Brighton - Catherine Booth (1868)



'The first sight of it appalled me. It was indeed a dome! As I looked upwards there appeared space enough to swallow any amount of sound that my poor voice can put into it. To make any considerable number of people hear me seemed impossible. On this point, however, I was greatly encouraged to learn at the conclusion of the first meeting that I have been distinctly heard in every portion of it by the 2000 people present.

I can never forget my feelings as I stood on the platform and looked upon the people, realising that among them all there was no one to help me. When I commenced the prayer meeting, for which I should think quite 900 must’ve remained, Satan said to me, as I came down from the platform according to my usual custom, “you will never ask such people as these to come out to kneel down here. You’ll only make a fool of yourself if you do!“ I felt stunned for the moment, but I answered, “yes, I shall. I shall not make it any easier for them than for others. If they do not sufficiently realise their sins to be willing to come and kneel here and confess them, they are not likely to be of much use to the kingdom of God.“ Subsequent experience has confirmed this opinion.

However, the Lord was better to me than my fears, for 10 or 12 came forward, some of them handsomely dressed and evidently belonging to the most fashionable circles. The way was led by two old gentlemen of 70 or more years of age. One of them said he had sinned for many years against light and privilege, asking the Lord to save him, with all the simplicity of a little child. Others followed until there was a goodly row of kneeling penitents. This was a great triumph in the midst of so many curious onlookers.“

From, 'Catherine Booth, mother of the Salvation Army, Volume I, by Booth-Tucker, pages 346-7.