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Your Boys   By: (1860-1947)

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Your Boys By Gipsy Smith

With a Foreword by The Bishop of London

New York George H. Doran Company 1918

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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,

"I am sorry you have had to wait so long, old chap. We're doing our best. We'll get to you as soon as we can."

"Never mind me," said the man; "carry on!"

As the sun came out he unbuttoned his coat, and when the coat was thrown back my friend saw that he was wearing a colonel's uniform.

"I am sorry, sir," said my friend. "I did not know. I oughtn't to have spoken to you in that familiar way."

"You have earned the right to say anything you like to me," said the Colonel. "Go right on."

And then my friend said, "Well, come with me, sir, to the back, and I will get you a cup of coffee."

"No, not a minute before the boys. I'll take my turn with them."

That's the spirit. Your boys, I say, are great stuff. They have their follies. They can go to the devil if they want to, but tens of thousands of them don't want to, and hundreds of thousands are living straight in spite of their surroundings. They are the bravest, dearest boys that God ever gave to the world, and you and I ought to be proud of them. If the people at home were a tenth as grateful as they ought to be they would crowd into our churches, if it were for nothing else but to pray for and give thanks for the boys... Continue reading book >>

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