"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, With fading pulse, and bating breath, Have cast a look on those things so bright; And perchance a prayer with electric light, Has passed through the brain with magic power, Brought to the heart by a beautiful flower. Beautiful thought to bring to the sad, Sweet bright things to make them glad."
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?" (Lam. iv. 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. (Phil. iv. 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 x. 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 To grace our earthly home, How beautiful, how beautiful Must be the world to come!'
"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? Short your serving time will be; Are your talents idle lying? Are you using them for me?'
"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, Our faithful, unchangeable Friend Whose love is as great as His power, And knows neither measure nor end.'"
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."
"They helped every one his neighbour"—Miss Child, a fellow-labourer —The work in Ratcliff Highway—Strangers' Rest for Sailors—"Welcome Home"—"Bridge of Hope"—Miss Macpherson's twenty-first voyage to Canada—Explosion on board the "Sardinian"—Child life in the Galt Home—The Galt Home now devoted to children from London, Knowlton to those from Liverpool, and Marchmont to Scottish Emigrants.
"They helped every one his neighbour, and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage" (margin, be strong). Miss Macpherson writes in February this year, the eighth anniversary:—
"As a band, we need to 'be strong' for any emergency. At this season we are surrounded by hundreds of men out of employment, and in want of food, who say now to us—'We have listened to your Gospel; we are in want; show us thy faith by thy works.' This we are endeavouring to do by providing for them suppers of soup and bread twice a week. The other evening a crowd had gathered outside the door at the specified hour, when only 150 could be admitted. Did we but know the gnawings of real hunger we should not wonder that the unsuccessful applicants attempted to burst in; and one poor man falling in the crush, broke his arm.
"We need your prayers while dealing with this class for another month. Strong hearts quail at the sight of these hopeless looking men. Our evening-school three times a week, taught by ladies, we find to be the most successful plan of dealing with them. The being called by their own names, man by man, wakes up an interest, and causes the public-house life to go into the shade.
"The friends of the match box-makers (our oldest love in this vineyard) will rejoice to hear that we gathered 300 of them straight from their boxes to a New Year's tea, when a kind friend helped to make the evening a pleasant one by exhibiting dissolving views. After this the gifts of clothing, &c., with which we had been supplied by many contributors, were distributed among them.
"Last week we had a very happy evening with our Christian band, many of whom were the matchbox-makers of former days, now grown, into young women, and fellow-workers for Christ in their own homes, and in the courts and alleys where they dwell. Deeply interesting were their testimonies of answers to prayer, the power of the Word, and delivering grace in time of trial in the factories where they labour. Dear helpers by prayer, you now behold what great things the Lord hath wrought for us in giving us this band of young women to go forth on the Sunday afternoons in couples with their tracts, and reach many whom perhaps we might not find. Some of these are also teachers in our Sunday-school, sympathising with us in our East-end trials, teaching to others what they have learned of Jesus through their own experience of His great love.
"The 'elder girls' of the East-end are a continual heavy burden on our heart; much thought and care are being bestowed in devising and perfecting plans for winning their young lives to the Saviour, and fitting them for honourable service for God and man. This great preventive work among those young bread-winners can only be successfully accomplished by those who, through studying their habits, temptations, and surroundings, by constant loving contact with them, and by special training, are able to win their confidence and affection."
In this year a new and most important work was begun, one which has eminently received the blessing of "Him who is the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of those who are afar off upon the sea."
Miss Child, one like-minded with Miss Macpherson inter zeal for souls, and her longing to save them from the curse of drink; had been residing in the Home of Industry, and visiting public-houses in Ratcliff Highway. To those who have never seen the open parade of sin in that part, (long notorious for every, evil), it is hard to describe the scene, where even in broad daylight the unhappy captives of Satan seem to glory in their shame. Miss Child's heart yearned over the sailors who crowd the public-houses, escaped from the perils of the sea only to fall into worse dangers. She longed for some means of helping them. Miss Macpherson appealed to him whose burning words in the City of London Theatre in 1861 had so stirred her own heart Mr. Reginald Radcliffe had lately opened a Strangers' Rest in Liverpool, and only longed to see the same established in every port in the world. In answer to the call, he came up to London and addressed Christian workers assembled at the Home of Industry, stirring them up to undertake a new form of attack on the strongholds of the enemy. Mr. James E. Matheson took the deepest interest in this work, and a house was secured in Ratcliff Highway, the appearance of which was made to contrast very strongly with all around. Gospel texts in many languages appeared in all the windows, and invitations to sailors to enter and write their letters, materials provided free of cost. This work needed many helpers. Preachers were required for the different nationalities. Such were found, and willing listeners, so that soon a larger house was necessary. Notwithstanding the many calls on her time and strength, Miss Macpherson was frequently to be found here, delighting in seeking to save among a class hitherto difficult to reach. Many other sisters in the Lord were, called on to help—some to play the harmoniums provided in each room, and lead the singing in varied languages—others in writing letters for those who could not use a pen themselves, and whose hearts were softened by kindness shown in this way—others in filling, bags with books and tracts. The blessing which has followed these cannot be reckoned; none can tell what these silent messengers, so often despised on shore, have been to sailors when read far away from home and friends. Many of these bags have been made by Christian invalids, and are followed by their prayers that the contents may ever be blessed.
As yet, however, nothing had been done for the women in Katcliff Highway, and Miss Macpherson, when visiting that neighbourhood where Satan reigns so openly, longed to save some of her poor lost sisters. On one occasion a young woman said most piteously to her: "Why don't you speak to us as you do to the sailors, and we would be converted and be happy too?" This led to the first decided effort being made, and the following year a small mission room for their use alone was opened. Tea-meetings and Gospel addresses-were given here. Miss Macpherson's long-tried helper, Miss May, added this work to her many other burdens for the Lord, and other kind friends joined her in visiting and seeking out the lost.
Although, in Miss May's words, "humanly speaking all things were against us,"—for in this neighbourhood the wages of iniquity are high, yet encouragement was met with, and it was felt that the mission room was not sufficient, but some shelter must be taken wherein to receive' poor applicants until they could be removed to a safer locality. A tiny three-roomed house was secured and opened with, much prayer, and has fulfilled the promise of the name given to it, "The Bridge of Hope." The Lord blessed Miss Macpherson in the choice of a helper, Miss Underdown, the brave pioneer who volunteered to remain here alone, ready to welcome the poor wanderer at any hour of the day or night. She is now working among sailors at Cape Town; but the Lord has proved in this instance, as in many others, that when His summons to a distant land is obeyed, the work at home will not be suffered to languish. Another devoted sister in the Lord, Miss Steer, has given up home ties and home comforts, counting it all joy to rescue those most deeply sunk in guilt and misery. The work has doubled and trebled in importance, more than a hundred having been drawn out of this whirlpool of sin and infamy, and brought under the sound of the Gospel within the walls of the larger Refuge, since opened for them. More than once we have had to praise God for the help given by Christian sailors; their watchful eyes have noticed in the "Highway" some who were evidently strangers to the haunts of vice, and have brought them here for safety, and even borne part of the expense of their journey homewards. The house originally taken for the Strangers' Rest having been found inadequate for the accommodation of the crowds who frequented it, a larger house was taken, but it was felt that after the many hallowed associations of the first house opened, where Miss Macpherson and Miss Child had often rejoiced with the angels of God over repenting sinners, it was impossible to relinquish it for ordinary uses,—it might be in that neighbourhood for some direct work of Satan. To Miss Macpherson's great joy her faithful, co-worker, Miss Child, determined on opening it as a Temperance Coffee House, or "Welcome Home" for the sailors, and thenceforth made this place her abode, and the work of God has never ceased.
In the spring of this year Miss Macpherson had contemplated starting with a party for Canada, but as the time drew near she was so much worn out by the continued strain of "holding the fort" at Spitalfields for the last two years, that some of her friends almost feared she would be unable to take the charge. She would not suffer her bodily weakness to hinder her, and on May the 8th started on her twenty-first voyage in the "Sardinian," accompanied by her brother-in-law, Mr. Merry, with a party of fifty children, and two young men who had gone out with her in 1870, and had returned to see their friends, and were on their way back with her to the land of their adoption. So many thousand miles had been traversed by land and sea, and hitherto thanksgivings had gone up for preservation from even alarm of danger. Now a deeper thanksgiving was to be called forth, for the Lord's preserving care in a scene which brought all face to face with eternity. On the Monday before she left Miss Macpherson remarked to some friends, "The Word is full of Deliverance, both individual deliverance and otherwise," little dreaming how soon she would be called to realise this truth.
The following letter, which appeared in the "Times," tells of the strength given in time of need:—
"May 14, 1878.
"Captain Grills, of the Liverpool Mercantile Marine Service Association, going to Derry upon a pleasure trip, was upon the bridge of the 'Sardinian' when the accident occurred, and speaks in high terms of the discipline of officers and crew under the trying circumstances. He says:—'I was on the bridge with Captain Dutton, looking for the approach of the tender, when in a moment an explosion occurred down in the fore-hold, where a quantity of coal was stored, and blew into the air thousands of fragments of wood. Immediately afterwards people came shrieking up the companion ways, many, of them cut, bruised, and blackened. The scene was indescribable. A great deal of confusion was caused by the separation of children from parents and husbands from wives. One poor woman begged me to go and find her baby, which was torn from her arms. The Captain, on hearing the explosion and seeing the smoke, sprang from the bridge, ordered the hose to be instantly applied, and by dint of extraordinary exertions on the part of himself, the officers, and crew, succeeded in saving several people who were in the midst of the debris. The hold was flooded with water from the hose, but the smoke continued to pour out in dense volumes, and ultimately they had to abandon all hope of saving the ship except by opening the sluices and letting the water in. Before doing this the vessel was taken into five fathoms of water, so that when she settled down her decks would be above water, and she might the more easily be pumped out and raised. While these orders were being executed, the whole of the saloon passengers, assisted by many of the crew, were engaged in transferring the emigrants to the mail tender which had just come alongside. About 300 or 400 soon crowded her decks, and she landed them at Moville pier, after which she returned for orders. Subsequently the second tender took off most of the saloon passengers, many wounded, and a large quantity of baggage. The boats were lowered in order to save the baggage. The mail tender returned and took the rest of the people, and I went with them, and we reached Derry about nine o'clock that night. I cannot refrain from referring to the heroic conduct of one lady, [Footnote: Miss Catherine Ellis of Tryon House] a saloon passenger, who, while partially dressed, rescued a baby that was fearfully burnt, at considerable risk to herself; the mother had proceeded to Derry, thinking she had lost her child for ever. The promptitude and energy displayed by Captain Button was in every way admirable, and his orders were executed with great decision. Miss Macpherson and her little band of Canadian emigrants showed no small amount of true fortitude and heroism. Most of the children behaved nobly under the trying circumstances, and exhibited much of the fruit of their careful training. They kept repeating to one another many of the sayings they had heard from Miss Macpherson about being patient, and brave, and good; I visited the infirmary before leaving on Saturday, and spoke to each of the nine patients, who are all suffering seriously, but I am hopeful of the recovery of some.'"
Miss Macpherson's own account follows:—
"Since we parted from you and those beloved Christian friends at St. Pancras last Wednesday, we seem to have lived years, and learnt more of the reality of the delivering power of our loving Father than in all our lives before.
"Wondrous to relate, and as marvellous as the deliverance of the three children from the fiery furnace, is the fact that all our precious little ones are in safety, and now gone to a place of worship.
"Behold the loving-kindness of our God! Had the explosion taken place a little while later, our vessel would have been on her way instead of standing still waiting off Moville for the mails.
"Most of the children" were on deck, basking in the lovely sunshine of that afternoon. We were all busy finishing our letters, and I intended to write one more, and then go and spend an hour in the children's steerage, when presently there was a terrible sound, as of a cannon, followed by a deathly stillness for two minutes; I rushed on deck and beheld a man jet black with soot, his halt burnt off, issuing from a gangway near; then one of my own boys came, exclaiming, 'Oh, Miss! I prayed to Jesus, and He saved me.' Then the deck became a fearful scene of confusion, poor foreigners weeping, and oh! the mutilated men and women, ghastly with fright, some of their faces entirely skinned.
"My first care was for the little ones. They clustered round me, as the two young men, (former boys of 1870, who had been home to see their friends), gathered them out of the crowd. Mr. Merry gave me the list, and they dried their tears, and answered to their names when called. We soon found all accounted for, and were hushed with praise Picture us all standing near the wheelhouse, awaiting orders, or to see, it might be flames, or another explosion of a still more serious character.
"Oh! could every Sunday school teacher in the land realise my feelings at that moment, they would never rest until every child in their class was' washed in the Blood of the Lamb. I saw nothing but imperfection in all my work, and want of burning reality for souls.
"The scene of the disaster was very near to the children's sleeping berths; a very few yards off two women sat upon a box together, one was blown up into the air, the other driven she knew not whither; but late that night I came across her seeking a bed in Moville, and she told me that in those first terrible moments every sin she had ever committed came before, her, and the one most awful was her having rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, what our God can do in tire twinkling of an eye! by unbalancing a little breath of His own created air, then the stoutest-hearted sinners quail"
Another witness wrote:—
"It is terrible to have been in the midst of such a calamity! and the sight of the poor, blackened, and scorched faces of the sufferers I shall never forget. There was such a nice, family on board; the father, mother, and four children. The mother was blown up; her body was found yesterday, scarcely recognisable, but the husband had to go and identify it. Poor man! he was here, and in such an agony of distress. The last order I heard the Captain give, was thundered out, 'Send all the women and children up from below,' and Miss Macpherson came herself, and dragged me up. Captain Button says there have been the most wonderful providences.
"It was wonderful how calm every one seemed at the time of that terrible crash. There was no panic, but the peculiar wailing of the poor Sardinians rings in my ears still, and the groans of those sufferers. Silence must be cast over the scenes of that sad day.
"If I thought of anything at the time of the accident, it was of Miss Macpherson's Bible, and I know her thought was for me and the children. It was most sweet at the time to see the way people thought of others more than of themselves; there were many little acts of kindness done then which will never be forgotten.
"Miss Macpherson said to me as we were starting on Thursday, 'I think this is going to be a most unusual voyage. I have never had such sweet dismissals before.'
"I did so feel as I stood round those poor sufferers. Why was I spared? All in the same ship, all exposed to the same peril, and yet we are untouched, and what are we better than they? We can only bow low before our, loving Father with 'What can I render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards me?'.. I managed to get to the infirmary, where I paid a very interesting visit.... The third officer is so terribly hurt, quite unrecognisable."
On her return from Derry, whither she had hastened to give help to the sufferers, Mrs. Merry gave a thrilling account of how the waters had not been suffered to pass over them, nor the flame permitted to kindle upon them; and told how nobly that brave seaman and man of God, Captain Dutton, had acted; how he had instantly summoned all hands to his help in seeing to the safety of the children, so that in less than three minutes by the watch, after the shock, the whole of the forty little tones were around Miss Macpherson, having no more hurt upon them (with one exception) than a little singed hair and a few blisters.
Not only were their lives spared—they were not even called upon to "take joyfully the spoiling if their goods," for not one box or parcel either of clothing or gospel, tracts and books was lost or injured. The "Peruvian" was sent from Liverpool to take, the place of the "Sardinian," and the rest of the voyage was accomplished in safety.
When nearing Cape Race Miss Macpherson writes:—
"Many a touching scene have we witnessed. A company of between twenty and thirty Swiss Christians, with their evangelist, guided by a lady, to form a little colony in Canada, when passing through Liverpool, had spent all their evenings at the 'Sailors Rest,' so we, being I one in the eternal bond, sang together the same hymns, though in different languages, the first evening we sailed out. To see them drying their Bibles and hymn-books, all the covers gone, oh! it made me weep. How very precious those mutilated books were to them now! One dear German Christian showed me his Bible, and I was told the two front blotted pages were written by a dying mother's hand. Another young German, when he found his Bible was safe, forgot all else, and danced about with the most touching joy, but then he knew not where to put his treasure for safety and to get it pressed. Although I understood not his language, and no one was at hand to interpret, I put out my hand to help him; he took one long look into my face, and with a smile gave me his precious book. Five days after we met again, and he held out his hands, exclaiming 'Bibel!'
"You heard how very promptly the Deny Christians acted for the poor emigrants. Every minister intimated the need in his church, and the response was made before nine o'clock on the Monday morning. Cartloads of clothing were sent in and distributed among, the emigrants, so that as far as covering for the present goes, all have been liberally helped to go on their way.
"Sunday.—A day of lovely sunshine, all on deck enjoying the warmth. The foreigners quietly reading their mutilated books; but—oh, how sad to see!—with the English emigrants it is beer—beer—beer— taking with them to the new land habits that will tell ill for them wherever they go.
"The children and I spent the morning singing together, and thanking our God for all His wondrous love. Often during the-past week I felt like breaking down, and letting the pent-up tears flow; but while Bob (eleven years old) prayed, I could hold out no longer, and the strong sailors leaning over the mid hatchway joined me too, as the dear lad asked God, for Jesus' sake, to care for the blind mother he had left in the workhouse, and that his runaway brother might be brought to Jesus; that his brother with the bad leg might be found of the Lord; that his sister in service might please her master and mistress; and that he himself might follow Jesus, and be a good boy, and obedient to those placed over him."
The following is dated from Galt:—
"Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice." (Ps. lxiii. 7).
"MY DEAR FELLOW-HELPERS,—On arriving at this sweet spot our journeyings ended for the present. You can well imagine the complete enjoyment of repose as with my family I wander round the Cottage Home when school hours are over. During a week in which I had been separated from them, they had made the acquaintance of horses, cows, ducks, hens, sheep, &c.—all so new to our poor London children. They never tire of inviting me to come and see our this and that, or some new-found pleasure. How quickly this country life develops character, touching chords which are left unawakened in many a nature! It is such a contrast to the artificial tastes and habits of city life, which arouse passions not easily kept in subjection.
"Mrs. Merry will be glad to know that I am delighted with all in and around the Home. The new wing, with its lavatory and simple arrangements for the health and comfort of the children, would, we believe, be highly approved of by the relatives of our departed friends, Miss Wilson and Mr. Marshall, who so kindly left us the means to make this addition. One of our former' boys works on the farm; his life was consecrated nearly two years ago for China. He is a manly, consistent young Christian, and tells me it was an address given here by George W. Clarke (the first of our missionary sons from Spitalfields), before he went out to China, that gave him the first burning longings to become a missionary. It is my duty to see that a suitable education be given him to strengthen these desires; therefore when field-work is over, we have hours for study, Mr. Merry teaching in the morning, and I in the evening.
"The last mail from China brings a letter from G. W. Clarke, in which he writes:—"The Lord has blessed me with good health, whilst many of our brethren engaged in the hard work of pioneering are in some way feeling the strain upon their strength." I am very thankful for the roughing I had in Canada, and for whatever trials I have had in China, which have enabled me in any way to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
"We need much prayer for this branch of the work, that it may be the natural outcome of family life, and grow gradually as our heavenly Father leads.
"Several of the elder boys are at the Home now from different causes; their work on the farm pays for their board, and they again come under blessed Gospel influence, while we watch and pray for" their conversion. The dear sisters who work out the details value an interest in your prayers, as they so realise 'from day to day the need of patience.' All your desires that I should rest are being fulfilled. If you could but see me sitting on a bank with three or four little heads leaning on my lap, the others buzzing round, bringing flowers and weaving wreaths for our hats! Then a hand opens to show 'such a dear' young frog! Another brings an endless variety of caterpillars, &c. Then there come shrieks of delight from a group of boys who have almost caught a squirrel A rowing boat glides down the river, and the children strike up an impromptu strain—'Row, brothers, row!'
"A little fellow has a burden on his mind, ending with, 'Could I not stop here always?' Alas! he had to be told 'impossible,' for there were many more poor boys far away in London, crying to be loved, and he would soon find a 'pa and ma' to love him. How this thirst for sympathy grows in these tiny hearts! May more dear mission-workers have anointed eyes, to seek out the orphans in the dens of our great city. May more jewelled fingers yield their offerings, ere the opportunity be past, for rescuing immortal souls that may become witnesses of Jesus Christ, and shine for ever and ever in His crown.
"Too many seek to square the cases up to their rules, but the opposite I believe is more according to God's mind. Oh, if every town in Old England would arise and build its own Orphan Home! Surely the Church of Christ in every denomination can unite in love over the children. Witness the burst of love in a few hours after the ministers of every sect in Deny told the need of the emigrants, and the children cast naked upon their shores! They gave until the receivers said, 'It is enough!'
"In this quiet resting-place, I have time to listen to the Master's own voice, and hear Him say, 'Go forward!' This is the twenty-first voyage—the majority! I would celebrate it by desiring still greater things for God's glory, devising, yet leaving the direction to the Lord. Already it has proved a time of trial and rich blessing. My heart is with you all in, your joyous privileges of making known a Saviour's love. My spirit flits to the needy children. A thousand board schools will never supply the loving, tender care we women can give to the fatherless and motherless, or sow the seed and lead the precious little souls to Jesus. Therefore follow me in these enlarged desires the Lord hath given, and oh! keep your eyes and ears open to the cry of the children. Hot summer days will lessen some of the Refuge work, but I follow you to Bird Fair, Ratcliff Highway, and many a court around. Don't forget that terrible corner by the lamp-post in the next street.
"Then for your own souls I send this word—'They thirsted not when He led them through the deserts. He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them.' As to your work, Do it. Should He be pleased to remove any of us, to stir our nest, or lay sickness upon us, shall we not hear Him say, 'Is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with mine own?' Beloved friends, 'Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.'—Yours affectionately,
The work had now so increased, that it was thought well to divide the three Canadian Homes. Hiss Macpherson found the Gait Home sufficient for the needs of the children transferred from the Home of Industry. Miss Bilbrough retained possession of the Marchmont Home, now devoted exclusively to children from Scotland; and the Knowlton Home, in the province of Quebec, was placed under the management of Mrs. Birt for the reception of little emigrants from Liverpool.
It was at the workers' meeting in August that Miss Macpherson was welcomed home; and Miss Ellis of Tryon House said she had been in Canada with Miss Macpherson, and the thought most on her mind in recollection of the scene on the "Sardinian" was "given back." As delivered from death, they had returned, each to their loved spheres of work, and felt increasingly how consecrated such lives should be, and for what great blessing they might look out.
As one quite unconnected with the work, Miss Ellis said she must remark how much she had been struck with the arrangements of the Gait Home—the children were thoroughly well fed and well cared for (not like little princes though, nor above their station), and not an unnecessary shilling was expended.
Experiences among Indians—Picnic in the Bush—Distribution of Testaments—"Till He come"—"A Home and a hearty Welcome."
Once more in Canada, Miss Macpherson records experience of an unusual kind:—
"In one of the large villages we visited, an all-day prayer-meeting was held from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M., which proved a season of rich blessing. We found openings for mission work all around, farmers and their families willing to gather and sit any length of time with Bible and hymn-book in hand. We feel an open door is made for us here by the entrance of these little children, who have, proved excellent pioneer evangelists.
"After this interesting tour, I was about to return to the Galt Home, when a messenger arrived with a pressing invitation to visit the Indians on the Chippawa Reserve, and tell them the story of our children. This come through their pastor, the Rev. Mr. Jacques, and although weary in body, a lady friend and I resolved to go forward to Port Elgin, situated on Lake Huron, whence a dear Canadian sister drove us along the ten miles of wild and poorly cultivated country leading to the Indian reserve. Fire had in past years ravaged the district for miles, leaving thousands of charred trunks of high trees. We enjoyed the scenery of the beautiful Sangeen, with its grand old forests in their finest clothing, and at times we caught sight of Lake Huron, lying calm as a mirror, with the last rays of the setting sun reflected upon its bosom.
"On arriving at the little manse on Chippawa Hill we were serenaded by the Indians, who had already gathered by hundreds from far and near. We made a hasty repast, and felt grateful for the opportunity afforded us so unexpectedly of speaking to them: Our service was opened by singing in Indian a well-known hymn of praise. Then one of the evangelists spoke upon a portion of Scripture for twenty minutes, after the other had prayed, when an interpreter took half-an-hour to translate it into their own language, after which my companion sang "The Ninety and Nine," and I spoke. The interpreter repeated the story, and though our audience scarcely ever moved, the pastor's wife said they were feeling deeply."
"Many a dear squaw and I clasped hands that night, and we gazed into each other's eyes, knowing full well, although unexpressed, that we were one in the same deep love for the weak and helpless."
"While the choir sang another hymn, under the direction of the pastor's daughter, who is also the daily teacher of the young, we showed some of our photographs, and never were more grateful for that art. My lady friend sang another solo, and then began an indescribable scene. Chief John was first introduced to us, as we stood on a raised platform with a rail in front. The dear old man seemed much moved, and burst into an oration full of gratitude for our coming to visit his people. We acknowledged this, when the whole congregation of three to four hundred, young and old, passed and shook hands with us. Every now and then we were presented with gifts, made by the hands of the giver. Chief Henry's wife gave a beautiful bark basket ornamented with porcupine's quills. Then another head man gave us a bag made of beaten bark, saying this was made before they knew the white man. We thought that now all was over, but no. All were again seated, quietly and in order, the grace of ease and perfect harmony pervading the whole scene. The Indians had a wish to do us honour, and to show their love in their own way, we were each to receive from them an Indian name. We found this new name had required thought, and when saying 'Buzhu?' or 'How do you do?' they after this called us by the name they had given.
"The pastor, (Mr. Jacques), and his wife and family, were truly parental in their actions, and are beloved by these simple-hearted Indians. It was a touching scene! There are ninety in Christian fellowship, and among them some old veterans of ninety years, with scarcely a grey hair, and more sprightly than the young men in their tribes to-day. As regularly as the sun rises, they are at the church door, though they live five miles off, through swamp and wood.
"One thing charmed me,—the firm law made for them in connection with drink. Would that England would treat our white drunkards in the same way! A man, when found the worse for liquor, is fined from fifty to two hundred dollars, or put in prison for one month; also the man who sells it to him. Two more weeks are added if he will not tell who supplied him with the drink.
"On leaving the next morning, I was addressed by my new name, 'Ke-zha-wah-de-ze-qua' (Benevolence); my friend also was greeted as 'Wah sage zhe go-qua' (Shining-sky lady)."
The following account of a picnic in the Canadian Bush, at which an Indian chief was present, will not be out of place here:—
"A picnic is a much more frequent entertainment in this country than in England, for the lovely bright days of a Canadian summer are so much more suitable than our damp and variable weather. Miss Macpherson was anxious to meet as many as possible of the kind friends in and around the Children's Home at Galt, who are interested in the Lord's work among the little ones. A picnic was suggested as most pleasant, and the Bush as more spacious than our cottage-rooms. So a general invitation was given through the ministers and the local papers.
"Last Thursday was all that could be desired. Cool breezes tempered the hot sunbeams, and a brilliant blue sky was reflected in the still, flowing river. Such a lovely spot, too, is the 'Home' Bush! A partially cleared space near the river was chosen for the tables and seats; nearby a log-fire was kindled, on which huge kettles of water were boiled. One thing only marred our hopes for the day. Miss Macpherson herself was almost prostrate through a sharp attack of rheumatism, and oar hearts sank as we feared she would be unable to be among us. However, in the 'prayer of faith' we laid her deep need before the Lord, and He graciously gave her the faith to trust Him, and the courage to attempt, even in great pain, to rise from bed, and walk down to the Bush. The needed strength was marvellously given, and she was able to remain with us until sunset. Truly the Lord doeth wondrous things!
"At four o'clock our guests began to arrive. One visitor was the centre of attraction—a chief of the Six Nation Indians, from the reserve near Brantford, who arrived earlier in the day with Mr. B. Needham, the missionary. Chief Jonathan, now a Christian, was dressed in the native costume, now worn only on high days and holidays. Most picturesque it was to see him seated on the green slope near the river, leaning against a tall maple tree. His coat and trousers of yellow buckskin were fringed at the edges. An embroidered scarlet sash was loosely tied around his waist. Then his head-gear was most striking. Long thin black hair hung over his shoulders,—not his own, but from the scalp of some poor Indian slain in warfare! This was surmounted by a turban cap of scarlet, and white beads, a row of feathers all round it, and in front three or four very long bright feathers standing erect. He was able to talk with us in English, and told us how his grandfathers owned all the land along the 'Grand River.' It is very pitiful to think how the poor Indians have been pushed further and further into little corners of their once proud territory, to make way for the white man, who, alas! brought to them the terrible 'fire-water' which has gone so far to prove their ruin and increase their desolation. Thank God that now they have earnest men of God, whom His own love and zeal for souls has so filled as to enable them to give up all for His glory, and go and live among these dark, despised ones, and take to them the glad tidings of a free salvation.
"During our tea-hour great interest was taken by all our friends in the group of little ones enjoying their cake and tea, and Miss Macpherson told how good the Lord had been to the mission, in opening up homes for nearly all the sixty rescued children we brought out three weeks ago. After tea, our forty younger ones seated themselves in a ring upon the green grass, under the shade of the maple and hickory trees. They sang sweet hymns of Jesus, and repeated many precious texts for Mr. Needham to take as their messages of love to the Indian children in his Sunday-school. Little Bobbie gave as his text, 'God requireth that which is past.' Joey then stood up and repeated, 'Suffer little children to come unto Me.' Johnnie and Georgie gave, 'The eyes of the Lord are in every place,' and 'When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.'
"A few questions followed from Miss Macpherson,—'How can any one get into heaven?' 'They must love God,' was the first answer. 'They must have their hearts changed,' said another. Then Bobbie's clear voice was heard, again, 'By being washed in the blood of Jesus!' Beautiful answer! wondrous truth!
"The Indian chief stood gazing in calm wonder at this circle of happy English children. Presently Mr. Needham rose and said: 'The Chief tells me he is very anxious to say a few words to the "Queen" (i.e., Miss Macpherson), to the friends, and to the children. He understands English, but his thoughts flow more freely in his native tongue, and he has asked me to be his interpreter. He says that many years ago his fathers kindled the fire and smoked 'the pipe of peace' at such a gathering, and he thanks God for such a sight as this. He has never been so touched as this afternoon by the children's texts and answers. One hymn especially has struck him—
'There's a home for little children, Above the bright, blue sky.'
'His fathers looked for the home of the spirits, but knew nothing of the Christian's heaven. There are still, in his nation, 700 pagans who sacrifice the white dog to the spirits, and are ever travelling towards the land of the setting sun. He hopes the pagan children will be taught about Jesus. He is so touched by the care taken of these little ones and by the work of the Christian lady who saves them. The Chief says he is very thankful I brought him here to-day. The circle on the grass reminds him of how the Indian children sit to sacrifice the white dog. He is going back to tell the children of his people all these blessed things.'
"During Mr. Needham's interpretation the Chief stood by him, his usually impassive face quite lit up with animated interest. After a while he played to us on his cornet, his favourite tune being 'God save the Queen.' Mr. Needham told us a few deeply interesting details of his work among the Indians, and how the Lord is giving His blessing in conversions, and also in the temperance work just begun among them. He told us of an Indian mother who would walk eight miles to hear the Gospel, with one baby slung over her back, in its curious mummy-like cradle, and another slung on her arm! The poor Indians are beginning really to value the care and labour bestowed on them by the missionary whom God has so evidently prepared for and led into this work. And surely such a mission as this has a deep and solemn claim on the help and sympathy of those who have now possession of the land of the Red Indian, and enjoy the blessings he has lost. Let the white man, who brought him the 'fire-water,'—dire instrument of death!—seek now, though, alas! so late, to carry to him with all speed the blessed 'water of life,' that he may drink and live for ever.