The Orphanage connected with the work of the Metropolitan Tabernacle is one of those institutions which presents most beautifully the tenderest and loveliest side of Mr. Spurgeons character. His love for children was only exceeded by their love for him. It was one of the prominent features of his character which won for him so much of the success in his early ministry. The children admired him greatly. The hearts of the mothers and fathers always followed the love of their children, and, in fact, the man who can make himself attractive to the pure, sweet minds of childhood will also be necessarily interesting and helpful to those of older minds. Men are truly "but children of a larger growth." Mr. Spurgeons childish simplicity, which was a wonderful feature of his noble life, convinced every person who knew him or heard of him that he was positively sincere. And this aided him in reaching their hearts and shielded him from the attacks of those who would malign him.
"Innocent as a child," said Mr. Gladstone, concerning him, and indeed few children of middle growth could be said to be as innocent as he. Evil thoughts found no place in his disposition and deceit had no part in his magnificent makeup.
Yet he mingled continually with the lower classes in their poverty and in their home life, being called to visit them in all conditions of want and distress. He saw the children bareheaded and barefooted, often crying with cold, more often besmeared with dirt, sometimes crippled as a result of lack of parental care, and his heart went forth in prayer to God for some method of relief. He had a great admiration for George Muller, whose magnificent work of faith has greatly surprised the unbelieving world, and often said all that he could to encourage people to assist Mr. Muller in his special work for the orphans of London.
Mr. Spurgeon always entertained the idea that there might be arranged some grand institution which would not only provide for the parentless children but also for those little ones whose parents were unable or unwilling to provide for them the necessities of life; yet he never saw the way in which to engage personally in such an undertaking until it was thrust upon him unexpectedly.
While writing an article for his magazine, The Sword and The Trowel, in 1866, he incidentally mentioned the great need there was of some institution or work for the care of neglected orphans.. The result of that little article has been surprisingly romantic. A lady who had been the wife of a clergyman of the Church of England and was justify a widow with considerable means, had been but a few months before received into the Baptist Church on the profession of her faith in its principles. She read Mr. Spurgeons reference to the needs of the children, and, being especially impressed at the time with a strong desire to be of some special use in the Masters work, she thought at once of establishing the Orphanage herself. For a few days she prayed over the matter, and the impression deepening upon her, she at last decided to write to Mr. Spurgeon and offer him a sum of money for an Orphanage if he would establish it and superintend it himself. Consequently a letter was received by him from her containing the astounding offer of $IOO,OOO for an Orphanage, and to be paid at once.
Mr. Spurgeon was so very busy in other matters connected with his religious work that he felt he could not give the proper attention to such a work, but Mrs. Hillyard, who gave the money, insisted that he should take charge of the matter, until he reluctantly consented. In fact, he regarded her persevering insistence as the direct call of God. After consultation with his friends, a small meeting was called and a board of trustees elected to take charge of the money and provide for the building of an Orphanage. Very soon after they purchased the ground at Stockwell on which the different homes for the orphans have since been constructed. It is especially interesting in this connection to know what Mr. Spurgeon said himself in his diary with reference to the Orphanage.
In the following June after he had received the gift of $100,000, he said:
The Lord is beginning to appear to us in the matter of the Orphanage; but as yet He has not opened the windows of heaven as we desire and expect. We wait in prayer and faith. We need no less than ?1o,ooo to erect the buildings, and it will come; for the Lord will answer the prayer of faith.
And in July, 1867, he wrote
We have been waiting upon the Lord in faith and prayer concerning our Orphanage; but He is pleased at present to try us. As we have no object in view but the glory of God by the instruction of fatherless boys in the ways of the Lord, having a special view to their souls salvation, we had hoped that many of the Lords people would at once have seen the usefulness and practical character of the enterprise, and have sent us substantial aid immediately. The Lords way, however, is the best, and we rejoice in it, let it be what it may. If the work is to be one of time and long effort, so let it be, if thereby Gods name is magnified.
We have engaged a sister to receive the first four orphans into her own hired house until the orphanages are ready. Our beloved friend, the original donor, has given her plate to be sold for this object, and in so doing, has set an example to all the believers who have surplus silver which ought to be put to better use than lying wrapped up in a box.
And in August, 1867, he wrote
Let the facts which with deep gratitude we record this month, strengthen the faith of believers. In answer to many fervent prayers, the Lord has moved His people to send in during last month, in different amounts, toward the general fund of the Orphanage, the sum of ?1,075 (about $5,375) for which we give thanks unto the name of the Lord. More especially do we see the gracious hand of God in the following incidents:A lady (Mrs. Tyson), who has often aided us in the work of the College, having been spared to see the twenty-fifth anniversary of her marriage-day, her beloved husband presented her with ?5oo (about $2,500) as a token of his ever-growing love for her. Our sister has called upon us and dedicated the ?500 to the building of one of the houses, to be called The Silver Wedding House. The Lord had, however, another substantial gift in store to encourage us in our work: for a day or two ago, a brother believer in the Lord called upon us on certain business, and when he retired, he justify in a sealed envelope the sum of ?6oo (about $3,000), which is to be expended in erecting another house. This donation was as little expected as the first, except that our faith expects that all our needs will be supplied in the Lords own way. The next, day when preaching in the open air, an unknown sister put an envelope into my hand enclosing ?200 (about $1,000) for the College and another ?20 for the Orphanage. What has God wrought !"
A number of workmen who had been employed during the construction of the Metropolitan Tabernacle combined together and agreed to give their labor for the building of one of the Orphanage houses.
Mr. Spurgeon had the good sense to see that it was not desirable to crowd a great number of children of all classes and attainments into one large building. He saw that children of that age required most of all a home training and home care, hence he insisted upon the erection, if possible, of a large number of small houses so that only a few children would be received in each.
The cornerstones for three of the houses, which were named "The Silver Wedding House," "The Merchants House," and "The Workingmens House," were all laid on the 9th of August, 1867. They celebrated the occasion by a large gathering and public addresses, at which $25,000 was contributed. Eleven thousand dollars was soon afterward sent in directly in consequence of the public meeting at the laying of the cornerstones. The trustees then determined to erect as soon as possible eight different houses, but they were somewhat discouraged when they came to estimate the annual cost of maintaining them, finding it to be at least $15,000. Yet Mr. Spurgeon would only answer every question concerning it with the very simple remark, "it will come." The ways in which the money was contributed for building the other houses brings prominent again to the foreground the most miraculous powers which accompanied him in his charitable and philanthropic undertakings.
In the month of January, 1868, a gentleman handed him unostentatiously a package of $5,000 toward the Orphanage, giving no name or address with it. In March, of the same year, another, or the same unknown person, sent him a munificient gift of $10,000 and ever remained concealed. Many persons connected with the Tabernacle and the College had opposed the institution of the Orphanage upon the plea that it would be likely to impoverish the other great interests which the Church had at stake; but with nearly every one of these great gifts toward the Orphanage came either a check for the other work of the Tabernacle or a letter saying that the gifts toward the Orphanage should in no wise interfere with the regular offerings toward the Tabernacle or the College.
One friend, writing to Mr. Spurgeon mentioned this very thought and said: "I have this day dropped in your letter-box an envelope containing $2,000; $1,000 for the College and $1,000 to build the Orphanage. The institution of the Orphanage inclined me to contribute toward the College. I am a stranger to you but not to your printed sermons.
Two houses for the Orphanage were constructed by a general collection taken among the Baptist Churches of England and are named "The Testimonial Houses." On Mr. Spurgeons birthday, the 19th of June, 1868, the Sunday-School of the Metropolitan Tabernacle laid the foundation stones for two houses of the Orphanage and soon; after completed the entire payment for them.
The young men who had graduated from the College combined to raise the capital for another house. It is curious to note how similarly Providence deals with such enterprises, and how often Mr. Spurgeon found the Orphanage with its bills all paid, but little or no money in the treasury.
In the conduct of Geo. Mullers great work of faith for the orphans, as has been found in a thousand other Christian enterprises, the Lord never justify him in disgraceful debt, nor did he ever leave him with sufficient funds on hand to relieve him of a needed sense of dependence on Divine power.
In December, 1873, Mr. Spurgeon wrote concerning the Orphanage, saying, "To our surprise, the report of the secretary was, All bills paid, but only ?3 ($15) in hand. Prayer went to work at once, and results follow. Will the reader, however, picture himself with more than two hundred and twenty boys to feed, and only $15 in hand. He may say, "The Lord will provide," but would he feel the force of this if he were in our straits."
But Mr. Spurgeon was continually being asked why he did not institute a girls Orphanage, as there were just as many of these poor creatures without a home as there were of the boys; but it was not until 1879 that he saw his way clear to establish such an institution. Many a poor mothers heart throbbed with increasing joy when she heard that it had been decided by Mr. Spurgeon to care of the orphan girls as well as of the boys.
Of the institution of this Orphanage Mrs. Spurgeon most sweetly wrote, in 1880:
June 22.My dear little book, you must faithfully bear the record of the Lords great mercy to me and mine this day! With the loving shouts of the people still ringing in my earsthe warm grip of many fingers yet pressing on my handsand my heart still throbbing with the unwonted excitement of appearing in the midst of a crowded gatheringI turn to you now in the quietude and rest of home to entrust to your pages a grateful memorial of a happy day!
The "Girls" Orphanage" has been inaugurated amidst great rejoicing, the Lord inclining His peoples hearts to give liberally to the work, so that its "stones were laid in fair colors" of faith and hope, and my beloved sees this new "labor of love" abundantly prospering in his hands. Blessed be the Lord who thus giveth to His servant the "desire of his heart," fulfilling "all his petitions." The people gathered round with glad hearts and beaming faces, and many a prayer ascended from loving lips that the dear children, who should be housed, and taught, and cared for in the new homes, might all grow up there in the fear and love of God, and be a blessing in their day and generation.
The band of thirty little girls marching along in front of the boys ("place aux dames!") attracted much attention, and touched all hearts; some of them are such wee mites, and they look very pretty and tender, when compared with the hosts of sturdy boys, who come tramping by in such overwhelming numbers that one wonders if there be any end to them! Few can look unmoved on such masses of orphan children; for in spite of their merry faces, their bright ways, and their happy laughter, the painful fact will force itself upon the mind of the observer that every one of these little ones is taken from a desolate home, where the saddest of all earths bereavements has been suffered; for the children are "fatherless," and the wife is a "widow." There was "April weather" on many a face today; I saw the tears stealing down cheeks on which approving smiles were struggling for the mastery; but the sunshine gained the victory, and the pitying drops were quickly wiped away, for the happy condition and appearance of the children led all to forget the sorrow which brought them there, in intense thankfulness for their present joy and future prospects.
If ever the strange title of "Godfather" were permissible, I think it would be in the case of Mr. Spurgeon toward his boys and girls at Stockwell; for God has made him, as it were, in His stead, a "father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widow!" The Lord bless him on his birthday, and on every other day, and give him many more years in which to be a blessing to the Church, the College, the Orphanage, and the world!
Mr. Spurgeon"s birthdays were especially observed by the congregation at the Tabernacle and by all his friends as a day on which to make special offerings for the philanthropic works which were under his oversight. The Orphanage was especially remembered each year.
Mr. Spurgeon was always fortunate in securing competent persons of excellent judgment to superintend his enterprises, and Mr. Bornan J. Chatsworth who was formerly associate pastor with Newman Hall, accepted the superintendency of the Orphanage and conducted it with wonderful skill and Christian affection. The Orphanage has required large sums for its buildings, its improvement and maintenance which would have appeared impossible to secure when the enterprise was begun. Yet it may be safely said that the institution of that charity has brought to the other enterprises of the Tabernacle more than double of the amounts which it otherwise would have received.
"There is that which withholdeth, which tendeth to poverty" said a wiser than any modern writer; and how strikingly true this has been proven to be in the undertakings of the Churches today in the noble work of the Lord. There are many philanthropic people in every land who desire very much to invest their money where it will perpetually do good, but their business training has taught them that they cannot safely entrust their funds to the management of timid people, or to irresponsible organizations.
Hence as soon as it was made clear to the practical business men of England that Mr. Spurgeon possessed the necessary qualifications of making the best possible use of funds entrusted to his care, he did not lack for generous contributions, and the charities he prayed for were always fully supplied.
No question of creed or race was asked of an orphan, neither was it necessary for the single parent or friend to canvass any board of trustees, in order to secure a vote for the admission of the children to Mr. Spurgeons care. The whole matter was conducted as a friendly kindness, and although thousands of applications had been rejected for lack of room, yet those who were received were not compelled to pass through any ordeal of a "circumlocution office" to reach the hearing or kindness of the Orphanage trustees.
The cost per annum for maintaining the Orphanage has been about $25,000, including food and clothing.
Mr. Spurgeon himself has stated that "No widow ever goes away lamenting over time, labor, and money spent in vain. The worst that can happen is to be refused because there is no room, or her case is not so bad as that of others; not a shilling will have been spent in purchasing votes, no time lost in canvassing, no cringing to obtain patronage. Her case is judged on its merits, and the most necessitious wins the day. We have now so many applications and so few vacancies that women with two or three children are advised not to apply, for while there are others with five, six, or seven children depending on them they cannot hope to help themselves."
The orphans themselves after leaving the institution have often contributed directly or through their friends considerable sums toward its maintenance. Several of them are already most acceptably teaching the Gospel and one is a superintendent of another Orphanage.
Twice there have been held a bazaar for the purpose of raising money for the Orphanage which was successful both in securing funds and in carrying on personal religious work as was done in the case of the first bazaar held for the construction of the Tabernacle.
Mr. Spurgeons own ideas concerning the work of the Orphanages will be more interesting to the reader than anything else we might give, and we quote what he said about them at a time when they were not placed on the stable basis where they now so securely rest.
Ten years ago he said:
When we remember how this gracious work began by the consecrated thought of a holy woman, and then grew into an actual gift from her hand, and further developed, by the large help of others, into houses and schools, infirmary and dining-hall, and all manner of provision for destitute children, we feel bound to cry, "What hath God wrought!" Our God has supplied all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. The story of the Stockwell Orphanage will be worth telling in heaven when the angels shall learn from the Church the manifold wisdom and goodness of the Lord. Incidents which could not be published on earth will be made known in the heavenly city, where every secret thing shall be revealed. How every need has been supplied before it has become a want; how guidance has been given before questions have become anxieties; how friends have been raised up in unbroken succession, and how the One Great Friend has been ever present, no single pen can ever record.
To care for the fatherless has been a work of joyful faith all along, and in waiting upon God for supplies we have experienced great delight. The way of faith in God is the best possible. We could not have carried on the work by a method more pleasant, more certain, more enduring. If we had depended upon annual subscribers we should have had to hunt them up and pay heavy poundage, or perhaps fail to keep up the roll; if we had advertised continually for funds our outlay might have brought in a scanty return; but dependence upon God has been attended with no such hazards. We have done our best as men of business to keep the Orphanage before the public, but we have desired in all things to exercise faith as servants of God. Whatever weakness we have personally to confess and deplore, there is no weakness in the plan of faith in God. Our experience compels us to declare that He is the living God; the God that heareth prayer; the God who will never permit those who trust in Him to be confounded. The business world has passed through trying times during the last few years, but the Orphanage has not been tried; men of great enterprise have failed, but the home of the fatherless has not failed; for this enterprise is in the divine hand, and an eye watches over it which neither slumbers nor sleeps.
Let the people of God be encouraged by the fact of the existence and prosperity of the Stockwell Orphanage. Miracles have come to an end, but God goes on to work great wonders: the rod of Moses is laid aside, but the rod and staff of the Great Shepherd still compass us.
The operations of the institution reveal to the managers the wide-spread necessity which exists. The cry of the orphan comes from every part of our beloved land, and the plea of the widow for Christian sympathy and help is restricted to no one class of the community. Faces once radiant with smiles are saddened with grief, for the dark shadow which death casts falls everywhere. How true are the lines of the poet:
There is no fireside, howsoeer
defended, But has one vacant chair.
It is a constant joy to the president and the committee that they are able to mitigate to such a large extent the misery and need which are brought under their notice; and it must be an equal joy to the subscribers to know that their loving contributions furnish the sinews for this holy war.
As our Sunday-school is affiliated to the Sunday-school Union, we allow the boys who desire to do so to sit for examination. Of the candidates who were successful at the last examination, three gained prizes, twelve first-class certificates, and thirty-eight second-class certificates.
During the year the boys took part in the Crystal Palace Musical Festivals, arranged by the Band of Hope Union and the Tonic Solfa Association.
In order to make the character and claims of the institution more widely known, the head master and the secretary have held meetings in London and the provinces, and the success which has crowned their efforts is of a very gratifying character. The boys who accompany them to sing and to recite furnish a powerful appeal by their appearance and conduct, and commend the institution to which they owe so much. The local papers speak in terms of the highest praise of their services, and thus a most effective advertisement is secured without any cost to the institution. So far as the boys are concerned, these trips have an educational value, for they get to know a great deal of the products and industries of different parts of the country, besides securing the advantage of being brought into contact with Christian families where they reside during their visit.
The amount realized during the year, after defraying all expenses, is $3,320, and our thanks are hereby tendered to all who assisted in any way to secure such a splendid result.
The committee record with thankfulness that there has been no lack of funds contributed for the efficient maintenance of the institution. Friends prefer to give donations rather than pledge themselves to send annual subscriptions, and the benevolence thus manifested is purely spontaneous. The admirable custom of making shirts for the boys is still continued by the young ladies of an educational establishment, who send in a supply of two hundred shirts every year. Their efforts are supplemented by several working associations, but the supply is not yet equal to the demand, and we cordially invite the cooperation of others, to whom we shall be glad to send samples and patterns.
The work of caring for the widow and the fatherless is specially mentioned by the Holy Spirit as one of the most acceptable modes of giving outward expression to pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, and therefore the Lords people will not question that they should help in carrying it out. Will it need much pleading? If so, we cannot use it, as we shrink from marring the willinghood which is the charm of such a service. The work is carried on in dependence upon God, and as His blessing evidently rests upon it, we are confident the means will be forthcoming as the need arises. While commending the work to our Heavenly Father in prayer, we deem it right to lay before the stewards of His bounty the necessities and claims of the institution.
The year 1880 will be a memorable one in the history of the institution, and we record with gratitude the fact that the foundation-stones of the first four houses for the Girls Orphanage were laid on the twenty-second of June, when the presidents birthday was celebrated. It was a joy to all present that Mrs. Spurgeon was able to lay the memorial stone of "The Sermon House, the gift of C. H. Spurgeon and his esteemed publishers, Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster." The memorial stone of another house, the gift of Mr. W. R. Rickett, and called "The Limes, in tender memory of five beloved children," was laid by C. H. Spurgeon, who made a touching allusion to the sad event thus commemorated. Mrs. Samuel Barrow laid the memorial stone of the house called "The Olives," the amount for its erection having been given and collected by her beloved husband. The trustees of the institution having subscribed the funds for the erection of a house, the treasurer, Mr. William Higgs, laid, in their name, the memorial stone which bears the inscription, "Erected by the Trustees of the Orphanage to express their joy in this service of love."
At the present moment the buildings of the Orphanage form a great square, enclosing a fine space for air and exercise. Visitors generally express great surprise at the beauty and openness of the whole establishment. Much remains to be done before the institution is completely accommodated; there is needed an infirmary for the girls, and till that is built one of the houses will have to be used for that purpose, thus occupying the space which would otherwise be filled by thirty or forty children: this should be attended to at an early date. Baths and wash-houses will be urgently required for the girls, and we propose to make them sufficiently commodious for the girls to do the washing for the entire community of five hundred children, thus instructing them in household duties and saving a considerable expense. We would not spend a six-pence needlessly. No money has been wasted in lavish ornament or in hideous ugliness. The buildings are not a workhouse or a county jail, but a pleasant residence for those children of whom God declares himself to be the Father. The additional buildings which we contemplate are not for luxury, but for necessary uses; and as we endeavor to lay out money with judicious economy, we feel sure that we shall be trusted in the future as in the past.
Are there not friends waiting to take a share in the Stockwell Orphanage Building? They cannot better commemorate personal blessings, nor can they find a more suitable memorial for departed friends. No storied urn or animated bust can half so well record the memory of beloved ones as a stone in an Orphan House. Most of the buildings are already appropriated as memorials in some form or other, and only a few more will be needed. Very soon all building operations will be complete, and those who have lost the opportunity of becoming shareholders in the Home of Mercy may regret their delay. At any rate, none who place a stone in the walls of the Stockwell Orphanage will ever lament that they did this deed of love to the little ones for whom Jesus cares. Honored names are with us already engraven upon the stones of this great Hostelry of the All-merciful; and many others are co-workers whose record is on high, though unknown among men. Who will be the next to join us in this happy labor?
When the whole of the buildings are complete, the institution will afford accommodation for five hundred children, and prove a memorial of Christian generosity and of the loving-kindness of the Lord.
In our address at the presentation of the late testimonial, we disclaimed all personal credit for the existence of any one of the enterprises over which we preside, because each one of them has been forced upon us. "I could not help undertaking them," was our honest and just confession. This is literally true, and another illustration of this fact is now to come before the Christian public. Several of us have long cherished the idea that the time would come in which we should have an Orphanage for girls as well as for boys. It would be hard to conceive why this should not be. It seems ungallant, not to say unrighteous, to provide for children of one sex only, for are not all needy little ones dear to Christ, with whom there is neither male nor female? We do not like to do such things by halves, and it is but half doing the thing to leave the girls out in the cold. We have all along wished to launch out in the new direction, but we had quite enough on hand for the time being, and were obliged to wait. The matter has been thought of; and talked about, and more than half promised, but nothing has come of it till this present, and now, as we believe at the exact moment, the hour has struck, and the voice of God in providence says, "Go forward."
The fund for the Girls Orphanage has commenced, and there are about a dozen names upon the roll at the moment of our writing. The work will be carried on with vigor as the Lord shall be pleased to send the means, but it will not be unduly pushed upon any one so as to be regarded as a new burden, for we want none but cheerful helpers, who will count it a privilege to have a share in the good work. We shall employ no collector to make a percentage by dunning the unwilling, and shall make no private appeals to individuals. There is the case: if it be a good one and you are able to help it, please do so; but if you have no wish in that direction, our Lords work does not require us to go a-begging like a pauper, and we do not intend to do so.
We have never been in debt yet, nor have we even borrowed money for a time, but we have always been able to pay as we have gone on,. Our prayer is that we may never have to come down to a lower platform and commence borrowing.
It has often happened that we have been unable to assist widows in necessitous circumstances with large families, because there did not happen to be a boy of the special age required by the rules of our Boys Orphanage. There were several girls, but then we could not take girls, and however deserving the case, we have been unable to render any assistance to very deserving widows, simply because their children were not boys. This is one reason why we need a Girls Orphanage.
Everywhere also there is an outcry about the scarcity of good servants, honest servants, industrious servants, well-trained servants. We know where to find the sisters who will try to produce such workers out of the little ones who will come under their care.
We have succeeded, by Gods grace and the diligent care of our masters and matrons in training the lads so that they have become valuable to business men: why should not the same divine help direct us with the lasses, so that domestics and governesses should go forth from us, as well as clerks and artisans? We believe that there are many friends who will take a special interest in the girls, and that there are some whose trades would more readily enable them to give articles suitable for girls than those which are useful to boys.
Here is a grand opportunity for Christian people with means to take their places among the first founders of this new institution, and if they judge that such a work will be good and useful, we hope that they will without fail, and without delay, come to our assistance in this fresh branch of service. We cannot afford to lose a single penny from the funds for the boys, but this work for the girls must be something extra and above. You helped Willie and Tommy; will you not help Mary and Maggie?
It is very needful to add that foolish persons often say, Mr. Spurgeon can get plenty of money, and needs no help. If all were to talk in this fashion, where would our many works drift to? Mr. Spurgeon does get large sums, but not a penny more than the various works require, and he gets it because God moves His people to give it, as he hopes, good reader, He may move you. We have no personal end to serve, we do not, directly or indirectly, gain a single penny by the Orphanage, College, or any other society over which we preside; neither have we any wealthy persons around us who are at a loss to dispose of their property; but our hard-working church keeps continually consecrating its offerings, and our friends far and near think upon us. Our treasury is the bounty of God, our motto is: THE LORD WILL PROVIDE. Past mercy forbids a doubt as to the future, and so in the name of God we set up our banners.
"The girls part" is not yet fully complete, but it soon will be so, and then we must take in the girls. Now it occurs to me to let my friends know the increased need which has arisen, and will arise from the doubling of the number of children. The income must by some means be doubled. My trust is in the Lord alone, for whose sake I bear this burden. I believe that He has led me all along in the erection and carrying on of this enterprise, and I am also well assured that His own hand pointed to the present extension, and supplied the means for making it. I therefore rest in the providence of God alone. But the food for the children will not drop as manna from heaven, it will be sent in a way which is more beneficial, for the graces of His children will be displayed in the liberality which will supply the needs of the orphans. God will neither feed the children by angels nor by ravens, but by the loving gifts of His people. It is needful, therefore, that I tell my friends of our need, and I do hereby tell them. The institution will need, in rough figures, about one thousand dollars a week.
This is a large sum, and when I think of it I am appalled if Satan suggests the question: "What if the money does not come in?" But it is nothing to the Lord of the whole earth to feed five hundred little ones. He has kept two hundred and fifty boys for these years, and He can do the like for the same number of girls. Only let not His stewards say that there is no need at Stockwell, for there is great and crying need that all my friends should inquire whether they may not wisely render me much more aid than they have done. The buildings are not all finished yet, nor the roads made, but this will soon be accomplished, and then the institution will be in full operation, and its requirements will be great. I have written these lines with a measure of reluctance; and I hope it is not in unbelief; but as a reasonable service, that I have thus stated the case.
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