[Illustration: Reading room, Squirrel inn.]
[Illustration: Men’s club at church of Sea and Land.]
God moves in a mysterious way to work out His ends, and I can testify that His dealings with me have been wonderful indeed,—far beyond anything that I have ever merited. During all the years since my conversion I had always kept in touch with Dr. A. F. Schauffler, Superintendent of the City Mission and Tract Society, visiting him at his office once in a while, and he was always glad to see me. He would ask me about my work and we would have a little talk together.
One day I said, “Dr. Schauffler, do you know I’m a protege of the New York City Mission?” He said, “I know it, and we have kept our eyes on you for the last ten years, and have decided to make you Lodging-House Missionary to the Bowery, if you accept.”
Praise God! Wasn’t it wonderful, after thirteen years of God’s grace in my life, to get such an appointment! Lodging-House Missionary—I couldn’t understand it! It struck me as being queer in this way; the man who under God was the means of my salvation, who was a missionary when I was converted, had resigned a few years after to become a minister, and now here was Ranney, the ex-crook and drunk, being asked to take the same position!
We don’t understand God’s ways and purposes; they are too wonderful for us; but here I am on the Bowery, my old stamping-ground, telling the story of Jesus and His love. And I don’t believe there’s a man in this big world that has a greater story to tell of God’s love and mercies than I have. I’m writing this seventeen years after being saved, and I’ll still say it’s a grand thing to be a Christian. I would not go back to the old life for anything in the world.
Part of my work has been in Mariners’ Temple, corner of Oliver and Henry Streets, Chatham Square, New York City, right on the spot where I did everything on the calendar but murder. There I could see the men every night, for we had a meeting all the year round, and every day from 1 to 2 P. M. We invited all those who were in trouble to come, and if we could help them we gladly did so. If they wanted to go to the hospital we placed them there and would do whatever we could for them, always telling them of Jesus the Mighty to save.