JAC Online

by Colonel Edward H. Joy

This is a selection from the unpublished manuscript,
'Our Fathers Have Told Us',
some early-day stories from The Salvation Army

The Special was tired after his exertions during his Sunday with the Soldiery of the little Norfolk village, - a Corps whose activities extended over many miles and entailed much hard work, but he had shared gladly the toil with the few humble folk, who, Sunday by Sunday, thought ‘it joy to do the Master’s will’.   There were compensations, however, for his billet was more than comfortable.  He was staying with the leading man of the district, whose kindness, and that of his wife, had been most marked.

“We haven’t had much chance of a talk today”, said the host to his guest.  “The Army sure keeps you busy on a Sunday.  Can we have a chat now?”

It was the close of the day, and the Special was thinking more longingly of his comfortable bed than a talk in the sumptuously furnished drawing-room, but he consented with as good a Christian grace as he could muster.

“Have you been wondering why we are so interested in The Army,” said his host as they were seated snugly by the fireside.  “Will you let me tell you a story I have not told elsewhere in this country?” 

“About ten years ago we were in the city of Toronto, Canada, homeless and stranded.  Sudden misfortune had befallen my wife and me, and, one morning, we left our house not knowing whither to turn. We had fought hard against difficult circumstance, and tried out best, but trouble dogged our footsteps, and that day we were actually without food or home.

“Something in my countenance must have shown my state, for a Salvation Army man who was passing, stopped and touched me on my shoulder.  “You look as if you are in trouble,” he said, “can I help you?”

“It was like a rope to a drowning man.  ‘Sir,’ I said.  ‘I’m starving and homeless, and this is my wife’.

“’Come home with me’, said the Officer, as he took off his coat and insisted on my shivering wife putting it on.

“We went with him, and though he had a house full of children, and they were poor themselves, he and his dear wife gave us food and clothing and shelter for some days; he found me a job, and looked after us as if we were brother and sister to them.  Since that time I’ve never looked back.  All that we have today we owe to God and The Army and Brigadier Spooner.  Do you know him?”

Years after, when the Special stood by the grave of Colonel Spooner, and heard one and another tell of his deeds in The Army, he thought of that ‘inasmuch’ in the streets of Toronto, and gave thanks to God for also knowing him as a comrade.








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