“Does not an unselfish
love, the love that goes out towards the
unloving, demand of a truly loving soul immediate action for the
Salvation of the unloved?”
“And, are there not persons who know that they possess special gifts, such as robust health, natural eloquence or power of voice, which specially make them responsible for doing something for souls?
“And yet I do not at all forget, that above and beyond all these things, there does come to some a special and direct call, which it is peculiarly fatal to disregard, and peculiarly strengthening to enjoy and act upon.
“I believe that there have been many eminently holy and useful men who never had such a call; but that does not at all prevent any one from asking God for it, or blessing Him for His special kindness when He gives it.”
There is, I think, no doubt that God did give to young William Booth such a call, although he never spoke of it, perhaps lest he might discourage any who, without enjoying any such manifestation, acted upon the principles just referred to. At any rate, he battled through any season of doubt he had with regard to it, and came out into a certainty that left him no room for question or fear.
We cannot wonder that God Himself rarely seems to find it wise, even if it be possible, to fit men for His most important enterprises in a few years, or by means of one simple process of instruction. Consider the diversity of men’s minds and lives, and the varying currents of thought and opinion which are found in the various parts of the world at different periods of even one century, and it will at once be seen how impossible we should all immediately pronounce it to fit one man by means of one pathway of service to be the minister and leader of the followers of Christ in every part of the world.
Christ Himself was kept in an obscurity we cannot penetrate for thirty years before He was made known to the comparatively small people amongst whom all His time on earth was to be spent. Moses was not called till he was eighty years old, having spent forty years amidst the splendours of one of the grandest courts of the ancient world, and forty more amidst the sheep on a desert border!
How was the ardent English lad who came to serve in a London shop during the week, and to do the work of a lay preacher on Sundays, to be fitted to form and lead a great Christian Order of devotees out of every nation, and to instruct and direct them in helping their fellow-men of every race in every necessity that could arise? To prepare a man merely to preach the Gospel a few years of service in that work might suffice; but then we should probably have seen a man merely interested in the numbers of his own audiences and the effect produced upon them by his own preaching.