In such a case and in a world which we must admit to be selfish and imperfect, the wonder is not that certain Salvation Army Officers, being trained men of high ability, yield to tempting offers and go, but that so many of them remain.
‘Look at my case,’ said one of them to me. ’With my experience and organizing ability I am worth L2,000 a year as the manager of any big business, and I could have it if I liked. Here I get about L200!’
This was one of those who remain. I say all honour to such noble souls, for surely they are of the salt of the earth.
The religious faith of the Salvation Army, as I have observed and understand it (for little has been said to me on this matter), is extremely simple. It believes in an eternal Heaven for the righteous and—a sad doctrine this, some of us may think—in a Hell, equally eternal, for the wicked. Its bedrock is the Bible, especially the New Testament, which it accepts as true without qualification, from the first word to the last, troubling itself with no doubts or criticisms. Especially does it believe in the dual nature of the Saviour, in Christ as God, and in Christ as man, and in the possibility of forgiveness and redemption for even the most degraded and defiled of human beings. Love is its watchword, the spirit of love is its spirit, love arrayed in the garments of charity.
In essentials, with one exception, its doctrines much resemble those of the Church of England, and of various dissenting Protestant bodies. The exception is, that it does not make use of the Sacraments, even of that of Communion, although, on the other hand, it does not deny the efficacy of those Sacraments, or object to others, even if they be members of the Army, availing themselves of them. Thus, I have known an Army Officer to join in the Communion Service. The reason for this exception is, I believe, that in the view of General Booth, the Sacraments complicate matters, are open to argument and attack, and are not understood by the majority of the classes with which the Army deals. How their omission is reconciled with certain prominent passages and directions laid down in the New Testament I do not know. To me, I confess, this disregard of them seems illogical.