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In Darkest England and the Way Out   By: (1829-1912)

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IN DARKEST ENGLAND and THE WAY OUT

by GENERAL BOOTH

(this Etext comes from the 1890 1st ed. pub. The Salvation Army)

To the memory of the companion, counsellor, and comrade of nearly 40 years. The sharer of my every ambition for the welfare of mankind, my loving, faithful, and devoted wife this book is dedicated.

PREFACE

The progress of The Salvation Army in its work amongst the poor and lost of many lands has compelled me to face the problems which an more or less hopefully considered in the following pages. The grim necessities of a huge Campaign carried on for many years against the evils which lie at the root of all the miseries of modern life, attacked in a thousand and one forms by a thousand and one lieutenants, have led me step by step to contemplate as a possible solution of at least some of those problems the Scheme of social Selection and Salvation which I have here set forth.

When but a mere child the degradation and helpless misery of the poor Stockingers of my native town, wandering gaunt and hunger stricken through the streets droning out their melancholy ditties, crowding the Union or toiling like galley slaves on relief works for a bare subsistence kindled in my heart yearnings to help the poor which have continued to this day and which have had a powerful influence on my whole life. A last I may be going to see my longings to help the workless realised. I think I am.

The commiseration then awakened by the misery of this class has been an impelling force which has never ceased to make itself felt during forty years of active service in the salvation of men. During this time I am thankful that I have been able, by the good hand of God upon me, to do something in mitigation of the miseries of this class, and to bring not only heavenly hopes and earthly gladness to the hearts of multitudes of these wretched crowds, but also many material blessings, including such commonplace things as food, raiment, home, and work, the parent of so many other temporal benefits. And thus many poor creatures have proved Godliness to be "profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is as well as of that which is to come."

These results have been mainly attained by spiritual means. I have boldly asserted that whatever his peculiar character or circumstances might be, if the prodigal would come home to his Heavenly Father, he would find enough and to spare in the Father's house to supply all his need both for this world and the next; and I have known thousands nay, I can say tens of thousands, who have literally proved this to be true, having, with little or no temporal assistance, come out of the darkest depths of destitution, vice and crime, to be happy and honest citizens and true sons and servants of God.

And yet all the way through my career I have keenly felt the remedial measures usually enunciated in Christian programmes and ordinarily employed by Christian philanthropy to be lamentably inadequate for any effectual dealing with the despairing miseries of these 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 in any way as separate one from the other, have cried out for some more comprehensive method of reaching and saving the perishing crowds.

No doubt it is good for men to climb unaided out of the whirlpool on to the rock of deliverance in the very presence of the temptations which have hitherto mastered them, and to maintain a footing there with the same billows of temptation washing over them. But, alas! with many this seems to be literally impossible. That decisiveness of character, that moral nerve which takes hold of the rope thrown for the rescue and keeps its hold amidst all the resistances that have to be encountered, is wanting. It is gone... Continue reading book >>




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