I discovered this amazing woman while looking through a 1952 book of sermon illustrations by Elon Foster. In the section on evangelism I read an astounding article from an 1870 edition of the New York Independent. It told the story of Mrs. Bartlett. Here is that article:
About seven years ago, Mrs. Bartlett, one of the members of Mr. Spurgeon's church, took the charge of a class of senior women [that was in 1859], who met together every sabbath in the New Park-street Chapel. In the course of a few months, the class, which at first consisted of less than half a dozen members, increased, until, at the opening of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, it numbered 50 persons.
Conversions were numerous; and in the course of a short time, it became necessary to hold the sabbath-afternoon classes in a larger room. The lecture hall, which will accommodate about 900 hundred persons, was occupied.
At the end of a few months, there were 300 attendants; at the end of twelve, 500 hundred. It has increased in numbers, until the average attendance is now between 700 and 800. The major portion consists of woman between the ages of thirty and 70; and indeed many have been converted though Mrs. Bartlett's means are considerably older than herself.
The service, which is conducted by this remarkable lady with only casual assistance, consists of singing, a prayer, and an address, sometimes founded on a passage from Scripture, and as often from an incident which has occurred during the week, and which has impressed on the mind of the teacher.
Her class has contributed 600 members to the church over which Mr. Spurgeon officiates, during the past six years; and last year about 100 joined the church.
The example set by this devoted woman is being followed by many of her converts, who are employed in mission work in different parts of the country.
Mrs. Bartlett has now found it necessary to make this mission her life-work; and her undivided attention is given to it. - The New York Independent, 1870.
I had to know more about this incredible lady! As I searched the internet I found a biography written by her son Edward, which I quickly read. She was a truly a wonderful and amazing Christian woman. Her love for the Lord and her love for the lost are shining examples of how our Christian lives should be lived today. Her unceasing prayer encourages us to do likewise. And her boldness in proclaiming the gospel gives us a practical example of love in action. Although she lived over 150 years ago, she has much to teach us today.
Yet, this fascinating and inspirational story, is not widely known. And so, to that purpose, I have endeavored to reprint her biography in a way that makes it easy to read.