The Two Williams were born a generation apart, but in the mid-1850's their lives interacted through an association with the Methodist New Connexion.
They were both dedicated Christians, who gained inspiration from John Wesley, Fletcher of Madeley and the spiritual emphases of the Non-conformist Churches. By nature, William Cooke was a theologian, author, orator and an evangelical preacher, who was an esteemed personality in the Methodist New Connexion. He was a tutor to William Booth, however the men had contrasting gifts.
Booth was an ardent revivalist, who preached an urgent gospel; a visionary, whose purpose in life was to “reach the masses for Christ”. His close association with Cooke ended in 1861, however there is evidence that much goodwill and mutual esteem continued until Cooke passed away in 1884. By that time Booth, together with his exceptional wife, Catherine, was leading The Salvation Army, which had spread around the world from a small but vibrant Christian Mission in the East End of London.
The governance, compassion, evangelism and doctrine of that Mission stemmed from the legacy of John Wesley, the influence of the Methodist New Connexion, and the spiritual depth of Dr William Cooke and his associates.