The GOSPEL TRUTH
FOUNDER and FIRST GENERAL
of the SALVATION ARMY
In Two Volumes
TELLS HOW WILLIAM BOOTH BECAME A PASTOR, AND INTRODUCES THE READER TO CATHERINE MUMFORD
The storm of this disputation raged with violence. But it does not seem to have driven William Booth from his path or to have drawn him to the one side or the other. "Mr. Booth," says W. T. Stead, "kept apart from the controversy. His sympathies were then, as always, on the side of authority."
This statement, which may surprise many people, is a true statement. William Booth was antipathetic to violent change, hated rebellion, suspected "reform," and cherished discipline and obedience as cardinal virtues. His story for the next twenty years is the tragic Odyssey of a strong and original soul labouring to follow his star along the beaten track of authority, struggling to get the new wine of his unquenchable zeal into the shrunken skins of tradition, striving to move his church along with him out of the slough of a stagnant formalism. And the irony of it is, that the churches which expelled him and literally drove him into the wilderness, which during the most difficult years of his existence opposed him, censured him, maligned him, not only came to adopt his methods and follow his example, but, when it was too late, made overtures for his reception into their midst.
In his old age William Booth was received by King Edward the Seventh. "Tell me, General," asked the Sovereign, "how do you get on now with the Churches? What is their attitude towards you?"
The old man looked shrewdly at the King, his eyes twinkled, and he made answer, "Sir, they imitate me." At which the King laughed with a good understanding.
At the age of twenty-one he was conservative and on the side of authority. He knew very well what dissension existed in the Wesleyan body, but he endeavoured to stop his ears against the unprofitable sounds of discord.
What was in his mind, seething and burning there, at this momentous epoch of his life? Happily a letter exists, the oldest known of his letters, which answers that question with a fulness invaluable to this narrative. The letter is dated October 30, 1849, and is addressed to John Savage in Nottingham, one of the young men who had served as a disciple in the streets and slums of that city:
How are you going on? I know you are happy. I know you are living to God, and working for Jesus. Grasp still firmer the standard. Unfold still wider the battle-flag! Press still closer on the ranks of the enemy, and mark your pathway still more distinctly with trophies of Emmanuel's grace, and with enduring moments of Jesus' power! The trumpet has given the signal for the conflict! Your General assures of success and a glorious reward; your crown is already held out. Then why delay? Why doubt? Onward! Onward! Onward! Christ for me! Be that your motto... be that your battle-cry... be that your war-note... be that your consolation... be that your plea when asking the mercy of God--your end when offering it to man... your hope when encircled by darkness... your triumph and victory when attacked and overcome by death! Christ for me! Tell it to men who are living and dying in sin! Tell it to Jesus, that you have chosen Him to be your Saviour and your God. Tell it to devils, and bid them cease to harass, since you are determined to die for the truth!
I preached on Sabbath last--a respectable but dull and lifeless congregation. Notwithstanding I had liberty both praying and preaching, I had not the assistance of a single "Amen" or "Hallelujah" the whole of the service! It is hard work to labour for an hour and a half in the pulpit and then come down and do the work of the prayer-meeting as well! I want some Savages, and Proctors, and Frosts, and Hoveys, and Robinsons, here with me in the prayer meetings, and glory to God we would carry all before us! Praise God for living at Nottingham every hour you are in it! Oh, to live Christ on earth, and to meet you once more, never to part, in a better world.
In spite of a phraseology which may slightly disturb a later refinement, this letter has a ring of truth which is worth an infinite amount of prettiness and decorous restraint. It is the letter of a true man, the authentic cry of a soul desperately earnest. One can no more doubt this utterance than one can doubt the Psalms of David. Narrow and limited may have been the youth's outlook upon the world, wild and strange his language, panting and overheated his zeal, but never yet did a charlatan so utter his soul to a friend.
With such a temperament he was destined to suffer the dark reactions of ecstasy and boundless confidence. There were moments when his soul was plunged into dejection, moments when he doubted his call, moments when he was thrown into despair merely by contact with a shallow culture or a little theological pomposity.
But again and again the youth threw off the oppression of this scepticism, felt within himself strong and indubitable the call of God. The young man's tragedy was this, that he felt at his highest moments of ecstasy so boundless and so utter a gratitude to God for bliss of such incomparable rapture that he could not doubt in those moments of ravishment his power to save mankind by lifting them up with him into this same region of faith. But when ecstasy had passed, when the soul had returned to its poor troubled and shabby tenement of clay, then came the natural reaction which all idealists experience--the feeling of exhaustion, the haunting fear that never can one lift humanity to God, that one is not scholar enough to enter into controversy with the least of the devils. Was he truly called? Had God indeed got a work for him to do? Was he not perhaps dangerously inflated with conceit in this feeling that he could do something for the Kingdom of Christ?
Concerning my pulpit efforts, I am more than ever discouraged. Upon becoming acquainted with my congregations, I am surprised at the amount of intellect which I have endeayoured to address. I am waking up as it were from a dream, and discover that my hopes are vanity, and that I literally know nothing.
I preached yesterday at Norwood--a dear people. In the morning "Oh, Lord, revive thy work," was accompanied with blessings, and in the evening "Jesus weeping over Jerusalem," though not attended by pleasurable feelings by myself, yet I hope went home to some hearts. I saw nothing done!
Afterwards I had some conversation with one of our local preachers respecting the subject with regard to which my heart is still burning--I mean the full work. He advises me by all means to offer myself next March, and leave it in the hands of God and the Church. What say you? You are my friend, the chosen of my companions, the man after my own heart. What say you? I want to be a devoted, simple, and sincere follower of the Bleeding Lamb. I do not desire the pastor's crust without having most distinctly received the pastor's call. And yet my inmost spirit is panting for the delightful employment of telling from morn till eve, from eve till midnight, the glad tidings that mercy is free.
Mercy! Have you heard the word? Have you felt its power? Mercy! Can you describe its hidden, unfathomable meaning? Mercy! Let the sound be borne on every breeze! Mercy! Shout it to the world around until there is not a sin-unpardoned, a pollution-spotted, a hell-marked spirit unwashed, unsanctified! Until there is not a sign of the curse in existence, not a sorrow unsoothed! not a tear unwiped away! until the world is flooded with salvation and all men are bathing in its life-giving streams !
In April, 1850, he writes to this same friend in Nottingham:
But you ask "What is your plan?" Why, to go out to Australia as Chaplain on board a convict ship. To face the storm and the billow, and the tempest's rolling wave, and to preach to the very worst of men Christ's Salvation.
This idea of breaking away from his monotonous toil and throwing himself into some hard and heroic work lasted until November of the same year, when we find him writing to the same friend:
I am thinking of offering for the general work abroad or at home, where the Church will send me, or where the world hath need of me. What say you? You know I would prefer the home work, but the difficulties are so numerous, my ability is not equal to the task. It is evident, my Superintendent told me so, that preachers are not wanted.
An incident occurred at this juncture, however, destined to influence the whole course of his after-life. Among the people who listened to his preaching was an enthusiastic Wesleyan layman of no very lovable and agreeable type, but nevertheless a man of some character, and one who knew a great man when he saw him. This Wesleyan lay man was a Mr. E. J. Rabbits, a boot manufacturer in the Borough, who rose from small things to the position of a very large and prosperous employer of labour.
In his autobiographical notes, William Booth has left this epitome of his first patron: "Self-made man. His beginning: borrowed half-a-crown. My last interview with him: he had just invested £60,000 in good building estate, the anxieties connected with which, I should think, helped to hurry him away. 'The care of riches!'" In that epitaph one has, perhaps, all the biography one needs of good Mr. Rabbits.
This man, strangely enough, for he was altogether and utterly unlike William Booth, was the means which led the Nottingham lad to abandon a commercial career for the life of a minister. William Booth--one of the most expan sive, generous, tender-hearted, and affectionate of men-- yielded to the persuasions of this earnest if somewhat narrow-minded dissenter, and through him came not only into the ministry of the Christian religion, but into touch with that gracious and remarkable woman who blessed his life, stimulated his courage, and mothered the infancy of the Salvation Army.
Mr. Rabbits is not an imposing figure in this narrative, but one does not know how the rest of the story would have run but for his sudden and transitory appearance on its stage. To those who believe that a Divinity shapes our ends, he must certainly seem an instrument in the hand of providence; and niggardly and half-heartedly as he per formed the office assigned to him, he does at least deserve the recognition, and perhaps the gratitude, if not the love, of that vast company better for the life of William Booth.
Mr. Rabbits was among the Reformers. "He had been dissatisfied," says Commissioner Booth-Tucker, "for some time with what he considered to be the growing coldness and worldliness of the Orthodox party, and had, therefore, hailed the present [Reform] movement with satisfaction, believing that it would lead to a revival of the old life and fire. He had been present at the first sermon delivered by Mr. Booth in the Walworth Road Wesleyan Chapel. The latter had launched out in his usual unconventional, earnest manner, strikingly in contrast with the ordinary ministerial style. Some of those present responded heartily, and the ordinary monotony of the service was disturbed by quite a brisk fusillade of 'Amens.' Mr. Rabbits was delighted. He met the preacher at the foot of the stairs, congratulated him warmly on his sermon, and took him home to dinner .... "
William Booth at this time, it must be remembered, was weary of his daily work, and more and more inclined to act upon the suggestion first made to him, as we have seen, by Samuel Dunn. He had now proved to himself that he had power as a preacher; he never walked through a London street without feeling an impulse towards the pulpit; and he could conceive of no life for himself more consonant with the will of God than that of a Methodist minister.
Mr. Rabbits, in June, 1851, persuaded him to work among the Reformers, and later on proceeded to settle the business of his entrance into the ministry. The story of that negotiation, as typical perhaps of the persuader as of the persuaded, is told by William Booth in the following narration:
Mr. Rabbits said to me one day," You must leave business, and wholly devote yourself to preaching the Gospel."
"Impossible," I answered. "There is no way for me. Nobody wants me."
"Yes," said he, "the people with whom you have allied yourself want an evangelist."
"They cannot support me," I replied, "and I cannot live on air."
"That is true, no doubt," was his answer. "How much can you live on?"
I reckoned up carefully. I knew I should have to provide my own quarters and to pay for my cooking: and as to the living itself, I did not understand in those days how this could be managed in as cheap a fashion as I do now. After a careful calculation, I told him that I did not see how I could get along with less than twelve shillings a week.
"Nonsense," he said, "you cannot do with less than twenty shillings a week, I am sure."
"All right," I said, "have it your own way, if you will; but where is the twenty shillings to come from?"
"I will supply it," he said, "for the first three months at least."
"Very good," I answered. And the bargain was struck then and there.
I at once gave notice to my master, who was very angry and said, "If it is money you want, that need not part us." I told him that money had nothing to do with the question, that all I wanted was the opportunity to spend my life and powers publishing the Saviour to a lost world. And so I packed my portmanteau and went out to begin a new life.
My first need was some place to lay my head. After a little time spent in the search, I found quarters in the Walworth district, where I expected to work, and took two rooms in the house of a widow at five shillings a week, with attendance. This I reckoned at the time was a pretty good bargain. I then went to a furniture shop and bought some chairs and a bed, and a few other necessaries. I felt quite set up, and fully prepared to settle quietly down to my work ....
Three things marked the day that followed the one on which I shook hands with my cold-hearted master and said Good-bye. One of which proved itself of no little importance, both to myself and the world at large in the years that followed.
1. The first day of my freedom was Good Friday.
2. It was also my birthday, the 10th April.
3. The third, and most important of all, was that on that day I fell over head and ears in love with the precious woman who afterwards became my Wife.
In this episode we have a characteristic example of William Booth's honesty and impetuous enthusiasm, as well as a moment's insight into the mind of a business-like dissenter. Booth was willing to maintain himself as a preacher of the Gospel for twelve shillings a week. The astute and practical Rabbits would not hear of such a sacrifice, and increased the weekly wage to twenty shillings. William Booth abandoned his daily work, threw himself into the arms of the future, and trusted blindly to God. Mr. Rabbits made himself responsible for a wage of twenty shillings a week, limited to a period of three months. For a sum of twelve pounds, then, the founder of the Salvation Army disposed of his genius and his enthusiasm, and with no other provision than this for the next three months, and no provision at all beyond that period, entered the ministry as a revivalist preacher.
There were certainly few preachers among the Methodists or any other body of Christians more perilously situated just then than William Booth. One can imagine this tall, gaunt, clean-shaven youth, with his long raven-coloured hair and his stooping shoulders, entering upon his five -shilling room "with attendance," looking upon his furni ture, and feeling "quite set up," fully prepared, as he says, to settle quietly down to his work. But there was to be no quiet for this wayfarer then or afterwards. On the very first day of his freedom he was to suffer the commotion of love, was to realise that twenty shillings a week goes but a little way in domestic housekeeping, and that an assur ance of board and lodging for three months is no cheerful primrose prospect for a young man who is "over head and ears in love." Work there was to be for him in this world, such work as no other man in his generation could perform, but no peace, no quiet. From that day onwards, even to the last hour of his life, he was to be opposed by the enemy of peace and the adversary of quiet, was to face confusion and darkness, was to stagger under buffetings of misfortune, was to be stricken to his knees by agony and tragedy, was to know the piercing anxiety, the bitter distress of a poverty that increased with his victories and intensified with his opportunities for serving mankind; these things he was to know, this burden he was to carry, this work he was to do in the world, but quiet was never to come near his heart. He was marked out for suffering, he was chosen for battle and tempest. But he was to know the love of a "precious woman."
Bitter as was to be his first experience of the Christian ministry, it was coloured by romance, though one may question whether this hopeless passion of his heart was not at the time the chief of his woes.
Among the people to whom Mr. Rabbits introduced William Booth was a family named Mumford, living in Brixton--at that time a somewhat picturesque suburb of London, more or less fashionable among rich City merchants. A daughter of this house, for whose opinion Mr. Rabbits entertained a great respect, had expressed admiration of a sermon preached by William Booth as a layman in Bin field Hall, a small chapel in the neighbouring suburb of Clapham, situated close to the Swan Tavern of Stockwell, where the famous racehorse of that name had been trained. Mr. Rabbits had reported this admiration to the young preacher, and had arranged that he should make acquaint ance with the Mumfords. From their first meeting, both William Booth and Catherine Mumford were conscious of a strong liking for each other; but it was not until he had entered upon the period of study and preparation for ministry among the Reformers, and on the first day of his freedom from a secular life, that he fell head over ears in love with this remarkable woman.
Before we tell the story of that love, it is necessary to say something of the Mumford family.
Mrs. Mumford, for whom William Booth cherished a deep affection and a reverence that reacted on his own character, was a woman whose history, if it could be told with fulness, would read like a novel written in collabora tion by Charlotte Bronte and George Eliot. She was in many ways a figure of the epoch. From an adventure in love, full of passion and tragedy, she had passed to a sedate marriage, and deepened her spiritual life to such a depth of piety as one finds in Adam Bede. Something of her love story, told in a style very appropriate to the popular romances of the period, is to be found in Commissioner Booth-Tucker's Life of Catherine Booth. He tells us how she became engaged in youth to a man in her own social position, who was approved of by her father, Mr. Milward, and who appeared to be in every respect a desirable husband.
Her mother had died some years previously. Her father was one who felt that his duty to his daughter had ended in supplying her temporal needs. The aunt, who kept house for him, was a being of harsh and unsympathetic material. No doubt these loveless surroundings helped Miss Milward to think the more of her choice, and she fancied herself upon the eve of life-long felicity. To her friends the match seemed a desirable one, and had met with unhesitating approbation. The prospects were brilliant, and the wedding-day had been fixed, when, on the very eve of her marriage, certain circumstances came to her knowledge which proved conclusively that her lover was not the high-souled, noble character that she had supposed him to be; indeed that he was unworthy of the womanly love and confidence that she had reposed in him. With the same promptness and decision which afterwards characterized her daughter, Miss Milward's mind was made up, and the engagement was immediately broken off.
It was in vain that day after day her lover called at the house, in the hope that he might persuade her to relent. She dared not trust herself even to see him, lest she should fall beneath the still keenly realized temptation, and lest her heart should get the better of her judgment. At length, seized with despair, he turned his horse's head from the door and galloped away, he knew not, cared not, whither--galloped till his horse was covered with foam--galloped till it staggered and fell, dying, beneath him, while he rose to his feet a hopeless maniac! The anxiety had been too much for his brain; and the next news that Miss Milward received was that he had been taken to an asylum, where he would probably spend the rest of his days.
The narrative proceeds with an account of Miss Mil ward's prostration after this terrible experience, the failure of doctors to revive her interests in life, the coming of a Methodist preacher into her neighbourhood, her conversion anal restoration to health, her subsequent engagement to a lay preacher named Mumford, and her marriage to this gentleman in defiance of her father's command, who turned her penniless out of his house and forbade her ever to enter his doors again.
Catherine Mumford was the only daughter of this marriage in a family of five children. She was a singularly intellectual and forceful child, responding with heart and soul to the rigorous and puritanical training of her mother, disliking novels, delighting in history, expressing vigorous judgments on such famous characters as Napoleon Bona parte--whose brutal and selfish victories she would compare with the more humane conquests of Julius Caesar--and revealing on every side of her character an unmistakable predilection for serious things. There was no element of submission in her response to Mrs. Mumford's training; nothing in her nature needed to be crushed and distorted into the semblance of puritanism; she herself was a born puritan to whom the true and genuine gospel of puritanism made unequivocal appeal.
One trait in the childhood of this precocious girl deserves a particular attention. It might be thought that a nature thus stern and sensible would be proof against those little tendernesses of affection which make childhood so exquisite and adorable. But Catherine Mumford had to a singular degree one of the most amiable of these tender susceptibilities. She was quite passionately devoted to dumb animals, and could not bear either to see or to hear about the sufferings of these little brothers and sisters of humanity. It might also seem that the ineffaceable impression made upon her mother's mind by the horse that was flogged and spurred to its death by her madman lover had been trans mitted to Catherine Mumford in the form of this singular sensitiveness to animal suffering. She was, in fact, as the following incidents narrated by Commissioner Booth-Tucker will show, in spite of the rigour of her mother's training, in spite of her own temperamental devotion to practical common sense, a child who not merely shuddered at pain, but whose heart was deeply pierced and earnestly moved by suffering of any kind.
One day, Commissioner Booth-Tucker says, she saw a prisoner being dragged to the lock-up by a constable.
A jeering mob was hooting the unfortunate culprit. His utter loneliness appealed powerfully to her. It seemed that he had not a friend in the world. Quick as lightning Catherine sprang to his side, and marched down the street with him, determined that he should feel that there was at least one heart that sympathized with him, whether it might be for his fault or his misfortune that he was suffering ....
She could not endure to see animals ill-treated without expostulating and doing her utmost to stop the cruelty. Many a time she would run out into the street heedless of every personal risk, to plead with or threaten the perpetrator of some cruel act. On one occasion, when but a little girl, the sight of the cruel goading of some sheep so filled her soul with indignation and anguish, that she rushed home and threw herself on the sofa in a speechless paroxysm of grief.
"My childish heart," she tells us, "rejoiced greatly in the speculations of Wesley and Butler with regard to the possibility of a future life for animals, in which God might make up to them for the suffering and pain inflicted on them here .... "
Like her other benevolences, Mrs. Booth's kindness to animals took a practical turn. "If I were you," she would say to the donkey-boys at the seaside resorts, where in later years she went to lecture, "I should like to feel, when I went to sleep at night, that I had done my very best for my donkey. I would like to know that I had been kind to it, and had given it the best food I could afford; in fact, that it had as jolly a day as though I had been the donkey, and the donkey me." And she would enforce the argument with a threepenny or a sixpenny bit, which helped to make it palatable.
Then, turning to her children, she would press the lesson home by saying, "That is how I should like to see my children spend their pennies, in encouraging the boys to be kind to their donkeys."
If, in her walks or drives, Mrs. Booth happened to notice any horses left out to graze that looked overworked and ill-fed, she would send round to the dealers for a bushel of corn, stowing it away in some part of the house. Then, when evening fell, she would sally forth with a child or servant carrying a supply of food to the field in which the poor creatures had been marked, watching with the utmost satisfaction while they had a "real good tuck in." It is not to be wondered at that the horses were soon able to recognize her, and would run along the hedge whenever their benefactress passed by, craning their necks and snorting their thanks, to the surprise and perplexity of those who were not in the secret.
Again and again has Mrs. Booth rushed to the window, flung up the heavy sash, and called out to some tradesman who was ill-treating his animal, not resting till she had compelled him to desist.
"Life is such a puzzle," she used to say, "but we must leave it, leave it with God. I have suffered so much over what appeared to be the needless and inexplicable sorrows and pains of the animal creation, as well as over those of the rest of the world, that if I had not come to know God by a personal revelation of Him to my own soul, and to trust Him because I knew Him, I can hardly say into what scepticism I might not have fallen."
On one occasion, when driving out with a friend, Mrs. Booth saw a boy with a donkey a little way ahead of them. She noticed him pick up something out of the cart and hit the donkey with it. In the distance it appeared like a short stick, but to her horror she perceived, as they drove past, that it was a heavy- headed hammer, and that already a dreadful wound had been made in the poor creature's back. She called to the coachman to stop; but before it was possible for him to do so, or for those in the carriage with her to guess what was the matter, she had flung herself, at the risk of her life, into the road. Her dress caught in the step as she sprang, and had it not been torn with the force of her leap, she must have been seriously injured, if not killed. As it was, she fell on her face, and was covered with the dust of the hot and sandy road. Rising to her feet, however, she rushed forward and seized the reins. The boy tried to drive on, but she clung persistently to the shaft, untiI her friends came to her assistance. After burning words of warning, followed by tender appeals of intercession, such as from even the hard heart of the donkey-driver would not easily be effaced, she at last induced him to hand over his hammer, and succeeded in obtaining his name and address. Then, overcome with excitement and exertion, she fainted away, and was with difficulty carried home.
Another story is told of how a favourite retriever of hers, named Waterford, who loved her and followed her wherever she went, hearing her cry one day, sprang to her rescue through a large glass window, thus incurring the wrath of Mr. Mumford, who had the dog shot. "For months," says Catherine Mumford, "I suffered intolerably, especially in realizing that it was in the effort to alleviate my sufferings the beautiful creature had lost its life. Days passed before I could speak to my father .... "
There was a love episode in the life of Catherine Mumford which she decided by a text from the Bible, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. The lover was a cousin from Derbyshire, "a young man of somewhat striking appearance, and with more than ordinary capa city"; and although "she was not the most ardent of the two, she could not prevent her heart responding in some measure to his love." But he was not serious enough about religion, and Catherine Mumford presently dismissed him, a step which she says cost her "a considerable effort at the time."
She was a delicate child, and for some years had suffered from a spinal complaint, making painful acquaintance in the most fervorous period of youth with mattress and sofa. But she was devotedly nursed by her mother; she pursued her studies in history and geography; she read an immense mount of contemporary theology, and acquired an enthusiasm for missionary enterprise and a passion for spiritual religion which deepened to a very striking and saint-like devotion in her wonderful after-life.
When William Booth crossed her path she was an able, masterful, and brilliant young woman, who delighted in table controversies, who was somewhat proud of her logical adroitness, and who must have been, one thinks, as great a terror to the loose thinkers and careless talkers of her little circle as William Gladstone in a more exalted sphere. It is tolerably certain that she was improved, and very deeply improved, by her intimacy with William Booth. There was something in her mind, at this period, too like the self-assertiveness of an intellect rejoicing in its own trenchant dexterity to promise sweetness and light. She was able, brilliant, daring, and righteous to a fault; but one doubts if her heart at that time had asserted its equal partnership with her brain. Something of this brilliant young person's character, and her original genius, may be seen in a letter which she sent to a minister who had preached a sermon with which she disagreed. The modesty of the approach does not minimise the force and vigour of the attack; and certainly such views in the 'fifties were unusual, and in a girl of her age remarkable enough to draw attention.
DEAR Sir-- You will doubtless be surprised at the receipt of this communication, and I assure you it is with great reluctance and a feeling of profound respect that I make it. Were it not for the high estimate I entertain both for your intellect and heart, I would spare the sacrifice it costs me. But because I believe you love truth, of whatever kind, and would not willingly countenance or propagate erroneous views on any subject, I venture to address you.
Excuse me, my dear sir; I feel myself but a babe in compari son with you. But permit me to call your attention to a subject on which my heart has been deeply pained. In your discourse on Sunday morning, when descanting on the policy of Satan in first attacking the most assailable of our race, your remarks appeared to imply woman's intellectual and even moral inferiority to man. I cannot believe that you intended it to be so under stood, at least with reference to her moral nature. But I fear the tenor of your remarks would too surely leave an impression on the minds of many of your congregation, and I for one cannot but deeply regret that a man for whom I entertain such a high veneration should appear to hold such views derogatory to my sex, and which I believe to be unscriptural and dishonouring to God.
Permit me, my dear sir, to ask whether you have ever made the subject of woman's equality as a being the matter of calm investigation and thought? If not, I would, with all deference, suggest it as a subject well worth the exercise of your brain, and calculated amply to repay any research you may bestow upon it.
So far as Scriptural evidence is concerned, did I but possess ability to do justice to the subject, I dare take my stand on it against the world in defending her perfect equality. And it is because I am persuaded that no honest, unprejudiced investiga tion of the sacred volume can give perpetuity to the mere assump tions and false notions which have gained currency in society on this subject, that I so earnestly commend it to your attention. I have such confidence in the nobility of your nature that I feel certain neither prejudice nor custom can blind you to the truth, if you will once turn attention to the matter.
That woman is, in consequence of her inadequate education, generally inferior to man intellectually, I admit. But that she is naturally so, as your remarks seem to imply, I see no cause to believe. I think the disparity is as easily accounted for as the difference between woman intellectually in this country and under the degrading slavery of heathen lands. No argument, in my judgment, can be drawn from past experience on this point, because the past has been false in theory and wrong in practice. Never yet in the history of the world has woman been placed on an intellectual footing with man. Her training from baby hood, even in this highly-favoured land, has hitherto been such as to cramp and paralyse rather than to develop and strengthen her energies, and calculated to crush and wither her aspirations after mental greatness rather than to excite and stimulate them. And even where the more directly depressing influence has been withdrawn, the indirect and more powerful stimulus has been wanting.
A few months older than William Booth and his superior in intellectual force, Catherine Mumford was his junior in spiritual experience, and at that time his inferior in per sonality. He lacked the culture which she brought to him with a fervent admiration for his rugged rock-hewn strength; she lacked that boundless depth of self-sacrificing love, that wide and overflowing ocean of yearning, pitying, human affection which was the gift he brought to her, and the human influence which made her in after years "the Mother of the Army." One would say that while Catherine Mumford's tendency might have been towards a central anxiety concerning the condition of her own soul, William Booth's obvious path of development was towards a central anxiety for the souls of all mankind. Catherine Mumford, as a woman and an invalid, in spite of a genuine desire to spread her knowledge of conversion, would almost certainly have remained an interesting and powerful figure in a group of earnest sectarian Christians, but for the en franchisement and the impulse towards humanity brought into her sheltered life by this rough-wrought son of sorrow and distress. In a certain measure William Booth came into the life of Catherine Mumford as Robert Browning came into the life of Elizabeth Barrett. In each case there was a resurrection of the woman, and a beauty added to the man.
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