|Chapter 2||Contents||Chapter 4|
But I soon discovered one fatal defect in my work. Children whom one would reasonable expect to benefit, received little or no advantage. Out of school they lost what little good they gained in school, and then I made the resolution to take some children wholly under my charge, and subject them to constant supervision. And that was the first call for the building of an Orphan House; that, the first thought which led to the great institution in Halle, conceived before I had the first pound of capital to accomplish the work. α
When I proposed my plan to some few friends, a spirit of interest was awakened, and seventy-five pounds subscribed at once— the interest upon which, four pounds,β I was allowed to use towards helping on my end.
Seeing the blessing of God upon this measure, I tried to find a poor orphan to educate with the interest of this money. Four poor fatherless and motherless children were brought at once to me, from whom to select one. Relying upon the Lord, I ventured to take all four. Yet as one was taken from my hands, by a family which I trusted, I took the other three; but almost immediately another one came in the place of the one who had been taken. I carried the four to Christian families, and gave eighteen-pence halfpennyγ a week for the care of each child. This was in the autumn of 1695.
I now learned that when one is relying entirely upon God’s providence, it is just as safe giving a sovereign as a crown-pieceδ to the poor. For when trusting wholly to God, I ventured to take these four poor orphans, being without the means to provide a home and clothing for scarcely one of them (for the interest of seventy-five pounds could hardly do this), I had committed myself unreservedly to God, and relied wholly upon the promise, “the Lord will provide.” ε
So the Orphan House of Halle was begun without reference at all to capital on hand, or to the promise of wealthy people to continue what had been begun, but solely in reliance on the providence of the living God.
The day after I had taken the four orphans spoken of above, two more were brought to me; the next day, another; two days after, another; and a week after, still another: so that by the 16th of November, nine were upon my hands, to be brought up in different Christian families.
I engaged a student of theology, George Henry Neubauer by name, to take a general supervision of them, to provide all that they needed, and to see that they lacked nothing which could contribute to their best welfare, and so these poor children were committed to me before a house was bought or hired, under whose roof they could lie down and sleep.
Meanwhile, the faithful God and Father of the orphan, who can do for us altogether more than we ask or can even think,ζ provided for me more richly than with my faithless reason, I should ever have dared to dream. For He inclined the heart of him who had already given me the seventy-five pounds to give me one hundred and fifty additional at the beginning of the winter.η
And in the middle of the winter, another Christian of ample means sent me forty pounds to help me in my work, another gave me fifteen pounds, not so speak of smaller sums, which came in in addition.θ
And now, by the favour of God, I could not only do something to help poor students gain their education, give a home and clothes to the poor orphans committed to me, and keep in good trim the Poor-school, but I was able to buy the house of my neighbor, of whom I had hired two rooms before, for about sixty pounds;ι and in the spring of 1696, I built two apartments in the rear.
The work had begun in faith, and in faith I meant to continue it, not hesitating to provide all that was needed for the children of my charge, but at the same time guarding against procuring anything not demanded by the sternest necessity.
At the time of my purchasing the adjoining house, and building the two rooms on, as just spoken of, I did not think of appropriating them to the use of the orphans now twelve in number, yet I determined afterwards to gather them all together from the different families where they were now cared for, and have them all together under one roof. I constituted the student mentioned before the general superintendent of the infant asylum, gave him power to procure beds and bedding, to provide food and drink, to arrange for suitable instruction, and to look after the orderly conduct and the cleanliness of all the orphans; in one word, to assume the duties of a father of twelve children. The removing into the newly-purchased house, however, gave such dignity to the affair, and caused the report of what I was doing to spread to such a degree, that within seven weeks I had eighteen orphans placed under my charge. My house was filled to its utmost capacity, and the duties of the general superintendent became so onerous that I was compelled to engage another man to attend exclusively to the domestic affairs of the household.
α Emphasis original.
β Per Intro., note β, £75 (1867) = £144 thousands/$180 thousands/€173 thousands (2015),
£4 (1867) = £7700/$9600/€9200 (2015).
γ Per note β, £150/$190/€180
δ A sovereign was a gold coin equal to a pound, crown-piece was 1/4 pound.
ε Genesis xxii.14.
ζ Ephesians iii.20.
η Per note β, £290 thousands/$360 thousands/€350 thousands.
θ Per note β, £40 (1867) = £77 thousands/$96 thousands/€9200 (2015),
£15 (1867) = £29 thousands/$36 thousands/€18 thousands (2015).
ι Per note β, £120 thousands/$140 thousands/€138 thousands.
|Chapter 2||Contents||Chapter 4|