Lecture II. A Mock Salvation and a Real Deliverance from Sin

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Google Books
Catherine (Mumford) Booth
Mrs. Booth

Popular Christianity is a compilation of sermons given by the esteemed Catherine Booth two years before her death in 1890. I could only find images of the text from the third edition, which was published in 1891. These passages are from her second lecture. Although Booth condemns desires that fall outside of Christian morality, her unusual positions on child sexuality, the hypocrisy of Christian "intellectuals," and what she deems "mock salvation" remain fascinating to parse.    

The decision to use Booth's formal title (did the author or the publisher make that call?) both asserts her stature as a co-founder of The Salvation Army and a respected minister and reminds the reader that she is the wife of a man who boasts the same credentials. How utterly in line with Christian feminism.  




Every parent knows that there is a tendency in his children to go astray from the very first moment of accountability. He knows that there is in his child a tendency to speak lies as soon as it can speak at all, that there is a tendency to perverse tempers and wicked passions. Hence wise parents universally recognise, whether they make any pretensions to Christianity or not, the necessity of family government and careful training in order to check, counteract, or eradicate, as the case may be, these tendencies to evil; and thus they acknowledge the necessity for a certain kind of salvation in their children, and they recognise also this fact, that if they do not attempt to work out this salvation, the children will bring them to wreck and ruin. A child left to itself brings its mother to shame; we know that sadly too well.


I say that the knowledge of and belief in this whole Bible, from beginning to end, if substituted for actual, personal salvation, will prove as great a mockery as any other sentimental belief.

            No mere intellectual beliefs can save men, because right opinions do not make right hearts. Alas, we all know the little practical effect opinions have on character. Look around you. Do you know any man who is not a thorough intellectual believer in chastity being better for a man, or a woman, in the end, than uncleanness? Is there any wicked, profligate young man, whom if you could take him aside and talk fairly to him, would not tell you that he believed that chastity was the best for a man, and yet you have only to look at him to see that he is a sepulchre of uncleanness and debauchery. What avails his intellectual belief in chastity while he is the slave of his lusts? What better is the man who believes in chastity and sins, than a man who does not believe in chastity and sins? As a French infidel, answering a caviller against holiness, said the other day, “You believe and sin, I do not believe and sin: where is the difference? It seems to me I am the better of the two.” Exactly, for however true or grand a man’s beliefs, of what use are they if he does not act them out? “Can faith save him?” Nay, verily, but such a faith can damn him.


Title of volume of first printing
Popular Christianity. A Series of Lectures Delivered in Princes Hall, Piccadilly.
The Salvation Army
Page numbers in original volume
30; 38-39

Booth, Catherine. "Lecture II. A Mock Salvation and a Real Deliverance from Sin." Popular Christianity. A Series of Lectures Delivered in Princes Hall, Piccadilly. 3rd ed., The Salvation Army, 1891, pp. 30; 38-39.