By Gipsy Smith
With a Foreword
by The Bishop of London
George H. Doran Company
[Image: Cover Image]
I am writing this during an air raid at 12.30 at night, and I have just finished a Foreword for the Bishop of Zanzibar’s new and tender little book. He has been a water-carrier for the British force in German East Africa, and Gipsy Smith has just come from the trenches in France.
You would not expect the two books to be similar, but they are: they are both about “Jesus.” This devotion to “Jesus” binds all time Christians together, and one day will bring us all more visibly together than we are now. I love this breezy little book of Gipsy Smith’s; it is not only full of the love of “Jesus,” but love of our “our boys.” They are splendid. I spent the first two months of the war as their visiting chaplain—went out to give them their Easter Communion the first year of the war at the Front. Gipsy Smith and I made friends together, speaking for them at the London Opera House on the great day of Intercession and Thanksgiving we had for them when the King himself called us all together.
Then I like the common sense of it! You must have robust common sense if you are going to win “our boys.” Anything unreal, merely sentimental, washy, they detect in a moment. You must draw them “with the cords of a man and the bonds of love,” and those who read this book will find many a hint as to how to do it.
I have just come back from your boys. I have been living among them and talking to them for six months. I have been under shell fire for a month, night and day. I have preached the Gospel within forty yards of the Germans. I have tried to sleep at night in a cellar, and it was so cold that my moustache froze to my blanket and my boots froze to the floor. The meal which comforted me most was a little sour French bread and some Swiss milk and hot water, and a pinch of sugar when I could get it.
There are Y.M.C.A. marquees close to the roads down which come the walking wounded from the trenches. In three of these marquees last summer in three days over ten thousand cases were provided with hot drinks and refreshment—free. And that I call Christian work. You and I have been too much concerned about the preaching and too little about the doing of things.
A friend of mine was in one of those marquees at the time, and he told me a beautiful story. Some of the men sat and stood there two and three hours waiting their turn, and the workers were nearly run off their feet. They were at it for three nights and three days. There was one fellow, a handsome chap, sitting huddled up and looking so haggard and cold, that my friend said to him,