The Authoritative Life of General William Booth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 443 pages of information about The Authoritative Life of General William Booth.

In connexion with all our Indian work, one vastly important part of The General’s work comes ever before us, whether we think of Commissioner Booth-Tucker or of one of his humblest native helpers.

Commonly enough in recent times The General was honoured because he had won from the path of vice to that of virtue some notorious sinner.  But did he not even more remarkably earn the general gratitude by changing the comparatively helpless and uninfluential, though well-meaning, into enterprising and widely useful leaders in good work?  How many millions of people he has taught or urged to sing:—­

    Were the whole realm of nature mine,
      That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
      Demands my soul, my life, my all.

That grand verse was well known in this country, and widely sung, of course, long before he was born.  But alas! how many sing it even now “with the understanding”?

How many thousands of choice spirits first learnt, under The General’s direction, to look fairly at the immensity of their responsibility to God, as they sang that and similar verses?  And how many only found out, as ever-widening responsibilities were pressed upon them, how great their “all” really could become.  The humble labourer, without any great speaking ability, and often involved in a struggle to earn the barest livelihood for himself and family, was taught how to share in seeking the Salvation of men.  To-day he has become a well-known benefactor in one way or another to thousands of his fellow-townsmen, and his children, in the Far East or West, are helping to realise his grandest thoughts of winning the whole world for God.

This result would never have come about simply by the reading and singing of the most beautiful words.  But the man who was first of all made responsible, perhaps, only for the keeping of a Hall door, learnt with astonishing rapidity how much our common life could accomplish for God, and went on expanding in thought and purpose, as his responsibilities were increased, until he became not merely a local leader in every form of Salvationist effort, but a foreman or tradesman exercising a widespread influence amongst his fellow-townsmen for all that is good, and urging thousands of a younger generation forward in every way, to the glory of God and the advancement of their country.

Such development, when it comes to be applied, say, to an educated lady, produces one of those wise mothers of mankind whose practical counsels and help are being sought by the greatest cities in these days, when men have found out what largeness of both heart and understanding are often to be found under a Salvation Army bonnet.

Chapter XVI

South Africa and Colonisation

The General visited South Africa three times—­in 1891, 1895, and 1908.

His visits were very largely dominated, as will be seen, by the idea that in South Africa good and abundant space could be found for Over-Sea Colonies; enough space, in fact, to accommodate all the surplus population of England.

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The Authoritative Life of General William Booth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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