This Day in 1770

May 27, 1770 is a day John Howard considered his spiritual birthday. Howard was imprisoned by a French privateer in 1755 while performing disaster relief for the Lisbon earthquake. His imprisonment led him to a systematic, statistical inquiry of European prisons. In time, these efforts led to widespread prison reform. He visited hundreds of prisons, travelled tens of thousands of miles, and died after contracting typhus in Kherson, Ukraine, at the age of 63.

Naples, May 27, 1770.—Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief! Here, on this sacred day, in the dust before the Eternal God, I cast my guilty and polluted soul on the sovereign mercy of the Redeemer. Oh, compassionate and divine Lord, save me from the dreadful guilt and power of sin, and accept my solemn, free, and unreserved surrender! Look upon me, a repenting, returning prodigal! Thus, O Lord God, am I humbly bold to covenant with Thee! Ratify and confirm it, and make me the everlasting monument of Thy mercy. Glory to God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—forever and ever. Amen and Amen.

John Howard’s Journal, as quoted in F. W. Boreham, A Temple of Topaz.

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