The enlarging influence of a close contact with Christ has hardly yet been fully realised even by ourselves. The peasant, whose whole circle of thought was so limited and stereotyped that his life only rose by few degrees above that of the animals he drove before him, is taught by The Army to pray and sing to the Maker and Saviour of the world:—
Give me a heart like Thine;
By Thy wonderful power,
By Thy grace every hour,
Give me a heart like Thine.
In a few years’ time you will find that man capable of directing the War over a wide stretch of country—dealing not merely with as many Meetings in a week as some men would be content to hold in a year, and with the diversified needs of thousands of souls; but taking his share in any business transactions, or councils with civic authorities, as ably as any city-born man.
What has so enlarged his capacity, broadened his sympathies, and turned him into the polite and valued associate of any one, high or low, with whom he comes in contact? His library, if, indeed he has any, beyond the few Army publications he needs for his work, is still scanty enough to make his removal at a few hours’ notice remarkably easy, and he will not be found much in public reading-rooms either. He has very little time for fellowship with any of the intelligent friends who, for The Army’s sake, might now be willing to help him on.
He has simply had that oft-repeated prayer answered, and with the heart of a saviour of all men comes an interest in men’s thoughts and ways which leads the man ever onward, overcoming all his own ignorance and incapacities, for the sake of helping on the War.
Thus The General’s declaration at an early moment, that he would get his preachers out of the public-houses, has not merely been justified with regard to the first elementary lines of recruiting; but the grace of God has proved capable of developing, out of the most limited and despoiled human material, the most able and large-hearted of organisers and leaders, without building up any artificial or educational barriers between them and their former associates.
How, indeed, could it be otherwise? Those who are ignorant of God may well doubt the possibility of any mental improvement by means of prayer. But those who believe that it is possible for the poorest to dwell on earth with their Saviour, and to hold continual intercourse with Him, will perfectly understand how enlightening, how elevating, how inspiring such fellowship must ever be. Alas! how few there are yet in the world who can truly say, “Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ”.
India and Devotees
Nowhere has The Army shown its marvellous power to unite men of all races and classes so rapidly and completely as in India. With its Headquarters in Simla, and its leader, formerly a magistrate under the Indian Government, looked upon almost as a felon, and imprisoned when he first began leading Open-Air Meetings in Bombay, but now honoured by the highest both of British and Indian rulers and by the lowest of its outcasts equally, The Army has become the fully-recognised friend of Governors and governed alike.