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Boundless Salvation

The Shorter Writings of William Booth

Edited By Andrew M Eason and Roger J. Green

William Booth (1829–1912) is remembered for the major role he played in founding the Salvation Army, an evangelical organization now operating in more than 120 countries. Few people, however, are aware of the fact that Booth was also a prolific author. During his long lifetime he wrote countless articles and speeches on a variety of topics, ranging from Christian doctrine to female ministry and missionary work. The most important of these shorter writings are presented in one volume for the first time here, along with perceptive commentary by two leading scholars of the Salvation Army. Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth convincingly demonstrates that Booth’s enormous accomplishments arose from deeply held religious convictions. It argues persuasively that his life and ministry must be understood in relation to the Methodist theology and transatlantic revivalism that inspired and guided him. By showcasing and analyzing these religious contexts, this edited collection sheds considerable light on a towering figure of the Victorian period. In the process, it offers valuable insight into the origins and development of the Salvation Army, one of the most remarkable organizations to arise during the nineteenth century. Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth will appeal to a broad readership, especially to those with an interest in religion and history.
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Chapter 1. Origins and Early Days


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Origins and Early Days

The Salvation Army’s origins lie in the East End of London, where William Booth—a former Methodist minister—began to preach in the summer of 1865. Booth’s return to the English capital was thanks to his wife Catherine, a gifted itinerant evangelist, who, months earlier, had accepted a preaching invitation at a Methodist chapel in Rotherhithe, a southeast suburb of London. After a series of successful meetings there, Catherine went on to accept several other engagements in the London area during the first half of 1865. These opportunities ultimately proved to be providential for William, because Catherine’s preaching attracted the attention of Richard Cope Morgan and Samuel Chase, the publishers of The Revival, a weekly periodical devoted to documenting and promoting the cause of mid-Victorian revivalism. Even more importantly, Morgan and Chase were members of the East London Special Services Committee, an independent evangelical body devoted to missionary work in the inner-city. Not long after coming into contact with Catherine, they enlisted William for a short preaching campaign in a tent pitched on a Quaker burial site in Whitechapel.1

This would be a demanding assignment, given the East End’s well-publicized socio-economic problems. In the words of one historian, this part of London “had the worst slums, the worst overcrowding, the worst death rates.”2 Although the area was not uniformly poor, the majority of its residents found life to be a daily struggle....

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