'A VISION of the LOST', by WILLIAM BOOTH
William Booth was born on 10 April 1829 in Nottingham, England, and
died in the same town on 20 August 1912. He founded the Salvation Army
on 2 July 1865. By most people's accounts, The Salvation Army has
evolved and changed since then and now
in modern times. Below is the vision that inspired its founder:
On one of my recent journeys, as I gazed from the coach window, I was
led into a train of thought concerning the condition of the multitudes
around me. They were living carelessly in the most open and shameless rebellion
against God, without a thought for their eternal welfare. As I looked out
of the window, I seemed to see them all . . . millions of people all around
me given up to their drink and their pleasure, their dancing and their
music, their business and their anxieties, their politics and their troubles.
Ignorant - willfully ignorant in many cases - and in other instances knowing
all about the truth and not caring at all. But all of them, the whole mass
of them, sweeping on and up in their blasphemies and devilries to the Throne
of God. While my mind was thus engaged, 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 lightening flashed and loud thunder
rolled, while the winds moaned, and the waves rose and foamed, towered
and broke, only to rise and foam, tower and break again. In that ocean
I thought I saw myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating, shouting
and shrieking, cursing and struggling and drowning; and as they cursed
and screamed they rose and shrieked again, and then some sank to rise no
more. And I saw out of this dark angry ocean, a mighty rock that rose up
with it's summit towering high above the black clouds that overhung the
stormy sea. And all around the base of this great rock I saw a vast platform.
Onto 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 few of those who were already safe on the platform were helping
the poor creatures still in the angry waters to reach the place of safety.
On looking more closely I found a number of those who had been rescued,
industriously working and scheming by ladders, ropes, boats and other means
more effective, to deliver the poor strugglers out of the sea. Here and
there were some who actually jumped into the water, regardless of the consequences
in their passion to "rescue the perishing." And I hardly know which gladdened
me the most - the sight of the poor drowning people climbing onto the rocks
reaching a place of safety, or the devotion and self-sacrifice of those
whose whole being was wrapped up in the effort for their deliverance.
As I looked on, I saw that the occupants of that platform were quite
a mixed company. That is, they were divided into different "sets" or classes,
and they 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 of them had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly
everyone seemed to have forgotten all about it. Anyway, it seemed the memory
of its darkness and danger no longer troubled them at all. And what seemed
equally strange and perplexing to me was that these people did not even
seem to have any care - that is any agonizing care - about the poor perishing
ones who were struggling and drowning right before their very eyes . .
. many of whom were their own husbands and wives, brothers and sisters
and even their own children.
Now this astonishing unconcern could not have been the result of ignorance
or lack of knowledge, because they lived right there in full sight of it
all and even talked about it sometimes. Many even went regularly to hear
lectures and sermons in which the awful state of these poor drowning creatures
was described. I have always said that the occupants of this platform were
engaged in different pursuits and pastimes. Some of them were absorbed
day and night in trading and business in order to make gain, storing up
their savings in boxes, safes and the like. Many spent their time in amusing
themselves with growing flowers on the side of the rock, others in painting
pieces of cloth or in playing music, or in dressing themselves up in different
styles and walking about to be admired. Some occupied themselves chiefly
in eating and drinking, others were taken up with arguing about the poor
drowning creatures that had already been rescued.
But the thing to me that seemed the most amazing was that those on the
platform to whom He called, who heard His voice and felt that they ought
to obey it - at least they said they did - those who confessed to love
Him much were in full sympathy with Him in the task He had undertaken -
who worshipped Him or who professed to do so - were so taken up with their
trades and professions, their money saving and pleasures, their families
and circles, their religions and arguments about it, and their preparation
for going to the mainland, that they did not listen to the cry that came
to them from this Wonderful Being who had Himself gone down into the sea.
Anyway, if they heard it they did not heed it. They did not care. And so
the multitude went on right before them struggling and shrieking and drowning
in the darkness.
And then I saw something that seemed to me even more strange than anything
that had gone on before in this strange vision. I saw that some of these
people on the platform whom this Wonderful Being had called to, wanting
them to come and help Him in His difficult task of saving these perishing
creatures, were always praying and crying out to Him to come to them! Some
wanted Him to come and stay with them, and spend His time and strength
in making them happier. Others wanted Him to come and take away various
doubts and misgivings they had concerning the truth of some letters He
had written them. Some wanted Him to come and make them feel more secure
on the rock - so secure that they would be quite sure that they should
never slip off again into the ocean. Numbers of others wanted Him to make
them feel quite certain that they would really get off the rock and onto
the mainland someday: because as a matter of fact, it was well known that
some had walked so carelessly as to loose their footing, and had fallen
back again into the stormy waters.
So these people used to meet and get up as high on the rock as they
could, and looking towards the mainland (where they thought the Great Being
was) they would cry out, "Come to us! Come and help us!" And all the while
He was down (by His Spirit) among the poor struggling, drowning creatures
in the angry deep, with His arms around them trying to drag them out, and
looking up - oh! so longingly but all in vain - to those on the rock, crying
to them with His voice all hoarse from calling, "Come to Me! Come, and
help Me! And then I understood it all. It was plain enough. The sea was
the ocean of life - the sea of real, actual human existence. That lightening
was the gleaming of piercing truth coming from Jehovah's Throne. That thunder
was the distant echoing of the wrath of God. Those multitudes of people
shrieking, struggling and agonizing in the stormy sea, was the thousands
and thousands of poor harlots and harlot-makers, of drunkards and drunkard
makers, of thieves, liars, blasphemers and ungodly people of every kindred,
tongue and nation.
Oh what a black sea it was! And oh, what multitudes of rich and poor,
ignorant and educated were there. They were all so unalike in their outward
circumstances and conditions, yet all alike in one thing - all sinners
before God - all held by, and holding onto, some iniquity, fascinated by
some idol, the slaves of some devilish lust, and ruled by the foul fiend
from the bottomless pit! "All alike in one thing?" No, all alike in two
things - not only the same in their wickedness but, unless rescued, the
same in their sinking, sinking .......... . . down, down, down . . . to
the same terrible doom. That great sheltering rock represented Calvary,
the place where Jesus had died for them. And the people on it were those
who had been rescued. The way they used their energies, gifts and time
represented the occupations and amusements of those who professed to be
saved from sin and hell - followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The handful of fierce, determined ones, who were risking their own lives
in saving the perishing were true soldiers of the cross of Jesus. That
Mighty Being who was calling to them from the midst of the angry waters
was the Son of God, "the same yesterday, today and forever" who is still
struggling and interceding to save the dying multitudes about us from this
terrible doom of damnation, and whose voice can be heard above the music,
machinery, and noise of life, calling on the rescued to come and help Him
save the world. My friends in Christ, you are rescued from the waters,
you are on the rock, He is in the dark sea calling on you to come to Him
and help Him. Will you go? Look for yourselves. The surging sea of life,
crowded with perishing multitudes rolls up to the very spot on which you
Leaving the vision, I now come to speak of the fact - a fact that is
as real as the Bible, as real as the Christ who hung upon the cross, as
real as the judgment day will be, and as real as the heaven and hell that
will follow it. Look! Don't be deceived by appearances - men and things
are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea! Look
at them from the standpoint of the great White Throne, and what a sight
you have! Jesus Christ, the Son of God is, through His Spirit, in the midst
of this dying multitude, struggling to save them. And He is calling on
you to jump into the sea - to go right away to His side and help Him in
the holy strife. Will you jump? That is, will you go to His feet and place
yourself absolutely at His disposal?
A young Christian once came to me, and told me that for some time she
had been giving the Lord her profession and prayers and money, but now
she wanted to give Him her life. She wanted to go right into the fight.
In other words, she wanted to go to His assistance in the sea. As when
a man from the shore, seeing another struggling in the water, takes off
outer garments that would hinder his efforts and leaps to the rescue, so
will you who still linger on the bank, thinking and singing and praying
about the poor perishing souls, lay aside your shame, your pride, your
cares about other people's opinions, your love of ease and all the selfish
loves that have kept you back for so long, and rush to the rescue of this
multitude of dying men and women. Does the surging sea look dark and dangerous?
Unquestionably it is so. There is no doubt that the leap for you, as for
everyone who takes it, means difficulty and scorn and suffering. For you
it may mean more than this. It may mean death. He who beckons you from
the sea however, knows what it will mean - and knowing, He still calls
to you and bids to you to come. You must do it! You cannot hold back. You
have enjoyed yourself in Christianity long enough. You have had pleasant
feelings, pleasant songs, pleasant meetings, pleasant prospects. There
has been much of human happiness, much clapping of hands and shouting of
praises - very much of heaven on earth.
Now then, go to God and tell Him you are prepared as much as necessary
to turn your back upon it all, and that you are willing to spend the rest
of your days struggling in the midst of these perishing multitudes, whatever
it may cost you. You must do it. With the light that is now broken in upon
your mind and the call that is now sounding in your ears, and the beckoning
hands that are now before your eyes, you have no alternative. To go down
among the perishing crowds is your duty. Your happiness from now on will
consist in sharing their misery, your ease in sharing their pain, your
crown in helping them to bear their cross, and your heaven in going into
the very jaws of hell to rescue them.
Now what will you do? Amen.
Below was sent to a 'PROPHETIC/REVIVAL' Discussion List at about 1997.
It is a more modern example of a prophetic view of what is out on the 'streets':
PRISONS HOLD GOD'S TREASURES
by Bill Yount
It was late and I was tired, wanting to go to sleep, but God wanted
to talk; It was about midnight, but it dawned on me that God
does not sleep. His question made me restless. "Bill, where on
earth does man keep his most priceless treasures and valuables?"
said, "Lord, usually these treasures like gold, silver, diamonds and
precious jewels are kept locked up somewhere out of sight with
usually guards and security to keep them under lock and key." God spoke.
Like man, My most valuable treasures on earth are also locked up." I then
saw Jesus standing in front of seemingly thousands of prisons and jails.
The Lord said, "These have almost
been destroyed by the enemy, but these ones have the greatest potential
to be used and to bring forth glory to my name. Tell MY
people, I am going this hour to the prisons to activate the gifts and
callings that lie dormant in these lives that were given before the foundation
of the earth. Out from these walls will come forth an Army of spiritual
giants who will have power to literally kick
down the gates of Hell and overcome satanic powers that are holding
many of My own people bound in My own house.
Tell my people that great treasure is behind these walls in these forgotten
vessels. My people must come forth and touch these
ones, for a mighty anointing will be unleashed upon these for future
victory in My kingdom. THEY MUST BE RESTORED." I
then saw the Lord step up to the prison doors with a key. One
key fit every lock and the gates began to open. I then heard and saw great explosions which sounded like dynamite going off behind the
walls It sounded like all-out spiritual warfare. Jesus
turned and said, "Tell My people to go in now and pick up the spoil
and rescue these." Jesus then began walking in and touching
inmates who were thronging Him. Many being touched instantly
began to have a golden glow come over them. God spoke to me,
"THERE'S THE GOLD!" Others had a silver glow around them.
God said, "THERE'S THE SILVER!"
Like slow motion they began to grow into what appeared to be giant knights
in armor-like warriours. They had on the entire armor of God and
every piece was solid and pure gold! Even golden shields! When I saw the
golden shields, I heard God say to these warriors: "Now go and take
what Satan has taught you and use it against him. Go and pull down the
strongholds coming against MY church." The spiritual giants then
started stepping over the prison walls with no one to resist them, and
they went immediately to the very front line of the battle with the enemy.
I saw them walk right past the church and big-name ministers known for
their power with God were surpassed by the giant warriors like David going
after Goliath! They crossed the enemy's line and started delivering many
of God's people from the clutches of Satan while demons trembled and fled
out of sight at their presence.
No one, not even the church, seemed to know who these spiritual giants
were or where they came from. All you could see was
the armor, the golden armor of God, from head to foot, and the shields
of gold were there. The shields were restored to God's
House and there was great victory and rejoicing. I also saw silver,
precious treasures, and vessels being brought in. Beneath the
gold and silver were the people that nobody knew: REJECTS OF
SOCIETY, STREET PEOPLE, THE OUTCASTS, THE POOR
and the DESPISED. These were the treasures that were missing
from His House.
In closing the Lord said, "If my people want to know where they are
needed, tell them they are needed in the STREETS, the
HOSPITALS, the MISSIONS, and PRISONS. When they come there they
will find Me and the next move of my Spirit and they
will be judged by My Word in Matthew 25:42. "For I was hungry
and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty and you gave me no
drink: I was a stranger and you took me not in: naked and you clothes
me not: Sick and in prison and you visited me not."
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