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    members of the Salvation Army singing on the street

    Sing for the World to Hear

    The founder of Salvation Army invites Christians to sing “simple old truths in the simple old hearty way that God has already blessed so widely.”

    By William Booth

    September 25, 2022
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    • Sidney R Sparks

      Yes! God bless the soul of this truly MAN OF GOD!! His legacy endures via the good works of the Salvation Army. I support with both commendation and CHECKBOOK! AMEN!

    • Christopher Evans

      Totally agree with William Booth, songs and Hymns of praise should be simple easy for people to understand what they are singing, so the praises can go on in home, work,school, where ever WE are. To many songs in this modern World are hiding other text which are not Gospel truths.

    The following is William Booth’s preface to Salvation Army Songs (1899).


    Surely no man has ever been called upon to make, or direct the making of, so many songbooks as I have. It is no little consolation at seventy to know that millions of people in every part of the world are singing God’s praises together as a result of the efforts He has helped me to put forth or to direct for their good.

    Yet it has seemed good to me at this time to attempt something like a thorough selection of those songs which we have found most useful in all lands, so that my people may have a larger storehouse of songs that may be used for all occasions, and that they may the more easily see what I would have them leave behind, and what preserve, translate, and use.

    I thank God for the gifts of all His servants, ancient and modern, whose compositions I have been able to adopt, but it is not intended in any degree to limit the flow of new songs, for wherever these songs are sung they will cause the production of others, and many here may yet be left behind should the number of our best song-makers be multiplied. I also wish to prevent the lowering of our standard, the taste of our people, and the character of our service by the use of songs that may have some worldly popularity just because they are not so definite or so hot as these.

    members of the Salvation Army singing on the street

    Photograph by Simon Ingram

    Let others, if they please, heap together pretty poetry and sing it to what is called “refined music.” Let us persevere in our singing of the simple old truths in the simple old hearty way that God has already blessed so widely to the salvation of souls and the making and training of red-hot soldiers.

    But, above all, let me urge all who possess this book to make the utmost use of it in three ways:

    1. Take in the meaning of every song. How thoughtlessly many sing familiar words. Yet here is a great treasury of truth if you will but search into its riches. Be determined that by God’s grace you will never sing what you do not really mean and that you will be fitted to sing all you find here.

    2. Sing and read and teach these songs to your children, morning and evening, at birthday celebrations and other family functions, as well as to the sick and to all whom you can influence. What a debt many of us owe to the songs we learnt in childhood! What clear-thinking, plain-speaking, God-knowing Salvationists will those be who have properly learned what these songs contain. Banish from your homes and children hymns and songs that are not straight and plain.

    3. Sing so as to make the world hear. There cannot be a greater farce than for people to sing these songs at home and in our barracks amongst admiring listeners, unless they sing them also to the world. The highest value of our singing after all has not been the mere gladness we have felt because of our own salvation, but the joy of pouring out the praises of our God to those who have not known Him, or of arousing them by our singing to new thoughts and a new life.

    And sing till your whole soul is lifted up to God, and then sing till you lift the eyes of those who know not God to Him who is the fountain of all our joy.

    Contributed By William Booth

    Methodist preacher William Booth (1829–1912) founded The Salvation Army alongside his wife Catherine Booth and strove throughout his life to love and welcome the poor and suffering, especially in London.

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