As a young man Samuel Logan Brengle’s zeal for the Lord was evident, quickly gaining him notoriety and popularity as a preacher. However, Brengle turned down a prized offer to pastor a renowned church and opting instead to fulfill his calling as an Evangelist he joined the ranks of The Salvation Army. Upon Brengle’s first day General William Booth promptly assigned him to a long term duty of cleaning boots in a dingy cellar.
Brengle’s pride was greatly bruised, and wondering if he had made the right choice asked the Lord, “Am I a fool?” As quick as he asked, the answer came, as he saw in his mind Jesus kneeling and washing the disciples’ feet. Years later Brengle wrote: “It was the best training I could have had. I was practicing humility. That experience put a key in my hand to unlock the hearts of lowly people all round the world for the next forty years!”
For Samuel Logan Brengle, the only religion worth having was a “red hot religion” ignited by the unquenchable fire of the Holy Spirit.
“What is that fire?” Brengle wrote. “It is love. It is faith. It is hope. It is passion, purpose, determination—utter devotion. It is singleness of eye and a consecration unto death. It is God the Holy Ghost burning in and through a humble, holy, faithful person.”
Brengle was well-known as a minister to The Salvation Army’s officers and soldiers in the United States. Joining the Army in 1897, Brengle served 30 years. He believed that those who seek God “burst into flame,” when they first touch Him and they can bring those “left out in the cold” to His light.
Brengle wrote, “Holy fire kindles in every soul that lives with Him,” believing that as we seek God’s fire we become “burning and shining lights” in a cold and dark world.
He saw The Salvation Army corps as a place where men and women, compelled by the Spirit, could gather to pray for the lost without concern for comfort or convenience, no matter the time of day or night. To Brengle, the corps was a sacred place from which the love and power of God could be communicated to all–entire cities might be energized and “lit up” by the prayer of soldiers who had “caught the flame.”
Brengle eventually went on to become one of the most highly effective and powerful evangelist’s of his time. In 1896 Brengle wrote a book entitled, “Helps to Holiness,” which to this day is considered one of the great classic works of Christian literature.