Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original hardcover edition for enjoyable reading. (Worth every penny spent!)
an excerpt from the book:
DURING one of my recent journeys I was led out into a train of thought respecting the conditions of the multitudes around me living regardless of all that concerned their eternal welfare, and in the most open and shameless rebellion against God. I looked out upon the millions of people around me given up to their drink and their pleasure, and their dancing and their music, and their business and their anxieties, and their politics and their troubles, and thousands of other things; ignorant—wilfully ignorant, in many cases: in other instances knowing all about it; but all of them sweeping on and up, in their blasphemies and devilries, to the Throne ' of God; and while thus musing I had a vision.
I saw a dark and stormy ocean. Over it the black clouds hung heavily; through them every now and then vivid lightnings flashed, and loud thunders rolled, while the winds moaned, and the waves rose and foamed, and fretted and broke, and rose to foam and fret and break again.
In that ocean I thought I saw myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating, and shouting and shrieking, and cursing and struggling, and drowning; and as they cursed and shrieked, they rose and shrieked again, and then sank to rise no more.
And out of this dark angry ocean I saw a mighty rock that rose up with its summit towering high above the black clouds that overhung the stormy sea; and all round the base of this rock I saw a vast platform; and on to this platform I saw with delight a number of the poor, struggling, drowning wretches continually climbing out of the angry ocean; and I saw that a number of those who were already safe on the platform were helping the poor creatures still in the angry waters to reach the same place of safety.
On looking more closely I found a number of those who had been rescued scheming and contriving by ladders and ropes and boats and other expedients more effectually to deliver the poor strugglers out of this sea. Here and there were some who actually jumped into the water, regardless of all consequences, in their eagerness to "rescue the perishing;" and I hardly know which gladdened me most —the sight of the poor people climbing on to the rocks, and so reaching the place of safety, or the devotion and self-sacrifice of those whose whole being was wrapped up in efforts for their deliverance.
And as I looked I saw that the occupants of that platform were quite a mixed company. That is, they were divided into different "sets" or castes, and occupied themselves with different pleasures and employments; but only a very few of them seemed to make it their business to get the people out of the sea.
But what puzzled me most was the fact that though all had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly everyone seemed to have forgotten all about it. Anyway, the memory of its darkness and danger no longer troubled them. Then what was equally strange and perplexing to me was that these people did not seem to have any care—that is, any agonising care—about the poor perishing ones who were struggling and drowning before their eyes, many of whom were their own husbands and wives, and mothers and sisters, and children.
William Booth (10 April 1829 – 20 August 1912) was a British Methodist preacher who founded the Salvation Army and became its first General (1878–1912). The Christian movement, with a quasi-military structure and government - but with no physical weaponry - founded in 1865, has spread from London, England, to many parts of the world and is known for being one of the largest distributors of humanitarian aid. William was born in Sneinton, Nottingham, England, the only son of four surviving children born to Samuel Booth and Mary Moss. His father was wealthy by the standards of the time, but during Booth's childhood, as a result of his father's bad investments, the family descended into poverty and William's father became an alcoholic.