September 16, 1838. Lord's day afternoon. We met again to pray for supplies for the orphans. We are at peace, and our hope is in God. He will help us although only one shilling has come in since last evening.
September 17. The trial continues. It is now more trying to our faith each day, but I am sure God will send help, if we wait. Several people gave us a few shillings which enabled us to pay the current expenses and to purchase provisions so that nothing in any way has been lacking.
My faith was tried because of the long delay of larger sums coming. When I went to the Scriptures for comfort, my soul was greatly refreshed by Psa. 39. I went cheerfully to meet with my dear fellow-laborers for prayer, read them the Psalm, and encourage them with the precious promises contained in it.
September 18. We received one pound eight shillings to buy the meat and bread which was needed, a little tea for one of the houses, and milk for all-no more than this is needed. Thus the Lord has provided not only for this day, but there is money for bread for the next two days. Now, however, we are in dire straits again. The funds are exhausted. The laborers who had a little money have given their last shillings.
Now observe how the Lord helped us! A lady from London brought a parcel with money and rented a room next door to the Boys' Orphan House. This afternoon she brought me the money which amounted to three pounds two shillings and sixpence. We were at the point of selling these things which could be spared, but this morning I asked the Lord to provide for us in another way.
The money had been near the Orphan Houses for several days without being given. That proved to me that it was in the heart of God from the beginning to help us. But because He delights in the prayers of His children, He allowed us to pray so long. Our tried faith made the answer much sweeter.
I burst into loud praise and thanks the first moment I was alone. I met with my fellow-laborers again this evening for prayer and praise, and their hearts were greatly cheered. This money will easily provide for all that will be needed tomorrow.
September 22. Both yesterday and today we have assembled for prayer and praise. We are in no immediate need, but on the 29th, the rent of the three Orphan Houses will be due. My comfort is in the living God. During this week He helped me in such a remarkable way that it would have been doubly sinful not to have trusted in Him for help under this fresh difficulty. No money came in this morning. About two, the usual time when the teachers are paid, a sovereign was given which partially paid the weekly teacher's salaries. I found that the headmaster had received a sovereign in the morning. By this sovereign, together with the one I had received just at the moment when it was needed, we were helped through this day.
September 25. We still meet for daily prayer. In four days the rent for the Orphan Houses will be due, and we have nothing for it. Also the housekeeping money in the three houses is gone again. May the Lott' have compassion on us and continue to help us!
September 29. Prayer has been made for several days concerning the rent which is due today. I have been expecting the money, although I did not know where a shilling was to come from. This morning the headmaster called on me, and we prayed together from ten until a quarter to twelve. Twelve o'clock struck, the time when the rent should have been paid, but no money had been sent. For some days I have repeatedly had a misgiving, whether the Lord might not answer us, in order that we would begin to set money aside daily for the rent.
This is only the second complete failure of answer to prayer in the ministry during the past four years and six months. The first was about the half-yearly rent of Castle-Green classrooms due July 1, 1837, which had come in only in part by that time. I am now fully convinced that the rent should be put aside daily or weekly as God prospers us, in order that the work, even in this point, may be a testimony. May the Lord help us to act accordingly, and may He mercifully send in the money to pay the rent!
October 2. The Lord has dealt most bountifully with us during the last three days! Five pounds came in for the orphans. Oh, how kind is the Lord! Yesterday, more came in and defrayed the housekeeping expenses. The Lord also helped me to pay the rent.
October 9. Today we were brought lower than ever. The money for milk in one of the houses was provided by a laborer selling one of his books. The matrons in the Boys' Orphan House had two shillings left this morning. We were wondering whether to buy bread with it or more meat for dinner when the baker left seventy-five loaves of bread as a gift.
October 10. The coal in the Infant Orphan House is gone, and there is little more in the other two houses. Also, the medicine is nearly all gone. We have asked the Lord for fresh supplies.
October 11. The "Father of the fatherless" has again shown His care for us. An orphan from Devonshire arrived last evening. With her was sent some money and silver articles that we sold for sixteen pounds. Thus we were helped through the heavy expenses of the following days: October 12. Seven brothers and sisters were added to us in fellowship. May the Lord send helpers for the work!
October 15. I knew that money would be needed this morning for many things in the Orphan Houses, and my heart was therefore lifted up in prayer to the Lord. Just when I was going to meet my fellow-laborers for prayer, several pounds arrived. We were able to purchase medicine and a ton of coal. Now, however, we must depend on the love of our Lord for further supplies because there is nothing in hand, and the laborers do not have any more of their own to give.
October 29. The Lord has again given us this day our daily bread, although in the morning there was not the least prospect of obtaining supplies. We are trusting in God day by day. He meets our needs faithfully in so many ways as we wait patiently upon Him. Our needs are great, but His help is also great.
November 10. All seemed to be dark at the beginning of this day. But the Lord has enabled us to meet all financial demands. One more week has ended, and we have been able to supply the needs of ninety-seven people in the Orphan Houses, without going into debt.
November 21. Not even a single halfpenny was left in the three houses. Nevertheless, we had a good dinner, and by sharing our bread, we made it through this day also. When I left the brothers and sisters after prayer, I told them we must wait for help and see how the Lord would deliver us this time. I was sure of help, but we were indeed in another serious situation.
When I left the meeting, I felt that I needed more exercise so I walked home a longer way. About twenty yards from my house, I met a brother who walked back with me. After a little conversation, he gave me ten pounds to provide the poor saints with coal, blankets, and warm clothing. He also gave five pounds for the orphans and five pounds for the other needs of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. The brother had come to see me twice while I was away at the Orphan House. Had I been one half minute later, I would have missed him. But the Lord knew our need, and therefore allowed me to meet him.
November 24. This has been a very remarkable day. We had little money in hand this morning, and several pounds were needed. But God, who is rich in mercy and whose Word positively declares that none who trust in Him will be disappointed, has helped us through this day also. While I was in prayer about the funds, I was informed that a gentleman had called to see me. He informed me that a lady ordered three sacks of potatoes to be sent to the Orphan Houses. They could not have come at a better time! This was an encouragement to me to continue to expect help.
November 28. This is perhaps the most remarkable day as yet! When I was in prayer this morning, I firmly believed that the Lord would send help, although all seemed dark to natural appearances. At twelve o'clock I met as usual With the brothers and sisters for prayer. Only one shilling had come in, and all but two pence had already been spent. I found that we had everything necessary for the dinner in the three houses, but neither in the Infant's nor in the Boys' Orphan House was there enough bread for tea or money to buy milk. We united in prayer, leaving the situation in the hands of the Lord.
While we prayed, there was a knock at the door, and one of the sisters went out. After the two brethren and I had prayed aloud, we continued for a while silently in prayer. I was lifting up my heart to the Lord, asking Him to make a way for our escape. I asked Him if there was any other thing which I could do with a good conscience, besides waiting on Him, so that we might have food for the children.
At last we rose from our knees. I said, "God will surely send help." The words had not quite passed over my lips when I saw a letter lying on the table, which had been brought while we were in prayer. It contained ten pounds for the orphans.
Last evening a brother asked me whether the money in hand for the orphans would be as large this time, when the accounts would be closed, as it was the last time. My answer was that it would be as great as the Lord pleased. The next morning, this brother was moved to send ten pounds for the orphans which arrived after I had left my house, and which, on account of our need, was forwarded immediately to me. He also sent ten pounds to be divided between Brother Craik and me to purchase new clothes.
November 29. The Lord has greatly blessed our meetings for prayer. We pray much for the children in the Orphan Houses, in the day schools, and in the Sunday school. We also pray for ourselves and for the teachers that grace may be given to us to walk before the children and to deal, with them in such a way that the Lord may be glorified. We also intercede for the believers with whom we are in fellowship and for the Church at large. We especially pray that our work may lead the Church to a more simple confidence and trust in the Lord.
These meetings have not been in vain. Larger donations of fifty and one hundred pounds came in. One sister told us that she gave in obedience to scriptural exhortations-"Having food and raiment let us be therewith content" (1 Tim. 6:8). "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth" (Luke 12:33). "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Matt. 6:19-20).
Fifty pounds have been given for the school, Bible, and missionary fund. We would not order more Bibles until we had the means to pay for them. We repeatedly prayed concerning this need for Bibles. We also asked God to supply us abundantly, if it was His will, that at the public meetings we might be able to speak again of God's gracious provision. Otherwise, it might appear that we had scheduled the meeting for the sake of telling people about our poverty, and thus induce them to give.
December 11, 12, and 13. On the evenings of these last three days, we held public meetings. I gave an account of the Lord's dealing with us in the Orphan Houses and the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. Because the work, particularly that of the Orphan Houses, was begun for the benefit of the Church at large, we believed that from time to time it should be publicly stated how the Lord has dealt with us. On December 9, the third year was completed since the beginning of the orphan ministry. Therefore, this seemed to be a suitable time for having these meetings.
Presently a Sunday school is supported by the Scriptural Knowledge Institution which teaches 463 children. This part of the work calls for particular thanksgiving. During these last eighteen months, the number of the children is nearly three times as great as it used to be. Five of the scholars have been converted within the last two years and are now in fellowship with the church. Three of them are now teachers in the school.
Over 120 adults have been instructed, and twelve have been taught to read. The Institution entirely supported several day schools for poor children-three for boys and three for girls. The number of all the children that have had schooling in the day schools through the Institution is 1,534. In the six schools, we have 342 children.
During the last two years we circulated 1,884 copies of the Scriptures in connection with the Institution, and since the beginning of the work, 5,078 copies. Missionary work has been supported also.
Eighty-six orphans live in the three houses. The number of orphans who have been under our care from April 11, 1836, to December 9, 1838, amounts to 110.
December 16. A paper was anonymously placed into the box at Bethesda Chapel containing four pounds ten shillings. In the paper was written, "For the rent of the Orphan Houses from December 10 to December 31, 1838."
"O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him!" (Psa. 34:8). The individual who gave this four pounds ten shillings for the rent of the Orphan Houses decided to give regularly, but anonymously, one pound ten shillings every week which was exactly the sum required for the rent of those three houses. Thus the Lord rewarded our obedience.
December 20. The expenses for the orphans have been more than forty-seven pounds within the last six days, and only a little above thirteen pounds has come in. We are again very low in funds.
I gave myself this morning to prayer. About a quarter of an hour afterward - I received three pounds, the payment of a will left by a sister who died several months ago.
December 22. A solemn day. I received word that my brother died on October 7. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25). This must be the comfort to the believer at such a time, and it is my comfort now. I know that the Lord is glorified in my brother, whatever his end has been. May the Lord make this event a lasting blessing to me, especially in leading me to earnest prayer for my father!
December 31. We have had many expenses during the past year, but during no period of my life has the Lord so richly supplied me. Truly, it must be obvious to all that I serve a kind Master. It is by far best to act according to the will of the Lord concerning temporal things!