HARRISON ORD was born in Middlesbro', Yorkshire, on March 11, 1833. As years rolled on, young Harry developed a physique of splendid proportions, and, during his engineering apprenticeship, and subsequently, through daily contact with a lot of hard-headed men in the same workshop, he gained a strong, manly independence of character, which continued with him to the end of his earthly course, giving him, during many years of Gospel work, an influence with men of a similar stamp, which many others might not wield.
Until about twenty-four years of age he lived for present things alone, although evidently bearing an excellent reputation for steady uprightness and strict morality. A successful career was his ambition, drinking freely of "Egypt's misnamed pleasures," as he pressed on toward the attainment of his object. He had moved to, and was settled in, London at the time when the whole city, from its centre to its suburbs, seemed to throb with the name and fame of the young preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The month of February, 1857, had dawned, when, on a certain Sunday morning our stalwart engineer formed a unit in a crowd of 10,000 surging on toward the Surrey Gardens Music Hall.
That morning the arrow of conviction reached him, and continued to rankle in Ord's conscience, until—in a prayer meeting not long after, when special supplication was made for him—the tale of God's love to him was told, the finished work of Christ, His willingness and power to save, the Saviour and the sinner met, the Saviour was trusted by the sinner, sorrow and sighing fled away, joy and gladness filled his heart to overflowing. The grand old hymn was at once struck up by the company, "0 happy day that fixed my choice," the voice of the young convert, as of "a son of thunder," completely drowning the combined voices of all the rest. Assured salvation, settled peace, were his from that memorable moment onward, not the shadow of a doubt ever finding a place in his mind as to "the great transaction done."
He at once came out boldly on the Lord's side, made rapid progress in the knowledge of Christ, and of the Scriptures which testify of Him. A passionate love for the souls of his fellows possessed him, and he soon gave evidence of marked ability in preaching the Gospel, much of the eloquence and force of his worthy father in the faith seeming to be inherited by the son, the voice of each being a wonder unto many.
It was not long before the bench of the engineer was forsaken for the platform of the preacher, and Harrison Ord, through his gift and grace, was speedily accorded a place in the very front ranks of the band of devoted evangelists raised up and thrust forth by the Lord of the Harvest in those early days of widespread Revival, to "gather in from the fields of sin" golden sheaves by the thousand to the garner of the Lord. For some eighteen years the United Kingdom was his parish, going up and down the land in labours abundant, preaching "Christ, and Him crucified" in buildings, tents, and the open air, the Lord giving, through His servant, testimony to the word of His grace. Many were the seals given to his ministry among the unsaved, and as the teacher became blended with the evangelist, much helpful instruction from the Word of God was imparted to Christians, young and old. He turned his mechanical skill to account, and, guided by the pattern shown to Moses in the Mount, produced a fine model of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, from which he, in his lectures, unfolded much precious truth concerning Christ to be found enfolded in those types and shadows.
After a protracted tent campaign in 1875, followed by a continuation of the work in Somerset Hall, Bath—where he, with his family, then resided—our brother's strength gave way, and his wonderful voice was reduced to a whisper. Added to this trial was a deep sorrow occasioned by the loss of his dear wife and the mother of his four children. As medically advised, he decided to embark for Australia, trusting that the long voyage and change of climate might prove beneficial to general health and the restoration of his voice.
Heartily commended to God by many friends in Welbeck Hall, London, he sailed with his eldest daughter, on February 7, 1876, for Melbourne. A fifteen weeks' passage had the desired effect, so that, as the writer found when they met in Melbourne by arrangement some six months later, he was able to re-engage, on a moderate scale, in his loved work of preaching the Gospel, while awaiting the arrival of his co-worker. Arrangements were then made for a three months' evangelistic effort in Melbourne, when the Assembly Hall, Collins Street, was crowded from start to finish, the final Gospel meeting being transferred to Wilson's Circus, when 4000 or 5000 were estimated to be present. Other parts of Victoria were visited by one or both, and altogether the Australian work was very fruitful. Early in November, the pair crossed to Tasmania, preaching mainly in Launceston and Hobart. New Zealand came next, Dunedin being the starting point, with large gatherings during a month of Sunday evenings in Prince's Theatre, and meetings in other halls during the intervening weeks. Christchurch and Nelson were visited, and testimony borne in both. In the latter, nestling among the hills, the Drill Hall was packed, and hundreds outside. Truly a specially blessed season. Auckland came last, when the Theatre Royal was engaged for three Lord's Day evenings. "After-church services" were held, and a work begun which was taken up by friends on the spot, and carried on in the same place for some five-and-twenty years, until the building was sold for business purposes. The Day will declare the full results.
Mr. Ord visited "the Old Country" in the summer of 1880, remaining on this side till early in 1881. After some years, devoted largely to work in Melbourne and vicinity, Tasmania, and New Zealand being revisited, he removed to Geelong, and there for many years continued to minister the Word—open air and indoors—as long as strength allowed. The end—on the night of January 1, 1907—was reached in perfect peace, and Home was welcome. Writing on December 4, 1906, he said: "Sometimes it seems as though to depart and be with Christ is imminent—with not a care." In four brief weeks he had his heart's desire granted, and was with Him whom, for close on fifty years, he had trusted, loved, and served.