AN UNEXPECTED REQUEST--DELIBERATION--A GREAT UNDERTAKING--RELIANCE ON THE RESOURCES OF THE LIVING GOD--AN ANSWER EXPECTED AND RECEIVED--PRAYER FOR FAITH AND PATIENCE--FURTHER PROOFS OF DIVINE FAVOR--THE BLESSEDNESS OF DEVISING LIBERAL THINGS.
I began the service of caring for children who are bereaved of both parents, by death, born in wedlock, and are in destitute circumstances, on Dec. 9, 1835. For nearly ten years I had never had any desire to build an Orphan House. On the contrary, I decidedly preferred spending the means which might come in for present necessities, and desired rather to enlarge the work according to the means which the Lord might be pleased to give. Thus it was till the end of October, 1845, when I was led to consider this matter in a way in which I had never done before. The occasion of my doing so was this: On Oct. 30, 1845, I received from a gentleman, who lived in the street where the four Orphan Houses were, a polite and friendly letter, in which he courteously stated to me that the inhabitants in the adjoining houses were in various ways inconvenienced by the Orphan Houses being in Wilson Street. He left to myself the judgment of the case.
This letter I received on Thursday morning, Oct. 30, 1845. Being very much occupied that week, I had scarcely any time to consider the matter. On Monday morning, however, Nov. 3, I set apart some hours for the prayerful consideration of the subject, and after I had besought the Lord to guide me to a right decision, I wrote down the reasons which appeared to me to make it desirable that the Orphan Houses should be removed from Wilson Street, and also the reasons against removing. As far as they are suitable for being stated in print they were these:--
I. REASONS FOR REMOVING FROM WILSON STREET.
1. The neighbors feel themselves inconvenienced by the noise of the children in the play-hours. This complaint is neither without foundation, nor unjust; for many persons are very much inconvenienced by the noise of children, and those living close by the Orphan Houses must be so during the play-hours, even though the noise be only of that kind that one could not at all find fault with the dear children on account of it. I should myself feel it trying to my head to live next door to the Orphan Houses on that account. I therefore ought to do to others as I should wish to be done by. This point had never before appeared to me in so serious a light.
2. The greatness of the number of the inmates in the houses had several times prevented the drains from acting properly, and thus has a few times affected the water in one or two of the neighbors' houses. With reference to these two reasons as it regards those living near the Orphan Houses, these words, "Let not your good be evil spoken of," Rom. xiv. 16, and "Let your moderation (i. e. yieldingness) be known unto all men," Philip. iv. 5, seemed to me two important portions of the word of God to be acted out in this matter.
But in addition to the reasons for removing the Orphan Houses from Wilson Street on account of the unavoidable occasional inconvenience that comes upon the neighbors, there appeared now to me, when once I was led to consider seriously the reasons for removing the Institution from Wilson Street, other reasons for doing so, in connection with the work itself, which had occurred to me before, but never in so strong a light as now, when the subject was brought more immediately before me by the letter in which I was politely requested to remove the Orphan Houses from Wilson Street. These reasons are:--
1. We have no proper play-grounds in Wilson Street. There is one play-ground, which, however, is only large enough for the children of one house at a time; but as there are children in four houses who ought to have the benefit of it, we cannot arrange so that all the children have the full benefit of that play-ground, as the meals, the school-hours, the weather, and other hindrances interfere. The dear orphans ought, I know, to be trained in habits of industry, but children are children, and need to be treated as such; and they should, on account of their health, have the full benefit of a play-ground. But this they cannot have in Wilson Street: and to take them out into the fields for the benefit of bodily exercise, as we have been in the habit of doing, is often very inconvenient.
2. We have no ground for cultivation near the Orphan Houses, and hence there must be more walking for the children, on account of using proper means for keeping them, with the blessing of God, in health, than is in other respects good for them; because frequent walks easily beget in children habits of idleness, which would be especially felt when boys are apprenticed. But this difficulty cannot be obviated by remaining in Wilson Street, and renting a piece of land somewhere else for cultivation; for to get the children ready and conduct them to the piece of ground not only takes a good deal of time, but is connected with other great inconveniences, yea, with insurmountable difficulties, so that we found it needful to give up a small piece of ground which we once rented for about two years for the orphan boys, at a distance of about half a mile from Wilson Street. Thus, by removing from Wilson Street, and obtaining premises surrounded by land for cultivation, we should be able to procure a most important moral benefit for the children, by having the opportunity more fully than we now have of training them in habits of industry, besides giving to the boys occupation which is more suitable for them than knitting, which is now the only employment they have, besides making their beds, cleaning the house, and attending to the cooking of their meals. Moreover, this would be occupation in the open air, which not only would bring into exercise the use of their limbs, but also make walking for the sake of health almost entirely needless.
3. If we were to remove from Wilson Street, and obtain premises in the country, we might have all the washing done at home, which now, for want of room, can be only done in part. Thus the girls also would have more laborious work at home, a point of great importance for them, so that they would not feel so much the hardships connected with going out to service.
4. The situation of Wilson Street is perhaps scarcely bracing enough for strengthening the constitution of the orphans, most of whom, being the offspring of very diseased parents, require a very invigorating place of abode.
5. The present situation is certainly not desirable for the teachers, especially as, when their hours of work are over, they have no garden or fields close to the house immediately to go into for a little refreshment of their body; and for some of them it is too far to go to fields, where they might have a bracing air.
6. In times of sickness we are too confined in the houses in Wilson Street. If there were less than thirty children in each house, the average expenses for each child would be too great, it being desirable, as the arrangements are now, that there should not be less than three laborers in each house; and yet, if there are thirty children in each house, we are too full in time of sickness, as we have not a single spare room in any of the houses. Now, though the Lord has during all these years most mercifully helped us through such seasons, yet it has not been without inconvenience, and without also, perhaps, having more of the children in one room, at such times, than on account of health it is desirable.
7. Even ordinarily, when there is no sickness, it would be desirable to have more room.
There are no premises to be had in Bristol, or in the immediate neighborhood, where we could have these advantages; for I have been looking about in all directions for this purpose during the last ten years. But suppose there were a large house to be had in one part of the city, and a second a mile off, and a third and a fourth in other directions, such houses, on account of our peculiar position in the work, would not do. For in seasons of need the distance of the several houses would render it very inconvenient for the laborers to meet together for prayer, to divide the means that may be in hand, etc. Besides, when in seasons of other peculiar difficulties, connected with the work, I wished to meet all my fellow-laborers, there would arise great difficulty by their being divided in different parts of the city. It would also thus be very inconvenient to persons who wish to see the work, to go from place to place, in order to have a view of all the Orphan Houses. But this is not all. The more I have considered the matter, the more am I now persuaded that no ordinary large houses, built for private families, and therefore only calculated to accommodate, ten or fifteen persons at most for any length of time in them, will do for charitable institutions of any considerable size, as no ordinary house, except built on purpose, furnishes the proper advantages of ventilation, a point so needful for the health of the inmates in a charitable institution. There seemed to me, therefore, to remain nothing but to build premises for the purpose.
II. REASONS FOR REMAINING IN WILSON STREET.
1. God hitherto has pointed out the spot most plainly. At the commencement of the work, in 1835, no other house was to be had but No. 6 Wilson Street. Afterwards, when in 1836 the Infant Orphan House was on the point of being opened, again I was looking about in all directions, and saw many houses, but found none that was suitable, till all at once, most unlooked for, the occupiers of No. 1 Wilson Street were desirous of immediately leaving that house, and I was able thus to rent it. When in 1837 I was on the point of opening the Boys' Orphan House, I looked about again for a house in all directions; for I knew not at that time, what I have since learned by experience, that it was so important that all the houses should be near together. After seeking long in vain, I at last found a very large house, not far from Wilson Street, which I rented; but when the occupiers of the houses in the neighborhood heard that that house had been let for a charitable institution, they threatened the owner with an action, which led him to request me to give up the agreement, which, of course, I did immediately. At last, most unexpectedly, after having looked about in vain in all directions, the occupiers of No. 3 Wilson Street offered it to me, and I rented it for the orphan boys. Lastly, in the year 1843, when I was led to see it to be the will of God to go forward in this work, and to establish the Girls' Orphan House, No. 2, for older girls, one particular feature in the matter was, that the house No. 4 in Wilson Street had been offered to me, without being sought after, when there had not been for about six years one single large house to be let in that street.
[But though hitherto God has pointed out Wilson Street as being the spot where this work should be carried on, may not now the time have come for removing?]
2. Perhaps we might also rent Nos. 2, 5, and 7, in Wilson Street, and use two out of those three houses for Orphan Houses, and one of them for an infirmary in the case of sickness.
[But then, I said to myself, would not the objection, which the neighbors on the opposite side of the street might make, on account of the noise of the children in their play-hours, etc., remain? Also the drains would be still more unsuitable, not being constructed for so many inmates; and to alter them would be a heavy expense. The play-ground would be still less sufficient, if two new houses were added. Lastly, there was no reason to think that we could rent Nos. 2, 5, and 7.]
3. There are these three great objections against building: The considerable sum which is required, and which could be spent for present use upon the orphans. The pilgrim character of the Christian seems lost in building. The time that it will necessarily take in making arrangements for it.
[Do not all these objections only hold good, I said to myself, if I were needlessly to set about building? If I could rent premises, which are really in every way suitable for the work, and I preferred building, then those objections would apply to the case; but when one is forced to it, it is no more than erecting a large building because there may be eight hundred children of God in fellowship who have been hitherto renting a meeting-place, but for certain reasons are obliged to leave it, and cannot rent another. Such could not be accused of needlessly spending money in building instead of renting; nor could it be justly said that they have on that account given up the pilgrim character; nor would it be time wasted if some individuals were to make arrangements about the building of that meeting-place. Therefore these three objections just mentioned, which had been for ten years strongly in my own mind, were removed when once I saw plainly that nothing remained but to build.]
After I had spent a few hours in prayer and consideration over the subject, I began already to see that the Lord would lead me to build, and that his intentions were not only the benefit of the orphans and the better ordering of the whole work, but also the bearing still further testimony that he could and would provide large sums for those who need them and trust in him for them; and besides, that he would enlarge the work, so that, if I once did build a house, it might be large enough to accommodate three hundred orphans, with their teachers and other overseers and servants needful for the work. Concerning this latter point, I think it important to remark, that during no period had the number of the applications for the admission of orphans been greater than just before I was led to think about building, so that it was quite painful to me not to be able to comply with the wishes of all the many persons who applied for the admission of orphans. There were many waiting for admission, particularly orphan boys.
In the afternoon of November 3, 1845, I laid the matter before my fellow-laborers in the church (eight in number), to get their judgment, whether I ought not to leave Wilson Street, and to build. All judged that I ought to leave Wilson Street, and none saw reasons against building.
On Nov. 4, my dear wife and I began to meet for prayer about this matter, and purposed to do so morning by morning. We asked God for clearer light concerning the particular points connected with the subject; and being assured that it was his will that I should build, I began asking the Lord for means.
On Nov. 7, I judged, having considered the matter more fully, that sufficiently large premises to furnish all needful accommodation for three hundred children (from their earliest days up to fifteen or sixteen years old), together with a sufficiently large piece of ground in the neighborhood of Bristol, for building the premises upon, and the remainder for cultivation by the spade, would cost at least ten thousand pounds. I was not discouraged by this, but trusted in the living God.
We continued meeting for prayer morning by morning for fifteen days, but not a single donation came in; yet my heart was not discouraged. The more I prayed, the more assured I was that the Lord would give the means. Yea, as fully assured was I that the Lord would do so, as if I had already seen the new premises actually before me. This assurance arose not from some vague, enthusiastical feeling, the mere excitement of the moment, but, 1. From the reasons already related, and especially from the commandment contained in Philip. iv. 5. For I saw that I should not act according to the mind of our Lord Jesus if I did not, as soon as I could, remove the orphans from Wilson Street, as it had been stated to me, in the letter above referred to, that their living there was an annoyance to some of the inhabitants in that street. 2. This assurance that I should build an Orphan House arose further from the whole way in which the Lord had been pleased to lead me in connection with the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad since its beginning on March 5, 1834, i. e. he has been leading me forward as by an unseen hand, and enlarging the work more and more from its commencement, and, generally, without my seeking after it, and bringing things so clearly before me that I could not but see that I ought to go forward. 3. Lastly and chiefly, this, my assurance that I should build unto the Lord this house of mercy, arose also particularly from this, that having strictly examined my heart as to the motives for doing so, I found that, as before God, I could say that my only motives were his honor and glory, and the welfare of the church of Christ at large, the real temporal and spiritual welfare of destitute orphans, and the welfare of all those who might take care of them, in the building to be erected. And finding that, after praying again and again about the matter, I still remained in perfect peace, I judged it assuredly to be the will of God that I should go forward.
On Nov. 15, brother R. C. arrived, to labor for a little while in Bristol. I communicated to him my position with reference to having to remove the orphans from Wilson Street, and I had his judgment also as to its being of God that I should build. This dear brother's judgment greatly encouraged me. His visit was to me of great help in this particular, especially in stirring me up yet more to bring everything in connection with this matter before God. He also laid it on my heart to seek direction from God with reference to the plan of the building. He said, "You must ask help from God to show you the plan, so that all may be according to the mind of God."
Up to Dec. 9, thirty-five days had passed away, whilst I was day by day waiting upon God for means for this work, and not a single penny had been given to me. Nevertheless, this did not in the least discourage me, but my assurance that God, in his own time and in his own way, would give the means, increased more and more. The portion which came in course of my meditation on the New Testament, was the beginning of the epistle of James. More than at any period in my life was I struck with these verses: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (i. e. trials); knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." James i. 2-4. It was especially the last verse, "But let patience have her perfect work," etc., which I found of exceeding great importance with reference to the building of the Orphan House. It led out my soul in prayer day after day, to ask the Lord to increase my faith, and to sustain my patience. I had these verses so impressed upon my heart that I could not but think that God meant particularly to bless me by them, with regard to the work before me, and that I should especially need patience as well as faith.
On the thirty-sixth day after having begun to pray, Dec. 10, 1845, I received one thousand pounds towards the building of the Orphan House. This is the largest donation that I had received up to that time for the Scriptural Knowledge Institution; but when I received it I was as calm, as quiet, as if I had only received one shilling. For my heart was looking out for answers. Day by day I was expecting to receive answers to my prayers. Therefore, having faith concerning the matter, this donation did not in the least surprise me. Yea, if five thousand pounds or ten thousand pounds had been given to me, instead of one thousand pounds, it would not have surprised me.
Dec. 13. On the thirty-ninth day my sister-in-law, who had been for some weeks absent in London, and who had now returned to Bristol, told me that she had met a gentleman in London, who, having quite recently read with deep interest the Narrative of the Lord's dealings with me, wished to know as many particulars about the work in my hands as he could. Being told by my sister-in-law that I purposed to build an Orphan Mouse, he, an architect, offered to make the plan, and superintend the building gratuitously. Unsolicited, he pressed this matter upon her with deep and lively interest. I hear also that he is a Christian. The fact that this offer comes unsolicited, and from a Christian architect, shows especially the hand of God. This is the second proof that God will help me in this matter.
Dec. 23. This is now the fiftieth day since I have come to the conclusion to build, and the forty-ninth day since we have been daily waiting upon God for help. Nothing more has come in since Dec. 10, not even one penny. This morning I have been particularly encouraged by the consideration that the Lord has sent me the one thousand pounds, and the promise from that pious architect, whom I have never seen, and of whose name I am as yet in ignorance, not to mock me, but as an earnest that he will give all that is needed.
It seems desirable that we should have a large piece of ground, at least six or seven acres. This piece of ground must be in the vicinity of Bristol: 1. In order that the Orphan House may be accessible to me, as my place at present is fixed by my other work in Bristol. 2. That the laborers in the Institution, and the orphans may be able to attend our meetings, at least on the Lord's day. For if meetings were held on purpose in the Orphan House, either the laborers or the children would not be benefited by them in that measure in which it is desirable. 3. That the inhabitants of Bristol may have the benefit of seeing with their own eyes this work of God, which is so manifestly his and not mine. 4. That strangers who pass through Bristol may have easy access to it, for the same reason. But then, such a piece of ground near Bristol, where there is just now such an inordinate desire for building, in the way of speculation, would cost, in all human probability, between two and three thousand pounds. Then the building itself, however plain, would not cost less than from six to eight thousand pounds, being for three hundred orphans, besides all their overseers, teachers, and assistants. In addition to this, the fitting up and furnishing the house for all these between three and four hundred inmates would not cost less than fifteen hundred pounds more. This is indeed a large sum of money which I need; but my hope is in God. I have not sought after this thing. It has not begun with me. God has altogether unexpectedly, by means of the letter before mentioned, led me to it. Only the day before I received the letter, I had no more thought about building premises for the accommodation of the orphans than I had had during the ten previous years. My especial prayer is that God would continue to me faith and patience. If he shall be pleased to help me in faith and patience to continue to wait on him, help will surely come.
Dec. 24. No further donation yet. But my hope in God is unshaken. He most assuredly will help. I have on purpose not issued any circular in connection with this matter, in order that the hand of God may be the more manifest. To some persons residing in or out of Bristol I have spoken about my intention of building, when conversation led to it. Through this, if the Lord please, he can make it known to others, and thus send means for the building fund. Or he can send in such an abundance of means for the work which is already in existence, that from that abundance there might be a rich surplus towards the building fund. But howsoever God may help, I do desire to see his hand made most manifest. There will be, no doubt, many trials connected with this enlargement of the field of labor (for if with the one hundred and thirty orphans there has been so much trial of faith, what is to be expected when the number is three hundred); and therefore I desire to see as clearly as daylight that God himself is leading me onward.
Dec. 29. This is the fifty-sixth day since I came to the conclusion to build, and the fifty-fifth since I have been day by day waiting upon God concerning it. Only that one donation had come in till this evening, when I received fifty pounds. This donation is exceedingly precious to me, not only because I am sure it is most cheerfully given, nor even because of its largeness, but because it is another precious proof that God will bring about the matter, else he would not give me these earnests. All my business therefore is, to continue in faith and patience to wait upon God. My assurance has been more and more increasing that God will build for himself a large Orphan House in this city, to show to the inhabitants, and to all who may read and hear about it, what a blessed thing it is to trust in him. Of late I have seen, by God's grace, more and more how entirely unworthy I am of being used by God for this glorious and honorable service, and I can only say: "Lord, here is thy servant, if thou art pleased to use such a one as I am."
Dec. 30, 1845. This morning I came, in course of my reading, to the commencement of the book of Ezra. I was particularly refreshed by the two following points contained in the first chapter, in applying them to the building of the Orphan House: 1. Cyrus, an idolatrous king, was used by God to provide the means for building the temple at Jerusalem: how easy therefore for God to provide ten thousand pounds for the Orphan House, or even twenty or thirty thousand pounds, if needed. 2. The people were stirred up by God to help those who went up to Jerusalem. Thus it is a small matter for him to put it into the hearts of his children to help me, in desiring to build this house of mercy unto his name. This meditation I had before breakfast. After family prayer in the morning, I had again my usual season for prayer about the building, and at this time it was particularly coupled with thanksgiving for the fifty pounds received last evening, and with entreating blessings on the donor. I was now looking out for more, as I am doing day by day, when this afternoon I received from a person at Clevedon two shillings sixpence, from her grandson sixpence, and from the sister in the Lord who brought the money the change which she did not wish back, being another sixpence. These donations, though small, are nevertheless very precious to me, as I take them as further proofs out of the hands of God that he will most assuredly bring this thing to pass. This evening I received one thousand pounds towards the building fund. When I received this donation I was as calm, yea as perfectly calm, as if I had received a single penny, because, by God's grace, I have faith in him, and therefore I am looking for answers to my prayers, and am sure that God will give every shilling that is needed.
January 2, 1846. This evening I received from Bideford eleven shillings towards the building fund.
Jan. 3. One of the orphans gave sixpence.
Jam 6. Received a little bag made of foreign seed, and a shell flower, to be sold for the building fund. The sister who sent these articles wrote to me, that the moment she heard of my intention of building an Orphan House, this text was before her mind: "Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain." Zech. iv. 7. Also one of the orphans sent fourpence.
Having asked the Lord to go before me, I went out to-day to look for a piece of ground. The armory which is to be sold had been several times mentioned to me as a suitable place. I did not think so, yet I thought I ought at least to look at it. Having seen it and been confirmed in my judgment about its unsuitableness, I asked the Lord whether I should turn towards the city or towards Stapleton. I felt led to go towards the city, and saw immediately after some fields near the armory. After having made inquiry to whom they belonged, I have been led to write this evening to the owner of them, asking him whether he is disposed to sell them, etc. I am now quietly waiting the Lord's pleasure. If his time is come to answer our requests as to a suitable piece of land, I shall be glad; if it is not yet come, I desire that "patience may have her perfect work, being perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
Jan. 8. This evening I received a reply to my letter. The owner of those fields writes, that, if he did sell them, it would be only for building land, and therefore they will be too dear.
Jan. 9. Went this morning once more to see those fields, which seem very suitable. Met there Mr. L., a land agent, who told me that they would be nearly a thousand pounds per acre, and therefore too dear. I asked Mr. L. to inform me if he should hear of any suitable land for sale.
Jan. 31. It is now eighty-nine days since I have been daily waiting upon God about the building of an Orphan House. The time seems to me now near when the Lord will give us a piece of ground, and I told the brethren and sisters so this evening, after our usual Saturday evening prayer meeting at the Orphan House.
Feb. 1. A poor widow sent to-day ten shillings.
Feb. 2. To-day I heard of suitable and cheap land on Ashley Down.
Feb. 3. Saw the land. It is the most desirable of all I have seen. There was anonymously put into an orphan box at my house a sovereign, in a piece of paper, on which was written, "The New Orphan House."
Feb. 4. This evening I called on the owner of the land on Ashley Down, about which I had heard on the 2d, but he was not at home. As I, however, had been informed that I should find him at his house of business, I went there, but did not find him there either, as he had just before left. I might have called again at his residence at a later hour, having been informed by one of the servants that he would be sure to be at home about eight o'clock; but I did not do so, judging that there was the hand of God in my not finding him at either place: and I judged it best therefore not to force the matter, but to "let patience have her perfect work."
Feb. 5. Saw this morning the owner of the land. He told me that he awoke at three o'clock this morning and could not sleep again till five. While he was thus lying awake his mind was all the time occupied about the piece of land respecting which inquiry had been made of him for the building of an Orphan House, at my request; and he determined with himself that, if I should apply for it, he would not only let me have it, but for one hundred and twenty pounds per acre, instead of two hundred pounds, the price which he had previously asked for it. How good is the Lord! The agreement was made this morning, and I purchased a field of nearly seven acres, at one hundred and twenty pounds per acre.
Observe the hand of God in my not finding the owner at home last evening! The Lord meant to speak to his servant first about this matter, during a sleepless night, and to lead him fully to decide before I had seen him.
Feb. 8. I wrote the day before yesterday to the architect, who has offered his help gratuitously.
Feb. 11. Received from a sister in the Lord five pounds. Received also from the architect the following reply to my letter:--
My dear Sir:
It will afford me a gratification, beyond what I can communicate by letter, to lend you the helping hand in the labor of love you are engaged in, and I shall esteem it a very great privilege being allowed to exercise my abilities as an architect and surveyor in the erection of the building you propose to erect for the orphans. I really do mean what I say, and, if all is well, by the blessing of God, I will gratuitously furnish you with plans, elevations, and sections, with specification of the work, so that the cost may be accurately estimated. I will also make you an estimate and superintend the works for you gratuitously, etc.
The total amount which has been given for the building fund, up to June 4, 1846, is two thousand seven hundred and ten pounds three shillings five and a half pence. This is only a small part of what will be needed; but, by the grace of God, I am in perfect peace, being fully assured that God in his own time will send the whole sum which is required. Many and great have already been the exercises of faith and patience since I first began to give myself to prayer about this work, and still greater they may be, before it is accomplished; but God, in the riches of his grace, will help me through them all. It is now (June 4, 1846) two hundred and twelve days since I first began to pray about this work, and day after day, since then, have I been enabled to continue to wait upon God, and I am more than ever assured that, not withstanding all my exceeding great unworthiness, God will condescend to use me, to build this house. Had it been the excitement of the moment, the difficulties which have already come upon me in connection with this work (and which are not stated here, on account of their occupying too much room) would have overwhelmed me; but as God himself, I trust, led me to this work, so he has helped me, and does help me, and I doubt not will help me to the end.
The house is intended to be built so as to accommodate one hundred and forty orphan girls above seven years of age, eighty orphan boys above seven, and eighty male and female orphans from their earliest days, till they are seven years old, together with all the overseers and teachers, etc., that may be needed. The infants, after having passed the age of seven, will be removed into the different departments for older boys and girls.
Before leaving this period, it may be proper to recur to the following miscellaneous points, respecting the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad, with reference to the period from July 14, 1844, to May 26, 1846.
1. During the whole of this period four day schools, with 278 children in them, were entirely supported by the funds of the Institution. Three day schools besides were assisted. The number of the children that were taught in the day schools, entirely supported by the funds of the Institution, from March 5, 1834, to May 26, 1846, amounts to 3,983. During the period from July 14, 1844, to May 26, 1846, £628, 19s. 4¾d. was spent on all the schools, which were either entirely or in part supported by the funds of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. Further: during this period there were also entirely supported a Sunday school with 80 children, and an adult school with 60 persons attending it. The total number of the adult scholars who received instruction, from the formation of this Institution to May 26, 1846, is 1,146.
2. During this period were circulated 269 Bibles and 171 Testaments; and 5,079 Bibles and 3,528 Testaments were circulated from the commencement of the work up to May 26, 1846. From July 14, 1844, to May 26, 1846, £40, 7s. 10d. was expended of the funds of the Institution on this object.
3. From July 14, 1844, to May 26, 1846, was laid out for foreign and home missions the sum of £595, 7s. 9d. During no period previously was so much of the funds of this Institution spent on missionary work, which arose from the fact that the more I corresponded with brethren who labored in the word and doctrine in foreign lands, the more I saw how much they stood in need of assistance, and thus, my heart having been led out in prayer to God on their behalf, that he would be pleased to send me means, whereby I might be able to assist them, he was pleased to do so. This led me to the purpose, as God should give me grace, to be still more mindful of them in future, and to seek to be able still more to assist them. The same was the case with regard to those brethren who labor in England, but who have no salary or stipend, but trust in the living God for the supply of their daily necessities; I did long to help such brethren, and had no doubt that God would enable me to do so.
4. There was laid out for the circulation of tracts from July 14, 1844, to May 26, 1846, the sum of £56, 6s. 9½d., for which 52,003 such little publications were bought, which, with 5,315 in hand on July 14, 1844, makes 57,318, of which number 40,565 were circulated. The total number circulated from Nov. 19, 1840, to May 26, 1846, amounts to 99,647.
5. There were received into the four Orphan Houses, from July 14, 1844, to May 26, 1846, 30 orphans, who, together with those who were in the four houses on July 14, 1844, make up 151 in all.
On May 26, 1846, there were 121 orphans in the four houses. Besides this, six apprentices were still supported by the funds of the Institution, so that the total number was 127. The number of the orphans who were under our care from April, 1836, to May 26, 1846, amounts to 213.
I notice further the following points in connection with the Orphan Houses.
1. Without any one having been personally applied to for anything by me, the sum of £13,275, 6s. 9¾d. was given to me as the result of prayer to God, from the commencement of the work up to May 26, 1846. This sum includes the £2,710, 3s. 5½d. which, up to June 4, 1846, was given towards the building fund. (It may be interesting to the reader to know that the total amount which was given as free contributions, for the other objects, from the commencement of the work up to May 26, 1846, amounts to £4,833, 18s. 10¾d.; and that which came in by the sale of Bibles and tracts, and by the payments of the children in the day schools, amounts to £2,097, 18s. 2½d.) 2. Besides this, also a great variety and number of articles of clothing, furniture, provisions, etc., were given for the orphans, as has been stated in the printed Reports. The total expenditure for the orphans from July 14, 1844, to May 26, 1846, was £2,732, 14s. 1½d., and for the other objects, £1,325, 7s. 7¼d.
In conclusion, I cannot but mention to the praise of the Lord concerning this period, that four of the Sunday-school children were admitted to communion. Likewise three more of the orphans were received into church fellowship; so that up to that time, altogether, thirty-two of the orphans had been admitted. I also mention with peculiar joy, and as a matter for thankfulness, that of those who were apprenticed or sent out to service, from July 14, 1844, to May 26, 1846, ten were believers, most of whom had been for several years in fellowship before they were sent out to service. But whilst we desire to receive these instances as precious encouragements from the Lord to continue our service, we cannot but believe, judging from the many prayers the Lord gives us for the children and adults under our care and instruction, that that which we see is but an earnest of a far larger harvest in the day of Christ's appearing.
Dec. 31, 1844. Since brother Craik and I came to Bristol, 982 believers have been received into communion. During this year 73 have been received.
The Lord has been pleased to give me during this year £267, 6s. 9d. To this is to be added that for the first two months and six days of this year, my expenses, and those of my dear wife, during our stay in Germany, were met, as also our travelling expenses back, as stated in another part of my Narrative. Also during the whole of this year a Christian lady gave to our dear child board and schooling without any remuneration, a present worth to us not less than fifty pounds. On this point I cannot help making a few remarks: I had clearly seen it to be the will of God that my daughter should be brought up at school, and not at home. My reasons for it were these: 1. My dear wife, though well qualified to instruct our daughter, so far as knowledge goes, was unable, on account of being engaged as my wife in a variety of things connected with the Lord's service, to give herself uninterruptedly to this work; and to do it partially we judged to be injurious to our daughter. 2. I had seen instances in which a home education for an only child had turned out very badly. 3. I judged that the mixing with other children would be beneficial to our daughter, provided that intercourse was under proper oversight; as thus a child is in early life introduced into a little world, and things do not all at once come upon a young person, when at last obliged to leave the parental roof. 4. But that which most of all led me to this decision was, that as in the church of Christ the Lord has qualified the members of the body for the performance of certain work, and all have not the same gift and service, so, in the same way, certain believers are called and qualified above others for instructing children, and give themselves to this particular service, and that, therefore, I ought to make use of the qualifications of such, and of their having given their whole time to this particular service. These reasons led us to place our daughter at school, instead of educating her at home, and we have never had cause to regret the step we took, but, on the contrary, have had abundant reason to praise God for it. I have purposely made these remarks, as I am fully aware that some believers have different views on this subject, and I desire to serve them with the measure of light and experience I have obtained.
After our daughter had been at school for half a year, I asked for the account, when it was stated to me by the Christian lady in whose establishment she was that she had a pleasure in educating her gratuitously. However, as I pressed the matter, I obtained the account. It was paid, but the exact sum was returned to me anonymously, which, of course, I found out at once to be from the Christian sister at whose school my daughter was. From that time I could never more obtain the account, though my dear child was about six years longer at school. I refer to this point for this especial reason: God had laid it on my heart to care about poor destitute orphans. To this service I had been led to give myself; he, in return, as a recompense, even for this life, took care that my own beloved child should have a very good education, free of expense to me. I was able and well able to pay for her education, and most willing to do so; but the Lord gave it gratuitously; thus also showing how ready he is abundantly to help me, and to supply my wants.
Having learned that the brethren in Germany were led away by false teachers, and having received, in answer to prayer, five hundred pounds, for the expenses of his journey thither, Mr. M. left Bristol July 19, 1845, and, after laboring in word and doctrine in Germany, he returned to Bristol Oct. 11, 1845.
Perhaps the reader may ask, What has been the result of this labor in Germany? My reply is, God only knows. The day of Christ will declare it. Judging from the constant labor in prayer during eight months before I went the second time, and day by day while I was on the Continent, and day by day for a long time after my return, I am warranted to expect fruit, and I do expect it. I expect abundant fruit in the day of Christ's appearing. In the mean time my comfort is that two hundred and twenty thousand tracts have been circulated, many of which, through the providence of God, found their way not only into the darkest places of the continent of Europe, but went also to America and Australia. Further: four thousand copies of my Narrative, in German, are almost all circulated. And, again, the publishing of my Narrative in German led me to do the same in French, which was accomplished about three years later. Further: these tracts were reprinted at Hamburg and at Cologne, and are circulated by other Christians; in addition to which, my having published them in Germany led me to get them stereotyped in England, and they continue to be circulated in many countries.
December 31, 1845. There have been received into communion 53 during this year, and 1,055 since the commencement of our coming to Bristol.
During this year the Lord has been pleased to give to me £433, 19s. 1¾d. To this is to be added that my dear child had again during the whole of this year her education free at a boarding-school, as stated at the close of the last year, whereby I saved about fifty pounds. Also my travelling expenses to and from Germany, and other expenses connected with my service in Germany, were paid out of the £500 pounds to which reference has been made. Adding these two items to £433, I had at least £500.
April 29, 1846. To-day my beloved wife and myself had the inexpressibly great joy of receiving a letter from our beloved daughter, while we are staying in the Lord's service at Chippenham, in which she writes that she has now found peace in the Lord Jesus. Thus our prayers are turned into praises. About eighteen months before this I began especially to pray for the conversion of my dear child, and the Lord soon after seems to have begun to work in her heart.
 The reader will not fail to remark the striking illustration afforded in the present chapter, of the truth stated in Chapter XVI., that God rewards the right use of means of benevolence by affording the means of enlarged usefulness.--Ed.