Twice Born Men by Harold Begbie, republished by Carl Tuchy Palmieri
With the subtitle A Clinic In Regeneration, Harold Begbie’s book – published originally in 1909 and also known by the title Broken Earthenware – was written to bring home to people’s minds the fact that religious conversion is the only means by which a radically bad person can be changed into a radically good person.
Begbie, an author and journalist, takes a very small quarter of London, as he puts it ‘a few shabby streets huddled together on the western edge of the metropolis’, as his place of research and finds there some extraordinary characters – touched and transformed by God.
There is the Puncher - a drunken criminal who thought that the only escape possible from his desperate life was death. He found himself at the mercy seat in a Salvation Army hall where, as Begbie puts it, ‘he was dismantled of old horror and clothed afresh with newness and joy’.
There is the Criminal, who committed his first technical burglary at 14, after a childhood of petty thievery. After years of crime and time in prison, he found himself listening to the Puncher as he tried to influence him away from his miserable existence. The Criminal knelt at the mercy seat and prayed. He rose ‘feeling that he had sufficient strength to make a fight for a clean life’. The influence of the godly woman he married kept him from drifting back to his old ways.
And there are many more examples of the work God was doing.
These true stories of conversion are fascinating and also give a glimpse into the conditions in which The Salvation Army was at work back at the turn of the 20th century. It is an incredible thought that today, more than 100 years later, one of the primary motivations of the Army is still to ‘save souls’.
Carl Palmieri says: ‘It is the hope of the republisher (Healing-Habits) that this book helps others on their path to conversion. It is a great read for anyone interested in the purpose of The Salvation Army, to witness first hand the miracle of the Movement.’
Posted in the February 13th 2010 Edition Of The Salvationists
© Tuchy palmieri permission is granted to reprint any and all of this