THE HOUSE FOR FOUR HUNDRED OPENED--PRAYER MORE THAN ANSWERED--THE RESORT IN TROUBLE--AN OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT ON THE ORPHANS--LAND FOR A NEW BUILDING PURCHASED--"BUT ONE LIFE TO SPEND FOR GOD"--"SCATTERING, YET INCREASING"--A MEMORABLE YEAR--THE GERM OF THE IRISH REVIVAL--LETTER FROM AN ORPHAN--THE FRUIT OF SIX MONTHS' PRAYER--THE RESULTS OF THE WORK--REVIVAL AMONG THE ORPHANS.
Under date of Nov. 12, 1857, Mr. M. writes:--
The long looked-for and long prayed-for day had now arrived when the desire of my heart was granted to me, to be able to open the house for four hundred additional orphans. Much had I labored in prayer and active engagements to accomplish what was to be done previously; and now things were so far advanced as that the new house was ready for use; and a few days after we began to receive the children into it. How precious this was to me, such will be able to enter into, who, having day by day prayed for a blessing for seven years, and often repeatedly on the same day, at last obtain the desire of their heart. Yet this blessing came not unexpectedly to me, but had been looked for, and had, in the full assurance of faith, been expected to be obtained in God's own time.
Feb. 17, 1858. As far as I am able to judge, I have now all I require in the way of pecuniary means for the third house also, so that I am able to accomplish the full enlargement of the orphan work to one thousand orphans.
By the conclusion of the year under consideration, Mr. M. had received, from all sources, thirty-five thousand three hundred and thirty-five pounds nine shillings threepence toward the new Orphan Houses, "being actually three hundred and thirty-five pounds nine shillings threepence more than I had been from the commencement praying for."
The following circumstance, connected with the maintenance and care of the orphans, exhibits the reliance placed upon prayer and faith for relief in every exigency:--
Towards the end of November, 1857, I was most unexpectedly informed that the boiler of our heating apparatus at the new Orphan House, No. 1, leaked very considerably, so that it was impossible to go through the winter with such a leak. Our heating apparatus consists of a large cylinder boiler, inside of which the fire is kept, and with which boiler the water pipes which warm the rooms are connected. Hot air is also connected with this apparatus. This now was my position. The boiler had been considered suited for the work of the winter; the having had ground to suspect its being worn out, and not to have done anything towards its being replaced by a new one, and to have said I will trust in God regarding it, would be careless presumption, but not faith in God. It would be the counterfeit of faith.
The boiler is entirely surrounded by brickwork; its state, therefore, could not be known without taking down the brickwork; this, if needless, would be rather injurious to the boiler than otherwise; and as, year after year, for eight winters, we had had no difficulty in this way, we had not anticipated it now. But suddenly and most unexpectedly, at the commencement of the winter, this difficulty occurred. What then was to be done? For the children, especially the younger infants, I felt deeply concerned that they might not suffer through want of warmth. But how were we to obtain warmth? The introduction of a new boiler would, in all probability, take many weeks. The repairing of the boiler was a questionable matter, on account of the greatness of the leak; but, if not, nothing could be said of it, till the brick-chamber in which the boiler, with Hazard's patent heating apparatus, is inclosed, was, at least in part, removed; but that would, at least as far as we could judge, take days, and what was to be done in the mean time to find warm rooms for three hundred children? It naturally occurred to me to introduce temporary gas stoves, but, on further weighing the matter, it was found that we should be unable to heat our very large rooms with gas except we had very many stoves, which we could not introduce, as we had not a sufficient quantity of gas to spare from our lighting apparatus. Moreover, for each of these stoves we needed a small chimney, to carry off the impure air. This mode of heating, therefore, though applicable to a hall, a staircase, or a shop, would not suit our purposes. I also thought of the temporary introduction of Arnott's stoves; but they would be unsuitable, as we needed chimneys, long chimneys, for them, as they would have been of a temporary kind, and therefore must go out of the windows. On this account, the uncertainty of its answering in our case, the disfigurement of the rooms almost permanently, led me to see it needful to give up this plan also. But what was to be done? Gladly would I have paid one hundred pounds if thereby the difficulty could have been overcome, and the children not be exposed to suffer for many days from being in cold rooms. At last I determined on falling entirely into the hands of God, who is very merciful and of tender compassion, and I decided on having, at all events, the brick-chamber opened, to see the extent of the damage, and to see whether the boiler might be repaired, so as to carry us through the winter. The day was fixed when the workmen were to come, and all the necessary arrangements were made. The fire, of course, had to be let out while the repairs were going on. But now see. After the day was fixed for the repairs, a bleak north wind set in. It began to blow either on Thursday or Friday before the Wednesday afternoon when the fire was to be let out. Now came the first really cold weather which we had in the beginning of last winter, during the first days of December. What was to be done? The repairs could not be put off. I now asked the Lord for two things, viz. that he would be pleased to change the north wind into a south wind, and that he would give to the workmen "a mind to work;" for I remembered how much Nehemiah accomplished in fifty-two days, whilst building the walls of Jerusalem, because "the people had a mind to work." Well, the memorable day came. The evening before, the bleak north wind blew still; but on the Wednesday the south wind blew: exactly as I had prayed. The weather was so mild that no fire was needed. The brickwork is removed, the leak is found out very soon, the boiler-makers begin to repair in good earnest. About half-past eight in the evening, when I was going to leave the new Orphan House for my home, I was informed at the lodge that the acting principal of the firm whence the boiler-makers came was arrived, to see how the work was going on, and whether he could in any way speed the matter. I went immediately into the cellar, therefore, to see him with the men, to seek to expedite the business. In speaking to the principal of this, he said in their hearing, "the men will work late this evening, and come very early again to-morrow." "We would rather, sir," said the leader, "work all night." Then remembered I the second part of my prayer, that God would give the men "a mind to work." Thus it was: by the morning the repair of the boiler was accomplished, the leak was stopped, though with great difficulty, and within about thirty hours the brickwork was up again and the fire in the boiler; and all the time the south wind blew so mildly that there was not the least need of a fire.
Here, then, is one of our difficulties which was overcome by prayer and faith.
For nearly three months all went on well; but at the end of February another leak appeared, which was worse than the previous one. But over this also we were helped through prayer, so that without any real inconvenience the repairs were accomplished within about thirty hours. From that time the Lord has not tried us any further in this way. While I am writing this it is fine warm weather, and I have ordered in both houses the fires to be discontinued in the heating apparatuses, and, the Lord willing, a new boiler will of course be substituted.
Feb. 2, 1858. "From Newton" one pound. To-day I took the first active steps towards the building of the third house, when immediately afterwards I was informed by letter that a lady in London, an entire stranger to me, had ordered her bankers to send me three hundred pounds for the support of the orphans. I was also further informed in the evening that in two weeks eight hundred pounds shall be paid to me for the work of the Lord. The three hundred pounds was sent the next day, and the eight hundred pounds a fortnight after. See how, with enlargement of the work, the Lord keeps pace with the expenses, helping when help is really needed, often also giving beforehand.
During the year 1857-8, twenty-four schools were supported or assisted out of the funds of the Institution, three thousand nine hundred and sixty-three Bibles and portions of Scripture were circulated, and three thousand five hundred and thirty-one pounds expended for the aid of eighty-two laborers in various parts of the world. From these men Mr. Müller received letters containing the delightful intelligence that their labor had been blessed of the Lord. After giving copious extracts from these letters, Mr. M. adds:--
Such extracts might be greatly multiplied, and, as I said before, a large volume might easily be written; but space forbids me giving any more. I feel it, however, due to the Christian reader to state that there is good reason to believe that many hundreds of souls have been brought to the knowledge of the Lord through the instrumentality of these brethren within the last year; and may we not hope that even that which is known is not nearly all that the Lord has been pleased to accomplish through them? How seasonably, often, the help for which I had labored in prayer has come to these dear servants of Christ, the following extracts from letters may show, though hundreds of similar letters have been received by me within the last twenty years.
May 19, 1858. "I gratefully acknowledge the Lord's goodness in the receipt of your check for ten pounds. Being brought low, my dear wife and myself, when specially waiting on him last evening, pleaded with the Lord that he would graciously send a supply this morning; and again we have the proof of his love by your letter and its contents. Bless the Lord, O my soul! With many thanks to you, in which my dear wife unites, I am," etc.
Feb. 27, 1858. "O, how my heart goes out towards you for your affectionate remembrance of us in our low estate! Not a shilling had we in the house, nor any human prospect of any money, when your remittance of five pounds reached us."
A laborer on the Continent writes on Dec. 17, 1857: "We received yesterday your kind note inclosing eight pounds. The very day you sent your letter to the post-office, the 12th instant, was a day set apart for prayer, with fasting, to ask the Lord for means."
There were also circulated during the year 1,334,791 tracts and books. Letters received from the persons who distributed them show that they were greatly blessed in awakening and converting souls.
At the commencement of the last period there were 299 orphans in the new Orphan House on Ashley Down, Bristol. During the past year there were admitted into it, and into the new house for 400, altogether 219 orphans. The total number of orphans who have been under our care since April 11, 1836, is 871.
The opening of the new house for 400 orphans, which is not a wing of the house that has been before in existence, but an entirely distinct establishment, and larger than the former, has made it needful to distinguish between these two houses in this way, that the house which was opened on June 18, 1849, is now called the new Orphan House No. 1, and the one which was opened on Nov. 12, 1857, is called the new Orphan House No. 2. The new Orphan House No. 1 is fitted up for the accommodation of 140 orphan girls above seven years of age, 80 orphan boys above seven years, and 80 male and female orphans from their earliest days, till they are about seven or eight years of age. The infants, after having passed the age of seven or eight years, are removed into the different departments for older boys and girls. The new Orphan House No. 2 is fitted up for 200 female infant orphans, and for 200 elder female orphans.
Without any one having been personally applied to for anything by me, the sum of £102,714, 9s. 6d. has been given to me for the orphans, as the result of prayer to God, since the commencement of the work, which sum includes the amount received for the building fund for the houses already built and the one to be built. It may also be interesting to the reader to know that the total amount which has been given for the other objects, since the commencement of the work, amounts to £38,297, 12s. 11½d.; and that which has come in by the sale of Bibles since the commencement amounts to £2,222, 4s. 3½d.; by sale of tracts, £2,294, 6s. 11½d., and by the payments of children in the day schools, from the commencement, £2,138, 11s. 4¼d.
During the past twenty-two years the Spirit of God has been again and again working among the orphans who were under our care, so that very many of them have been brought to the knowledge of the Lord; but we never had so great a work, and at the same time one so satisfactory, within so short a time, as during the past year. I will enter somewhat into details for the benefit of the reader. There are one hundred and forty elder girls in the new Orphan House No. 1, of whom, at the beginning of the last period, ten were considered to be believers.
On May 26, 1857, the death of an orphan, Caroline Bailey, took place. The death of this beloved girl, who had known the Lord several months before she fell asleep, seems to have been used by the Lord as a means of answering in a goodly measure our daily prayers for the conversion of the orphans. It pleased God at the beginning of the last period mightily to work among the orphans, so that all at once, within a few days, without any apparent cause, except it be the peaceful end of the beloved Caroline Bailey, more than fifty of these girls were brought to be under concern about their souls, and some with deep conviction of sin accompanying it, so that they were exceedingly distressed. And how is it now? my readers may ask; for young persons are often apparently much concerned about the things of God, but these impressions pass away. True, dear reader, I have seen this myself, having had to do with many thousands of children and young persons within the last thirty years. Had, therefore, this work among the orphans begun within the last few days, or even weeks, I should have passed it over in silence; but more than a year has now elapsed since it commenced, and it will, therefore, give joy to the godly reader to hear that in addition to those ten who were previously believers, and of whom one has been sent to service, there are twenty-three girls respecting whom for several months there has been no doubt as to their being believers; two died in the faith within the year; and there are thirty-eight more who are awakened and under concern about their souls, but respecting whom we cannot speak as yet so decidedly. All this regards only one branch of the Orphan Establishment, the elder girls of the House No. 1. In addition to this, I am glad also to be able to state that among the other girls in the New House No. 2, and among the boys also, some are interested about the things of God; yea, our labors begin already to be blessed to the hearts of some of the new received orphans.
Continuing the narrative of the progress of the new Orphan Houses, Mr. M. writes under date of Oct. 29, 1858:--
In the last Report I stated that I was looking out for land for the third house. Regarding this, I waited day by day upon God. But for many months it pleased him to exercise my faith and patience. When, more than once I seemed to have obtained my desire, I again appeared further from it than ever. However, I continued to pray and to exercise faith, being fully assured that the Lord's time was not yet come, and that, when it was, he would help. And so it proved. At last, in September, 1858, I obtained eleven and a half acres of land, quite close to the new Orphan Houses No. 1 and No. 2, and only separated from them by the road. On these eleven and a half acres of land a house is built. The price for house and land was three thousand six hundred and thirty-one pounds fifteen shillings, being more money than I should have seen it right to expend on the site, had it not been of the utmost importance that the third house should be quite near the other two, to facilitate the superintendence and direction of the establishment. Thus, at last, this prayer also was answered, concerning which I had been waiting upon God for so many months, and concerning which the difficulties as to sight and reason seemed so great, but respecting which my mind was continually at peace; for I was sure that, as I was doing God's work, he would, in his own time, help me in this particular also. The longer I go on in this service, the more I find that prayer and faith can overcome every difficulty.
Having now obtained land, and so much, my desire was to make the best use of it, and to build for four hundred orphans, instead of for three hundred, as I had previously purposed to do. After having had several meetings with the architects, and finding that it was possible to accommodate, with comparatively little more expense, four hundred and fifty orphans, instead of four hundred, I finally determined on that number, so as to have eventually one thousand one hundred and fifty orphans under my care, instead of one thousand, as for several years previously had been contemplated. The greatness of the number of destitute children bereaved of both parents by death,--together with the greatness of the Lord's blessing, which has during all these many years rested upon my service in this way,--and the greatness of the Lord's help in giving me assistants and helpers in the work as well as means,--and, above all, the deep realization that I have but one life to spend for God on earth, and that that one life is but a brief life;--these were the reasons which led me to this further enlargement. To this determination of a still further enlargement I came solely in dependence upon the living God for help, though the increase of expense for the building fund, on account of the purchase of the land, and accommodation to be built for the additional one hundred and fifty orphans more than had been from the beginning contemplated, would not be less than from six thousand to seven thousand five hundred pounds more than I had originally expected the total of the premises, which were to be erected, would cost; and though, in addition to this, the yearly additional expenditure for the maintenance of these one hundred and fifty orphans, beyond the intended number of one thousand, could not be less than one thousand eight hundred pounds a year. But none of these difficulties discouraged me.
Nov. 27. It is this day a twelvemonth since we began to receive fresh children into the new Orphan House No. 2. Since then the mercies of the Lord have been very many, and his help has been very great. There have been received from Nov. 27, 1857, to Nov. 27, 1858, altogether three hundred and eight orphans. Such a year I never spent in this service,--one so full of help and blessing in every way.
Jan. 4, 1859. Received seven thousand pounds, which was entirely left at my disposal, as the work of God in which I am engaged might more especially require it. When I decided at the end of October, 1858, to build for four hundred and fifty orphans, instead of three hundred, I needed several thousand pounds more, and was fully assured that God would give me the required means, because in reliance upon him, and for the honor of his name, I had determined on this enlargement; and now see, esteemed reader, how the Lord honored this my faith in him!
Jan. 12. From Westerham, in eighty-eight small donations, £4, 8s. 6d. Without my knowledge these eighty-eight small donations had been contributed, and were sent to me.
May 26. During the year now closing, four thousand one hundred and forty-nine-pounds seventeen shillings fivepence was expended in aid of ninety-one brethren laboring in England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Sardinia, Canada, Nova Scotia, East Indies, China, and British Guiana. Also, during the past year 1,885,401 tracts and books have been circulated.
At the commencement of the last period there were four hundred and ninety-nine orphans in the new Orphan Houses No. 1 and No. 2. On May 26, 1859, there were six hundred and seventy-two orphans in the two houses, i. e. in No. 1, 299, and in No. 2, 373. The total number of orphans who have been under our care since April 11, 1836, is 1,083.
Though during the past year we have not had so great and so sudden a work of the Spirit of God going on among the orphans as during the previous year, when, within a few days, above fifty out of one department of one hundred and forty girls were suddenly brought under deep concern about their souls; yet, the blessing of the Lord has not been withheld even spiritually. There are already many caring about the things of God among the four hundred and twenty-four orphans who were received within the last eighteen months, and who ask it, as a privilege, to be allowed, in the summer, to take their Bibles with them to bed, so that, should they awake in the morning before the bell is rung, they may be able to read it. Out of the thirteen girls who were sent to service, nine had been believers for some time before they left the establishment.
When I began the orphan work, one of the especial objects which I had in view was to benefit the church of Christ at large, by the accounts which I might be enabled to write in connection with this service; for I expected, from the beginning, to have many answers to prayer granted to me, and I confidently anticipated that the recording of them would be beneficial to believers, in leading them to look for answers to their own prayers, and in encouraging them to bring all their own necessities before God in prayer. I likewise firmly believed that many unconverted persons would, by means of such writings, be led to see the reality of the things of God. As I expected, so it has been. In very many instances the reading of the Reports of this Institution, or the "Narrative of the Lord's Dealings" with me, has been blessed by God to the conversion of those who knew not our Lord Jesus. In thousands of instances, likewise, believers have been benefited through them, being thereby comforted, encouraged, led more simply to the Holy Scriptures, led more fully to trust in God for everything; in a word, led, in a greater or less degree, to walk in the same path of faith in which the writer, by the help of God, is walking. The thousands of instances of blessing which have been brought before me during the past twenty-four years (for almost daily I have heard of fresh cases, and often of several on the same day), have only still further led me to earnestness in prayer, that the Lord would condescend to use these publications still more, and make them a blessing to many tens of thousands of his children, and to many tens of thousands of the unconverted. And now the reader will rejoice with me, when he reads what follows. I am the more led to relate the following, that the godly reader more than ever may be encouraged to prayer, and, also, that an accurate statement may be given of this fact, which has been already referred to in many public places in connection with revival-meetings, and which likewise has been several times stated in print.
In November, 1856, a young Irishman, Mr. James McQuilkin, was brought to the knowledge of the Lord. Soon after his conversion he saw my Narrative advertised. He had a great desire to read it, and procured it accordingly, about January, 1857. God blessed it greatly to his soul, especially in showing to him what could be obtained by prayer. He said to himself something like this: See what Mr. Müller obtains simply by prayer. Thus I may obtain blessing by prayer. He now set himself to pray that the Lord would give him a spiritual companion, one who knew the Lord. Soon after, he became acquainted with a young man who knew the Lord. These two began a prayer meeting in one of the Sunday schools in the parish of Connor. Having his prayer answered in obtaining a spiritual companion, Mr. James McQuilkin asked the Lord to lead him to become acquainted with some more of his hidden ones. Soon after, the Lord gave him two more young men, who knew the Lord previously, as far as he could judge. In autumn, 1857, Mr. James McQuilkin stated to these three young men, given him in answer to believing prayer, what blessing he had derived from my Narrative,--how it had led him to see the power of believing prayer; and he proposed that they should meet for prayer, to seek the Lord's blessing upon their various labors in the Sunday schools, prayer meetings, and preachings of the gospel. Accordingly, in autumn, 1857, these four young men met together for prayer in a small schoolhouse near the village of Kells, in the parish of Connor, every Friday evening. On January 1, 1858, the Lord gave them the first remarkable answer to prayer in the conversion of a farm servant. He was taken into the number, and thus there were five who gave themselves to prayer. Shortly after, another young man, about twenty years old, was converted; there were now six. This greatly encouraged the other three who first had met with Mr. James McQuilkin. Others now were converted, who were also taken into the number; but only believers were admitted to these fellowship meetings, in which they read, prayed, and offered to each other a few thoughts from the Scriptures. These meetings, and others for the preaching of the gospel, were held in the parish of Connor, Antrim, Ireland. Up to this time all was going on most quietly, though many souls were converted. There were no physical prostrations, as afterwards. About Christmas, 1858, a young man from Ahoghill, who had come to live at Connor, and who had been converted through this little company of believers, went to see his friends at Ahoghill, and spoke to them about their own souls and the work of God at Connor. His friends desired to see some of these converts. Accordingly, Mr. James McQuilkin, with two of the first who met for prayer, went, on February 2, 1859, and held a meeting at Ahoghill in one of the Presbyterian churches. Some believed, some mocked, and others thought there was a great deal of presumption in these young converts; yet many wished to have another meeting. This was held by the same three young men, on February 16, 1859; and now the Spirit of God began to work, and to work mightily. Souls were converted, and from that time conversions multiplied rapidly. Some of these converts went to other places, and carried the spiritual fire, so to speak, with them. The blessed work of the Spirit of God spread in many places. On April 5, 1859, Mr. James McQuilkin went to Ballymena, held a meeting there in one of the Presbyterian churches, and on April 11 held another meeting in another of the Presbyterian churches. Several were convinced of sin, and the work of the Spirit of God went forward in Ballymena. On May 28, 1859, he went to Belfast. During the first week, there were meetings held in five different Presbyterian churches, and from that time the blessed work commenced at Belfast. In all these visits he was accompanied and helped by Mr. Jeremiah Meneely, one of the three young men who first met with him after the reading of my Narrative. From this time the work of the Holy Ghost spread further and further; for the young converts were used by the Lord to carry the truth from one place to another.
Such was the beginning of that mighty work of the Holy Spirit, which has led to the conversion of many tens of thousands, and which is still going on even in Ireland, and the blessed results of which are still felt in Scotland, England, and other countries. It is almost needless to add, that in no degree the honor is due to the instruments, but to the Holy Spirit alone; yet these facts are stated in order that it may be seen what delight God has in answering abundantly the believing prayers of his children.
Seeing, then, how greatly he has condescended to own these records regarding his willingness to listen to prayer, made to him in the name of the Lord Jesus, I am delighted, at the close of another year, in connection with this Institution, to recount a few of the very many instances in which God has been pleased to answer our prayers, and to grant blessing to rest upon the various objects of this Institution; yea, blessing greater far than during any part of the past twenty-six years, while it has been in operation.
Up to May 26, 1860, Mr. M. received for the building fund the sum of £45,113, 14s. 4½d.
In May, 1859, I had in hand for the Bible, school, tract, and missionary funds, £2,009, 11s. 2½d., a balance far greater than I ever had had before. This arose not from the fact of unwillingness to spend the means which the Lord had been pleased to intrust me with, but chiefly from the fact that some large donations had come in during the last part of the previous year; and I had not, as a steward who desires to act in the fear of God, had opportunities brought before me to spend all. But much as the balance was, all the various schools, directly or indirectly connected with the Institution, required means; the circulation of the Holy Scriptures and tracts, which objects increase more and more, needed much, in order to enter every suitable open door; and lastly, and especially, the ninety-one preachers of the gospel in various parts of the world, on my list on May 26, 1859, required a large sum to aid them. All these various objects, therefore, needed so much, that the balance, large as it was, would have lasted but a short time, had not the living God, who has been my helper from the beginning, and to whom I have looked, and looked alone, opened, in answer to our prayers, his bountiful hands, and sent in more before the balance was expended; so that, though without any human probability of meeting even one half of the probable expenses in connection with these objects, not only have I been able to meet the whole, but also, so bountifully has God helped, that though the expenses were £1,584, 7s. 3¾d. more than during the preceding year, I had not only enough, but even a larger balance was left than at the end of the previous year.
Jan. 31, 1860. On this day I received a donation of three thousand pounds, of which I took for these objects two thousand pounds. Day by day, during this period also, I had been asking the Lord for means for these objects; and day by day I had been entreating him that he would be pleased to enable me to accomplish during this period as much as during the former one in the way of circulating the Holy Scriptures and tracts, and in aiding missionary operations, though I had no natural prospect whatever of being able to do so. My eyes were alone directed to the living God, who year after year for many years past had allowed me to increase the operations of these three objects, notwithstanding the continual increase of expense in connection with the orphan work; and thus I expected, fully expected, though all appearance was against it, that during this period also I should be again helped by God, the living God. Think, then, Christian reader, how great my spiritual refreshment, when, by this one donation in a great measure, I saw these my daily prayers being again answered. In like manner may you, in your sphere of service, in your family affairs, in your business, in your profession, in your various temporal or spiritual necessities, have your prayers answered.
Dec. 9, 1859. To-day it is twenty-four years since the orphan work commenced. What has God wrought! There have been received since then altogether 1,129 orphans, and during the last two years and two months alone 469, so greatly has the work increased of late. We have now 700 orphans under our care.
Dec. 10. The following letter was received to-day from an apprentice:--
Most beloved Sir:
With feelings of gratitude and great thankfulness to you for all the kindness I experienced whilst under your care, and for now apprenticing me to a suitable trade whereby I can earn my own living, I write you these few lines. I arrived at my destined abode in safety, and was kindly received by my master and mistress. Dear sir, I thank you for the education, food, clothing, and for every comfort; but, above all, for the instruction from God's word which I received when in that happy Orphan House; for it was there I was brought to know Jesus as my Saviour; and I hope to have him as my guide through all my difficulties, temptations, and trials in this world; and, having him for my guide, I hope to prosper in my trade, and thereby show my gratitude to you for all the kindness I have received. Please to accept my gratitude and thanks; and I hope you will be spared many, many more years, to care for poor destitute children like me. I am sure I shall often look back with pleasure and regret to the time I was in that happy home;--with pleasure that I lived there, and regret that I left it. Begging you to accept my grateful thanks, and with my kind love to Mr. L----, Mr. B----, Mr. W----, and Mr. S----,
I am, dear sir, Yours gratefully,
* * * *
The Christian reader, I doubt not, in perusing such letters, will with us thank God for condescending to give such blessing, such abundant blessing, to our labors.
Feb. 14, 1860. Two pounds ten shillings sixpence, with the following letter:--
My dear Brother in the Lord Jesus Christ:
Will you please to accept an order for two pounds ten shillings sixpence by the same post, for the dear orphans under your care? The history of this small sum is as follows. About seven and a half years ago your Narrative was put into my hands, which the Lord very greatly blessed to my soul. Six years and eleven months ago I was enabled to cast myself, my wife and family, upon the Lord, and look to Him alone for the supply of our temporal necessities while laboring in his glorious cause. From that time to the present we have had no claims upon any person for a single penny; nor have we made known our wants to any, or applied to any person for help, but to our heavenly Father alone; and he has supplied our need and not suffered us to be confounded, blessed be his name! My dear wife, as well as myself, from the very first had a strong desire to help you a little in your blessed work of love and labor of faith; but, for a long time, owing to the continued ill-health of my wife, and the growing expenses of our family, we never seemed to have any money to spare; so all we did was to wish, desire, and talk about it, and say how happy we should be if the Lord would enable us to do so. At length, we both felt we were acting wrong, and on the eighth of August last we solemnly decided we would give the Lord back a tenth of the money he was pleased to send us, though at that time we were very poor, I may add in deeper poverty than we had ever been before; yet, under those circumstances, we were enabled in the strength of the Lord to come to the above decision and act up to it that very morning; and the peace and joy we both felt it is in vain for me to attempt to describe. The Lord has kept us firm ever since, and instead of having less for our own use, we have had even more; so, dear sir, this sum is the fruit of six months' prayers. Pardon me for troubling you with so long an account of so trifling a sum; but I want you to bless our heavenly Father for his goodness to us his unworthy servants, and to remember us in your petitions at a throne of grace.
I am, my dear brother, Yours very affectionately and respectfully
* * * *
During the year 1859-60 there have been received for the orphans 3,542 separate sums. Of these there were 1,494 under 5s., 560 above 5s. and not exceeding 10s., 614 above 10s. and not exceeding £1, 288 above £1 and not exceeding £2, 411 above £2 and not exceeding £5, 93 above £5 and not exceeding £10, 49 above £10 and not exceeding £20, 10 above £20 and under £50, 11 of £50, 1 of £59, 19s. 9d., 1 of £62, 17s., 1 of £89, 4s., 1 of £96, 12s. 3d., 5 of £100, 2 of £500, and 1 of £1,500. Among these donations were some from East India, Australia, Cape of Good Hope, Saxony, Holland, South America, United States, from vessels on the ocean, and from missionaries among the heathen.
During the year under consideration twenty-three schools in England were supported or aided by the funds of the Institution. In all of these the teachers are persons of piety, and instruction is given not only in secular knowledge, but in the way of salvation. Without reckoning the orphans, 13,124 souls have been brought under habitual instruction in the things of God in these various schools; besides the many thousands in the schools in the various parts of England, Ireland, Scotland, British Guiana, the West Indies, the East Indies, etc., which have been to a greater or less degree assisted.
The total amount of means which has been expended during the last twenty-six years in connection with the schools, which have been either entirely or in part supported by the funds of this Institution, amounts to £9,275, 0s. 8½d.
The number of Bibles, Testaments, and portions of the Holy Scriptures, which have been circulated since May 26, 1859, is as follows: Bibles sold, 579. Bibles given away, 1,120. Testaments sold, 409. Testaments given away, 725. Copies of the Psalms sold, 63. Other small portions of the Holy Scriptures sold, 248.
There have been circulated since March 5, 1834, through the medium of this Institution, 24,768 Bibles, 15,100 Testaments, 719 copies of the Psalms, and 1,876 other small portions of the Holy Scriptures.
The amount of the funds of the Institution spent during the past year on the circulation of the Holy Scriptures is £398, 3s. 7d. The total amount spent since March 5, 1834, is £5,681, 13s. 3½d.
During the past year has been spent of the funds of the Institution, in aid of missionary efforts at home and abroad, the sum of £5,019, 6s. 1d. By this sum one hundred and one laborers in the word and doctrine, in various parts of the world, have been to a greater or less degree assisted. It is an interesting fact that these laborers are located in England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Sardinia, Canada, Nova Scotia, East India, China, and British Guiana.
The laborers aided by the Institution were peculiarly blessed during the year 1859-60. While the preaching of those laboring in foreign lands was very useful, the brethren preaching in Ireland and Scotland were signally favored with success, and were permitted to see in a wonderful measure the fruit of their prayers and toils. A single extract only can be given from the letter of a laborer in Scotland.
A devoted servant of Christ has been laboring in a manufacturing town in Scotland, where, by means of schools, Bible classes, visiting from house to house, and preaching the gospel among thousands of the most wretched, most debased, and most ignorant, he seeks to win souls for the Lord. In this service he has been going on year after year. In a measure his labors had been blessed up to the period of the last Report, but far more abundantly since, as the following account, given by himself to me in a letter dated Oct. 28, 1859, will show:--
"This month, through which we have passed, has brought me to a point in my history which for years I have contemplated and looked forward to with deeper and more intense desire than to any anticipated event in my whole life. More than thirty years ago there sprang up in my soul a longing and craving for the effusion of the Holy Ghost on the church and on the world, such as would extend throughout the whole of Scotland. For this I have labored, and spoken, and prayed increasingly. As I grew older, the craving for this blessing grew stronger. To see it became the ruling passion of my soul, and, as years rolled away, my hope of seeing it realized strengthened apace. On this season of expected blessing we seem at length to have entered. The religious movement is creeping steadily along the whole of the west of Scotland. It has not acquired a sudden or very powerful momentum. We are, so far as I can judge, in the initiatory stage in all the points where the work has found a settlement. A sound has gone out as from the Lord; the rumor travels on, and in its course awakens the careless, opens the ear, quickens the attention, and everywhere is making preparation for something coming. This note of preparation is calling the people together. Their ear is open to listen. In every place this hearing is bringing faith in its train; men are turning to God; intensity is given to those silent cases of conviction where for months or years there has been concern ebbing and flowing with circumstances. Not a few of these have come to light through their concern all at once ripening into deep distress. Forced out of the old ruts in which they have moved, they are forced to venture their all into the hands of Jesus, and are set at liberty. Such has been the process at work here. I am continually falling in with solitary cases, and a number of these have found peace. It would take far more time than I can spare to record their history, and how they obtained deliverance."
The total amount of the funds of the Institution which has been spent on missionary operations since March 5, 1834, is £34,495, 3s. 4d.
There has been laid out for tracts and books, from May 26, 1859, to May 26, 1860, the sum of £1,650, 11s. 4¾d.; and there have been circulated within the last year 2,562,001 tracts and books. The sum total which has been expended on this object, since Nov. 19, 1840, amounts to £8,064, 12s. 6½d. The total number of all the tracts and books which have been circulated since Nov. 19, 1840, is 11,493,174.
During the past year there were again circulated 676,600 tracts and books more than during the year before. The great number of laborers for God who have been raised up for service within the last two years in various parts of the world, and the mighty working of the Spirit of God, which has created in multitudes a desire gladly to receive tracts and books, account for this. Nor is there in these two particulars a decrease, but a continual increase. So great has been the call for tracts that of late we have sent out repeatedly 100,000 in one week, for gratuitous circulation, and sometimes even more than this. When the mighty working of the Spirit of God commenced in Ireland, I sought from the beginning to send very large supplies of tracts to Belfast and elsewhere, in order that thus the holy flame might be fanned, as it were, and that in the very outset the simplicity of the gospel might be set before the young converts. About two millions of the tracts and books circulated during the past year were given away gratuitously. Hundreds of believers have been engaged in spreading them abroad, not merely in many parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland, but in various other parts of the world.
At the commencement of the last period, there were 672 orphans in the new Orphan Houses No. 1 and No. 2. During the past year were admitted into the two houses 70 orphans. On May 26, 1860, there were just 700 orphans under our care, our full number in the two houses, i. e. in No. 1, 300, in No. 2, 400. The total number of orphans who have been under our care since April 11, 1836, is 1,153.
Without any one having been personally applied to for anything by me, the sum of £133,528, 14s. has been given to me for the orphans, as the result of prayer to God, since the commencement of the work, which sum includes the amount received for the building fund for the houses already built and the one to be built. It may also be interesting to the reader to know that the total amount which has been given for the other objects since the commencement of the work amounts to £51,777, 14s. 11d.; and that which has come in by the sale of Bibles, since the commencement, amounts to £2,530, 4s. 5½d.; by sale of tracts, £3,546, 19s. 1¼d.; and by the payments of the children in the day schools, from the commencement, £2,304, 18s. 9d. Besides this, also, a great variety and number of articles of clothing, furniture, provisions, etc., have been given for the use of the orphans.
Day after day, and year after year, by the help of God, we labor in prayer for the spiritual benefit of the orphans under our care. These our supplications, which have been for twenty-four years brought before the Lord concerning them, have been abundantly answered in former years in the conversion of hundreds from among them. We have also had repeated seasons in which, within a short time, or even all at once, many of the orphans were converted. Such a season we had about three years since, when within a few days about sixty were brought to believe in the Lord Jesus; and such seasons we have had again twice during the past year. The first was in July, 1859, when the Spirit of God wrought so mightily in one school of 120 girls, as that very many, yea, more than one half, were brought under deep concern about the salvation of their souls. This work, moreover, was not a mere momentary excitement; but, after more than eleven months have elapsed, there are 31 concerning whom there is full confidence as to their conversion, and 32 concerning whom there is likewise a goodly measure of confidence, though not to the same amount as regarding the 31. There are therefore 63 out of the 120 orphans in that one school who are considered to have been converted in July, 1859. This blessed and mighty work of the Holy Spirit cannot be traced to any particular cause. It was, however, a most precious answer to prayer. As such we look upon it, and are encouraged by it to further waiting upon God. The second season of the mighty working of the Holy Spirit among the orphans, during the past year, was at the end of January and the beginning of February, 1860. The particulars of it are of the deepest interest. A very profitable pamphlet might be written on the subject. I have prayed again and again for guidance how to act, and have at last come to the decision not to relate the details, lest the dear children, who would recognize themselves in the description, should be injured; for my experience of laboring twenty-six years among children, and of having had to deal with so many very young believers, has led me to the full conviction that it is injurious to make them prominent. If God makes them prominent by using them as evidently he is using children in these days, we have only to admire and to praise; but this is very different from ourselves making them prominent. I must therefore content myself by stating that this great work of the Spirit of God in January and February, 1860, began among the younger class of the children under our care, little girls of about six, seven, eight, and nine years old; then extended to the older girls, and then to the boys; so that within about ten days above 200 of the orphans were stirred up to be anxious about their souls, and in many instances found peace immediately, through faith in our Lord Jesus. They at once requested to be allowed to hold prayer meetings among themselves, and have had these meetings ever since. Many of them also manifested a concern about the salvation of their companions and relations, and spoke or wrote to them about the way to be saved. Should the believing reader desire to know how it has been with these children since the end of January and the beginning of February, our reply is, we have, in most cases, cause for thankfulness. The present state of the 700 orphans, spiritually, is, that there are 118 under our care, regarding whose conversion we have full confidence; 89 regarding whom we have also confidence, though not to that full degree as concerning the 118; and 53 whom we consider in a hopeful state. To these 260 are to be added the 14 who were sent out as believers, and the three who died in the faith during the past year. It is to be remembered that very many of the children in the Orphan Houses are quite young, as we have received them from four months old and upward. During no year have we had greater cause for thanksgiving on account of the spiritual blessing among the children than during the last; and yet we look for further and greater blessing still.