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- Catherine Booth - 1/16 -
CATHERINE BOOTH A SKETCH
_Reprinted from The Warriors' Library_
BY COLONEL MILDRED DUFF
WITH A PREFACE BY GENERAL BRAMWELL BOOTH
Colonel Duff has, at my request, written the following very interesting and touching account of my dear Mother; and she has done so in the hope that those who read it will be helped to follow in the footsteps of that wonderful servant of God.
But how can they do so? Was not Mrs. Booth, you ask, an exceptional woman? Had she not great gifts and very remarkable powers, and was she not trained in a very special way to do the work to which God called her? How, then, can ordinary people follow in her steps? Let me tell you.
Mrs. Booth walked with God. When she was only a timid girl, helping her mother in the household, she continually sought after Him; and when, in later years, she became known by multitudes, and was written of in the newspapers, and greatly beloved by the good in many lands, there was no difference in her life in that matter. She was not content with being Mrs. General Booth of The Salvation Army, and with being looked upon as a great and good woman, giving her life to bless others. No! she listened daily for God's voice in her own heart, sought after His will, and leaned continually for strength and grace upon her Saviour. You can be like her in that.
Mrs. Booth was a soul-winner. A little while before her spirit passed into the presence of God, and when she knew that death was quite near to her, she said: 'Tell the Soldiers that the great consolation for a Salvationist on his dying bed is to feel that he has been a soul-winner.' Wherever she went--in the houses of strangers as well as of friends, in the Meetings, great and small, when she was welcomed and when she was not, whether alone or with others--she laboured to lead souls to Christ. I have known her at one time spend as much trouble to win one as at another time to win fifty. You can follow her example in that.
Mrs. Booth always declared herself and took sides with right. Whatever was happening around her, people always knew which side she was on. She spoke out for the right, the good, and the true, even when doing so involved very disagreeable experiences and the bearing of much unkindness. She hated the spirit which can look on at what is wicked and false or cruel, and say, 'Oh, that is not my affair!' You can follow her example in this also.
Mrs. Booth laboured all her life to improve her gifts. She thought; she prayed; she worked; she read--above all, she read her Bible. It was her companion as a child, as a young follower of Christ, and then as a Leader in The Army. Those miserable words which some of us hear so often about some bad or unfinished work--'Oh, that will do'--were seldom heard from her lips. She was always striving, striving, striving to do better, and yet better, and again better still. All this also you can do.
Mrs. Booth was full of sympathy. No one who was in need or in sorrow, or who was suffering, could meet her without finding out that, she was in sympathy with them. Her heart was tender with the love of Christ, and so she was deeply touched by the sin and sorrow around her just as He was. Even the miseries of the dumb animals moved her to efforts on their behalf. This sympathy made Mrs. Booth quick to see and appreciate the toil and self-denial of others, and ever grateful for any kindness shown to her or to The Army or to those in need of any kind. The very humblest and youngest of those who read this little book can be like her in all this.
Mrs. Booth endured to the end. She never turned back. She was faithful. Her life and work would have been spoilt if she had given up the fight. She was often sorely tempted. She was slandered and misrepresented by enemies, betrayed by false friends, and often deeply wounded by those who professed to love her, though they deserted the Flag. But she held fast. You can be like her in that. You may make many mistakes, suffer many defeats, but you can still keep going on, and it is to those who go on to the very end, whether in weakness or in strength, that Jesus will give the crown of life.
Mrs. Booth trusted with all her heart in the love and sacrifice of her Saviour. These were her hope and her strength. When at the height of her influence and popularity she delighted in that wonderful song which we still so often sing:--
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me, And purchased my pardon when nailed to the tree;
and when, amid much suffering, she lay dying, we often sang together with her:--
Victory for me! Through the Blood of Christ my Saviour; Victory for me! Through the precious Blood.
This was her victory. You can follow her in the faith that won it. Will you?
I. CHILDHOOD II. CONVERSION AND SOUL STRUGGLES III. A THREE-YEARS ENGAGEMENT IV. A LIFE OF SACRIFICE V. THE SPEAKER VI. THE MOTHER VII. THE WORKER VIII. GOODNESS IX. LOVE X. THE WARRIOR XI. LAST DAYS XII. DATES IN MRS. BOOTH'S LIFE
CATHERINE BOOTH: A SKETCH
'Parents who love God best will not allow their children to learn anything which could not be pressed into His service.'--MRS. BOOTH.
The Mother of The Salvation Army was born at Ashbourne, in Derbyshire, on January 17, 1829, and God gave to her the very best gift He can give to any child--a good and holy mother.
Katie Mumford, as she was then called, had no sister to play with, and of her four brothers only one lived to be a man. But her dear mother more than made up for every lack, and from her lips the little girl learned those blessed lessons which, in her turn, she has taught to us.
One lesson which Mrs. Mumford early taught her daughter was that our bodies will not live for ever. She took Katie to see the body of her infant brother who had just died; and, though she was not more than two years old at the time, Katie never forgot that first lesson. Spiritual things were even then real to her, just because they were so real to her mother. Heaven was home to her, and Jesus her best Friend, ever near to help and guide her.
Truthfulness was a second of those early lessons which remained with our Army Mother all her life. She was but four years old when Mrs. Mumford found her one evening sobbing bitterly in her little cot long after she should have been asleep. She had told a falsehood, and conscience would not let her rest. When she had sobbed out her confession, her mother talked and prayed with her, and at last left her, happy in the assurance that she was forgiven by her Heavenly Father.
After this you will not be surprised to hear that another lesson early taught to Katie by her mother was to love her Bible. She could read nicely when she was but five years old, and she loved to stand by her mother's side, and read the Bible stories aloud, with just a little help over the very long words. And this love for God's Word grew deeper every year, so that by the time she was twelve years old she had read it through eight times. In later years people often wondered how it was that Mrs. Booth knew her Bible so well, and could so quickly answer their difficulties and objections in Bible words. Much of the secret lay in this early training, and in the hours she spent in Bible study later on, when she had reached the age of some of our younger Corps Cadets.
I wish we could have seen her in those days. She had very dark hair, which curled naturally; black, flashing eyes, and such a warm heart, and strong, impetuous nature that she could do nothing by halves. Whatever it was, work or play, her whole soul had to be in it.
Since she was not at all strong, and had few girl friends, Katie did not play rough or noisy games, but her love for her dolls made her quite a little mother to them. She treated them almost like real children, and would sew and toil, and never rest till she felt she had in every way done her duty to them. She loved animals, too, especially dogs and horses, and could not bear to see any one ill-treat them. Oh, how she suffered one day, watching some poor sheep driven down the road! She
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