Every indication pointed to the agreeable fact of growing interest. This boozer’s convention has become an institution peculiar to The Army, and quite befitting Thanksgiving Day for it does seem that nothing could be adopted in order to the promotion of gratitude that equals this great effort for the lost.
Early in the morning our searchers were on the wing, and their determination and love took them to the lowest quarters and darkest dens to find the neediest of men—yea, and the neediest of women, too, for sad to say, many women lose themselves in the maelstrom of debauch.
Ensign John Allan, of the Bowery, spread a net through the dark waters of that neighborhood, and of one hundred topers who breakfasted with him, about eighty lined up into a pitiful procession whose passage through the streets to our Headquarters spoke its lesson and cried to all: “Don’t touch booze!”
Neither the wretchedness of rags nor the repulsiveness of dirt deterred these eager, exploring souls, and once found, the quarry was bagged and whizzed away in an autobus to the spacious National Headquarters hall, the rendezvous for the day. Here the warmest of welcomes awaited them, and, after a little needed refreshment, introduction followed to a meeting so thoroughly suited to the requirements of the lowest that none seemed strange or out of place.
It is safe to say that neither in time nor eternity will the great work accomplished be effaced, and the language is too poor to describe either the wonderful testimonies or the marvelous results that were heard and seen in the meeting. In tense, moments men seemed to be breathless ‘neath the spell of the Spirit, and then pent-up feelings would break and weeping, laughter, and applause would follow.
Colonel W.A. McIntyre, with whom the idea of a “boozer’s day” originated some five years ago, was on the bridge and piloted the morning exercises to a grand success. His address upon “Jacob’s Ladder” was unique, and a multitude of men felt like placing their feet on the lowest rung (“transforming grace”) and making the climb to the topmost rung (“triumphant glory”), especially as they were made to feel that its bottom “touched the earth” just where they were, and then shown that ladder of Christ.
Boozers of the old day were called upon to witness, and their direct testimony clinched the truth. Hypothesis, assumption, and theory gave place to flesh and blood, and this only cleansed casement of a rebuilt spirit that was jubilant with its pulsing life and sense of complete victory over the demon Rum that formerly held debasing sway with all other forms of the destroyer Sin.
Restored, washed, redeemed, and clothed, there they stood in striking contrast to the wrecks of manhood that watched and listened. Varying in language and dissimilar in style, yet one—absolutely one—in giving the glory to Jesus the Saviour, for the redemption known. Here the song of Justice the Jew, up from bumdom, agreed precisely with the polished utterances of Reynolds White, the erstwhile Captain in the U.S. Army, who had emerged, covered in rags and filth, from the same region of hopeless darkness until today when he stood rehabilitated and wearing upon his Salvation Army uniform the emblem of regained confidence just received unsolicited from the U.S.A. Government—the little ribbon of his restored office. He, after trying every known expedient, and having only met with the most dismal failure, had now tried and trusted Jesus, and the cure was complete.
Then from the army of hopeless there flowed a stream of men to the mercy seat until 108 penitents were asking help of God, who giveth liberally. Truly, “transforming grace” was at work as this multitude of broken men placed, with a trusting heart, a trembling foot upon the bottom rung of a ladder.