In June of 1904, General William Booth was in London addressing thousands of Salvationists at that year’s International Congress. Below is a reproduction of his written notes, with some language updated for ease of reading.
“What a valley of dry bones the world appears to the man whose eyes have been opened to see the truth of things…it is one great cemetery crowded with men, women, and children dead in trespasses and sin. Look for a moment at this graveyard, in which the men around you may be said to lie with their hearts all dead and cold to Christ, and all that concerns their Salvation. Look at it. The men and women and children in your town are buried there. The men and women in your city, in your street. Nay, the very people who come to your church on Sunday are there. There they lie. Let us read the inscriptions on some of their tombs:
There are any number of other graves. It is interesting, although painful, to wander amongst them. All, or nearly all, their occupants are held down by a heavy weight of ignorance, a sense of utter helplessness. And all are bound hand and foot with chains of lust, or passion, or procrastination, of their own forging.
In the midst of these graves you live, and move, and have your being.
What is your duty here?…What are you going to do about this graveyard? God has sent you into this dark valley for nothing less than to raise these doom-struck creatures from the dead. That is your mission…
What do you say? It cannot be done? That is false. God would never have set you an impossible task. You cannot do it? That is also false. Go, and do it. Go, and look at them. Go, and represent Jesus Christ to them. Go, and prophesy to them. Go, and believe for them. And then shall bone come to bone, and there shall be a great noise, and a great Army shall stand up to live, and fight, and die for the Living God.”