put in the offering. And I just went back. And the next morning when I went in, why (I eat some of my rolls), and set down. And they was got on a microphone. And I never seen a microphone before, and I was scared of that thing. So they... And it had a little string hanging up here, and hanging down. One of them drop mikes, like. And he said, "Last night, on the platform, there was a young preacher here, a Baptist."
I thought, "Uh-oh, I'm good for a working-over now."
And he said, "He was the youngest preacher on the platform. His name was Branham. Does anybody know any whereabouts of him? Tell him to come on, we want him to bring the morning message."
Oh, my! I had a little T-shirt on, and seersucker trousers, you know. And we Baptists believe you had to have a suit on, to get in the pulpit, you know. So... And I just set real still. And during the time... They had it up in the North then 'cause (their international convention) the colored people couldn't come to it if in the South. They had the colored there, and I was a Southerner, had starch in my collar yet, you see, thought I was a little better than somebody else. And it happened to be that morning, set right down by me was a colored man. So I set and looked up at him. I thought, "Well, he's a brother."
And he said, "Anybody know the whereabouts of William Branham?" I scoots down in the seat like this. So he said, announced it the second time, said, "Anybody on the outside" (he pulled this little mike in) "know the whereabouts of William Branham? Tell him we want him on the platform for the morning message. He's a Baptist preacher from southern Indiana."
I just set real still and ducked down, you know. Nobody knowed me, anyhow. That colored boy looked over at me, said, "Do you know where he is?"
I thought. I either had to lie or do something. So I said, "Hold down here."
He said, "Yes, sir?"
I said, "I want to tell you something." I said, "I'm him."
He said, "Well, go on up there."
And I said, "No, I can't. See," I said, "I got on these little old seersucker trousers and this little T-shirt." I said, "I couldn't go up there."
He said, "Them people don't care how you dress. Go on up there."
I said, "No, no." I said, "Keep still, don't say nothing now."
And they come back to the phone a minute, said, "Anybody know the whereabouts of William Branham?"
He said, "Here he is! Here he is! Here he is!" Oh, my! There I got up with that little T-shirt on, you know. And here I...
He said, "Come on up, Mr. Branham, we want you to bring the message." Oh, my, before all them preachers, uhm, all them people! And I went slipping up, you know. My face red, and my ears burning. And I slipped up, seersucker trousers and T-shirt, preacher, Baptist preacher going up to the microphone, never seen one before, you see.
And I stood up there, I said, "Well, I don't know about this." I was fumbling, real nervous, you know. And I got over here around Luke 16, and I thought, "Well, now..." And I got on the subject, "And he lifted up his eyes in hell, and cried." And I got... So I begin to preach, you know, and I got to preaching and felt a little better. And I said, "The rich man was in hell, and he cried." That little three words, like I have a lot of sermons like that, "Believest Thou This," and "Speak To The Rock," you've heard me preach that. And I had, "And then he cried." And I said, "There's no children there, certainly not in hell. Then he cried." I said, "There's no flowers there. Then he cried. There's no God there. Then he cried. There's no Christ there. Then he cried." Then I cried. Something got a hold of me. My! Oh, my! After, I don't know what happened. When I kind of got to myself, I was standing on the outside. Them people got screaming and shouting and crying, and I, we had an awful time.
When I come outside there was a fellow walked up to me with a great big Texas hat on, big boots, walked up, said, "I'm Elder So-and-so." Preacher, cowboy boots, cowboy clothes on. I thought, "Well, my seersucker trousers ain't so bad then."
Said, "I want you to come down to Texas and hold me a revival."
"Uh-huh, let me put that down, mister." And I put it down like that.
Here come a fellow up with one of these little, kind of a golf trousers on, where they used to play golf, you know, had them little blouse pants. He said, "I'm Elder So-and-so from Miami. I like you."
I thought, "My, maybe dressing isn't so much of it." I looked at it, and I thought, "All right."
So I grabbed these things, and home I went. Wife met me, she said, "What do you sound so happy about, Billy?"
I said, "Oh, I met the cream of the crop. My, it's the best you ever seen. Them people ain't ashamed of their religion." And, oh, I told her all about it. And I said, "And looky here, honey, a whole string of invitations. Them people!"
She said, "They're not holy rollers, are they?"
I said, "I don't know what kind of a rollers they are, but they got something that I needed." See? I said, "That one thing I'm sure." I said, "I seen an old man, ninety years old, come young again." I said, "I never heard such preaching in my life. Why, I never seen a Baptist preach like that." I said, "They preach till they get out of breath, and bend their knees plumb to the floor, come back up, catch their breath. You can hear them two blocks away, still preaching." And I said, "I never heard such in my life." And I said, "They speak in an unknown tongue, and the other one tells what they're talking about. Never heard such in my life!" I said, "Will you go with me?"
She said, "Honey, when I married you, I will stick with you until death shall separate us." She said, "I'll go." She said, "Now, we'll tell the folks."
And I said, "Well, you tell your mama and I'll tell my mama." So we... I went and told Mama.
Mama said, "Well, sure, Billy. Whatever the Lord's called you to do, go do it."
And so Mrs. Brumbach asked for me to come up. Went up. She said, "What's this you're talking about?"
And I said, "Oh, Mrs. Brumbach," I said, "but you all never seen such people."
She said, "Quieten down! Quieten down!"
I said, "Yes, ma'am." I said, "I'm sorry."
And she said, "Do you know that's a bunch of holy rollers?" I said, "No, ma'am, I didn't know that." I said, "They sure are fine people."
She said, "The very idea! Do you think you'd drag my daughter out amongst stuff like that!" Said, "Ridiculous! That's nothing but trash that the other churches has throwed out." She said, "Indeed! You'll not bring my daughter out like that."
And I said, "But, you know, Mrs. Brumbach, down in my heart I feel that the Lord wants me to go with them people."
She said, "You go back up to your church until they are able to afford a parsonage for you, and act like a man that's got some sense." Said, "You're not taking my daughter out through there."
I said, "Yes, ma'am." I turned around and walked out.
And Hope started crying. She come out, she said, "Billy, regardless of what Mama says, I'll stay with you." Bless her heart!
And I said, "Oh, that's all right, honey."
And I just let it go. She wouldn't let her daughter go with such people as that 'cause "It wasn't nothing but trash." And so I just kind of let it go. It was the worse mistake I ever made in my life, one of the worse.
A little later, few years after, the children come. And one day we was... There come up a flood, in 1937. There came a flood. And our... I was on patrol at that time and I was trying my best to bring the people out of the flood, houses tearing down. And my own wife took sick, and she was real, real sick with pneumonia. And they took her out...The regular hospital was so full we couldn't put her in there, so we taken her out to the government where they had a room out there. And so then they called me back out. And I always lived on the river, and quite a boatman, so I was trying to get the people, rescue them from the flood. And then I'd... one...
They called me, said, "There's a house over on Chestnut Street, it's about ready to go in. There's a mother and a bunch of children in there," said, "if you think your boat, your motor can get in to them." I said, "Well, I'll do all I can."
And I, shooting those waves. The dike had broke up there, and, oh, my, the... just washing the city out. And I would give it all the juice that I could, and finally down across the alleys and through the places. And I got there close to where the old levee was, the water pouring through. And I heard someone scream, and I seen a mother standing out on the porch. And there was them big rollers going through like that. Well, I went on up this way as far as I could, and hit the stream and come back and got on that side. I had got my boat stopped just in time to tie it around the pillar, of the post of the door, post, or porch post. And I run in and grabbed the mother and got her in there, and two or three of the children. And I undone my boat and got her to... back. Come out way down below, and got her over to the shore, about a mile and a half across the city, till I got her to the shore. And then when I got over there, she had fainted. And she had begin... she was screaming, "My baby! My baby!"
Well, I thought that she meant she had left the baby in the house. Oh, my! I took back again while they was trying to take care of her. And, I come to find out, it was... or she was wanting to know where her baby was there. There was a little fellow about three years old, and I thought she meant a little nursing baby or something.
And so I took back and got over there. And when I got that boat and got on the inside and couldn't find no baby, and the porch give away and the house went in. And I run real quick and grabbed the piece that was floating my boat, got into the boat, and pulled that and loosed it up.
And it done got me out into the current of the main river then. And it was about eleven-thirty at night, and just sleeting and snowing. And I grabbed a hold of the starter string and I tried to pull the boat, and it wouldn't start, and I tried and it wouldn't start, and I tried again. Getting farther in that current, the falls just below me. And I was trying real hard, and I thought, "Oh, my, here's my end! This is it!" And I'd try real hard. And I said, "Lord, please don't let me die a death like this," and I'd pull and I'd pull.
And it come back to me, "What about that bunch of trash that you wouldn't go to?" See? Uh-huh.
I put my hand back on the boat, and I said, "God, be merciful to me. Don't let me leave my wife and baby like this, and them out there sick! Please!" And I just kept pulling like that, and it wouldn't start. And I could hear the roaring down there, 'cause I... Just a few minutes, and, oh, my, that would be it. And I said, "Lord, if You'll forgive me, I promise You I'll do anything." Kneel in that boat there and the sleet hitting me in the face, I said, "I'll do anything that You want me to do." And I pulled again, and it started. And I turned all the gas on it I could, and finally got into the shore.
And I went back to find the truck, patrol truck. And I thought of... There was some of them said, "Say, the government just washed away." My wife and baby in there, both babies.
And I took out for the government as hard as I could, and water was standing about fifteen feet deep all through it. And there was a major there, and I said, "Major, what happened to the hospital?"
Said, "Now, don't be worried. You'd have anyone in there?"
And I said, "Yes, a--a sick wife and two babies."
He said, "They all got out." Said, "They're in a freight car and they've headed towards Charlestown."
I run, got my boat and... or got my car, and my boat in the back of it, and run out there to... And then the creeks had come down about two and a half or three miles wide. And all night long I tried to... Some of them said, "The car, the freight car, washed off the tracks out there on the trestle."
Well, find myself marooned out on a little island, set there three days. I had plenty of time to think about whether That was trash or not. Just beating, "Where's my wife?"
Finally when I found her, in a few days after I got out and got across, she was way up to Columbus, Indiana, in the Baptist Auditorium where they had made a hospital like, sickrooms on little government cots. And I ran to her as hard as I could, trying to find where she was, screaming, "Hope! Hope! Hope!" And I looked, and there she was laying on a cot, and TB had set in.
She raised her little bony hand, and she said, "Billy."
And I run to her, and I said, "Hope, honey."
She said, "I look awful, don't I?"
I said, "No, honey, you look all right."
For about six months we worked with everything that was in us, to try to get to save her life, but she kept getting lower and lower.
One day I was on patrol and I had my radio turned on, and I thought I heard them say, make a call on the radio, said, "For William Branham, wanted at the hospital at once, wife dying." I rushed back to the hospital as quick as I could, turned on the red light and the siren, and took off. And then I got up at the hospital and I stopped, run in. Coming down through the hospital, I seen a little buddy of mine that we fished together, we run together as boys, Sam Adair.
Doctor Sam Adair, he's the one that was the vision come not long ago and told him about the clinic. And he said, if anybody doubted the vision, just call him collect if they want to know about whether it was right or not.
And so then here he come out like that, and he had his hat in his hand. He looked at me and he just started crying. And I run up to him, throwed my arms around him. He put his arms around me, said, "Billy, she's going." He said, "I'm sorry. I've done all I could do, I've had specialists and everything."
I said "Sam, surely she's not going!"
Said, "Yeah, she's going."
And he said, "Don't go in there, Bill."
And I said, "I got to go in, Sam."
And he said, "Don't do it. Don't, please don't."
I said, "Let me go in."
Said, "I'll go with you."
I said, "No, you stay out here. I want to stay with her in her last minutes."
Said, "She's unconscious."
I walked in the room. And the nurse was sitting there, and she was crying 'cause she and Hope was schoolmates together. And so I looked over, and she started crying, put her hand up and started walking over.
And I looked over, and shook her. There she was, she had went down from about a hundred and twenty pounds, to about sixty. And I shook her. And if I live to be a hundred years old, I'll never forget what happened. She turned over, and those great big pretty eyes looked up at me. She smiled. She said, "Why did you call me back, Billy?"
I said, "Honey, I just got the 'cast."
I had to work. We was way in debt and hundreds of dollars of doctor bill, and nothing to pay it with. And I just had to work. And I seen her two or three times a day, and every night, and then when she was in that condition.
I said, "What do you mean, `Call' you `back'?"
She said, "Bill, you've preached about It, you've talked about It, but you don't have no idea what It is."
I said, "What are you talking about?"
She said, "Heaven." She said, "Look," she said, "I was being escorted Home by some peoples, man or women or something that was dressed in white." And she said, "I was at ease and peace." Said, "Big pretty birds flying from tree to tree." She said, "Don't think I'm beside myself." She said, "Billy, I'm going to tell you our mistake." She said, "Sit down." I didn't; I knelt down, took her hand. She said, "You know where our mistake is?"
And I said, "Yes, sweetheart, I do."
She said, "We should have never listened to Mama. Them people were right."
And I said, "I know it."
She said, "Promise me this, that you'll go to those people," said, "because they're right." And she said, "Raise my children like that." And I... She said, "I want to tell you something." She said, "I'm dying, but" said "it's... I don't dread going." Said, "It's beautiful." She said, "The only thing, I hate to leave you, Bill. And I know you got these two little children to raise." She said, "Promise me that you'll not stay single and let my children be pulled about from pillar to post." That was a sensible thing for a twenty-one-year-old mother.
And I said, "I can't promise that, Hope."
She said, "Please promise me." Said, "One thing I want to tell you." Said, "You remember that rifle?" I'm just crazy about guns. And she said, "You wanted to buy that rifle that day and you didn't have enough money to make the down payment."
I said, "Yes."
She said, "I've been saving my money, my nickels, to try and make that down payment on that rifle for you." She said, "Now, when this is over, you go back home, look up on the duofold... or the folding bed, under that piece of paper on top, and you'll find the money there." She said, "Promise me that you'll buy that rifle."
You don't know how I felt when I seen that dollar seventy-five cents (in nickels) laying there. I got the rifle.
And she said, "You remember that time that you were going downtown to buy me a pair of stockings, and we was going to Fort Wayne?"
I said, "Yes."
I had come in from fishing, and she said... We had to go to Fort Wayne, I had to preach that night. And she said, "You know, I told you, `There's two different kind.`" One called "chiffon." And what's the other one? Rayon. Is that right? Rayon and chiffon. Well, ever which is, chiffon was the best. Is that right? And she said, "Now, you get me some chiffon, the full style." You know that thing that's got that little thing in the back of the stocking, at the top? And I didn't know nothing about women's clothes, so I...
And I was going down the street and saying, "Chiffon, chiffon, chiffon, chiffon," trying to keep thinking, saying "chiffon, chiffon, chiffon."
Somebody said, "Hello, Billy!"
I said, "Oh, hello, hello." "Chiffon, chiffon, chiffon, chiffon, chiffon."
And I got to the comer and I met Mr. Spon. He said, "Hey, Billy, do you know the perch is biting now over on the side of that last pier?"
I said, "Sure enough, is that right?"
I thought now, when I left him, "What was that stuff?" I forgot it.
So Thelma Ford, a girl that I knew, worked at the ten-cent store. And I knowed they sell women's stockings over there, so I went over. I said, "Hi, Thelma."
And she said, "Hi, Billy. How are you? How's Hope?"
And I said, "Fine." I said, "Thelma, I want a pair of socks for Hope."
She said, "Hope don't want socks."
I said, "Yes, ma'am, she sure does."
Said, "You mean stockings."
"Oh, sure," I said, "that's what it is." I thought, "Uh-oh, I done showed my ignorance."
And she said, "What kind does she want?"
I thought, "Uh-oh!" I said, "What kind you got?"
She said, "Well, we got rayon."
I didn't know the difference. Rayon, chiffon, it all sound the same. I said, "That's what I want." She said... I said, "Fix me a pair of them, full style." And she... I got that wrong. What is it? Full fashion. "Full fashion." And so I said, "Fix me a pair of them."
And when she went to give them to me, they was only about thirty cents, twenty cents or thirty cents, about half price. Well, I said, "Give me two pair of them." See?
And I went back home, and I said, "You know, honey, you women shop all over town to find bargains." You know how you like to crow. And I said, "But here, look here, I bought two pair for the price that you buy one pair with. See?" I said, "Oh, that's my personal ability." See, I said, "You know, Thelma sold me these." I said, "She might have let me have them at half price."
She said, "Did you get chiffon?"
I said, "Yes, ma'am." It all sounded the same to me, I didn't know there was any difference.
And she told me, she said, "Billy." I thought strange when she got to Fort Wayne, she had to get another pair of stockings. She said, "I give them to your mother," said, "they're for older women." Said, "I'm sorry I did that."
And I said, "Oh, that's all right, honey."
And she said, "Now, don't live single." And she said... She didn't know that what was fixing to happen in a few hours from then. And I held her darling hands while the Angels of God packed her away.
I went home. I didn't know what to do. I laid down there at night and I heard... I think it was a little mouse, was in the old grate where we had some papers in there. And I shut the door with my foot, and there hung her kimono on the back, (and laying down there in that morgue). And just in a little bit someone called me, said, "Billy!" And it was Brother Frank Broy. He said, "Your baby's dying."
I said, "My baby?"
Said, "Yes, Sharon Rose." Said, "Doc's up there now, and said, `She's got tubercular meningitis, she nursed it from her mother.`" And said, "She's dying."
I got in the car, went up there. And there she was, the sweet little thing. And they rushed her to the hospital.
I went out to see him. Sam come up and said, "Billy, don't you go in that room, you got to think of Billy Paul." Said, "She's dying."
I said, "Doc, I got to see my baby."
He said, "No, you can't go in." Said, "She's got meningitis, Billy, and you'd pack it to Billy Paul."
And I waited till he got out. I couldn't stand to see her die, and her mother laying down there in the undertaker's establishment. I tell you, the way of a transgressor is hard. And I went, slipped in the door, and when Sam went out and the nurse out, I went down into the basement. It's a little bitty hospital. She was in an isolated place, and the flies was in her little eyes. And they had a little... what we call a "mosquito bar," or little netting over her eyes. And she'd... with little spasm, her little fat leg was moving up and down like that, and her little hands, with that spasm. And I looked at her, and she was just big enough to be cute, about eight months old.
And her mother used to set her out there with her little three-corners on, you know, in the yard, when I'd come up. And I'd toot the horn, and she'd go, "goo-goo, goo-goo," reaching for me, you know.
And there laid my darling, dying. I looked down to her, and I said, "Sharry, you know Daddy? You know Daddy, Sharry?" And when she looked... She was suffering so hard till one of them pretty little blue eyes had crossed. It liked to have tore my heart out of me.
I knelt down, I said, "Lord, what have I done? Have not I preached the Gospel on the street corners, and I've done everything that I know to do? Don't hold it against me. I never called them people `trash.` It was her that called them people `trash.`" I said, "I'm sorry it all happened. Forgive me. Don't take my baby." And while I was praying, looked like a black... like a sheet or a cloth come down. I knowed He had refused me.
Now, there was the hardest and the most treacherous time of my life. When I raised up and looked at her, and I thought... Satan put in my mind, "Well, you mean as hard as you've preached, and the way that you've lived, and now when it comes to your own baby, He will turn you down?"
And I said, "That's right. If He can't save my baby, then I can't..." I stopped. I just didn't know what to do. And then I said this, I said, "Lord, You gave her to me and You taken her away, blessed be the Name of the Lord! If You take even me, I'll still love You."
And I put my hand over on her, I said, "Bless you, sweetheart. Daddy wanted to raise you, with all my heart I wanted to raise you, and raise you to love the Lord. But the Angels are coming for you, sweetheart. Daddy will take your little body down and lay it on the arms of Mama. I'll bury you with her. And someday Daddy will meet you, you just wait up there with Mama."
When her mother was dying, she said, last words she said, she said, "Bill, stay on the field."
I said, "I'll..." She said... I said, "If I'm on the field when He comes, I'll get the kids and meet. If I'm not, I'll be buried by you. And you go over on the right-hand side of the great gate, and when you see all of them come in, stand there and start hollering, `Bill! Bill! Bill!' just as loud as you can. I'll meet you there." I kissed her good-bye. I'm on the battlefield today. That's been nearly twenty years ago. I got my date with my wife, I'm going to meet her.
And I took the little baby, and when it died, and put it on the arms of the mother, and we taken it out to the cemetery. And I stood there to hear Brother Smith, the Methodist preacher that preached the funeral, "Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust." (And I thought, "Heart to heart.") There she went.
Not long after that, I took little Billy there one morning. He was just a little bitty fellow. He was...
That's the reason he sticks with me and I stick with him, I had to be both Papa and Mama (both) to him. I'd take his little bottle. We couldn't afford to have a fire at night to keep his milk warm, and I'd lay it under my back like this and keep it warm by the heat of my body.
We've stuck together like buddies, and one of these days when I go off the field I want to hand him the Word, and say, "Go on, Billy. You stay with It." Some people wonders why I got him with me all the time. I can't give him up. He's even married, but I still remember she told me, "Stay with him." And we've stuck together like buddies.
I remember walking around town, the bottle under my arm, he'd get to crying. One night he was walking out in the back yard where just... (When she was fixing to have him, she was smothering, and I... just a girl, you know.) And I'd walk back and forth from the old oak tree in the back of the yard. And he was crying for his Mama, and I didn't have any Mama to take him to. And I'd pack him, I'd say, "Oh, honey." I said...
He said, "Daddy, where's my mama? Did you put her into that ground?"
I said, "No, honey. She's all right, she's up in Heaven."
And he said something there, liked to a-killed me one afternoon. He was crying, was along late in the evening, and I was packing him on my back like that, packing him on my shoulder and patting him like this. And he said, "Daddy, please go get Mama and bring her here."
And I said, "Honey, I can't get Mama. Jesus..."
Said, "Well, tell Jesus to send me my mama. I want her."
And I said, "Well, honey, I... me and you going to go see her sometime."
And he stopped, said, "Daddy!"
And I said, "Yes?"
Said, "I seen Mama up there on that cloud."
My, liked to a-killed me! I thought, "My! `I seen Mama up there on that cloud.`" I just almost fainted. I hugged the little fellow up to my bosom like that, and just held my head down, went on in.
Days passed. I couldn't forget it. I tried to work. Couldn't go back home, it wasn't home no more. And I wanted to stay. We didn't have nothing but just that old tore up furniture, but it was something that she and I had enjoyed together. It was home.
And I remember one day I was trying to work in the public service. I had went up to fix an old secondary, was hanging down, it was real early of a morning. And I climbed up this cross. (And I couldn't give that baby up. I could see my wife going, but that baby going, just a little bitty thing.) And I was on there, and I was singing, "On the hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross." And the primaries run down to the transformer and went out into (you know) secondary. And I was hanging up there on it. And I happened to look, and the sun coming up behind me. And there, my hands stretched out and the sign of that Cross on the hillside. I thought, "Yes, it was my sins that put Him there."
I said, "Sharon, honey, Daddy wants to see you so bad, honey. How I'd like to hold you in my arms again, you darling little thing." I got beside myself. It had been weeks. I pulled off my rubber glove. There's twenty- three hundred volts running right by the side of me. I pulled off my rubber glove. I said, "God, I hate to do this. I'm a coward." "But, Sherry, Daddy's going to see you and Mommy just in a few minutes." Started pulling off my glove, to put my hand on that twenty-three hundred. It'd break... Why, you wouldn't even have no blood left in you. And so I--I--I started pulling that glove off, and something happened. When I come to, I was sitting on the ground with my hands up like this, to my face, crying. It was God's grace, or I wouldn't been having a healing service here, I'm sure of that. It was Him protecting His gift, not me.
I started home. I quit, put my tools away. And went back, I said, "I'm going home."
I started around the house, and I picked up the mail in the house. Kind of cold, and I went in. We had one little room, I was sleeping on a little cot there, and the frost coming up, and that old stove. I took the mail and I looked in the mail, and the first thing on there was her little Christmas saving, eighty cents, "Miss Sharon Rose Branham." There it was, all over again.
I had been game warden. I reached in there and got my gun, pistol, out from the holster. I said, "Lord, I can't go this anymore, I'm dying. I'm so tormented." I pulled the hammer back on the gun, put it up to my head, kneeling there on that cot in that dark room. I said, "Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thine will be done," and as I tried, and I squeezed that trigger as hard as I could, I said, "on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread." And it wouldn't go off!
And I thought, "O God, are You just tearing me to pieces? What have I done? You won't even let me die." And I throwed the gun down, and it went off and shot through the room. And I said, "God, why can't I die and get out of it? I just can't go no farther. You've got to do something to me." And I fell over and started crying on my little, old dirty bunk there.
And I must have went to sleep. I don't know whether I was asleep or what happened.
I've always longed to be out West. I've always wanted one of them hats. My father broke horses in his young days, and I always wanted one of them hats. And Brother Demos Shakarian bought me one yesterday, first one I've had (ever had) like that, one of them kind of western hats.
And I thought I was going down along through the prairie, a-singing that song, "There's a wheel on the wagon is broken, sign on the ranch, `For Sale.`" And as I went along, I noticed an old covered wagon, like an old prairie schooner, and the wheel was broke. Course, that represented my broken family. And as I got close, I looked, and there stood a real pretty, young girl, about twenty years old, white flowing hair and blue eyes, dressed in white. I looked over at her, I said, "How do you do?" Went on. She said, "Hello, Dad."
And I turned back, I said, "Dad? Why," I said, "how, Miss, can you... can I be your daddy when you're as old as I am?"
She said, "Daddy, you just don't know where you're at."
And I said, "What do you mean?"
She said, "This is Heaven." Said, "On earth I was your little Sharon."
"Why," I said, "honey, you was just a little baby."
Said, "Daddy, little babies are not little babies here, they're immortal. They never get old or never grow."
And I said, "Well, Sharon, honey, you're a pretty, young woman."
She said, "Mama's waiting for you."
And I said, "Where?"
She said, "Up at your new home."
And I said, "New home?" Branhams are vagabonds, they don't have homes, they just... And I said, "Well, I never had a home, honey."
She said, "But you got one up here, Daddy." I don't mean to be a baby, but it's just so real to me. [Brother Branham weeps--Ed.] As I start to thinking of it, it all comes back again. Said, "You got one here, Daddy." I know I got one over there, someday I'll go to it. She said, "Where's Billy Paul, my brother?"
And I said, "Well, I left him at Mrs. Broy's, just a few minutes ago." Said, "Mother wants to see you."
And I turned and looked, and there was great big palaces, and the Glory of God coming up around them. And I heard an Angelic choir singing, "My Home, sweet Home." I started up a long steps, running just as hard as I could. And when I got to the door, there she stood, a white garment on, that black hair, long, holding down her back. She raised out her arms, as she always did when I come home tired from work or something. I caught her by the hands, and I said, "Honey, I seen Sharon down there." I said, "She made a pretty girl, didn't she?" She said, "Yes, Bill." She said, "Bill." Put her arms around me, (and she said) just around my shoulders, she started patting me, she said, "Stop worrying about me and Sharon."
I said, "Honey, I can't help it."
She said, "Now Sharon and I are better off than you are." And said, "Don't worry about us no more. Will you promise me?"
And I said, "Hope," I said, "I've been so lonesome for you and for Sharon, and Billy cries all the time for you." I said, "I don't know what to do with him."
And she said, "It'll be all right, Bill." She said, "Just promise me you won't worry no more." And she said, "Won't you sit down?" And I looked around and there was a great big chair.
And I remember I tried to buy a chair. Now, in closing. I tried to buy a chair one time. We just had them old common wooden-bottom chairs for that breakfast set. We had to use them, the only chairs we had. And we could buy one of these chairs that you let back in the back, like a... I forget what kind of an easy-rest chair. And it cost seventeen dollars, and you could pay three dollars down and a dollar a week. And we got one. And, oh, when I'd come in... I'd work all day, and preach till midnight around the streets and wherever I could preach.
And I one day I got behind on my payments. We couldn't make it, and it got day after day, and finally one day they come and got my chair and took it. That night, I never will forget, she had me a cherry pie baked. Poor little old thing, she knowed I was going to be disappointed. And after supper I said, "What's you so good about tonight, honey?"
And she said, "Say, I had the boys over in the neighborhood to dig you some fishing worms. Don't you think we ought to go down to the river and fish a little while?"
And I said, "Yes, but..."
And she started crying. I knowed there was something wrong. I had an idea 'cause they had already sent me a notice they was coming to get it. And we couldn't make that dollar payment a week. We couldn't, just couldn't afford it. She put her arms around me, and I went to the door and my chair was gone.
She told me up There, she said, "You remember that chair, Bill?"
And I said, "Yes, honey, I remember."
Said, "That's what you was thinking about, wasn't it?"
Said, "Well, they won't take this one, this one's paid for." She said, "Sit down just a minute, I want to talk to you."
And I said, "Honey, I don't understand this."
And she said, "Promise me, Billy, promise me that you won't worry anymore. You're going back now." And said, "Promise me you won't worry."
And I said, "I can't do that, Hope."
And just then I come to, it was dark in the room. I looked around, and I felt her arm around me. I said, "Hope, are you here in the room?" She started patting me. She said, "You going to make me that promise, Bill? Promise me you won't ... worry no more."
I said, "I promise you."
And when then she patted me two or three times, and she was gone. I jumped up and turned on the light, looked everywhere, she was gone. But she just gone out of the room. She isn't gone, she's still living. She was a Christian.
Billy and I went to the grave here sometime ago, packing a little flower for his mother and sister, just on an Easter morning, and we stopped. The little fellow started crying, he said, "Daddy, my mommy's down there."
I said, "No, honey. No, she ain't down there. Sister ain't down there. We got a folded over grave here, but way across the sea there's an open grave where Jesus rose. And someday He will come, He will bring sister and mama with Him."
I'm on the battlefield today, friends. I just can't tell any more. I... [Brother Branham weeps--Ed.] God bless you. Let's bow our heads a minute.
O Lord! Many times, Lord, I'm sure people don't understand, when they think these things come easy. But there's a great day coming when Jesus shall come and all these sorrows will be wiped away. I pray, Heavenly Father, that You'll help us to be prepared.
And that last promise, when I kissed her on the cheek that morning, that I'd meet her there that day. I believe she will be standing at that post, screaming my name. I've lived true to that promise since, Lord, around the world, in all kinds of places, trying to bring the Gospel. Getting old now, and tired, I'm wore out. One of these days I'm going to close this Bible for the last time. And, God, keep me faithful to the promise. Keep your grace around me, Lord. Let me not look at the things of this life, but live for the things that's beyond. Help me to be honest. I don't ask for a flowery bed of ease, no, Lord, when my Christ died there under suffering. And all the rest of them died like that. I don't ask for any easy thing. Just let me be honest, Lord, truthful. Let people love me so I can lead them to Thee. And someday when it's all over and we gather around under the evergreen trees, I want to get her by the hand and walk her up, to show the people of Angelus Temple and all the others. It'll be a great time then.
I pray that Your mercies rest upon each of us here. And those who are here, Lord, may not even know You. And maybe they've got some little loved one across the sea yonder. If they've never fulfilled their promise, may they do it now, Lord.
While we have our heads bowed, I wonder in this great, huge auditorium this afternoon, how many of you say "Brother Branham, I want to meet my loved ones, too. I've got some loved ones just across the river yonder?" Maybe you made a promise that you'd meet them, maybe when you told Mother "good- bye" up there at the grave that day, maybe when you told little sister "good-bye," or Dad, or some of them at the grave, promised you'd meet them, and you've never made that preparation yet. Don't you think it's a good time now to do it?
Excuse my breaking down. But, oh, my, you don't realize, friends. You don't know what sacrifice! That's not a spot, hardly, of the life story.
How many of you would like to raise up now and walk up here for prayer, say, "I want to meet my loved ones?" Raise up out of the audience and come down here. Will you do it? If somebody has never made that preparation yet. God bless you, sir. I see an aged colored man coming out, others coming. Move yourself, you in the balconies up there, just move right out into the aisle. Or stand up, you who wants to be remembered in a word of prayer just now. That's it. Stand right up to your feet. That's good. Stand up, everywhere, you who would say, "I've got a father over yonder, I've got a mother or a loved one over yonder. I want to go see them. I want to meet them in peace." Will you raise up, just stand up to your feet, anywhere in the audience. Stand up to your feet, say, "I want to accept."
God bless you, lady. God bless you back there. And bless you up there. Lord bless you here, sir. That's right. Up in the balcony, the Lord bless you. All around, everywhere, stand up to your feet now to have a word of prayer, while the Holy Spirit is here and moving upon our hearts, to--to--to break up.
You know, what the church needs today is a breaking up. We need to go down to the Potter's House. Our stiff homemade theology sometime doesn't work so good. What we need is an old-fashioned breaking up, repentance in our hearts, getting mellow towards God. Is that all now that's ready to stand? Let us bow our heads then for prayer.
O Lord, Who brought again Jesus from the dead, to justify all of us by faith, believing. I pray, Lord, that these who are standing now to their feet to accept Thee, I pray that forgiveness will be to them. And, O Lord, I pray that they will accept You as their Saviour and King and Lover. And maybe they got a mama or a papa or somebody just across the sea. There's one thing sure, they got a Saviour. May they be forgiven of their sins, and all their iniquity blotted out, that their souls may be washed in the Blood of the Lamb, and they live in peace from hereafter.
And some glorious day when it's all over, may we gather at Your House, and be there as unbroken families, to meet our loved ones that's waiting on the other side. This, we commit them unto Thee, that "Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose heart is stayed upon Him." Grant it, Lord. And we commit them to Thee, in the Name of Thy Son, the Lord Jesus. Amen.
God bless you. I'm sure the workers see where you're standing, and they will be right with you in a few minutes.
And now to those who are going to receive prayer cards. Billy, where's Gene and Leo, they in the back? They're here to give out the prayer cards just in a few minutes. Brother will dismiss the audience in prayer, and the prayer cards will be given out. We'll be back here just in a little bit, to pray for the sick. All right, Brother. bb590419.htm
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