“But that has never been done, or has never done well here,” seemed to him rather a reason for trying it with, perhaps, some little modification than for leaving a plan untried. The inexorable law to which he insisted that everything should bend was that nothing can excuse inactivity and want of enterprise where souls are perishing. And he was spared to see even Governments beginning to recognise that it is inexcusable to let sin triumph in “a Christian country.” He proved that it was possible to raise up “Christian Soldiers,” who would not only sing, or hear singing, in beautiful melody about “Marching, onward as to War”; but who would really do it, even when, it led to real battle.
East London Beginning
What were Mr. and Mrs. Booth to do? They were excluded from most of the Churches in which during the last twenty years they had led so many souls to Christ. They found themselves out of harmony with most of the undenominational evangelists of the day, and, moreover, they had experienced throughout even the brightest of their past years a gnawing dissatisfaction with much of their work, which The General thus described in the preface to his book, In Darkest England, and the Way Out:—
“All the way through my career I have keenly felt the remedial measures usually enumerated in Christian programmes, and ordinarily employed by Christian philanthropy, to be lamentably inadequate for any effectual dealing with the despairing miseries of the outcast classes. The rescued are appallingly few, a ghastly minority compared with the multitudes who struggle and sink in the open-mouthed abyss. Alike, therefore, my humanity and my Christianity, if I may speak of them as in any way separate from each other, have cried out for some comprehensive method of reaching and saving the perishing crowds.”
The Booths had settled in a London home, finding that they must needs have some fixed resting-place for their children, and that abundant opportunities of one kind or another could be found for them both in the metropolis. But The General, who was “waiting upon God, and wondering what would happen” to open his way to the unchurched masses, received an invitation to undertake some services in a tent which had been erected in an old burial-ground in Whitechapel, the expected missioner having fallen ill! He consented, and he thus describes his experiences:—
“When I saw those masses of poor people, so many of them evidently without God or hope in the world, and found that they so readily and eagerly listened to me, following from Open-Air Meeting to tent, and accepting, in many instances, my invitation to kneel at the Saviour’s feet there and then, my whole heart went out to them. I walked back to our West-End home and said to my wife:—
“’O Kate, I have found my destiny! These are the people for whose Salvation