There cannot be a greater mistake in this world than to imagine that men object to being governed. They like to be governed provided that the governor has his ‘head screwed on right’ and that he is prompt to hear and ready to see and recognize all that is vital to the interests of the common-wealth… Against a capable government no people rebel. Only when stupidity and incapacity have taken possession of the seat of power do insurrections break out. – In Darkest England and The Way Out
Make your will, pack your box, kiss your girl, be ready [to go to training] in a week.
Oh, my comrades, again I say what I have said before – when you see your duty, that is the moment of action. Don’t let that moment slip, and so miss the power of it, for, perchance, you will never be as strong again.
Oh, the danger of settling down and waiting till the sinners come to you! Go after them… Go in for direct soul-saving; you do not exist to amuse or educate people…
If a man has a money-making spirit, he will probably make money. If a man has an ambitious spirit, he will possibly vault to some higher grade of life than that in which he was born. If a man has a soul-saving spirit, he will certainly save souls. It matters little what his circumstances may be. Therefore, the business of every one of us is to come into the possession of an absorbing passion for the salvation of men.
We had God in man two thousand years ago; now we need the Bible in man.
Suppose we woke tomorrow morning and found that every Bible at present in existence had been taken out of the world? Or suppose – which would amount to the same thing – that, all at once, we discovered that every page in our Bibles had become blank paper? What a mourning and lamentation there would be, and justly so. People who had never thought it worth the trouble to read, and disbelieved would mourn. Even people who had read and disobeyed would feel they had lost what could never be replaced.
If you are cut out for being an Officer, an Officer you must be, an Officer you will be, or it will be so much the worse for you both here and hereafter.
Is there any reason to be found in the mind of God why His salvation should not cover the earth as completely and as plenteously as the rolling ocean covers the mighty deep? – “All the World,” November 1884, in The General’s Letters by William Booth
Talk no longer of the hard things God asks you to give up or to do. If He asks impossibilities at your hands, only be sure He asks them, and then rise up – rise up early – and you shall have the strength to obey… – Salvation Soldiery
Nothing demoralizes salvation soldiers more than inactivity. – Salvation Soldiery
Your Salvation Army has been made to accomplish the impossible, and conquer that which to human calculations cannot be overcome. Forward! – Salvation Soldiery
Every Salvationist’s home should be characterized by Salvationism. That goes without saying. No soldier should be one thing in the hall and another thing in his own house. – The Founder Speaks Again
Salvationism means soul-saving. – The Founder Speaks Again
Neither water, sacraments, church services nor Salvation Army methods will save you without a living, inward change of heart and a living active faith and communion with God.
I will tell you the secret [of success]. God has had all there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, men with greater opportunities. But from the day I got the poor of London on my heart and caught a vision of all Jesus Christ could do with them, on that day I made up my mind that God would have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in the Salvation Army today, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life.
Teach your people. Teach them sound doctrine; if you do not give them the truth, somebody else will give them falsehood. – Salvation Soldiery
“He believeth shall be saved.” It is not to him that hears, to him that desires, to him that feels, to him that agonizes, to him that consecrates. But it is promised and assured and given to him that believes. – Salvation Soldiery
This Book is a fire escape by which men can be pulled out from the raging fire of sin; a lifeboat by which they can be rescued from the stormy waves of everlasting destruction; a ladder up which they can climb to the golden gates of the City of God. – The Founder Speaks Again
You cannot make a man clean by washing his shirt. – Quoted in Blood and Fire by Edward Bishop
It [the world] believes in the survival of the fit… The Salvation Army believes in the salvation of the unfit. – Quoted in History of The Salvation Army V3 by Robert Sandall
While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a poor drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end! – The Founder Speaks Again
If an officer is tempted to say that he is not called to do business, but to save souls, he should remember that the business of his corps is an important part of the work of saving souls; indeed that a corps cannot be carried on without it. He should also consider that none is so suited to attend to this business as he who is separated from the ordinary concerns of life. – Quoted in Powers of Salvation Army Officers by Florence Booth
If you want an active, generous, fighting, daredevil corps, able and willing to drive Hell before it, that corps must be possessed and that fully, by this spirit of life. Nothing else can effectively take its place. No education, learning, Bible knowledge, theology, social amusements, or anything of the kind will be a satisfactory substitute. The corps that seeks to put any of these things in the place of life will find them a mockery, a delusion, and a snare; will find them to be only the wraps and trappings of death itself. – The Seven Spirits
What is a Salvation Army corps? To this I reply, that it is a band of people united together to attack and Christianize an entire town or neighborhood. – Salvation Soldiery
As I tell my comrades, if some of ’em aren’t exactly what we would like ’em to be, it won’t make ’em any better by pulling ’em to pieces. – Sergeant Major Do-Your-Best
They would have believed if He had come down. We believe because He stayed up. – Quoted in The Armoury Commentary – The Four Gospels by Frederick Coutts
Look well to the fire of your souls, for the tendency of fire is to go out.
I’m not waiting for a move of God. I am a move of God.
Secular music, do you say, belongs to the devil? Does it? Well, if it did I would plunder him for it, for he has no right to a single note of the whole seven… Every note, and every strain, and every harmony is divine, and belongs to us… So consecrate your voice and your instruments. Bring out your cornets and harps and organs and flutes and violins and pianos and drums, and everything else that can make melody. Offer them to God, and use them to make all the hearts about you merry before the Lord – quoted in Words of William Booth
Let the Salvationists shout ‘Hallelujah’ wherever they are and whatever be the consequences – quoted in Words of William Booth
Some men’s ambition is art.
Some men’s ambition is fame.
Some men’s ambition is gold.
My ambition is the souls of men.
– quoted in Words of William Booth
To live, to love, to serve my Savior Lord and meet His glad ‘Well done’ at the finish of the fight is my highest ambition – quoted in They Said It
“Not called,” did you say? Not heard the call, I think you should say. He has been calling loudly ever since He spoke your sins forgiven – if you are forgiven at all – entreating and beseeching you to be His ambassador. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull poor sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitying wail for help. Go and stand by the gates of Hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house, and bid their brothers, and sisters, and servants, and masters not to come there. And then look the Christ in the face, whose mercy you profess to have got, and whose words you have promised to obey, and tell Him whether you will join us heart and soul and body and circumstances in this march to publish His mercy to all the world.
What is it to go? Assuredly it is not to sit still. Get up. Shake yourself. Act. Do something; do it at once; go on doing it; do it with all your might. Spare no pains. Never stop any more. Read, give, pray, talk, sing – do anything you can. Suffer. Going meant suffering to Christ: It meant this to the Apostles. They went to the world: this meant going to scorn, poverty, stripes, imprisonment, death – cruel deaths. If you go you will have to suffer; there is no other way of going. One of the most common delusions is that people studiously avoid the suffering, pick and choose the sort of work which is agreeable to them, persuade themselves they are “called” to that specially, and then reckon they are going to the world. Suffering and saving are terms of almost the same significance in the Christian’s career. If he suffers for Christ he saves, and if he saves he suffers. – “All the World,” November 1884, in The General’s Letters by William Booth
Music has a divine effect upon divinely influenced and directed souls. Music is to the soul what wind is to the ship, blowing her onwards in the direction in which she is steered… Not allowed to sing that tune or this tune? Indeed! Secular music, do you say? Belongs to the devil, does it? Well, if it did, I would plunder him of it, for he has no right to a single note of the whole gamut. He’s the thief!… Every note and every strain and every harmony is divine, and belongs to us… So now and for all time consecrate your voices and your instruments. Bring out your cornets and harps and organs and flutes and violins and pianos and drums and everything else that can make melody! Offer them to God and use them to make all hearts about you merry before the Lord! – History of The Salvation Army, Volume II by Robert Sandall (quoting Booth from the 1880 Christmas edition of the War Cry)
People walk about, eat and drink, talk and go through the ordinary duties of social life together, and yet have no real communion of spirit. Heart does not speak to heart. They are, in the truest sense, largely, if not altogether, alone in the world… We meet, sing, pray and testify together, but heart-union is too often sadly wanting. Yet a corps ought to be, to all intents and purposes, a real spiritual family. Every soldier on its roll should regard his comrades as brothers and sisters, not only in name but in practice. Instead of this, with some Salvationists there is a great deal of the cold, stand-off spirit, and with a great many much of that wretched indifference which is so painful to see, and more painful still to endure. This is especially so in the big cities; while the brotherhood and the sisterhood so often talked about by many so-called Christian people is little more than a name. This is a great pity, and we can never tell how much we lose by it, or how much suffering it entails upon many good and faithful souls who are shy and strange… Let me mention two or three reasons why Salvationists should cherish a really brotherly and affectionate disposition toward one another. The first reason is the personal pleasure which true friendliness imparts to all those who are subjects of it. The joy flowing out of genuine friendship cannot very well be over-estimated. To know that there are comrades who really feel affectionately toward you, whose eyes sparkles, whose hearts beat warmly, and whose hands are stretched out when you meet them, creates pleasure not only while you are with them, but when you think about them afterward. Yes! Friendship is a treasure indeed, and every Salvationist ought to be able not only to find such treasure in his corps, but be able to supply a share of the priceless blessing to others in return. The Salvationist should cultivate this friendly spirit because of the comfort it will bring to him, and also to others, in the everyday sorrows and trials of life. We all have our hardships. Some have bitter fights with poverty, affliction and misunderstandings; many have to follow their loved ones to an early grave; and all of us, in one form or another, will have to face the last enemy, which is death. In these trying hours, how welcome is the practical, loving friendship which soothes the wounded spirit, cheers the despairing heart and smooths the dying pillow! Then, how marvelous is the influence for good which this friendly spirit exerts on the ungodly world around us! Nothing strikes the stranger who finds himself within our walls more forcibly, or affects him more favorably, than the loving faces and friendly intercourse of the soldiers who surround him on every side, no matter how small the hall or how great the struggle in which the corps is engaged. He is constrained to say, ‘see how these Salvationists love one another!’ Oh, that this spirit of loving comradeship were more prevalent and powerful than it is! Let us cultivate it, my comrades… Salvationists should be at more trouble to acquaint themselves with one another. While it is true that some of our people are bold enough to salute comrades who may otherwise be perfect strangers, others are too timid to speak to, or even look at, much less shake hands with, comrades with whom they have had some acquaintance for years gone by. What is the reason for this shy separateness? I should say that it arises very largely from soldiers being too much taken up with themselves, and being too little concerned with the happiness and welfare of those around them. My comrades, I recommend you, so far as possible, to be careless of what your friends may think about you, or your looks, or your words; speak up and speak out in a loving way to all with whom you come in contact. Make yourselves at home and show yourselves friendly. You ought especially to act after this fashion with the new converts, who are only too often caressed one night and passed coldly by the night after. Hunt them out in the meetings or, better still, fetch them from their homes. Why should you leave this duty altogether to your officers? It is beyond question their place to search the converts out, but every Salvationist out to take his share in so important a business… Then I further advise that you should trust your comrades. Do not everlastingly suspect them of unworthy motives in their sayings and doings. Put the best construction you can upon their actions. Where you consider they are wrong, as them for an explanation. Where you imagine there has been some unfriendly action, give them a chance of setting themselves right with you. Do not expect perfection all at once. Give them time. If you find them lacking in the performance of what you consider to be their duty, seek by your own prayers, counsel and example to supply their need. Look out for opportunities of befriending your comrades. This is not only your duty, but your privilege. If a man would have friends, he must show himself friendly. Bless your comrades, and your comrades will bless you. – The Founder Speaks Again
If you had had a tree that had grown up in your garden, under your window, which for forty years had been your shadow from the burning sun, whose flowers had been the adornment and beauty of your life, whose fruit had been almost the stay of your existence, and the gardener had come along and swung his glittering axe and cut it down before your eyes, I think you would feel as though you had a blank – it might now be a big one – but a little blank in your life!
If you had had a servant who, for all this long time, had served you without fee or reward, who had administered, for very love, to your health and comfort, and who had passed suddenly away, you would miss that servant!
If you had had a counselor who, in hours – continually recurring – of perplexity and amazement, had ever advised you, and seldom advised wrong, whose advice you had followed and seldom had reason to regret it; and the counselor, while you are in the same intricate mazes of your existence, had passed away, you would miss that counselor!
If you had had a friend who had understood your very nature, the rise an fall of your feelings, the bent of your thoughts, and the purpose of your existence; a friend whose communion had always been pleasant – the most pleasant of all other friends – to whom you had ever turned with satisfaction, and your friend had been taken away, you would feel some sorrow at the loss.
If you had had a mother for your children, who had cradled and nursed and trained them for the service of the Living God, in which you most delighted – a mother, indeed, who had never ceased to bear their sorrows on her heart, and who had been ever willing to pour forth that heart’s blood in order to nourish them, and that darling mother had been taken from your side, you would feel it a sorrow!
If you had had a wife, a sweet love of a wife, who for forty years had never given you real cause for grief, a wife who had stood with your side by side in the battle’s front, who had been a comrade to you, ever willing to interpose herself between you and the enemy, and ever the strongest when the battle was fiercest, and your beloved one had fallen before your eyes, I am sure there would be some excuse for your sorrow!
Well, my comrades, you can roll all these qualities into one personality, and what would be lost in each I have lost all in one. There has been taken away from me the delight of my eyes, the inspiration of my soul, and we are about to lay all that remains of her in the grave. I have been looking right at the bottom of it here, and calculating how soon they may bring and lay me alongside of her, and my cry to God has been that every remaining hour of my life may make me readier to come and join her in death, to go and embrace her in life in the Eternal City.
This afternoon my heart has been full of gratitude because her soul is now with Jesus. She had a great capacity for suffering and a great capacity for joy, and her heart is full of joy this afternoon.
My heart has also been full of gratitude because God lent me for so long a season such a treasure. I have been thinking, if I had to point out her three great qualities to you here, they would be: First, she was good. She was washed in the Blood of the Lamb. To the last moment her cry was, ‘A sinner saved by grace.” She was a thorough hater of shams, hypocrisies, and make-believes.
Second, she was love. Her whole soul was full of tender, deep compassion. I was thinking this morning that she suffered more in her lifetime through her compassion for poor dumb animals than some doctors of divinity suffer for the wide, wide world of sinning, sorrowing mortals! Oh, how she loved, how she companioned, how she pitied the suffer poor! How she longed to put her arms round the sorrowful and help them!
Lastly, she was a warrior. She liked the fight. She was not one who said to others, ‘Go,’ but ‘Here, let me go,’ and when there was the necessity she cried, ‘I will go.’ I never knew her to flinch until her poor body compelled her to lie aside.
Another thought fills my soul with praise – that she has inspired so many to follow in her track. – Eulogy at Catherine’s funeral, as quoted in They Said It