CHAPTER VI. 1875-1877. Mrs. Way's sewing—class for Jewesses—Bible Flower Mission—George Clarice—Incidents in home work—The Lord's Day—Diary at sea— Letters of cheer from Canada.
Mrs. Way's sewing—class for Jewesses—Bible Flower Mission—George Clarice—Incidents in home work—The Lord's Day—Diary at sea— Letters of cheer from Canada.
The Home of Industry has been already likened to the Pool of Bethesda with its fine porches. Many sights there have been peculiar to itself, and in no instance has this in past years been more remarkable, than in the meeting for Jewesses, which has been carried on ever since the year 1870. From fifty to seventy daughters of Israel are gathered weekly, through the Lord's blessing on the patient, unwearied labours of his honoured servant Mrs. Way. Greatly indeed should she be honoured, for she diligently sought out these lost sheep, when few comparatively could be found to "care for their souls." When first told of "the name at which every knee shall bow," much scorn and contempt were manifested, but Mrs. Way is now cheered by many signs of the Spirit's work, and when a hymn of praise to the "Crucified One," is heard from the inner hall on the ground floor, visitors may be startled to know the voices are those of Hebrew mothers.
Again the Pool of Bethesda is brought to mind, as love for the sick and suffering is shown in a way hitherto unthought of. In 1875, the Home of Industry became a centre of the now well-known Bible Flower Mission. One of the much-loved helpers recorded this touching incident:—
"In the early spring of 1874, a snowdrop, primrose, and two or three violets which had been casually enclosed in a letter from an East-end worker to Mrs. Merry, were passed round her sewing class of 200 poor old widows, 'for each to have a smell,' and then divided and given to three dying Christians, one of whom breathed her last fondly clasping them. From that time flowers were collected through the medium of 'Woman's Work,' etc., and during the season distributed by the ladies at the Home of Industry among the sick in the neighbouring courts, and in different hospitals.
"Again the hedges, tipped with tiny coral buds, primroses, and daffodils peeping up amid the brushwood, golden-eyed celandines and daisies lifting their sweet faces with smiles of welcome, remind us of the near approach of the bright spring-time. But the heart is saddened, and the joy of seeing this fresh burst of resurrection— loveliness is clouded, when we turn to gloomy, stifling courts and lanes in the crowded cities, where gleams of sunshine scarce ever penetrate; the lives of whose miserable inhabitants are yet more utterly devoid of brightness; to whom the voice of spring is an unmeaning sound; to sick ones in these courts, who have no easier couch for the pain-filled limbs than a heap of shavings on the hard floor of a room filled with noisy children, and disorderly men and women; to other sufferers tossing feverishly in hospital wards, with nothing softer for the tired eyes to rest on than the endless stretch of whitewashed walls, the background of long rows of patients whose sad pale cheeks vie in whiteness with the sheets and walls: and the cry ascends?
"'Oh, that a tithe of the wealth of fragrant, many-coloured flowers so lavishly spread over gardens, fields, and hedgerows, could be brought to cheer those who so dearly prize each separate bloom!'
"And once more down, deeper down, into the haunts of vice, smiling so sweetly with the radiance of heavensent gifts, these messengers may go—ready-made missionaries—to open doors and hearts fast locked hitherto, but which must yield to their gentle influence; and thus prepare the way for the ministry of the word of salvation.
"Oh, that men and women surrounded by loveliness could see as the angels do!—strong natures, hardened by years of sin, whose stony hearts are melted at sight of the flowers, and weep (as only such can) when the deep hidden springs are touched, and memory recalls days of childhood's innocence, long, long past; lessons in that village Sabbath-school of the holy God; the story of the Son of His love dying in die stead of guilty sinners, to raise them to the bright, pure land above, where is no sin, no curse, no sorrow, but cloudless day and endless rest and joy; and the spotless flowers seem to beckon them onwards and upwards, to seek and find the way thither; for are not the flowers one of the first links in that chain of love which draws the poor, wearied, sinful heart up to God and heaven?
"Ah! and would to God the country folk might hear! ay, and that the sounds could penetrate into the halls and castles of our land; the silent cry of hospitals with several hundreds of patients, and but rarely a flower?
"'I should so like a little buttercup.'
"And the weary murmur of gladness that steals through the wards when a chance bouquet is brought in; and the heartfelt blessings from many dying lips on the flower-gatherers.
"'Tell them we may never meet on earth, but we shall thank them in heaven.'
"Oh! could the veil be lifted for a brief moment and the dull ears quickened to catch the pleading accents of the blessed lord? 'Do it unto Me'? none would longer count their flowers and fruit their own, the Royal seal would be seen on each, whether growing wild in copses, or carefully nurtured in hothouse and conservatory, and these treasures would be poured out for those so sadly needing them, 'For Jesus' sake!'"
THE BIBLE FLOWER MISSION.
It is needless to say that the appeal thus made has been answered by thousands of loving hearts. The work at the Home of Industry is thus carried on:—Twice in the week one of the spacious floors is devoted to receiving these fragrant treasures, and dear friends from a distance come, some of them many miles, and spend one or two hours in arranging them, and attaching to each little cluster an ornamented card with some message of redeeming love. By twelve o'clock the baskets are generally filled, and all assemble to hear, either from Miss Macpherson or some other tried servant of the Lord, words of counsel and cheer; and then to seek wisdom for the labourers, and to spread before the Lord the spiritual needs of those to whom they are going,—many cases continually occurring for whom the comfort of earnest united prayer is felt.
When the lovely burdens are carried forth, it is hard for the bearers to resist the entreaties from many a doorstep for "one flower, one single flower." Of the thankfulness with which they are received when they reach their destination, we might tell countless instances, and of conversions through the messages they bring we believe not a few. Indeed who can say where the blessing ends? for those who have found a blessing themselves will not keep the cards under their pillow, but have sent them to soldier sons in India and China, and to sailors afar off upon the sea.
The following lines were written by a poor woman, aged 70, in the Mile-end Union:—
"Many an eye with the film of death,
Of the numbers of labourers and abundance of texts and flowers required, some idea may be formed when it is mentioned that thirteen Hospitals, four Unions, some containing over 1000 inmates, and one Lunatic Asylum, are provided for from the Home of Industry. Nor is this all. The secretary supplies Bible women and city missionaries with flowers for solitary sick ones at home, and receives constant appeals from various, missions for these bright messengers of God's love.
Who can read the following without praise to the Giver of every good and perfect gift? Those who knew the condition of Spain had earnestly prayed for evangelists for that dark land. One (Senor Previ) was raised up through the instrumentality of the Bible Flower Mission, and the following extract, from the report of a workers' meeting, as given in the "Christian," tells of his conversion, and the way in which the Lord led a fellow-labourer to join him in this almost untrodden path.
"He came from Malaga in the summer of 1875 to the Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields, for treatment. One afternoon, two ladies belonging to the 'Bible Flower Mission' at the Home of Industry, brought flowers and texts to give to the patients. One of the visitors was about to offer a bouquet to the Spaniard, Senor Previ, when the nurse remarked, 'It's of no use giving him a text, for he is a Roman Catholic, and besides he can't speak a word of English.' 'Never mind,' was the reply, 'I will offer him a bunch of flowers, and then see what I can do.' But what about a text? Surely it was the Lord's doing that for the first time she had brought one written in French; and it was indeed appropriate? 'There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.' After pointing him to the Great High Priest, she asked if he would accept a Spanish Bible. This he refused to do, saying, 'No, I cannot, for it is a bad, forbidden book; besides, I shall leave the hospital to-morrow morning.' 'Nevertheless, I will send you a copy,' was the answer. With great difficulty the lady procured a second-hand Spanish Bible, and sent it off just in time for him to take away.
"Senor Previ then told us how, after studying that Bible for several months, the eyes of his soul were opened to see Jesus as the 'one Mediator.' Thus was fulfilled that promise so precious to all seed-sowers? 'My Word shall not return unto Me void.'
"Soon afterwards he entered Mr. Guinness's College, employing his free time in distributing Gospels, &c., on board foreign ships, and assisting every Sunday at the services in the Spanish Chapel, thus gaining experience for future work in the vineyard. He spoke most warmly of the kindness of Miss Macpherson, and the happy hours spent in the 'dear Home of Industry,' where, at a previous workers' meeting, the ardent desire had first been kindled in his heart to tell the good news of Jesus, the 'one Mediator,' to his own countrymen. For some time he prayed earnestly that the Lord would raise up a friend to go with him. This petition has been fully answered.
"Mr. Lund then rose, and told us that whence, student in Stockholm the desire to work in Spain had been laid on his heart for nearly four years. He studied the language, but, seeing no opening, was on the point of starting for America, when he received a letter from Mr. Guinness which entirely altered his plans. He came to London, and on meeting Senor Previ, offered to accompany him to Spain. The two brethren earnestly requested the prayers of the meeting for their new and difficult work."
The prayers here offered were more than answered. The first labourer has fallen in the field, but others have filled the ranks, and the light kindled in a dark place is now shining brightly.
Miss Macpherson's own words here follow:—
"What is the cry from all ends of the earth? For men and women to witness of a Saviour's love by His death and resurrection. And we are not only to pray the Lord to send forth labourers into the fields that are white, but to look at the things we oft call our own as belonging to another. There are hundreds of young men and women who have been brought to the truth, and whose souls long to be free for Christ's service, but they need a helping hand in little things.
"Let us pray that, from this mission, there may be many results such as the following letter shows. Six years ago the writer was the first-fruits after a winter's labour in the Bedford Institute, Spitalfields —a wild, musical Shoreditch youth. We offered to teach him to write. The Lord changed him, and he has ever since been a consistent Christian. He has been the means of leading his mother to the Saviour. He went to Canada, earning sufficient money to place himself this winter at Oberlin College. I was asked if I knew of one suited to become an artizan-missionary among the tribe of the Basutos. His reply encourages our faith that many more, led thus simply on, may soon go forth as working missionaries, after the pattern of St Paul, reaching souls by their simple, holy life, as well as by their preaching."
"OBERLIN COLLEGE, OHIO, March 25, 1873.
"My DEAR MOTHER IN THE LORD,—Your welcome letter to hand on the 22nd, and the book on the Basutos on the 24th. My soul doth bless the Lord for all that He hath done for me. My soul was filled with praise when I read your proposition to go to Africa. I had been bound in spirit for you, as you for me, and I had been asking the Lord for many days that He would incline you to write to me.
"Previous to receiving the same, I had cast myself upon the Lord more than ever. I could not see my way to run in debt, and I was wondering whether I should go and work on the road; but I had a burning desire to labour most of all for Christ, and I was longing to go South, or somewhere to tell the heathen of Jesus. But when I received your letter, I took it as an answer to prayer from the Lord, and I could hardly finish reading it before I was telling my landlady to rejoice with me. How blessed to trace the hand of the Lord in this! I have learned by this to praise the Lord for what He has done, and it has enabled my soul to trust Him for what He has promised.
"Believing this call is of God, and after much prayer, I have laid myself, all that I am or hope to be, upon the altar, for Africa, to labour to lead souls to the Lamb of God, to the blessed Lord Jesus. I expect to be consumed by the power of the Holy Ghost, to be fitted through Him for the work I am called to, to be used as the ram's horn, to be spoken through, to lead souls to Jesus, not to receive the praise of men, but of God.
"And I feel led to say, if it is for anything save for the glory of God that I accept this call, to be used to the salvation of souls, may the Lord take me home to Himself on sea or on land, that I see you not in the flesh but in glory.
"I have written this in prayer before God to you, and this is my burning desire, to be used of God. I do pray the Lord to keep me, and put down all vain-glorying thoughts, which will naturally rise at such a point as this, and He is doing it. I want to see Jesus more, the value of precious souls, and all the realities I profess.
"I have read 'The Rides in the Mission Field of South Africa.' I was much interested, and I had a longing to go, but I could see no place for such a hope; I hare lent it to others here to read.
"I am reading 'The Basutos,' and I enjoy it; I am reading in prayer that the Lord will show me what things would be necessary to take. I shall speak on this point presently.
"I had a letter lately from some of my old neighbours in Muskoka, telling me of the conversion of a young man I had often spoken to and prayed for. I rejoice that my mother has given me up joyfully for Africa, and I am so glad she continues bright in the Lord. I am praying that I may have the privilege of seeing them all brought to Christ, before I leave for Africa, I cease not to pray for you.—Your son in the faith, G. C."
Interest in the Basuto tribe could not but be deepened from the touching incident that in February of this year a feast for the little matchbox-makers was provided from the contributions of Basuto children,—those who had been blessed through the Lord's long-tried labourers, Mr. and Mrs. Dyke. How little could any one then anticipate the deep waters through which those servants of the Lord have since been called to pass.
The workers' meetings at the Home of Industry are often a time of mingled joy and sorrow. It is not alone the little emigrants for Canada who are sent forth, but many a brother and sister in the Lord, leaving home and kindred for His dear name's sake, have here been commended with tearful prayers to His gracious keeping. The workers' meeting in July this year was a season of peculiar interest, as George Clarke, the first-fruits of the work, was present on the eve of his departure for China. The way had not been made open for him to join the mission in South Africa, as he had desired, and since his departure at this time for China, he has laboured in connection with the China Inland Mission, not once revisiting his native land.
A few incidents in home work are here recorded:—
"Having asked the Lord to send those He would have rescued for Him, no less than five children came to the Refuge last Wednesday. Their touching histories need no comment.
"A struggling mother desires a start in life for her boy of ten, whose stepfather subjects him to ill-treatment. The lady interested in him (for the woman attends her mothers' meeting) writes: 'William would be saved from destruction, to which he is fast hastening from unkind treatment.'
"Arthur's story is summed up in his own words: 'I saw my father kill my mother; he stamped on her when he was drunk, and killed her, and I cried out.' Then, turning to his new friend and protectress, the little fellow went on: 'But when I get a big man I'll work for you, and pay you back for taking care of me when I was a little boy.'
"The next group, clad in deep mourning, is brought by a professional opera singer: a babe in arms, a boy and girl aged two and four, evidently born in a much higher sphere—pretty, refined children. At their mother's death this young woman took charge of them, their father having promised to pay 1 pound a week for their support;—an empty promise it proved, for the 'gentleman' absconded, heavily in debt to many others. The children's friend can no longer afford to keep them, though she seems tenderly attached to them, and will not part with the baby as long as she can maintain it. The only way open to her was to let the children wander on the street, on the chance of their being taken up by the police and put in the workhouse, at the same time risking her own imprisonment if discovered. Mercifully she heard of the Refuge, and came to beg a home for these deserted lambs.
"A widowed mother, whose failing eyesight prevents her sewing, and whose earnings by charing cannot support herself and four children, heard Miss Macpherson speak at the Moorgate Street Hall Noon Prayer-Meeting, and was led to bring little Alice to her, pleading for Christian care. Amid many tears she tells of the wayward wilfulness of the elder girl, out at all hours of day and night, and whose pernicious example is too likely to ruin the little sisters."
Could such cases be sent away, or a deaf ear turned to the cry of these "young children asking bread, and no man giving it them?" (Lamentations 4:4.)
Miss Macpherson also writes:—"Many of those, once the little match-box makers, are now Christian girls taking our counsel and going as servants into Christian families.
"Thus our child-loving hearts cannot refuse to rescue the sorrowful children that come to us to escape the atrocities of the almost unacknowledged bloodless war that goes on in our midst. Most of the fifty rescues now under our care are here through the slain upon the battle-field of drink, shaven heads telling the tale of neglect. The last two motherless little girls sent to us were turned out by their drunken stepfather.
"The leader of our class for mothers and widows says that it is almost impossible to visit them, their unmurmuring sufferings are so touching. In many of their little garrets almost everything is sold. And these are the saints of the Lord—those who will very soon go in to the King more than conquerors. Yes, these are they from whom we learn our best lessons of trust and patience, how to deal with sceptics, and how to go down and share our crust with a suffering sister."
"Oh, friends, listen to a mother's sad words. 'Some days nothing all day. A little relief comes with the parish allowance; but many a morning those hungry voices ask? Mother, is this the day for bread?' Hear in fancy your loved and cherished little ones asking this, and you will feel for that mother's heart. She recalls one day that she left them crying for bread; but she left One with them, the children's Friend. He quieted them; and when after two hours the mother returned, she found them sleeping. 'But, oh,' she said, 'that sight just broke-my heart, so starved they looked— even the baby in Lizzie's arms—all just like little skeletons! I couldn't help it; I just sat down and wept.' Only with tears could we hear such a tale. No other response would come as we took in the picture; and it did not mend our sorrow when she added, 'There were thousands such as these.'" Oh, the intense longing that her voice could reach to those drawing-rooms yonder! Will not the echo of it, coming in this form, cause some, not in imagination merely, but in reality, to "come and see?" Climb the dark stair, and hear for yourself these melting stories, which will fill your heart with pity, and not leave you wondering what will interest next. What a privilege, yea, high honour, it is to be allowed to take messages for Jesus! It was stated lately in a crowded gathering of six thousand, as the misery of the poor was dwelt on, that if God were to ask the angels in heaven if any were willing to spend fifty or a hundred years down here to befriend some? little shoeless, homeless boy, for whom no Christian was caring, to tell him of Jesus, and lead him to heaven, 'why, in three minutes,' were the burning words, 'I don't believe there'd be an angel left within the pearly gates.'"
"My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." That which is called the day of rest, is at the Home of Industry one of varied and incessant labour; one day may serve as a specimen. Before the usual hour for morning service, two of the lady-workers start for the Fenchurch Street Station, to hold a Bible-class with the railway porters; others at the same time leave for Bird Fair. Bird Fair would he a sad sight to witness on any day in any place, how humiliating it is to behold on that which is called the Lord's Day in a so-called Christian land. Here, from eleven till one, dog-stealers parade their ill-gotten prey, and crowds through which it is scarcely possible to make one's way, are occupied in gambling and betting on them, and on the beautiful pigeons here made such an instrument of sin. The character of the neighbourhood may be, known from the appeal made by two poor boys who came on a week day to ask shelter from a blind, Christian woman. They were locked out of their own home (a bird and rabbit shop), for their parents were both out drinking, and they said, "Father and mother keep sober only on Sundays, because there is more business to be done." There, amid many interruptions, the Gospel is preached to those who would never hear it elsewhere. The preaching station on this occasion was in a railway-arch, here the harmonium was placed, and two brethren, who came purposely from a distance, gave the help so much needed; for the strain is great on head, heart, and voice. In the afternoon the spacious floor, well known to many who attend the workers' meetings, is filled by adult classes of women. At the close an address is given, often by a returned missionary, and many among these very poor of the flock bring their offerings, scanty in themselves, but surely much prized in the sight of Him whose love has constrained them; twice over has a precious offering been given to me for the Punrooty Mission—once from the adult classes, and again from the younger Sunday scholars. The adult Sunday-school numbers more than 160 members. A class of working men is held below. The tea hour is one of peculiar interest. Many young men who are engaged in business in the week, and give this day of rest to the business of their King, meet here after having spent the afternoon teaching in various schools. During this meal letters are read from far-off lands, often written by those who had formerly met here, and who have gone from this training to dark places of the earth. Many subjects for prayer are thus brought forward and remembered before the Lord; then the building is again filled to overflowing. An infant class of ninety in one room on the ground floor—when these disperse a Gospel meeting is held in this room,—a class of factory girls in another, while above crowds of children press. But there is much outside work besides, to occupy every helper. Lodging-houses in the thieves' quarters are visited, and services held, and many hundreds are thus reached; and after nine P.M., when the labourers return from their varied spheres, all join once more in praise and prayer, and many walk a long mile and more to reach their own homes, none using any vehicle or train oh the Lord's day.
It is impossible to follow every detail in this continually increasing work, and only brief mention can be made of the goodness of the Lord in having once more preserved the lives of dear ones in Canada, when, in 1875, the Home at Belleville was again destroyed by fire, and again Canadian kindness and hospitality were manifested to the utmost. Each summer's sun had shone upon band after band of young emigrants guided safely across the ocean, through the goodness and mercy of Him, "Who carries the lambs in His bosom," and "Who holdeth the waters in the hollow of His hand." In the labour of watching over these little ones on the voyage, as in every other, the Lord raised up helpers like-minded with those who bore the burden of the work. In May, 1876, the twenty-second party sailed under the care of Mr. Merry and Miss Macpherson, and the following extracts are from her diary:—
"Friday, May 5.—Calm seas, children bright and happy, cloudless skies, weather charming and exhilarating, though cold. Morning spent over our Bibles. Time seemed to fly rapidly while we talked of 'the things concerning the King.' In the afternoon the bracing air and bright skies invited vigorous exercise, and our Birmingham friend and I walked between two and three miles. Faith was our theme of converse. May the result be that we both shall trust our God more than heretofore, for ourselves and our work, and realise increased measure. (Philippians 4:19) 'My God shall supply all your need.'
"Our children being on deck, we joined them in their games, and then assembled our large family in their separate steerages; and standing in the doorway between, I was enabled to address them and the helpers —140 in all. Their evening hymn attracted the sailors, and this gave a double gathering on mid-decks. Our portion was Luke 10:38-42, 'The one thing needful.' Jesus the need of each one, ere leaving us. A saddened look fell over every little face, as we referred to parting, while many beamed with joy, as we talked of the meeting by and bye. We closed by singing 'Around the throne of God in heaven.' During this hour Mr. Merry held a solemn meeting among the sailors in the forecastle. May the Lord Jesus scatter His saints to the four quarters of the globe, that His glory may be increased. If those who cannot go would only meet weekly, in twos and threes, and pray for the foreign fields of perishing millions, surely we should see greater results.
"This day ended in one of the most lovely of moonlight nights, and as we walked on deck we were ever and anon led to praise God and admire the beauties of His hand. Venus was resplendent; very large and full of soft lustrous beauty, while an aurora shed some lovely tinges of colour across the sky. Our little group turned once more towards the chart room, and sang a hymn of praise to 'Him who hath loved us.'
"'If so much loveliness is sent
"Saturday, May 6.—At early dawn we were awakened from a long brain-refreshing sleep by one of the officers gently tapping at our door, and in a whisper saying, 'A glorious sunrise.' We were soon with him on the bridge, filled with admiration as we gazed upon the scene before us. The sun appeared rising from the ocean, its golden rays shedding a dazzling brilliance on all around. While we watched, the scene changed, and a misty veil beclouded the whole horizon, hiding from our view that which had been so lovely.
"After going down to an early cup of tea we sang our morning hymn of praise, and had a season of prayer; a very hallowed opportunity it was, one which brought us again to feel our deep need of grace, to live one more day to His praise and glory.
"About noon we bad another of those never-ending changes which are to be met with on this great ocean; the sun came out bright and warm, the sky became brilliantly blue, and the sea was one sheet of ice fields as far as the eye could reach.
"Our noble Scotch ironclad rode on her way majestically, leaving a pathway in the frozen fields to be seen for miles behind, and as she struck her boom upon the massive sheets of ice, they seemed to vibrate and cause a movement in huge sheets on before and on either side. Some magnificent pieces, when touched by the ironclad's power, shiver into thousands of fragments, others pass our vessel's side, hard as iron, to be wafted on to the Gulf Stream, there to come under a warmer influence. This Arctic scene causes our captain and his officers to look rather serious, and they mount at times to the fore-topgallant mast. Did we but know the dangers which beset us through yielding to the allurements of the world, how often would we also mount aloft, and get upon, our watch-tower and look out!
"You will naturally ask, How far did the ice reach? We were fourteen hours cutting through it, passing sixty vessels and two steamers (many of them fixtures), signalling those we came near. It was touching to see a barque make efforts to get into our opened-up pathway, but she could not make the short distance to reach the cleared waters. Those who watched throughout that long day as we triumphantly, though slowly, broke our ice-girt way, saw seals between the fields of ice, porpoises and whales spouting and bounding in their glorious freedom, sea-gulls and small red birds flying about.
"Our little fellows were constructing allegories after the fashion of their last course of lessons on Banyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress.' The ice field, they said, was like Satan, and the ship was like Christian; and thus they went on, as they sat looking over the bulwarks at the ice which so hindered our progress. There is not a child who has not had his constitution braced by this most favourable voyage. To-day we passed a steamer in the ice, which had started a week ahead of us from Glasgow. How we realised at this time the comfort and rest of having a captain and officers who were men of prayer.
"The gun was now fired to tell the dwellers at Metis to telegraph the glad news to you that we were safe in sight of land, though there are still Amaleks to be overcome,—narrow straits lined with mountains full of minerals, which are a magnetic attraction to our ironclads, and more ships have been lost here than anywhere else; fogs which come and go, ever keeping the sailor as he nears the shore in anxious trepidation; and shallows that require skill in sounding.
"Sunday, May 7.—A cloudy day, after a week of unspeakable loving-kindness and tender mercy. We could by faith hear His own voice within, saying 'My peace I give unto you.' Our children all day were most obedient, and kind and loving to each other. We spent the morning together, the last of the kind until we meet on that morning that hath no clouds. Ere commencing our lesson, we asked a sailor to lift the hatchway wide open. This gave the suggestion for the subject, 'The Man with the Palsy,' which was easily understood by supposing the sailors with cords to let one more little boy down into our midst.
"The pilot met us at Father Point about 4 P.M., bringing a telegram of welcome from one of our dear Canadian friends, also a verse from Philemon. Thus we feel assured loving hearts are prayerfully awaiting us on the shores we are nearing, a sweet symbol of the better land and the loved ones on before.
"Monday, May 8.—Mr. Merry was astir before five o'clock, and awaking the young helpers. Soon they were in the steerage among the children; commenced packing of blankets, &c., as we were expecting to make the port soon after breakfast In this, however, we were disappointed, as in Travers's Strait the Mineral Mountains attracted the compass, and a dense fog hiding all headlands retarded our progress, making it necessary to lower one of the boats to take the soundings, and go before the great 'Sardinian,' showing her how to shape her course in the narrow way. A sweet reminder this to us that our Lord was so condescending as to use the possessions of a little lad when He needed the two small fishes. And we take encouragement that many of our little ones are going on before, preparing the way in many a district by their sweet hymns telling of the 'wondrous story,' for the devoted evangelists who are being raised up in Canada to follow with deeper revealings of the blessed Bible, winning precious souls 'till He come.'
"'I am coming! Are you working?
"Such is the effect of fog at sea, that we are told it may be 6 P.M. ere we arrive, and judging from all appearances, great caution is required in the Gulf at this time of year. At 11 A.M. we had a sweet season of thanksgiving for the many mercies received. At twelve o'clock the fog lifted, and the engine went on with its accustomed vigour. At 5 P.M. we neared the shore, and there stood a group of more than a dozen young ladies, waving a welcome. Soon they were on deck, and saluted us and our children, telling us they had borne us up in prayer before the Lord. After uniting with them in praise for the unspeakable mercies by the way, we bade farewell to passengers, officers, and crew, and sliding down the long gangway from the I bulwarks, felt our feet once more on terra firma. Shaking our captain's hand with a grateful heart for all his kindness to us and ours, in a few minutes steam was up, and the 'Sardinian' on her way to Montreal.
"We then went to see the little ones having tea in an adjoining hall, while Mr. Merry was very busy among the agents and luggage. It being announced that the Quebec boat was ready to cross the river, we had to part with our young friends, who told us they should all take a deeper interest than ever in us now they had seen the bright faces Of our children. Front love to Jesus, they had met during the past winter to make clothing, and presented me with a large case to take on.
"After sending our telegrams to each Home, we found the first-class cars ready for our children, so we put every one at full length, and soon all were soundly asleep, and we went on hour after hour.
"Tuesday, May 9.—We arrived at Montreal at ten o'clock, where a most comfortable breakfast was awaiting us, with nice washing accommodation. Here we had the pleasure of meeting the Secretary of the Emigration Department of Ottawa, who kindly gave us some sound counsel on many points bearing upon our work of emigration.
"At eleven o'clock we heard the summons, 'All aboard!' and were soon again on our way. We dined at Prescott, and then still westward we travelled until midnight.
"All was mercy. For Sidney, our little delicate child, we feared the cold night-air would be too much, so the cry went upwards for guidance with regard to this precious orphan, whose story was so touching. A Christian widow had sheltered his mother from the streets when the child was but two weeks old, and had kept him for five years, but now, her failing eyesight rendering her unable to support him, with a breaking heart she gave him up to us. All my desire now our journey was ending was to keep from making one special attachment, yet his delicacy drew us all more than ever to him.
"Owing to a telegram not having been delivered, about midnight one of the trying incidents of this part of our journey unexpectedly occurred. On arriving at Belleville, after awaking our sleeping family, we found neither friend nor conveyance awaiting us. Mr. Merry walked the mile to the Home, and soon our waggon was ready to take back a few of the most exhausted ones, whilst our car was shunted to a siding for the night.
"Wednesday, May 10.—Ere seven o'clock, by help of a large omnibus, we were conveyed to the new Belleville Home, where we met with a warm welcome. It was a day of reunion with loved fellow-workers, talking of the way the Lord had led us, and the trials and joys of the past year. Twelve months ago, I left this Home a mass of ruins and burnt embers; now a new and more efficient one for the purpose is erected on the same spot My beloved friend Miss Bilbrough has indeed had many a burden to bear, but her testimony to the Lord's faithfulness is greater than ever. Her heart is more and more devoted to the children, and to carrying forward the work in all its never-ceasing details.
"After a few hours' sleep, it was so very interesting to walk over our new and conveniently arranged Home. Truly our hearts were filled with praise as we knelt together to thank the Lord. Towards the afternoon I was introduced to a young man who was working as gardener. We had brought him out from England in 1870, and he has ever since given great satisfaction to his employers, has paid back his passage-money, joined the Church, and not long since was married to his late master's daughter.
"In the evening we walked into town, and met with 'Daniel's Band,' which is composed of seventeen Christian young men, who are uniting in prayer and work for the souls of their fellow-townsmen; and through their instrumentality many conversions have taken place, and the churches have been stirred up to greater activity. Mr. Merry gave a clear Gospel address, and another meeting being asked for, a Bible-reading was arranged for the following evening. Thus we had the privilege of witnessing for our blessed Master to about 200, and cheering the hearts of 'Daniel's Band.'
"Thursday, May 11.—Occupied the day writing English letters and receiving friends. Also went to see an aged saint, who had from our first visit to these shores been a helper by her prayers.
"Friday, May 12.—Left Belleville for Galt soon after 6 A.M., taking with us thirty-eight children, and travelling by rail along the shores of Lake Ontario. The morning hours passed quickly en route, and as we neared Toronto, towns and villages became more frequent and more attractive. At Berlin an unexpected kindness was shown us. Orders had been given to send us on by special train, so that no delay was experienced in travelling the remaining fourteen miles of our journey. Those who have travelled 3000 miles with a number of children can understand how this was appreciated by us, when every nerve was strained, and nature was yearning for a long sleep free from the shaking of the railway.
"At 5 P.M., on the seventeenth day after leaving London, we reached the end of our journey, and found our farmer-nephew, with his team, awaiting our arrival. Soon we were on the hill, looking at the little Home beyond. As we approached the gates the shout of welcome from more than a score of young voices greeted us, and on the verandah we were received by our loved niece, and the dear friends who have been assisting her in the absence of her parents. The strain of travel now being over, we were able to enjoy a few hours' rest, our hearts full of gratitude for the many mercies which had encompassed us all our journey through.
"'How good is the God we adore,
During the winter, individual visitation of the children had been most effectually accomplished by the four Inspectors appointed by the Canadian Government, the result of which proved to be most favourable to the plan of placing the "Solitary in families." After two days rest at Galt, Miss Macpherson started on the same loved work, and met with the usual cheering results.
On her return home Miss Macpherson thus writes:—
"In the providence of our covenant-keeping God, and Father of the fatherless, we have been again permitted in peace to return from another visit to the adopted homes of our little ones. To His praise, who is the Answerer of prayer, we record that 100,000 miles have been travelled in connection with these special charges in the past six years, and no storm or accident has been permitted to alarm, no death requiring the remains to be committed to the great deep.
"During the past year the Dominion Government chose four of their oldest officials to visit all our children, (as their Blue-book records), 'deeming that from their experience they would be best enabled to judge of the condition, position, and prospects of the children in their situations.' The Government are satisfied (as parents of the State), that our children 'are very carefully placed,' bringing out the fact that, ninety-eight out of every 100 are doing well." Miss Macpherson adds:—
"A letter will often show the progress of an industrious young man, and being asked for details, I give the following from a handful of similar encouraging testimonials:—
"MAGNETAWAN, DISTRICT PARRY SOUND, ONTARIO.
"DEAR MISS MACPHERSON,—This is from William Miller—one that came cut under your care three years ago last June. I worked in the town of Galt as a substitute three months, for a man while he went home to his friends in Scotland. After that I went to live in Pelham, in the county of Welland, a situation that Miss Reavell directed me to, and there stayed three years, and saved a little money; and now I have moved to Parry Sound, to the address which you will find at the end of this note. Dear friend, I desire to hear of your welfare in the work that God has put in your hands to do,—in bringing out the destitute ones from England into a land of plenty, and where they can be well cared for. I have seen many of them around the country where I have been, almost all looking well, and enjoying themselves much.
"I now live in the township of Croft. I have 186 acres of land, on the banks of Doe Lake. I think if I had stayed in England I should not have had as many feet. I like England very well, but it is a hard place for the poor. I took 100 acres of this land as free grant, and the rest I bought. It is two miles and a half from the village. There are two stores, post-office, and sawmill; I think a flour-mill will be built this summer. Magnetawan River runs through the village. There are two waterfalls for mill purposes in the village. A day school will commence in the summer, and there is also a church and Sunday-school, to which I go. In the winter it is not held, because the roads are so bad, but when the country gets open more the roads will be better.
"I humbly thank God for guiding and keeping me in good health, and under the banner of Christ, and I trust walking in His ways, and hope to remain so unto death, and then live with Him above, there to part no more.
"My brother is living here also; he has 200 acres of land. Remember me to all the workers at the Home, praying that we may all, as Christians, work for the Lord of glory, and at last meet together to praise Him. 'Wait on the Lord.'
"I remain, yours truly in Christ, W. MILLER."
Those who have been helped, help their kindred in after years. The following is an instance:—
"DOUGLAS, June 29, 1876.
"DEAR Miss MACPHERSON,—I have been here four years in August, I will be four years with my master in October. I like this country well; the crops are growing well, and there is prospect of a good harvest. Dear ma'am, I have a little brother nearly ten years old, and he is living with my mother; he wants to come to this country, and mother is willing he should, and I think I have enough to pay his passage out; and if it pleased you, would you take him into your Home, and send him out with your boys. Please would you send him to the Belleville Home, as we would then be able to get him, because the man that my brother is with says he would not object to taking him. Please would you let me know how much it would take to pay for sending him to Belleville, and where would I send the money to.
"I am able to plough now, and milk cows, chop wood, reap grain, and mow hay. I am raising fifty young apple-trees of the Spitenberg kind. I am going to be a farmer myself some day; it is very nice and healthy work. I get a good many rides on horseback. I have a lamb of my own; my master gave it me when it was a small, little lamb, but now it has grown into a good-sized sheep. The Premier of the Dominion was at this village, and I heard him speak. We will soon begin to cut our hay; we have a mowing-machine, so that it does not take long to cut our hay. There is a Sunday-school three miles away from us, quite near where my brother lives; it has sixty scholars, and I go to it every Sunday, but the preaching is only once a fortnight. In our Sunday-school we sing about the same hymns we used to sing when in the Refuge, and there is three of us 'Home' boys go to that Sunday-school. We have seven head of horn-cattle, five horses, ten sheep, and six lambs, thirty-six hens, forty-four hen chickens, two geese, and nine goslings, two pigs, and one calf, so I will say good-bye for the present.—I remain, yours sincerely,
JOHN HENEY MITCHELL.
"P.S.—Give my love to all the boys, and accept the, same from me, J. M."
The following incidents are told by Miss Macpherson:—
"Miss Bilbrough often goes off with half-a-dozen to see them placed in their new home. Whilst on one of these journeys, the little ones were attracting the notice of fellow-travellers, as some forty to fifty are generally in a compartment. From amongst these Miss Bilbrough is accosted by a young gentleman, who lifts his hat to her, and sits down by her side. This was one of our first party, now a young solicitor, just about to pass his last examination. He was on the important business of going to some place in the backwoods to value a farm for the firm by whom he was employed.
"Another young man, one of our second band in 1870, is now visiting his friends in England for a month, ere beginning his career as a lawyer in Canada; and more than this, he is, we rejoice to say, a consistent Christian of several years' standing. Now, when we want a lawyer's counsel, our young friend is glad to give it us, and already has done us good service. Sweet thank-offerings!
"My past birthday in June was spent in taking two little fellows to their homes. After travelling nearly one hundred miles, as we neared our destination very tired, we wondered to ourselves whether it would be in a log hut, farmhouse, or mansion we should find a welcome with our little charges. It proved to be the last.
"The Lord had put it into the heart of a young married lady to rear an orphan boy, and thus fulfil a long-cherished idea. She had also induced another Christian lady to do the same. It was a sweet reward to His wearied servant, to know that two orphans would be so well cared for."