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
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
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
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
II. CONVERSION AND SOUL STRUGGLES
III. A THREE-YEARS ENGAGEMENT
IV. A LIFE OF SACRIFICE
V. THE SPEAKER
VI. THE MOTHER
VII. THE WORKER
X. THE WARRIOR
XI. LAST DAYS
XII. DATES IN MRS. BOOTH'S LIFE
'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
watched the man beat them--she could not stop him; and at last she tore
home and flung herself down almost choking and speechless with
indignation and distress.
Her mother did not check Katie for feeling so keenly. She encouraged her;
for she knew that a hard indifferent child who can see suffering and
not care or be distressed over it would make a hard woman; and she
wanted her Katie to be full of love and tenderness for all and
especially for those needing help.
When Catherine was twelve years old she became very interested in the
drink question. She wrote letters about it and sent them to different
newspapers for there was no 'War Cry' nor 'Young Soldier' in those days;
and she also became the secretary of what was then called a Juvenile
Temperance Society and did all she could to get boys and girls to
promise never to touch the drink.
Katie was also like many of you much interested in the heathen. She
would go round to all her friends collecting money to pay for preachers
to be sent to them; and in order to get more money she would deny herself
sugar and other small luxuries. No one told Katie to do this; but you see
our Army Mother herself taught us by her example when only a child to
keep our great Self-Denial Week.
Of course most of Katie's time was taken up with her lessons and as
she loved to learn and study they were no hardship to her. For two years
she went to a boarding-school and here her companions soon found out how
straight and truthful she was. 'You'll never get _her_ to tell a
lie' the girls said 'nor even to exaggerate so it's no use trying.'
Every one knew also that Katie felt for the backward girls and those who
were slow and dull. She wanted them to succeed and would help them
between school hours. That was her joy you see--to help and care for
others; whether at school or at home she was the same.
But you must not think that Catherine was perfect. Oh no indeed!
Sometimes her schoolmates would tease her because she was so quiet and
liked to read better than to play; and at such times instead of being
patient she would flare up into a passion and say harsh angry words.
When the storm was over she would be however Oh! so sorry and would
beg her schoolfellows to forgive her.
When Katie had been at school two years God sent her a very great trial.
Instead of being able to go on learning and keeping up with the other
girls she had to return home and for three long years to lie nearly all
the time on her back often suffering very much. She had a serious spinal
complaint and her friends sometimes doubted whether she would ever walk
You wonder what she did in those three years? I will tell you. When the
pain would permit it she would knit and sew. She could not of course
hold heavy needlework; but little things like babies' socks and hoods
pin-cushions and so forth she would make most beautifully and then
they would be sold to help on the work of God.
Besides her sewing Katie read a great deal. First as I have already
told you she read her Bible and learnt to know God's thoughts about the
world and sin and His wishes for His people. For seven months at one
time Catherine had to lie on her face on a special sort of couch made on
purpose for her; but she invented a contrivance by which even then she
could read her Bible though still remaining in the position that the
doctors wished. Then too she would read good books--explanations of the
Bible about Holiness soul-saving lives of those who have lived and
worked for God and so on. When she had read a chapter she would shut the
book and write down as much as she could remember of it. This helped her
to think clearly and to remember what she read and also to put her
thoughts into words.
But she never wasted her time reading stories and novels. Later on in her
life she said she was so thankful for this for she thought that novels
and silly story books made people discontented with their own homes and
duties and put wrong hurtful ideas into their minds. Let us recollect
and follow our Army Mother's example here and not waste time on stories
which are not true.
We if we had known Katie Mumford in those three years of pain and
weariness should have pitied her very much. We might have been tempted
to feel that God was hard in not letting her be strong like other girls;
but we now see that all the time He was fitting her for the wonderful
future before her; and when she became Mrs. Booth the great preacher
she herself understood this.
'Being so much alone in my youth' she said 'and so thrown on my own
thoughts and on those expressed in books has been very helpful to me.
Had I been given to gossip and had there been people for me to gossip
with I should certainly never have accomplished what I did.'
So you see God was all the time giving her the very best training He
could and teaching her as she lay there alone on her bed what she
never could have learned in the ordinary way. And He will train you too
in the very best way for your future if you will but determine to trust
and serve Him as did Catherine Mumford.
CONVERSION AND SOUL STRUGGLES
'No soul was ever yet saved who was too idle to seek.'--MRS. BOOTH.
Perhaps you the Corps Cadet for whom I am especially writing this
little book have been tempted to break your vows by becoming engaged to
some one who does not want to be an Officer. And you think perhaps that
no one understands your feelings.
You will be surprised then to know that our Army Mother had just such a
battle to fight when she was a girl.
She had a cousin a little older than herself who was tall and very
clever. He came with his parents to stay in her home and Katie had not
seen him since they were young children. He quickly grew very fond of his
cousin and Catherine found how nice it was to have some one to give her
presents and to love her as he did. At last he begged her to promise that
by and by she would be engaged to him. Now Katie was very perplexed. On
the one hand she loved her cousin and did not want to grieve him and
yet in her heart she knew he was not truly given up to God and would not
help her in her soul.
'Go to the Meeting with you Katie?' he used to say. 'Of course I'll go
anywhere to please you.' But then while she was trying to get a
blessing he would be scratching little pictures on the back of the seat
to make her laugh. Perhaps you can guess the struggle it was for Katie to
decide what her answer should be. 'If you will only say "yes" and be
engaged to him I am sure you will be able to help him and very likely
get him properly saved' the Devil would whisper. 'Break it off now
Katie; do not go another step; you know God cannot smile on it.' That was
how her conscience spoke.
At last one day as she was truly praying and seeking for light she read
the verse in 2 Corinthians vi. 14: 'Be ye not unequally yoked together
with unbelievers.' It came to her as the voice of God.
'I will do it Lord' she said after a long struggle; and she sat down
and wrote her cousin a letter telling him just why she could never be
engaged to him and breaking it all off for ever. Then she turned back to
her home duties and did not re-open the question.
And did our Army Mother in after years regret that she had acted like
this? No indeed; she has told us that she saw plainly later on that if
just then she had chosen to follow her own feelings and wishes instead
of obeying God's command all her life would have been altered and she
would never have done the glorious work He had planned for her. It was a
hard battle at the time and cost her many tears; but it was worth it
ten thousand times over as we can all see to-day.
Very soon after this victory Catherine became really converted.
'What!' you say. 'Was she not converted before this?'
No. All her life she had like many children trained to-day in
Salvationist homes felt God's Holy Spirit striving with her. Sometimes
when quite a little girl her mother would find her crying because she
felt how she had sinned against God.
But when she was about fifteen she longed to know that she was really
'Don't be silly' said the Devil in her heart. 'You have been as good as
saved all your life. You have always wanted to do right. How can you
expect such a sudden change as if you were a great big drunkard? It's
'But my _heart_ is as bad as the heart of a big sinner' cried poor
Katie in an agony of fear. 'I have been as bad inside if not in my
outward actions and words.'
And then she took hold of God in faith. 'Lord I must be converted. I
cannot rest till Thou hast changed my whole nature; do for me what Thou
dost do for the thieves and drunkards.'
But for six weeks it seemed as if God did not hear her cry. She grew more
and more unhappy. All her past sins rose before her: those bursts of
temper when she was at school those wrong thoughts and feelings. Yes
the Bible was true when it said: 'The heart is deceitful above all things
and desperately wicked.'
Katie argued too like this: 'I cannot recollect any time or place where
I claimed Salvation and the forgiveness of my sins; if God _has_
saved me He would surely have made me certain of it. Anyway I must and
will know it. I must have the assurance that I am God's child.'
Unable to rest she would pace her room till two o'clock in the morning
and would lie down at last with her Bible and hymn-book under her
pillow praying that God would Himself tell her that her sins were
forgiven. At last one morning as she woke she opened her hymn-book
and read these words:--
My God I am Thine
What a comfort divine
What a blessing to know that my Jesus is mine.
Now she had read and sung these lines scores of times before but they
came this morning with a new power to her soul.
'I am Thine!' 'My Jesus is mine!' she exclaimed. 'Lord it is true!--I do
believe it! My sins are forgiven. I belong to Thee!' and her whole soul
was filled with light and joy. She now possessed what she had been
seeking all these weeks--the assurance of Salvation! And then what do you
think she did? She threw on a wrapper and without waiting to dress
hurried across to her mother's room and tapped at the door.
'Come in' said her mother's voice; and Katie her face shining with joy
burst into the room. 'Mamma mamma I am a child of God! My sins are
forgiven--Jesus is my Saviour!' she cried flinging herself into her
mother's arms. And this was the same Katie who had been so shy and
backward that she had never before dared to speak about her spiritual
anxieties even to her mother! Ah! what a change real conversion or
change of heart had made.
For the next six months Katie was so happy that she felt as if she were
walking on air. 'I used to tremble' she tells us 'and even long to die
lest I should back-slide or lose the sense of God's favour.'
But as time went on she learned as we all have to do to walk by faith
not by sight and to serve and follow the Saviour whether she had happy
feelings or not.
But you must not suppose because Katie had the assurance of Salvation
that therefore she had no more fighting. No--indeed her fighting days
had only just begun.
One of her great difficulties which many Corps Cadets will understand
was that she felt so nervous about doing anything in public. No one of
course asked her to speak--such a thing was never dreamed of; but the
lady who took the Bible Class which she attended regularly would now and
then ask her to pray. 'Miss Mumford will pray' the lady would say when
they were all kneeling together.
But Katie was too shy to begin and sometimes they would wait for several
minutes before she had courage to say a few words. 'Don't ask me to pray
again' she said one day to her leader; 'the excitement and agitation
make me quite ill.'
'I can't help that' was the very wise answer; 'you must break through
your timidity; for otherwise you will be of no use to God.'
And did Katie persevere? Yes indeed she did. Here is an entry made some
time later in the diary that she kept which shows you how very much her
experience was like yours:--
'I have not been blessed so much for weeks as I was to-night. I prayed
aloud. The cross was great but so was the reward.
My heart beat violently but I felt some liberty.'
Though Catherine's spine difficulty was better she was still very
delicate and at the age of eighteen every one felt sure she was going
into a decline. But sick or well her soul grew stronger and her desire