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Title: George Müller of Bristol - And His Witness to a Prayer-Hearing God
Author: Pierson, Arthur T. (Arthur Tappan), 1837-1911
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "George Müller of Bristol - And His Witness to a Prayer-Hearing God" ***

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GEORGE MULLER OF BRISTOL

AND

HIS WITNESS TO A PRAYER-HEARING GOD

BY
ARTHUR T. PIERSON
Author of "The Crisis of Missions," "The New Acts of the Apostles,"
"Many Infallible Proofs," etc.; editor of "The Missionary
Review of the World," etc.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION
BY
JAMES WRIGHT
Son-in-law and successor in the work of George Muller

Illustrated

NEW YORK CHICAGO TORONTO
Fleming H. Revell Company
LONDON AND EDINBURGH



Copyright, 1899,
BY
THE BAKER AND TAYLOR CO.



[Transcriber's Note: George Muller's family name is Germanic in origin.
Everywhere that his name appears in the printed text, the letter "u" is
marked with two dots above it (called an 'umlaut') to show that it is
pronounced differently from the way the unmarked vowel is normally
pronounced. So his name is usually pronounced in English as Myew-ler,
not as Mool-ler or Mull-ler.]


Introduction

VERY soon after the decease of my beloved father-in-law I began to
receive letters pressing upon me the desirableness of issuing as soon as
possible a memoir of him and his work.

The well-known autobiography, entitled "Narrative of the Lord's Dealings
with George Muller," had been, and was still being, so greatly used by
God in the edification of believers and the conversion of unbelievers
that I hesitated to countenance any attempt to supersede or even
supplement it. But as, with prayer, I reflected upon the subject,
several considerations impressed me:

1st. The last volume of the Narrative ends with the year 1885, so that
there is no record of the last thirteen years of Mr. Muller's life
excepting what is contained in the yearly reports of "The Scriptural
Knowledge Institution."

2d. The last three volumes of the Narrative, being mainly a condensation
of the yearly reports during the period embraced in them, contain much
unavoidable repetition.

3d. A book of, say, four hundred and fifty pages, containing the
substance of the four volumes of the Narrative, and carrying on the
history to the date of the decease of the founder of the institution,
would meet the desire of a large class of readers.

4th. Several brief sketches of Mr. Muller's career had issued from the
press within a few days after the funeral; and one (written by Mr. F.
Warne and published by W. F. Mack & Co., Bristol), a very accurate and
truly appreciative sketch, had had a large circulation; but I was
convinced by the letters that reached me that a more comprehensive
memoir was called for, and _would be_ produced, so I was led especially
to pray for _guidance_ that such a book might be entrusted to the author
fitted by God to undertake it.

While waiting for the answer to this definite petition, though greatly
urged by publishers to proceed, I steadily declined to take any step
until I had clearer light. Moreover, I was, personally, occupied during
May and June in preparing the Annual Report of "The Scriptural Knowledge
Institution," and could not give proper attention to the other matter.

Just then I learned from Dr. Arthur T. Pierson, of Brooklyn, N. Y., that
he had been led to undertake the production of a memoir of Mr. Muller
for American readers, and requesting my aid by furnishing him with some
materials needed for the work.

Having complied with this request I was favoured by Dr. Pierson with a
syllabus of the method and contents of his intended work.

The more I thought upon the subject the more satisfied I became that no
one could be found more fitted to undertake the work which had been
called for on this side of the Atlantic also than this my well-known and
beloved friend.

He had had exceptional opportunities twenty years ago in the United
States, and in later years when visiting Great Britain, for becoming
intimately acquainted with Mr. Muller, with the principles on which the
Orphanage and other branches of "The Scriptural Knowledge Institution"
were carried on, and with many details of their working. I knew that Dr.
Pierson most thoroughly sympathized with these principles as being
according to the mind of God revealed in His word; and that he could,
therefore, present not merely the history of the external facts and
results of Mr. Muller's life and labours, but could and would, by God's
help, unfold, with the ardour and force of _conviction,_ the secret
springs of that life and of those labours.

I therefore intimated to my dear friend that, provided he would allow me
to read the manuscript and have thus the opportunity of making any
suggestions that I felt necessary, I would, as my beloved
father-in-law's executor and representative, gladly endorse his work as
the authorized memoir for British as well as American readers.

To this Dr. Pierson readily assented; and now, after carefully going
through the whole, I confidently recommend the book to esteemed readers
on both sides of the Atlantic, with the earnest prayer that the result,
in relation to the subject of this memoir, may be identical with that
produced by the account of the Apostle Paul's "manner of life" upon the
churches of Judea which were in Christ (Gal. i. 24), viz.,

"They glorified GOD" in him.

JAMES WRIGHT.

13 CHARLOTTE STREET, PARK STREET, BRISTOL, ENG., March, 1899.


A Prefatory Word

DR. OLIVER W. HOLMES wittily said that an autobiography is what every
biography _ought to be._ The four volumes of "The Narrative of the
Lord's Dealings with George Muller," already issued from the press and
written by his own hand, with a fifth volume covering his missionary
tours, and prepared by his wife, supplemented by the Annual Reports
since published, constitute essentially an autobiography--Mr. Muller's
own life-story, stamped with his own peculiar individuality, and
singularly and minutely complete. To those who wish the simple journal
of his life with the details of his history, these printed documents
make any other sketch of him from other hands so far unnecessary.

There are, however, two considerations which have mainly prompted the
preparation of this brief memoir: first, that the facts of this
remarkable life might be set forth not so much with reference to the
chronological order of their occurrence, as events, as for the sake of
the lessons in living which they furnish, illustrating and enforcing
grand spiritual principles and precepts: and secondly, because no man so
humble as he would ever write of himself what, after his departure,
another might properly write of him that others might glorify God in
him.

No one could have undertaken this work of writing Mr. Muller's life-story
without being deeply impressed with the opportunity thus afforded for
impressing the most vital truths that concern holy living and holy
serving; nor could any one have completed such a work without feeling
overawed by the argument which this narrative furnishes for a present,
living, prayer-hearing God, and for a possible and practical daily walk
with Him and work with Him. It has been a great help in the preparation
of this book that the writer has had such frequent converse with Mr.
James Wright, who was so long Mr. Muller's associate and knew him so
intimately.

So prominent was the word of God as a power in Mr. Muller's life that, in
an appendix, we have given peculiar emphasis to the great leading texts
of Scripture which inspired and guided his faith and conduct, and, so
far as possible, in the order in which such texts became practically
influential in his life; and so many wise and invaluable counsels are to
be found scattered throughout his journal that some of the most striking
and helpful have been selected, which may also be found in the appendix.

This volume has, like the life it sketches, but one aim. It is simply
and solely meant to extend, emphasize, and perpetuate George Muller's
witness to a prayer-hearing God; to present, as plainly, forcibly, and
briefly as is practicable, the outlines of a human history, and an
experience of the Lord's leadings and dealings, which furnish a
sufficient answer to the question:

WHERE IS THE LORD GOD OF ELIJAH?


Table of Contents
                                                PAGE

INTRODUCTION BY MR. JAMES WRIGHT ........

A PREFATORY WORD .....

CHAPTER I. FROM HIS BIRTH TO HIS NEW BIRTH .........

CHAPTER II. THE NEW BIRTH AND THE NEW LIFE ......

CHAPTER III. MAKING READY THE CHOSEN VESSEL ......

CHAPTER IV. NEW STEPS AND STAGES OF PREPARATION ....

CHAPTER V. THE PULPIT AND THE PASTORATE ..........

CHAPTER VI. "THE NARRATIVE OF THE LORD'S DEALINGS" ......

CHAPTER VII. LED OF GOD INTO A NEW SPHERE ........

CHAPTER VIII. A TREE OF GOD'S OWN PLANTING ........

CHAPTER IX. THE GROWTH OF GOD'S OWN PLANT ........

CHAPTER X. THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER .....

CHAPTER XI. TRIALS OF FAITH AND HELPERS TO FAITH .......

CHAPTER XII. NEW LESSONS IN GOD'S SCHOOL OF PRAYER ......

CHAPTER XIII. FOLLOWING THE PILLAR OF CLOUD AND FIRE ......

CHAPTER XIV. GOD'S BUILDING: THE NEW ORPHAN HOUSES .....

CHAPTER XV. THE MANIFOLD GRACE OF GOD ...........

CHAPTER XVI. THE SHADOW OF A GREAT SORROW .....

CHAPTER XVII. THE PERIOD OF WORLD-WIDE WITNESS ........

CHAPTER XVIII. FAITH AND PATIENCE IN SERVING ..........

CHAPTER XIX. AT EVENING-TIME-LIGHT .............

CHAPTER XX. THE SUMMARY OF THE LIFE-WORK ......

CHAPTER XXI. CHURCH LIFE AND GROWTH ...

CHAPTER XXII. A GLANCE AT THE GIFTS AND THE GIVERS ...

CHAPTER XXIII. GOD'S WITNESS TO THE WORK ........

CHAPTER XXIV. LAST LOOKS, BACKWARD AND FORWARD ....

APPENDIX.

A. SCRIPTURE TEXTS THAT MOULDED GEORGE MULLER ....

B. APPREHENSION OF TRUTH ............

C. SEPARATION FROM THE LONDON SOCIETY, ETC. ....

D. THE SCRIPTURAL KNOWLEDGE INSTITUTION FOR HOME AND ABROAD ....

E. REASONS WHICH LED MR. MULLER TO ESTABLISH AN ORPHAN HOUSE ....

F. ARGUMENTS IN PRAYER FOR THE ORPHAN WORK ....

G. THE PURCHASE OF A SITE, ETC. .........

H. GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN PROVIDING ........

K. FURTHER RECOLLECTIONS OF MR. MULLER .....

L. CHURCH FELLOWSHIP, BAPTISM, ETC. ........

M. CHURCH CONDUCT ...............

N. THE WISE SAYINGS OF GEORGE MULLER ...



George Muller of Bristol


CHAPTER I

FROM HIS BIRTH TO HIS NEW BIRTH

A HUMAN life, filled with the presence and power of God, is one of God's
choicest gifts to His church and to the world.

Things which are unseen and eternal seem, to the carnal man, distant and
indistinct, while what is seen and temporal is vivid and real.
Practically, any object in nature that can be seen or felt is thus more
real and actual to most men than the Living God. Every man who walks
with God, and finds Him a present Help in every time of need; who puts
His promises to the practical proof and verifies them in actual
experience; every believer who with the key of faith unlocks God's
mysteries, and with the key of prayer unlocks God's treasuries, thus
furnishes to the race a demonstration and an illustration of the fact
that "He is, and is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."

George Muller was such an argument and example incarnated in human
flesh. Here was a man of like passions as we are and tempted in all
points like as we are, but who believed God and was established by
believing; who prayed earnestly that he might live a life and do a work
which should be a convincing proof that God hears prayer and that it is
safe to trust Him at all times; and who has furnished just such a
witness as he desired. Like Enoch, he truly walked with God, and had
abundant testimony borne to him that he pleased God. And when, on the
tenth day of March, 1898, it was told us of George Muller that "he was
not," we knew that "God had taken him": it seemed more like a
translation than like death.

To those who are familiar with his long life-story, and, most of all, to
those who intimately knew him and felt the power of personal contact
with him, he was one of God's ripest saints and himself a living proof
that a life of faith is possible; that God may be known, communed with,
found, and may become a conscious companion in the daily life. George
Muller proved for himself and for all others who will receive his
witness that, to those who are willing to take God at His word and to
yield self to His will, He is "the same yesterday and to-day and
forever": that the days of divine intervention and deliverance are past
only to those with whom the days of faith and obedience are past--in a
word, that believing prayer works still the wonders which our fathers
told of in the days of old.

The life of this man may best be studied, perhaps, by dividing it into
certain marked periods, into which it naturally falls, when we look at
those leading events and experiences which are like punctuation-marks or
paragraph divisions,--as, for example:

1. From his birth to his new birth or conversion: 1805-1825.

2. From his conversion to full entrance on his life-work: 1825-35.

3. From this point to the period of his mission tours: 1835-75.

4. From the beginning to the close of these tours: 1875-92.

5. From the close of his tours to his death: 1892-98.

Thus the first period would cover twenty years; the second, ten; the
third, forty; the fourth, seventeen; and the last, six. However thus
unequal in length, each forms a sort of epoch, marked by certain
conspicuous and characteristic features which serve to distinguish it
and make its lessons peculiarly important and memorable. For example,
the first period is that of the lost days of sin, in which the great
lesson taught is the bitterness and worthlessness of a disobedient life.
In the second period may be traced the remarkable steps of preparation
for the great work of his life. The third period embraces the actual
working out of the divine mission committed to him. Then for seventeen
or eighteen years we find him bearing in all parts of the earth his
world-wide witness to God; and the last six years were used of God in
mellowing and maturing his Christian character. During these years he
was left in peculiar loneliness, yet this only made him lean more on the
divine companionship, and it was noticeable with those who were brought
into most intimate contact with him that he was more than ever before
heavenly-minded, and the beauty of the Lord his God was upon him.

The first period may be passed rapidly by, for it covers only the wasted
years of a sinful and profligate youth and early manhood. It is of
interest mainly as illustrating the sovereignty of that Grace which
abounds even to the chief of sinners. Who can read the story of that
score of years and yet talk of piety as the product of evolution? In his
case, instead of evolution, there was rather a _revolution,_ as marked
and complete as ever was found, perhaps, in the annals of salvation. If
Lord George Lyttelton could account for the conversion of Saul of Tarsus
only by supernatural power, what would he have thought of George
Muller's transformation! Saul had in his favor a conscience, however
misguided, and a morality, however pharisaic. George Muller was a
flagrant sinner against common honesty and decency, and his whole early
career was a revolt, not against God only, but against his own moral
sense. If Saul was a hardened transgressor, how callous must have been
George Muller!

He was a native of Prussia, born at Kroppenstaedt, near Halberstadt,
September 27, 1805. Less than five years later his parents removed to
Heimersleben, some four miles off, where his father was made collector
of the excise, again removing about eleven years later to Schoenebeck,
near Magdeburg, where he had obtained another appointment.

George Muller had no proper parental training. His father's favoritism
toward him was harmful both to himself and to his brother, as in the
family of Jacob, tending to jealousy and estrangement. Money was put too
freely into the hands of these boys, hoping that they might learn how to
use it and save it; but the result was, rather, careless and vicious
waste, for it became the source of many childish sins of indulgence.
Worse still, when called upon to render any account of their
stewardship, sins of lying and deception were used to cloak wasteful
spending. Young George systematically deceived his father, either by
false entries of what he had received, or by false statements of what he
had spent or had on hand. When his tricks were found out, the punishment
which followed led to no reformation, the only effect being more
ingenious devices of trickery and fraud. Like the Spartan lad, George
Muller reckoned it no fault to steal, but only to have his theft found
out.

His own brief account of his boyhood shows a very bad boy and he
attempts no disguise. Before he was ten years old he was a habitual
thief and an expert at cheating; even government funds, entrusted to his
father, were not safe from his hands. Suspicion led to the laying of a
snare into which he fell: a sum of money was carefully counted and put
where he would find it and have a chance to steal it. He took it and hid
it under his foot in his shoe, but, he being searched and the money
being found, it became clear to whom the various sums previously missing
might be traced.

His father wished him educated for a clergyman, and before he was eleven
he was sent to the cathedral classical school at Halberstadt to be
fitted for the university. That such a lad should be deliberately set
apart for such a sacred office and calling, by a father who knew his
moral obliquities and offences, seems incredible--but, where a state
church exists, the ministry of the Gospel is apt to be treated as a
human profession rather than as a divine vocation, and so the standards
of fitness often sink to the low secular level, and the main object in
view becomes the so-called "living," which is, alas, too frequently
independent of _holy_ living.

From this time the lad's studies were mixed up with novel-reading and
various vicious indulgences. Card-playing and even strong drink got hold
of him. The night when his mother lay dying, her boy of fourteen was
reeling through the streets, drunk; and even her death failed to arrest
his wicked course or to arouse his sleeping conscience. And--as must
always be the case when such solemn reminders make one no better--he
only grew worse.

When he came to the age for confirmation He had to attend the class for
preparatory religious teaching; but this being to him a mere form, and
met in a careless spirit, another false step was taken: sacred things
were treated as common, and so conscience became the more callous. On
the very eve of confirmation and of his first approach to the Lord's
Table he was guilty of gross sins; and on the day previous, when he met
the clergyman for the customary "confession of sin," he planned and
practised another shameless fraud, withholding from him eleven-twelfths
of the confirmation fee entrusted to him by his father!

In such frames of mind and with such habits of life George Muller, in
the Easter season of 1820, was confirmed and became a communicant.
Confirmed, indeed! but in sin, not only immoral and unregenerate, but so
ignorant of the very rudiments of the Gospel of Christ that he could not
have stated to an inquiring soul the simple terms of the plan of
salvation. There was, it is true about such serious and sacred
transactions, a vague solemnity which left a transient impression and
led to shallow resolves to live a better life; but there was no real
sense of sin or of repentance toward God, nor was there any dependence
upon a higher strength: and, without these, efforts at self-amendment
never prove of value or work lasting results.

The story of this wicked boyhood presents but little variety, except
that of sin and crime. It is one long tale of evil-doing and of the
sorrow which it brings. Once, when his money was all recklessly wasted,
hunger drove him to steal a bit of coarse bread from a soldier who was a
fellow lodger; and looking back, long afterward, to that hour of
extremity, he exclaimed, "What a bitter thing is the service of Satan,
even in this world!"

On his father's removal to Schoenebeck in 1821 he asked to be sent to
the cathedral school at Magdeburg, inwardly hoping thus to break away
from his sinful snares and vicious companions, and, amid new scenes,
find help in self-reform. He was not, therefore, without at least
occasional aspirations after moral improvement; but again he made the
common and fatal mistake of overlooking the Source of all true
betterment. "God was not in all his thoughts." He found that to leave
one place for another was not to leave his sin behind, for he took
himself along.

His father, with a strange fatuity, left him to superintend sundry
alterations in his house at Heimersleben, arranging for him meanwhile to
read classics with the resident clergyman, Rev. Dr. Nagel. Being thus
for a time his own master, temptation opened wide doors before him. He
was allowed to collect dues from his father's debtors, and again he
resorted to fraud, spending large sums of this money and concealing the
fact that it had been paid.

In November, 1821, he went to Magdeburg and to Brunswick, to which
latter place he was drawn by his passion for a young Roman Catholic
girl, whom he had met there soon after confirmation. In this absence
from home he took one step after another in the path of wicked
indulgence. First of all, by lying to his tutor he got his consent to
his going; then came a week of sin at Magdeburg and a wasting of his
father's means at a costly hotel in Brunswick. His money being gone, he
went to the house of an uncle until he was sent away; then, at another
expensive hotel, he ran up bills until, payment being demanded, he had
to leave his best clothes as a security, barely escaping arrest. Then,
at Wolfenbuttel, he tried the same bold scheme again, until, having
nothing for deposit, he ran off, but this time was caught and sent to
jail. This boy of sixteen was already a liar and thief, swindler and
drunkard, accomplished only in crime, a companion of convicted felons
and himself in a felon's cell. This cell, a few days later, a thief
shared: and these two held converse as fellow thieves, relating their
adventures to one another, and young Muller, that he might not be
outdone, invented lying tales of villainy to make himself out the more
famous fellow of the two!

Ten or twelve days passed in this wretched fellowship, until
disagreement led to a sullen silence between them. And so passed away
twenty-four dark days, from December 18, 1821, until the 12th of January
ensuing, during all of which George Muller was shut up in prison and
during part of which he sought as a favour the company of a thief.

His father learned of his disgrace and sent money to meet his hotel dues
and other "costs" and pay for his return home. Yet such was his
persistent wickedness that, going from a convict's cell to confront his
outraged but indulgent parent, he chose as his companion in travel an
avowedly wicked man.

He was severely chastised by his father and felt that he must make some
effort to reinstate himself in his favour. He therefore studied hard and
took pupils in arithmetic and German, French and Latin. This outward
reform so pleased his father that he shortly forgot as well as forgave
his evil-doing; but again it was only the outside of the cup and platter
that was made clean: the secret heart was still desperately wicked and
the whole life, as God saw it, was an abomination.

George Muller now began to forge what he afterward called "a whole chain
of lies." When his father would no longer consent to his staying at
home, he left, ostensibly for Halle, the university town, to be
examined, but really for Nordhausen to seek entrance into the gymnasium.
He avoided Halle because he dreaded its severe discipline, and foresaw
that restraint would be doubly irksome when constantly meeting young
fellows of his acquaintance who, as students in the university, would
have much more freedom than himself. On returning home he tried to
conceal this fraud from his father; but just before he was to leave
again for Nordhausen the truth became known, which made needful new
links in that chain of lies to account for his systematic disobedience
and deception. His father, though angry, permitted him to go to
Nordhausen, where he remained from October, 1822, till Easter, 1825.

During these two and a half years he studied classics, French, history,
etc., living with the director of the gymnasium. His conduct so improved
that he rose in favour and was pointed to as an example for the other
lads, and permitted to accompany the master in his walks, to converse
with him in Latin. At this time he was a hard student, rising at four
A.M. the year through, and applying himself to his books till ten at
night.

Nevertheless, by his own confession, behind all this formal propriety
there lay secret sin and utter alienation from God. His vices induced an
illness which for thirteen weeks kept him in his room. He was not
without a religious bent, which led to the reading of such books as
Klopstock's works, but he neither cared for God's word, nor had he any
compunction for trampling upon God's law. In his library, now numbering
about three hundred books, no Bible was found. Cicero and Horace,
Moliere and Voltaire, he knew and valued, but of the Holy Scriptures he
was grossly ignorant, and as indifferent to them as he was ignorant of
them. Twice a year, according to prevailing custom, he went to the
Lord's Supper, like others who had passed the age of confirmation, and
he could not at such seasons quite avoid religious impressions. When the
consecrated bread and wine touched his lips he would sometimes take an
oath to reform, and for a few days refrain from some open sins; but
there was no spiritual life to act as a force within, and his vows were
forgotten almost as soon as made. The old Satan was too strong for the
young Muller, and, when the mighty passions of his evil nature were
roused, his resolves and endeavours were as powerless to hold him as
were the new cords which bound Samson, to restrain him, when he awoke
from his slumber.

It is hard to believe that this young man of twenty could lie without a
blush and with the air of perfect candor. When dissipation dragged him
into the mire of debt, and his allowance would not help him out, he
resorted again to the most ingenious devices of falsehood. He pretended
that the money wasted in riotous living had been stolen by violence,
and, to carry out the deception he studied the part of an actor. Forcing
the locks of his trunk and guitar-case, he ran into the director's room
half dressed and feigning fright, declaring that he was the victim of a
robbery, and excited such pity that friends made up a purse to cover his
supposed losses. Suspicion was, however, awakened that he had been
playing a false part, and he never regained the master's confidence; and
though he had even then no sense of sin, shame at being detected in such
meanness and hypocrisy made him shrink from ever again facing the
director's wife, who, in his long sickness, had nursed him like a
mother.

Such was the man who was not only admitted to honourable standing as a
university student, but accepted as a candidate for holy orders, with
permission to preach in the Lutheran establishment. This student of
divinity knew nothing of God or salvation, and was ignorant even of the
gospel plan of saving grace. He felt the need for a better life, but no
godly motives swayed him. Reformation was a matter purely of expediency:
to continue in profligacy would bring final exposure, and no parish
would have him as a pastor. To get a valuable "cure" and a good "living"
he must make attainments in divinity, pass a good examination, and have
at least a decent reputation. Worldly policy urged him to apply himself
on the one hand to his studies and on the other to self-reform.

Again he met defeat, for he had never yet found the one source and
secret of all strength. Scarce had he entered Halle before his resolves
proved frail as a spider's web, unable to restrain him from vicious
indulgences. He refrained indeed from street brawls and duelling,
because they would curtail his liberty, but he knew as yet no moral
restraints. His money was soon spent, and he borrowed till he could find
no one to lend, and then pawned his watch and clothes.

He could not but be wretched, for it was plain to what a goal of poverty
and misery, dishonour and disgrace, such paths lead. Policy loudly urged
him to abandon his evil-doing, but piety had as yet no voice in his
life. He went so far, however, as to choose for a friend a young man and
former schoolmate, named Beta, whose quiet seriousness might, as he
hoped, steady his own course. But he was leaning on a broken reed, for
Beta was himself a backslider. Again he was taken ill. God made him to
"possess the iniquities of his youth." After some weeks he was better,
and once more his conduct took on the semblance of improvement.

The true mainspring of all well-regulated lives was still lacking, and
sin soon broke out in unholy indulgence. George Muller was an adept at
the ingenuity of vice. What he had left he pawned to get money, and with
Beta and two others went on a four days' pleasure-drive, and then
planned a longer tour in the Alps. Barriers were in the way, for both
money and passports were lacking; but fertility of invention swept all
such barriers away. Forged letters, purporting to be from their parents,
brought passports for the party, and books, put in pawn, secured money.
Forty-three days were spent in travel, mostly afoot; and during this
tour George Muller, holding, like Judas, the common purse, proved, like
him, a thief, for he managed to make his companions pay one third of his
own expenses.

The party were back in Halle before the end of September, and George
Muller went home to spend the rest of his vacation. To account plausibly
to his father for the use of his allowance a new chain of lies was
readily devised. So soon and so sadly were all his good resolves again
broken.

When once more in Halle, he little knew that the time had come when he
was to become a new man in Christ Jesus. He was to find God, and that
discovery was to turn into a new channel the whole current of his life.
The sin and misery of these twenty years would not have been reluctantly
chronicled but to make the more clear that his conversion was a
supernatural work, inexplicable without God. There was certainly nothing
in himself to 'evolve' such a result, nor was there anything in his
'environment.' In that university town there were no natural forces that
could bring about a revolution in character and conduct such as he
experienced. Twelve hundred and sixty students were there gathered, and
nine hundred of them were divinity students, yet even of the latter
number, though all were permitted to preach, not one hundredth part, he
says, actually "feared the Lord." Formalism displaced pure and undefiled
religion, and with many of them immorality and infidelity were cloaked
behind a profession of piety. Surely such a man, with such surroundings,
could undergo no radical change of character and life without the
intervention of some mighty power from without and from above! What this
force was, and how it wrought upon him and in him, we are now to see.


CHAPTER II

THE NEW BIRTH AND THE NEW LIFE

THE lost days of sin, now forever past, the days of heaven upon earth
began to dawn, to grow brighter till the perfect day.

We enter the second period of this life we are reviewing. After a score
of years of evil-doing George Muller was converted to God, and the
radical nature of the change strikingly proves and displays the
sovereignty of Almighty Grace. He had been kept amid scenes of
outrageous and flagrant sin, and brought through many perils, as well as
two serious illnesses, because divine purposes of mercy were to be
fulfilled in him. No other explanation can adequately account for the
facts.

Let those who would explain such a conversion without taking God into
account remember that it was at a time when this young sinner was as
careless as ever; when he had not for years read the Bible or had a copy
of it in his possession; when he had seldom gone to a service of
worship, and had never yet even heard one gospel sermon; when he had
never been told by any believer what it is to believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and to live by God's help and according to His Word; when, in
fact, he had no conception of the first principles of the doctrine of
Christ, and knew not the real nature of a holy life, but thought all
others to be as himself, except in the degree of depravity and iniquity.
This young man had thus grown to manhood without having learned that
rudimental truth that sinners and saints differ not in degree but in
kind; that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; yet the hard
heart of such a man, at such a time and in such conditions, was so
wrought upon by the Holy Spirit that he suddenly found entrance into a
new sphere of life, with new adaptations to its new atmosphere.

The divine Hand in this history is doubly plain when, as we now look
back, we see that this was also the period of preparation for his
life-work--a preparation the more mysterious because he had as yet no
conception or forecast of that work. During the next ten years we shall
watch the divine Potter, to Whom George Muller was a chosen vessel for
service, moulding and fitting the vessel for His use. Every step is one
of preparation, but can be understood only in the light which that
future casts backward over the unique ministry to the church and the
world, to which this new convert was all unconsciously separated by God
and was to become so peculiarly consecrated.

One Saturday afternoon about the middle of November, 1825, Beta said to
Muller, as they were returning from a walk, that he was going that
evening to a meeting at a believer's house, where he was wont to go on
Saturdays, and where a few friends met to sing, to pray, and to read the
word of God and a printed sermon. Such a programme held out nothing
fitted to draw a man of the world who sought his daily gratifications at
the card-table and in the wine-cup, the dance and the drama, and whose
companionships were found in dissipated young fellows; and yet George
Muller felt at once a wish to go to this meeting, though he could not
have told why. There was no doubt a conscious void within him never yet
filled, and some instinctive inner voice whispered that he might there
find food for his soul-hunger--a satisfying something after which he had
all his life been unconsciously and blindly groping. He expressed the
desire to go, which his friend hesitated to encourage lest such a gay
and reckless devotee of vicious pleasures might feel ill at ease in such
an assembly. However, he called for young Muller and took him to the
meeting.

During his wanderings as a backslider, Beta had both joined and aided
George Muller in his evil courses, but, on coming back from the Swiss
tour, his sense of sin had so revived as to constrain him to make a full
confession to his father; and, through a Christian friend, one Dr.
Richter, a former student at Halle, he had been made acquainted with the
Mr. Wagner at whose dwelling the meetings were held. The two young men
therefore went together, and the former backslider was used of God to
"convert a sinner from the error of his way and save a soul from death
and hide a multitude of sins."

That Saturday evening was the turning-point in George Muller's history
and destiny. He found himself in strange company, amid novel
surroundings, and breathing a new atmosphere. His awkwardness made him
feel so uncertain of his welcome that he made some apology for being
there. But he never forgot brother Wagner's gracious answer: "Come as
often as you please! house and heart are open to you." He little knew
then what he afterward learned from blessed experience, what joy fills
and thrills the hearts of praying saints when an evil-doer turns his
feet, however timidly, toward a place of prayer!

All present sat down and sang a hymn. Then a brother--who afterward went
to Africa under the London Missionary Society--fell on his knees and
prayed for God's blessing on the meeting. That _kneeling before God in
prayer_ made upon Muller an impression never lost. He was in his
twenty-first year, and yet he had _never before seen any one on his
knees praying,_ and of course had never himself knelt before God,--the
Prussian habit being to stand in public prayer.

A chapter was read from the word of God, and--all meetings where the
Scriptures were expounded, unless by an ordained clergyman, being under
the ban as irregular--a printed sermon was read. When, after another
hymn, the master of the house prayed, George Muller was inwardly saying:
"I am much more learned than this illiterate man, but I could not pray
as well as he." Strange to say, a new joy was already springing up in
his soul for which he could have given as little explanation as for his
unaccountable desire to go to that meeting. But so it was; and on the
way home he could not forbear saying to Beta: "All we saw on our journey
to Switzerland, and all our former pleasures, are as nothing compared to
this evening."

Whether or not, on reaching his own room, he himself knelt to pray he
could not recall, but he never forgot that a new and strange peace and
rest somehow found him as he lay in bed that night. Was it God's wings
that folded over him, after all his vain flight away from the true nest
where the divine Eagle flutters over His young?

How sovereign are God's ways of working! In such a sinner as Muller,
theologians would have demanded a great 'law work' as the necessary
doorway to a new life. Yet there was at this time as little deep
conviction of guilt and condemnation as there was deep knowledge of God
and of divine things, and perhaps it was because there was so little of
the latter that there was so little of the former.

Our rigid theories of conversion all fail in view of such facts. We have
heard of a little child who so simply trusted Christ for salvation that
she could give no account of any 'law work.' And as one of the old
examiners, who thought there could be no genuine conversion without a
period of deep conviction, asked her, "But, my dear, how about the
Slough of Despond?" she dropped a courtesy and said, "_Please, sir, I
didn't come that way!_"

George Muller's eyes were but half opened, as though he saw men as trees
walking; but Christ had touched those eyes, He knew little of the great
Healer, but somehow he had touched the hem of His garment of grace, and
virtue came out of Him who wears that seamless robe, and who responds
even to the faintest contact of the soul that is groping after
salvation. And so we meet here another proof of the infinite variety of
God's working which, like the fact of that working, is so wonderful.
That Saturday evening in November, 1825, was to this young student of
Halle _the parting of the ways._ He had tasted that the Lord is
gracious, though he himself could not account for the new relish for
divine things which made it seem too long to wait a week for another
meal; so that thrice before the Saturday following he sought the house
of brother Wagner, there, with the help of brethren, to search the
Scriptures.

We should lose one of the main lessons of this life-story by passing too
hastily over such an event as this conversion and the exact manner of
it, for here is to be found the first great step in God's preparation of
the workman for his work.

Nothing is more wonderful in history than the unmistakable signs and
proofs of _preadaptation._ Our life-occurrences are not _disjecta
membra_--scattered, disconnected, and accidental fragments. In God's
book all these events were written beforehand, when as yet there was
nothing in existence but the plan in God's mind--to be fashioned in
continuance in actual history--as is perhaps suggested in Psalm cxxxix.
16 (margin).

We see stones and timbers brought to a building site--the stones from
different quarries and the timbers from various shops--and different
workmen have been busy upon them at times and places which forbade all
conscious contact or cooperation. The conditions oppose all preconcerted
action, and yet, without chipping or cutting, stone fits stone, and
timber fits timber--tenons and mortises, and proportions and dimensions,
all corresponding so that when the building is complete it is as
perfectly proportioned and as accurately fitted as though it had been
all prepared in one workshop and put together in advance as a test. In
such circumstances no sane man would doubt that _one presiding
mind_--one architect and master builder--had planned that structure,
however many were the quarries and workshops and labourers.

And so it is with this life-story we are writing. The materials to be
built into one structure of service were from a thousand sources and
moulded into form by many hands, but there was a mutual fitness and a
common adaptation to the end in view which prove that He whose mind and
plan span the ages had a supreme purpose to which all human agents were
unconsciously tributary. The awe of this vision of God's workmanship
will grow upon us as we look beneath and behind the mere human
occurrences to see the divine Hand shaping and building together all
these seemingly disconnected events and experiences into one life-work.

For example, what have we found to be the initial step and stage in
George Muller's spiritual history? In a little gathering of believers,
where for the first time he saw a child of God pray on his knees, he
found his first approach to a pardoning God. Let us observe: this man
was henceforth to be singularly and peculiarly identified with simple
scriptural assemblies of believers after the most primitive and
apostolic pattern--meetings for prayer and praise, reading and
expounding of the Word, such as doubtless were held at the house of Mary
the mother of John Mark--assemblies mainly and primarily for believers,
held wherever a place could be found, with no stress laid on consecrated
buildings and with absolutely no secular or aesthetic attractions. Such
assemblies were to be so linked with the whole life, work, and witness
of George Muller as to be inseparable from his name, and it was in such
an assembly that the night before he died he gave out his last hymn and
offered his last prayer.

Not only so, but _prayer, on the knees, both in secret and in such
companionship of believers,_ was henceforth to be the one great central
secret of his holy living and holy serving. Upon this corner-stone of
prayer all his life-work was to be built. Of Sir Henry Lawrence the
native soldiers during the Lucknow mutiny were wont to say that, "when
he looked twice up to heaven, once down to earth, and then stroked his
beard, he knew what to do." And of George Muller it may well be said
that he was to be, for more than seventy years, the man who
conspicuously looked up to heaven to learn what he was to do. Prayer for
direct divine guidance in every crisis, great or small, was to be the
secret of his whole career. Is there any accident in the exact way in
which he was first led to God, and in the precise character of the
scenes which were thus stamped with such lasting interest and
importance?

The thought of a divine plan which is thus emphasized at this point we
are to see singularly illustrated as we mark how stone after stone and
timber after timber are brought to the building site, and all so
mutually fitted that no sound of any human tool is to be heard while the
life-work is in building.

Of course a man that had been so profligate and prodigal must at least
begin at conversion to live a changed life. Not that all at once the old
sins were abandoned, for such total transformation demands deeper
knowledge of the word and will of God than George Muller yet had. But
within him a new separating and sanctifying Power was at work. There was
a distaste for wicked joys and former companions; the frequenting of
taverns entirely ceased, and a lying tongue felt new and strange bands
about it. A watch was set at the door of the lips, and every word that
went forth was liable to a challenge, so that old habits of untamed
speech were arrested and corrected.

At this time he was translating into German for the press a French
novel, hoping to use the proceeds of his work for a visit to Paris, etc.
At first the plan for the pleasure-trip was abandoned, then the question
arose whether the work itself should not be. Whether his convictions
were not clear or his moral courage not sufficient, he went on with the
novel. It was finished, but never published. Providential hindrances
prevented or delayed the sale and publication of the manuscript until
clearer spiritual vision showed him that the whole matter was not of
faith and was therefore sin, so that he would neither sell nor print the
novel, but burned it--another significant step, for it was his _first
courageous act of self-denial in surrender to the voice of the
Spirit_--and another stone or timber was thus ready for the coming
building.

He now began in different directions a good fight against evil. Though
as yet weak and often vanquished before temptation, he did not
habitually 'continue in sin,' nor offend against God without godly
sorrow. Open sins became less frequent and secret sins less ensnaring.
He read the word of God, prayed often, loved fellow disciples, sought
church assemblies from right motives, and boldly took his stand on the
side of his new Master, at the cost of reproach and ridicule from his
fellow students.

George Muller's next marked step in his new path was _the discovery of
the preciousness of the word of God._

At first he had a mere hint of the deep mines of wealth which he
afterward explored. But his whole life-history so circles about certain
great texts that whenever they come into this narrative they should
appear in capitals to mark their prominence. And, of them all, that
'little gospel' in John iii. 16 is the first, for by it he found a full
salvation:

"GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON, THAT
WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING
LIFE."

From these words he got his first glimpse of the philosophy of the plan
of salvation--why and how the Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins in His own
body on the tree as our vicarious Substitute and suffering Surety, and
how His sufferings in Gethsemane and Golgotha made it forever needless
that the penitent believing sinner should bear his own iniquity and die
for it.

Truly to grasp this fact is the beginning of a true and saving
faith--what the Spirit calls "laying hold." He who believes and knows
that God so loved him first, finds himself loving God in return, and
faith works by love to purify the heart, transform the life, and
overcome the world.

It was so with George Muller. He found in the word of God _one great
fact:_ the love of God in Christ. Upon that fact faith, not feeling,
laid hold; and then the feeling came naturally without being waited for
or sought after. The love of God in Christ constrained him to a
love--infinitely unworthy, indeed, of that to which it responded, yet
supplying a new impulse unknown before. What all his father's
injunctions, chastisements, entreaties, with all the urgent dictates of
his own conscience, motives of expediency, and repeated resolves of
amendment, utterly failed to effect, the love of God both impelled and
enabled him to do--renounce a life of sinful self-indulgence. Thus early
he learned that double truth, which he afterwards passionately loved to
teach others, that in the blood of God's atoning Lamb is the Fountain of
both forgiveness and cleansing. Whether we seek pardon for sin or power
over sin, the sole source and secret are in Christ's work for us.

The new year 1826 was indeed a _new year_ to this newborn soul. He now
began to read _missionary_ journals, which kindled a new flame in his
heart. He felt a yearning--not very intelligent as yet--to be himself a
messenger to the nations, and frequent praying deepened and confirmed
the impression. As his knowledge of the world-field enlarged, new facts
as to the destitution and the desolation of heathen peoples became as
fuel to feed this flame of the mission spirit.

A carnal attachment, however, for a time almost quenched this fire of
God within. He was drawn to a young woman of like age, a professed
believer, whom he had met at the Saturday-evening meetings; but he had
reason to think that her parents would not give her up to a missionary
life, and he began, half-unconsciously, to weigh in the balance his
yearning for service over against his passion for a fellow creature.
Inclination, alas, outweighed duty. Prayer lost its power and for the
time was almost discontinued, with corresponding decline in joy. His
heart was turned from the foreign field, and in fact from all
self-denying service. Six weeks passed in this state of spiritual
declension, when God took a strange way to reclaim the backslider.

A young brother, Hermann Ball, wealthy, cultured, with every promising
prospect for this world to attract him, made a great self-sacrifice. He
chose Poland as a field, and work among the Jews as his mission,
refusing to stay at home to rest in the soft nest of self-indulgent and
luxurious ease. This choice made on young Muller a deep impression. He
was compelled to contrast with it his own course. For the sake of a
passionate love for a young woman he had given up the work to which he
felt drawn of God, and had become both joyless and prayerless: another
young man, with far more to draw him worldward, had, for the sake of a
self-denying service among despised Polish Jews, resigned all the
pleasures and treasures of the world. Hermann Ball was acting and
choosing as Moses did in the crisis of his history, while he, George
Muller, was acting and choosing more like that profane person Esau, when
for one morsel of meat he bartered his birthright. The result was a new
renunciation--he gave up the girl he loved, and forsook a connection
which had been formed without faith and prayer and had proved a source
of alienation from God.

Here we mark another new and significant step in preparation for his
life-work--a decided step forward, which became a pattern for his
after-life. For the second time a _decision for God had cost him marked
self-denial._ Before, he had burned his novel; now, on the same altar,
he gave up to the consuming fire a human passion which had over him an
unhallowed influence. According to the measure of his light thus far,
George Muller was _fully, unreservedly given up to God,_ and therefore
walking in the light. He did not have to wait long for the recompense of
the reward, for the smile of God repaid him for the loss of a human
love, and the peace of God was his because the God of peace was with
him.

Every new spring of inward joy demands a channel for outflow, and so he
felt impelled to bear witness. He wrote to his father and brother of his
own happy experience, begging them to seek and find a like rest in God,
thinking that they had but to know the path that leads to such joy to be
equally eager to enter it. But an angry response was all the reply that
his letter evoked.

About the same time the famous Dr. Tholuck took the chair of professor
of divinity at Halle, and the advent of such a godly man to the faculty
drew pious students from other schools of learning, and so enlarged
George Mullers circle of fellow believers, who helped him much through
grace. Of course the missionary spirit revived, and with such increased
fervor, that he sought his father's permission to connect himself with
some missionary institution in Germany. His father was not only much
displeased, but greatly disappointed, and dealt in reproaches very hard
to bear. He reminded George of all the money he had spent on his
education in the expectation that he would repay him by getting such a
'living' as would insure to the parent a comfortable home and support
for his old age; and in a fit of rage he exclaimed that he would no
longer look on him as a son.

Then, seeing that son unmoved in his quiet steadfastness, he changed
tone, and from threats turned to tears of entreaty that were much harder
to resist than reproaches. The result of the interview was a _third_
significant step in preparation for his son's life's mission. His
resolve was unbroken to follow the Lord's leading at any cost, but he
now clearly saw that he could be _independent of man only by being more
entirely dependent on God, and that henceforth he should take no more
money from his father._ To receive such support implied obedience to his
wishes, for it seemed plainly wrong to look to him for the cost of his
training when he had no prospect nor intention of meeting his known
expectations. If he was to live on his father's money, he was under a
tacit obligation to carry out his plans and seek a good living as a
clergyman at home. Thus early in life George Muller learned the valuable
lesson that one must preserve his independence if he would not endanger
his integrity.

God was leading His servant in his youth to _cast himself upon Him for
temporal supplies._ This step was not taken without cost, for the two
years yet to be spent at the university would require more outlay than
during any time previous. But thus early also did he find God a faithful
Provider and Friend in need. Shortly after, certain American gentlemen,
three of whom were college professors,* being in Halle and wishing
instruction in German, were by Dr. Tholuck recommended to employ George
Muller as tutor; and the pay was so ample for the lessons taught them
and the lectures written out for them, that all wants were more than
met. Thus also in his early life was written large in the chambers of
his memory another golden text from the word of God:

    "O FEAR THE LORD, YE HIS SAINTS!
     FOR THERE IS NO WANT TO THEM THAT FEAR HIM."
                                (Psalm xxxiv. 9.)

* One of them, the Rev. Charles Hodge, afterward so well known as
professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, etc.


CHAPTER III

MAKING READY THE CHOSEN VESSEL

THE workman of God needs to wait on Him to know the work he is to do and
the sphere where he is to serve Him.

Mature disciples at Halle advised George Muller for the time thus
quietly to wait for divine guidance, and meanwhile to take no further
steps toward the mission field. He felt unable, however, to dismiss the
question, and was so impatient to settle it that he made the common
blunder of attempting to come to a decision in a carnal way. _He
resorted to the lot,_ and not only so, but to the lot as cast in the lap
of the _lottery!_ In other words, he first drew a lot in private, and
then bought a ticket in a royal lottery, expecting his steps to be
guided in a matter so solemn as the choice of a field for the service of
God, by the turn of the 'wheel of fortune'! Should his ticket draw a
prize he would _go;_ if not, _stay_ at home. Having drawn a small sum,
he accordingly accepted this as a 'sign,' and at once applied to the
Berlin Missionary Society, but was not accepted because his application
was not accompanied with his father's consent.

Thus a higher Hand had disposed while man proposed. God kept out of the
mission field, at this juncture, one so utterly unfit for His work that
he had not even learned that primary lesson that he who would work with
God must first wait on Him and wait for Him, and that all undue haste in
such a matter is worse than waste. He who kept Moses waiting forty years
before He sent him to lead out captive Israel, who withdrew Saul of
Tarsus three years into Arabia before he sent him as an apostle to the
nations, and who left even His own Son thirty years in obscurity before
His manifestation as Messiah--this God is in no hurry to put other
servants at work. He says to all impatient souls: "My time is not yet
full come, but your time is always ready."

Only twice after this did George Muller ever resort to the lot: once at
a literal parting of the ways when he was led by it to take the wrong
fork of the road, and afterward in a far more important matter, but with
a like result: in both cases he found he had been misled, and henceforth
abandoned all such chance methods of determining the mind of God. He
learned two lessons, which new dealings of God more and more deeply
impressed:

First, that the safe guide in every crisis is believing prayer in
connection with the word of God.

Secondly, that continued uncertainty as to one's course is a reason for
continued waiting.

These lessons should not be lightly passed over, for they are too
valuable. The flesh is impatient of all delay, both in decision and
action; hence all carnal choices are immature and premature, and all
carnal courses are mistaken and unspiritual. God is often moved to delay
that we may be led to pray, and even the answers to prayer are deferred
that the natural and carnal spirit may be kept in check and self-will
may bow before the will of God.

In a calm review of his course many years later George Muller saw that
he "ran hastily to the lot" as a shorter way of settling a doubtful
matter, and that, especially in the question of God's call to the
mission field, this was shockingly improper. He saw also how unfit he
had been at that time for the work he sought: he should rather have
asked himself how one so ignorant and so needing to be taught could
think of teaching others! Though a child of God, he could not as yet
have given a clear statement or explanation of the most elementary
gospel truths. The one thing needful was therefore to have sought
through much prayer and Bible study to get first of all a deeper
knowledge and a deeper experience of divine things. Impatience to settle
a matter so important was itself seen to be a positive disqualification
for true service, revealing unfitness to endure hardship as a good
soldier of Jesus Christ. There is a constant strain and drain on patient
waiting which is a necessary feature of missionary trial and
particularly the trial of deferred harvests. One who, at the outset,
could not brook delay in making his first decision, and wait for God to
make known His will in His own way and time, would not on the field have
had long patience as a husbandman, waiting for the precious fruit of his
toil, or have met with quietness of spirit the thousand perplexing
problems of work among the heathen!

Moreover the conviction grew that, could he have followed the lot, his
choice would have been a life-mistake. His mind, at that time, was bent
upon the East Indies as a field. Yet all subsequent events clearly
showed that God's choice for him was totally different. His repeated
offers met as repeated refusals, and though on subsequent occasions he
acted most deliberately and solemnly, no open door was found, but he was
in every case kept from following out his honest purpose. Nor could the
lot be justified as an indication of his _ultimate_ call to the mission
field, for the purpose of it was definite, namely, to ascertain, not
whether _at some period of his life_ he was to go forth, but whether _at
that time_ he was to go or stay. The whole after-life of George Muller
proved that God had for him an entirely different plan, which He was not
ready yet to reveal, and which His servant was not yet prepared to see
or follow. If any man's life ever was a plan of God, surely this life
was; and the Lord's distinct, emphatic leading, when made known, was not
in this direction. He had purposed for George Muller a larger field than
the Indies, and a wider witness than even the gospel message to heathen
peoples. He was 'not suffered' to go into 'Bithynia' because 'Macedonia'
was waiting for his ministry.

With increasing frequency, earnestness, and minuteness, was George
Muller led to put before God, in prayer, all matters that lay upon his
mind. This man was to be peculiarly an example to believers as an
_intercessor;_ and so God gave him from the outset a very _simple,
childlike disposition_ toward Himself. In many things he was in
knowledge and in strength to outgrow childhood and become a man, for it
marks immaturity when we err through ignorance and are overcome through
weakness. But in faith and in the filial spirit, he always continued to
be a little child. Mr. J. Hudson Taylor well reminds us that while in
nature the normal order of growth is from childhood to manhood and so to
maturity, in _grace_ the true development is perpetually backward toward
the cradle: we must become and continue as little children, not losing,
but rather gaining, childlikeness of spirit. The disciple's maturest
manhood is only the perfection of his childhood. George Muller was never
so really, truly, fully a little child in all his relations to his
Father, as when in the ninety-third year of his age.

Being thus providentially kept from the Indies, he began definite work
at home, though yet having little real knowledge of the divine art of
coworking with God. He spoke to others of their soul's welfare, and
wrote to former companions in sin, and circulated tracts and missionary
papers. Nor were his labours without encouragement, though sometimes his
methods were awkward or even grotesque, as when, speaking to a beggar in
the fields about his need of salvation, he tried to overcome apathetic
indifference by speaking louder and louder, as though, mere bawling in
his ears would subdue the hardness of his heart!

In 1826 he first attempted to _preach._ An unconverted schoolmaster some
six miles from Halle he was the means of turning to the Lord; and this
schoolmaster asked him to come and help an aged, infirm clergyman in the
parish. Being a student of divinity he was at liberty to preach, but
conscious ignorance had hitherto restrained him. He thought, however,
that by committing some other man's sermon to memory he might profit the
hearers, and so he undertook it. It was slavish work to prepare, for it
took most of a week to memorize the sermon, and it was joyless work to
deliver it, for there was none of the living power that attends a man's
God-given message and witness. His conscience was not yet enlightened
enough to see that he was acting a false part in preaching another's
sermon as his own; nor had he the spiritual insight to perceive that it
is not God's way to set up a man to preach who knows not enough of
either His word or the life of the Spirit within him, to prepare his own
discourse. How few even among preachers feel preaching to be _a divine
vocation and not a mere human profession;_ that a ministry of the truth
implies the witness of experience, and that to preach another man's
sermon is, at the best, unnatural walking on stilts!

George Muller 'got through' his painful effort of August 27, 1826,
reciting this memoriter sermon at eight A.M. in the chapel of ease, and
three hours later in the parish church. Being asked to preach again in
the afternoon, but having no second sermon committed to memory, he had
to keep silent, or _depend on the Lord for help._ He thought he could at
least read the fifth chapter of Matthew, and simply expound it. But he
had no sooner begun the first beatitude than he felt himself greatly
assisted. Not only were his lips opened, but the Scriptures were opened
too, his own soul expanded, and a peace and power, wholly unknown to his
tame, mechanical repetitions of the morning, accompanied the simpler
expositions of the afternoon, with this added advantage, that he talked
on a level with the people and not over their heads, his colloquial,
earnest speech riveting their attention.

Going back to Halle, he said to himself, 'This is the _true way to
preach,_' albeit he felt misgivings lest such a simple style of
exposition might not suit so well a cultured refined city congregation.
He had yet to learn how the enticing words of man's wisdom make the
cross of Christ of none effect, and how the very simplicity that makes
preaching intelligible to the illiterate makes sure that the most
cultivated will also understand it, whereas the reverse is not true.

Here was another very important _step in his preparation_ for subsequent
service. He was to rank throughout life among the simplest and most
scriptural of preachers. This first trial of pulpit-work led to frequent
sermons, and in proportion as his speech was in the simplicity that is
in Christ did he find joy in his work and a harvest from it. The
committed sermon of some great preacher might draw forth human praise,
but it was the simple witness of the Word, and of the believer to the
Word, that had praise of God. His preaching was not then much owned of
God in fruit. Doubtless the Lord saw that he was not ready for reaping,
and scarcely for sowing: there was yet too little prayer in preparation
and too little unction in delivery, and so his labours were
comparatively barren of results.

About this same time he took another step--perhaps the most significant
thus far in its bearing on the precise form of work so closely linked
with his name. For some two months he availed himself of the free
lodgings furnished for poor divinity students in the famous _Orphan
Houses built by A. H. Francke._ This saintly man, a professor of
divinity at Halle, who had died a hundred years before (1727), had been
led to found an orphanage in entire dependence upon God. Half
unconsciously George Muller's whole life-work at Bristol found both its
suggestion and pattern in Francke's orphanage at Halle. The very
building where this young student lodged was to him an object lesson--a
visible, veritable, tangible proof that the Living God hears prayer, and
can, in answer to prayer alone, build a house for orphan children. That
lesson was never lost, and George Muller fell into the apostolic
succession of such holy labour! He often records how much his own
faith-work was indebted to that example of simple trust in prayer
exhibited by Francke. Seven years later he read his life, and was
thereby still more prompted to follow him as he followed Christ.

George Muller's spiritual life in these early days was strangely
chequered. For instance, he who, as a Lutheran divinity student, was
essaying to preach, hung up in his room a framed crucifix, hoping
thereby to keep in mind the sufferings of Christ and so less frequently
fall into sin. Such helps, however, availed him little, for while he
rested upon such artificial props, it seemed as though he sinned the
oftener.

He was at this time overworking, writing sometimes fourteen hours a day,
and this induced nervous depression, which exposed him to various
temptations. He ventured into a confectioner's shop where wine and beer
were sold, and then suffered reproaches of conscience for conduct so
unbecoming a believer; and he found himself indulging ungracious and
ungrateful thoughts of God, who, instead of visiting him with deserved
chastisement, multiplied His tender mercies.

He wrote to a rich, liberal and titled lady, asking a loan, and received
the exact sum asked for, with a letter, not from her, but from another
into whose hands his letter had fallen by "a peculiar providence," and
who signed it as "An adoring worshipper of the Saviour Jesus Christ."
While led to send the money asked for, the writer added wise words of
caution and counsel--words so fitted to George Muller's exact need that
he saw plainly the higher Hand that had guided the anonymous writer. In
that letter he was urged to "seek by watching and prayer to be delivered
from all vanity and self-complacency," to make it his "chief aim to be
more and more humble, faithful, and quiet," and not to be of those who
"say 'Lord, Lord,' but have Him not deeply in their hearts." He was also
reminded that "Christianity consists not in words but in power, and that
there must be life in us."

He was deeply moved by this message from God through an unknown party,
and the more as it had come, with its enclosure, at the time when he was
not only guilty of conduct unbecoming a disciple, but indulging hard
thoughts of his heavenly Father. He went out to walk alone, and was so
deeply wrought on by God's goodness and his own ingratitude that he
knelt behind a hedge, and, though in snow a foot deep, he forgot himself
for a half-hour in praise, prayer, and self-surrender.

Yet so deceitful is the human heart that a few weeks later he was in
such a backslidden state that, for a time, he was again both careless
and prayerless, and one day sought to drown the voice of conscience in
the wine-cup. The merciful Father gave not up his child to folly and
sin. He who once could have gone to great lengths in dissipation now
found a few glasses of wine more than enough; his relish for such
pleasures was gone, and so was the power to silence the still small
voice of conscience and of the Spirit of God.

Such vacillations in Christian experience were due in part to the lack
of holy associations and devout companionships. Every disciple needs
help in holy living, and this young believer yearned for that spiritual
uplift afforded by sympathetic fellow believers. In vacation times he
had found at Gnadau, the Moravian settlement some three miles from his
father's residence, such soul refreshment, but Halle itself supplied
little help. He went often to church, but seldom heard the Gospel, and
in that town of over 30,000, with all its ministers, he found not one
enlightened clergyman. When, therefore, he could hear such a preacher as
Dr. Tholuck, he would walk ten or fifteen miles to enjoy such a
privilege. The meetings continued at Mr. Wagner's house; and on the
Lord's day evenings some six or more believing students were wont to
gather, and both these assemblies were means of grace. From Easter,
1827, so long as he remained in Halle, this latter meeting was held in
his own room, and must rank alongside those little gatherings of the
"Holy Club" in Lincoln College, Oxford, which a hundred years before had
shaped the Wesleys and Whitefield for their great careers. Before George
Muller left Halle the attendance at this weekly meeting in his room had
grown to twenty.

These assemblies were throughout very simple and primitive. In addition
to prayer, singing, and reading of God's word, one or more brethren
exhorted or read extracts from devout books. Here young Muller freely
opened his heart to others, and through their counsels and prayers was
delivered from many snares.

One lesson, yet to be learned, was that the one fountain of all wisdom
and strength is the Holy Scriptures. Many disciples practically prefer
religious books to the Book of God. He had indeed found much of the
reading with which too many professed believers occupy their minds to be
but worthless chaff--such as French and German novels; but as yet he had
not formed the habit of reading the word of God daily and systematically
as in later life, almost to the exclusion of other books. In his
ninety-second year, he said to the writer, that for every page of any
other reading he was sure he read ten of the Bible. But, up to that
November day in 1825 when he first met a praying band of disciples, he
had never to his recollection read one chapter in the Book of books; and
for the first four years of his new life he gave to the works of
uninspired men practical preference over the Living Oracles.

After a true relish for the Scriptures had been created, he could not
understand how he could ever have treated God's Book with such neglect.
It seemed obvious that _God's having condescended to become an Author,_
inspiring holy men to write the Scriptures, He would in them impart the
most vital truths; His message would cover all matters which concern
man's welfare, and therefore, under the double impulse of duty and
delight, we should instinctively and habitually turn to the Bible.
Moreover, as he read and studied this Book of God, he felt himself
admitted to more and more _intimate acquaintance with the Author._
During the last twenty years of his life he read it carefully through,
four or five times annually, with a growing sense of his own rapid
increase in the knowledge of God thereby.

Such motives for Bible study it is strange that any true believer should
overlook. Ruskin, in writing "Of the King's Treasuries," refers to the
universal ambition for 'advancement in life,' which means 'getting into
good society.' How many obstacles one finds in securing an introduction
to the great and good of this world, and even then in getting access to
them, in securing an audience with the kings and queens of human
society! Yet there is open to us a society of people of the very first
rank who will meet us and converse with us so long as we like, whatever
our ignorance, poverty, or low estate--namely, the society of authors;
and the key that unlocks their private audience-chamber is their books.

So writes Ruskin, and all this is beautifully true; but how few, even
among believers, appreciate the privilege of access to the great Author
of the universe through His word! Poor and rich, high and low, ignorant
and learned, young and old, all alike are welcomed to the
audience-chamber of the King of kings. The most intimate knowledge of
God is possible on one condition--that we search His Holy Scriptures,
prayerfully and habitually, and translate what we there find, into
obedience. Of him who thus meditates on God's law day and night, who
looks and continues looking into this perfect law of liberty, the
promise is unique, and found in both Testaments: "Whatsoever he doeth
shall prosper"; "that man shall be blessed in his deed." (Comp. Psalm i.
3; Joshua i. 8; James i. 25.)

So soon as George Muller found this well-spring of delight and success,
he drank habitually at this fountain of living waters. In later life he
lamented that, owing to his early neglect of this source of divine
wisdom and strength, he remained so long in spiritual infancy, with its
ignorance and impotence. So long and so far as his growth in knowledge
of God was thus arrested his growth in grace was likewise hindered. His
close walk with God began at the point where he learned that such walk
is always in the light of that inspired word which is divinely declared
to be to the obedient soul "a lamp unto the feet and a light unto the
path." He who would keep up intimate converse with the Lord must
habitually find in the Scriptures the highway of such companionship.
God's aristocracy, His nobility, the princes of His realm, are not the
wise, mighty, and high-born of earth, but often the poor, weak, despised
of men, who abide in His presence and devoutly commune with Him through
His inspired word.

Blessed are they who have thus learned to use the key which gives free
access, not only to the King's Treasuries, but to the King Himself!


CHAPTER IV

NEW  STEPS  AND STAGES  OF PREPARATION

PASSION for souls is a divine fire, and in the heart of George Muller
that fire now began to burn more brightly, and demanded vent.

In August, 1827, his mind was more definitely than before turned toward
mission work. Hearing that the Continental Society of Britain sought a
minister for Bucharest, he offered himself through Dr. Tholuck, who, in
behalf of the Society, was on the lookout for a suitable candidate. To
his great surprise his father gave consent, though Bucharest was more
than a thousand miles distant and as truly missionary ground as any
other field. After a short visit home he came back to Halle, his face
steadfastly set toward his far-off field, and his heart seeking
prayerful preparation for expected self-sacrifice and hardship. But God
had other plans for His servant, and he never went to Bucharest.

In October following, Hermann Ball, passing through Halle, and being at
the little weekly meeting in Muller's room, told him how failing health
forbade his continuing his work among Polish Jews; and at once there
sprang up in George Muller's mind a strong desire to take his place.
Such work doubly attracted him, because it would bring him into close
contact with God's chosen but erring people, Israel; and because it
would afford opportunity to utilize those Hebrew studies which so
engrossed him.

At this very time, calling upon Dr. Tholuck, he was asked, to his
surprise, whether he had ever felt a desire to _labour among the
Jews_--Dr. Tholuck then acting as agent for the London Missionary
Society for promoting missions among them. This question naturally
fanned the flame of his already kindled desire; but, shortly after,
Bucharest being the seat of the war then raging between the Russians and
Turks, the project of sending a minister there was for the time
abandoned. But a door seemed to open before him just as another shut
behind him.

The committee in London, learning that he was available as a missionary
to the Jews, proposed his coming to that city for six months as a
missionary student to prepare for the work. To enter thus on a sort of
probation was trying to the flesh, but, as it seemed right that there
should be opportunity for mutual acquaintance between committee and
candidate, to insure harmonious cooperation, his mind was disposed to
accede to the proposal.

There was, however, a formidable obstacle. Prussian male subjects must
commonly serve three years in the army, and classical students who have
passed the university examinations, at least one year. George Muller,
who had not served out even this shorter term, could not, without royal
exemption, even get a passport out of the country. Application was made
for such exemption, but it failed. Meanwhile he was taken ill, and after
ten weeks suffered a relapse. While at Leipzig with an American
professor with whom he went to the opera, he unwisely partook of some
refreshments between the acts, which again brought on illness. He had
broken a blood-vessel in the stomach, and he returned to Halle, never
again to enter a theatre. Subsequently being asked to go to Berlin for a
few weeks to teach German, he went, hoping at the Prussian capital to
find access to the court through persons of rank and secure the desired
exemption. But here again he failed. There now seemed no way of escaping
a soldier's term, and he submitted himself for examination, but was
pronounced physically unfit for military duty. In God's providence he
fell into kind hands, and, being a second time examined and found unfit,
he was thenceforth _completely exempted for life from all service in the
army._

God's lines of purpose mysteriously converged. The time had come; the
Master spake and it was done: all things moved in one direction--to set
His servant free from the service of his country, that, under the
Captain of his salvation, he might endure hardness as a good soldier of
Christ, without entanglement in the affairs of this life. Aside from
this, his stay at the capital had not been unprofitable, for he had
preached five times a week in the poorhouse and conversed on the Lord's
days with the convicts in the prison.

In February, 1829, he left for London, on the way visiting his father at
Heimersleben, where he had returned after retirement from office; and he
reached the English metropolis March 19th. His liberty was much
curtailed as a student in this new seminary, but, as no rule conflicted
with his conscience, he submitted. He studied about twelve hours daily,
giving attention mainly to Hebrew and cognate branches closely connected
with his expected field. Sensible of the risk of that deadness of soul
which often results from undue absorption in mental studies, he
committed to memory much of the Hebrew Old Testament and pursued his
tasks in a prayerful spirit, seeking God's help in matters, however
minute, connected with daily duty.

Tempted to the continual use of his native tongue by living with his
German countrymen, he made little progress in English, which he
afterward regretted; and he was wont, therefore, to counsel those who
propose to work among a foreign people, not only to live among them in
order to learn their language, but to keep aloof as far as may be from
their own countrymen, so as to be compelled to use the tongue which is
to give them access to those among whom they labour.

In connection with this removal to Britain a seemingly trivial
occurrence left upon him a lasting impress--another proof that there are
no little things in life. Upon a very small hinge a huge door may swing
and turn. It is, in fact, often the apparently trifling events that
mould our history, work, and destiny.

A student incidentally mentioned a dentist in Exeter--a Mr. Groves--who
for the Lord's sake had resigned his calling with fifteen hundred pounds
a year, and with wife and children offered himself as a missionary to
Persia, _simply trusting the Lord for all temporal supplies._ This act
of self-denying trust had a strange charm for Mr. Muller, and he could
not dismiss it from his mind; indeed, he distinctly entered it in his
journal and wrote about it to friends at home. It was _another lesson in
faith,_ and in the very line of that trust of which for more than sixty
years he was to be so conspicuous an example and illustration.

In the middle of May, 1829, he was taken ill and felt himself to be past
recovery. Sickness is often attended with strange _self-disclosure._ His
conviction of sin and guilt at his conversion was too superficial and
shallow to leave any after-remembrance. But, as is often true in the
history of God's saints, the sense of guilt, which at first seemed to
have no roots in conscience and scarce an existence, struck deeper into
his being and grew stronger as he knew more of God and grew more like
Him. This common experience of saved souls is susceptible of easy
explanation. Our conceptions of things depend mainly upon two
conditions: first, the clearness of our vision of truth and duty; and
secondly, the standard of measurement and comparison. The more we live
in God and unto God, the more do our eyes become enlightened to see the
enormity and deformity of sin, so that we recognize the hatefulness of
evil more distinctly: and the more clearly do we recognize the
perfection of God's holiness and make it the pattern and model of our
own holy living.

The amateur musician or artist has a false complacency in his own very
imperfect work only so far as his ear or eye or taste is not yet trained
to accurate discrimination; but, as he becomes more accomplished in a
fine art, and more appreciative of it, he recognizes every defect or
blemish of his previous work, until the musical performance seems a
wretched failure and the painting a mere daub. The change, however, is
wholly in the _workman_ and not in the _work:_ both the music and the
painting are in themselves just what they were, but the man is capable
of something so much better, that his standard of comparison is raised
to a higher level, and his capacity for a true judgment is
correspondingly enlarged.

Even so a child of God who, like Elijah, stands before Him as a waiting,
willing, obedient servant, and has both likeness to God and power with
God, may get under the juniper-tree of despondency, cast down with the
sense of unworthiness and ill desert. As godliness increases the sense
of ungodliness becomes more acute, and so feelings never accurately
gauge real assimilation to God. We shall seem worst in our own eyes when
in His we are best, and conversely.

A Mohammedan servant ventured publicly to challenge a preacher who, in
an Indian bazaar, was asserting the universal depravity of the race, by
affirming that he knew at least one woman who was immaculate, absolutely
without fault, and that woman, his own Christian mistress. The preacher
bethought himself to ask in reply whether he had any means of knowing
whether that was her opinion of herself, which caused the Mohammedan to
confess that there lay the mystery: she had been often overheard in
prayer confessing herself the most unworthy of sinners.

To return from this digression, Mr. Muller, not only during this
illness, but down to life's sudden close, had a growing sense of sin and
guilt which would at times have been overwhelming, had he not known upon
the testimony of the Word that "whoso covereth his sins shall not
prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy."
From his own guilt he turned his eyes to the cross where it was atoned
for, and to the mercy-seat where forgiveness meets the penitent sinner;
and so sorrow for sin was turned into the joy of the justified.

This confidence of acceptance in the Beloved so stripped death of its
terrors that during this illness he longed rather to depart and to be
with Christ; but after a fortnight he was pronounced better, and, though
still longing for the heavenly rest, he submitted to the will of God for
a longer sojourn in the land of his pilgrimage, little foreseeing what
joy he was to find in living for God, or how much he was to know of the
days of heaven upon earth.

During this illness, also, he showed the growing tendency to bring
before the Lord in prayer even the minutest matters which his later life
so signally exhibited. He constantly besought God to guide his
physician, and every new dose of medicine was accompanied by a new
petition that God would use it for his good and enable him with patience
to await His will. As he advanced toward recovery he sought rest at
Teignmouth, where, shortly after his arrival, "Ebenezer" chapel was
reopened. It was here also that Mr. Muller became acquainted with Mr.
Henry Craik, who was for so many years not only his friend, but fellow
labourer.

It was also about this time that, as he records, certain great truths
began to be made clear to him and to stand out in much prominence. This
period of personal preparation is so important in its bearing on his
whole after-career that the reader should have access to his own
witness.*

* See Appendix B.

On returning to London, prospered in soul-health as also in bodily
vigor, he proposed to fellow students a daily morning meeting, from 6 to
8, for prayer and Bible study, when each should give to the others such
views of any passage read as the Lord might give him. These spiritual
exercises proved so helpful and so nourished the appetite for divine
things that, after continuing in prayer late into the evening hours, he
sometimes at midnight sought the fellowship of some like-minded brother,
and thus prolonged the prayer season until one or two o'clock in the
morning; and even then sleep was often further postponed by his
overflowing joy in God. Thus, under his great Teacher, did this pupil,
early in his spiritual history, learn that supreme lesson that to every
child of God the word of God is the bread of life, and the prayer of
faith the breath of life.

Mr. Muller had been back in London scarcely ten days before health again
declined, and the conviction took strong hold upon him that he should
not spend his little strength in confining study, but at once get about
his work; and this conviction was confirmed by the remembrance of the
added light which God had given him and the deeper passion he now felt
to serve Him more freely and fully. Under the pressure of this
persuasion that both his physical and spiritual welfare would be
promoted by actual labours for souls, he sought of the Society a prompt
appointment to his field of service; and that they might with the more
confidence commission him, he asked that some experienced man might be
sent out with him as a fellow counsellor and labourer.

After waiting in vain for six weeks for an answer to this application,
he felt another strong conviction: that _to wait on his fellow men to be
sent out to his field and work was unscriptural and therefore wrong._
Barnabas and Saul were called by name and sent forth by the Holy Spirit,
before the church at Antioch had taken any action; and he felt himself
so called of the Spirit to his work that he was prompted to begin at
once, without waiting for human authority,--and why not among the Jews
in London? Accustomed to act promptly upon conviction, he undertook to
distribute among them tracts bearing his name and address, so that any
who wished personal guidance could find him. He sought them at their
gathering-places, read the Scriptures at stated times with some fifty
Jewish lads, and taught in a Sunday-school. Thus, instead of lying like
a vessel in dry-dock for repairs, he was launched into Christian work,
though, like other labourers among the despised Jews, he found himself
exposed to petty trials and persecutions, called to suffer reproach for
the name of Christ.

Before the autumn of 1829 had passed, a further misgiving laid hold of
him as to whether he could in good conscience remain longer connected in
the usual way with this London Society, and on December 12th he
concluded to dissolve all such ties except upon certain conditions. To
do full justice both to Mr. Muller and the Society, his own words will
again be found in the Appendix.*

* See Appendix C.

Early in the following year it was made clear that he could labour in
connection with such a society only as they would consent to his
_serving without salary and labouring when and where the Lord might seem
to direct._ He so wrote, eliciting a firm but kind response to the
effect that they felt it "inexpedient to employ those who were unwilling
to submit to their guidance with respect to missionary operations," etc.

Thus this link with the Society was broken. He felt that he was acting
up to the light God gave, and, while imputing to the Society no blame,
he never afterward repented this step nor reversed this judgment. To
those who review this long life, so full of the fruits of unusual
service to God and man, it will be quite apparent that the Lord was
gently but persistently thrusting George Muller out of the common path
into one where he was to walk very closely with Himself; and the
decisions which, even in lesser matters furthered God's purpose were
wiser and weightier than could at the time be seen.

One is constantly reminded in reading Mr. Muller's journal that he was a
man of like frailties as others. On Christmas morning of this year,
after a season of peculiar joy, he awoke to find himself in the Slough
of Despond, without any sense of enjoyment, prayer seeming as fruitless
as the vain struggles of a man in the mire. At the usual morning meeting
he was urged by a brother to continue in prayer, notwithstanding, until
he was again melted before the Lord--a wise counsel for all disciples
when the Lord's presence seems strangely withdrawn. Steadfast
continuance in prayer must never be hindered by the want of sensible
enjoyment; in fact, it is a safe maxim that the less joy, the more need.
Cessation of communion with God, for whatever cause, only makes the more
difficult its resumption and the recovery of the prayer habit and prayer
spirit; whereas the persistent outpouring of supplication, together with
continued activity in the service of God, soon brings back the lost joy.
Whenever, therefore, one yields to spiritual depression so as to
abandon, or even to suspend, closet communion or Christian work, the
devil triumphs.

So rapid was Mr. Muller's recovery out of this Satanic snare, through
continuance in prayer, that, on the evening of that same Christmas day
whose dawn had been so overcast, he expounded the Word at family worship
in the house where he dined by invitation, and with such help from God
that two servants who were present were deeply convicted of sin and
sought his counsel.

Here we reach another mile-stone in this life-journey. George Muller had
now come to the end of the year 1829, and he had been led of the Lord in
a truly remarkable path. It was but about four years since he first
found the narrow way and began to walk in it, and he was as yet a young
man, in his twenty-fifth year. Yet already he had been taught some of
the grand secrets of a holy, happy, and useful life, which became the
basis of the whole structure of his after-service.

Indeed, as we look back over these four years, they seem crowded with
significant and eventful experiences, all of which forecast his future
work, though he as yet saw not in them the Lord's sign. His conversion
in a primitive assembly of believers where worship and the word of God
were the only attractions, was the starting-point in a career every step
of which seems a stride forward. Think of a young convert, with such an
ensnaring past to reproach and retard him, within these few years
learning such advanced lessons in _renunciation:_ burning his manuscript
novel, giving up the girl he loved, turning his back on the seductive
prospect of ease and wealth, to accept self-denial for God, cutting
loose from dependence on his father and then refusing all stated salary
lest his liberty of witness be curtailed, and choosing a simple
expository mode of preaching, instead of catering to popular taste! Then
mark how he fed on the word of God; how he cultivated the habits of
searching the Scriptures and praying in secret; how he threw himself on
God, not only for temporal supplies, but for support in bearing all
burdens, however great or small; and how thus early he offered himself
for the mission field and was impatiently eager to enter it. Then look
at the sovereign love of God, imparting to him in so eminent a degree
the childlike spirit, teaching him to trust not his own variable moods
of feeling, but the changeless word of His promise; teaching him to wait
patiently on Him for orders, and not to look to human authority or
direction; and so singularly releasing him from military service for
life, and mysteriously withholding him from the far-off mission field,
that He might train him for his unique mission to the race and the ages
to come!

These are a few of the salient points of this narrative, thus far, which
must, to any candid mind, demonstrate that a higher Hand was moulding
this chosen vessel on His potter's wheel, and shaping it unmistakably
for the singular service to which it was destined!


CHAPTER V

THE PULPIT AND THE PASTORATE

No work for God surpasses in dignity and responsibility the Christian
ministry. It is at once the consummate flower of the divine planting,
the priceless dower of His church, and through it works the power of God
for salvation.

Though George Muller had begun his 'candidacy for holy orders' as an
unconverted man, seeking simply a human calling with a hope of a
lucrative living, he had heard God's summons to a divine vocation, and
he was from time to time preaching the Gospel, but not in any settled
field.

While at Teignmouth, early in 1830, preaching by invitation, he was
asked to take the place of the minister who was about to leave, but he
replied that he felt at that time called of God, not to a stationary
charge, but rather to a sort of itinerant evangelism. During this time
he preached at Shaldon for Henry Craik, thus coming into closer contact
with this brother, to whom his heart became knit in bonds of love and
sympathy which grew stronger as the acquaintance became more intimate.

Certain hearers at Teignmouth, and among them some preachers, disliked
his sermons, albeit they were owned of God; and this caused him to
reflect upon the probable causes of this opposition, and whether it was
any indication of his duty. He felt that they doubtless looked for
outward graces of oratory in a preacher, and hence were not attracted to
a foreigner whose speech had no rhetorical charms and who could not even
use English with fluency. But he felt sure of a deeper cause for their
dislike, especially as he was compelled to notice that, the summer
previous, when he himself was less spiritually minded and had less
insight into the truth, the same parties who now opposed him were
pleased with him. His final conclusion was that the Lord meant to work
through him at Teignmouth, but that Satan was acting, as usual, the part
of a hinderer, and stirring up brethren themselves to oppose the truth.
And as, notwithstanding the opposers, the wish that he should minister
at the chapel was expressed so often and by so many, he determined to
remain for a time until he was openly rejected as God's witness, or had
some clear divine leading to another field of labour.

He announced this purpose, at the same time plainly stating that, should
they withhold salary, it would not affect his decision, inasmuch as he
did not preach as a hireling of man, but as the servant of God, and
would willingly commit to Him the provision for his temporal needs. At
the same time, however, he reminded them that it was alike their duty
and privilege to minister in carnal things to those who served them in
things spiritual, and that while he did not desire a gift, he did desire
fruit that might abound to their account.

These experiences at Teignmouth were typical: "Some believed the things
which were spoken, and some believed not;" some left the chapel, while
others stayed; and some were led and fed, while others maintained a cold
indifference, if they did not exhibit an open hostility. But the Lord
stood by him and strengthened him, setting His seal upon his testimony;
and Jehovah Jireh also moved two brethren, unasked, to supply all the
daily wants of His servant. After a while the little church of eighteen
members unanimously called the young preacher to the pastorate, and he
consented to abide with them for a season, without abandoning his
original intention of going from place to place as the Lord might lead.
A stipend, of fifty-five pounds annually, was offered him, which
somewhat increased as the church membership grew; and so the university
student of Halle was settled in his first pulpit and pastorate.

While at Sidmouth, preaching, in April, 1830, three believing sisters
held in his presence a conversation about '_believers' baptism,_' which
proved the suggestion of another important step in his life, which has a
wider bearing than at first is apparent.

They naturally asked his opinion on the subject about which they were
talking, and he replied that, having been baptized as a child, he saw no
need of being baptized again. Being further asked if he had ever yet
prayerfully searched the word of God as to its testimony in this matter,
he frankly confessed that he had not.

At once, with unmistakable plainness of speech and with rare fidelity,
one of these sisters in Christ promptly said: _"I entreat you, then,
never again to speak any more about it till you have done so."_

Such a reply George Muller was not the man either to resent or to
resist. He was too honest and conscientious to dismiss without due
reflection any challenge to search the oracles of God for their witness
upon any given question. Moreover, if, at that very time, his preaching
was emphatic in any direction, it was in the boldness with which he
insisted that _all pulpit teaching and Christian practice must be
subjected to one great test,_ namely, _the touchstone of the word of
God._ Already an Elijah in spirit, his great aim was to repair the
broken-down altar of the Lord, to expose and rebuke all that hindered a
thoroughly scriptural worship and service, and, if possible, to restore
apostolic simplicity of doctrine and life.

As he thought and prayed about this matter, he was forced to admit to
himself that he had never yet earnestly examined the Scriptures for
their teaching as to the position and relation of baptism in the
believer's life, nor had he even prayed for light upon it. He had
nevertheless repeatedly spoken against believers' baptism, and so he saw
it to be possible that he might himself have been opposing the teaching
of the Word. He therefore determined to study the subject until he
should reach a final, satisfactory, and scriptural conclusion; and
thenceforth, whether led to defend infant baptism or believers' baptism,
to do it only on scriptural grounds.

The mode of study which he followed was characteristically simple,
thorough, and business-like, and was always pursued afterward. He first
sought from God the Spirit's teaching that his eyes might be opened to
the Word's witness, and his mind illumined; then he set about a
systematic examination of the New Testament from beginning to end. So
far as possible he sought absolutely to rid himself of all bias of
previous opinion or practice, prepossession or prejudice; he prayed and
endeavoured to be free from the influence of human tradition, popular
custom, and churchly sanction, or that more subtle hindrance, _personal
pride in his own consistency._ He was humble enough to be willing to
retract any erroneous teaching and renounce any false position, and to
espouse that wise maxim: "Don't be _consistent,_ but simply be _true!"_
Whatever may have been the case with others who claim to have examined
the same question for themselves, the result in his case was that he
came to the conclusion, and, as he believed, from the word of God and
the Spirit of God, that none but believers are the proper subjects of
baptism, and that only immersion is its proper mode. Two passages of
Scripture were very marked in the prominence which they had in
compelling him to these conclusions, namely: Acts viii. 36-38, and
Romans vi. 3-5. The case of the Ethiopian eunuch strongly convinced him
that baptism is proper, only as the act of a believer confessing Christ;
and the passage in the Epistle to the Romans equally satisfied him that
only immersion in water can express the typical burial with Christ and
resurrection with Him, there and elsewhere made so prominent. He
intended no assault upon brethren who hold other views, when he thus
plainly stated in his journal the honest and unavoidable convictions to
which he came; but he was too loyal both to the word of God and to his
own conscience to withhold his views when so carefully and prayerfully
arrived at through the searching of the Scriptures.

Conviction compelled action, for in him there was no spirit of
compromise; and he was accordingly promptly baptized. Years after, in
reviewing his course, he records the solemn conviction that "of all
revealed truths, not one is more clearly revealed in the Scriptures--not
even the doctrine of justification by faith--and that the subject has
only become obscured by men not having been willing to take _the
Scriptures alone_ to decide the point."

He also bears witness incidentally that not one true friend in the Lord
had ever turned his back upon him in consequence of his baptism, as he
supposed some would have done; and that almost all such friends had,
since then, been themselves baptized. It is true that in one way he
suffered some pecuniary loss through this step taken in obedience to
conviction, but the Lord did not suffer him to be ultimately the loser
even in this respect, for He bountifully made up to him any such
sacrifice, even in things that pertain to this life. He concludes this
review of his course by adding that through his example many others were
led both to examine the question of baptism anew and to submit
themselves to the ordinance.

Such experiences as these suggest the honest question whether there is
not imperative need of subjecting all current religious customs and
practices to the one test of conformity to the scripture pattern. Our
Lord sharply rebuked the Pharisees of His day for making "the
commandment of God of none effect by their tradition," and, after giving
one instance, He added, "and many other such like things do ye."* It is
very easy for doctrines and practices to gain acceptance, which are the
outgrowth of ecclesiasticism, and neither have sanction in the word of
God, nor will bear the searching light of its testimony. Cyprian has
forewarned us that even _antiquity_ is not _authority,_ but may be only
_vetustas erroris_--the old age of error. What radical reforms would be
made in modern worship, teaching and practice,--in the whole conduct of
disciples and the administration of the church of God,--if the one final
criterion of all judgment were: What do the Scriptures teach?' And what
revolutions in our own lives as believers might take place, if we should
first put every notion of truth and custom of life to this one test of
scripture authority, and then with the courage of conviction dare to do
according to that word--counting no cost, but studying to show ourselves
approved of God! Is it possible that there are any modern disciples who
"reject the commandment of God that they may keep their own tradition"?

* Matthew xv. 6. Mark vii. 9-13.

This step, taken by Mr. Muller as to baptism, was only a precursor of
many others, all of which, as he believed, were according to that Word
which, as the lamp to the believer's feet, is to throw light upon his
path.

During this same summer of 1830 the further study of the Word satisfied
him that, though there is no direct _command_ so to do, the scriptural
and apostolic _practice_ was to _break bread every Lord's day._ (Acts xx
7, etc.) Also, that the Spirit of God should have unhindered liberty to
work through any believer according to the gifts He had bestowed, seemed
to him plainly taught in Romans xii.; 1 Cor. xii.; Ephes. iv., etc.
These conclusions likewise this servant of God sought to translate at
once into conduct, and such conformity brought increasing spiritual
prosperity.

Conscientious misgivings, about the same time, ripened into settled
convictions that he could no longer, upon the same principle of
obedience to the word of God, consent to _receive any stated salary_ as
a minister of Christ. For this latter position, which so influenced his
life, he assigns the following grounds, which are here stated as showing
the basis of his life-long attitude:

1. A stated salary implies a fixed sum, which cannot well be paid
without a fixed income through pew-rentals or some like source of
revenue. This seemed plainly at war with the teaching of the Spirit of
God in James ii. 1-6, since the poor brother cannot afford as good
sittings as the rich, thus introducing into church assemblies invidious
distinctions and respect of persons, and so encouraging the caste
spirit.

2. A fixed pew-rental may at times become, even to the willing disciple,
a burden. He who would gladly contribute to a pastor's support, if
allowed to do so according to his ability and at his own convenience,
might be oppressed by the demand to pay a stated sum at a stated time.
Circumstances so change that one who has the same cheerful mind as
before may be unable to give as formerly, and thus be subjected to
painful embarrassment and humiliation if constrained to give a fixed
sum.

3. The whole system tends to the bondage of the servant of Christ. One
must be unusually faithful and intrepid if he feels no temptation to
keep back or in some degree modify his message in order to please men,
when he remembers that the very parties, most open to rebuke and most
liable to offence, are perhaps the main contributors toward his salary.

Whatever others may think of such reasons as these, they were so
satisfactory to his mind that he frankly and promptly announced them to
his brethren; and thus, as early as the autumn of 1830, when just
completing his twenty-fifth year, he took a position from which he never
retreated, that he would thenceforth _receive no fixed salary for any
service rendered to God's people._ While calmly assigning scriptural
grounds for such a position he, on the same grounds, urged _voluntary
offerings,_ whether of money or other means of support, as the proper
acknowledgment of service rendered by God's minister, and as a sacrifice
acceptable, well-pleasing to God. A little later, seeing that, when such
voluntary gifts came direct from the givers personally, there was a
danger that some might feel self-complacent over the largeness of the
amount given by them, and others equally humbled by the smallness of
their offerings, with consequent damage to both classes, of givers, he
took a step further: he had a _box put up in the chapel,_ over which was
written, that whoever had a desire to do something for his support might
put such an offering therein as ability and disposition might direct.
His intention was, that thus the act might be wholly as in God's sight,
without the risk of a sinful pride or false humility.

He further felt that, to be entirely consistent, he should _ask no help
from man,_ even in bearing necessary costs of travel in the Lord's
service, nor even state his needs beforehand in such a way as indirectly
to appeal for aid. All of these methods he conceived to be forms of
trusting in an arm of flesh, going to man for help instead of going at
once, always and only, to the Lord. And he adds: _"To come to this
conclusion before God required more grace than to give up my salary."_

These successive steps are here recorded explicitly and in their exact
order because they lead up directly to the ultimate goal of his
life-work and witness. Such decisions were vital links connecting this
remarkable man and his "Father's business," upon which he was soon more
fully to enter; and they were all necessary to the fulness of the
world-wide witness which he was to bear to a prayer-hearing God and the
absolute safety of trusting in Him and in Him alone.

On October 7, 1830, George Muller, in finding a wife, found a good thing
and obtained new favour from the Lord. Miss Mary Groves, sister of the
self-denying dentist whose surrender of all things for the mission field
had so impressed him years before, was married to this man of God, and
for forty blessed years proved an help meet for him. It was almost, if
not quite, an ideal union, for which he continually thanked God; and,
although her kingdom was one which came not with observation,' the
sceptre of her influence was far wider in its sway than will ever be
appreciated by those who were strangers to her personal and domestic
life. She was a rare woman and her price was above rubies. The heart of
her husband safely trusted, in her, and the great family of orphans who
were to her as children rise up even to this day to call her blessed.

Married life has often its period of estrangement, even when temporary
alienation yields to a deeper love, as the parties become more truly
wedded by the assimilation of their inmost being to one another. But to
Mr. and Mrs. Muller there never came any such experience of even
temporary alienation. From the first, love grew, and with it, mutual
confidence and trust. One of the earliest ties which bound these two in
one was the bond of a _common self-denial._ Yielding literal obedience
to Luke xii. 33, they sold what little they had and gave alms,
henceforth laying up no treasures on earth (Matthew vi. 19-34; xix. 21.)
The step then taken--accepting, for Christ's sake, voluntary
poverty--was never regretted, but rather increasingly rejoiced in; how
faithfully it was followed in the same path of continued self-sacrifice
will sufficiently appear when it is remembered that, nearly sixty-eight
years afterward, George Muller passed suddenly into the life beyond, a
poor man; his will, when admitted to probate, showing his entire
personal property, under oath, to be but one hundred and sixty pounds!
And even that would not have been in his possession had there been no
daily need of requisite comforts for the body and of tools for his work.
Part of this amount was in money, shortly before received and not yet
laid out for his Master, but held at His disposal. Nothing, even to the
clothes he wore, did he treat as his own. He was a consistent steward.

This final farewell to all earthly possessions, in 1830, left this
newly married husband and wife to look only to the Lord. Thenceforth
they were to put to ample daily test both their faith in the Great
Provider and the faithfulness of the Great Promiser. It may not be
improper here to anticipate, what is yet to be more fully recorded,
that, from day to day and hour to hour, during more than threescore
years, George Muller was enabled to set to his seal that God is true. If
few men have ever been permitted so to trace in the smallest matters
God's care over His children, it is partly because few have so
completely abandoned themselves to that care. He dared to trust Him,
with whom the hairs of our head are all numbered, and who touchingly
reminds us that He cares for what has been quaintly called _"the odd
sparrow."_ Matthew records (x. 29) how two sparrows are sold for a
farthing, and Luke (xii. 6) how five are sold for two farthings; and so
it would appear that, when two farthings were offered, an odd sparrow
was thrown in, as of so little value that it could be given away with
the other four. And yet even for that one sparrow, not worth taking into
account in the bargain, _God cares._ Not one of them is forgotten before
God, or falls to the ground without Him. With what force then comes the
assurance: "Fear ye not therefore; ye are of more value than many
sparrows!"

So George Muller found it to be. He was permitted henceforth to know as
never before, and as few others have ever learned, how truly God may be
approached as "Thou that hearest prayer." God can keep His trusting
children not only from falling but from stumbling; for, during all those
after-years that spanned the lifetime of two generations, there was no
drawing back. Those precious promises, which in faith and hope were
"laid hold" of in 1830, were "held fast" until the end. (Heb. vi. 18, x.
23.) And the divine faithfulness proved a safe anchorage-ground in the
most prolonged and violent tempests. The anchor of hope, sure and
steadfast, and entering into that within the veil, was never dragged
from its secure hold on God. In fifty thousand cases, Mr. Muller
calculated that he could trace distinct answers to definite prayers; and
in multitudes of instances in which God's care was not definitely
traced, it was day by day like an encompassing passing but invisible
presence or atmosphere of life and strength.

On August 9, 1831, Mrs. Muller gave birth to a stillborn babe, and for
six weeks remained seriously ill. Her husband meanwhile laments that his
heart was so cold and carnal, and his prayers often so hesitating and
formal; and he detects, even behind his zeal for God, most unspiritual
frames. He especially chides himself for not having more seriously
thought of the peril of child-bearing, so as to pray more earnestly for
his wife; and he saw clearly that the prospect of parenthood had not
been rejoiced in as a blessing, but rather as implying a new burden and
hindrance in the Lord's work.

While this man of God lays bare his heart in his journal, the reader
must feel that "as in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man
to man." How many a servant of God has no more exalted idea of the
divine privilege of a sanctified parenthood! A wife and a child are most
precious gifts of God when received, in answer to prayer, from His hand.
Not only are they not hindrances, but they are helps, most useful in
fitting a servant of Christ for certain parts of his work for which no
other preparation is so adequate. They serve to teach him many most
valuable lessons, and to round out his character into a far more
symmetrical beauty and serviceableness. And when it is remembered how a
godly _association_ in holiness and usefulness may thus be supplied, and
above all a godly _succession_ through many generations, it will be seen
how wicked is the spirit that treats holy wedlock and its fruits in
offspring,--with lightness and contempt. Nor let us forget that promise:
"If two of you agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask,
it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven." (Matt.
xviii. 19.) The Greek word for "agree" is _symphonize,_ and suggests a
musical harmony where chords are tuned to the same key and struck by a
master hand. Consider what a blessed preparation for such habitual
symphony in prayer is to be found in the union of a husband and wife in
the Lord! May it not be that to this the Spirit refers when He bids
husband and wife dwell in unity, as "heirs together of the grace of
life," and adds, _"that your prayers be not hindered"?_ (1 Peter iii.
7.)

God used this severe lesson for permanent blessing to George Muller. He
showed him how open was his heart to the subtle power of selfishness and
carnality, and how needful was this chastisement to teach him the
sacredness of marital life and parental responsibility. Henceforth he
judged himself, that he might not be "judged of the Lord." (1 Cor. xi.
31.)

A crisis like his wife's critical illness created a demand for much
extra expense, for which no provision had been made, not through
carelessness and improvidence, but upon principle. Mr. Muller held that
to lay by in store is inconsistent with full trust in God, who in such
case would send us to our hoardings before answering prayer for more
supplies. Experience in this emergency justified his faith; for not only
were all unforeseen wants supplied, but even the delicacies and
refreshments needful for the sick and weak; and the two medical
attendants graciously declined all remuneration for services which
extended through six weeks. Thus was there given of the Lord more than
could have been laid up against this season of trial, even had the
attempt been made.

The principle of committing future wants to the Lord's care, thus acted
upon at this time, he and his wife consistently followed so long as they
lived and worked together. Experience  confirmed  them  in the
conviction that a life of trust forbids laying up treasures against
unforeseen foreseen needs, since with God _no emergency is unforeseen
and no want unprovided for;_ and He may be as implicitly trusted for
extraordinary needs as for our common daily bread.

Yet another law, kindred to this and thoroughly inwrought into Mr.
Muller's habit of life, was _never to contract debt,_ whether for
personal purposes or the Lord's work. This matter was settled on
scriptural grounds once for all (Romans xiii. 8), and he and his wife
determined if need be to suffer starvation rather than to buy anything
without paying for it when bought. Thus they always knew how much they
had to buy with, and what they had left to give to others or use for
others' wants.

There was yet another law of life early framed into Mr. Muller's
personal decalogue. He regarded any money which was in his hands
_already designated for, or appropriated to, a specific use,_ as _not
his to use, even temporarily, for any other ends._ Thus, though he was
often reduced to the lowest point of temporal supplies, he took no
account of any such funds set apart for other outlays or due for other
purposes. Thousands of times he was in straits where such diversion of
funds for a time seemed the only and the easy way out, but where this
would only have led him into new embarrassments. This principle,
intelligently adopted, was firmly adhered to, that what properly belongs
to a particular branch of work, or has been already put aside for a
certain use, even though yet in hand, is not to be reckoned on as
available for any other need, however pressing. Trust in God implies
such knowledge on His part of the exact circumstances that He will not
constrain us to any such misappropriation. Mistakes, most serious and
fatal, have come from lack of conscience as well as of faith in such
exigencies--drawing on one fund to meet the overdraught upon another,
hoping afterward to replace what is thus withdrawn. A well-known college
president had nearly involved the institution of which he was the head,
in bankruptcy, and himself in worse moral ruin, all the result of one
error--money given for endowing certain chairs had been used for current
expenses until public confidence had been almost hopelessly impaired.

Thus a life of _faith_ must be no less a life of _conscience._ Faith and
trust in God, and truth and faithfulness toward man, walked side by side
in this life-journey in unbroken agreement.


CHAPTER VI

"THE NARRATIVE OF THE LORD'S DEALINGS"

THINGS which are sacred forbid even a careless touch.

The record written by George Muller of the Lord's dealings reads,
especially in parts, almost like an inspired writing, because it is
simply the tracing of divine guidance in a human life--not this man's
own working or planning, suffering or serving, but the _Lord's dealings_
with him and workings through him.

It reminds us of that conspicuous passage in the Acts of the Apostles
where, within the compass of twenty verses, God is fifteen times put
boldly forward as the one Actor in all events. Paul and Barnabas
rehearsed, in the ears of the church at Antioch, and afterward at
Jerusalem, not what _they had done_ for the Lord, but all that _He had
done_ with them, and how _He had opened_ the door of faith unto the
Gentiles; what miracles and wonders _God had wrought_ among the Gentiles
by them. And, in the same spirit, Peter before the council emphasizes
how God had made choice of his mouth, as that whereby the Gentiles
should hear the word of the Gospel and believe; how He had given them
the Holy Ghost and put no difference between Jew and Gentile, purifying
their hearts by faith; and how He who knew all hearts had thus borne
them witness. Then James, in the same strain, refers to the way in which
_God had visited_ the Gentiles to _take out_ of them a people for His
name; and concludes by two quotations or adaptations from the Old
Testament, which fitly sum up the whole matter:

"The Lord _who doeth_ all these things."

"Known unto God are _all His works_ from the beginning of the world."
(Acts xiv. 27 to xv. 18.)

The meaning of such repeated phraseology cannot be mistaken. God is here
presented as the one agent or actor, and even the most conspicuous
apostles, like Paul and Peter, as only His instruments. No twenty verses
in the word of God contain more emphatic and repeated lessons on man's
insufficiency and nothingness, and God's all-sufficiency and
almightiness. It was God that wrought upon man through man. It was He
who chose Peter to be His mouthpiece, He whose key unlocked shut doors,
He who visited the nations, who turned sinners into saints, who was even
then taking out a people for His name, purifying hearts and bearing them
witness; it was He and He alone who did all these wondrous things, and
according to His knowledge and plan of what He would do, from the
beginning. We are not reading so much the Acts of the Apostles as the
acts of God through the apostles. Was it not this very passage in this
inspired book that suggested, perhaps, the name of this journal: _"The
Lord's dealings with George Muller"_?

At this narrative or journal, as a whole, we can only rapidly glance. In
this shorter account, purposely condensed to secure a wider reading even
from busy people, that narrative could not be more fully treated, for in
its original form it covers about three thousand printed pages, and
contains close to one million words. To such as can and will read that
more minute account it is accessible at a low rate,* and is strongly
recommended for careful and leisurely perusal. But for the present
purpose the life-story, as found in these pages, takes both a briefer
and a different form.

* Five volumes at 16s. Published by Jas. Nisbet & Co., London. With
subsequent Annual Reports at 3d. each.

The journal is largely composed of, condensed from, and then
supplemented by, annual reports of the work, and naturally and
necessarily includes, not only thousands of little details, but much
inevitable repetition year by year, because each new report was likely
to fall into the hands of some who had never read reports of the
previous years. The desire and design of this briefer memoir is to
present the salient points of the narrative, to review the whole
life-story as from the great summits or outlooks found in this
remarkable journal; so that, like the observer who from some high
mountain-peak looks toward the different points of the compass, and thus
gets a rapid, impressive, comparative, and comprehensive view of the
whole landscape, the reader may, as at a glance, take in those marked
features of this godly man's character and career which incite to new
and advance steps in faith and holy living. Some few characteristic
entries in the journal will find here a place; others, only in
substance; while of the bulk of them it will be sufficient to give a
general survey, classifying the leading facts, and under each class
giving a few representative examples and illustrations.

Looking at this narrative as a whole, certain prominent peculiarities
must be carefully noted. We have here a record and revelation of seven
conspicuous experiences:

1. An experience of frequent and at times prolonged _financial straits._

The money in hand for personal needs, and for the needs of hundreds and
thousands of orphans, and for the various branches of the work of the
Scriptural Knowledge Institution, was often reduced to a single _pound,_
or even _penny,_ and sometimes to _nothing._ There was therefore a
necessity for constant waiting on God, looking to Him directly for all
supplies. For months, if not years, together, and at several periods in
the work, supplies were furnished only from month to month, week to
week, day to day, _hour to hour!_ Faith was thus kept in lively exercise
and under perpetual training.

2. An experience of the _unchanging faithfulness of the Father-God._

The straits were long and trying, but never was there one case of
failure to receive help; never a meal-time without at least a frugal
meal, never a want or a crisis unmet by divine supply and support. Mr.
Muller said to the writer: "Not once, or five times, or five hundred
times, but thousands of times in these threescore years, have we had in
hand not enough _for one more meal,_ either in food or in funds; but not
once has God failed us; not once have we or the orphans gone hungry or
lacked any good thing." From 1838 to 1844 was a period of peculiar and
prolonged straits, yet when the time of need actually came the supply
was always given, though often at the last moment.

3. An experience of the working of God upon the minds, hearts, and
consciences of _contributors to the work._

It will amply repay one to plod, step by step, over these thousands of
pages, if only to trace the hand of God touching the springs of human
action all over the world in ways of His own, and at times of great
need, and adjusting the amount and the exact day and hour of the supply,
to the existing want. Literally from the earth's ends, men, women, and
children who had never seen Mr. Muller and could have known nothing of
the pressure at the time, have been led at the exact crisis of affairs
to send aid in the very sum or form most needful. In countless cases,
while he was on his knees asking, the answer has come in such close
correspondence with the request as to shut out chance as an explanation,
and compel belief in a prayer-hearing God.

4. An experience of habitual _hanging upon the unseen God_ and nothing
else.

The reports, issued annually to acquaint the public with the history and
progress of the work, and give an account of stewardship to the many
donors who had a right to a report--these made _no direct appeal for
aid._ At one time, and that of great need, Mr. Muller felt led to
_withhold_ the usual annual statement, lest some might construe the
account of work already done as an appeal for aid in work yet to be
done, and thus detract from the glory of the Great Provider.* The Living
God alone was and is the Patron of these institutions; and not even the
wisest and wealthiest, the noblest and the most influential of human
beings, has ever been looked to as their dependence.

* For example, Vol. II, 102, records that the report given is for
1846-1848, no report having been issued for 1847; and on page 113, under
date of May 25th, occur these words: "not being nearly enough to meet
the housekeeping expenses," etc.; and, May 28th and 30th, such other
words as these: "now our poverty," "in this our great need," "in these
days of straitness." Mr. Wright thinks that _on that very account_ Mr.
Muller did not publish the report for 1847.

5. An experience of conscientious _care in accepting and using gifts._

Here is a pattern for all who act as stewards for God. Whenever there
was any ground of misgiving as to the propriety or expediency of
receiving what was offered, it was declined, however pressing the need,
unless or until all such objectionable features no more existed. If the
party contributing was known to dishonour lawful debts, so that the
money was righteously due to others; if the gift was encumbered and
embarrassed by restrictions that hindered its free use for God; if it
was designated for endowment purposes or as a provision for Mr. Muller's
old age, or for the future of the institutions; or if there was any
evidence or suspicion that the donation was given grudgingly,
reluctantly, or for self-glory, it was promptly declined and returned.
In some cases, even where large amounts were involved, parties were
urged to wait until more prayer and deliberation made clear that they
were acting under divine leading.

6. An experience of extreme caution lest there should be even a careless
_betrayal of the fact of pressing need,_ to the outside public.

The helpers in the institutions were allowed to come into such close
fellowship and to have such knowledge of the exact state of the work as
aids not only in common labours, but in common prayers and self-denials.
Without such acquaintance they could not serve, pray, nor sacrifice
intelligently. But these associates were most solemnly and repeatedly
charged never to reveal to those without, not even in the most serious
crises, any want whatsoever of the work. The one and only resort was
ever to be the God who hears the cry of the needy; and the greater the
exigency, the greater the caution lest there should even seem to be a
looking away from divine to human help.

7. An experience of growing boldness of faith in _asking and trusting
for great things._

As faith was exercised it was energized, so that it became as easy and
natural to ask confidently for a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand
pounds, as once it had been for a pound or a penny. After confidence in
God had been strengthened through discipline, and God had been proven
faithful, it required no more venture to cast himself on God for
provision for two thousand children and an annual outlay of at least
twenty-five thousand pounds for them than in the earlier periods of the
work to look to Him to care for twenty homeless orphans at a cost of two
hundred and fifty pounds a year. Only by _using_ faith are we kept from
practically _losing_ it, and, on the contrary, to use faith is to lose
the unbelief that hinders God's mighty acts.

This brief resume of the contents of thousands of entries is the result
of a repeated and careful examination of page after page where have been
patiently recorded with scrupulous and punctilious exactness the
innumerable details of Mr. Muller's long experience as a coworker with
God. He felt himself not only the steward of a celestial Master, but the
trustee of human gifts, and hence he sought to "provide things honest in
the sight of all men." He might never have published a report or spread
these minute matters before the public eye, and yet have been an equally
faithful steward toward _God;_ but he would not in such case have been
an equally faithful trustee toward man.

Frequently, in these days, men receive considerable sums of money from
various sources for benevolent work, and yet give no account of such
trusteeship. However honest such parties may be, they not only act
unwisely, but, by their course, lend sanction to others with whom such
irresponsible action is a cloak for systematic fraud. Mr. Muller's whole
career is the more without fault because in this respect his
administration of his great trust challenges the closest investigation.

The brief review of the lessons taught in his journal may well startle
the incredulous and unbelieving spirit of our skeptical day. Those who
doubt the power of prayer to bring down actual blessing, or who confound
faith in God with credulity and superstition, may well wonder and
perhaps stumble at such an array of facts. But, if any reader is still
doubtful as to the facts, or thinks they are here arrayed in a deceptive
garb or invested with an imaginative halo, he is hereby invited to
examine for himself the singularly minute records which George Muller
has been led of God to put before the world in a printed form which thus
admits no change, and to accompany with a bold and repeated challenge to
any one so inclined, to subject every statement to the severest
scrutiny, and prove, if possible, one item to be in any respect false,
exaggerated, or misleading. The absence of all enthusiasm in the calm
and mathematical precision of the narrative compels the reader to feel
that the writer was almost mechanically exact in the record, and
inspires confidence that it contains the absolute, naked truth.

One caution should, like Habakkuk's gospel message--"The just shall live
by his faith"--be written large and plain so that even a cursory glance
may take it in. Let no one ascribe to George Muller such a _miraculous
gift of faith_ as lifted him above common believers and out of the reach
of the temptations and infirmities to which all fallible souls are
exposed. He was constantly liable to satanic assaults, and we find him
making frequent confession of the same sins as others, and even of
unbelief, and at times overwhelmed with genuine sorrow for his
departures from God. In fact he felt himself rather more than usually
wicked by nature, and utterly helpless even as a believer: was it not
this poverty of spirit and mourning over sin, this consciousness of
entire unworthiness and dependence, that so drove him to the throne of
grace and the all-merciful and all-powerful Father? Because he was so
weak, he leaned hard on the strong arm of Him whose strength is not only
manifested, but can only be made perfect, in weakness.*

* 1 Cor. xii. 1-10.

To those who think that no man can wield such power in prayer or live
such a life of faith who is not an exception to common mortal frailties,
it will be helpful to find in this very journal that is so lighted up
with the records of God's goodness, the dark shadows of conscious sin
and guilt. Even in the midst of abounding mercies and interpositions he
suffered from temptations to distrust and disobedience, and sometimes
had to mourn their power over him, as when once he found himself
inwardly complaining of the cold leg of mutton which formed the staple
of his Sunday dinner! We discover as we read that we are communing with
a man who was not only of like passions with ourselves, but who felt
himself rather more than most others subject to the sway of evil, and
needing therefore a special keeping power. Scarce had he started upon
his new path of entire dependence on God, when he confessed himself "so
sinful" as for some time to entertain the thought that "it would be of
no use to trust in the Lord in this way," and fearing that he had
perhaps gone already too far in this direction in having committed
himself to such a course.* True, this temptation was speedily overcome
and Satan confounded; but from time to time similar fiery darts were
hurled at him which had to be quenched by the same shield of faith.
Never, to the last hour of life, could he trust himself, or for one
moment relax his hold on God, and neglect the word of God and prayer,
without falling into sin. The 'old man,' of sin always continued too
strong for George Muller alone, and the longer he lived a 'life of
trust' the less was his trust placed upon himself.

* Vol. I. 73.

Another fact that grows more conspicuous with the perusal of every new
page in his journal is that in things common and small, as well as
uncommon and great, he took no step without first asking counsel of the
oracles of God and seeking guidance from Him in believing prayer. It was
his life-motto to learn the will of God before undertaking anything, and
to wait till it is clear, because only so can one either be blessed in
his own soul or prospered in the work of his hands.* Many disciples who
are comparatively bold to seek God's help in great crises, fail to come
to Him with like boldness in matters that seem too trivial to occupy the
thought of God or invite the interposition of Him who numbers the very
hairs of our heads and suffers not one hair to perish. The writer of
this journal escaped this great snare and carried even the smallest
matter to the Lord.

* Vol. I. 74.

Again, in his journal he constantly seeks to save from reproach the good
name of Him whom he serves: he cannot have such a God accounted a hard
Master. So early as July, 1831, a false rumour found circulation that he
and his wife were half-starving and that certain bodily ailments were
the result of a lack of the necessities of life; and he is constrained
to put on record that, though often brought so low as not to have one
penny left and to have the last bread on the table, they had never yet
sat down to a meal unprovided with some nourishing food. This witness
was repeated from time to time, and until just before his departure for
the Father's house on high; and it may therefore be accepted as covering
that whole life of faith which reached over nearly threescore years and
ten.

A kindred word of testimony, first given at this same time and in like
manner reiterated from point to point in his pilgrimage, concerns the
Lord's faithfulness in accompanying His word with power, in accordance
with that positive and unequivocal promise in Isaiah lv. 11: "My word
shall not return unto Me void; but it shall accomplish that which I
please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." It is very
noticeable that this is not said of _man's_ word, however wise,
important, or sincere, but of _God's_ word. We are therefore justified
in both expecting and claiming that, just so far as our message is not
of human invention or authority, but is God's message through us, it
shall never fail to accomplish His pleasure and its divine errand,
whatever be its apparent failure at the time. Mr. Muller, referring to
his own preaching, bears witness that in almost if not quite every place
where he spoke God's word, whether in larger chapels or smaller rooms,
the Lord gave the seal of His own testimony. He observed, however, that
blessing did not so obviously or abundantly follow his open-air
services: only in one instance had it come to his knowledge that there
were marked results, and that was in the case of an army officer who
came to make sport. Mr. Muller thought that it might please the Lord not
to let him see the real fruit of his work in open-air meetings, or that
there had not been concerning them enough believing prayer; but he
concluded that such manner of preaching was not his present work, since
God had not so conspicuously sealed it with blessing.

His journal makes very frequent reference to the physical weakness and
disability from which he suffered.

The struggle against bodily infirmity was almost life-long, and adds a
new lesson to his life-story. The strength of faith had to triumph over
the weakness of the flesh. We often find him suffering from bodily ills,
and sometimes so seriously as to be incapacitated for labour.

For example, early in 1832 he broke a blood-vessel in the stomach and
lost much blood by the hemorrhage. The very day following was the Lord's
day, and four outside preaching stations needed to be provided for, from
which his disablement would withdraw one labourer to take his place at
home. After an hour of prayer he felt that faith was given him to rise,
dress, and go to the chapel; and, though very weak, so that the short
walk wearied him, he was helped to preach as usual. After the service a
medical friend remonstrated against his course as tending to permanent
injury; but he replied that he should himself have regarded it
presumptuous had not the Lord given him the faith. He preached both
afternoon and evening, growing stronger rather than weaker with each
effort, and suffering from no reaction afterward.

In reading Mr. Muller's biography and the record of such experiences, it
is not probable that all will agree as to the wisdom of his course in
every case. Some will commend, while others will, perhaps, condemn. He
himself qualifies this entry in his journal with a wholesome caution
that no reader should in such a matter follow his example, who _has not
faith given him;_ but assuring him that if God does give faith so to
undertake for Him, such trust will prove like good coin and be honoured
when presented. He himself did not always pursue a like course, because
he had not always a like faith, and this leads him in his journal to
draw a valuable distinction between the _gift of faith_ and the _grace
of faith,_ which deserves careful consideration.

He observed that repeatedly he prayed with the sick till they were
restored, he _asking unconditionally for the blessing of bodily health,_
a thing which, he says, later on, he could not have done. Almost always
in such cases the petition was granted, yet in some instances not. Once,
in his own case, as early as 1829, he had been healed of a bodily
infirmity of long standing, and which never returned. Yet this same man
of God subsequently suffered from disease which was not in like manner
healed, and in more than one case submitted to a costly operation at the
hands of a skilful surgeon.

Some will doubtless say that even this man of faith lacked the faith
necessary for the healing of his own body; but we must let him speak for
himself, and especially as he gives his own view of the gift and the
grace of faith. He says that the _gift_ of faith is exercised, whenever
we "do or believe a thing where the not doing or not believing would
_not_ be sin"; but the _grace_ of faith, "where we do or believe what
not to do or believe _would_ be sin"; in one case we have no unequivocal
command or promise to guide us, and in the other we have. The gift of
faith is not always in exercise, but the grace must be, since it has the
definite word of God to rest on, and the absence or even weakness of
faith in such circumstances implies sin. There were instances, he adds,
in which it pleased the Lord at times to bestow upon him something like
the gift of faith so that he could ask unconditionally and expect
confidently.

This journal we may now dismiss as a whole, having thus looked at the
general features which characterize its many pages. But let it be
repeated that to any reader who will for himself carefully examine its
contents its perusal will prove a means of grace. To read a little at a
time, and follow it with reflection and self-examination, will be found
most stimulating to faith, though often most humiliating by reason of
the conscious contrast suggested by the reader's unbelief and
unfaithfulness. This man lived peculiarly with God and in God, and his
senses were exercised to discern good and evil. His conscience became
increasingly sensitive and his judgment singularly discriminating, so
that he detected fallacies where they escape the common eye, and foresaw
dangers which, like hidden rocks ahead, risk damage and, perhaps,
destruction to service if not to character. And, therefore, so far is
the writer of this memoir from desiring to displace that journal, that
he rather seeks to incite many who have not read it to examine it for
themselves. It will to such be found to mark a path of close daily walk
with God, where, step by step, with circumspect vigilance, conduct and
even motive are watched and weighed in God's own balances.

To sum up very briefly the impression made by the close perusal of this
whole narrative with the supplementary annual reports, it is simply
this: CONFIDENCE IN GOD.

In a little sketch of Beate Paulus, the Frau Pastorin pleads with God in
a great crisis not to forsake her, quaintly adding that she was "willing
to be the second whom He might forsake," but she was "determined not to
be the _first."_* George Muller believed that, in all ages, there had
never yet been one true and trusting believer to whom God had proven
false or faithless, and he was perfectly sure that He could be safely
trusted who, "if we believe not, yet abideth faithful: He cannot deny
Himself."** God has not only _spoken,_ but _sworn;_ His word is
confirmed by His oath: because He could swear by no greater He sware by
Himself. And all this that we might have a strong consolation; that we
might have boldness in venturing upon Him, laying hold and holding fast
His promise. Unbelief makes God a _liar_ and, worse still, a _perjurer,_
for it accounts Him as not only false to His word, but to His oath.
George Muller believed, and because he believed, prayed; and praying,
expected; and expecting, received. Blessed is he that believes, for
there shall be a performance of those things which are spoken of the
Lord.

* Faith's Miracles, p. 43.

** 2 Timothy ii. 13.


CHAPTER VII

LED OF GOD INTO A NEW SPHERE

IF much hangs and turns upon the choice of the _work_ we are to do and
the _field_ where we are to do it, it must not be forgotten how much
also depends on the _time_ when it is undertaken, the _way_ in which it
is performed, and the _associates_ in the labour. In all these matters
the true workman will wait for the Master's beck, glance, or signal,
before a step is taken.

We have come now to a new fork in the road where the path ahead begins
to be more plain. The future and permanent centre of his life-work is at
this point clearly indicated to God's servant by divine leading.

In March, 1832, his friend Mr. Henry Craik left Shaldon for four weeks
of labour _in Bristol,_ where Mr. Muller's strong impression was that
the Lord had for Mr. Craik some more lasting sphere of work, though as
yet it had not dawned upon his mind that he himself was to be a
co-worker in that sphere, and to find in that very city the place of his
permanent abode and the centre of his life's activities. God again led
the blind by a way he knew not. The conviction, however, had grown upon
him that the Lord was loosing him from Teignmouth, and, without having
in view any other definite field, he felt that his ministry there was
drawing to a close; and he inclined to go about again from place to
place, seeking especially to bring believers to a fuller trust in God
and a deeper sense of His faithfulness, and to a more thorough search
into His word. His inclination to such itinerant work was strengthened
by the fact that outside of Teignmouth his preaching both gave him much
more enjoyment and sense of power, and drew more hearers.

On April 13th a letter from Mr. Craik, inviting Mr. Muller to join in
his work at Bristol, made such an impression on his mind that he began
prayerfully to consider whether it was not God's call, and whether a
field more suited to his gifts was not opening to him. The following
Lord's day, preaching on the Lord's coming, he referred to the effect of
this blessed hope in impelling God's messenger to bear witness more
widely and from place to place, and reminded the brethren that he had
refused to bind himself to abide with them that he might at any moment
be free to follow the divine leading elsewhere.

On April 20th Mr. Muller left for Bristol. On the journey he was dumb,
having no liberty in speaking for Christ or even in giving away tracts,
and this led him to reflect. He saw that the so-called 'work of the
Lord' had tempted him to substitute _action for meditation and
communion._ He had neglected that still hour' with God which supplies to
spiritual life alike its breath and its bread. No lesson is more
important for us to learn, yet how slow are we to learn it: that for the
lack of habitual seasons set apart for devout meditation upon the word
of God and for prayer, nothing else will compensate.

We are prone to think, for example, that converse with Christian
brethren, and the general round of Christian activity, especially when
we are much busied with preaching the Word and visits to inquiring or
needy souls, make up for the loss of aloneness with God in the secret
place. We hurry to a public service with but a few minutes of private
prayer, allowing precious time to be absorbed in social pleasures,
restrained from withdrawing from others by a false delicacy, when to
excuse ourselves for needful communion with God and his word would have
been perhaps the best witness possible to those whose company was
holding us unduly! How often we rush from one public engagement to
another without any proper interval for renewing our strength in waiting
on the Lord, as though God cared more for the quantity than the quality
of our service!

Here Mr. Muller had the grace to detect one of the foremost perils of a
busy man in this day of insane hurry. He saw that if we are to feed
others we must be fed; and that even public and united exercises of
praise and prayer can never supply that food which is dealt out to the
believer only in the closet--the shut-in place with its closed door and
open window, where he meets God alone. In a previous chapter reference
has been made to the fact that three times in the word of God we find a
divine prescription for a true prosperity. God says to Joshua, "This
book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt
meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according
to all that is written therein: _for then thou shalt make thy way
prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success"_ (Joshua i. 8.) Five
hundred years later the inspired author of the first Psalm repeats the
promise in unmistakable terms. The Spirit there says of him whose
delight is in the law of the Lord and who in His law doth meditate day
and night, that "he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not
wither; and _whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."_ Here the devout
meditative student of the blessed book of God is likened to an evergreen
tree planted beside unfailing supplies of moisture; his fruit is
perennial, and so is his verdure--and _whatsoever he doeth_ prospers!
More than a thousand years pass away, and, before the New Testament is
sealed up as complete, once more the Spirit bears essentially the same
blessed witness. "Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty and
_continueth"_ (i.e. continueth _looking_--meditating on what he there
beholds, lest he forget the impression received through the mirror of
the Word), _"this man shall be blessed in his deed"_ (James i. 25.)

Here then we have a threefold witness to the secret of true prosperity
and unmingled blessing: devout meditation and reflection upon the
Scriptures, which are at once a book of law, a river of life, and a
mirror of self--fitted to convey the will of God, the life of God, and
the transforming power of God. That believer makes a fatal mistake who
_for any cause_ neglects the prayerful study of the word of God. To read
God's holy book, by it search one's self, and turn it into prayer and so
into holy living, is the one great secret of growth in grace and
godliness. The worker _for_ God must first be a worker _with_ God: he
must have power with God and must prevail with Him in prayer, if he is
to have power with men and prevail with men in preaching or in any form
of witnessing and serving. At all costs let us make sure of that highest
preparation for our work--the preparation of our own souls; and for this
we must _take time_ to be alone with His word and His Spirit, that we
may truly meet God, and understand His will and the revelation of
Himself.

If we seek the secrets of the life George Muller lived and the work he
did, this is the very key to the whole mystery, and with that key any
believer can unlock the doors to a prosperous growth in grace and power
in service. God's word is His WORD--the expression of His thought, the
revealing of His mind and heart. The supreme end of life is to know God
and make Him known; and how is this possible so long as we neglect the
very means He has chosen for conveying to us that knowledge! Even
Christ, the Living Word, is to be found enshrined in the written word.
Our knowledge of Christ is dependent upon our acquaintance with the Holy
Scriptures, which are the reflection of His character and glory--the
firmament across the expanse of which He moves as the Sun of
righteousness.

On April 22, 1832, George Muller first stood in the pulpit of Gideon
Chapel. The fact and the date are to be carefully marked as the new
turning-point in a career of great usefulness. Henceforth, for almost
exactly sixty-six years, Bristol is to be inseparably associated with
his name. Could he have foreseen, on that Lord's day, what a work the
Lord would do through him in that city; how from it as a centre his
influence would radiate to the earth's ends, and how, even after his
departure, he should continue to bear witness by the works which should
follow him, how his heart would have swelled and burst with holy
gratitude and praise,--while in humility he shrank back in awe and
wonder from a responsibility and an opportunity so vast and
overwhelming!

In the afternoon of this first Sabbath he preached at Pithay Chapel a
sermon conspicuously owned of God. Among others converted by it was a
young man, a notorious drunkard. And, before the sun had set, Mr.
Muller, who in the evening heard Mr. Craik preach, was fully persuaded
that the Lord had brought him to Bristol for a purpose, and that for a
while, at least, there he was to labour. Both he and his brother Craik
felt, however, that Bristol was not the place to reach a clear decision,
for the judgment was liable to be unduly biassed when subject to the
pressure of personal urgency, and so they determined to return to their
respective fields of previous labour, there to wait quietly upon the
Lord for the promised wisdom from above. They left for Devonshire on the
first of May; but already a brother had been led to assume the
responsibility for the rent of Bethesda Chapel as a place for their
joint labours, thus securing a second commodious building for public
worship.

Such blessing had rested on these nine days of united testimony in
Bristol that they both gathered that the Lord had assuredly called them
thither. The seal of His sanction had been on all they had undertaken,
and the last service at Gideon Chapel on April 29th had been so thronged
that many went away for lack of room.

Mr. Muller found opportunity for the exercise of humility, for he saw
that by many his brother's gifts were much preferred to his own; yet, as
Mr. Craik would come to Bristol only with him as a yokefellow, God's
grace enabled him to accept the humiliation of being the less popular,
and comforted him with the thought that two are better than one, and
that each might possibly fill up some lack in the other, and thus both
together prove a greater benefit and blessing alike to sinners and to
saints--as the result showed. That same grace of God helped Mr. Muller
to rise higher--nay, let us rather say, to sink lower and, "in honor
preferring one another," to rejoice rather than to be envious; and, like
John the Baptist, to say within himself: "A man can receive nothing
except it be given him from above." Such a humble spirit has even in
this life oftentimes its recompense of reward. Marked as was the impress
of Mr. Craik upon Bristol, Mr. Muller's influence was even deeper and
wider. As Henry Craik died in 1866, his own work reached through a much
longer period; and as he was permitted to make such extensive mission
tours throughout the world, his witness was far more outreaching. The
lowly-minded man who bowed down to take the lower place, consenting to
be the more obscure, was by God exalted to the higher seat and greater
throne of influence.

Within a few weeks the Lord's will, as to their new sphere, became so
plain to both these brethren that on May 23d Mr. Muller left Teignmouth
for Bristol, to be followed next day by Mr. Craik. At the believers'
meeting at Gideon Chapel they stated their terms, which were acceded to:
that they were to be regarded as accepting no fixed relationship to the
congregation, preaching in such manner and for such a season as should
seem to them according to the Lord's will; that they should not be under
bondage to any rules among them; that _pew-rents should be done away
with;_ and that they should, as in Devonshire, _look to the Lord to
supply all temporal wants through the voluntary offerings of those to
whom they ministered._

Within a month Bethesda Chapel had been so engaged for a year as to risk
no debt, and on July 6th services began there as at Gideon. From the
very first, the Spirit set His seal on the joint work of these two
brethren. Ten days after the opening service at Bethesda, an evening
being set for inquirers, the throng of those seeking counsel was so
great that more than four hours were consumed in ministering to
individual souls, and so from time to time similar meetings were held
with like encouragement.

August 13, 1832, was a memorable day. On that evening at Bethesda Chapel
Mr. Muller, Mr. Craik, one other brother, and four sisters--_only seven
in all_--sat down together, uniting in church fellowship _"without any
rules,--desiring to act only as the Lord should be pleased to give light
through His word."_

This is a very short and simple entry in Mr. Mailer's journal, but it
has most solemn significance. It records what was to him separation to
the hallowed work of building up a simple apostolic church, with no
manual of guidance but the New Testament; and in fact it introduces us
to the THIRD PERIOD of his life, when he entered fully upon the work to
which God had set him apart. The further steps now followed in rapid
succession. God having prepared the workman and gathered the material,
the structure went on quietly and rapidly until the life-work was
complete.

Cholera was at this time raging in Bristol. This terrible 'scourge of
God' first appeared about the middle of July and continued for three
months, prayer-meetings being held often, and for a time daily, to plead
for the removal of this visitation. Death stalked abroad, the knell of
funeral-bells almost constantly sounding, and much solemnity hanging
like a dark pall over the community. Of course many visits to the sick,
dying, and afflicted became necessary, but it is remarkable that, among
all the children of God among whom Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik laboured,
but one died of this disease.

In the midst of all this gloom and sorrow of a fatal epidemic, a little
daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Muller September 17, 1832. About her
name, Lydia, sweet fragrance lingers, for she became one of God's purest
saints and the beloved wife of James Wright. How little do we forecast
at the time the future of a new-born babe who, like Samuel, may in God's
decree be established to be a prophet of the Lord, or be set apart to
some peculiar sphere of service, as in the case of another Lydia, whose
heart the Lord opened and whom He called to be the nucleus of the first
Christian church in Europe.

Mr. Mullers unfeigned humility, and the docility that always accompanies
that unconscious grace, found new exercise when the meetings with
inquirers revealed the fact that his colleague's preaching was much more
used of God than his own, in conviction and conversion. This discovery
led to much self-searching, and he concluded that three reasons lay back
of this fact: first, Mr. Craik was more spiritually minded than himself;
second, he was more earnest in prayer for converting power; and third,
he oftener spoke directly to the unsaved, in his public ministrations.
Such disclosures of his own comparative lack did not exhaust themselves
in vain self-reproaches, but led at once to more importunate prayer,
more diligent preparation for addressing the unconverted, and more
frequent appeals to this class. From this time on, Mr. Muller's
preaching had the seal of God upon it equally with his brother's. What a
wholesome lesson to learn, that for every defect in our service there is
a cause, and that the one all-sufficient remedy is the throne of grace,
where in every time of need we may boldly come to find grace and help!
It has been already noted that Mr. Muller did not satisfy himself with
more prayer, but gave new diligence and study to the preparation of
discourses adapted to awaken careless souls. In the supernatural as well
as the natural sphere, there is a law of cause and effect. Even the
Spirit of God works not without order and method; He has His chosen
channels through which He pours blessing. There is no accident in the
spiritual world. "The Spirit bloweth where He listeth," but even the
wind has its circuits. There is a kind of preaching, fitted to bring
conviction and conversion, and there is another kind which is not so
fitted. Even in the faithful use of truth there is room for
discrimination and selection. In the armory of the word of God are many
weapons, and all have their various uses and adaptations. Blessed is the
workman or warrior who seeks to know what particular implement or
instrument God appoints for each particular work or conflict. We are to
study to keep in such communion with His word and Spirit as that we
shall be true workmen that need "not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the
word of truth." (2 Tim. ii. 15.)

This expression, found in Paul's second letter to Timothy, is a very
peculiar one ([Transcriber's Note: Greek source text for the English
phrase quoted in the paragraph immediately above appears here]). It
seems to be nearly equivalent to the Latin phrase _recte viam secare--to
cut a straight road_--and to hint that the true workman of God is like
the civil engineer to whom it is given to construct a direct road to a
certain point. The hearer's heart and conscience is the objective point,
and the aim of the preacher should be, so to use God's truth as to reach
most directly and effectively the needs of the hearer. He is to avoid
all circuitous routes, all evasions, all deceptive apologies and by-ways
of argument, and seek by God's help to find the shortest, straightest,
quickest road to the convictions and resolutions of those to whom he
speaks. And if the road-builder, before he takes any other step, first
carefully _surveys his territory and lays out his route,_ how much more
should the preacher first study the needs of his hearers and the best
ways of successfully dealing with them, and then with even more
carefulness and prayerfulness study the adaptation of the word of God
and the gospel message to meet those wants.

Early in the year 1833, letters from missionaries in Baghdad urged
Messrs. Muller and Craik to join them in labours in that distant field,
accompanying the invitation with drafts for two hundred pounds for costs
of travel. Two weeks of prayerful inquiry as to the mind of the Lord,
however, led them to a clear decision _not_ to go--a choice never
regretted, and which is here recorded only as part of a complete
biography, and as illustrating the manner in which each new call for
service was weighed and decided.

We now reach another stage of Mr. Muller's entrance upon his complete
life-work. In February, 1832, he had begun to read the biography of A.
H. Francke, the founder of the Orphan Houses of Halle. As that life and
work were undoubtedly used of God to make him a like instrument in a
kindred service, and to mould even the methods of his philanthropy, a
brief sketch of Francke's career may be helpful.

August H. Francke was Muller's fellow countryman. About 1696, at Halle
in Prussia, he had commenced the largest enterprise for poor children
then existing in the world. He trusted in God, and He whom he trusted
did not fail him, but helped him throughout abundantly.

The institutions, which resembled rather a large street than a building,
were erected, and in them about two thousand orphan children were
housed, fed, clad, and taught. For about thirty years all went on under
Francke's own eyes, until 1727, when it pleased the Master to call the
servant up higher; and after his departure his like-minded son-in-law
became the director. Two hundred years have passed, and these Orphan
Houses are still in existence, serving their noble purpose.

It is needful only to look at these facts and compare with Francke's
work in Halle George Muller's monuments to a prayer-hearing God on
Ashley Down, to see that in the main the latter work so far resembles
the former as to be in not a few respects its counterpart. Mr. Muller
began his orphan work a little more than one hundred years after
Francke's death; ultimately housed, fed, clothed, and taught over two
thousand orphans year by year; personally supervised the work for over
sixty years--twice as long a period as that of Francke's personal
management--and at his decease likewise left his like minded son-in-law
to be his successor as the sole director of the work. It need not be
added that, beginning his enterprise like Francke in dependence on God
alone, the founder of the Bristol Orphan Houses trusted from first to
last only in Him.

It is very noticeable how, when God is preparing a workman for a certain
definite service, He often leads him out of the beaten track into a path
peculiarly His own by means of some striking biography, or by contact
with some other living servant who is doing some such work, and
exhibiting the spirit which must guide if there is to be a true success.
Meditation on Franeke's life and work naturally led this man who was
hungering for a wider usefulness to think more of the poor homeless
waifs about him, and to ask whether he also could not plan under God
some way to provide for them; and as he was musing the fire burned.

As early as June 12, 1833, when not yet twenty-eight years old, the
inward flame began to find vent in a scheme which proved the first
forward step toward his orphan work. It occurred to him to gather out of
the streets, at about eight o'clock each morning, the poor children,
give them a bit of bread for breakfast, and then, for about an hour and
a half, teach them to read or read to them the Holy Scriptures; and
later on to do a like service to the adult and aged poor. He began at
once to feed from thirty to forty such persons, confident that, as the
number increased, the Lord's provision would increase also. Unburdening
his heart to Mr. Craik, he was guided to a place which could hold one
hundred and fifty children and which could be rented for ten shillings
yearly; as also to an aged brother who would gladly undertake the
teaching.

Unexpected obstacles, however, prevented the carrying out of this plan.
The work already pressing upon Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik, the rapid
increase of applicants for food, and the annoyance to neighbours of
having crowds of idlers congregating in the streets and lying about in
troops--these were some of the reasons why this method was abandoned.
But the _central thought and aim_ were never lost sight of: God had
planted a seed in the soil of Mr. Mullers heart, presently to spring up
in the orphan work, and in the Scriptural Knowledge Institution with its
many branches and far-reaching fruits.

From time to time a backward glance over the Lord's dealings encouraged
his heart, as he looked forward to unknown paths and untried scenes. He
records at this time--the close of the year 1833--that during the four
years since he first began to trust in the Lord alone for temporal
supplies he had suffered no want. He had received during the first year
one hundred and thirty pounds, during the second one hundred and
fifty-one, during the third one hundred and ninety-five, and during the
last two hundred and sixty-seven--all in free-will offerings and without
ever asking any human being for a penny. He had looked alone to the
Lord, yet he had not only received a supply, but an increasing supply,
year by year. Yet he also noticed that at each year's close he had very
little, if anything, left, and that much had come through strange
channels, from distances very remote, and from parties whom he had never
seen. He observed also that in every case, according as the need was
greater or less, the supply corresponded. He carefully records for the
benefit of others that, when the calls for help were many, the Great
Provider showed Himself able and willing to send help accordingly.* The
ways of divine dealing which he had thus found true of the early years
of his life of trust were marked and magnified in all his
after-experience, and the lessons learned in these first four years
prepared him for others taught in the same school of God and under the
same Teacher.

* Vol. I. 105.

Thus God had brought His servant by a way which he knew not to the very
place and sphere of his life's widest and most enduring work. He had
moulded and shaped His chosen vessel, and we are now to see to what
purposes of world-wide usefulness that earthen vessel was to be put, and
how conspicuously the excellency of the power was to be of God and not
of man.


CHAPTER VIII

A TREE OF GOD'S OWN PLANTING

THE time was now fully come when the divine Husbandman was to glorify
Himself by a product of His own husbandry in the soil of Bristol.

On February 20, 1834, George Muller was led of God to sow the seed of
what ultimately developed into a great means of good, known as "The
Scriptural Knowledge Institution, for Home and Abroad." As in all other
steps of his life, this was the result of much prayer, meditation on the
Word, searching of his own heart, and patient waiting to know the mind
of God.

A brief statement of the reasons for founding such an institution, and
the principles on which it was based, will be helpful at this point.
Motives of conscience controlled Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik in starting a
new work rather than in uniting with existing societies already
established for missionary purposes, Bible and tract distribution, and
for the promotion of Christian schools. As they had sought to conform
personal life and church conduct wholly to the scriptural pattern, they
felt that all work for God should be carefully carried on in exact
accordance with His known will, in order to have His fullest blessing.
Many features of the existing societies seemed to them extra-scriptural,
if not decidedly anti-scriptural, and these they felt constrained to
avoid.

For example, they felt that the _end proposed_ by such organizations,
namely, _the conversion of the world_ in this dispensation, was not
justified by the Word, which everywhere represents this as the age of
the _outgathering of the church_ from the world, and not the
_ingathering of the world_ into the church. To set such an end before
themselves as the world's conversion would therefore not only be
unwarranted by Scripture, but delusive and disappointing, disheartening
God's servants by the failure to realize the result, and dishonoring to
God Himself by making Him to appear unfaithful.

Again, these existing societies seemed to Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik to
sustain a _wrong relation to the world_--mixed up with it, instead of
separate from it. Any one by paying a certain fixed sum of money might
become a member or even a director, having a voice or vote in the
conduct of affairs and becoming eligible to office. Unscriptural means
were commonly used to _raise money,_ such as appealing for aid to
unconverted persons, asking for donations simply for money's sake and
without regard to the character of the donors or the manner in which the
money was obtained. The custom of _seeking patronage_ from men of the
world and asking such to preside at public meetings, and the habit of
_contracting debts,_--these and some other methods of management seemed
so unscriptural and unspiritual that the founders of this new
institution could not with a good conscience give them sanction. Hence
they hoped that by basing their work upon thoroughly biblical principles
they might secure many blessed results.

First of all, they confidently believed that the work of the Lord could
be best and most successfully carried on within the landmarks and limits
set up in His word; that the fact of thus carrying it on would give
boldness in prayer and confidence in labour. But they also desired the
work itself to be a witness to the living God, and a testimony to
believers, by calling attention to the objectionable methods already in
use and encouraging all God's true servants in adhering to the
principles and practices which He has sanctioned.

On March 5th at a public meeting a formal announcement of the intention
to found such an institution was accompanied by a full statement of its
purposes and principles,* in substance as follows:

* Appendix D. Journal I. 107-113.

1. Every believer's duty and privilege is to help on the cause and work
of Christ.

2. The patronage of the world is not to be sought after, depended upon,
or countenanced.

3. Pecuniary aid, or help in managing or carrying on its affairs, is not
to be asked for or sought from those who are not believers.

4. Debts are not to be contracted or allowed for any cause in the work
of the Lord.

5. The standard of success is not to be a numerical or financial
standard.

6. All compromise of the truth or any measures that impair testimony to
God are to be avoided.

Thus the word of God was accepted as counsellor, and all dependence was
on God's blessing in answer to prayer.

The _objects_ of the institution were likewise announced as follows:

1. To establish or aid day-schools, Sunday-schools, and adult-schools,
taught and conducted only by believers and on thoroughly scriptural
principles.

2. To circulate the Holy Scriptures, wholly or in portions, over the
widest possible territory.

3. To aid missionary efforts and assist labourers, in the Lord's
vineyard anywhere, who are working upon a biblical basis and looking
only to the Lord for support.

To project such a work, on such a scale, and at such a time, was doubly
an act of faith; for not only was the work already in hand enough to tax
all available time and strength, but at this very time this record
appears in Mr. Muller's journal: _"We have only one shilling left."_
Surely no advance step would have been taken, had not the eyes been
turned, not on the empty purse, but on the full and exhaustless treasury
of a rich and bountiful Lord!

It was plainly God's purpose that, out of such abundance of poverty, the
riches of His liberality should be manifested. It pleased Him, from whom
and by whom are all things, that the work should be begun when His
servants were poorest and weakest, that its growth to such giant
proportions might the more prove it to be a plant of His own right
hand's planting, and that His word might be fulfilled in its whole
history:

       "I the Lord do keep it:
        I will water it every moment:
        Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day:"
                            (Isa. xxvii. 3.)

Whatever may be thought as to the need of such a new organization, or as
to such scruples as moved its founders to insist even in minor matters
upon the closest adherence to scripture teaching, this at least is
plain, that for more than half a century it has stood upon its original
foundation, and its increase and usefulness have surpassed the most
enthusiastic dreams of its founders; nor have the principles first
avowed ever been abandoned. With the Living God as its sole patron, and
prayer as its only appeal, it has attained vast proportions, and its
world-wide work has been signally owned and blessed.

On March 19th Mrs. Muller gave birth to a son, to the great joy of his
parents; and, after much prayer, they gave him the name Elijah--"My God
is Jah"--the name itself being one of George Mullers life-mottoes. Up to
this time the families of Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik had dwelt under one
roof, but henceforth it was thought wise that they should have separate
lodgings.

When, at the close of 1834, the usual backward glance was cast over the
Lord's leadings and dealings, Mr. Muller gratefully recognized the
divine goodness which had thus helped him to start upon its career the
work with its several departments. Looking to the Lord alone for light
and help, he had laid the corner-stone of this "little institution"; and
in October, after only seven months' existence, it had already begun to
be established. In the Sunday-school there were one hundred and twenty
children; in the adult classes, forty; in the four day-schools, two
hundred and nine boys and girls; four hundred and eighty-two Bibles and
five hundred and twenty Testaments had been put into circulation, and
fifty-seven pounds had been spent in aid of missionary operations.
During these seven months the Lord had sent, in answer to prayer, over
one hundred and sixty-seven pounds in money, and much blessing upon the
work itself. The brothers and sisters who were in charge had likewise
been given by the same prayer-hearing God, in direct response to the cry
of need and the supplication of faith.

Meanwhile another _object_ was coming into greater prominence before the
mind and heart of Mr. Muller: it was the thought of _making some
permanent provision for fatherless and motherless children._

An orphan boy who had been in the school had been taken to the
poorhouse, no longer able to attend on account of extreme poverty; and
this little incident set Mr. Muller thinking and praying about orphans.
Could not something be done to meet the temporal and spiritual wants of
this class of very poor children? Unconsciously to himself, God had set
a seed in his soul, and was watching and watering it. The idea of a
definite orphan work had taken root within him, and, like any other
living germ, it was springing up and growing, he knew not how. As yet it
was only in the blade, but in time there would come the ear and the
full-grown corn in the ear, the new seed of a larger harvest.

Meanwhile the church was growing. In these two and a half years over two
hundred had been added, making the total membership two hundred and
fifty-seven; but the enlargement of the work generally neither caused
the church life to be neglected nor any one department of duty to suffer
declension--a very noticeable fact in this history.

The point to which we have now come is one of double interest and
importance, as at once a point of arrival and of departure. The work of
God's chosen servant may be considered as fairly if not fully
inaugurated _in all its main forms of service._ He himself is in his
thirtieth year, the age when his divine Master began to be fully
manifest to the world and to go about doing good. Through the
preparatory steps and stages leading up to his complete mission and
ministry to the church and the world, Christ's humble disciple has
likewise been brought, and his fuller career of usefulness now begins,
with the various agencies in operation whereby for more than threescore
years he was to show both proof and example of what God can do through
one man who is willing to be simply the instrument for Him to work with.
Nothing is more marked in George Muller, to the very day of his death,
than this, that he so looked to God and leaned on God that he felt
himself to be nothing, and God everything. He sought to be always and in
all things surrendered as a passive tool to the will and hand of the
Master Workman.

This point of arrival and of departure is also a point of _prospect._
Here, halting and looking backward, we may take in at a glance the
various successive steps and stages of preparation whereby the Lord had
made His servant ready for the sphere of service to which He called, and
for which He fitted him. One has only, from this height, to look over
the ten years that were past, to see beyond dispute or doubt the divine
design that lay back of George Mullers life, and to feel an awe of the
God who thus chooses and shapes, and then uses, His vessels of service.

It will be well, even if it involves some repetition, to pass in review
the more important steps in the process by which the divine Potter had
shaped His vessel for His purpose, educating and preparing George Muller
for His work.

1. First of all, his _conversion._ In the most unforeseen manner and at
the most unexpected time God led him to turn from the error of his way,
and brought him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

2. Next, his _missionary spirit._ That consuming flame was kindled
within him which, when it is fanned by the Spirit and fed by the fuel of
facts, inclines to unselfish service and makes one willing to go
wherever, and to do whatever, the Lord will.

3. Next, his _renunciation of self._ In more than one instance he was
enabled to give up for Christ's sake an earthly attachment that was
idolatrous, because it was a hindrance to his full obedience and
single-eyed loyalty to his heavenly Master.

4. Then his _taking counsel of God._ Early in his Christian life he
formed the habit, in things great and small, of ascertaining the will of
the Lord before taking action, asking guidance in every matter, through
the Word and the Spirit.

5. His humble and _childlike temper._ The Father drew His child to
Himself, imparting to him the simple mind that asks believingly and
trusts confidently, and the filial spirit that submits to fatherly
counsel and guidance.

6. His _method of preaching._ Under this same divine tuition he early
learned how to preach the Word, in simple dependence on the Spirit of
God, studying the Scriptures in the original and expounding them without
wisdom of words.

7. His _cutting loose from man._ Step by step, all dependence on man or
appeals to man for pecuniary support were abandoned, together with all
borrowing, running into debt, stated salary, etc. His eyes were turned
to God alone as the Provider.

8. His _satisfaction in the Word._ As knowledge of the Scriptures grew,
love for the divine oracles increased, until all other books, even of a
religious sort, lost their charms in comparison with God's own
text-book, as explained and illumined by the divine Interpreter.

9. His _thorough Bible study._ Few young men have ever been led to such
a systematic search into the treasures of God's truth. He read the Book
of God through and through, fixing its teachings on his mind by
meditation and translating them into practice.

10. His _freedom from human control._ He felt the need of independence
of man in order to complete dependence on God, and boldly broke all
fetters that hindered his liberty in preaching, in teaching, or in
following the heavenly Guide and serving the heavenly Master.

11. His _use of opportunity._ He felt the value of souls, and he formed
habits of approaching others as to matters of salvation, even in public
conveyances. By a word of witness, a tract, a humble example, he sought
constantly to lead some one to Christ.

12. His _release from civil obligations._ This was purely providential.
In a strange way God set him free from all liability to military
service, and left him free to pursue his heavenly calling as His
soldier, without entanglement in the affairs of this life.

13. His _companions in service._ Two most efficient coworkers were
divinely provided: first his brother Craik so like-minded with himself,
and secondly, his wife, so peculiarly God's gift, both of them proving
great aids in working and in bearing burdens of responsibility.

14. His _view of the Lord's coming._ He thanked God for unveiling to him
that great truth, considered by him as second to no other in its
influence upon his piety and usefulness; and in the light of it he saw
clearly the purpose of this gospel age, to be not to convert the world
but to call out from it a believing church as Christ's bride.

15. His _waiting on God for a message._ For every new occasion he asked
of Him a word in season; then a mode of treatment, and unction in
delivery; and, in godly simplicity and sincerity, with the demonstration
of the Spirit, he aimed to reach the hearers.

16. His submission to the _authority of the Word._ In the light of the
holy oracles he reviewed all customs, however ancient, and all
traditions of men, however popular, submitted all opinions and practices
to the test of Scripture, and then, regardless of consequences, walked
according to any new light God gave him.

17. His _pattern of church life._ From his first entrance upon pastoral
work, he sought to lead others only by himself following the Shepherd
and Bishop of Souls. He urged the assembly of believers to conform in
all things to New Testament models so far as they could be clearly found
in the Word, and thus reform all existing abuses.

18. His _stress upon voluntary offerings._ While he courageously gave up
all fixed salary for himself, he taught that all the work of God should
be maintained by the freewill gifts of believers, and that pew-rents
promote invidious distinctions among saints.

19. His _surrender of all earthly possessions._ Both himself and his
wife literally sold all they had and gave alms, henceforth to live by
the day, hoarding no money even against a time of future need, sickness,
old age, or any other possible crisis of want.

20. His habit of _secret prayer._ He learned so to prize closet
communion with God that he came to regard it as his highest duty and
privilege. To him nothing could compensate for the lack or loss of that
fellowship with God and meditation on His word which are the support of
all spiritual life.

21. His _jealousy of his testimony._ In taking oversight of a
congregation he took care to guard himself from all possible
interference with fulness and freedom of utterance and of service. He
could not brook any restraints upon his speech or action that might
compromise his allegiance to the Lord or his fidelity to man.

22. His _organizing of work._ God led him to project a plan embracing
several departments of holy activity, such as the spreading of the
knowledge of the word of God everywhere, and the encouraging of
world-wide evangelization and the Christian education of the young; and
to guard the new Institution from all dependence on worldly patronage,
methods, or appeals.

23. His _sympathy with orphans._ His loving heart had been drawn out
toward poverty and misery everywhere, but especially in the case of
destitute children bereft of both parents; and familiarity with
Francke's work at Halle suggested similar work at Bristol.

24. Beside all these steps of preparation, he had been guided by the
Lord from his birthplace in Prussia to London, Teignmouth, and Bristol
in Britain, and thus the chosen vessel, shaped for its great use, had by
the same divine Hand been borne to the very place where it was to be of
such signal service in testimony to the Living God.

Surely no candid observer can survey this course of divine discipline
and preparation, and remember how brief was the period of time it
covers, being less than ten years, and mark the many distinct steps by
which this education for a life of service was made singularly complete,
without a feeling of wonder and awe. Every prominent feature, afterward
to appear conspicuous in the career of this servant of God, was
anticipated in the training whereby he was fitted for his work and
introduced to it. We have had a vivid vision of the divine Potter
sitting at His wheel, taking the clay in His hands, softening its
hardness, subduing it to His own will; then gradually and skilfully
shaping from it the earthen vessel; then baking it in His oven of
discipline till it attained the requisite solidity and firmness, then
filling it with the rich treasures of His word and Spirit, and finally
setting it down where He would have it serve His special uses in
conveying to others the excellency of His power!

To lose sight of this sovereign shaping Hand is to miss one of the main
lessons God means to teach us by George Muller's whole career. He
himself saw and felt that he was only an earthen vessel; that God had
both chosen and filled him for the work he was to do; and, while this
conviction made him happy in his work, it made him humble, and the older
he grew the humbler he became. He felt more and more his own utter
insufficiency. It grieved him that human eyes should ever turn away from
the Master to the servant, and he perpetually sought to avert their gaze
from himself to God alone. "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are
all things--to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

There are several important episodes in Mr. Muller's history which may
be lightly passed by, because not so characteristic of him as that they
might not have been common to many others, and therefore not
constituting features so distinguishing this life from others as to make
it a special lesson to believers.

For example, early in 1835 he made a visit to Germany upon a particular
errand. He went to aid Mr. Groves, who had come from the East Indies to
get missionary recruits, and who asked help of him, as of one knowing
the language of the country, in setting the claims of India before
German brethren, and pleading for its unsaved millions.

When Mr. Muller went to the alien office in London to get a passport, he
found that, through ignorance, he had broken the law which required
every alien semi-annually to renew his certificate of residence, under
penalty of fifty pounds fine or imprisonment. He confessed to the
officer his non-compliance, excusing himself only on the ground of
ignorance, and trusted all consequences with God, who graciously
inclined the officer to pass over his non-compliance with the law.
Another hindrance which still interfered with obtaining his passport,
was also removed in answer to prayer; so that at the outset he was much
impressed with the Lord's sanction of his undertaking.

His sojourn abroad continued for nearly two months, during which time he
was at Paris, Strasburg, Basle, Tubingen, Wurtemberg, Sehaffhausen,
Stuttgart, Halle, Sandersleben, Aschersleben, Heimersleben, Halberstadt,
and Hamburg. At Halle, calling on Dr. Tholuck after seven years of
separation, he was warmly welcomed and constrained to lodge at his
house. From Dr. Tholuck he heard many delightful incidents as to former
fellow students who had been turned to the Lord from impious paths, or
had been strengthened in their Christian faith and devotion. He also
visited Francke's orphan houses, spending an evening in the very room
where God's work of grace had begun in his heart, and meeting again
several of the same little company of believers that in those days had
prayed together.

He likewise gave everywhere faithful witness to the Lord. While at his
father's house the way was opened for him to bear testimony indirectly
to his father and brother. He had found that a direct approach to his
father upon the subject of his soul's salvation only aroused his anger,
and he therefore judged that it was wiser to refrain from a course which
would only repel one whom he desired to win. An unconverted friend of
his father was visiting him at this time, before whom he put the truth
very frankly and fully, in the presence of both his father and brother,
and thus quite as effectively gave witness to them also. But he was
especially moved to pray that he might by his whole life bear witness at
his home, manifesting his love for his kindred and his own joy in God,
his satisfaction in Christ, and his utter indifference to all former
fascinations of a worldly and sinful life, through the supreme
attraction he found in Him; for this, he felt sure, would have far more
influence than any mere words: our walk counts for more than our talk,
always.

The effect was most happy. God so helped the son to live before the
father that, just before his leaving for England, he said to him: "My
son, may God help me to follow your example, and to act according to
what you have said to me!"

On June 22, 1835, Mr. Muller's father-in-law, Mr. Groves, died; and both
of his own children were very ill, and four days later little Elijah was
taken. Both parents had been singularly prepared for these bereavements,
and were divinely upheld. They had felt no liberty in prayer for the
child's recovery, dear as he was; and grandfather and grandson were laid
in one grave. Henceforth Mr. and Mrs. Muller were to have no son, and
Lydia was to remain their one and only child.

About the middle of the following month, Mr. Muller was quite disabled
from work by weakness of the chest, which made necessary rest and
change. The Lord tenderly provided for his need through those whose
hearts He touched, leading them to offer him and his wife hospitalities
in the Isle of Wight, while at the same time money was sent him which
was designated for 'a change of air.' On his thirtieth birthday, in
connection with specially refreshing communion with God, and for the
first time since his illness, there was given him a spirit of believing
prayer for his own recovery; and his strength so rapidly grew that by
the middle of October he was back in Bristol.

It was just before this, on the ninth of the same month, that _the
reading of John Newton's Life stirred him up to bear a similar witness
to the Lord's dealings with himself._ Truly there are no little things
in our life, since what seems to be trivial may be the means of bringing
about results of great consequence. This is the second time that a
chance reading of a book had proved a turning-point with George Muller.
Franke's life stirred his heart to begin an orphan work, and Newton's
life suggested the narrative of the Lord's dealings. To what is called
an accident are owing, under God, those pages of his life-journal which
read like new chapters in the Acts of the Apostles, and will yet be so
widely read, and so largely used of God.


CHAPTER IX

THE GROWTH OF GOD'S OWN PLANT

THE last great step of full entrance upon Mr. Muller's life-service was
the _founding of the orphan work,_ a step so important and so prominent
that even the lesser particulars leading to it have a strange
significance and fascination.

In the year 1835, on November 20th, in taking tea at the house of a
Christian sister, he again saw a copy of Francke's life. For no little
time he had thought of like labours, though on no such scale, nor in
mere imitation of Francke, but under a sense of similar divine leading.
This impression had grown into a conviction, and the conviction had
blossomed into a resolution which now rapidly ripened into corresponding
action. He was emboldened to take this forward step in sole reliance on
God, by the fact that at that very time, in answer to prayer, ten pounds
more had been sent him than he had asked for other existing work, as
though God gave him a token of both willingness and readiness to supply
all needs.

Nothing is more worthy of imitation, perhaps, than the uniformly
deliberate, self-searching, and prayerful way in which he set about any
work which he felt led to undertake. It was preeminently so in
attempting this new form of service, the future growth of which was not
then even in his thought. In daily prayer he sought as in his Master's
presence to sift from the pure grain of a godly purpose to glorify Him,
all the chaff of selfish and carnal motives, to get rid of every taint
of worldly self-seeking or lust of applause, and to bring every thought
into captivity to the Lord. He constantly probed his own heart to
discover the secret and subtle impulses which are unworthy of a true
servant of God; and, believing that a spiritually minded brother often
helps one to an insight into his own heart, he spoke often to his
brother Craik about his plans, praying God to use him as a means of
exposing any unworthy motive, or of suggesting any scriptural objections
to his project. His honest aim being to please God, he yearned to know
his own heart, and welcomed any light which revealed his real self and
prevented a mistake.

Mr. Craik so decidedly encouraged him, and further prayer so confirmed
previous impressions of God's guidance, that on December 2, 1835, the
_first formal step was taken_ in ordering printed bills announcing a
public meeting for the week following, when the proposal to open an
orphan house was to be laid before brethren, and further light to be
sought unitedly as to the mind of the Lord.

Three days later, in reading the Psalms, he was struck with these nine
words:
        "OPEN THY MOUTH WIDE,
         AND I WILL FILL IT." (Psalm lxxxi. 10.)

From that moment this text formed one of his great life-mottoes, and
this promise became a power in moulding all his work. Hitherto he had
not prayed for the supply of money or of helpers, but he was now led to
apply this scripture confidently to this new plan, and at once boldly to
ask _for premises, and for one thousand pounds in money, and for
suitable helpers to take charge of the children._ Two days after, he
received, in furtherance of his work, the _first gift of money--one
shilling_--and within two days more the _first donation in furniture_--a
large wardrobe.

The day came for the memorable public meeting--December 9th. During the
interval Satan had been busy hurling at Mr. Muller his fiery darts, and
he was very low in spirit. He was taking a step not to be retraced
without both much humiliation to himself and reproach to his Master: and
what if it were a _misstep_ and he were moving without real guidance
from above! But as soon as he began to speak, help was given him. He was
borne up on the Everlasting Arms, and had the assurance that the work
was of the Lord. He cautiously avoided all appeals to the transient
feelings of his hearers, and took no collection, desiring all these
first steps to be calmly taken, and every matter carefully and
prayerfully weighed before a decision. Excitement of emotion or
kindlings of enthusiasm might obscure the vision and hinder clear
apprehension of the mind of God. After the meeting there was a voluntary
gift of ten shillings, and one sister offered herself for the work. The
next morning a statement concerning the new orphan work was put in
print, and on January 16, 1836, a supplementary statement appeared.*

* Appendix E. Narrative 1:143-146, 148-152, 154, 155.

At every critical point Mr. Muller is entitled to explain his own views
and actions; and the work he was now undertaking is so vitally linked
with his whole after-life that it should here have full mention. As to
his proposed orphan house he gives three chief reasons for its
establishment:

1. That God may be glorified in so furnishing the means as to show that
it is not a vain thing to trust in Him.

2. That the spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children may
be promoted.

3. That their temporal good may be secured.

He had frequent reminders in his pastoral labours that the _faith of
God's children greatly needed strengthening;_ and he longed to have some
visible proof to point to, that the heavenly Father is the same faithful
Promiser and Provider as ever, and as willing to PROVE Himself the
LIVING GOD to _all who put their trust in Him,_ and that even in their
old age He does not forsake those who rely only upon Him. Remembering
the great blessing that had come to himself through the work of faith of
Francke, he judged that he was bound to serve the Church of Christ _in
being able to take God at His word and rely upon it._

If he, a poor man, _without asking any one but God,_ could get means to
carry on an orphan house, it would be seen that God is FAITHFUL STILL
and STILL HEARS PRAYER. While the orphan work was to be a branch of the
Scriptural Knowledge Institution, only those funds were to be applied
thereto which should be expressly given for that purpose; and it would
be carried on only so far and so fast as the Lord should provide both
money and helpers.

It was proposed to receive only such children as had been bereft of both
parents, and to take in such from their seventh to their twelfth year,
though later on younger orphans were admitted; and to bring up the boys
for a trade, and the girls for service, and to give them all a plain
education likely to fit them for their life-work.

So soon as the enterprise was fairly launched, the Lord's power and will
to provide began at once and increasingly to appear; and, from this
point on, the journal is one long record of man's faith and supplication
and of God's faithfulness and interposition. It only remains to note the
new steps in advance which mark the growth of the work, and the new
straits which arise and how they are met, together with such questions
and perplexing crises as from time to time demand and receive a new
divine solution.

A foremost need was that of able and suitable helpers, which only God
could supply. In order fully to carry out his plans, Mr. Muller felt
that he must have men and women like-minded, who would naturally care
for the state of the orphans and of the work. If one Achan could disturb
the whole camp of Israel, and one Ananias or Saphira, the whole church
of Christ, one faithless, prayerless, self-seeking assistant would prove
not a helper but a hinderer both to the work itself and to all
fellow-workers. No step was therefore hastily taken. He had patiently
waited on God hitherto, and he now waited to receive at His hands His
own chosen servants to join in this service and give to it unity of plan
and spirit.

Before he called, the Lord answered. As early as December 10th a brother
and sister had willingly offered themselves, and the spirit that moved
them will appear in the language of their letter:

"We propose ourselves for the service of the intended orphan house, if
you think us qualified for it; also to give up all the furniture, etc.,
which the Lord has given us, for its use; and to do this without
receiving any salary whatever; believing that, if it be the will of the
Lord to employ us, He will supply all our need."

Other similar self-giving followed, proving that God's people are
willing in the day of His power. He who wrought in His servant to will
and to work, sent helpers to share his burdens, and to this day has met
all similar needs out of His riches in glory. There has never yet been
any lack of competent, cheerful, and devoted helpers, although the work
so rapidly expanded and extended.

The gifts whereby the work was supported need a separate review that
many lessons of interest may find a record. But it should here be noted
that, among the first givers, was a poor needlewoman who brought the
surprising sum of one hundred pounds, the singular self-denial and
whole-hearted giving exhibited making this a peculiarly sacred offering
and a token of God's favour. There was a felt significance in His choice
of a poor sickly seamstress as His instrument for laying the foundations
for this great work. He who worketh all things after the counsel of His
own will, passing by the rich, mighty, and noble somethings of this
world, chose again the poor, weak, base, despised nothings, that no
flesh should glory in His presence.

For work among orphans a house was needful, and for this definite prayer
was offered; and April 1, 1836, was fixed as the date for opening such
house for female orphans, as the most helplessly destitute. The
building, No. 6 Wilson Street, where Mr. Muller had himself lived up to
March 25th, having been rented for one year, was formally opened April
21st, the day being set apart for prayer and praise. The public
generally were informed that the way was open to receive needy
applicants, and the intimation was further made on May 18th that it was
intended shortly to open a second house for infant children--both boys
and girls.

We now retrace our steps a little to take special notice of a fact in
Mr. Muller's experience which, in point of time, belongs earlier.

Though he had brought before the Lord even the most minute details about
his plans for the proposed orphan work and house and helpers, asking in
faith for building and furnishing, money for rent and other expenses,
etc., he confesses that he had never once asked the Lord to send the
orphans! This seems an unaccountable omission; but the fact is he had
assumed that there would be applications in abundance. His surprise and
chagrin cannot easily be imagined, when the appointed time came for
receiving applications, February 3rd, and _not one application was
made!_ Everything was ready _except the orphans._ This led to the
deepest humiliation before God. All the evening of that day he literally
lay on his face, probing his own heart to read his own motives, and
praying God to search him and show him His mind. He was thus brought so
low that from his heart he could say that, if God would thereby be more
glorified, he would rejoice in the fact that his whole scheme should
come to nothing. The very _next day_ the first application was made for
admission; on April 11th orphans began to be admitted; and by May 18th
there were in the house twenty-six, and more daily expected. Several
applications being made for children _under seven,_ the conclusion was
reached that, while vacancies were left, the limit of years at first
fixed should not be adhered to; but every new step was taken with care
and prayer, that it should not be in the energy of the flesh, or in the
wisdom of man, but in the power and wisdom of the Spirit. How often we
forget that solemn warning of the Holy Ghost, that even when our whole
work is not imperilled by a false beginning, but is well laid upon a
true foundation, we may carelessly build into it wood, hay, and stubble,
which will be burned up in the fiery ordeal that is to try every man's
work of what sort it is!

The first house had scarcely been opened for girls when the way for the
second was made plain, suitable premises being obtained at No. 1 in the
same street, and a well-fitted matron being given in answer to prayer.
On November 28th, some seven months after the opening of the first, this
second house was opened. Some of the older and abler girls from the
first house were used for the domestic work of the second, partly to
save hired help, and partly to accustom them to working for others and
thus give a proper dignity to what is sometimes despised as a degrading
and menial form of service. By April 8, 1837, there were in each house
thirty orphan children.

The founder of this orphan work, who had at the first asked for one
thousand pounds of God, tells us that, in his own mind, the thing was
_as good as done,_ so that he often gave thanks for this large sum as
though already in hand. (Mark xi. 24; 1 John v. 13, 14.) This habit of
counting a promise as fulfilled had much to do with the triumphs of his
faith and the success of his labour. Now that the first part of his
Narrative of the Lord's Dealings was about to issue from the press, he
felt that it would much honour the Master whom he served _if the entire
amount should be actually in hand before the Narrative should appear,
and without any one having been asked to contribute._ He therefore gave
himself anew to prayer; and on June 15th the whole sum was complete, no
appeal having been made but to the Living God, before whom, as he
records with his usual mathematical precision, he had daily brought his
petition for _eighteen months and ten days._

In closing this portion of his narrative he hints at a proposed further
enlargement of the work in a third house for orphan boys above seven
years, with accommodations for about forty. Difficulties interposed, but
as usual disappeared before the power of prayer. Meanwhile the whole
work of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution prospered, four day-schools
having been established, with over one thousand pupils, and more than
four thousand copies of the word of God having been distributed.

George Muller was careful always to consult and then to obey conviction.
Hence his moral sense, by healthy exercise, more and more clearly
discerned good and evil. This conscientiousness was seen in the issue of
the first edition of his Narrative. When the first five hundred copies
came from the publishers, he was so weighed down by misgivings that he
hesitated to distribute them. Notwithstanding the spirit of prayer with
which he had begun, continued, and ended the writing of it and had made
every correction in the proof; notwithstanding the motive, consciously
cherished throughout, that God's glory might be promoted in this record
of His faithfulness, he reopened with himself the whole question whether
this published Narrative might not turn the eyes of men from the great
Master Workman to His human instrument. As he opened the box containing
the reports, he felt strongly tempted to withhold from circulation the
pamphlets it held; but from the moment when he gave out the first copy,
and the step could not be retraced, his scruples were silenced.

He afterward saw his doubts and misgivings to have been a temptation of
Satan, and never thenceforth questioned that in writing, printing, and
distributing this and the subsequent parts of the Narrative he had done
the will of God. So broad and clear was the divine seal set upon it in
the large blessing it brought to many and widely scattered persons that
no room was left for doubt. It may be questioned whether any like
journal has been as widely read and as remarkably used, both in
converting sinners and in quickening saints. Proofs of this will
hereafter abundantly appear.

It was in the year 1837 that Mr. Muller, then in his thirty-second year,
felt with increasingly deep conviction that to his own growth in grace,
godliness, and power for service _two things_ were quite indispensable:
first, more _retirement for secret communion with God,_ even at the
apparent expense of his public work; and second, ampler provision for
the _spiritual oversight of the flock of God,_ the total number of
communicants now being near to four hundred.

The former of these convictions has an emphasis which touches every
believer's life at its vital centre. George Muller was conscious of
being too busy to pray as he ought. His outward action was too constant
for inward reflection, and he saw that there was risk of losing peace
and power, and that activity even in the most sacred sphere must not be
so absorbing as to prevent holy meditation on the Word and fervent
supplication. The Lord said first to Elijah, "Go, HIDE THYSELF"; then,
"Go, SHOW  THYSELF." He who does not first hide himself in the secret
place to be alone with God, is unfit to show himself in the public place
to move among men. Mr. Muller afterward used to say to brethren who had
"too much to do" to spend proper time with God, that four hours of work
for which one hour of prayer prepares, is better than five hours of work
with the praying left out; that our service to our Master is more
acceptable and our mission to man more profitable, when saturated with
the moisture of God's blessing--the dew of the Spirit. Whatever is
gained in quantity is lost in quality whenever one engagement follows
another without leaving proper intervals for refreshment and renewal of
strength by waiting on God. No man, perhaps, since John Wesley has
accomplished so much even in a long life as George Muller; yet few have
ever withdrawn so often or so long into the pavilion of prayer. In fact,
from one point of view his life seems more given to supplication and
intercession than to mere action or occupation among men.

At the same time he felt that the curacy of souls must not be neglected
by reason of his absorption in either work or prayer. Both believers and
inquirers needed pastoral oversight; neither himself nor his brother
Craik had time enough for visiting so large a flock, many of whom were
scattered over the city; and about fifty new members were added every
year who had special need of teaching and care. Again, as there were two
separate congregations, the number of meetings was almost doubled; and
the interruptions of visitors from near and far, the burdens of
correspondence, and the oversight of the Lord's work generally, consumed
so much time that even with two pastors the needs of the church could
not be met. At a meeting of both congregations in October, these matters
were frankly brought before the believers, and it was made plain that
other helpers should be provided, and the two churches so united as to
lessen the number of separate meetings.

In October, 1837, a building was secured for a third orphan house, for
boys; but as the neighbours strongly opposed its use as a charitable
institution, Mr Muller, with meekness of spirit, at once relinquished
all claim upon the premises, being mindful of the maxim of Scripture:
"As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." (Rom. xiii. 18.)
He felt sure that the Lord would provide, and his faith was rewarded in
the speedy supply of a building in the same street where the other two
houses were.

Infirmity of the flesh again tried the faith and patience of Mr. Muller.
For eight weeks he was kept out of the pulpit. The strange weakness in
the head, from which he had suffered before and which at times seemed to
threaten his reason, forced him to rest; and in November he went to Bath
and Weston-super-Mare, leaving to higher Hands the work to which he was
unequal.

One thing he noticed and recorded: that, even during this head trouble,
prayer and Bible-reading could be borne better than anything else. He
concluded that whenever undue carefulness is expended on the body, it is
very hard to avoid undue carelessness as to the soul; and that it is
therefore much safer comparatively to disregard the body, that one may
give himself wholly to the culture of his spiritual health and the care
of the Lord's work. Though some may think that in this he ran to a
fanatical extreme, there is no doubt that such became more and more a
law of his life. He sought to dismiss all anxiety, as a duty; and, among
other anxious cares, that most subtle and seductive form of solicitude
which watches every change of symptoms and rushes after some new medical
man or medical remedy for all ailments real or fancied.

Mr. Muller was never actually reckless of his bodily health. His habits
were temperate and wholesome, but no man could be so completely wrapped
up in his Master's will and work without being correspondingly forgetful
of his physical frame. There are not a few, even among God's saints,
whose bodily weaknesses and distresses so engross them that their sole
business seems to be to nurse the body, keep it alive and promote its
comfort. As Dr. Watts would have said, this is living "at a poor dying
rate."

When the year 1838 opened, the weakness and distress in the head still
afflicted Mr. Muller. The symptoms were as bad as ever, and it
particularly tried him that they were attended by a tendency to
irritability of temper, and even by a sort of satanic feeling wholly
foreign to him at other times. He was often reminded that he was by
nature a child of wrath even as others, and that, as a child of God, he
could stand against the wiles of the devil only by putting on the whole
armour of God. The pavilion of God is the saint's place of rest; the
panoply of God is his coat of mail. Grace does not at once remove or
overcome all tendencies to evil, but, if not _eradicated,_ they are
_counteracted_ by the Spirit's wondrous working. Peter found that so
long as his eye was on His Master he could walk on the water. There is
always a tendency to sink, and a holy walk with God, that defies the
tendency downward, is a divine art that can neither be learned nor
practised except so long as we keep 'looking unto Jesus': that look of
faith counteracts the natural tendency to sink, so long as it holds the
soul closely to Him. This man of God felt his risk, and, sore as this
trial was to him, he prayed not so much for its removal as that he might
be kept from any open dishonour to the name of the Lord, beseeching God
that he might rather die than ever bring on Him reproach.

Mr. Muller's journal is not only a record of his outer life of
consecrated labour and its expansion, but it is a mirror of his inner
life and its growth. It is an encouragement to all other saints to find
that this growth was, like their own, in spite of many and formidable
hindrances, over which only grace could triumph. Side by side with
glimpses of habitual conscientiousness and joy in God, we have
revelations of times of coldness and despondency. It is a wholesome
lesson in holy living that we find this man setting himself to the
deliberate task of _cultivating obedience and gratitude;_ by the culture
of obedience growing in knowledge and strength, and by the culture of
gratitude growing in thankfulness and love. Weakness and coldness are
not hopeless states: they have their divine remedies which strengthen
and warm the whole being.

Three entries, found side by side in his journal, furnish pertinent
illustration and most wholesome instruction on this point. One entry
records his deep thankfulness to God for the privilege of being
permitted to be His instrument in providing for homeless orphans, as he
watches the little girls, clad in clean warm garments, pass his window
on their way to the chapel on the Lord's day morning. A second entry
records his determination, with God's help, to send no more letters in
parcels because he sees it to be a violation of the postal laws of the
land, and because he desires, as a disciple of the Lord Jesus, to submit
himself to all human laws so far as such submission does not conflict
with loyalty to God. A third entry immediately follows which reveals
this same man struggling against those innate tendencies to evil which
compel a continual resort to the throne of grace with its sympathizing
High Priest. "This morning," he writes, "I greatly dishonoured the Lord
by irritability manifested towards my dear wife; and that, almost
immediately after I had been on my knees before God, praising Him for
having given me such a wife."

These three entries, put together, convey a lesson which is not learned
from either of them alone. Here is gratitude for divine mercy,
conscientious resolve at once to stop a doubtful practice, and a
confession of inconsistency in his home life. All of these are typical
experiences and suggest to us means of gracious growth. He who lets no
mercy of God escape thankful recognition, who never hesitates at once to
abandon an evil or questionable practice, and who, instead of
extenuating a sin because it is comparatively small, promptly confesses
and forsakes it,--such a man will surely grow in Christlikeness.

We must exercise our spiritual senses if we are to discern things
spiritual. There is a clear vision for God's goodness, and there is a
dull eye that sees little to be thankful for; there is a tender
conscience, and there is a moral sense that grows less and less
sensitive to evil; there is an obedience to the Spirit's rebuke which
leads to immediate confession and increases strength for every new
conflict. Mr. Muller cultivated habits of life which made his whole
nature more and more open to divine impression, and so his sense of God
became more and more keen and constant.

One great result of this spiritual culture was a growing absorption in
God and jealousy for His glory. As he saw divine things more clearly and
felt their supreme importance, he became engrossed in the magnifying of
them before men; and this is glorifying God. We cannot make God
essentially any more glorious, for He is infinitely perfect; but we can
help men to see what a glorious God He is, and thus come into that holy
partnership with the Spirit of God whose office it is to take of the
things of Christ and show them unto men, and so glorify Christ. Such
fellowship in glorifying God Mr. Muller set before him: and in the light
of such sanctified aspiration we may read that humble entry in which,
reviewing the year 1837 with all its weight of increasing
responsibility, he lifts his heart to his divine Lord and Master in
these simple words:

"Lord, Thy servant is a poor man; but he has trusted in Thee and made
his boast in Thee before the sons of men; therefore let him not be
confounded! Let it not be said, 'All this is enthusiasm, and therefore
it is come to naught.'"

One is reminded of Moses in his intercession for Israel, of Elijah in
his exceeding jealousy for the Lord of hosts, and of that prayer of
Jeremiah that so amazes us by its boldness:

 "Do not abhor us for Thy name's sake!
 _Do not disgrace the throne of Thy glory!"_*

* Comp. Numbers xiv. 13-19; 1 Kings xix. 10; Jer. xiv. 21.

Looking back over the growth of the work at the end of the year 1837, he
puts on record the following facts and figures:

Three orphan houses were now open with eighty-one children, and nine
helpers in charge of them. In the Sunday-schools there were three
hundred and twenty, and in the day-schools three hundred and fifty; and
the Lord had furnished over three hundred and seven pounds for temporal
supplies.

From this same point of view it may be well to glance back over the five
years of labour in Bristol up to July, 1837. Between himself and his
brother Craik uninterrupted harmony had existed from the beginning. They
had been perfectly at one in their views of the truth, in their witness
to the truth, and in their judgment as to all matters affecting the
believers over whom the Holy Ghost had made them overseers. The children
of God had been kept from heresy and schism under their joint pastoral
care; and all these blessings Mr. Muller and his true yoke-fellow humbly
traced to the mercy and grace of the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls.
Thus far over one hundred and seventy had been converted and admitted to
fellowship, making the total number of communicants three hundred and
seventy, nearly equally divided between Bethesda and Gideon. The whole
history of these years is lit up with the sunlight of God's smile and
blessing.


CHAPTER X

THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER

HABIT both _shows_ and _makes_ the man, for it is at once historic and
prophetic, the mirror of the man as he is and the mould of the man as he
is to be. At this point, therefore, special attention may properly be
given to the two marked habits which had principally to do with the man
we are studying.

Early in the year 1838, he began reading that third biography which,
with those of Francke and John Newton, had such a singular influence on
his own life--Philip's Life of George Whitefield. The life-story of the
orphan's friend had given the primary impulse to his work; the
life-story of the converted blasphemer had suggested his narrative of
the Lord's dealings; and now the life-story of the great evangelist was
blessed of God to shape his general character and give new power to his
preaching and his wider ministry to souls. These three biographies
together probably affected the whole inward and outward life of George
Muller more than any other volumes but the Book of God, and they were
wisely fitted of God to co-work toward such a blessed result. The
example of Francke incited to faith in prayer and to a work whose sole
dependence was on God. Newton's witness to grace led to a testimony to
the same sovereign love and mercy as seen in his own case. Whitefield's
experience inspired to greater fidelity and earnestness in preaching the
Word, and to greater confidence in the power of the anointing Spirit.

Particularly was this impression deeply made on Mr. Muller's mind and
heart: that Whitefield's unparalleled success in evangelistic labours
was plainly traceable to two causes and could not be separated from them
as direct effects; namely, his _unusual prayerfulness, and his habit of
reading the Bible on his knees._

The great evangelist of the last century had learned that first lesson
in service, his own utter nothingness and helplessness: that he was
nothing, and could do nothing, without God. He could neither understand
the Word for himself, nor translate it into his own life, nor apply it
to others with power, unless the Holy Spirit became to him both
_insight_ and _unction._ Hence his success; he was filled with the
Spirit: and this alone accounts both for the quality and the quantity of
his labours. He died in 1770, in the fifty-sixth year of his age, having
preached his first sermon in Gloucester in 1736. During this thirty-four
years his labours had been both unceasing and untiring. While on his
journeyings in America, he preached one hundred and seventy-five times
in seventy-five days, besides travelling, in the slow vehicles of those
days, upwards of eight hundred miles. When health declined, and he was
put on 'short allowance,' even that was _one sermon each week-day and
three on Sunday._ There was about his preaching, moreover, a nameless
charm which held thirty thousand hearers half-breathless on Boston
Common and made tears pour down the sooty faces of the colliers at
Kingswood.

The passion of George Muller's soul was to know fully the secrets of
prevailing with God and with man. George Whitefield's life drove home
the truth that God alone could create in him a holy earnestness to win
souls and qualify him for such divine work by imparting a compassion for
the lost that should become an absorbing passion for their salvation.
And--let this be carefully marked as another secret of this life of
service--_he now began himself to read the word of God upon his knees,_
and often found for hours great blessing in such meditation and prayer
over a single psalm or chapter.

Here we stop and ask what profit there can be in thus prayerfully
reading and searching the Scriptures in the very attitude of prayer.
Having tried it for ourselves, we may add our humble witness to its
value.

First of all, this habit is a constant reminder and recognition of the
need of spiritual teaching in order to the understanding of the holy
Oracles. No reader of God's word can thus bow before God and His open
book, without a feeling of new reverence for the Scriptures, and
dependence on their Author for insight into their mysteries. The
attitude of worship naturally suggests sober-mindedness and deep
seriousness, and banishes frivolity. To treat that Book with lightness
or irreverence would be doubly profane when one is in the posture of
prayer.

Again, such a habit naturally leads to self-searching and comparison of
the actual life with the example and pattern shown in the Word. The
precept compels the practice to be seen in the light of its teaching;
the command challenges the conduct to appear for examination. The
prayer, whether spoken or unspoken, will inevitably be:

       "Search me, O God, and know my heart,
        Try me, and know my thoughts;
        And see if there be any wicked way in me,
        And lead me in the way everlasting!"
                                (Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24.)

The words thus reverently read will be translated into the life and
mould the character into the image of God. "Beholding as in a glass the
glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to
glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit."*

* 2 Cor. iii. 18.

But perhaps the greatest advantage will be that the Holy Scriptures will
thus suggest the very words which become the dialect of prayer. "We know
not what we should pray for as we ought"--neither what nor how to pray.
But here is the Spirit's own inspired utterance, and, if the praying be
moulded on the model of His teaching, how can we go astray? Here is our
God-given liturgy and litany--a divine prayer-book. We have here God's
promises, precepts, warnings, and counsels, not to speak of all the
Spirit-inspired literal prayers therein contained; and, as we reflect
upon these, our prayers take their cast in this matrix. We turn precept
and promise, warning and counsel into supplication, with the assurance
that we cannot be asking anything that is not according to His will,*
for are we not turning His own word into prayer?

* 1 John v. 13.

So Mr. Muller found it to be. In meditating over Hebrews xiii. 8: "Jesus
Christ the same yesterday and to-day and for ever," translating it into
prayer, he besought God, with the confidence that the prayer was already
granted, that, as Jesus had already in His love and power supplied all
that was needful, in the same unchangeable love and power He would so
continue to provide. And so a promise was not only turned into a prayer,
but into a prophecy--an assurance of blessing--and a river of joy at
once poured into and flowed through his soul.

The prayer habit, on the knees, with the Word open before the disciple,
has thus an advantage which it is difficult to put into words: It
provides a sacred channel of approach to God. The inspired Scriptures
form the vehicle of the Spirit in communicating to us the knowledge of
the will of God. If we think of God on the one side and man on the
other, the word of God is the mode of conveyance from God to man, of His
own mind and heart. It therefore becomes a channel of God's approach to
us, a channel prepared by the Spirit for the purpose, and unspeakably
sacred as such. When therefore the believer uses the word of God as the
guide to determine both the spirit and the dialect of his prayer, he is
inverting the process of divine revelation and using the channel of
God's approach to him as the channel of his approach to God. How can
such use of God's word fail to help and strengthen spiritual life? What
medium or channel of approach could so insure in the praying soul both
an acceptable frame and language taught of the Holy Spirit? If the first
thing is not to pray but to hearken, this surely is hearkening for God
to speak to us that we may know how to speak to Him.

It was habits of life such as these, and not impulsive feelings and
transient frames, that made this man of God what he was and strengthened
him to lift up his hands in God's name, and follow hard after Him and in
Him rejoice.* Even his sore affliction, seen in the light of such
prayer--prayer itself illuminated by the word of God--became radiant;
and his soul was brought into that state where he so delighted in the
will of God as to be able from his heart to say that he would not have
his disease removed until through it God had wrought the blessing it was
meant to convey. And when his acquiescence in the will of God had become
thus complete he instinctively felt that he would speedily be restored
to health.

* Psalm lxiii. 4, 8, 11.

Subsequently, in reading Proverbs iii. 5-12, he was struck with the
words, "Neither be _weary_ of His correction." He felt that, though he
had not been permitted to "despise the chastening of the Lord," he had
at times been somewhat "weary of His correction," and he lifted up the
prayer that he might so patiently bear it as neither to faint nor be
weary under it, till its full purpose was wrought.

Frequent were the instances of the habit of translating promises into
prayers, immediately applying the truth thus unveiled to him. For
example, after prolonged meditation over the first verse of Psalm lxv,
_"O Thou that hearest prayer,"_ he at once asked and recorded certain
definite petitions. This writing down specific requests for permanent
reference has a blessed influence upon the prayer habit. It assures
practical and exact form for our supplications, impresses the mind and
memory with what is thus asked of God, and leads naturally to the record
of the answers when given, so that we accumulate evidences in our own
experience that God is to us personally a prayer-hearing God, whereby
unbelief is rebuked and importunity encouraged.

On this occasion eight specific requests are put on record, together
with the solemn conviction that, having asked in conformity with the
word and will of God, and in the name of Jesus, he has confidence in Him
that He heareth and that he has the petitions thus asked of Him.* He
writes:

* 1 John v. 13.

"I believe _He has heard me._ I believe He will make it _manifest_ in
His own good time _that He has heard me;_ and I have recorded these my
petitions this fourteenth day of January, 1838, that when God has
answered them He may get, through this, glory to His name."

The thoughtful reader must see in all this a man of weak faith, feeding
and nourishing his trust in God that his faith may grow strong. He uses
the promise of a prayer-hearing God as a staff to stay his conscious
feebleness, that he may lean hard upon the strong Word which cannot
fail. He records the day when he thus takes this staff in hand, and the
very petitions which are the burdens which he seeks to lay on God, so
that his act of committal may be the more complete and final. Could God
ever dishonour such trust?

It was in this devout reading on his knees that his whole soul was first
deeply moved by that phrase,

        "A FATHER OF THE FATHERLESS." (Psalm lxviii. 5.)

He saw this to be one of those "names" of Jehovah which He reveals to
His people to lead them to trust in Him, as it is written in Psalm ix.
10:

        "They that know Thy name
         Will put their trust in Thee."

These five words from the sixty-eighth psalm became another of his
life-texts, one of the foundation stones of all his work for the
fatherless. These are his own words:

"By the help of God, this shall be my argument before Him, respecting
the orphans, in the hour of need. He is their Father, and therefore has
pledged Himself, as it were, to provide for them; and I have only to
remind Him of the need of these poor children in order to have it
supplied."

This is translating the promises of God's word, not only into praying,
but into living, doing, serving. Blessed was the hour when Mr. Muller
learned that one of God's chosen names is "the Father of the
fatherless"!

To sustain such burdens would have been quite impossible but for faith
in such a God. In reply to oft-repeated remarks of visitors and
observers who could not understand the secret of his peace, or how any
man who had so many children to clothe and feed could carry such
prostrating loads of care, he had one uniform reply: "By the grace of
God, this is no cause of anxiety to me. These children I have years ago
cast upon the Lord. The whole work is His, and it becomes me to be
without carefulness. In whatever points I am lacking, in this point I am
able by the grace of God to roll the burden upon my heavenly Father."*

* Journal 1:285

In tens of thousands of cases this peculiar title of God, chosen by
Himself and by Himself declared, became to Mr. Muller a peculiar
revelation of God, suited to his special need. The natural inferences
drawn from such a title became powerful arguments in prayer, and rebukes
to all unbelief. Thus, at the outset of his work for the orphans, the
word of God put beneath his feet a rock basis of confidence that he
could trust the almighty Father to support the work. And, as the
solicitudes of the work came more and more heavily upon him, he cast the
loads he could not carry upon Him who, before George Muller was born,
was the Father of the fatherless.

About this time we meet other signs of the conflict going on in Mr.
Mullers own soul. He could not shut his eyes to the lack of earnestness
in prayer and fervency of spirit which at times seemed to rob him of
both peace and power. And we notice his experience, in common with so
many saints, of the _paradox_ of spiritual life. He saw that "such
fervency of spirit is altogether the gift of God," and yet he adds, "I
have to ascribe to myself the loss of it." He did not run divine
sovereignty into blank fatalism as so many do. He saw that God must be
sovereign in His gifts, and yet man must be free in his reception and
rejection of them. He admitted the mystery without attempting to
reconcile the apparent contradiction. He confesses also that the same
book, Philip's Life of Whitefield, which had been used of God to kindle
such new fires on the altar of his heart, had been also used of Satan to
tempt him to neglect for its sake the systematic study of the greatest
of books.

Thus, at every step, George Mullers life is full of both encouragement
and admonition to fellow disciples. While away from Bristol he wrote in
February, 1838, a tender letter to the saints there, which is another
revelation of the man's heart. He makes grateful mention of the mercies
of God, to him, particularly His gentleness, long-suffering, and
faithfulness and the lessons taught him through affliction. The letter
makes plain that much sweetness is mixed in the cup of suffering, and
that our privileges are not properly prized until for a time we are
deprived of them. He particularly mentions how _secret prayer,_ even
when reading, conversation, or prayer with others was a burden, _always
brought relief to his head._ Converse with the Father was an
indispensable source of refreshment and blessing at all times. As J.
Hudson Taylor says "Satan, the Hinderer, may build a barrier about us,
but he can never _roof us in,_ so that we cannot _look up."_ Mr. Muller
also gives a valuable hint that has already been of value to many
afflicted saints, that he found he could help by prayer to fight the
battles of the Lord even when he could not by preaching. After a short
visit to Germany, partly in quest of health and partly for missionary
objects, and after more than twenty-two weeks of retirement from
ordinary public duties, his head was much better, but his mental health
allowed only about three hours of daily work. While in Germany he had
again seen his father and elder brother, and spoken with them about
their salvation. To his father his words brought apparent blessing, for
he seemed at least to feel his lack of the one thing needful. The
separation from him was the more painful as there was so little hope
that they should meet again on earth.

In May he once more took part in public services in Bristol, a period of
six months having elapsed since he had previously done so. His head was
still weak, but there seemed no loss of mental power.

About three months after he had been in Germany part of the fruits of
his visit were gathered, for twelve brothers and three sisters sailed
for the East Indies.

On June 13, 1838, Mrs. Muller gave birth to a stillborn babe,--another
parental disappointment,--and for more than a fortnight her life hung in
the balance. But once more prayer prevailed for her and her days were
prolonged.

One month later another trial of faith confronted them in the orphan
work. A twelvemonth previous there were in hand seven hundred and eighty
pounds; now that sum was reduced to one thirty-ninth of the
amount--twenty pounds. Mr. and Mrs. Muller, with Mr. Craik and one other
brother, connected with the Boys' Orphan House, were the only four
persons who were permitted to know of the low state of funds; and they
gave themselves to united prayer. And let it be carefully observed that
Mr. Muller testifies that his own faith was kept even stronger than when
the larger sum was on hand a year before; and this faith was no mere
fancy, for, although the supply was so low and shortly thirty pounds
would be needed, notice was given for seven more children to enter, and
it was further proposed to announce readiness to receive five others!

The trial-hour had come, but was not past. Less than two months later
the money-supply ran so low that it was needful that the Lord should
give _by the day and almost by the hour_ if the needs were to be met. In
answer to prayer for help God seemed to say, "Mine hour is not yet
come." Many pounds would shortly be required, toward which there was not
one penny in hand. When, one day, over four pounds came in, the thought
occurred to Mr. Muller, "Why not lay aside three pounds against the
coming need?" But immediately he remembered that it is written:
"SUFFICIENT UNTO THE DAY is THE EVIL THEREOF."* He unhesitatingly cast
himself upon God, and paid out the whole amount for salaries then due,
leaving himself again penniless.

* Matt. vi. 34.

At this time Mr. Craik was led to read a sermon on Abraham, from Genesis
xii, making prominent two facts: first, that so long as he acted in
faith and walked in the will of God, all went on well; but that,
secondly, so far as he distrusted the Lord and disobeyed Him, all ended
in failure. Mr. Muller heard this sermon and conscientiously applied it
to himself. He drew two most practical conclusions which he had abundant
opportunity to put into practice:

First, that he must go into no byways or paths of his own for
deliverance out of a crisis;

And, secondly, that in proportion as he had been permitted to honour God
and bring some glory to His name by trusting Him, he was in danger of
dishonouring Him.

Having taught him these blessed truths, the Lord tested him as to how
far he would venture upon them. While in such sore need of money for the
orphan work, he had in the bank some two hundred and twenty pounds,
intrusted to him for other purposes. He might _use this money for the
time at least,_ and so relieve the present distress. The temptation was
the stronger so to do, because he knew the donors and knew them to be
liberal supporters of the orphans; and he had only to explain to them
the straits he was in and they would gladly consent to any appropriation
of their gift that he might see best! Most men would have cut that
Gordian knot of perplexity without hesitation.

Not so George Muller. He saw at once that this would be _finding a way
of his own out of difficulty, instead of waiting on the Lord for
deliverance._ Moreover, he also saw that it would be _forming a habit of
trusting to such expedients of his own, which in other trials would lead
to a similar course and so hinder the growth of faith._ We use italics
here because here is revealed one of the _tests_ by which this man of
faith, was proven; and we see how he kept consistently and persistently
to the one great purpose of his life--to demonstrate to all men that to
_rest solely on I the promise of a faithful God_ is the only way to know
for one's self and prove to others, His faithfulness.

At this time of need--the type of many others--this man who had
determined to risk everything upon God's word of promise, turned from
doubtful devices and questionable methods of relief to _pleading with
God._ And it may be well to mark his _manner_ of pleading. He used
_argument_ in prayer, and at this time he piles up _eleven reasons_ why
God should and would send help.

This method of _holy argument_--ordering our cause before God, as an
advocate would plead before a judge--is not only almost a lost art, but
to many it actually seems almost puerile. And yet it is abundantly
taught and exemplified in Scripture. Abraham in his plea for Sodom is
the first great example of it. Moses excelled in this art, in many
crises interceding in behalf of the people with consummate skill,
marshalling arguments as a general-in-chief marshals battalions. Elijah
on Carmel is a striking example of power in this special pleading. What
holy zeal and jealousy for God! It is probable that if we had fuller
records we should find that all pleaders with God, like Noah, Job,
Samuel, David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Paul, and James, have used the same
method.

Of course God does not _need to be convinced:_ no arguments can make any
plainer to Him the claims of trusting souls to His intervention, claims
based upon His own word, confirmed by His oath. And yet He will be
inquired of and argued with. That is His way of blessing. He loves to
have us set before Him our cause and His own promises: He delights in
the well-ordered plea, where argument is piled upon argument. See how
the Lord Jesus Christ commended the persistent argument of the woman of
Canaan, who with the _wit of importunity_ actually turned his own
_objection_ into a _reason._ He said, "It is not meet to take the
children's bread and cast it to the little dogs."* "Truth, Lord," she
answered, "yet the little dogs under the master's tables eat of the
crumbs which fall from the children's mouths!" What a triumph of
argument! Catching the Master Himself in His words, as He meant she
should, and turning His apparent reason for not granting into a reason
for granting her request! "O woman," said He, "great is thy faith! Be it
unto thee even as thou wilt"--thus, as Luther said, "flinging the reins
on her neck."

* Cf. Matt. vii. 6, xv. 26, 27. Not [Transcriber's note: Greek word
here], but [Transcriber's note: another Greek word here], the diminutive
for little pet dogs.

This case stands unique in the word of God, and it is this use of
argument in prayer that makes it thus solitary in grandeur. But one
other case is at all parallel,--that of the centurion of Capernaum,*
who, when our Lord promised to go and heal his servant, argued that such
coming was not needful, since He had only to speak the healing word. And
notice the basis of his argument: if he, a commander exercising
authority and yielding himself to higher authority, both obeyed the word
of his superior and exacted obedience of his subordinate, how much more
could the Great Healer, in his absence, by a word of command, wield the
healing Power that in His presence was obedient to His will! Of him
likewise our Lord said: "I have not found so great faith, no, not in
Israel!"

* Matt. viii. 8.

We are to argue our case with God, not indeed to convince _Him,_ but to
convince _ourselves._ In proving to Him that, by His own word and oath
and character, He has bound Himself to interpose, we demonstrate _to our
own faith_ that He has given us the right to ask and claim, and that He
will answer our plea because He cannot deny Himself.

There are two singularly beautiful touches of the Holy Spirit in which
the right thus to order argument before God is set forth to the
reflective reader. In Micah. vii. 20 we read:

       "Thou wilt perform the _truth_ to Jacob,
        The _mercy_ to Abraham,
        Which thou hast sworn unto our fathers,
        From the days of old."

Mark the progress of the thought. What was mercy to Abraham was truth to
Jacob. God was under no obligation to extend covenant blessings; hence
it was to Abraham a simple act of pure _mercy;_ but, having so put
Himself under voluntary bonds, Jacob could claim as _truth_ what to
Abraham had been mercy. So in 1 John i. 9:

       "If we confess our sins
        He is _faithful and just_ to forgive us our sins,
        And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Plainly, forgiveness and cleansing are not originally matters of
faithfulness and justice, but of mercy and grace. But, after God had
pledged Himself thus to forgive and cleanse the penitent sinner who
confesses and forsakes his sins,* what was originally grace and mercy
becomes faithfulness and justice; for God owes it to Himself and to His
creature to stand by His own pledge, and fulfil the lawful expectation
which His own gracious assurance has created.

* Proverbs xxviii. 13.

Thus we have not only examples of argument in prayer, but concessions of
the living God Himself, that when we have His word to plead we may claim
the fulfillment of His promise, on the ground not of His mercy only, but
of His truth, faithfulness, and justice. Hence the 'holy boldness with
which we are bidden to present our plea at the throne of grace. God owes
to His faithfulness to do what He has promised, and to His justice not
to exact from the sinner a penalty already borne in his behalf by His
own Son.

No man of his generation, perhaps, has been more wont to plead thus with
God, after the manner of holy argument, than he whose memoir we are now
writing. He was one of the elect few to whom it has been given to revive
and restore this lost art of pleading with God. And if all disciples
could learn the blessed lesson, what a period of _renaissance_ of faith
would come to the church of God!

George Muller stored up reasons for God's intervention, As he came upon
promises, authorized declarations of God concerning Himself, names and
titles He had chosen to express and reveal His true nature and will,
injunctions and invitations which gave to the believer a right to pray
and boldness in supplication--as he saw all these, fortified and
exemplified by the instances of prevailing prayer, he laid these
arguments up in memory, and then on occasions of great need brought them
out and spread them before a prayer-hearing God. It is pathetically
beautiful to follow this humble man of God into the secret place, and
there hear him pouring out his soul in these argumentative pleadings, as
though he would so order his cause before God as to convince Him that He
must interpose to save His own name and word from dishonour!

These were _His_ orphans, for had He not declared Himself the Father of
the fatherless? This was _His_ work, for had He not called His servant
to do His bidding, and what was that servant but an instrument that
could neither fit itself nor use itself? Can the rod lift itself, or the
saw move itself, or the hammer deal its own blow, or the sword make its
own thrust? And if this were God's work, was He not bound to care for
His own work? And was not all this deliberately planned and carried on
for His own glory? And would He suffer His own glory to be dimmed? Had
not His own word been given and confirmed by His oath, and could God
allow His promise, thus sworn to, to be dishonoured even in the least
particular? Were not the half-believing church and the unbelieving world
looking on, to see how the Living God would stand by His own unchanging
assurance, and would He supply an argument for the skeptic and the
scoffer? Would He not, must He not, rather put new proofs of His
faithfulness in the mouth of His saints, and furnish increasing
arguments wherewith to silence the cavilling tongue and put to shame the
hesitating disciple?*

* Mr. Muller himself tells how he argued his case before the Lord at
this time. (Appendix F. Narrative, vol. 1, 243, 244)

In some such fashion as this did this lowly-minded saint in Bristol
plead with God for more than threescore years, _and prevail_--as every
true believer may who with a like boldness comes to the throne of grace
to obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need. How few of
us can sincerely sing:

        I believe God answers prayer,
        Answers always, everywhere;
        I may cast my anxious care,
        Burdens I could never bear,
        On the God who heareth prayer.
        Never need my soul despair
        Since He bids me boldly dare
        To the secret place repair,
        There to prove He answers prayer.


CHAPTER XI

TRIALS OF FAITH, AND HELPERS TO FAITH

GOD has His own mathematics: witness that miracle of the loaves and
fishes. Our Lord said to His disciples: "Give ye them to eat," and as
they divided, He multiplied the scanty provision; as they subtracted
from it He added to it; as they decreased it by distributing, He
increased it for distributing. And it has been beautifully said of all
holy partnerships, that griefs shared are divided, and joys shared are
multiplied.

We have already seen how the prayer circle had been enlarged. The
founder of the orphan work, at the first, had only God for his partner,
telling Him alone his own wants or the needs of his work. Later on, a
very few, including his own wife, Mr. Craik, and one or two helpers,
were permitted to know the condition of the funds and supplies. Later
still, in the autumn of 1838, he began to feel that he ought more fully
to open the doors of his confidence to his associates in the Lord's
business. Those who shared in the toils should also share in the
prayers, and therefore in the knowledge of the needs which prayer was to
supply; else how could they fully be partakers of the faith, the work,
and the reward? Or, again, how could they feel the full proof of the
presence and power of God in the answers to prayer, know the joy of the
Lord which such answers inspire, or praise Him for the deliverance which
such answers exhibit? It seemed plain that, to the highest glory of God,
they must know the depths of need, the extremities of want out of which
God had lifted them, and then ascribe all honour and praise to His name.

Accordingly Mr. Muller called together all the beloved brothers and
sisters linked with him in the conduct of the work, and fully stated the
case, keeping nothing back. He showed them the distress they were in,
while he bade them be of good courage, assuring them of his own
confidence that help was nigh at hand, and then united them with himself
and the smaller praying circle which had previously existed, in
supplication to Jehovah Jireh.

The step thus taken was of no small importance to all concerned. A
considerable number of praying believers were henceforth added to the
band of intercessors that gave God no rest day nor night. While Mr.
Muller withheld no facts as to the straits to which the work was
reduced, he laid down certain principles which from time to time were
reiterated as unchanging laws for the conduct of the Lord's business.
For example, nothing must be bought, whatever the extremity, for which
there was not money in hand to pay: and yet it must be equally a settled
principle that the children must not be left to lack anything needful;
for better that the work cease, and the orphans be sent away, than that
they be kept in a nominal home where they were really left to suffer
from hunger or nakedness.

Again, nothing was ever to be revealed to outsiders of existing need,
lest it should be construed into an appeal for help; but the only resort
must be to the living God. The helpers were often reminded that the
supreme object of the institutions, founded in Bristol, was to prove
God's faithfulness and the perfect safety of trusting solely to His
promises; jealousy for Him must therefore restrain all tendency to look
to man for help. Moreover, they were earnestly besought to live in such
daily and hourly fellowship with God as that their own unbelief and
disobedience might not risk either their own power in prayer, or the
agreement, needful among them, in order to common supplication. One
discordant note may prevent the harmonious symphony of united prayer,
and so far hinder the acceptableness of such prayer with God.

Thus informed and instructed, these devoted coworkers, with the beloved
founder of the orphan work, met the crisis intelligently. If, when there
were _no funds,_ there must be _no leaning upon man, no debt_ incurred,
and yet _no lack_ allowed, clearly the only resort or resource must be
waiting upon the unseen God; and so, in these straits and in every
succeeding crisis, they went to Him alone. The orphans themselves were
never told of any existing need; in every case their wants were met,
though they knew not how. The barrel of meal might be empty, yet there
was always a handful when needed, and the cruse of oil was never so
exhausted that a few drops were not left to moisten the handful of meal.
Famine and drought never reached the Bristol orphanage: the supplies
might come slowly and only for one day at a time, but somehow, when the
need was urgent and could no longer wait, there was enough--though it
might be barely enough to meet the want.

It should be added here, as completing this part of the Narrative, that,
in August, 1840, this circle of prayer was still further enlarged by
admitting to its intimacies of fellowship and supplication the brethren
and sisters who laboured in the day-schools, the same solemn injunctions
being repeated in their case against any betrayal to outsiders of the
crises that might arise.

To impart the knowledge of affairs to so much larger a band of helpers
brought in every way a greater blessing, and especially so to the
helpers themselves. Their earnest, believing, importunate prayers were
thus called forth, and God only knows how much the consequent progress
of the work was due to their faith, supplication, and self-denial. The
practical knowledge of the exigencies of their common experience begat
an unselfishness of spirit which prompted countless acts of heroic
sacrifice that have no human record or written history, and can be known
only when the pages of the Lord's own journal are read by an assembled
universe in the day when the secret things are brought to light. It has,
since Mr. Muller's departure, transpired how large a share of the
donations received are to be traced to him; but there is no means of
ascertaining as to the aggregate amount of the secret gifts of his
coworkers in this sacred circle of prayer.

We do know, however, that Mr. Muller was not the only self-denying
giver, though he may lead the host. His true yoke-fellows often _turned
the crisis_ by their own offerings, which though small were costly!
Instrumentally they were used of God to relieve existing want by their
gifts, for out of the abundance of their deep poverty abounded the
riches of their liberality. The money they gave was sometimes like the
widow's two mites--all their living; and not only the last penny, but
ornaments, jewels, heirlooms, long-kept and cherished treasures, like
the alabaster flask of ointment which was broken upon the feet of Jesus,
were laid down on God's altar as a willing sacrifice. They gave all they
could spare and often what they could ill spare, so that there might be
meat in God's house and no lack of bread or other needed supplies for
His little ones. In a sublime sense this work was not Mr. Mullers only,
but _theirs_ also, who with him took part in prayers and tears, in cares
and toils, in self-denials and self-offerings, whereby God chose to
carry forward His plans for these homeless waifs! It was in thus
_giving_ that all these helpers found also new power, assurance, and
blessing in praying; for, as one of them said, he felt that it would
scarcely be _"upright to pray, except he were to give what he had."_*

* Narrative, 1: 246.

The helpers, thus admitted into Mr. Muller's confidence, came into more
active sympathy with him and the work, and partook increasingly of the
same spirit. Of this some few instances and examples have found their
way into his journal.

A gentleman and some ladies visiting the orphan houses saw the large
number of little ones to be cared for. One of the ladies said to the
matron of the Boys' House: "Of course you cannot carry on these
institutions without a good stock of funds"; and the gentleman added,
"Have you a good stock?" The quiet answer was, "Our funds are deposited
in a bank which cannot break." The reply drew tears from the eyes of the
lady, and a gift of five pounds from the pocket of the gentleman--a
donation most opportune, as there was _not one penny then in hand._

Fellow labourers such as these, who asked nothing for themselves, but
cheerfully looked to the Lord for their own supplies, and willingly
parted with their own money or goods in the hour of need, filled Mr.
Muller's heart with praise to God, and held up his hands, as Aaron and
Hur sustained those of Moses, till the sun of his life went down. During
all the years of his superintendence these were the main human support
of his faith and courage. They met with him in daily prayer, faithfully
kept among themselves the secrets of the Lord's work in the great trials
of faith; and, when the hour of triumph came, they felt it to be both
duty and privilege in the annual report to publish their deliverance, to
make their boast in God, that all men might know His love and
faithfulness and ascribe unto Him glory.

From time to time, in connection with the administration of the work,
various questions arose which have a wider bearing on all departments of
Christian service, for their solution enters into what may be called the
ethics and economics of the Lord's work. At a few of these we may
glance.

As the Lord was dealing with them by the day, it seemed clear that they
were to _live by the day._ No dues [Transcriber's note: unpaid debts]
should be allowed to accumulate, even such as would naturally accrue
from ordinary weekly supplies of bread, milk, etc. From the middle of
September, 1838, it was therefore determined that every article bought
was to be paid for at the time.

Again, rent became due in stated amounts and at stated times. This want
was therefore not unforeseen, and, looked at in one aspect, rent was due
daily or weekly, though collected at longer intervals. The principle
having been laid down that no debt should be incurred, it was considered
as implying that the amount due for rent should be put aside daily, or
at least weekly, even though not then payable. This rule was henceforth
adopted, with this understanding, that money thus laid aside was sacred
to that end, and not to be drawn upon, even temporarily, for any other.

Notwithstanding such conscientiousness and consistency the trial of
faith and patience continued. Money came in only in small sums, and
barely enough with rigid economy to meet each day's wants. The outlook
was often most dark and the prospect most threatening; but _no real need
ever failed to be supplied:_ and so praise was continually mingled with
prayer, the incense of thanksgiving making fragrant the flame of
supplication. God's interposing power and love could not be doubted, and
in fact made the more impression as unquestionable facts, because help
came so frequently at the hour of extremity, and in the exact form or
amount needed. Before the provision was entirely exhausted, there came
new supplies or the money wherewith to buy, so that these many mouths
were always fed and these many bodies always clad.

To live up to such principles as had been laid down was not possible
without faith, kept in constant and lively exercise. For example, in the
closing months of 1838 God seemed purposely putting them to a severe
test, whether or not they _did trust Him alone._ The orphan work was in
continual straits: at times not one half-penny was in the hands of the
matrons in the three houses. But not only was no knowledge of such facts
ever allowed to leak out, or any hint of the extreme need ever given to
outsiders, _but even those who inquired, with intent to aid, were not
informed._

One evening a brother ventured to ask how the balance would stand when
the next accounts were made up, and whether it would be as great in
favour of the orphans as when the previous balance-sheet had been
prepared. Mr. Mutter's calm but evasive answer was: _"It will be as
great as the Lord pleases."_ This was no intentional rudeness. To have
said more would have been turning from the one Helper to make at least
an indirect appeal to man for help; and every such snare was carefully
avoided lest the one great aim should be lost sight of: to prove to all
men that it is safe to trust only in the Living God.

While admitting the severity of the straits to which the whole work of
the Scriptural Knowledge Institution was often brought, Mr. Muller takes
pains to assure his readers that these straits were never a surprise to
him, and that his expectations in the matter of funds were not
disappointed, but rather the reverse. He had looked for great
emergencies as essential to his full witness to a prayer-hearing God.
The almighty Hand can never be clearly seen while any human help is
sought for or is in sight. We must turn absolutely away from all else if
we are to turn fully unto the living God. The deliverance is signal,
only in proportion as the danger is serious, and is most significant
when, without God, we face absolute despair. Hence the exact end for
which the whole work was mainly begun could be attained only through
such conditions of extremity and such experiences of interposition in
extremity.

Some who have known but little of the interior history of the orphan
work have very naturally accounted for the regularity of supplies by
supposing that the public statements, made about it by word of mouth,
and especially by the pen in the printed annual reports, have
constituted _appeals for aid._ Unbelief would interpret all God's
working however wonderful, by 'natural laws,' and the carnal mind,
refusing to see in any of the manifestations of God's power any
supernatural force at work, persists in thus explaining away all the
'miracles of prayer.'

No doubt humane and sympathetic hearts have been strongly moved by the
remarkable ways in which God has day by day provided for all these
orphans, as well as the other branches of work of the Scriptural
Knowledge Institution; and believing souls have been drawn into loving
and hearty sympathy with work so conducted, and have been led to become
its helpers. It is a well-known fact that God has used these annual
reports to accomplish just such results. Yet it remains true that these
reports were never intended or issued as appeals for aid, and no
dependence has been placed upon them for securing timely help. It is
also undeniable that, however frequent their issue, wide their
circulation, or great their influence, the regularity and abundance of
the supplies of all needs must in some other way be accounted for.

Only a few days after public meetings were held or printed reports
issued, funds often fell to their lowest ebb. Mr. Muller and his helpers
were singularly kept from all undue leaning upon any such indirect
appeals, and frequently and definitely asked God that they might never
be left to look for any inflow of means through such channels. For many
reasons the Lord's dealings with them were made known, the main object
of such publicity always being a _testimony to the faithfulness of God._
This great object Mr. Muller always kept foremost, hoping and praying
that, by such records and revelations of God's fidelity to His promises,
and of the manner in which He met each new need, his servant might
awaken, quicken, and stimulate faith in Him as the Living God. One has
only to read these reports to see the conspicuous absence of any appeal
for human aid, or of any attempt to excite pity, sympathy and compassion
toward the orphans. The burden of every report is to induce the reader
to venture wholly upon God, to taste and see that the Lord is good, and
find for himself how blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.
Only in the light of this supreme purpose can these records of a life of
faith be read intelligently and intelligibly.

Weakness of body again, in the autumn of 1839, compelled, for a time,
rest from active labour, and Mr. Muller went to Trowbridge and Exeter,
Teignmouth and Plymouth. God had precious lessons for him which He could
best teach in the school of affliction.

While at Plymouth Mr. Muller felt anew the impulse to early rising for
purposes of devotional communion. At Halle he had been an early riser,
influenced by zeal for excellence in study. Afterwards, when his weak
head and feeble nerves made more sleep seem needful, he judged that,
even when he rose late, the day would be long enough to exhaust his
little fund of strength; and so often he lay in bed till six or even
seven o'clock, instead of rising at four; and after dinner took a nap
for a quarter-hour. It now grew upon him, however, that he was losing in
spiritual vigour, and that his soul's health was declining under this
new regimen. The work now so pressed upon him as to prevent proper
reading of the Word and rob him of leisure for secret prayer.

A 'chance remark'--there is no _chance_ in a believer's life!--made by
the brother at whose house he was abiding at Plymouth, much impressed
him. Referring to the sacrifices in Leviticus, he said that, as the
refuse of the animals was never offered up on the altar, but only the
best parts and the fat, so the choicest of our time and strength, the
best parts of our day, should be especially given to the Lord in worship
and communion. George Muller meditated much on this; and determined,
even at the risk of damage to bodily health, that he would no longer
spend his best hours in bed. Henceforth he allowed himself but _seven
hours' sleep_ and gave up his after-dinner rest. This resumption of
early rising secured long seasons of uninterrupted interviews 'with God,
in prayer and meditation on the Scriptures, before breakfast and the
various inevitable interruptions that followed. He found himself not
worse but better, physically, and became convinced that to have lain
longer in bed as before would have kept his nerves weak; and, as to
spiritual life, such new vitality and vigour accrued from thus waiting
upon God while others slept, that it continued to be the habit of his
after-life.

In November, 1839, when the needs were again great and the supplies very
small, he was kept in peace: "I was not," he says, "looking at the
_little in hand, 'but at the fulness of God."_

It was his rule to empty himself of all that he had, in order to greater
boldness in appealing for help from above. All needless articles were
sold if a market could be found. But what was useful in the Lord's work
he did not reckon as needless, nor regard it right to sell, since the
Father knew the need. One of his fellow labourers had put forward his
valuable watch as a security for the return of money laid by for rent,
but drawn upon for the time; yet even this plan was not felt to be
scriptural, as the watch might be reckoned among articles needful and
useful in the Lord's service, and, if such, expedients were quite
abandoned, the deliverance would be more manifest as of the Lord. And
so, one by one, all resorts were laid aside that might imperil full
trust and sole dependence upon the one and only Helper.

When the poverty of their resources seemed most pinching, Mr. Muller
still comforted himself with the daily proof that God had not forgotten,
and would day by day feed them with 'the bread of their convenience.'
Often he said to himself, If it is even a proverb of the world that
"Man's necessity is God's opportunity," how much more may God's own dear
children in their great need look to Him to make their extremity the fit
moment to display His love and power!

In February, 1840, another attack of ill health combined with a mission
to Germany to lead Mr. Muller for five weeks to the Continent. At
Heimersleben, where he found his father weakened by a serious cough, the
two rooms in which he spent most time in prayer and reading of the Word,
and confession of the Lord, were the same in which, nearly twenty years
before, he had passed most time as an unreconciled sinner against God
and man. Later on, at Wolfenbuttel, he saw the inn whence in 1821 he ran
away in debt. In taking leave once more of his father he was pierced by
a keen anguish, fearing it was his last farewell, and an unusual
tenderness and affection were now exhibited by his father, whom he
yearned more and more to know as safe in the Lord Jesus, and depending
no longer on outward and formal religiousness, or substituting the
reading of prayers and of Scripture for an inward conformity to Christ.
This proved the last interview, for the father died on March 30th of the
same year.

The main purpose of this journey to Germany was to send forth more
missionaries to the East. At Sandersleben Mr. Muller met his friend, Mr.
Stahlschmidt, and found a little band of disciples meeting in secret to
evade the police. Those who have always breathed the atmosphere of
religious liberty know little of such intolerance as, in that nominally
Christian land, stifled all freedom of Worship. Eleven years before,
when Mr. Stahlschmidt's servant had come to this place, he had found
scarce one true disciple beside his master. The first meetings had been
literally of but two or three, and, when they had grown a little larger,
Mr. Kroll was summoned before the magistrates and, like the apostles in
the first days of the church, forbidden to speak in His name. But again,
like those same primitive disciples, believing that they were to obey
God rather than men, the believing band had continued to meet,
notwithstanding police raids which were so disturbing, and government
fines which were so exacting. So secret, however, were their assemblies,
as to have neither stated place nor regular time.

George Muller found these persecuted believers, meeting in the room of a
humble weaver where there was but one chair. The twenty-five or thirty
who were present found such places to sit or stand as they might, in and
about the loom, which itself filled half the space.

In Halberstadt Mr. Muller found seven large Protestant churches without
one clergyman who gave evidence of true conversion, and the few genuine
disciples there were likewise forbidden to meet together.

A few days after returning to Bristol from his few weeks in Germany, and
at a time of great financial distress in the work, a letter reached him
from a brother who had often before given money, as follows:

"Have you any _present_ need for the Institution under your care? I know
you do not _ask,_ except indeed of Him whose work you are doing; but to
_answer when asked_ seems another thing, and a right thing. I have a
reason for desiring to know the present state of your means towards the
objects you are labouring to serve: viz., should you _not have_ need,
other departments of the Lord's work, or other people of the Lord, _may
have_ need. Kindly then inform me, and to what amount, i.e. what amount
you at this present time need or can profitably lay out."

To most men, even those who carry on a work of faith and prayer, such a
letter would have been at least a temptation. But Mr. Muller did not
waver. To announce even to an inquirer the exact needs of the work
would, in his opinion, involve two serious risks:

1. It would turn his own eyes away from God to man;

2. It would turn the minds of saints away from dependence solely upon
Him.

This man of God had staked everything upon one great experiment--he had
set himself to prove that the prayer which _resorts to God only_ will
bring help in every crisis, even when the crisis is unknown to His
people whom He uses as the means of relief and help.

At this time there remained in hand but twenty-seven pence ha'penny, in
all, to meet the needs of hundreds of orphans. Nevertheless this was the
reply to the letter:

"Whilst I thank you for your love, and whilst I agree with you that, in
general, there is a difference between _asking for money_ and _answering
when asked,_ nevertheless, in our case, I feel not at liberty to speak
about the state of our funds, as the primary object of the work in my
hands is to lead those who are weak in faith to see that there is
_reality_ in dealing with God _alone."_

Consistently with his position, however, no sooner was the answer posted
than the appeal went up to the Living God: "Lord, thou knowest that, for
Thy sake, I did not tell this brother about our need. Now, Lord, show
afresh that there is reality in speaking to Thee only, about our need,
and speak therefore to this brother so that he may help us." In answer,
God moved this inquiring brother to send one hundred pounds, which came
when _not one penny was in hand._

The confidence of faith, long tried, had its increasing reward and was
strengthened by experience. In July, 1845, Mr. Muller gave this
testimony reviewing these very years of trial:

"Though for about seven years, our funds have been so exhausted that it
has been comparatively a rare case that there have been means in hand to
meet the necessities of the orphans _for three days_ together, yet I
have been only once tried in spirit, and that was on September 18, 1838,
when for the first time the Lord seemed not to regard our prayer. But
when He did send help at that time, and I saw that it was only for the
trial of our faith, and not because He had forsaken the work, that we
were brought so low, my soul was so strengthened and encouraged that I
have not only not been allowed to distrust the Lord since that time, but
I have not even been cast down when in the deepest poverty."


CHAPTER XII

NEW LESSONS IN GOD'S SCHOOL OF PRAYER

THE teacher must also be a learner, and therefore only he who continues
to learn is competent to continue to teach. Nothing but new lessons,
daily mastered, can keep our testimony fresh and vitalizing and enable
us to give advance lessons. Instead of being always engaged in a sort of
review, our teaching and testimony will thus be drawn each day from a
new and higher level.

George Muller's experiences of prevailing prayer went on constantly
accumulating, and so qualified him to speak to others, not as on a
matter of speculation, theory, or doctrinal belief, but of long, varied,
and successful personal experiment. Patiently, carefully and frequently,
he seeks to impress on others the conditions of effective supplication.
From time to time he met those to whom his courageous, childlike trust
in God was a mystery; and occasionally unbelief's secret misgivings
found a voice in the question, _what he would do if God did not send
help!_ what, if a meal-time actually came with no food, and no money to
procure it; or if clothing were worn out, and nothing to replace it?

To all such questions there was always ready this one answer: that _such
a failure on God's part is inconceivable,_ and must therefore be put
among the impossibilities. There are, however, conditions necessary on
man's part: _the suppliant soul must come to God in the right spirit and
attitude._ For the sake of such readers as might need further guidance
as to the proper and acceptable manner of approach to God, he was wont
to make very plain the scripture teaching upon this point.

Five grand conditions of prevailing prayer were ever before his mind:

1. Entire dependence upon the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus
Christ, as the only ground of any claim for blessing. (See John xiv. 13,
14; xv. 16, etc.)

2. Separation from all known sin. If we regard iniquity in our hearts,
the Lord will not hear us, for it would be sanctioning sin. (Psalm lxvi.
18.)

3. Faith in God's word of promise as confirmed by His oath. Not to
believe Him is to make Him both a liar and a perjurer. (Hebrews xi. 6;
vi. 13-20.)

4. Asking in accordance with His will. Our motives must be godly: we
must not seek any gift of God to consume it upon our own lusts. (1 John
v. 14; James iv. 3.)

5. Importunity in supplication. There must be waiting on God and waiting
for God, as the husbandman has long patience to wait for the harvest.
(James v. 7; Luke xviii. 1-10.)

The importance of firmly fixing in mind principles such as these cannot
be overstated. The first lays the basis of all prayer, in our oneness
with the great High Priest. The second states a condition of prayer,
found in abandonment of sin. The third reminds us of the need of
honouring God by faith that He is, and is the Rewarder of the diligent
seeker. The fourth reveals the sympathy with God that helps us to ask
what is for our good and His glory. The last teaches us that, having
laid hold of God in prayer, we are to keep hold until His arm is
outstretched in blessing.

Where these conditions do not exist, for God to answer prayer would be
both a dishonour to Himself and a damage to the suppliant. To encourage
those who come to Him in their own name, or in a self-righteous,
self-seeking, and disobedient spirit, would be to set a premium upon
continuance in sin. To answer the requests of the unbelieving would be
to disregard the double insult put upon His word of promise and His oath
of confirmation, by persistent doubt of His truthfulness and distrust of
His faithfulness. Indeed not one condition of prevailing prayer exists
which is not such in the very nature of things. These are not arbitrary
limitations affixed to prayer by a despotic will; they are necessary
alike to God's character and man's good.

All the lessons learned in God's school of prayer made Mr. Muller's
feelings and convictions about this matter more profound and subduing.
He saw the vital relation of prayer to holiness, and perpetually sought
to impress it upon both his hearers and readers; and, remembering that
for the purpose of persuasion the most effective figure of speech is
_repetition,_ he hesitated at no frequency of restatement by which such
truths might find root in the minds and hearts of others.

There has never been a saint, from Abel's day to our own, who has not
been taught the same essential lessons. All prayer which has ever
brought down blessing has prevailed by the same law of success--_the
inward impulse of God's Holy Spirit._ If, therefore, that Spirit's
teachings be disregarded or disobeyed, or His inward movings be
hindered, in just such measure will prayer become formal or be
altogether abandoned. Sin, consciously indulged, or duty, knowingly
neglected, makes supplication an offence to God.

Again, all prayer prevails only in the measure of our real, even if not
conscious, unity with the Lord Jesus Christ as the ground of our
approach, and in the degree of our dependence on Him as the medium of
our access to God.

Yet again, all prayer prevails only as it is offered in faith; and the
_answer_ to such prayer can be recognized and received only _on the
plane of faith;_ that is, we must maintain the believing frame,
expecting the blessing, and being ready to receive it in God's way and
time and form, and not our own.

The faith that thus _expects_ cannot be surprised at answers to prayer.
When, in November, 1840, a sister gave ten pounds for the orphans, and
at a time specially opportune, Mr. Muller records his triumphant joy in
God as exceeding and defying all expression. Yet he was _free from
excitement and not in the least surprised,_ because by grace he had been
trustfully waiting on God for deliverance. Help had been so long delayed
that in one of the houses there was no bread, and in none of them any
milk or any money to buy either. It was only a few minutes before the
milkman's cart was due, that this money came.

However faithful and trustful in prayer, it behooves us to be none the
less careful and diligent in the use of all proper means. Here again Mr.
Muller's whole life is a lesson to other believers. For example, when
travelling in other lands, or helping other brethren on their way, he
besought the Lord's constant guardianship over the conveyances used, and
even over the luggage so liable to go astray. But he himself looked
carefully to the seaworthiness of the vessel he was to sail in, and to
every other condition of safe and speedy transportation for himself and
others. In one case where certain German brethren and sisters were
departing for foreign shores, he noticed the manner in which the cabman
stored away the small luggage in the fly; and observed that several
carpetbags were hastily thrust into a hind boot. He also carefully
counted the pieces of luggage and took note of the fact that there were
seventeen in all. On arriving at the wharf, where there is generally
much hurry and flurry, the dishonest cabman would have driven off with a
large part of the property belonging to the party, but for this man of
God who not only _prayed_ but _watched._ He who trusted God implicitly,
no less faithfully looked to the cabman's fidelity, who, after he
pretended to have delivered all the luggage to the porters, was
compelled to open that hind boot and, greatly to his own confusion,
deliver up the five or six bags hidden away there. Mr. Muller adds in
his Narrative that "such a circumstance should teach one to make the
very smallest affairs a subject of prayer, as, for instance, that all
the luggage might be safely taken out of a fly." May we not add that
such a circumstance teaches us that companion lesson, quite as important
in its way, that we are to be watchful as well as prayerful, and see
that a dishonest cab-driver does not run off with another's goods!

This praying saint, who watched man, most of all watched God. Even in
the lesser details of his work, his eye was ever looking for God's
unfailing supplies, and taking notice of the divine leadings and
dealings; and, afterward, there always followed the fruit of the lips,
giving thanks to His name. Here is another secret revealed:
prayerfulness and thankfulness--those two handmaidens Of God--always go
together, each helping the other. "Pray without ceasing: in everything
give thanks." (1 Thess. v. 17, 18.) These two precepts stand side by
side where they belong, and he who neglects one will find himself
disobeying the other. This man who prayed so much and so well, offered
the sacrifice of praise to God continually.

For example, on September 21, 1840, a specific entry was made in the
Narrative, so simple, childlike, and in every way characteristic, that
every word of it is precious.

"The Lord, to show His continued care over us, raises up new helpers.
They that trust in the Lord shall never be confounded. Some who helped
for a while may fall asleep in Jesus; others grow cold in the service of
the Lord; others be as desirous as ever to help, but no longer able; or,
having means, feel it to be His will to lay them out in another way. But
in leaning upon God, the Living God alone, we are BEYOND DISAPPOINTMENT
and BEYOND _being forsaken because of death, or want of means, or want
of love, or because of the claims of other work._ How precious to have
learned, in any measure, to be content to stand with God alone in the
world, and to know that surely no good thing shall be withheld from us,
whilst we walk uprightly!"

Among the gifts received during this long life of stewardship for God
some deserve individual mention.

To an offering received in March, 1839, a peculiar history attaches. The
circumstances attending its reception made upon him a deep impression.
He had given a copy of the Annual Report to a believing brother who had
been greatly stirred up to prayer by reading it; and knowing his own
sister, who was also a disciple, to possess sundry costly ornaments and
jewels, such as a heavy gold chain, a pair of gold bracelets, and a
superb ring set with fine brilliants, this brother besought the Lord so
to show her the uselessness of such trinkets that she should be led to
lay them all upon His altar as an offering for the orphan work. This
prayer was literally answered. Her sacrifice of jewels proved of service
to the work at a time of such pressing need that Mr. Muller's heart
specially rejoiced in God. By the proceeds of the sale of these
ornaments he was helped to meet the expenses of a whole week, and
besides to _pay the salaries_ due to the helpers. But, before disposing
of the diamond ring, he wrote with it upon the window-pane of his own
room that precious name and title of the Lord--"JEHOVAH JIREH"--and
henceforth whenever, in deep poverty, he cast his eyes upon those two
words, imperishably written with the point of a diamond upon that pane,
he thankfully remembered that "THE LORD WILL PROVIDE."

How many of his fellow believers might find unfailing refreshment and
inspiration in dwelling upon the divine promises! Ancient believers were
bidden to write God's words on the palms of their hands, the doorposts
of their houses, and on their gates, so that the employments of their
hands, their goings out and comings in, their personal and home life,
might be constant reminders of Jehovah's everlasting faithfulness. He
who inscribed this chosen name of God upon the window-pane of his
dwelling, found that every ray of sunlight that shone into his room lit
up his Lord's promise.

He thus sums up the experiences of the year 1840:

1. Notwithstanding multiplied trials of faith, the orphans have lacked
nothing.

2. Instead of being disappointed in his expectations or work, the
reverse had been true, such trials being seen to be needful to
demonstrate that the Lord was their Helper in times of need.

3. Such a way of living brings the Lord very near, as one who daily
inspects the need that He may send the more timely aid.

4. Such constant, instant reliance upon divine help does not so absorb
the mind in temporal things as to unfit for spiritual employments and
enjoyments; but rather prompts to habitual communion with the Lord and
His Word.

5. Other children of God may not be called to a similar work, but are
called to a like faith, and may experience similar interposition if they
live according to His will and seek His help.

6. The incurring of debt, being unscriptural, is a sin needing
confession and abandonment if we desire unhindered fellowship with God,
and experience of His interposition.

It was in this year 1840, also, that a further object was embraced in
the work of the Scripture Knowledge Institution, namely, the circulation
of Christian books and tracts. But, as the continuance and enlargement
of these benevolent activities made the needs greater, so, in answer to
prayer, the Hand of the great Provider bestowed larger supplies.

Divine interposition will never be doubted by one who, like George
Muller, gives himself to prayer, for the coincidences will prove too
exact and frequent between demand and supply, times and seasons of
asking and answering, to allow of doubt that God has helped.

The 'ethics of language' embody many lessons. For example, the term
'poetic retribution' describes a visitation of judgment where the
penalty peculiarly befits the crime. As poetic lines harmonize, rhyme
and rhythm showing the work of a designing hand, so there is often
harmony between an offense and its retribution, as when Adonibezek, who
had afflicted a like injury upon threescore and five captive kings, had
his own thumbs and great toes cut off, or as when Haman was himself hung
on the gallows that he built for Mordecai. We read in Psalm ix. 16:

       "The Lord is known by the judgment which He executeth:
        The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands."

The inspired thought is that the punishment of evil-doers is in such
exact correspondence with the character of their evil doings as to show
that it is the Lord executing vengeance--the penalty shows a designing
hand. He who watches the peculiar retributive judgments of God, how He
causes those who set snares and pitfalls for others to fall into them
themselves, will not doubt that behind such 'poetic retribution' there
is an intelligent Judge.

Somewhat so the poetic harmony between prayer and its answer silences
all question as to a discriminating Hearer of the suppliant soul. A
single case of such answered prayer might be accounted accidental; but,
ever since men began to call upon the name of the Lord, there have been
such repeated, striking, and marvelous correspondences between the
requests of man and the replies of God, that the inference is perfectly
safe, the induction has too broad a basis and too large a body of
particulars to allow mistake. The coincidences are both too many and too
exact to admit the doctrine of _chance._ We are compelled, not to say
justified, to conclude that the only sufficient and reasonable
explanation must be found in a God who hears and answers prayer.

Mr. Muller was not the only party to these transactions, nor the only
person thus convinced that God was in the whole matter of the work and
its support. The _donors_ as well as the receiver were conscious of
divine leading.

Frequent were the instances also when those who gave most timely help
conveyed to Mr. Muller the knowledge of the experiences that accompanied
or preceded their offerings; as, for example, when, without any
intimation being given them from man that there was special need, the
heart was impressed in prayer to God that there was an emergency
requiring prompt assistance.

For example, in June, 1841, fifty pounds were received with these words:
_"I am not concerned at my having been prevented for so many days from
sending this money; I am confident it has not been needed."_

"This last sentence is remarkable," says Mr. Muller. "It is now nearly
three years since our funds were for the first time exhausted, and only
at this period, since then, could it have been said in truth, so far as
I remember, that a donation of fifty pounds was _not_ needed. From the
beginning in July, 1838, till now, there never had been a period when we
so abounded as when this donation came; for there were then, in the
orphan fund and the other funds, between two and three hundred pounds!
The words of our brother are so much the more remarkable as, on four
former occasions, when he likewise gave considerable donations, we were
always in need, yea, great need, which he afterwards knew from the
printed accounts."

Prevailing prayer is largely conditioned on constant obedience.
"Whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments,
and do those things which are well pleasing in His sight." (1 John iii.
22.) There is no way of keeping in close touch with God unless a _new
step_ is taken in advance whenever _new light_ is given. Here is another
of the life-secrets of George Muller. Without unduly counting the cost,
he followed every leading of God.

In July, 1841, both Mr. Craik and Mr. Muller were impressed that the
existing mode of receiving free-will offerings from those among whom
they laboured was inexpedient. These contributions were deposited in
boxes, over which their names were placed with an explanation of the
purpose to which such offerings were applied. But it was felt that this
might have the appearance of unduly elevating them above others, as
though they were assuming official importance, or excluding others from
full and equal recognition as labourers in word and doctrine. They
therefore decided to discontinue this mode of receiving such offerings.

Such an act of obedience may seem to some, over-scrupulous, but it cost
some inward struggles, for it threatened a possible and probable
decrease in supplies for their own needs, and the question naturally
arose how such lack should be supplied. Happily Mr. Muller had long ago
settled the question that _to follow a clear sense of duty is always
safe._ He could say, in every such crisis, "O God, my heart is fixed, my
heart is fixed, trusting in Thee." (Psalm cxii. 7.) Once for all having
made such a decision, such apparent risks did not for a moment disturb
his peace. Somehow or other the Lord would provide, and all he had to do
was to serve and trust Him and leave the rest to His Fatherhood.

In the autumn of 1841 it pleased God that, beyond any previous period,
there should be a severe test of faith. For some months the supplies had
been comparatively abundant, but now, from day to day and from meal to
meal, the eye of faith had to be turned to the Lord, and,
notwithstanding continuance in prayer, _help seemed at times to fail,_
so much so that it was a special sign of God's grace that, during this
long trial of delay, the confidence of Mr. Muller and his helpers did
not altogether give way. But he and they were held up, and he
unwaveringly rested on the fatherly pity of God.

On one occasion a poor woman gave two pence, adding, "It is but a
trifle, but I must give it to you." Yet so opportune was the gift of
these 'two mites' that _one of these two pence_ was just what was at
that time needed to make up the sum required to buy bread for immediate
use. At another time eight pence more being necessary to provide for the
next meal, but _seven_ pence were in hand; but on opening one of the
boxes, _one penny_ only was found deposited, and thus a single penny was
traced to the Father's care.

It was in December of this same year, 1841, that, in order to show how
solely dependence was placed on a heavenly Provider, it was determined
to _delay for a while_ both the holding of any public meeting and the
printing of the Annual Report. Mr. Muller was confident that, though no
word should be either spoken or printed about the work and its needs,
the means would still be supplied. As a matter of fact the report of
1841-2 was thus postponed for five months; and so, _in the midst of deep
poverty_ and _partly because of the very pressure of such need,_ another
bold step was taken, which, like the cutting away of the ropes that held
the life-boat, in that Mediterranean shipwreck, threw Mr. Muller, and
all that were with him in the work, more completely on the promise and
the providence of God.

It might be inferred that, where such a decision was made, the Lord
would make haste to reward at once such courageous confidence. And yet,
so mysterious are His ways, that never, up to that time, had Mr.
Muller's faith been tried so sharply as between December 12, 1841, and
April 12, 1842. During these four months, again, it was as though God
were saying, "I will now see whether indeed you truly lean on Me and
look to Me." At any time during this trial, Mr. Muller might have
changed his course, holding the public meeting and publishing the
report, for, outside the few who were in his councils, _no one knew of
the determination,_ and in fact many children of God, looking for the
usual year's journal of 'The Lord's Dealings,' were surprised at the
delay. But the conclusion conscientiously reached was, for the glory of
the Lord, as steadfastly pursued, and again Jehovah Jireh revealed His
faithfulness.

During this four months, on March 9, 1842, the need was so extreme that,
had no help come, the work could not have gone on. But, _on that day,_
from a brother living near Dublin, ten pounds came: and the hand of the
Lord clearly appeared in this gift, for when the post had already come
and no letter had come with it, there was a strong confidence suggested
to Mr. Muller's mind that deliverance was at hand; and so it proved, for
presently the letter was brought to him, having been delivered at one of
the other houses. During this same month, it was necessary once to
_delay dinner for about a half-hour,_ because of a lack of supplies.
Such a postponement had scarcely ever been known before, and very rarely
was it repeated in the entire after-history of the work, though
thousands of mouths had to be daily fed.

In the spring of 1843, Mr. Muller felt led to open a _fourth orphan
house,_ the third having been opened nearly six years before. This step
was taken with his uniform conscientiousness, deliberation, and
prayerfulness. He had seen many reasons for such enlargement of the
work, but he had said nothing about the matter even to his beloved wife.
Day by day he waited on God in prayer, preferring to take counsel only
of Him, lest he might do something in haste, move in advance of clear
leading, or be biassed unduly by human judgment.

Unexpected obstacles interfered with his securing the premises which had
already been offered and found suitable; but he was in no way
'discomforted.' The burden of his prayer was, "Lord, if _Thou_ hast no
need of another orphan house, _I_ have none"; and he rightly judged that
the calm deliberation with which he had set about the whole matter, and
the unbroken peace with which he met new hindrances, were proofs that he
was following the guidance of God and not the motions of self-will.

As the public meeting and the publication of the Annual Report had been
purposely postponed to show that no undue dependence was placed even on
indirect appeals to man, much special prayer went up to God, that,
_before July 15,_ 1844, when the public meeting was to be held, He would
so richly supply all need that it might clearly appear that,
notwithstanding these lawful means of informing His servants concerning
the work had for a time not been used, the prayer of faith had drawn
down help from above. As the financial year had closed in May, it would
be more than _two years_ since the previous report had been made to the
public.

George Muller was jealous for the Lord God of hosts, He desired that
"even the shadow of ground might be cut off for persons to say, 'They
cannot get any more money; and therefore they now publish another
report.'" Hence, while, during the whole progress of the work, he
desired to stand with his Master, without heeding either the favourable
or unfavourable judgments of men, he felt strongly that God would be
much honoured and glorified as the prayer-hearing God if, before the
public had been at all apprised of the situation, an ample supply might
be given. In such case, instead of appearing to ask aid of men, he and
his associates would be able to witness to the church and the world,
God's faithfulness, and offer Him the praise of joyful and thankful
hearts. As he had asked, so was it done unto him. Money and other
supplies came in, and, on the day before the accounts were closed, such
liberal gifts, that there was a _surplus of over twenty pounds_ for the
whole work.


CHAPTER XIII

FOLLOWING THE PILLAR OF CLOUD AND FIRE

"THE steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord." (Psalm xxxvii. 23.)
Some one quaintly adds, "Yes, and the _stops, too!"_ The pillar of cloud
and fire is a symbol of that divine leadership which guides both as to
forward steps and intervals of rest. Mr Muller found it blessed to
follow, one step at a time, as God ordered his way, and to stand still
and wait when He seemed to call for a halt.

At the end of May, 1843, a crisis was reached, which was a new example
of the experiences to which faith is liable in the walk with God; and a
new illustration of the duty and delight of depending upon Him in
everything and for everything, habitually waiting upon Him, and trusting
in Him to remove all hindrances in the way of service.

Some eighteen months previously, a German lady from Wurtemberg had
called to consult him as to her own plans, and, finding her a
comparative stranger to God, he spoke to her about her spiritual state,
and gave her the first two parts of his Narrative. The perusal of these
pages was so blest to her that she was converted to God, and felt moved
to translate the Narrative into her own tongue as a channel of similar
blessing to other hearts.

This work of translation she partially accomplished, though somewhat
imperfectly; and the whole occurrence impressed Mr. Muller as an
indication that God was once more leading him in the direction of
Germany, for another season of labour in his native land. Much prayer
deepened his persuasion that he had not misread God's signal, and that
His time had now fully come. He records some of the motives which led to
this conclusion.

1. First, he yearned to encourage believing brethren who for conscience'
sake had felt constrained to separate themselves from the state
churches, and meet for worship in such conditions as would more accord
with New Testament principles, and secure greater edification.

2. Being a German himself, and therefore familiar with their language,
customs, and habits of thought, he saw that he was fitted to wield a
larger influence among his fellow countrymen than otherwise.

3. He was minded to publish his Narrative in his own tongue wherein he
was born, not so much in the form of a mere translation, as of an
independent record of his life's experiences such as would be specially
suited to its new mission.

4. An effectual door was opened before him, and more widely than ever,
especially at Stuttgart; and although there were many adversaries, they
only made his help the more needful to those whose spiritual welfare was
in peril.

5. A distinct burden was laid on his heart, as from the Lord, which
prayer, instead of relieving, increased--a burden which he _felt_
without being able to explain--so that the determination to visit his
native land gave him a certain peace which he did not have when he
thought of remaining at home.

To avoid mistake, with equal care he records the counter-arguments.

1. The new orphan house, No. 4, was about to be opened, and his presence
was desirable if not needful.

2. A few hundred pounds were needed, to be left with his helpers, for
current expenses in his absence.

3. Money was also required for travelling expenses of himself and his
wife, whose health called for a change.

4. Funds would be needful to publish four thousand copies of his
Narrative and avoid too high a market-price.

5. A matron for the new orphan house was not yet found, suitable for the
position.

In this careful _weighing of matters_ many sincere disciples fail, prone
to be impatient of delay in making decisions. Impulse too often sways,
and self-willed plans betray into false and even disastrous mistakes.
Life is too precious to risk one such failure. There is given us a
promise of deep meaning:

        "The meek will He guide in judgment;
        And the meek will He teach His way."
                                (Psalm xxv. 9.)

Here is a double emphasis upon _meekness_ as a condition of such
guidance and teaching. _Meekness is a real preference for God's will._
Where this holy habit of mind exists, the whole being becomes so open to
impression that, without any _outward_ sign or token, there is an
_inward_ recognition and choice of the will of God. God guides, not by a
visible sign, but by _swaying the judgment._ To wait before Him,
weighing candidly in the scales every consideration for or against a
proposed course, and in readiness to see which way the preponderance
lies, is a frame of mind and heart in which one is fitted to be guided;
and God touches the scales and makes the balance to sway as He will.
_But our hands must be off the scales,_ otherwise we need expect no
interposition of His, in our favour. To return to the figure with which
this chapter starts, the meek soul simply and humbly waits, and _watches
the moving of the Pillar._

One sure sign of this spirit of meekness is the entire _restfulness_
with which apparent obstacles to any proposed plan or course are
regarded. When waiting and wishing only to know and do God's will,
hindrances will give no anxiety, but a sort of pleasure, as affording a
new opportunity for divine interposition. If it is the Pillar of God we
are following, the Red Sea will not dismay us, for it will furnish but
another scene for the display of the power of Him who can make the
waters to stand up as an heap, and to become a wall about us as we go
through the sea on dry ground.

Mr. Muller had learned this rare lesson, and in this case he says: _"I
had a secret satisfaction in the greatness of the difficulties which
were in the way._ So far from being cast down on account of them, they
delighted my soul; for I only desired to do the will of the Lord in this
matter."

Here is revealed another secret of holy serving. To him who sets the
Lord always before him, and to whom the will of God is his delight,
there pertains a habit of soul which, in advance settles a thousand
difficult and perplexing questions.

The case in hand is an illustration of the blessing found in such meek
preference for God's pleasure. If it were the will of the Lord that this
Continental tour should be undertaken at that time, difficulties need
not cast him down; for the _difficulties could not be of God;_ and, if
not of God, they should give him no unrest, for, in answer to prayer,
they would all be removed. If, on the other hand, this proposed visit to
the Continent were _not_ God's plan at all, but only the fruit of
self-will; if some secret, selfish, and perhaps subtle motive were
controlling, then indeed hindrances might well be interferences of God,
designed to stay his steps. In the latter case, Mr. Muller rightly
judged that difficulties in the way would naturally vex and annoy him;
that he would not like to look at them, and would seek to remove them by
his own efforts. Instead of giving him an inward satisfaction as
affording God an opportunity to intervene in his behalf, they would
arouse impatience and vexation, as preventing self-will from carrying
out its own purposes.

Such discriminations have only to be stated to any spiritual mind, to
have their wisdom at once apparent. Any believing child of God may
safely gauge the measure of his surrender to the will of God, in any
matter, by the measure of impatience he feels at the obstacles in the
way; for in proportion as self-will sways him, whatever seems to oppose
or hinder his plans will disturb or annoy; and, instead of quietly
leaving all such hindrances and obstacles to the Lord, to deal with them
as He pleases, in His own way and time, the wilful disciple will,
impatiently and in the energy of the flesh, set himself to remove them
by his own scheming and struggling, and he will brook no delay.

Whenever Satan acts as a hinderer (1 Thess. ii. 18) the obstacles which
he puts in our way need not dismay us; God permits them to delay or
deter us for the time, only as a test of our patience and faith, and the
satanic hinderer will be met by a divine Helper who will sweep away all
his obstacles, as with the breath of His mouth.

Mr. Muller felt this, and he waited on God for light and help. But,
after forty days' waiting, the hindrances, instead of decreasing, seemed
rather to increase. Much more money was spent than was sent in; instead
of finding another suitable matron, a sister, already at work, was
probably about to withdraw, so that two vacancies would need to be
filled instead of one. Yet his rest and peace of mind were unbroken.
Being persuaded that he was yielded up to the will of God, faith not
only held him to his purpose, but saw the obstacles already surmounted,
so that he gave thanks in advance. Because Caleb "followed the Lord
fully," even the giant sons of Anak with their walled cities and
chariots of iron had for him no terrors. Their defence was departed from
them, but the Lord was with His believing follower, and made him strong
to drive them out and take possession of their very stronghold as his
own inheritance.

During this period of patient waiting, Mr. Muller remarked to a
believing sister: "Well, my soul is at peace. The Lord's time is not yet
come; but, when it is come, He will blow away all these obstacles, as
chaff is blown away before the wind." _A quarter of an hour later,_ a
gift of seven hundred pounds became available for the ends in view, so
that three of the five hindrances to this Continental tour were at once
removed. All travelling expenses for himself and wife, all necessary
funds for the home work for two months in advance, and all costs of
publishing the Narrative in German, were now provided. This was on July
12th; and so soon afterward were the remaining impediments out of the
way that, by August 9th, Mr. and Mrs. Muller were off for Germany.

The trip covered but seven months: and on March 6, 1844, they were once
more in Bristol. During this sojourn abroad no journal was kept, but Mr.
Muller's letters serve the purpose of a record. Rotterdam, Weinheim,
Cologne, Mayence, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, etc., were visited, and Mr.
Muller distributed tracts and conversed with individuals by the way; but
his main work was to expound the Word in little assemblies of believers,
who had separated themselves from the state church on account of what
they deemed errors in teaching, practice, modes of worship, etc.

The first hour of his stay at Stuttgart brought to him one of the
sharpest trials of faith he had ever thus far experienced. The nature of
it he does not reveal in his journal, but it now transpires that it was
due to the recalling of the seven hundred pounds, the gift of which had
led to his going to Germany. This fact could not at the time be recorded
because the party would feel it a reproach. Nor was this the only test
of faith during his sojourn abroad; in fact so many, so great, so
varied, and so prolonged were some of these trials, as to call into full
exercise all the wisdom and grace which he had received from God, and
whatever lessons he had previously learned in the school of experience
became now of use. Yet not only was his peace undisturbed, but he bears
witness that the conviction so rooted itself in his inmost being that in
all this God's goodness was being shown, that he would have had nothing
different. The greatest trials bore fruit in the fullest blessings and
sometimes in clusters of blessings. It particularly moved him to adoring
wonder and praise to see God's wisdom in having delayed his visit until
the very time when it occurred. Had he gone any earlier he would have
gone too soon, lacking the full experience necessary to confront the
perplexities of his work. When darkness seemed to obscure his way, faith
kept him expectant of light, or at least of guidance in the darkness;
and he found that promise to be literally fulfilled:

"As thou goest, step by step, the way shall open up before thee." (See
the Hebrew, of Prov. iv. 12.)

At Stuttgart he found and felt, like Jude, that it was "needful
earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints." Even
among believers, errors had found far too deep root. Especially was
undue stress laid upon _baptism,_ which was made to occupy a prominence
and importance out of all due proportion of faith. One brother had been
teaching that without it there is no new birth, and that, consequently,
no one could, before baptism, claim the forgiveness of sins; that the
apostles were not born from above until the day of Pentecost, and that
our Lord Himself had not been new-born until His own baptism, and had
thence, for the rest of His mortal life, ceased to be under the law!
Many other fanciful notions were found to prevail, such as that baptism
is the actual death of the old man by drowning, and that it is a
covenant with the believer into which God enters; that it is a sin to
break bread with unbaptized believers or with members of the state
church; and that the bread and the cup used in the Lord's Supper not
only mean but are the very body and blood of the Lord, etc.

A more serious and dangerous doctrine which it was needful to confront
and confute was what Mr. Muller calls that "awful error," spread almost
universally among believers in that land, that at last "all will be
saved," not-sinful men only, but "even the devils themselves."

Calmly and courteously, but firmly and courageously, these and kindred
errors were met with the plain witness of the Word. Refutation of false
teaching aroused a spirit of bitterness in opposers of the truth, and,
as is too often the case, faithful testimony was the occasion of
acrimony; but the Lord stood by His servant and so strengthened him that
he was kept both faithful and peaceful.

One grave practical lack which Mr. Muller sought to remedy was ignorance
of those deeper truths of the Word, which relate to the power and
presence of the Holy Spirit of God in the church, and to the ministry of
saints, one to another, as fellow members in the body of Christ, and as
those to whom that same Spirit divides severally, as He will, spiritual
gifts for service. As a natural result of being untaught in these
important practical matters, believers' meetings had proved rather
opportunities for unprofitable talk than godly edifying which is in
faith. The only hope of meeting such errors and supplying such lack lay
in faithful scripture teaching, and he undertook for a time to act as
the sole teacher in these gatherings, that the word of God might have
free course and be glorified. Afterward, when there seemed to be among
the brethren some proper apprehension of vital spiritual truths, with
his usual consistency and humility he resumed his place as simply a
brother among fellow believers, all of whom had liberty to teach as the
Spirit might lead and guide. There was, however, no shrinking from any
duty or responsibility laid upon him by larger, clearer acquaintance
with truth, or more complete experience of its power. When called by the
voice of his brethren to expound the Word in public assemblies, he
gladly embraced all opportunities for further instruction out of Holy
Scripture and of witness to God. With strong emphasis he dwelt upon the
presiding presence of the Blessed Spirit in all assemblies of saints,
and upon the duty and privilege of leaving the whole conduct of such
assemblies to His divine ordering; and in perfect accord, with such
teaching he showed that the Holy Spirit, if left free to administer all
things, would lead such brethren to speak, at such times and on such
themes as He mighty please; and that, whenever their desires and
preferences were spiritual and not carnal, such choice of the Spirit
would always be in harmony with their own.

These views of the Spirit's administration in the assemblies of
believers, and of His manifestation in all believers for common profit,
fully accord with scripture teaching. (1 Cor. xii., Romans xii., Ephes.
iv., etc.) Were such views practically held in the church of this day, a
radical revolution would be wrought and a revival of apostolic faith and
primitive church life would inevitably follow. No one subject is perhaps
more misunderstood, or less understood, even among professed believers,
than the person, offices, and functions of the Spirit of God. John Owen,
long since, suggested that the practical test of soundness in the faith,
during the present gospel age, is _the attitude of the church toward the
Holy Spirit._ If so, the great apostasy cannot be far off, if indeed it
is not already upon us, for there is a shameful ignorance and
indifference prevalent, as to the whole matter of His claim to holy
reverence and obedience.

In connection with this visit to Germany, a curious misapprehension
existed, to which a religious periodical had given currency, that Mr.
Muller was deputed by the English Baptists to labour among German
Baptists to bring them back to the state church. This rumour was of
course utterly unfounded, but he had no chance to correct it until just
before his return to Britain, as he had not until then heard of it. The
Lord had allowed this false report to spread and had used it to serve
His own ends, for it was due in part to this wrong impression of Mr.
Muller's mission that he was not molested or interfered with by the
officers of the government. Though for months openly and undisguisedly
teaching vital gospel truths among believers who had separated from the
established church, he had suffered no restraint, for, so long as it was
thought that his mission in Germany was to reclaim to the fold of the
state church those who had wandered away, he would of course be liable
to no interference from state officials.

The Lord went before His servant also in preparing the way for the
publishing of his Narrative, guiding him to a bookseller who undertook
its sale on commission, enabling the author to retain two thousand
copies to give away, while the rest were left to be sold.

Mr. Muller, about this time, makes special mention of his joy and
comfort in the spiritual blessing attending his work, and the present
and visible good, wrought through the publication of his Narrative. Many
believers had been led to put more faith in the promises of the great
Provider, and unbelievers had been converted by their perusal of the
simple story of the Lord's dealings; and these tidings came from every
quarter where the Narrative had as yet found its way.

The name of Henry Craik, hitherto affixed to every report together with
George Muller's, appears for the last time in the Report of 1844. This
withdrawal of his name resulted, not from any division of feeling or
diminution of sympathy, but solely from Mr. Craik's conviction that the
honour of being used of God as His instrument in forwarding the great
work of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution belonged solely to George
Muller.

The trials of faith ceased not although the occasions of praise were so
multiplied. On September 4, 1844, day-dawn, but one farthing was left on
hand, and hundred and forty mouths were to be fed at breakfast!'

The lack of money and such supplies was, however, only one form of these
tests of faith and incentives to prayer. Indeed he accounted these the
lightest of his burdens, for there were other cares and anxieties that
called for greater exercise of faith resolutely to cast them on Him who,
in exchange for solicitude, gives His own perfect peace. What these
trials were, any thoughtful mind must at once see who remembers how
these many orphans were needing, not only daily supplies of food and
clothing, but education, in mind and in morals; preparation for, and
location in, suitable homes; careful guards about their health and every
possible precaution and provision to prevent disease; also the character
of all helpers must be carefully investigated before they were admitted,
and their conduct carefully watched afterward lest any unworthy or
unqualified party should find a place, or be retained, in the conduct of
the work.

These and other matters, too many to be individually mentioned, had to
be borne daily to the great Helper, without whose Everlasting Arms they
could not have been carried. And Mr. Muller seeks constantly to impress
on all who read his pages or heard his voice, the perfect
trustworthiness of God. For any and all needs of the work help was
always given, and _it never once came too late._ However poor, and
however long the suppliant believer waits on God, he never fails to get
help, if he trusts the promises and is in the path of duty. Even the
delay in answered prayer serves a purpose. God permits us to call on Him
while He answers not a word, both to test our faith and importunity, and
to encourage others who hear of His dealings with us.

And so it was that, whether there were on hand much or little, by God's
grace the founder of these institutions remained untroubled, confident
that deliverance would surely come in the best way and time, not only
with reference to temporal wants, but in all things needful.

During the history of the Institution thus far, enlargement had been its
law. Mr. Muller's heart grew in capacity for larger service, and his
faith in capacity for firmer confidence, so that while he was led to
attempt greater things for God, he was led also to expect greater things
from God. Those suggestive words of Christ to Nathanael have often
prompted like larger expectations: "Believest thou? thou shalt see
greater things than these." (John i. 50.)

In the year 1846, _the wants of the mission field_ took far deeper hold
of him than ever before. He had already been giving aid to brethren
abroad, in British Guiana and elsewhere, as well as in fields nearer at
home. But he felt a strong yearning to be used of God more largely in
sending to their fields and supporting in their labours, the chosen
servants of the Lord who were working on a scriptural basis and were in
need of help. He had observed that whenever God had put into his heart
to devise liberal things, He had put into his hand the means to carry
out such liberal purposes; and from this time forth he determined, as
far as God should enable him, to aid brethren of good report, labouring
in word and doctrine, throughout the United Kingdom, who were faithful
witnesses to God and were receiving no regular salary. The special
object he had in view was to give a helping hand to such as for the sake
of conscience and of Christ had relinquished former stipends or worldly
emoluments.

Whatever enlargement took place in the work, however, it was no sign of
_surplus funds._ Every department of service or new call of duty had
separate and prayerful consideration. Advance steps were taken only when
and where and so fast as the Pillar moved, and fresh work was often
undertaken at a time when there was a lack rather than an abundance of
money.

Some who heard of Mr. Muller's absence in Germany inferred plenty of
funds on hand--a conclusion that was neither true nor legitimate. At
times when poverty was most pressing, additional expenditure was not
avoided nor new responsibility evaded if, after much prayer, the Lord
seemed plainly leading in that direction. And it was beautiful to see
how He did not permit any existing work to be embarrassed because at His
bidding new work was Undertaken.

One great law for all who would be truly led by God's Pillar of cloud
and fire, is to take no step at the bidding of self-will or without the
clear moving of the heavenly Guide. Though the direction be new and the
way seem beset with difficulty, there is never any risk, provided we are
only led of God. Each new advance needs separate and special authority
from Him, and yesterday's guidance is not sufficient for to-day.

It is important also to observe that, if one branch of the work is in
straits, it is not necessarily a reason for abandoning another form of
service. The work of God depends on Him alone. If the whole tree is His
planting, we need not cut off one limb to save another. The whole body
is His, and, if one member is weak, it is not necessary to cut off
another to make it strong, for the strength of the whole body is the
dependence of every part. In our many-branching service each must get
vitality and vigour from the same source in God. Nevertheless let us not
forget that the _stops,_ as well as the _steps,_ of a good man are
ordered of the Lord. If the work is His work, let Him control it, and,
whether we expand or contract, let it be at His bidding, and a matter of
equal satisfaction to His servant.


CHAPTER XIV

GOD'S BUILDING: THE NEW ORPHAN HOUSES

How complex are the movements of God's providence! Some events are
themselves eventful. Like the wheels in Ezekiel's vision--a wheel in the
middle of a wheel,--they involve other issues within their mysterious
mechanism, and constitute epochs of history. Such an epochal event was
the building of the first of the New Orphan Houses on Ashley Down.

After October, 1845, it became clear to Mr. Muller that the Lord was
leading in this direction. Residents on Wilson Street had raised
objections to the noise made by the children, especially in play hours;
the playgrounds were no longer large enough for so many orphans; the
drainage was not adequate, nor was the situation of the rented houses
favourable, for proper sanitary conditions; it was also desirable to
secure ground for cultivation, and thus supply outdoor work for the
boys, etc. Such were some of the reasons which seemed to demand the
building of a new orphan house; and the conviction steadily gained
ground that the highest well-being of all concerned would be largely
promoted if a suitable site could be found on which to erect a building
adapted to the purpose.

There were objections to building which were carefully weighed: money in
large sums would be needed; planning and constructing would severely tax
time and strength; wisdom and oversight would be in demand at every
stage of the work; and the question arose whether such permanent
structures befit God's pilgrim people, who have here no continuing city
and believe that the end of all things is at hand.

Continuance in prayer, however, brought a sense of quiet and restful
conviction that all objections were overbalanced by other and favourable
considerations. One argument seemed particularly weighty: Should God
provide large amounts of money for this purpose, it would still further
illustrate the power of prayer, offered in faith, to command help from
on high. A lot of ground, spacious enough, would, at the outset, cost
thousands of pounds; but why should this daunt a true child of God whose
Father was infinitely rich? Mr. Muller and his helpers sought day by day
to be guided of God, and, as faith fed on this daily bread of contact
with Him, the assurance grew strong that help would come. Shortly Mr.
Muller was as sure of this as though the building already stood before
his eyes, though for five weeks not one penny had been sent in for this
purpose. Meanwhile there went on that searching scrutiny of his own
heart by which he sought to know whether any hidden motive of a selfish
sort was swaying his will; but as strict self-examination brought to
light no conscious purpose but to glorify God, in promoting the good of
the orphans, and provoking to larger trust in God all who witnessed the
work, it was judged to be God's will that he should go forward.

In November of this year, he was much encouraged by a visit from a
believing brother* who bade him go on in the work, but wisely impressed
on him the need of asking for wisdom from above, at every step, seeking
God's help in showing him the plan for the building, that all details
might accord with the divine mind. On the thirty-sixth day after
specific prayer had first been offered about this new house, on December
10, 1845, Mr. Muller received _one thousand pounds_ for this purpose,
the largest sum yet received _in one donation_ since the work had begun,
March 5, 1834. Yet he was as calm and composed as though the gift had
been only a shilling; having full faith in God, as both guiding and
providing, he records that he would not have been surprised had the
amount been five or ten times greater.

* Robert C. Chapman, of Barnstaple, yet living--and whom Mr. Muller
cherished as his "oldest friend."

Three days later, a Christian architect in London voluntarily offered
not only to draught the plans, but gratuitously to superintend the
building! This offer had been brought about in a manner so strange as to
be naturally regarded as a new sign and proof of God's approval and a
fresh pledge of His sure help. Mr. Muller's sister-in-law, visiting the
metropolis, had met this architect; and, finding him much interested to
know more of the work of which he had read in the narrative, she had
told him of the purpose to build; whereupon, without either solicitation
or expectation on her part, this cheerful offer was made. Not only was
this architect not urged by her, but he pressed his proposal, himself,
urged on by his deep interest in the orphan work. Thus, within forty
days, the first thousand pounds had been given in answer to prayer, and
a pious man, as yet unseen and unknown by Mr. Muller, had been led to
offer his services in providing plans for the new building and
superintending its erection. Surely God was moving before His servant.

For a man, personally penniless, to attempt to erect such a house, on
such a scale, without appeal to man and in sole dependence on God was no
small venture of faith.

The full risk involved in such an undertaking, and the full force of the
testimony which it has since afforded to a prayer-hearing God, can be
felt only as the full weight of the responsibility is appreciated and
all the circumstances are duly considered.

First of all, ground must be bought, and it must comprise six or seven
acres, and the site must be in or near Bristol; for Mr. Muller's general
sphere of work was in the city, the orphans and their helpers should be
within reasonable reach of their customary meeting-place, and on many
other accounts such nearness to the city was desirable. But such a site
would cost from two thousand to three thousand pounds.

Next the building must be constructed, fitted up, and furnished, with
accommodations for three hundred orphans and their overseers, teachers,
and various helpers. However plain the building and its furnishings, the
total cost would reach from three to four times the price of the site.

Then, the annual cost of keeping such house open and of maintaining such
a large body of inmates would be four or five thousand pounds more.

Here, then, was a prospective outlay of somewhere between ten thousand
and fifteen thousand pounds, for site and building, with a further
expense of one third as much more every year. No man so poor as George
Muller, if at the same time sane, would ever have _thought_ of such a
gigantic scheme, much less have undertaken to work it out, if his faith
and hope were not fixed on God. Mr. Muller himself confesses that here
lay his whole secret. He was not driven onward by any self-seeking, but
drawn onward by a conviction that he was doing the will of God. When
Constantine was laying out on a vast scale the new capital on the
Bosphorus, he met the misgivings of those about him who wondered at his
audacity, by simply saying, "I am following One who is leading me."
George Muller's scheme was not self-originated. He followed One who was
leading him; and, because confident and conscious of such guidance, he
had only to follow, trust, and wait.

In proportion as the undertaking was great, he desired God's hand to be
very clearly seen. Hence he forbore even to seem prominent: he issued no
circular, announcing his purpose, and spoke of it only to the few who
were in his councils, and even then only as conversation led in that
direction. He remembered the promise, "I will guide thee with Mine eye,"
and looking up to God, he took no step unless the divine glance or beck
made duty "clear as daylight." As he saw the matter, his whole business
was to wait on God in prayer with faith and patience.

The assurance became doubly sure that _God would build for Himself_ a
large orphan house near Bristol, to show to all, near and far, what a
blessed privilege it is to trust in Him. He desired God Himself so
manifestly to act as that he should be seen by all men to be nothing but
His instrument, passive in His hands. Meanwhile he went on with his
daily search into the Word, where he found instruction so rich, and
encouragement so timely, that the Scriptures seemed written for his
special use--to convey messages to him from above. For example, in the
opening of the Book of Ezra, he saw how God, when His time had fully
come for the return of His exiled people to their own land and for the
rebuilding of His Temple, used Cyrus, an idolatrous king, to issue an
edict, and to provide means for carrying out His own unknown purpose. He
saw also how God stirred up the people to help the returning exiles in
their work; and he said to himself, this same God can and will, in His
own way, supply the money and all the needed help of man, stirring up
the hearts of His own children to aid as He may please.

The first donations toward the work themselves embody a suggestive
lesson. On December 10th, one thousand pounds had been given in one sum;
twenty days later, fifty pounds more; and the next day, three and
sixpence, followed, the same evening, by a second gift of a thousand
pounds. Shortly after, a little bag, made of foreign seeds, and a flower
wrought of shells, were sent to be sold for the fund; and, in connection
with these last gifts, of very little inherent value, a promise was
quoted, which had been prominently before the giver's mind, and which
brought more encouragement to Mr. Muller than any mere sum of money:

       "Who art thou, O great mountain?
        Before Zerubbabel, thou shalt become a plain!"
                                        (Zech. iv. 7.)

Gifts, however large, were never estimated by intrinsic worth, but as
tokens of God's working in the minds of His people, and of His gracious
working with and through His servant; and, for this reason, a thousand
pounds caused no more sincere praise to God and no more excitement of
mind than the fourpence given subsequently by a poor orphan.

Specially asking the Lord to go before him, Mr. Muller now began to seek
a suitable _site._ About four weeks passed in seemingly fruitless
search, when he was strongly impressed that very soon the Lord would
give the ground, and he so told his helpers on the evening of Saturday,
January 31, 1846. Within two days, his mind was drawn to _Ashley Down,_
where he found lots singularly suited for his needs. Shortly after, he
called twice on the owner, once at his house and again at his office;
but on both occasions failing to find him, he only left a message. He
judged that God's hand was to be seen _even in his not finding the man
he sought,_ and that, having twice failed the same day, he was not to
push the matter as though self-willed, but patiently wait till the
morrow. When he did find the owner, his patience was unexpectedly
rewarded. He confessed that he had spent two wakeful hours in bed,
thinking about his land, and about what reply he should make to Mr.
Muller's inquiry as to its sale for an orphan house; and that he had
determined, if it were applied for, to ask but one hundred and twenty
pounds an acre, instead of two hundred, his previous price.

The bargain was promptly completed; and thus the Lord's servant, by not
being in a hurry, saved, in the purchase of the site of seven acres,
five hundred and sixty pounds! Mr. Muller had asked the Lord to go
before him, and He had done so in a sense he had not thought of, first
speaking about the matter to the owner, holding his eyes waking till He
had made clear to him, as His servant and steward, what He would have
him do in the sale of that property.*

* Appendix G.

Six days after, came the formal offer from the London architect of his
services in surveying, in draughting plans, elevations, sections, and
specifications, and in overseeing the work of construction; and a week
later he came to Bristol, saw the site, and pronounced it in all
respects well fitted for its purpose.

Up to June 4, 1846, the total sum in hand for the building was a little
more than twenty-seven hundred pounds, a small part only of the sum
needful; but Mr. Muller felt no doubt that in God's own time all that
was required would be given. Two hundred and twelve days he had been
waiting on God for the way to be opened for building, and he resolved to
wait still further until the _whole sum_ was in hand, using for the
purpose only such gifts as were specified or left free for that end. He
also wisely decided that others must henceforth share the burden, and
that he would look out ten brethren of honest report, full of the Holy
Ghost and of wisdom, to act as trustees to hold and administer this
property in God's name. He felt that, as this work was now so enlarging,
and the foundations of a permanent Institution were to be laid, the
Christian public, who would aid in its erection and support, would be
entitled to a representation in its conduct. At such a point as this
many others have made a serious mistake, forfeiting confidence by
administering public benefactions in a private manner and an autocratic
spirit--their own head being the office, and their own pocket the
treasury, of a public and benevolent institution.

Satan again acted as a hinderer. After the ground for the new orphan
house had been found, bought and paid for, unforeseen obstacles
prevented prompt possession; but Mr. Muller's peace was not disturbed,
knowing even hindrances to be under God's control. If the Lord should
allow one piece of land to be taken from him, it would only be because
He was about to give him one still better; and so the delay only proved
his faith and perfected his patience.

On July 6th, two thousand pounds were given--twice as large a gift as
had yet come in one donation; and, on January 25, 1847, another like
offering, so that, on July 5th following, the work of building began.
Six months later, after four hundred days of waiting upon God for this
new orphan house, nine thousand pounds had been given in answer to
believing prayer.

As the new building approached completion, with its three hundred large
windows, and requiring full preparation for the accommodation of about
three hundred and thirty inmates, although above eleven thousand pounds
had been provided, several thousand more were necessary. But Mr. Muller
was not only helped, but far beyond his largest expectations. Up to May
26, 1848, these latter needs existed, and, had but _one_ serious
difficulty remained unremoved, the result must have been failure. But
all the necessary money was obtained, and even more, and all the helpers
were provided for the oversight of the orphans. On June 18, 1849, more
than twelve years after the beginning of the work, the orphans began to
be transferred from the four rented houses on Wilson Street to the new
orphan house on Ashley Down. Five weeks passed before fresh applicants
were received, that everything about the new institution might first be
brought into complete order by some experience in its conduct. By May
26, 1850, however, there were in the house two hundred and seventy-five
children, and the whole number of inmates was three hundred and eight.

The name--"The New Orphan _House"_ rather than _"Asylum"_--was chosen to
distinguish it from another institution, near by; and particularly was
it requested that it might never be known as _"Mr. Muller's_ Orphan
House," lest undue prominence be given to one who had been merely God's
instrument in its erection. He esteemed it a sin to appropriate even
indirectly, or allow others to attribute to him, any part of the glory
which belonged solely to Him who had led in the work, given faith and
means for it, and helped in it from first to last. The property was
placed in the hands of eleven trustees, chosen by Mr. Muller, and the
deeds were enrolled in chancery. Arrangements were made that the house
should be open to visitors only on Wednesday afternoons, as about one
hour and a half were necessary to see the whole building.

Scarcely were the orphans thus housed on Ashley Down, before Mr.
Muller's heart felt enlarged desire that one thousand, instead of three
hundred, might enjoy such privileges of temporal provision and spiritual
instruction; and, before the new year, 1851, had dawned, this yearning
had matured into a purpose. With his uniform carefulness and
prayerfulness, he sought to be assured that he was not following
self-will, but the will of God; and again in the scales of a pious
judgment the reasons for and against were conscientiously weighed. Would
he be going 'beyond his measure,' spiritually, or naturally? Was not the
work, with its vast correspondence and responsibility, already
sufficiently great? Would not a new orphan house for three hundred
orphans cost another fifteen thousand pounds, or, if built for seven
hundred, with the necessary ground, thirty-five thousand? And, even when
built and fitted and filled, would there not be the providing for daily
wants, which is a perpetual care, and cannot be paid for at once like a
site and a building? It would demand eight thousand pounds annual outlay
to provide for another seven hundred little ones. To all objections the
one all-sufficient answer was the all-sufficient God; and, because Mr.
Muller's eye was on His power, wisdom, and riches, his own weakness,
folly, and poverty were forgotten. Another objection was suggested: What
if he should succeed in thus housing and feeding a thousand poor waifs,
what would become of the institution _after his death?_ The reply is
memorable: "My business is, with all my might, to _serve my own
generation by the will of God:_ in so doing I shall best serve the next
generation, should the Lord Jesus tarry." Were such objection valid, it
were as valid against beginning any work likely to outlive the worker.
And Mr. Muller remembered how Francke at Halle had to meet the same
objection when, now over two hundred years ago, he founded the largest
charitable establishment which, up to 1851, existed in the world. But
when, after about thirty years of personal superintendence, Francke was
taken away, his son-in-law, as we have seen, became the director. That
fellow countryman who had spoken to Mr. Muller's soul in 1826, thus
twenty-five years later encouraged him to go forward, to do his own duty
and leave the future to the Eternal God.

Several reasons are recorded by Mr. Muller as specially influencing
still further advance: the many applications that could not, for want of
room, be accepted; the low moral state of the poorhouses to which these
children of poverty were liable to be sent; the large number of
distressing cases of orphanhood, known to be deserving of help; the
previous experiences of the Lord's gracious leading and of the work
itself; his calmness in view of the proposed expansion; and the
spiritual blessing possible to a larger number of homeless children. But
one reason overtopped all others: an enlarged service to man, attempted
and achieved solely in dependence upon God, would afford a
correspondingly weightier witness to the Hearer of prayer. These
reasons, here recorded, will need no repetition in connection with
subsequent expansions of the work, for, at every new stage of advance,
they were what influenced this servant of God.

On January 4, 1851, another offering was received, of three thousand
pounds--the largest single donation up to that date--which, being left
entirely to his own disposal, encouraged him to go forward.

Again, he kept his own counsel. Up to January 25th, he had not
mentioned, even to his own wife, his thought of a further forward
movement, feeling that, to avoid all mistakes, he must first of all get
clear light from God, and not darken it by misleading human counsel. Not
until the Twelfth Report of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution was
issued, was the public apprised of his purpose, with God's help to
provide for seven hundred more needy orphans.

Up to October 2, 1851, only about eleven hundred pounds had been given
directly toward the second proposed orphan house, and, up to May 26th
following, a total of some thirty-five hundred pounds. But George Muller
remembered one who, "after he had patiently endured, obtained the
promise." He had waited over two years before all means needful for the
first house had been supplied, and could wait still longer, if so God
willed it, for the answers to present prayers for means to build a
second.

After waiting upwards of nineteen months for the building fund for the
second house, and receiving, almost daily, something in answer to
prayer, on January 4, 1853, he had intimation that there were about to
be paid him, as _the joint donation of several Christians, eighty-one
hundred pounds,_ of which he appropriated six thousand for the building
fund. Again he was not surprised nor excited, though exceeding joyful
and triumphant in God. Just two years previous, when recording the
largest donation yet received,--three thousand pounds,--he had recorded
also his expectation of still greater things; and now a donation between
two and three times as large was about to come into his hands. It was
not the amount of money, however, that gave him his overflowing delight,
but the fact that not in vain had he made his boast in God.

As now some four hundred and eighty-three orphans were waiting for
admission, he was moved to pray that soon the way might be opened for
the new building to be begun. James i. 4 was deeply impressed upon him
as the injunction now to be kept before him: "But let patience have her
perfect work, that ye may be perfect, and entire, wanting nothing."

On May 26, 1853, the total sum available for the new building was about
twelve thousand five hundred pounds, and over five hundred orphans had
applied. Twice this sum would be needed, however, before the new house
could be begun without risk of debt.

On January 8, 1855, several Christian friends united in the promise that
fifty-seven hundred pounds should be paid to him for the work of God,
and of this, thirty-four hundred was by him set apart for the building
fund. As there were now between seven hundred and eight hundred
applicants, it seemed of God that, at least, a site should be secured
for another new orphan house; and a few weeks later Mr. Muller applied
for the purchase of two fields adjoining the site of the first house. As
they could not, however, be sold at that time, the only resource was to
believe that the Lord had other purposes, or would give better ground
than that on which His servant had set his mind.

Further thought and prayer suggested to him that two houses could be
built instead of one, and located on each side of the existing building,
upon the ground already owned. Accordingly it was determined to begin,
on the south side, the erection of a house to accommodate four hundred
orphans, there being money in the bank, or soon to be available,
sufficient to build, fit up, and furnish it.

On May 26, 1856, nearly thirty thousand pounds were in hand for the new
Orphan House No. 2; and on November 12, 1857, this house was opened for
four hundred additional orphans, and there was a balance of nearly
twenty-three hundred pounds. The God who provided the building furnished
the helpers, without either difficulty or advertising.

With the beginning of the new year, Mr. Muller began to lay aside six
hundred pounds as the first of the appropriations for the _third_ orphan
house, and the steps which led to the accomplishment of this work, also,
were identical with those taken hitherto. A purchase was made of
additional ground, adjoining the two buildings; and, as there were so
many applicants and the cost of providing for a larger number would be
but little more, it was determined to build so as to receive four
hundred and fifty instead of three hundred, rejoicing that, in every
enlargement of the work, it would be more apparent how much one poor
man, simply trusting in God, can bring about by prayer; and that thus
other children of God might be led to carry on the work of God in
dependence solely on Him, and generally to trust Him more in all
circumstances and positions.

Orphan House No. 3 was opened March 12, 1862, and with over ten thousand
pounds in hand for current expenses. All the helpers needed had not then
been supplied, but this delay was only a new incentive to believing
prayer: and, instead of _once, thrice,_ a day, God was besought to
provide suitable persons. One after another was thus added, and in no
case too late, so that the reception of children was not hindered nor
was the work embarrassed.

Still further enlargement seemed needful, for the same reasons as
previously. There was an increasing demand for accommodation of new
applicants, and past experience of God's wondrous dealings urged him
both to attempt and to expect greater things. Orphan Houses Nos. 4 and 5
began to loom up above his horizon of faith. By May 26, 1862, he had
over sixty-six hundred pounds to apply on their erection. In November,
1864, a large donation of five thousand pounds was received from a donor
who would let neither his name nor residence be known, and by this time
about twenty-seven thousand pounds had thus accumulated toward the fifty
thousand required. As more than half the requisite sum was thus in hand,
the purchase of a site might safely be made and the foundations for the
buildings be laid. Mr. Muller eyes had, for years, been upon land
adjoining the three houses already built, separated from them only by
the turnpike road. He called to see the agent, and found that the
property was subject to a lease that had yet two years to run. This
obstacle only incited to new prayer, but difficulties seemed to
increase: the price asked was too high, and the Bristol Waterworks
Company was negotiating for this same piece of land for reservoir
purposes. Nevertheless God successively removed all hindrances, so that
the ground was bought and conveyed to the trustees in March, 1865; and,
after the purchase-money was paid, about twenty-five thousand pounds yet
remained for the structures. Both the cost and the inconvenience of
building would be greatly lessened by erecting both houses at the same
time; and God was therefore asked for ample means speedily to complete
the whole work.

In May, 1866, over thirty-four thousand pounds being at Mr. Muller's
disposal, No. 4 was commenced; and in January following, No. 5 also. Up
to the end of March, 1867, over fifty thousand pounds had been supplied,
leaving but six thousand more needful to fit and furnish the two
buildings for occupancy. By the opening of February, 1868. fifty-eight
thousand pounds in all had been donated; so that, on November 5, 1868,
new Orphan House No. 4, and on January 6, 1870, No. 5, were thrown open,
a balance of several thousand pounds remaining for general purposes.
Thus, early in 1870, the orphan work had reached its complete outfit, in
five large buildings on Ashley Down with accommodations for two thousand
orphans and for all needed teachers and assistants.

Thus have been gathered, into one chapter, the facts about the erection
of this great monument to a prayer-hearing God on Ashley Down, though
the work of building covered so many years. Between the first decision
to build, in 1845, and the opening of the third house, in 1862, nearly
seventeen years had elapsed, and before No. 5 was opened, in 1870,
twenty-five years. The work was one in its plan and purpose. At each new
stage it supplies only a wider application and illustration of the same
laws of life and principles of conduct, as, from the outset of the work
in Bristol, had with growing power controlled George Muller. His one
supreme aim was the glory of God; his one sole resort, believing prayer;
his one trusted oracle, the inspired Word; and his one divine Teacher,
the Holy Spirit. One step taken in faith and prayer had prepared for
another; one act of trust had made him bolder to venture upon another,
implying a greater apparent risk and therefore demanding more implicit
trust. But answered prayer was rewarded faith, and every new risk only
showed that there was no risk in confidently leaning upon the truth and
faithfulness of God.

One cannot but be impressed, in visiting the orphan houses, with several
prominent features, and first of all their magnitude. They are very
spacious, with about seventeen hundred large windows, and accommodations
for over two thousand inmates. They are also very substantial, being
built of stone and made to last. They are scrupulously plain; utility
rather than beauty seems conspicuously stamped upon them, within and
without. Economy has been manifestly a ruling law in their construction;
the furniture is equally unpretentious and unostentatious; and, as to
garniture, there is absolutely none. To some few, they are almost too
destitute of embellishment, and Mr. Muller has been blamed for not
introducing some aesthetic features which might relieve this bald
utilitarianism and serve to educate the taste of these orphans.

To all such criticisms, there are two or three adequate answers. First,
Mr. Muller subordinated everything to his one great purpose, the
demonstration of the fact that the Living God is the Hearer of prayer.
Second, he felt himself to be the steward of God's property, and he
hesitated to spend one penny on what was not necessary to the frugal
carrying on of the work of God. He felt that all that could be spared
without injury to health, a proper mental training, and a thorough
scriptural and spiritual education, should be reserved for the relief of
the necessities of the poor and destitute elsewhere. And again, he felt
that, as these orphans were likely to be put at service in plain homes,
and compelled to live frugally, any surroundings which would accustom
them to indulge refined tastes, might by contrast make them discontented
with their future lot. And so he studied to promote simply their health
and comfort, and to school them to contentment when the necessities of
life were supplied.

But, more than this, a moment's serious thought will show that, had he
surrounded them with those elegancies which elaborate architecture and
the other fine arts furnish, he might have been even more severely
criticised. He would have been spending the gifts of the poor who often
sorely denied themselves for the sake of these orphans, to purchase
embellishments or secure decorations which, if they had adorned the
humble homes of thousands of donors, would have made their gifts
impossible. When we remember how many offerings, numbering tens of
thousands, were, like the widow's mites, very small in themselves, yet,
relatively to ability, very large, it will be seen how incongruous it
would have been to use the gifts, saved only by limiting even the wants
of the givers, to buy for the orphans what the donors could not and
would not afford for themselves.

Cleanness, neatness, method, and order, however, everywhere reign, and
honest labour has always had, at the orphan houses, a certain dignity.
The tracts of land, adjoining the buildings, are set apart as
vegetable-gardens, where wholesome exercise is provided for the orphan
boys, and, at the same time, work that helps to provide daily food, and
thus train them in part to self-support.

Throughout these houses studious care is exhibited, as to methodical
arrangement. Each child has a square and numbered compartment for
clothes, six orphans being told off, at a time, in each section, to take
charge. The boys have each three suits, and the girls, five dresses
each, the girls being taught to make and mend their own garments. In the
nursery, the infant children have books and playthings to occupy and
amuse them, and are the objects of tender maternal care. Several
children are often admitted to the orphanage from one family, in order
to avoid needless breaking of household ties by separation. The average
term of residence is about ten years, though some orphans have been
there for seventeen.

The daily life is laid out with regularity and goes on like clockwork in
punctuality. The children rise at six and are expected to be ready at
seven, the girls for knitting and the boys for reading, until eight
o'clock, when breakfast is served. Half an hour later there is a brief
morning service, and the school begins at ten. Half an hour of
recreation on the playground prepares for the one-o'clock dinner, and
school is resumed, until four; then comes an hour and a half of play or
outdoor exercise, a half-hour service preceding the six-o'clock meal.
Then the girls ply the needle, and the boys are in school, until
bedtime, the younger children going to rest at eight, and the older, at
nine. The food is simple, ample, and nutritious, consisting of bread,
oatmeal, milk, soups, meat, rice, and vegetables. Everything is adjusted
to one ultimate end; to use Mr. Muller's own words: "We aim at this:
that, if any of them do not turn out well, temporally or spiritually,
and do not become useful members of society, it shall not at least be
_our_ fault." The most thorough and careful examination of the whole
methods of the institution will only satisfy the visitor that it will
not be the fault of those who superintend this work, if the orphans are
not well fitted, body and soul, for the work of life, and are not
prepared for a blessed immortality.


CHAPTER XV

THE MANIFOLD GRACE OF GOD

SOME one has quaintly said, in commenting upon the Twenty-third Psalm,
that "the coach in which the Lord's saints ride has not only a driver,
but two footmen"--_"goodness and mercy shall follow me."_

Surely these two footmen of the Lord, in their celestial livery of
grace, followed George Muller all the days of his life. Wonderful as is
the story of the building of those five orphan houses on Ashley Down,
many other events and experiences no less showed the goodness and mercy
of God, and must not be unrecorded in these pages, if we are to trace,
however imperfectly, His gracious dealings; and having, by one
comprehensive view, taken in the story of the orphan homes, we may
retrace our steps to the year when the first of these houses was
planned, and, following another path, look at Mr. Muller's personal and
domestic life.

He himself loved to trace the Lord's goodness and mercy, and he saw
abundant proofs that they had followed him. A few instances may be
given, from different departments of experience, as representative
examples.

The Lord's tender care was manifest as to his beloved daughter Lydia. It
became clear in the year 1843, that, both for the relief of the mother
and the profit of the daughter, it would be better that Lydia should be
taught elsewhere than at home; and in answer to prayer, her father was
divinely directed to a Christian sister, whose special gifts in the way
of instructing and training children were manifestly from the Spirit,
who divides unto all believers severally as He will. She seemed to be
marked of God, as the woman to whom was to be intrusted the responsible
task of superintending the education of Lydia. Mr. Muller both expected
and desired to pay for such training, and asked for the account, which
in the first instance he paid, but the exact sum was returned to him
anonymously; and, for the six remaining years of his daughter's stay, he
could get no further bills for her schooling. Thus God provided for the
board and education of this only child, not only without cost to her
parents, but to their intense satisfaction as being under the true
"nurture and admonition of the Lord;" for while at this school, in
April, 1846, Lydia found peace in believing, and began that beautiful
life in the Lord Jesus Christ, that, for forty-four years afterward, so
singularly exhibited His image.

Many Christian parents have made the fatal mistake of intrusting their
children's education to those whose gifts were wholly intellectual and
not spiritual, and who have misled the young pupils entrusted to their
care, into an irreligious or infidel life, or, at best, a career of mere
intellectualism and worldly ambition. In not a few instances, all the
influences of a pious home have been counteracted by the atmosphere of a
school which, if not godless, has been without that fragrance of
spiritual devoutness and consecration which is indispensable to the true
training of impressible children during the plastic years when character
is forming for eternity!

Goodness and mercy followed Mr. and Mrs. Muller conspicuously in their
sojourn in Germany in 1845, which covered about three months, from July
19th to October 11th.

God plainly led to Stuttgart, where brethren had fallen into grievous
errors and needed again a helping hand. When the strong impression laid
hold of Mr. Muller, more than two months before his departure for the
Continent, that he was to return there for a season, he began definitely
to pray for means to go with, on May 3rd, and, within a _quarter hour_
after, five hundred pounds were received, the donor specifying that the
money was given for all expenses needful, "preparatory to, and attendant
upon" this proposed journey. The same goodness and mercy followed all
his steps while abroad. Provision was made, in God's own strange way,
for suitable lodgings in Stuttgart, at a time when the city was
exceptionally crowded, a wealthy retired surgeon, who had never before
rented apartments, being led to offer them. All Mr. Muller's labours
were attended with blessing: during part of the time he held as many as
eight meetings a week; and he was enabled to publish eleven tracts in
German, and judiciously to scatter over two hundred and twenty thousand
of them, as well as nearly four thousand of his Narrative, and yet evade
interference from the police.

One experience of this sojourn abroad should have special mention for
the lesson it suggests, both in charity for others' views and loving
adaptation to circumstances. A providential opening occurred to address
meetings of about one hundred and fifty members of the state church. In
his view the character of such assemblies was not wholly conformed to
the Scripture pattern, and hence did not altogether meet his approval;
but such opportunity was afforded to bear testimony for the truth's
sake, and to exhibit Christian unity upon essentials, for love's sake,
that he judged it of the Lord that he should enter this open door. Those
who knew Mr. Muller but little, but knew his positive convictions and
uncompromising loyalty to them, might suspect that he would have little
forbearance with even minor errors, and would not bend himself from his
stern attitude of inflexibility to accommodate himself to those who were
ensnared by them. But those who knew him better, saw that he held fast
the form of sound words with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
Like Paul, ever ready to be made all things to all men that by all means
he might save some, in his whole character and conduct nothing shone
more radiantly beautiful, than Love. He felt that he who would lift up
others must bow himself to lay hold on them; that to help brethren we
must bear with them, not insisting upon matters of minor importance as
though they were essential and fundamental. Hence his course, instead of
being needlessly repellant, was tenderly conciliatory; and it was a
conspicuous sign of grace that, while holding his own views of truth and
duty so positively and tenaciously, the intolerance of bigotry was so
displaced by the forbearance of charity that, when the Lord so led and
circumstances so required, he could conform for a time to customs whose
propriety he doubted, without abating either the earnestness of his
conviction or the integrity of his testimony.

God's goodness and mercy were seen in the fact that, whenever more
liberal things were devised for Him, He responded in providing liberally
means to carry out such desires. This was abundantly illustrated not
only in the orphan work, but in the history of the Scriptural Knowledge
Institution; when, for years together, the various branches of this work
grew so rapidly, until the point of full development was reached. The
time indeed came when, in some departments, it pleased God that
contraction should succeed expansion, but even here goodness ruled, for
it was afterward seen that it was because _other brethren_ had been led
to take up such branches of the Lord's work, in all of which
developments Mr. Muller as truly rejoiced as though it had been his work
alone that was honoured of God.

The aiding of brethren in the mission fields grew more and more dear to
his heart, and the means to indulge his unselfish desires were so
multiplied that, in 1846, he found, on reviewing the history of the
Lord's dealings, that he had been enabled to expend about _seven times_
as much of late years as previously. It may here be added, again by way
of anticipation, that when, nineteen years later, in 1865, he sat down
to apportion to such labourers in the Lord as he was wont to assist, the
sums he felt it desirable to send to each, he found before him the names
of _one hundred and twenty-two_ such! Goodness and mercy indeed! Here
was but one branch of his work, and yet to what proportions and
fruitfulness it had grown! He needed four hundred and sixty-six pounds
to send them to fill out his appropriations, and he lacked ninety-two of
this amount. He carried the lack to the Lord, and _that evening_
received five pounds, and the _next morning_ a hundred more, and a
further "birthday memorial" of fifty, so that he had in all thirty-seven
more than he had asked.

What goodness and mercy followed him in the strength he ever had to bear
the heavy loads of care incident to his work! The Lord's coach bore him
and his burdens together. Day by day his gracious Master preserved his
peace unbroken, though disease found its way into this large family,
though fit homes and work must be found for outgoing orphans, and fit
care and training for incoming orphans; though crises were constantly
arising and new needs constantly recurring, grave matters daily demanded
prayer and watching, and perpetual diligence and vigilance were needful;
for the Lord was his Helper, and carried all his loads.

During the winter of 1846-7 there was a peculiar season of dearth. Would
God's goodness and mercy fail? There were those who looked on, more than
half incredulous, saying to themselves if not to others, "I wonder how
it is now with Mr. Muller and his orphans! If he is able to provide for
them now as he has been, we will say nothing." But all through this time
of widespread want his witness was, "We lack nothing: God helps us."
Faith led when the way was too dark for sight; in fact the darker the
road the more was the Hand felt that leads the blind by a way they know
not. _They went through that winter as easily as through any other from
the beginning of the work!_

Was it no sign that God's 'footmen' followed George Muller that the work
never ceased to be both a work of faith and of prayer? that no
difficulties or discouragements, no successes or triumphs, ever caused
for an hour a departure from the sublime essential principles on which
the work was based, or a diversion from the purpose for which it had
been built up?

We have heard it said of a brother, much honoured of God in beginning a
work of faith, that, when it had grown to greater proportions, he seemed
to change its base to that of a business scheme. How it glorifies God
that the holy enterprise, planted in Bristol in 1834, has known no such
alteration in its essential features during all these years! Though the
work grew, and its needs with it, until the expenses were twofold,
threefold, fourfold, and, at last, seventyfold what they were when that
first Orphan House was opened in Wilson Street, there has been no
_change of base,_ never any looking to man for patronage or support,
never any dependence upon a regular income or fixed endowment. God has
been, all through these years, as at first, the sole Patron and
Dependence. The Scriptural Knowledge Institution has not been wrecked on
the rocks of financial failure, nor has it even drifted away from its
original moorings in the safe anchorage-ground of the Promises of
Jehovah.

Was it not goodness and mercy that kept George Muller ever grateful as
well as faithful! He did not more constantly feel his need of faith and
prayer than his duty and privilege of abounding joy and praise. Some
might think that, after such experiences of answered prayer, one would
be less and less moved by them, as the novelty was lost in the
uniformity of such interpositions. But no. When, in June, 1853, at a
time of sore need, the Lord sent, in one sum, three hundred pounds, he
could scarcely contain his triumphant joy in God. He walked up and down
his room for a long time, his heart overflowing and his eyes too, his
mouth filled with laughter and his voice with song, while he gave
himself afresh to the faithful Master he served. God's blessings were to
him always new and fresh. Answered prayers never lost the charm of
novelty; like flowers plucked fresh every hour from the gardens of God,
they never got stale, losing none of their beauty or celestial
fragrance.

And what goodness and mercy was it that never suffered prayerfulness and
patience to relax their hold, either when answers seemed to come fast
and thick like snow-flakes, or when the heavens seemed locked up and
faith had to wait patiently and long! Every day brought new demands for
continuance in prayer. In fact, as Mr. Muller testifies, the only
difference between latter and former days was that the difficulties were
greater in proportion as the work was larger. But he adds that this was
to be expected, for the Lord gives faith for the very purpose of trying
it for the glory of His own name and the good of him who has the faith,
and it is by these very trials that trust learns the secret of its
triumphs.

Goodness and mercy not only guided but also _guarded_ this servant of
God. God's footmen bore a protecting shield which was always over him.
Amid thousands of unseen perils, occasionally some danger was known,
though generally after it was passed. While at Keswick labouring in
1847, for example, a man, taken deranged while lodging in the same
house, shot himself. It afterward transpired that he had an impression
that Mr. Muller had designs on his life, and had he met Mr. Muller
during this insane attack he would probably have shot him with the
loaded pistol he carried about on his person.

The pathway of this man of God sometimes led through deep waters of
affliction, but goodness and mercy still followed, and held him up. In
the autumn of 1852, his beloved brother-in-law, Mr. A. N. Groves, came
back from the East Indies, very ill; and in May of the next year, after
blessed witness for God, he fell asleep at Mr. Muller's house. To him
Mr. Muller owed much through grace at the outset of his labours in 1829.
By his example his faith had been stimulated and helped when, with no
visible support or connection with any missionary society, Mr. Groves
had gone to Baghdad with wife and children, for the sake of mission work
in this far-off field, resigning a lucrative practice of about fifteen
hundred pounds a year. The tie between these men was very close and
tender and the loss of this brother-in-law gave keen sorrow.

In July following, Mr. and Mrs. Muller went through a yet severer trial.
Lydia, the beloved daughter and only child,--born in 1832 and new-born
in 1846, and at this time twenty years old and a treasure without
price,--was taken ill in the latter part of June, and the ailment
developed into a malignant typhoid which, two weeks later, brought her
to the gates of death. These parents had to face the prospect of being
left childless. But faith triumphed and prayer prevailed. Their darling
Lydia was spared to be, for many years to come, a blessing beyond words,
not only to them and to her future husband, but to many others in a
wider circle of influence. Mr. Muller found, in this trial, a special
proof of God's goodness and mercy, which he gratefully records, in the
growth in grace, evidenced in his entire and joyful acquiescence in the
Father's will, when, with such a loss apparently before him, his
confidence was undisturbed that all things would work together for good.
He could not but contrast with this experience of serenity, that broken
peace and complaining spirit with which he had met a like trial in
August, 1831, twenty-one years before. How, like a magnet among steel
filings, the thankful heart finds the mercies and picks them out of the
black dust of sorrow and suffering!

The second volume of Mr. Muller's Narrative closes with a paragraph in
which he formally disclaims as impudent presumption and pretension all
high rank as a miracle-worker, and records his regret that any work,
based on scriptural promises and built on the simple lines of faith and
prayer, should be accounted either phenomenal or fanatical.

The common ways of accounting for its success would be absurdly
ridiculous and amusing were they not so sadly unbelieving. Those who
knew little or nothing, either of the exercise of faith or the
experience of God's faithfulness, resorted to the most God-dishonouring
explanations of the work. Some said: "Mr. Muller is a foreigner; his
methods are so novel as to attract attention." Others thought that the
"Annual Reports brought in the money," or suggested that he had "a
_secret treasure."_ His quiet reply was, that his being a foreigner
would be more likely to repel than to attract confidence; that the
novelty would scarcely avail him after more than a score of years; that
other institutions which issued reports did not always escape want and
debt; but, as to the secret treasure to which he was supposed to have
access, he felt constrained to confess that there was _more in that
supposition than the objectors were aware of._ He had indeed a Treasury,
inexhaustible--in the promises of a God unchangeably faithful--from
which he admits that he had already in 1856 drawn for twenty-two years,
and in all over one hundred and thirteen thousand pounds. As to the
Reports, it may be worth while to notice that he never but once in his
life advertised the public of any need, and that was the _need of more
orphans_--more to care for in the name of the Lord--a single and
singular ease of advertising, by which he sought not to increase his
_income,_ but his _expenditure_--not asking the public to aid him in
supporting the needy, but to increase the occasion of his outlay!

So far was he from depending upon any such sources of supply as the
unbelieving world might think, that it was in the drying up of all such
channels that he found the opportunity of his faith and of God's power.
The visible treasure was often so small that it was reduced to nothing,
but the invisible Treasure was God's riches in glory, and could be drawn
from without limit. This it was to which he looked alone, and in which
he felt that he had a river of supply that can never run dry.*

* Appendix H.

The orphan work had, to Mr. Muller, many charms which grew on him as he
entered more fully into it. While his main hope was to be the means of
spiritual health to these children, he had the joy of seeing how God
used these homes for the promotion of their physical welfare also, and,
in cases not a few, for the entire renovation of their weak and diseased
bodies. It must be remembered that most of them owed their orphan
condition to that great destroyer, Consumption. Children were often
brought to the orphan houses thoroughly permeated by the poison of bad
blood, with diseased tendencies, and sometimes emaciated and
half-starved, having had neither proper food nor medical care.

For example, in the spring of 1855, four children from five to nine
years old, and of one family, were admitted to the orphanage, all in a
deplorable state from lack of both nursing and nutrition. It was a
serious question whether they should be admitted at all, as such cases
tended to turn the institution into a hospital, and absorb undue care
and time. But to dismiss them seemed almost inhuman, certainly
_inhumane._ So, trusting in God, they were taken in and cared for with
parental love. A few weeks later these children were physically
unrecognizable, so rapid had been the improvement in health, and
probably there were with God's blessing four graves less to be dug.

The trials incident to the moral and spiritual condition of the orphans
were even greater, however, than those caused by ill health and
weakness. When children proved incorrigibly bad, they were expelled,
lest they should corrupt others, for the institution was not a
_reformatory,_ as it was not a _hospital._ In 1849, a boy, of less than
eight years, had to be sent away as a confirmed liar and thief, having
twice run off with the belongings of other children and gloried in his
juvenile crimes. Yet the forbearance exercised even in his case was
marvelously godlike, for, during over five years, he had been the
subject of private admonitions and prayers and all other methods of
reclamation; and, when expulsion became the last resort, he was solemnly
and with prayer, before all the others, sent away from the orphan house,
that if possible such a course might prove a double blessing, a remedy
to him and a warning to others; and even then this young practised
sinner was followed, in his expulsion, by loving supplication.

Towards the end of November, 1857, it was found that a serious leak in
the boiler of the heating apparatus of house No. 1 would make repairs at
once necessary, and as the boilers were encased in bricks and a new
boiler might be required, such repairs must consume time. Meanwhile how
could three hundred children, some of them very young and tender, be
kept warm? Even if gas-stoves could be temporarily set up, chimneys
would be needful to carry off the impure air; and no way of heating was
available during repairs, even if a hundred pounds were expended to
prevent risk of cold. Again Mr. Muller turned to the Living God, and,
trusting in Him, decided to have the repairs begun. A day or so before
the fires had to be put out, a bleak north wind set in. The work could
no longer be delayed; yet weather, prematurely cold for the season,
threatened these hundreds of children with hurtful exposure. The Lord
was boldly appealed to. "Lord, these are _Thy_ orphans: be pleased to
change this north wind into a south wind, and give the workmen a mind to
work that the job may be speedily done."

The evening before the repairs actually began, the cold blast was still
blowing; but _on that day a south wind blew, and the weather was so mild
that no fire was needful!_ Not only so, but, as Mr. Muller went into the
cellar with the overseer of the work, to see whether the repairs could
in no way be expedited, he heard him say, in the hearing of the men,
"they will work late this evening, and come very early again to-morrow."
_"We would rather, sir,"_ was the reply, _"work all night."_ And so,
within about thirty hours, the fire was again burning to heat the water
in the boiler; and, until the apparatus was again in order, that
merciful soft south wind had continued to blow. Goodness and mercy were
following the Lord's humble servant, made the more conspicuous by the
crises of special trial and trouble.

Every new exigency provoked new prayer and evoked new faith. When, in
1862, several boys were ready to be apprenticed, and there were no
applications such as were desired, prayer was the one resort, as
advertising would tend to bring applications from masters who sought
apprentices for the sake of the premium. But every one of the eighteen
boys was properly bound over to a Christian master, whose business was
suitable and who would receive the lad into his own family.

About the same time one of the drains was obstructed which runs about
eleven feet underground. When three holes had been dug and as many
places in the drain tapped in vain, prayer was offered that in the
fourth case the workmen might be guided to the very spot where the
stoppage existed--and the request was literally answered.

Three instances of marked deliverance, in answer to prayer, are
specially recorded for the year between May 26, 1864, and the same date
in 1865, which should not be passed by without at least a mention.

First, in the great drought of the summer of 1864, when the fifteen
large cisterns in the three orphan houses were empty, and the nine deep
wells, and even the good spring which had never before failed, were
almost all dry. Two or three thousand gallons of water were daily
required, and daily prayer was made to the God of the rain. See how God
provided, while pleased to withhold the supply from above! A farmer,
near by, supplied, from his larger wells, about half the water needful,
the rest being furnished by the half-exhausted wells on Ashley Down;
and, when he could no longer spare water, without a day's interval,
another farmer offered a supply from a brook which ran through his
fields, and thus there was abundance until the rains replenished
cisterns and wells.*

* About twenty years later the Bristol Water Works Co. introduced pipes
and thus a permanent and unfailing supply.

Second, when, for three years, scarlet and typhus fevers and smallpox,
being prevalent in Bristol and the vicinity threatened the orphans,
prayer was again made to Him who is the God of health as well as of
rain. There was no case of scarlet or typhus fever during the whole
time, though smallpox was permitted to find an entrance into the
smallest of the orphan houses. Prayer was still the one resort. The
disease spread to the other houses, until at one time fifteen were ill
with it. The cases, however, were mercifully light, and the Lord was
besought to allow the epidemic to spread _no further._ Not another child
was taken; and when, after nine months, the disease altogether
disappeared, not one child had died of it, and only one teacher or adult
had had an attack, and that was very mild. What ravages the disease
might have made among the twelve hundred inmates of these orphan houses,
had it then prevailed as later, in 1872!

Third, tremendous gales visited Bristol and neighbourhood in January,
1865. The roofs of the orphan houses were so injured as to be laid open
in at least twenty places, and large panes of glass were broken. The day
was Saturday, and no glazier and slater could be had before Monday. So
the Lord of wind and weather was besought to protect the exposed
property during the interval. The wind calmed down, and the rain was
restrained until midday of Wednesday, when the repairs were about
finished, but heavy rainfalls drove the slaters from the roof. One
exposed opening remained and much damage threatened; but, in answer to
prayer, the rain was stayed, and the work resumed. No damage had been
done while the last opening was unrepaired for it had exposed the
building from the _south,_ while the rain came from the _north._

Mr. Muller records these circumstances with his usual particularity, as
part of his witness to the Living God, and to the goodness and mercy
that closely and continually followed him.

During the next year, 1865-6, scarlet fever broke out in the orphanage.
In all thirty-nine children were ill, but all recovered. Whooping-cough
also made its appearance; but though, during that season, it was not
only very prevalent but very malignant in Bristol, in all the three
houses there were but seventeen cases, and the only fatal one was that
of a little girl with constitutionally weak lungs.

During this same year, however, the Spirit of God wrought mightily among
the girls, as in the previous year among the boys, so that over one
hundred became deeply earnest seekers after salvation; and so, even in
tribulation, consolation abounded in Christ. Mr. Muller and his wife and
helpers now implored God to deepen and broaden this work of His Spirit.
Towards the end of the year closing in May, 1866, Emma Bunn, an orphan
girl of seventeen, was struck with consumption. Though, for fourteen
years, she had been under Mr. Muller's care, she was, in this dangerous
illness, still careless and indifferent; and, as she drew near to death,
her case continued as hopeless as ever. Prayer was unceasing for her;
and it pleased God suddenly to reveal Christ to her as her Saviour.
Great self-loathing now at once took the place of former indifference;
confession of sin, of previous callousness of conscience; and
unspeakable joy in the Lord, of former apathy and coldness. It was a
spiritual miracle--this girl's sudden transformation into a witness for
God, manifesting deepest conviction for past sin and earnest concern for
others. Her thoughtless and heedless state had been so well known that
her conversion and dying messages were now the Lord's means of the _most
extensive and God-glorifying work ever wrought up to that time among the
orphans._ In one house alone three hundred and fifty were led to seek
peace in believing.

What lessons lie hidden--nay, lie on the very surface--to be read of
every willing observer of these events! Prayer can break even a hard
heart; a memory, stored with biblical truth and pious teaching, will
prove, when once God's grace softens the heart and unlooses the tongue,
a source of both personal growth in grace and of capacity for wide
service to others. We are all practically too careless of the training
of children, and too distrustful of young converts. Mr. Muller was more
and more impressed by the triumphs of the grace of God as seen in
children converted at the tender age of nine or ten and holding the
beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end.

These facts and experiences, gleaned, like handfuls of grain, from a
wide field, show the character both of the seed sown and the harvest
reaped, from the sowing.

Again, when, in 1866, cholera developed in England, in answer to special
prayer _not one_ case of this disease was known in the orphan houses;
and when, in the same autumn, whooping-cough and measles broke out,
though eight children had the former and two hundred and sixty-two, the
latter, not one child died, or was afterward debilitated by the attack.
From May, 1866, to May, 1867, out of over thirteen hundred children
under care, only eleven died, considerably less than one per cent.

That severe and epidemic disease should find its way into the orphanages
at all may seem strange to those who judge God's faithfulness by
appearances, but many were the compensations for such trials. By them
not only were the hearts of the children often turned to God, but the
hearts of helpers in the Institution were made more sympathetic and
tender, and the hearts of God's people at large were stirred up to
practical and systematic help. God uses such seeming calamities as
'advertisements' of His work; many who would not have heard of the
Institution, or on whom what they did hear would have made little
impression, were led to take a deep interest in an orphanage where
thousands of little ones were exposed to the ravages of some malignant
and dangerous epidemic.

Looking back, in 1865, after thirty-one years, upon the work thus far
done for the Lord, Mr. Muller gratefully records that, during the entire
time, he had been enabled to hold fast the original principles on which
the work was based on March 5, 1834. He had never once gone into debt;
he had sought for the Institution no patron but the Living God; and he
had kept to the line of demarcation between believers and unbelievers,
in all his seeking for active helpers in the work.

His grand purpose, in all his labours, having been, from the beginning,
the glory of God, in showing what could be done through prayer and
faith, without any leaning upon man, his unequivocal testimony is:
"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." Though for about five years they
had, almost daily, been in the constant trial of faith, they were as
constantly proving His faithfulness. The work had rapidly grown, till it
assumed gigantic proportions, but so did the help of God keep pace with
all the needs and demands of its growth.

In January, 1866, Mr. Henry Craik, who had for thirty-six years been Mr.
Muller's valued friend, and, since 1832, his coworker in Bristol, fell
asleep after an illness of seven months. In Devonshire these two
brethren had first known each other, and the acquaintance had
subsequently ripened, through years of common labour and trial, into an
affection seldom found among men. They were nearly of an age, both being
a little past sixty when Mr. Craik died. The loss was too heavy to have
been patiently and serenely borne, had not the survivor known and felt
beneath him the Everlasting Arms. And even this bereavement, which in
one aspect was an irreparable loss, was seen to be only another proof of
God's love. The look ahead might be a dark one, the way desolate and
even dangerous, but goodness and mercy were still following very close
behind, and would in every new place of danger or difficulty be at hand
to help over hard places and give comfort and cheer in the night season.


CHAPTER XVI

THE SHADOW OF A GREAT SORROW

"WITH clouds He covereth the light." No human life is without some
experience of clouded skies and stormy days, and sometimes "the clouds
return after the rain." It is a blessed experience to recognize the
silver lining on the darkest storm cloud, and, better still, to be sure
of the shining of God's light behind a sky that seems wholly and
hopelessly overcast.

The year 1870 was made forever pathetically memorable by the decease of
Mrs. Muller, who lived just long enough to see the last of the New
Orphan Houses opened. From the outset of the work in November, 1835, for
more than thirty-four years, this beloved, devoted wife had been also a
sympathetic helper.

This wedded life had approached very near to the ideal of connubial
bliss, by reason of mutual fitness, common faith in God and love for His
work, and long association in prayer and service. In their case, the
days of courtship were never passed; indeed the tender and delicate
mutual attentions of those early days rather increased than decreased as
the years went on; and the great maxim was both proven and illustrated,
that the secret of winning love is the secret of keeping it. More than
that, such affection grows and becomes more and more a fountain of
mutual delight. Never had his beloved "Mary" been so precious to her
husband as during the very year of her departure.

This marriage union was so happy that Mr. Muller could not withhold his
loving witness that he never saw her at any time after she became his
wife, without a new feeling of delight. And day by day they were wont to
find at least a few moments of rest together, sitting after dinner, hand
in hand, in loving intercourse of mind and heart, made the more complete
by this touch of physical contact, and, whether in speech or silence,
communing in the Lord. Their happiness in God and in each other was
perennial, perpetual, growing as the years fled by.

Mr. Muller's solemn conviction was that all this wedded bliss was due to
the fact that she was not only a devoted Christian, but that their one
united object was to live only and wholly for God; that they had always
abundance of work for God, in which they were heartily united; that this
work was never allowed to interfere with the care of their own souls, or
their seasons of private prayer and study of the Scriptures; and that
they were wont daily, and often thrice a day, to secure a time of united
prayer and praise when they brought before the Lord the matters which at
the time called for thanksgiving and supplication.

Mrs. Muller had never been a very vigorous woman, and more than once had
been brought nigh unto death. In October, 1859, after twenty-nine years
of wedded life and love, she had been laid aside by rheumatism and had
continued in great suffering for about nine months, quite helpless and
unable to work; but it was felt to be a special mark of God's love and
faithfulness that this very affliction was used by Him to reestablish
her in health and strength, the compulsory rest made necessary for the
greater part of a year being in Mr. Muller's judgment a means of
prolonging her life and period of service for the ten years following.
Thus a severe trial met by them both in faith had issued in much
blessing both to soul and body.

The closing scenes of this beautiful life are almost too sacred to be
unveiled to common eyes. For some few years before her departure, it was
plain that her health and vitality were declining. With difficulty could
she be prevailed on, however, to abate her activity, or, even when a
distressing cough attacked her, to allow a physician to be called. Her
husband carefully guarded and nursed her, and by careful attention to
diet and rest, by avoidance of needless exposure, and by constant resort
to prayer, she was kept alive through much weakness and sometimes much
pain. But, on Saturday night, February 5th, she found that she had not
the use of one of her limbs, and it was obvious that the end was nigh.
Her own mind was clear and her own heart at peace. She herself remarked,
"He will soon come." And a few minutes after four in the afternoon of
the Lord's day, February 6, 1870, she sweetly passed from human toils
and trials, to be forever with the Lord.

Under the weight of such a sorrow, most men would have sunk into depths
of almost hopeless despair. But this man of God, sustained by a divine
love, at once sought for occasions of thanksgiving; and, instead of
repining over his loss, gratefully remembered and recorded the goodness
of God in _taking_ such a wife, releasing her saintly spirit from the
bondage of weakness, sickness, and pain, rather than leaving her to a
protracted suffering and the mute agony of helplessness; and, above all,
introducing her to her heart's desire, the immediate presence of the
Lord Jesus, and the higher service of a celestial sphere. Is not that
grief akin to selfishness which dwells so much on our own deprivations
as to be oblivious of the ecstatic gain of the departed saints who,
withdrawn from us and absent from the body, are at home with the Lord?

It is only in those circumstances of extreme trial which prove to
ordinary men a crushing weight, that implicit faith in the Father's
unfailing wisdom and love proves its full power to sustain. Where
self-will is truly lost in the will of God, the life that is hidden in
Him is most radiantly exhibited in the darkest hour.

The death of this beloved wife afforded an illustration of this. Within
a few hours after this withdrawal of her who had shared with him the
planning and working of these long years of service, Mr. Muller went to
the Monday-evening prayer meeting, then held in Salem Chapel, to mingle
his prayers and praises as usual with those of his brethren. With a
literally shining countenance, he rose and said: "Beloved brethren and
sisters in Christ, I ask you to join with me in hearty praise and
thanksgiving to my precious Lord for His loving kindness in having taken
my darling, beloved wife out of the pain and suffering which she has
endured, into His own presence; and as I rejoice in everything that is
for her, happiness, so I now rejoice as I realize how far happier she
is, in beholding her Lord whom she loved so well, than in any joy she
has known or could know here. I ask you also to pray that the Lord will
so enable me to have fellowship in her joy that my bereaved heart may be
occupied with her blessedness instead of my unspeakable loss." These
remarkable words are supplied by one who was himself present and on
whose memory they made an indelible impression.

This occurrence had a marked effect upon all who were at that meeting.
Mrs. Muller was known by all as a most valuable, lovely, and holy woman
and wife. After nearly forty years of wedded life and love, she had left
the earthly home for the heavenly. To her husband she had been a
blessing beyond description, and to her daughter Lydia, at once a wise
and tender mother and a sympathetic companion. The loss to them both
could never be made up on earth. Yet in these circumstances this man of
God had grace given to forget his own and his daughter's irreparable
loss, and to praise God for the unspeakable gain to the departed wife
and mother.

The body was laid to rest on February 11th, many thousands of sorrowing
friends evincing the deepest sympathy. Twelve hundred orphans mingled in
the funeral procession, and the whole staff of helpers so far as they
could be spared from the houses. The bereaved husband strangely upheld
by the arm of the Almighty Friend in whom he trusted, took upon himself
the funeral service both at chapel and cemetery. He was taken seriously
ill afterward, but, as soon as his returning strength allowed, he
preached his wife's funeral sermon--another memorable occasion. It was
the supernatural serenity of his peace in the presence of such a
bereavement that led his attending physician to say to a friend, "I have
never before seen so _unhuman_ a man." Yes, _un_human indeed, though far
from _in_human, lifted above the weakness of mere humanity by a power
not of man.

That funeral sermon was a noble tribute to the goodness of the Lord even
in the great affliction of his life. The text was:

        _"Thou art good and doest good."_ (Psalm cxix. 68.)

Its three divisions were: "The Lord was good and did good: first, in
giving her to me; second in so long leaving her to me; and third, in
taking her from me." It is happily preserved in Mr. Muller's journal,
and must be read to be appreciated.*

* Narrative, III. 575-594.

This union, begun in prayer, was in prayer sanctified to the end. Mrs.
Muller's chief excellence lay in her devoted piety. She wore that one
ornament which is in the sight of God of great price--the meek and quiet
spirit; the beauty of the Lord her God was upon her. She had
sympathetically shared her husband's prayers and tears during all the
long trial-time of faith and patience, and partaken of all the joys and
rewards of the triumph hours. Mr. Muller's own witness to her leaves
nothing more to be added, for it is the tribute of him who knew her
longest and best. He writes:

"She was God's own gift, exquisitely suited to me even in natural
temperament. Thousands of times I said to her, 'My darling, God Himself
singled you out for me, as the most suitable wife I could possibly wish
to have had.'"

As to culture, she had a basis of sensible practical education,
surmounted and adorned by ladylike accomplishments which she had neither
time nor inclination to indulge in her married life. Not only was she
skilled in the languages and in such higher studies as astronomy, but in
mathematics also; and this last qualification made her for thirty-four
years an invaluable help to her husband, as month by month she examined
all the account-books, and the hundreds of bills of the matrons of the
orphan houses, and with the eye of an expert detected the least mistake.

All her training and natural fitness indicated a providential adaptation
to her work, like "the round peg in the round hole." Her practical
education in needlework, and her knowledge of the material most
serviceable for various household uses, made her competent to direct
both in the purchase and manufacture of cloths and other fabrics for
garments, bed-linen, etc. She moved about those orphan houses like an
angel of Love, taking unselfish delight in such humble ministries as
preparing neat, clean beds to rest the little ones, and covering them
with warm blankets in cold weather. For the sake of Him who took little
children in His arms, she became to these thousands of destitute orphans
a nursing mother.

Shortly after her death, a letter was received from a believing orphan
some seventeen years before sent out to service, asking, in behalf also
of others formerly in the houses, permission to erect a stone over Mrs.
Muller's grave as an expression of love and grateful remembrance.
Consent being given, hundreds of little offerings came in from orphans
who during the twenty-five years previous had been under her motherly
oversight--a beautiful tribute to her worth and a touching offering from
those who had been to her as her larger family.

The dear daughter Lydia had, two years before Mrs. Muller's departure,
found in one of her mother's pocketbooks a sacred memorandum in her own
writing, which she brought to her bereaved father's notice two days
after his wife had departed. It belongs among the precious relics of her
history. It reads as follows:

"Should it please the Lord to remove M. M. [Mary Muller] by a sudden
dismissal, let none of the beloved survivors consider that it is in the
way of judgment, either to her or to them. She has so often, when
enjoying conscious nearness to the Lord, felt how sweet it would be now
to depart and to be _forever_ with Jesus, that nothing but the shock it
would be to her beloved husband and child, etc. has checked in her the
longing desire that _thus_ her happy spirit might take its flight.
Precious Jesus! Thy will in this as in everything else, and not hers, be
done!"

These words were to Mr. Muller her last legacy; and with the comfort
they gave him, the loving sympathy of his precious Lydia who did all
that a daughter could do to fill a mother's place, and with the
remembrance of Him who hath said, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake
thee,' he went on his lonely pilgrim way, rejoicing in the Lord, feeling
nevertheless a wound in his heart, that seemed rather to deepen than to
heal.

Sixteen months passed, when Mr. James Wright, who like Mr. Muller had
been bereft of his companion, asked of him the hand of the beloved Lydia
in marriage. The request took Mr. Muller wholly by surprise, but he felt
that, to no man living, could he with more joyful confidence commit and
intrust his choicest remaining earthly treasure; and, ever solicitous
for others' happiness rather than his own, he encouraged his daughter to
accept Mr. Wright's proffered love, when she naturally hesitated on her
father's account. On November 16, 1871, they were married, and began a
life of mutual prayer and sympathy which, like that of her father and
mother, proved supremely and almost ideally happy, helpful, and useful.

While as yet this event was only in prospect, Mr. Muller felt his own
lonely condition keenly, and much more in view of his daughter's
expected departure to her husband's home. He felt the need of some one
to share intimately his toils and prayers, and help him in the Lord's
work, and the persuasion grew upon him that it was God's will that he
should marry again. After much prayer, he determined to ask Miss
Susannah Grace Sangar to become his wife, having known her for more than
twenty-five years as a consistent disciple, and believing her to be well
fitted to be his helper in the Lord. Accordingly, fourteen days after
his daughter's marriage to Mr. Wright, he entered into similar relations
with Miss Sangar, who for years after joined him in prayer, unselfish
giving, and labours for souls.

The second Mrs. Muller was of one mind with her husband as to the
stewardship of the Lord's property. He found her poor, for what she had
once possessed she had lost; and had she been rich he would have
regarded her wealth as an obstacle to marriage, unfitting her to be his
companion in a self-denial based on scriptural principle. Riches or
hoarded wealth would have been to both of them a snare, and so she also
felt; so that, having still, before her marriage, a remnant of two
hundred pounds, she at once put it at the Lord's disposal, thus joining
her husband in a life of voluntary poverty; and although subsequent
legacies were paid to her, she continued to the day of her death to be
poor for the Lord's sake.

The question had often been asked Mr. Muller what would become of the
work when he, the master workman, should be removed. Men find it hard to
get their eyes off the instrument, and remember that there is only,
strictly speaking, one AGENT, for an agent is _one who works,_ and an
instrument is what _the agent works with._ Though provision might be
made, in a board of trustees, for carrying on the orphan work, where
would be found the man to take the direction of it, a man whose spirit
was so akin to that of the founder that he would trust in God and depend
on Him just as Mr. Muller had done before him? Such were the inquiries
of the somewhat doubtful or fearful observers of the great and
many-branched work carried on under Mr. Muller's supervision.

To all such questions he had always one answer ready--his one uniform
solution of all cares and perplexities: _the Living God._ He who had
built the orphan houses could maintain them; He who had raised up one
humble man to oversee the work in His name, could provide for a worthy
successor, like Joshua who not only _followed_ but _succeeded_ Moses.
Jehovah of hosts is not limited in resources.

Nevertheless much prayer was offered that the Lord would provide such a
successor, and, in Mr. James Wright, the prayer was answered. He was not
chosen, as Mr. Muller's son-in-law, for the choice was made before his
marriage to Lydia Muller was even thought of by him. For more than
thirty years, even from his boyhood, Mr. Wright had been well known to
Mr. Muller, and his growth in the things of God had been watched by him.
For thirteen years he had already been his "right hand" in all most
important matters; and, for nearly all of that time, had been held up
before God as his successor, in the prayers of Mr. and Mrs. Muller, both
of whom felt divinely assured that God would fit him more and more to
take the entire burden of responsibility.

When, in 1870, the wife fell asleep in Jesus, and Mr. Muller was himself
ill, he opened his heart to Mr. Wright as to the succession. Humility
led him to shrink from such a post, and his then wife feared it would
prove too burdensome for him; but all objections were overborne when it
was seen and felt to be God's call. It was twenty-one months after this,
when, in November, 1871, Mr. Wright was married to Mr. Muller's only
daughter and child, so that it is quite apparent that he had neither
sought the position he now occupies, nor was he appointed to it because
he was Mr. Muller's son-in-law, for, at that time, his first wife was
living and in health. From May, 1872, therefore, Mr. Wright _shared_
with his father-in-law the responsibilities of the Institution, and gave
him great joy as a partner and successor in full sympathy with all the
great principles on which his work had been based.

A little over three years after Mr. Muller's second marriage, in March,
1874, Mrs. Muller was taken ill, and became, two days later, feverish
and restless, and after about two weeks was attacked with hemorrhage
which brought her also very near to the gates of death. She rallied; but
fever and delirium followed and obstinate sleeplessness, till, for a
second time, she seemed at the point of death. Indeed so low was her
vitality that, as late as April 17th, a most experienced London
physician said that he had never known any patient to recover from such
an illness; and thus a third time all human hope of restoration seemed
gone. And yet, in answer to prayer, Mrs. Muller was raised up, and in
the end of May, was taken to the seaside for change of air, and grew
rapidly stronger until she was entirely restored. Thus the Lord spared
her to be the companion of her husband in those years of missionary
touring which enabled him to bear such worldwide witness. Out of the
shadow of his griefs this beloved man of God ever came to find that
divine refreshment which is as the "shadow of a great rock in a weary
land."


CHAPTER XVII

THE PERIOD OF WORLD-WIDE WITNESS

GOD'S real answers to prayer are often seeming denials. Beneath the
outward request He hears the voice of the inward desire, and He responds
to the mind of the Spirit rather than to the imperfect and perhaps
mistaken words in which the yearning seeks expression. Moreover, His
infinite wisdom sees that a larger blessing may be ours only by the
withholding of the lesser good which we seek; and so all true prayer
trusts Him to give His own answer, not in our way or time, or even to
our own expressed desire, but rather to His own unutterable groaning
within us which He can interpret better than we.

Monica, mother of Augustine, pleaded with God that her dissolute son
might not go to Rome, that sink of iniquity; but he was permitted to go,
and thus came into contact with Ambrose, bishop of Milan, through whom
he was converted. God fulfilled the mother's _desire_ while denying her
_request._

When George Muller, five times within the first eight years after
conversion, had offered himself as a missionary, God had blocked his
way; now, at sixty-five, He was about to permit him, in a sense he had
never dreamed of, to be a missionary to the world. From the beginning of
his ministry he had been more or less an itinerant, spending no little
time in wanderings about in Britain and on the Continent; but now he was
to go to the regions beyond and spend the major part of seventeen years
in witnessing to the prayer-hearing God.

These extensive missionary tours occupied the evening of Mr. Muller's
useful life, from 1875 to 1892. They reached, more or less, over Europe,
America, Asia, Africa, and Australia; and would of themselves have
sufficed for the work of an ordinary life.

They had a singular suggestion. While, in 1874, compelled by Mrs.
Muller's health to seek a change of air, he was preaching in the Isle of
Wight, and a beloved Christian brother for whom he had spoken, himself a
man of much experience in preaching, told him how 'that day had been the
happiest of his whole life'; and this remark, with others like it
previously made, so impressed him that the Lord was about to use him to
help on believers outside of Bristol, that he determined no longer to
confine his labours in the Word and doctrine to any one place, but to go
wherever a door might open for his testimony.

In weighing this question he was impressed with seven reasons or
motives, which led to these tours:

1. To _preach the gospel_ in its simplicity, and especially to show how
salvation is based, not upon feelings or even upon faith, but upon the
finished work of Christ; that justification is ours the moment we
believe, and we are to accept and claim our place as accepted in the
Beloved without regard to our inward states of feeling or emotion.

2. To _lead believers to know their saved state,_ and to realize their
standing in Christ, great numbers not only of disciples, but even
preachers and pastors, being themselves destitute of any real peace and
joy in the Lord, and hence unable to lead others into joy and peace.

3. To _bring believers back to the Scriptures,_ to search the Word and
find its hidden treasures; to test everything by this divine touchstone
and hold fast only what will stand this test; to make it the daily
subject of meditative and prayerful examination in order to translate it
into daily obedience.

4. To _promote among all true believers, brotherly love;_ to lead them
to make less of those non-essentials in which disciples differ, and to
make more of those great essential and foundation truths in which all
true believers are united; to help all who love and trust one Lord to
rise above narrow sectarian prejudices, and barriers to fellowship.

5. To _strengthen the faith of believers,_ encouraging a simpler trust,
and a more real and unwavering confidence in God, and particularly in
the sure answers to believing prayer, based upon His definite promises.

6. To _promote separation from the world_ and deadness to it, and so to
increase heavenly-mindedness in children of God; at the same time
warning against fanatical extremes and extravagances, such as sinless
perfection while in the flesh.

7. And finally to _fix the hope of disciples on the blessed coming of
our Lord Jesus;_ and, in connection therewith, to instruct them as to
the true character and object of the present dispensation, and the
relation of the church to the world in this period of the out-gathering
of the Bride of Christ.

These seven objects may be briefly epitomized thus: Mr. Muller's aim was
to lead sinners to believe on the name of the Son of God, and so to
_have eternal life;_ to help those who have thus believed, to _know_
that they have this life; to teach them so to _build up_ themselves on
their most holy faith, by diligent searching into the word of God, and
praying in the Holy Ghost, as that this life shall be more and more a
real possession and a conscious possession; to promote among all
disciples the _unity of the Spirit_ and the _charity_ which is the bond
of perfectness, and to help them to exhibit that life before the world;
to incite them to cultivate an _unworldly and spiritual type of
character_ such as conforms to the life of God in them; to lead them to
the _prayer of faith_ which is both the expression and the expansion of
the life of faith; and to direct their hope to the _final appearing of
the Lord,_ so that they should purify themselves even as He is pure, and
occupy till He comes. Mr. Muller was thus giving himself to the double
work of evangelization and edification, on a scale commensurate with his
love for a dying world, as opportunity afforded doing good unto all men,
and especially to them who are of the household of faith.

Of these long and busy missionary journeys, it is needful to give only
the outline, or general survey. March 263 1875, is an important date,
for it marks the starting-point. He himself calls this "the beginning of
his missionary tours."

From Bristol he went to Brighton, Lewes, and Sunderland--on the way to
Sunderland preaching to a great audience in the Metropolitan Tabernacle,
at Mr. Spurgeon's request--then to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and back to London,
where he spoke at the Mildmay Park Conference, Talbot Road Tabernacle,
and 'Edinburgh Castle.' This tour closed, June 5th, after seventy
addresses in public, during about ten weeks.

Less than six weeks passed, when, on August 14th, the second tour began,
in which case the special impulse that moved him was a desire to follow
up the revival work of Mr. Moody and Mr. Sankey. Their short stay in
each place made them unable to lead on new converts to higher
attainments in knowledge and grace, and there seemed to be a call for
some instruction fitted to confirm these new believers in the life of
obedience. Mr. Muller accordingly followed these evangelists in England,
Ireland, and Scotland, staying in each place from one week to six, and
seeking to educate and edify those who had been led to Christ. Among the
places visited on this errand in 1875, were London; then Kilmarnock,
Saltwater, Dundee, Perth, Glasgow, Kirkentilloch in Scotland, and Dublin
in Ireland; then, returning to England, he went to Leamington, Warwick,
Kenilworth, Coventry, Rugby, etc. In some cases, notably at Mildmay
Park, Dundee and Glasgow, Liverpool and Dublin, the audiences numbered
from two thousand to six thousand, but everywhere rich blessing came
from above. This second tour extended into the new year, 1876, and took
in Liverpool, York, Kendal, Carlisle, Annan, Edinburgh, Arbroath,
Montrose, Aberdeen, and other places; and when it closed in July, having
lasted nearly eleven months, Mr. Muller had preached at least three
hundred and six times, an average of about one sermon a day, exclusive
of days spent in travel. So acceptable and profitable were these labours
that there were over one hundred invitations urged upon him which he was
unable to accept.

The third tour was on the Continent. It occupied most of the year
closing May 26, 1877, and embraced Paris, various places in Switzerland,
Prussia and Holland, Alsace, Wurtemberg, Baden, Hesse Darmstadt, etc.
Altogether over three hundred addresses were given in about seventy
cities and villages to all of which he had been invited by letter. When
this tour closed more than sixty written invitations remained
unaccepted, and Mr. Muller found that, through his work and his
writings, he was as well known in the continental countries visited, as
in England.

Turning now toward America, the fourth tour extended from August, 1877,
to June of the next year. For many years invitations had been coming
with growing frequency, from the United States and Canada; and of late
their urgency led him to recognize in them the call of God, especially
as he thought of the many thousands of Germans across the Atlantic, who
as they heard him speak in their own native tongue would keep the more
silence. (Acts xxii. 2.)

Mr. and Mrs. Muller, landing at Quebec, thence went to the United
States, where, during ten months, his labours stretched over a vast
area, including the States of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, South Carolina,
Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri. Thus having swept
round the Atlantic sea-border, he crossed to the Pacific coast, and
returning visited Salt Lake City in Utah--the very centre and stronghold
of Mormonism--Illinois, Ohio, etc. He spoke frequently to large
congregations of Germans, and, in the Southern States, to the coloured
population; but he regarded no opportunity for service afforded him on
this tour as so inspiring as the repeated meetings with and for
ministers, evangelists, pastors, and Christian workers; and, next to
them in importance, his interviews with large bodies of students and
professors in the universities, colleges, theological seminaries, and
other higher schools of education. To cast the salt of the gospel into
the very springs of social influence, the sources whence power flows,
was to him a most sacred privilege. His singular catholicity, charity,
and humility drew to him even those who differed with him, and all
denominations of Christians united in giving him access to the people.
During this tour he spoke three hundred times, and travelled nearly ten
thousand miles; over one hundred invitations being declined, for simple
lack of time and strength.

After a stay in Bristol of about two months, on September 5, 1878, he
and his wife began the fifth of these missionary tours. In this case, it
was on the Continent, where he ministered in English, German, and
French; and in Spain and Italy, when these tongues were not available,
his addresses were through an interpreter. Many open doors the Lord set
before him, not only to the poorer and humbler classes, but to those in
the middle and higher ranks. In the Riviera, he had access to many of
the nobility and aristocracy, who from different countries sought health
and rest in the equable climate of the Mediterranean, and at Mentone he
and Mr. Spurgeon held sweet converse. In Spain Mr. Muller was greatly
gladdened by seeing for himself the schools, entirely supported by the
funds of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, and by finding that, in
hundreds of cases, even popish parents so greatly valued these schools
that they continued to send their children, despite both the threats and
persuasions of the Romish priests. He found, moreover, that the pupils
frequently at their homes read to their parents the word of God and sang
to them the gospel hymns learned at these schools, so that the influence
exerted was not bounded by its apparent horizon, as diffused or
refracted sunlight reaches with its illumining rays far beyond the
visible track of the orb of day.

The work had to contend with governmental opposition. When a place was
first opened at Madrid for gospel services, a sign was placed outside,
announcing the fact. Official orders were issued that the sign should be
painted over, so as to obliterate the inscription. The painter of the
sign, unwilling both to undo his own work and to hinder the work of God,
painted the sign over with water-colours, which would leave the original
announcement half visible, and would soon be washed off by the rains;
whereupon the government sent its own workman to daub the sign over with
thick oil-colour.

Mr. Muller, ready to preach the gospel to those at Rome also, felt his
spirit saddened and stirred within him, as he saw that city wholly given
to idolatry--not pagan but papal idolatry--the Rome not of the Caesars,
but of the popes. While at Naples he ascended Vesuvius. Those masses of
lava, which seemed greater in bulk than the mountain itself, more
impressed him with the power of God than anything else he had ever seen.
As he looked upon that smoking cone, and thought of the liquid death it
had vomited forth, he said within himself, "What cannot God do!" He had
before felt somewhat of His Almightiness in love and grace, but he now
saw its manifestation in judgment and wrath. His visit to the Vaudois
valleys, where so many martyrs had suffered banishment and imprisonment,
loss of goods and loss of life for Jesus' sake, moved him to the depths
of his being and stimulated in him the martyr spirit.

When he arrived again in Bristol, June 18, 1879, he had been absent nine
months and twelve days, and preached two hundred and eighty-six times
and in forty-six towns and cities. After another ten weeks in Bristol,
he and his wife sailed again for America, the last week of August, 1879,
landing at New York the first week in September. This visit took in the
States lying between the Atlantic Ocean and the valley of the
Mississippi--New York and New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and
Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota--and, from London and Hamilton to
Quebec, Canada also shared the blessing. This visit covered only two
hundred and seventy-two days, but he preached three hundred times, and
in over forty cities. Over one hundred and fifty written invitations
still remained without response, and the number increased the longer his
stay. Mr. Muller therefore assuredly gathered that the Lord called him
to return to America, after another brief stay at Bristol, where he felt
it needful to spend a season annually, to keep in close touch with the
work at home and relieve Mr. and Mrs. Wright of their heavy
responsibilities, for a time.

Accordingly on September 15, 1880, again turning from Bristol, these
travellers embarked the next day on their seventh mission tour, landing,
ten days later, at Quebec. Mr. Muller had a natural antipathy to the
sea, in his earlier crossing to the Continent having suffered much from
sea-sickness; but he had undertaken these long voyages, not for his own
pleasure or profit, but wholly on God's errand; and he felt it to be a
peculiar mark of the loving-kindness of the Lord that, while he was
ready to endure any discomfort, or risk his life for His sake, he had
not in his six crossings of the Atlantic suffered in the least, and on
this particular voyage was wholly free from any indisposition.

From Quebec he went to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
and Pennsylvania. Among other places of special interest were Boston,
Plymouth--the landing-place of the Pilgrims,--Wellesley and South Hadley
colleges--the great schools for woman's higher education,--and the
centres farther westward, where he had such wide access to Germans. This
tour extended over a smaller area than before, and lasted but eight
months; but the impression on the people was deep and permanent. He had
spoken about two hundred and fifty times in all; and Mrs. Muller had
availed herself of many opportunities of personal dealing with
inquirers, and of distributing books and tracts among both believers and
unbelievers. She had also written for her husband more than seven
hundred letters,--this of itself being no light task, inasmuch as it
reaches an average of about three a day. On May 30, 1881, they were
again on British shores.

The eighth long preaching tour, from August 23, 1881, to May 30, 1882,
was given to the Continent of Europe, where again Mr. Muller felt led by
the low state of religious life in Switzerland and Germany.

This visit was extended to the Holy Land in a way strikingly
providential. After speaking at Alexandria, Cairo, and Port Said, he
went to Jaffa, and thence to Jerusalem, on November 28. With reverent
feet he touched the soil once trodden by the feet of the Son of God,
visiting, with pathetic interest, Gethsemane and Golgotha, and crossing
the Mount of Olives to Bethany, thence to Bethlehem and back to Jaffa,
and so to Haipha, Mt. Carmel, and Beirut, Smyrna, Ephesus,
Constantinople, Athens, Brindisi, Rome, and Florence. Again were months
crowded with services of all sorts whose fruit will appear only in the
Day of the Lord Jesus, addresses being made in English, German, and
French, or by translation into Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, and modern
Greek. Sightseeing was always but incidental to the higher service of
the Master. During this eighth tour, covering some eight months, Mr.
Muller spoke hundreds of times, with all the former tokens of God's
blessing on his seed-sowing.

The _ninth_ tour, from August 8, 1882, to June 1, 1883, was occupied
with labours in Germany, Austria, and Russia, including Bavaria,
Hungary, Bohemia, Saxony, and Poland. His special joy it was to bear
witness in Kroppenstadt, his birthplace, after an absence of about
sixty-four years. At St. Petersburg, while the guest of Princess Lieven,
at her mansion he met and ministered to many of high rank; he also began
to hold meetings in the house of Colonel Paschkoff, who had suffered not
only persecution but exile for the Lord's sake. While the Scriptures
were being read one day in Buss, with seven poor Russians, a policeman
summarily broke up the meeting and dispersed the little company. At Lodz
in Poland, a letter was received, in behalf of almost the whole
population begging him to remain longer; and so signs seemed to
multiply, as he went forward, that he was in the path of duty and that
God was with him.

On September 26, 1883, the _tenth_ tour began, this time his face being
turned toward the Orient. Nearly sixty years before he had desired to go
to the East Indies as a missionary; now the Lord permitted him to carry
out the desire in a new and strange way, and _India_ was the
twenty-third country visited in his tours. He travelled over 21,000
miles, and spoke over two hundred times, to missionaries and Christian
workers, European residents, Eurasians, Hindus, Moslems, educated
natives, native boys and girls in the orphanage at Colar, etc. Thus, in
his seventy-ninth year, this servant of God was still in labours
abundant, and in all his work conspicuously blessed of God.

After some months of preaching in England, Scotland, and Wales, on
November 19, 1885, he and his wife set out on their fourth visit to the
United States, and their _eleventh longer mission tour._ Crossing to the
Pacific, they went to Sydney, New South Wales, and, after seven months
in Australia, sailed for Java, and thence to China, arriving at Hong
Kong, September 12th; Japan and the Straits of Malacca were also
included in this visit to the Orient. The return to England was by way
of Nice; and, after travelling nearly 38,000 miles, in good health Mr.
and Mrs. Muller reached home on June 14, 1887, having been absent more
than one year and seven months, during which Mr. Muller had preached
whenever and wherever opportunity was afforded.

Less than two months later, on August 12, 1887, he sailed for South
Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Ceylon, and India. This twelfth long
tour closed in March, 1890, having covered thousands of miles. The
intense heat at one time compelled Mr. Muller to leave Calcutta, and on
the railway journey to Darjeeling his wife feared he would die. But he
was mercifully spared.

It was on this tour and in the month of January, 1890, while at
Jubbulpore, preaching with great help from the Lord, that a letter was
put into Mr. Muller's hands, from a missionary at Agra, to whom Mr.
Wright had sent a telegram, informing his father-in-law of his dear
Lydia's death. For nearly thirty years she had laboured gratuitously at
the orphan houses and it would he difficult to fill that vacancy; but
for fourteen years she had been her husband's almost ideal companion,
and for nearly fifty-eight years her father's unspeakable treasure--and
here were two other voids which could never be filled. But Mr. Muller's
heart, as also Mr. Wright's, was kept at rest by the strong confidence
that, however mysterious God's ways, all His dealings belong to one
harmonious spiritual mechanism in which every part is perfect and all
things work together for good. (Romans viii. 28.)

This sudden bereavement led Mr. Muller to bring his mission tour in the
East to a close and depart for Bristol, that he might both comfort Mr.
Wright and relieve him of undue pressure of work.

After a lapse of two months, once more Mr. and Mrs. Muller left home for
other extensive missionary journeys. They went to the Continent and were
absent from July, 1890, to May, 1892. A twelvemonth was spent in Germany
and Holland, Austria and Italy. This absence in fact included two tours,
with no interval between them, and concluded the series of extensive
journeys reaching through seventeen years.

This man--from his seventieth to his eighty-seventh year--when most men
are withdrawing from all activities, had travelled in forty-two
countries and over two hundred thousand miles, a distance equivalent to
nearly eight journeys round the globe! He estimated that during these
seventeen years he had addressed over three million people; and from all
that can be gathered from the records of these tours, we estimate that
he must have spoken, outside of Bristol, between five thousand and six
thousand times. What sort of teaching and testimony occupied these
tours, those who have known the preacher and teacher need not be told.
While at Berlin in 1891, he gave an address that serves as an example of
the vital truths which he was wont to press on the attention of fellow
disciples. We give a brief outline:

He first urged that believers should never, even under the greatest
difficulties, be discouraged, and gave for his position sound scriptural
reasons. Then he pointed out to them that the chief business of every
day is first of all to seek to be truly at rest and happy in God. Then
he showed how, from the word of God, all saved believers may know their
true standing in Christ, and how in circumstances of particular
perplexity they might ascertain the will of God. He then urged disciples
to seek with intense earnestness to become acquainted with God Himself
as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and carefully to form and maintain
godly habits of systematic Bible study and prayer, holy living and
consecrated giving. He taught that God alone is the one all-satisfying
portion of the soul, and that we must determine to possess and enjoy Him
as such. He closed by emphasizing it as the one, single, all-absorbing,
daily aim to glorify God in a complete surrender to His will and
service.

In all these mission tours, again, the faithfulness of God
conspicuously seen, in the bounteous supply of every need. Steamer fares
and long railway journeys; hotel accommodations, ordinarily preferred to
private hospitality, which seriously interfered with private habits of
devotion, public work, and proper rest--such expenses demanded a heavy
outlay; the new mode of life, now adopted for the Lord's sake, was at
least three times as costly as the former frugal housekeeping; and yet,
in answer to prayer and without any appeal to human help, the Lord
furnished all that was required.

Accustomed to look, step by step, for such tokens of divine approval, as
emboldened him to go forward, Mr. Muller records how, when one hundred
pounds was sent to him for personal uses, this was recognized as a
foretoken from his great Provider, "by which," he writes, "God meant to
say to my own heart, 'I am pleased with thy work and service in going
about on these long missionary tours. I will pay the expenses thereof,
and I give thee here a specimen of what I am yet willing to do for
thee.'"

Two other facts Mr. Muller specially records in connection with these
tours: first, God's gracious guiding and guarding of the work at Bristol
so that it suffered nothing from his absence; and secondly, the fact
that these journeys had no connection with collecting of money for the
work or even informing the public of it. No reference was made to the
Institution at Bristol, except when urgently requested, and not always
even then; nor were collections ever made for it. Statements found their
way into the press that in America large sums were gathered, but their
falsity is sufficiently shown by the fact that in his first tour in
America, for example, the sum total of all such gifts was less than
sixty pounds, not more than two thirds of the outlay of every day at the
orphan houses.

These missionary tours were not always approved even by the friends and
advisers of Mr. Muller. In 1882, while experiencing no little difficulty
and trial, especially as to funds, there were not a few who felt a deep
interest in the Institution on Ashley Down, who would have had God's
servant discontinue his long absences, as to them it appeared that these
were the main reason for the falling off in funds. He was always open to
counsel, but he always reserved to himself an independent decision; and,
on weighing the matter well, these were some of the reasons that led him
to think that the work of God at home did not demand his personal
presence:

1. He had observed year after year that, under the godly and efficient
supervision of Mr. Wright and his large staff of helpers, every branch
of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution had been found as healthy and
fruitful during these absences as when Mr. Muller was in Bristol.

2. The Lord's approval of this work of wider witness had been in manner
conclusive and in measure abundant, as in the ample supply of funds for
these tours, in the wide doors of access opened, and in the large fruit
already evident in blessing to thousands of souls.

3. The strong impression upon his mind that this was the work which was
to occupy the 'evening of his life,' grew in depth, and was confirmed by
so many signs of God's leading that he could not doubt that he was led
both of God's providence and Spirit.

4. Even while absent, he was never out of communication with the helpers
at home. Generally he heard at least weekly from Mr. Wright, and any
matters needing his counsel were thus submitted to him by letter; prayer
to God was as effectual at a distance from Bristol as on the spot; and
his periodical returns to that city for some weeks or months between
these tours kept him in close touch with every department of the work.

5. The supreme consideration, however, was this: To suppose it necessary
for Mr. Muller himself to be at home _in order that sufficient means
should be supplied,_ was a direct contradiction of the very principles
upon which, and to maintain which, the whole work had been begun. _Real
trust in God is above circumstances and appearances._ And this had been
proven; for, during the third year after these tours began, the income
for the various departments of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution was
larger than ever during the preceding forty-four years of its existence;
and therefore, notwithstanding the loving counsel of a few donors and
friends who advised that Mr. Muller should stay at home, he kept to his
purpose and his principles, partly to demonstrate that no man's presence
is indispensable to the work of the Lord. "Them that honour Me I will
honour." (1 Samuel ii. 39.) He regarded it the greatest honour of his
life to bear this wide witness to God, and God correspondingly honoured
His servant in bearing this testimony.

It was during the first and second of these American tours that the
writer had the privilege of coming into personal contact with Mr.
Muller. While I was at San Francisco, in 1878, he was to speak on
Sabbath afternoon, May 12th, at Oakland, just across the bay, but
conscientious objections to needless Sunday travel caused me voluntarily
to lose what then seemed the only chance of seeing and hearing a man
whose career had been watched by me for over twenty years, as he was to
leave for the East a few days earlier than myself and was likely to be
always a little in advance. On reaching Ogden, however, where the branch
road from Salt Lake City joins the main line, Mr. and Mrs. Muller
boarded my train and we travelled to Chicago together. I introduced
myself, and held with him daily converse about divine things, and, while
tarrying at Chicago, had numerous opportunities for hearing him speak
there.

The results of this close and frequent contact were singularly blessed
to me, and at my invitation he came to Detroit, Michigan, in his next
tour, and spoke in the Fort Street Presbyterian Church, of which I was
pastor, on Sundays, January 18 and 25, 1880, and on Monday and Friday
evenings, in the interval.

In addition to these numerous and favourable opportunities thus
providentially afforded for hearing and conversing with Mr. Muller, he
kindly met me for several days in my study, for an hour at a time, for
conference upon those deeper truths of the word of God and deeper
experiences of the Christian life, upon which I was then very desirous
of more light. For example, I desired to understand more clearly the
Bible teaching about the Lord's coming. I had opposed with much
persistency what is known as the premillennial view, and brought out my
objections, to all of which he made one reply: "My beloved brother, I
have heard all your arguments and objections against this view, but they
have one fatal defect: _not one of them is based upon the word of God._
You will never get at the truth upon any matter of divine revelation
unless you lay aside your prejudices and like a little child ask simply
what is the testimony of Scripture."

With patience and wisdom he unravelled the tangled skein of my
perplexity and difficulty, and helped me to settle upon biblical
principles all matters of so-called expediency. As he left me, about to
visit other cities, his words fixed themselves in my memory. I had
expressed to him my growing conviction that the worship in the churches
had lost its primitive simplicity; that the pew-rent system was
pernicious; that fixed salaries for ministers of the gospel were
unscriptural; that the church of God should be administered only by men
full of the Holy Ghost, and that the duty of Christians to the
non-church-going masses was grossly neglected, etc. He solemnly said to
me: "My beloved brother, the Lord has given you much light upon these
matters, and will hold you correspondingly responsible for its use. If
you obey Him and walk in the light, you will have more; if not, the
light will be withdrawn."

It is a singular lesson on the importance of an anointed tongue, that
forty simple words, spoken over twenty years ago, have had a daily
influence on the life of him to whom they were spoken. Amid subtle
temptations to compromise the claims of duty and hush the voice of
conscience, or of the Spirit of God, and to follow the traditions of men
rather than the word of God, those words of that venerated servant of
God have recurred to mind with ever fresh force. We risk the forfeiture
of privileges which are not employed for God, and of obscuring
convictions which are not carried into action. God's word to us is _"use
or lose."_ "To him that hath shall be given: from him that hath not
shall be taken away even that which he seemeth to have." It is the hope
and the prayer of him who writes this memoir that the reading of these
pages may prove to be an interview with the man whose memorial they are,
and that the witness borne by George Muller may be to many readers a
source of untold and lifelong blessing.

It need not be said that to carry out conviction into action is a costly
sacrifice. It may make necessary renunciations and separations which
leave one to feel a strange sense both of deprivation and loneliness.
But he who will fly as an eagle does into the higher levels where
cloudless day abides, and live in the sunshine of God, must consent to
live a comparatively lonely life. No bird is so solitary as the eagle.
Eagles never fly in flocks: one, or at most two, and the two, mates,
being ever seen at once. But the life that is lived unto God, however it
forfeits human companionship, knows divine fellowship, and the child of
God who like his Master undertakes to "do always the things that please
Him," can like his Master say, "The Father hath not left me alone." "I
am alone; yet not alone, for the Father is with me." Whosoever will
promptly follow whatever light God gives, without regard to human
opinion, custom, tradition, or approbation, will learn the deep meaning
of these words: "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord."


CHAPTER XVIII

FAITH AND PATIENCE IN SERVING

QUANTITY of service is of far less importance than quality. To do well,
rather than to do much, will be the motto of him whose main purpose is
to please God. Our Lord bade His disciples tarry until endued with power
from on high, because it is such enduement that gives to all witness and
work the celestial savour and flavour of the Spirit.

Before we come to the closing scenes, we may well look back over the
life-work of George Muller, which happily illustrates both quantity and
quality of service. It may be doubted whether any other one man of this
century accomplished as much for God and man, and yet all the abundant
offerings which he brought to his Master were characterized by a
heavenly fragrance.

The orphan work was but one branch of that tree--the Scriptural
Knowledge Institution--which owed its existence to the fact that its
founder devised large and liberal things for the Lord's cause. He sought
to establish or at least to aid Christian schools wherever needful, to
scatter Bibles and Testaments, Christian books and tracts; to aid
missionaries who were witnessing to the truth and working on a
scriptural basis in destitute parts; and though each of these objects
might well have engrossed his mind, they were all combined in the
many-sided work which his love for souls suggested.

An aggressive spirit is never content with what has been done, but is
prompt to enter any new door that is providentially opened. When the
Paris Exposition of 1867 offered such rare opportunities, both for
preaching to the crowds passing through the French capital, and for
circulating among them the Holy Scriptures, he gladly availed himself of
the services of two brethren whom God had sent to labour there, one of
whom spoke three, and the other, eight, modern languages; and through
them were circulated, chiefly at the Exposition, and in thirteen
different languages, nearly twelve thousand copies of the word of God,
or portions of the same. It has been estimated that at this
International Exhibition there were distributed in all over one and a
quarter million Bibles, in sixteen tongues, which were gratefully
accepted, even by Romish priests. Within six months those who thus
entered God's open door scattered more copies of the Book of God than in
ordinary circumstances would have been done by ten thousand colporteurs
in twenty times that number of months, and thousands of souls are known
to have found salvation by the simple reading of the New Testament. Of
this glorious work, George Muller was permitted to be so largely a
promoter.

At the Havre Exhibition of the following year, 1868, a similar work was
done; and in like manner, when a providential door was unexpectedly
opened into the Land of the Inquisition, Mr. Muller promptly took
measures to promote the circulation of the Word in Spain. In the
streets of Madrid the open Bible was seen for the first time, and
copies were sold at the rate of two hundred and fifty in an hour, so
that the supply was not equal to the demand. The same facts were
substantially repeated when free Italy furnished a field for sowing the
seed of the Kingdom. This wide-awake servant of God watched the signs of
the times and, while others slept, followed the Lord's signals of
advance.

One of the most fascinating features of the Narrative is found in the
letters from his Bible distributors. It is interesting also to trace the
story of the growth of the tract enterprise, until, in 1874, the
circulation exceeded three and three-quarter millions, God in His
faithfulness supplying abundant means.*

* Narrative, IV. 244.

The good thus effected by the distributors of evangelical literature
must not be overlooked in this survey of the many useful agencies
employed or assisted by Mr. Muller. To him the world was a field to be
sown with the seed of the Kingdom, and opportunities were eagerly
embraced for widely disseminating the truth. Tracts were liberally used,
given away in large quantities at open-air services, fairs, races and
steeplechases, and among spectators at public executions, or among
passengers on board ships and railway trains, and by the way. Sometimes,
at a single gathering of the multitudes, fifteen thousand were
distributed judiciously and prayerfully, and this branch of the work
has, during all these years, continued with undiminished fruitfulness to
yield its harvest of good.

All this was, from first to last, and of necessity, a work of faith. How
far faith must have been kept in constant and vigorous exercise can be
appreciated only by putting one's self in Mr. Muller's place. In the
year 1874, for instance, about forty-four thousand pounds were needed,
and he was compelled to count the cost and face the situation. Two
thousand and one hundred hungry mouths were daily to be fed, and as many
bodies to be clad and cared for. One hundred and eighty-nine
missionaries were needing assistance; one hundred schools, with about
nine thousand pupils, to be supported; four million pages of tracts and
tens of thousands of copies of the Scriptures to be yearly provided for
distribution; and, beside all these ordinary expenses, inevitable crises
or emergencies, always liable to arise in connection with the conduct of
such extensive enterprises, would from time to time call for
extraordinary outlay. The man who was at the head of the Scriptural
Knowledge Institution had to look at this array of unavoidable expenses,
and at the same time face the human possibility and probability of an
empty treasury whence the last shilling had been drawn. Let him tell us
how he met such a prospect: "God, our infinitely rich Treasurer, remains
to us. It is this which gives me peace.... Invariably, with this
probability before me, I have said to myself: 'God who has raised up
this work through me; God who has led me generally year after year to
enlarge it; God, who has supported this work now for more than forty
years, will still help and will not suffer me to be confounded, because
I rely upon Him. I commit the whole work to Him, and He will provide me
with what I need, in future also, though I know not whence the means are
to come.'"*

* Narrative, IV. 386, 387.

Thus he wrote in his journal, on July 28, 1874. Since then twenty-four
years have passed, and to this day the work goes on, though he who then
had the guidance of it sleeps in Jesus. Whoever has had any such
dealings with God, on however small a scale, cannot even _think_ of the
Lord as failing to honour a faith so simple, genuine, and childlike a
faith which leads a helpless believer thus to cast himself and all his
cares upon God with utter abandonment of all anxiety. This man put God
to proof, and proved to himself and to all who receive his testimony
that it is blessed to wait only upon Him. The particular point which he
had in view, in making these entries in his journal is the object also
of embodying them in these pages, namely, to show that, while the annual
expenses of this Institution were so exceedingly large and the income so
apparently uncertain, the soul of this believer was, to use his own
words, "THROUGHOUT, without the least wavering, stayed upon God,
believing that He who had through him begun the Institution, enlarged it
almost year after year, and upheld it for forty years in answer to
prayer by faith, would do this still and not suffer this servant of His
to be confounded."* Believing that God would still help, and supply the
means, George Muller was willing, and THOROUGHLY in heart prepared, if
necessary, to pass again through similar severe and prolonged seasons of
trial as he had already endured.

* Narrative, IV. 389.

The Living God had kept him calm and restful, amid all the ups and downs
of his long experience as the superintendent and director of this
many-sided work, though the tests of faith had not been light or short
of duration. For more than ten years at a time--as from August, 1838, to
April, 1849, day by day, and for months together from meal to meal--it
was necessary to look to God, almost without cessation, for daily
supplies. When, later on, the Institution was twentyfold larger and the
needs proportionately greater, for months at a time the Lord likewise
constrained His servant to lean from hour to hour, in the same
dependence, upon Him. All along through these periods of unceasing want,
the Eternal God was his refuge and underneath were the Everlasting Arms.
He reflected that God was aware of all this enlargement of the work and
its needs; he comforted himself with the consoling thought that he was
seeking his Master's glory; and that if in this way the greater glory
would accrue to Him for the good of His people and of those who were
still unbelievers, it was no concern of the servant; nay, more than
this, it behooved the servant to be willing to go on in this path of
trial, even unto the end of his course, if so it should please his
Master, who guides His affairs with divine discretion.

The trials of faith did not cease even until the end. July 28, 1881,
finds the following entry in Mr. Muller's journal:

"The income has been for some time past only about a third part of the
expenses. Consequently all we have for the support of the orphans is
nearly gone; and for the first four objects of the Institution we have
nothing at all in hand. The natural appearance now is that the work
cannot be carried on. But I BELIEVE that the Lord will help, both with
means for the orphans and also for other objects of the Institution, and
that we shall not be confounded; also that the work shall not need to be
given up. I am fully expecting help, and have written this to the glory
of God, that it may be recorded hereafter for the encouragement of His
children. The result will be seen. I expect that we shall not be
confounded, though for some years we have not been so poor."

While faith thus leaned on God, prayer took more vigorous hold. Six,
seven, eight times a day, he and his dear wife were praying for means,
looking for answers, and firmly persuaded that their expectations would
not be disappointed. Since that entry was made, seventeen more years
have borne their witness that this trust was not put to shame. Not a
branch of this tree of holy enterprise has been cut off by the sharp
blade of a stern necessity.

Though faith had thus tenaciously held fast to the promises, the
pressure was not at once relieved. When, a fortnight after these
confident records of trust in God had been spread on the pages of the
journal, the balance for the orphans was less than it had been for
twenty-five years, it would have seemed to human sight as though God had
forgotten to be gracious. But, on August 22nd, over one thousand pounds
came in for the support of the orphans and thus relief was afforded for
a time.

Again, let us bear in mind how in the most unprecedented straits God
alone was made the confidant, even the best friends of the Institution,
alike the poor and the rich, being left in ignorance of the pressure of
want. It would have been no sin to have made known the circumstances, or
even to have made an appeal for aid to the many believers who would
gladly have come to the relief of the work. But the _testimony to the
Lord_ was to be jealously guarded, and the main object of this work of
faith would have been imperilled just so far as by any appeal to men
this witness to God was weakened.

In this crisis, and in every other, faith triumphed, and so the
testimony to a prayer-hearing God grew in volume and power as the years
went on. It was while as yet this period of testing was not ended, and
no permanent relief was yet supplied, that Mr. Muller, with his wife,
left Bristol on August 23rd, for the Continent, on his eighth long
preaching tour. Thus, at a time when, to the natural eye, his own
presence would have seemed well-nigh indispensable, he calmly departed
for other spheres of duty, leaving the work at home in the hands of Mr.
Wright and his helpers. The tour had been already arranged for, under
God's leading, and it was undertaken, with the supporting power of a
deep conviction that God is as near to those who in prayer wait on Him
in distant lands, as on Ashley Down, and needs not the personal presence
of any man in any one place, or at any time, in order to carry on His
work.

In an American city, a half-idiotic boy who was bearing a heavy burden
asked a drayman, who was driving an empty cart, for a ride. Being
permitted, he mounted the cart with his basket, but thinking he might so
relieve the horse a little, while still himself riding, lifted his load
and carried it. We laugh at the simplicity of the idiotic lad, and yet
how often we are guilty of similar folly! We profess to cast ourselves
and our cares upon the Lord, and then persist in bearing our own
burdens, as if we felt that He would be unequal to the task of
sustaining us and our loads. It is a most wholesome lesson for Christian
workers to learn that all true work is primarily the Lord's, and only
secondarily ours, and that therefore all 'carefulness' on our part is
distrust of Him, implying a sinful self-conceit which overlooks the fact
that He is the one Worker and all others are only His instruments.

As to our trials, difficulties, losses, and disappointments, we are
prone to hesitate about committing them to the Lord, trustfully and
calmly. We think we have done well if we take refuge in the Lord's
promise to his reluctant disciple Peter, "What I do thou knowest not
now, but thou shalt know hereafter," referring this 'hereafter' to the
future state where we look for the solution of all problems. In Peter's
case the hereafter appears to have come when the feet-washing was done
and Christ explained its meaning; and it is very helpful to our faith to
observe Mr. Muller's witness concerning all these trying and
disappointing experiences of his life, that, without one exception, he
had found already in this life that they worked together for his good;
so that he had reason to praise God for them all. In the ninetieth psalm
we read:

    "Make us glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us
     And the years wherein we have seen evil."
                                        (Psalm xc. 15.)

This is an inspired prayer, and such prayer is a prophecy. Not a few
saints have found, this side of heaven, a divine gladness for every year
and day of sadness, when their afflictions and adversities have been
patiently borne.

Faith is the secret of both peace and steadfastness, amid all tendencies
to discouragement and discontinuance in well-doing. James was led by the
Spirit of God to write that the unstable and unbelieving man is like the
"wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." There are two motions
of the waves--one up and down, which we call undulation, the other to
and fro, which we call fluctuation. How appropriately both are referred
to--"tossed" up and down, "driven" to and fro! The double-minded man
lacks steadiness in both respects: his faith has no uniformity of
experience, for he is now at the crest of the wave and now in the trough
of the sea; it has no uniformity of progress, for whatever he gains
to-day he loses to-morrow.

Fluctuations in income and apparent prosperity did not take George
Muller by surprise. He expected them, for if there were no crises and
critical emergencies how could there be critical deliverances? His trust
was in God, not in donors or human friends or worldly circumstances: and
because he trusted in the Living God who says of Himself, "I am the
Lord, I change not," amid all other changes, his feet were upon the one
Rock of Ages that no earthquake shock can move from its eternal
foundations.

Two facts Mr. Muller gratefully records at this period of his life:
(Narrative, IV. 411, 418.)

First. "For above fifty years I have now walked, by His grace, in a path
of complete reliance upon Him who is the faithful one, for everything I
have needed; and yet I am increasingly convinced that it is by His help
alone I am enabled to continue in this course; for, if left to myself,
even after the precious enjoyment so long experienced of walking thus in
fellowship with God, I should yet be tempted to abandon this path of
entire dependence upon Him. To His praise, however, I am able to state
that for more than half a century I have never had the least desire to
do so."

Second. From May, 1880, to May 1881, a gracious work of the Spirit had
visited the orphans on Ashley Down and in many of the schools. During
the three months spent by Mr. Muller at home before sailing for America
in September, 1880, he had been singularly drawn out in prayer for such
a visitation of grace, and had often urged it on the prayers of his
helpers. The Lord is faithful, and He cheered the heart of His servant
in his absence by abundant answers to his intercessions. Before he had
fairly entered on his work in America, news came from home of a blessed
work of conversion already in progress, and which went on for nearly a
year, until there was good ground for believing that in the five houses
five hundred and twelve orphans had found God their Father in Christ,
and nearly half as many more were in a hopeful state.

The Lord did not forget His promise, and He did keep the plant He had
permitted His servant to set in His name in the soil on Ashley Down.
Faith that was tried, triumphed. On June 7, 1884, a legacy of over
eleven thousand pounds reached him, the _largest single gift_ ever yet
received, the largest donations which had preceded being respectively
one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, five thousand, eight
thousand one hundred, and nine thousand and ninety-one pounds.

This last amount, eleven thousand, had been due for over six years from
an estate, but had been kept back by the delays of the Chancery Court.
Prayer had been made day by day that the bequest might be set free for
its uses, and now the full answer had come; and God had singularly timed
the supply to the need, for there was at that time only forty-one pounds
ten shillings in hand, not one half of the average daily expenses, and
certain sanitary improvements were just about to be carried out which
would require an outlay of over two thousand pounds.

As Mr. Muller closed the solemn and blessed records of 1884, he wrote:

"Thus ended the year 1884, during which we had been tried, greatly
tried, in various ways, no doubt for the exercise of our faith, and to
make us know God more fully; but during which we had also been helped
and blessed, and greatly helped and blessed. Peacefully, then, we were
able to enter upon the year 1885, fully assured that, as we had God FOR
us and WITH us, ALL, ALL would be well." John Wesley had in the same
spirit said a century before, "Best of all, God is with us."

Of late years the orphanage at Ashley Down has not had as many inmates
as formerly, and some four or five hundred more might now be received.
Mr. MUller felt constrained, for some years previous to his death, to
make these vacancies known to the public, in hopes that some destitute
orphans might find there a home. But it must be remembered that the
provision for such children has been greatly enlarged since this orphan
work was begun. In 1834 the total accommodation for all orphans, in
England, reached thirty-six hundred, while the prisons contained nearly
twice as many children under eight years of age. This state of things
led to the rapid enlargement of the work until over two thousand were
housed on Ashley Down alone; and this colossal enterprise stimulated
others to open similar institutions until, fifty years after Mr. Muller
began his work, at least one hundred thousand orphans were cared for in
England alone. Thus God used Mr. Muller to give such an impetus to this
form of philanthropy, that destitute children became the object of a
widely organized charity both on the part of individuals and of
societies, and orphanages now exist for various classes.

In all this manifold work which Mr. Muller did he was, to the last,
self-oblivious. From the time when, in October, 1830, he had given up
all stated salary, as pastor and minister of the gospel, he had never
received any salary, stipend nor fixed income, of any sort, whether as a
pastor or as a director of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. Both
principle and preference led him to wait only upon God for all personal
needs, as also for all the wants of his work. Nevertheless God put into
the hearts of His believing children in all parts of the world, not only
to send gifts in aid of the various branches of the work which Mr.
Muller superintended, but to forward to him money for his own uses, as
well as clothes, food, and other temporal supplies. He never
appropriated one penny which was not in some way indicated or designated
as for his own personal needs, and subject to his personal judgment. No
straits of individual or family want ever led him to use, even for a
time, what was sent to him for other ends. Generally gifts intended for
himself were wrapped up in paper with his name written thereon, or in
other equally distinct ways designated as meant for him. Thus as early
as 1874 his year's income reached upwards of twenty-one hundred pounds.
Few nonconformist ministers, and not one in twenty of the clergy of the
establishment, have any such income, which averages about six pounds for
every day in the year--and all this came from the Lord, simply in answer
to prayer, and without appeal of any sort to man or even the revelation
of personal needs. If we add legacies paid at the end of the year 1873,
Mr. Muller's entire income in about thirteen months exceeded thirty-one
hundred pounds. Of this he gave, out and out to the needy, and to the
work of God, the whole amount save about two hundred and fifty, expended
on personal and family wants; and thus started the year 1875 as poor as
he had begun forty-five years before; and if his personal expenses were
scrutinized it would be found that even what he ate and drank and wore
was with equal conscientiousness expended for the glory of God, so that
in a true sense we may say he spent nothing on himself.

In another connection it has already been recorded that, when at
Jubbulpore in 1890, Mr. Muller received tidings of his daughter's death.
To any man of less faith that shock might have proved, at his advanced
age, not only a stunning but a fatal blow. His only daughter and only
child, Lydia, the devoted wife of James Wright, had been called home, in
her fifty-eighth year, and after nearly thirty years of labour at the
orphan houses. What this death meant to Mr. Muller, at the age of
eighty-four, no one can know who has not witnessed the mutual devotion
of that daughter and that father: and what that loss was to Mr. Wright,
the pen alike fails to portray. If the daughter seemed to her father
humanly indispensable, she was to her husband a sort of inseparable part
of his being; and over such experiences as these it is the part of
delicacy to draw the curtain of silence. But it should be recorded that
no trait in Mrs. Wright was more pathetically attractive than her
humility. Few disciples ever felt their own nothingness as she did, and
it was this ornament of a meek and quiet spirit--the only ornament she
wore--that made her seem so beautiful to all who knew her well enough
for this 'hidden man of the heart' to be disclosed to their vision. Did
not that ornament in the Lord's sight appear as of great price? Truly
"the beauty of the Lord her God was upon her."

James Wright had lived with his beloved Lydia for more than eighteen
years, in "unmarred and unbroken felicity." They had together shared in
prayers and tears before God, bearing all life's burdens in common. Weak
as she was physically, he always leaned upon her and found her a tower
of spiritual strength in time of heavy responsibility. While, in her
lowly-mindedness, she thought of herself as a 'little useless thing,' he
found her both a capable and cheerful supervisor of many most important
domestic arrangements where a competent woman's hand was needful: and,
with rare tact and fidelity, she kept watch of the wants of the orphans
as her dear mother had done before her. After her decease, her husband
found among her personal effects a precious treasure--a verse written
with her own hand:

       "I have seen the face of Jesus,
        Tell me not of aught beside;
        I have heard the voice of Jesus,
        All my soul is satisfied."

This invaluable little fragment, like that other writing found by this
beloved daughter among her mother's effects, became to Mr. Wright what
that had been to Mr. Muller, a sort of last legacy from his departed and
beloved wife. Her desires were fulfilled; she had seen the face and
heard the voice of Him who alone could satisfy her soul.

In the Fifty-third Report, which extends to May 26, 1892, it is stated
that the expenses exceeded the income for the orphans by a total of over
thirty-six hundred pounds, so that many dear fellow labourers, without
the least complaint, were in arrears as to salaries. This was the second
time only, in fifty-eight years, that the income thus fell short of the
expenses. Ten years previous, the expenses had been in excess of the
income by four hundred and eighty-eight pounds, but, within one month
after the new financial year had begun, by the payment of legacies three
times as much as the deficiency was paid in; and, adding donations, six
times as much. And now the question arose whether God would not have Mr.
Muller contract rather than expand the work.

He says: "The Lord's dealings with us during the last year indicate that
it is His will we should contract our operations, and we are waiting
upon Him for directions as to how and to what extent this should be
done; for we have but one single object--the glory of God. When I
founded this Institution, one of the principles stated was, 'that there
would be no enlargement of the work by going into debt': and in like
manner we cannot go on with _that which already exists_ if we have not
sufficient means coming in to meet the current expenses." Thus the godly
man who loved to expand his service for God was humble enough to bow to
the will of God if its contraction seemed needful.

Prayer was much increased, and faith did not fail under the trial, which
continued for weeks and months, but was abundantly sustained by the
promises of an unfailing Helper. This distress was relieved in March by
the sale of ten acres of land, at one thousand pounds an acre, and at
the close of the year there was in hand a balance of over twenty-three
hundred pounds.

The exigency, however, continued more or less severe until again, in
1893-4, after several years of trial, the Lord once more bountifully
supplied means. And Mr. Muller is careful to add that though the
_appearance_ during those years of trial was many times as if God had
forgotten or forsaken them and would never care any more about the
Institution, it was only in appearance, for he was as mindful of it as
ever, and he records how by this discipline faith was still further
strengthened, God was glorified in the patience and meekness whereby He
enabled them to endure the testing, and tens of thousands of believers
were blessed in afterward reading about these experience's of divine
faithfulness.*

* Fifty-fifth Report, p. 32.

Five years after Mrs. Wright's death, Mr. Muller was left again a
widower. His last great mission tour had come to an end in 1892, and in
1895, on the 13th of January, the beloved wife who in all these long
journeys had been his constant companion and helper, passed to her rest,
and once more left him peculiarly alone, since his devoted Lydia had
been called up higher. Yet by the same grace of God which had always
before sustained him he was now upheld, and not only kept in unbroken
peace, but enabled to "kiss the Hand which administered the stroke."

At the funeral of his second wife, as at that of the first, he made the
address, and the scene was unique in interest. Seldom does a man of
ninety conduct such a service. The faith that sustained him in every
other trial held him up in this. He lived in such habitual communion
with the unseen world, and walked in such uninterrupted fellowship with
the unseen God, that the exchange of worlds became too real for him to
mourn for those who had made it, or to murmur at the infinite Love that
numbers our days. It moved men more deeply than any spoken word of
witness to see him manifestly borne up as on everlasting Arms.

I remember Mr. Muller remarking that he waited eight years before he
understood at all the purpose of God in removing his first wife, who
seemed so indispensable to him and his work. His own journal explains
more fully this remark. When it pleased God to take from him his second
wife, after over twenty-three years of married life, again he rested on
the promise that "All things work together for good to them that love
God" and reflected on his past experiences of its truth. When he lost
his first wife after over thirty-nine years of happy wedlock, while he
bowed to the Father's will, how that sorrow and bereavement could work
good had been wholly a matter of _faith,_ for no compensating good was
apparent to sight; yet he believed God's word and waited to see how it
would be fulfilled. That loss seemed one that could not be made up. Only
a little before, two orphan houses had been opened for nine hundred more
orphans, so that there were total accommodations for over two thousand;
she, who by nature, culture, gifts, and graces, was so wonderfully
fitted to be her husband's helper, and who had with motherly love cared
for these children, was suddenly removed from his side. Four years after
Mr. Muller married his second wife, he saw it plainly to be God's will
that he should spend life's evening-time in giving witness to the
nations. These mission tours could not be otherwise than very trying to
the physical powers of endurance, since they covered over two hundred
thousand miles and obliged the travellers to spend a week at a time in a
train, and sometimes from four to six weeks on board a vessel. Mrs.
Muller, though never taking part in public, was severely taxed by all
this travel, and always busy, writing letters, circulating books and
tracts, and in various ways helping and relieving her husband. All at
once, while in the midst of these fatiguing journeys and exposures to
varying climates, it flashed upon Mr. Muller that his first wife, who
had died in her seventy-third year, _could never have undertaken these
tours,_ and that the Lord had thus, in taking her, left him free to make
these extensive journeys. She would have been over fourscore years old
when these tours began, and, apart from age, could not have borne the
exhaustion, because of her frail health; whereas the second Mrs. Muller,
who, at the time, was not yet fifty-seven, was both by her age and
strength fully equal to the strain thus put upon her.


CHAPTER XIX

AT EVENING-TIME--LIGHT

THE closing scene of this beautiful and eventful life-history has an
interest not altogether pathetic. Mr. Muller seems like an elevated
mountain, on whose summit the evening sun shines in lingering splendour,
and whose golden peak rises far above the ordinary level and belongs to
heaven more than earth, in the clear, cloudless calm of God.

From May, 1892, when the last mission tour closed; he devoted himself
mainly to the work of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, and to
preaching at Bethesda and elsewhere as God seemed to appoint. His health
was marvelous, especially considering how, when yet a young man,
frequent and serious illnesses and general debility had apparently
disqualified him from all military duty, and to many prophesied early
death or hopeless succumbing to disease. He had been in tropic heat and
arctic cold, in gales and typhoons at sea, and on journeys by rail,
sometimes as continuously long as a sea-voyage. He had borne the pest of
fleas, mosquitoes, and even rats. He had endured changes of climate,
diet, habits of life, and the strain of almost daily services, and come
out of all unscathed. This man, whose health was never robust, had gone
through labours that would try the mettle of an iron constitution; this
man, who had many times been laid aside by illness and sometimes for
months and who in 1837 had feared that a persistent head trouble might
unhinge his mind, could say, in his ninety-second year: "I have been
able, every day and all the day, to work, and that with ease, as seventy
years since." When the writer was holding meetings in Bristol in 1896,
on an anniversary very sacred to himself, he asked his beloved father
Muller to speak at the closing meeting of the series, in the Y.M.C.A.
Hall; and he did so, delivering a powerful address of forty-five
minutes, on Prayer in connection with Missions, and giving his own
life-story in part, with a vigour of voice and manner that seemed a
denial of his advanced age.*

* Appendix K.

The marvelous preservation of such a man at such an age reminds one of
Caleb, who at eighty-five could boast in God that he was as strong even
for war as in the day that he was sent into the land as one of the
spies; and Mr. Muller himself attributed this preservation to three
causes: first, the exercising of himself to have always a conscience
void of offence both toward God and toward men; secondly to the love he
felt for the Scriptures, and the constant recuperative power they
exercised upon his whole being; and third, to that happiness he felt in
God and His work, which relieved him of all anxiety and needless wear
and tear in his labours.

The great fundamental truth that this heroic man stamped on his
generation was that the Living God is the same to-day and forever as
yesterday and in all ages past, and that, with equal confidence with the
most trustful souls of any age, we may believe His word, and to every
promise add, like Abraham, our 'Amen'--IT SHALL BE SO!* When, a few
days after his death, Mr. E. H. Glenny, who is known to many as the
beloved and self-sacrificing friend of the North African Mission, passed
through Barcelona, he found written in an album over his signature the
words: "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and to-day and for ever." And,
like the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, quoting from the 102nd
Psalm, we may say of Jehovah, while all else changes and perishes:

        "THOU REMAINEST";
        "THOU ART THE SAME."

Toward the close of life Mr. Muller, acting under medical advice, abated
somewhat of his active labours, preaching commonly but once a Sunday. It
was my privilege to hear him on the morning of the Lord's day, March 22,
1896. He spoke on the 77th Psalm; of course he found here his favourite
theme--prayer; and, taking that as a fair specimen of his average
preaching, he was certainly a remarkable expositor of Scripture even at
ninety-one years of age. Later on the outline of this discourse will be
found.

* Gen. xv. 6. (Hebrew.)

On Sunday morning, March 6, 1898, he spoke at Alma Road Chapel, and on
the Monday evening following was at the prayer service at Bethesda, on
both occasions in his usual health. On Wednesday evening following, he
took his wonted place at the Orphan House prayer meeting and gave out
the hymns:

        "The countless multitude on high."
and
        "We'll sing of the Shepherd that died."

When he bade his beloved son-in-law "good-night," there was no outward
sign of declining strength. He seemed to the last the vigorous old man,
and retired to rest as usual. It had been felt that one so advanced in
years should have some night-attendant, especially as indications of
heart-weakness had been noticed of late, and he had yielded to the
pressure of love and consented to such an arrangement _after that
night._ But the consent came too late. He was never more to need human
attendance or attention. On Thursday morning, March 10th, at about seven
o'clock, the usual cup of tea was taken to his room. To the knock at the
door there was no response save an ominous silence. The attendant opened
the door, only to find that the venerable patriarch lay dead, on the
floor beside the bed. He had probably risen to take some nourishment--a
glass of milk and a biscuit being always put within reach--and, while
eating the biscuit, he had felt faint, and fallen, clutching at the
table-cloth as he fell, for it was dragged off, with certain things that
had lain on the table. His medical adviser, who was promptly summoned,
gave as his opinion that he had died of heart-failure some hour or two
before he had been found by his attendant.

Such a departure, even at such an age, produced a worldwide sensation.
That man's moral and spiritual forces reached and touched the earth's
ends. Not in Bristol, or in Britain alone, but across the mighty waters
toward the sunrise and sunset was felt the responsive pulse-beat of a
deep sympathy. Hearts bled all over the globe when it was announced, by
telegraph wire and ocean cable, that George Muller was dead. It was said
of a great Englishman that his influence could be measured only by
"parallels of latitude"; of George Muller we may add, and by meridians
of longitude. He belonged to the whole church and the whole world, in a
unique sense; and the whole race of man sustained a loss when he died.

The funeral, which took place on the Monday following, was a popular
tribute of affection, such as is seldom seen. Tens of thousands of
people reverently stood along the route of the simple procession; men
left their workshops and offices, women left their elegant homes or
humble kitchens, all seeking to pay a last token of respect. Bristol had
never before witnessed any such scene.

A brief service was held at Orphan House No. 3, where over a thousand
children met, who had for a second time lost a 'father'; in front of the
reading-desk in the great dining-room, a coffin of elm, studiously
plain, and by request without floral offerings, contained all that was
mortal of George Muller, and on a brass plate was a simple inscription,
giving the date of his death, and his age.

Mr. James Wright gave the address, reminding those who were gathered
that, to all of us, even those who have lived nearest God, death comes
while the Lord tarries; that it is blessed to die in the Lord; and that
for believers in Christ there is a glorious resurrection waiting. The
tears that ran down those young cheeks were more eloquent than any
words, as a token of affection for the dead. The procession silently
formed. Among those who followed the bier were four who had been
occupants of that first orphan home in Wilson Street. The children's
grief melted the hearts of spectators, and eyes unused to weeping were
moistened that day. The various carriages bore the medical attendants,
the relatives and connections of Mr. Muller, the elders and deacons of
the churches with which he was associated, and his staff of helpers in
the work on Ashley Down. Then followed forty or fifty other vehicles
with deputations from various religious bodies, etc.

At Bethesda, every foot of space was crowded, and hundreds sought in
vain for admission. The hymn was sung which Mr. Muller had given out at
that last prayer meeting the night before his departure. Dr. Maclean of
Bath offered prayer, mingled with praise for such a long life of service
and witness, of prayer and faith, and Mr. Wright spoke from Hebrews
xiii. 7, 8:

   "Remember them which have the rule over you,
    Who have spoken unto you the word of God:
    Whose faith follow,
    Considering the end of their conversation:
    Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and to-day and forever."

He spoke of those spiritual rulers and guides whom God sets over his
people; and of the privilege of imitating their faith, calling attention
to the two characteristics of his beloved father-in-law's faith: first,
that it was based on that immovable Rock of Ages, God's written word;
and secondly, that it translated the precepts and promises of that word
into daily life.

Mr. Wright made very emphatic Mr. Muller's acceptance of the whole
Scriptures, as divinely inspired. He had been wont to say to young
believers, "Put your finger on the passage on which your faith rests,"
and had himself read the Bible from end to end nearly two hundred times.
He fed on the Word and therefore was strong. He found the centre of that
Word in the living Person it enshrines, and his one ground of confidence
was His atoning work. Always in his own eyes weak, wretched, and vile,
unworthy of the smallest blessing, he rested solely on the merit and
mediation of His great High Priest.

George Muller _cultivated_ faith. He used to say to his helpers in
prayer and service, "Never let enter your minds a shadow of doubt as to
the love of the Father's heart or the power of the Father's arm." And he
projected his whole life forward, and looked at it in the light of the
Judgment Day.

Mr. Wright's address made prominent one or two other most important
lessons, as, for example, that the Spirit bids us imitate, not the
idiosyncrasies or philanthropy of others, but _their faith._ And he took
occasion to remind his hearers that philanthropy was not the foremost
aim or leading feature of Mr. Muller's life, but above all else to
magnify and glorify God, _"as still the living God who, now as well as
thousands of years ago, hears the prayers of His children and helps
those who trust Him."_ He touchingly referred to the humility that led
Mr. Muller to do the mightiest thing for God without self-consciousness,
and showed that God can take up and use those who are willing to be only
instruments.

Mr. Wright further remarked: "I have been asked again and again lately
as to whether the orphan work would go on. It is going on. Since the
commencement of the year we have received between forty and fifty fresh
orphans, and this week expect to receive more. The other four objects of
the Institution, according to the ability God gives us, are still being
carried on. We believe that whatever God would do with regard to the
future will be worthy of Him. We do not know much more, and do not want
to. He knows what He will do. I cannot think, however, that the God who
has so blessed the work for so long will leave our prayers as to the
future unanswered."

Mr. Benjamin Perry then spoke briefly, characterizing Mr. Muller as the
greatest personality Bristol had known as a citizen. He referred to his
power as an expounder of Scripture, and to the fact that he brought to
others for their comfort and support what had first been food to his own
soul. He gave some personal reminiscences, referring, for instance, to
his ability at an extreme old age still to work without hindrance either
mental or physical, free from rheumatism, ache, or pain, and seldom
suffering from exhaustion. He briefly described him as one who, in
response to the infinite love of God, which called him from a life of
sin to a life of salvation and service, wholly loved God above everybody
and everything, so that his highest pleasure was to please and serve
Him. As an illustration of his humility, he gave an incident. When of
late a friend had said, "When God calls you home, it will be like a
ship going into harbour, full sail."--"Oh no!" said Mr. Muller, "it is
poor George Muller who needs daily to pray, 'Hold Thou me up in my
goings, that my footsteps slip not.'" The close of such lives as those
of Asa and Solomon were to Mr. Muller a perpetual warning, leading him
to pray that he might never thus depart from the Lord in his old age.

After prayer by Mr. J. L. Stanley, Col. Molesworth gave out the hymn,

        "'Tis sweet to think of those at rest."

And after another prayer by Mr. Stanley Arnot, the body was borne to its
resting-place in Arno's Vale Cemetery, and buried beside the bodies of
Mr. Muller's first and second wives, some eighty carriages joining in the
procession to the grave. Everything from first to last was as simple and
unostentatious as he himself would have wished. At the graveside Col.
Molesworth prayed, and Mr. George F. Bergin read from 1 Cor. xv. and
spoke a few words upon the tenth verse, which so magnifies the grace of
God both in what we _are_ and what we _do._

Mr. E. K. Groves, nephew of Mr. Muller, announced as the closing hymn
the second given out by him at that last prayer meeting at the
orphanage.

        "We'll sing of the Shepherd that died."

Mr. E. T. Davies then offered prayer, and the body was left to its
undisturbed repose, until the Lord shall come.

Other memorial services were held at the Y.M.C.A. Hall, and very
naturally at Bethesda Chapel, which brought to a fitting close this
series of loving tributes to the departed. On the Lord's day preceding
the burial, in nearly all the city pulpits, more or less extended
reference had been made to the life, the character, and the career of
the beloved saint who had for so many years lived his irreproachable
life in Bristol. Also the daily and weekly press teemed with obituary
notices, and tributes to his piety, worth, and work.

It was touchingly remarked at his funeral that he first confessed to
feeling weak and weary in his work that last night of his earthly
sojourn; and it seemed specially tender of the Lord not to allow that
sense of exhaustion to come upon him until just as He was about to send
His chariot to bear him to His presence. Mr. Muller's last sermon at
Bethesda Chapel, after a ministry of sixty-six years, had been from 2
Cor. v. 1:

"For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were
dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens."

It was as though he had some foretokens of his being about shortly to
put off this his tabernacle. Evidently he was not taken by surprise. He
had foreseen that his days were fast completing their number. Seven
months before his departure, he had remarked to his medical attendant,
in connection with the irregularity of his pulse: "It means _death."_

Many of the dear orphans--as when the first Mrs. Muller died--wrote,
asking that they might contribute toward the erection of a monument to
the memory of their beloved benefactor. Already one dear young servant
had gathered, for the purpose, over twenty pounds. In conformity with
the known wishes of his father-in-law that only the simplest headstone
be placed over his remains, Mr. Wright thought necessary to check the
inflow of such gifts, the sum in hand being quite sufficient.

Further urgent appeals were made both from British and American friends,
for the erection of some statue or other large visible monument or
memorial, and in these appeals the local newspapers united. At length
private letters led Mr. Wright to communicate with the public press, as
the best way at once to silence these appeals and express the ground of
rejecting such proposals. He wrote as follows:

"You ask me, as one long and closely associated with the late Mr. George
Muller, to say what I think would be most in accordance with his own
wishes as a fitting memorial of himself.

"Will not the best way of replying to this question be to let him speak
for himself?

"1st. When he erected Orphan House No. 1, and the question came what is
the building to be called, he deliberately avoided associating his own
name with it, and named it 'The New Orphan House, Ashley Down.' N.B.--To
the end of his life he _disliked_ hearing or reading the words 'Muller's
Orphanage.' In keeping with this, for years, in _every Annual Report,_
when referring to the Orphanage he reiterated the statement, 'The New
Orphan Houses on Ashley Down, Bristol, are not _my_ Orphan Houses,...
they are God's Orphan Houses.' (See, for example, the Report for 1897,
p. 69.)

"2nd. For years, in fact until he was nearly eighty years old, he
steadily refused to allow any _portrait_ of himself to be published; and
only most reluctantly (for reasons which he gives with characteristic
minuteness in the preface to 'Preaching Tours') did he at length give
way on this point.

"3rd. In the last published Report, at page 66, he states: 'The primary
object I had in view in carrying on this work,' viz., 'that it might be
seen that now, in the nineteenth century, _God is still the Living God,
and that now, as well as thousands of years ago, He listens to the
prayers of His children and helps those who trust in Him.'_ From these
words and ways of acting, is it not evident, that the only 'memorial'
that George Muller cared about was that which consists in the effect of
his example, Godward, upon his fellow men? Every soul converted to God
(instrumentally) through his words or example constitutes a permanent
memorial to him as the father in Christ of such an one. Every believer
strengthened in faith (instrumentally) through his words or example
constitutes a similar memorial to his spiritual teacher.

"He knew that God had, already, in the riches of His grace, given him
many such memorials; and he departed this life, as I well know,
cherishing the most lively hope that he should greet _above_ thousands
more to whom it had pleased God to make him a channel of rich spiritual
blessing.

"He used often to say to me, when he opened a letter in which the writer
poured out a tale of sore pecuniary need, and besought his help to an
extent twice or three or ten times exceeding the sum total of his (Mr.
Muller's) earthly possessions at the moment, 'Ah! these dear people
entirely miss the lesson I am _trying_ to teach them, for they come to
_me,_ instead of going to _God.'_ And if he could come back to us for an
hour, and listen to an account of what his sincerely admiring, but
mistaken, friends are proposing to do to _perpetuate_ his memory, I can
hear him, with a sigh, exclaiming, 'Ah! these _dear_ friends are
entirely missing the lesson that I tried for seventy years to teach
them,' viz., 'That a _man_ can receive nothing except it be _given_ him
_from above,'_ and that, therefore, it is the Blessed _Giver,_ and not
the poor receiver, that is to be glorified.

    "Yours faithfully,
        "JAMES WRIGHT."


CHAPTER XX

THE SUMMARY OF THE LIFE-WORK

DEATH shuts the door upon earthly service, whatever door it may open to
other forms and spheres of activity. There are many intimations that
service beyond the grave is both unceasing and untiring: the blessed
dead "rest indeed from their _labours"_--toilsome and painful
tasks--"but their works"--activities for God--"do follow them," where
exertion is without exhaustion.

This is therefore a fit point for summing up the results of the work
over which, from its beginning, one man had specially had charge. One
sentence from Mr. Muller's pen marks the purpose which was the very
pivot of his whole being: "I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to
the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and
faith." This prepared both for the development of the character of him
who had such singleness of aim, and for the development of the work in
which that aim found action. Mr. Muller's oldest friend, Robert C.
Chapman of Barnstaple, beautifully says that "when a man's chief
business is to serve and please the Lord, all his circumstances become
his servants"; and we shall find this maxim true in Mr. Muller's
life-work.

The Fifty-ninth Report, issued May 26, 1898, was the last up to the date
of the publication of this volume, and the first after Mr. Muller's
death. In this, Mr. Wright gives the brief but valuable summary not only
of the whole work of the year preceding, but of the whole work from its
beginning, and thus helps us to a comprehensive survey.

This report is doubly precious as it contains also the last contribution
of Mr. Muller's own pen to the record of the Lord's dealings. It is
probable that on the afternoon of March 9th he laid down his pen, for
the last time, all unconscious that he was never again to take it up. He
had made, in a twofold sense, his closing entry in life's solemn
journal! In the evening of that day he took his customary part in the
prayer service in the orphan house--then went to sleep for the last time
on earth; there came a waking hour, when he was alone with God, and
suddenly departed, leaving his body to its long sleep that knows no
waking until the day of the Lord's coming, while his spirit returned
unto God who gave it.

The afternoon of that day of death, and of 'birth' into the heavenly
life--as the catacomb saints called it--found the helpers again
assembled in the same prayer room to commit the work to him "who only
hath immortality," and who, amid all changes of human administration,
ever remains the divine Master Workman, never at a loss for His own
chosen instruments.

Mr. Wright, in this report, shows himself God's chosen successor in the
work, evidently like-minded with the departed director. The first
paragraph, after the brief and touching reference to his father-in-law,
serves to convey to all friends of this work the assurance that he to
whom Mr. Muller left its conduct has also learned the one secret of all
success in coworking with God. It sounds, as the significant _keynote_
for the future, the same old keynote of the past, carrying on the melody
and harmony, without change, into the new measures. It is the same
oratorio, without alteration of theme, time, or even key: the leading
performer is indeed no more, but another hand takes up his instrument
and, trembling with emotion, continues the unfinished strain so that
there is no interruption. Mr. Wright says:

"It is written (Job xxvi. 7): 'He hangeth the earth upon
_nothing'_--that is, no _visible_ support. And so we exult in the fact
that 'the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad' hangs,
as it has ever hung, since its commencement, now more than sixty-four
years ago, 'upon nothing,' that is, upon no VISIBLE support. It hangs
upon no human patron, upon no endowment or funded property, but solely
upon the good pleasure of the blessed God."

Blessed lesson to learn! that to hang upon the invisible God is not to
hang "upon nothing," though it be upon nothing _visible._ The power and
permanence of the invisible forces that hold up the earth after sixty
centuries of human history are sufficiently shown by the fact that this
great globe still swings securely in space and is whirled through its
vast orbit, and that, without variation of a second, it still moves with
divine exactness in its appointed path. We can therefore trust the same
invisible God to sustain with His unseen power all the work which faith
suspends upon His truth and love and unfailing word of promise, though
to the natural eye all these may seem as nothing.

Mr. Wright records also a very striking answer to long-continued prayer,
and a most impressive instance of the tender care of the Lord, in the
_providing of an associate,_ every way like-minded, and well fitted to
share the responsibility falling upon his shoulders at the decease of
his father-in-law.

Feeling the burden too great for him, his one resource
was to cast his burden on the Lord. He and Mr. Muller had asked of God
such a companion in labour for three years before his departure, and Mr.
Wright and his dear wife had, for twenty-five years before that--from
the time when Mr. Muller's long missionary tours began to withdraw him
from Bristol--besought of the Lord the same favour. But to none of them
had any _name_ been suggested, or, if so, it had never been mentioned.

After that day of death, Mr. Wright felt that a gracious Father would
not long leave him to sustain this great burden alone, and about a
fortnight later he felt assured that it was the will of God that he
should ask Mr. George Frederic Bergin to join him in the work, who
seemed to him a _"true yoke-fellow."_ He had known him well for a
quarter-century; he had worked by his side in the church; and though
they were diverse in temperament, there had never been a break in unity
or sympathy. Mr. Bergin was seventeen years his junior, and so likely to
survive and succeed him; he was very fond of children, and had been much
blessed in training his own in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,
and hence was fitted to take charge of this larger family of orphans.
Confident of being led of God, he put the matter before Mr. Bergin,
delighted but not surprised to find that the same God had moved on his
mind also, and in the same direction; for not only was he ready to
respond to Mr. Wright's appeal, but he had been led of God to feel that
he should, after a certain time, _go to Mr. Wright and offer himself._
The Spirit who guided Philip to the Eunuch and at the same time had made
the Eunuch to inquire after guidance; who sent men from Cornelius and,
while they were knocking at Simon's house, was bidding Peter go with
them, still moves in a mysterious way, and simultaneously, on those whom
He would bring together for cooperation in loving service. And thus Mr.
Wright found the Living God the same Helper and Supplier of every need,
after his beloved father-in-law had gone up higher; and felt constrained
to feel that the God of Elijah was still at the crossing of the Jordan
and could work the same wonders as before, supplying the need of the
hour when the need came.

Mr. Muller's own gifts to the service of the Lord find in this
posthumous report their first full record and recognition. Readers of
the Annual Reports must have noticed an entry, recurring with strange
frequency during all these thirty or forty years, and therefore
suggesting a giver that must have reached a very ripe age: "from a
servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks
to lay up treasure in heaven." If that entry be carefully followed
throughout and there be added the personal gifts made by Mr. Muller to
various benevolent objects, it will be found that the aggregate sum from
this "servant" reaches, up to March 1, 1898, a total of _eighty-one
thousand four hundred and ninety pounds eighteen shillings and
eightpence._ Mr. Wright, now that this "servant of the Lord Jesus" is
with his Master, who promised, "Where I am there shall also My servant
be," feels free to make known that this donor was no other than _George
Muller himself_ who thus gave out of his own money--money given to him
for his own use or left to him by legacies--the total sum of about
sixty-four thousand five hundred pounds to the Scriptural Knowledge
Institution, and, in other directions, seventeen thousand more.

This is a record of personal gifts to which we know no parallel. It
reminds us of the career of John Wesley, whose simplicity and frugality
of habits enabled him not only to limit his own expenditure to a very
small sum, but whose Christian liberality and unselfishness prompted him
to give all that he could thus save to purely benevolent
objects. While he had but thirty pounds a year, he lived on twenty-eight
and gave away forty shillings. Receiving twice as much the next year, he
still kept his living expenses down to the twenty-eight pounds and had
thirty-two to bestow on the needy; and when the third year his income
rose to ninety pounds, he spent no more than before and gave away
sixty-two. The fourth year brought one hundred and twenty, and he
disbursed still but the same sum for his own needs, having ninety-two to
spare. It is calculated that in the course of his life he thus gave away
at least thirty thousand pounds, and four silver spoons comprised all
the silver plate that he possessed when the collectors of taxes called
upon him. Such economy on the one hand and such generosity on the other
have seldom been known in human history. But George Muller's record will
compare favourably with this or any other of modern days. His frugality,
simplicity, and economy were equal to Wesley's, and his gifts aggregated
eighty-one thousand pounds. Mr. Muller had received increasingly large
sums from the Lord which he _invested_ well and most profitably, so that
for over sixty years he never lost a penny through a bad speculation!
But his investments were not in lands or banks or railways, but in the
_work of God._ He made friends out of the mammon of unrighteousness that
when he failed received him into everlasting habitations. He continued,
year after year, to make provision for himself, his beloved wife and
daughter, by laying up treasure--in heaven. Such a man had certainly a
right to exhort others to systematic beneficence. He gave--as not one in
a million gives--not a tithe, not any fixed proportion of annual income,
but _all that was left_ after the simplest and most necessary supply of
actual wants. While most Christians regard themselves as doing their
duty if, after they have given a portion to the Lord, they spend all the
rest on themselves, God led George Muller to reverse this rule and
reserve only the most frugal sum for personal needs, that the entire
remainder might be given to him that needeth. The utter _revolution_
implied in our habits of giving which would be necessary were such a
rule adopted is but too obvious. Mr. Muller's own words are:

"My aim never was, how much I could _obtain,_ but rather how much I
could give."

He kept continually before him _his stewardship_ of God's property; and
sought to make the most of the one brief life on earth, and to use for
the best and largest good the property held by him in trust. The things
of God were deep realities, and, projecting every action and decision
and motive into the light of the judgment-seat of Christ, he asked
himself how it would appear to him in the light of that tribunal. Thus
he sought prayerfully and conscientiously so to live and labour, so to
deny himself, and, by love, serve God and man, as that he should not be
ashamed before Him at His coming. But not in a spirit of _fear_ was this
done; for if any man of his generation knew the perfect love that casts
out fear, it was George Muller. He felt that God is love, and love is of
God. He saw that love manifested in the greatest of gifts--His
only-begotten Son at Calvary--he knew and believed the Love that God
hath to us; he received it into his own heart; it became an abiding
presence, manifested in obedience and benevolence, and, subduing him
more and more, it became perfected so as to expel tormenting fear and
impart a holy confidence and delight in God.

Among the texts which strongly impressed and moulded Mr. Muller's habits
of giving was Luke vi. 38:

"Give and it shall be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken
together and running over shall men give into your bosom."

He believed this promise and he verified it. His testimony is: "I had
GIVEN, and God had caused to be GIVEN TO ME AGAIN, and bountifully."

Again he read: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

He says that he BELIEVED what he found in the word of God, and by His
grace sought to ACT ACCORDINGLY, and thus again records that he was
blessed abundantly and his peace and joy in the Holy Ghost increased
more and more.

It will not be a surprise, therefore, that, as has been already noted,
Mr. Muller's _entire personal estate_ at his death, as sworn to, when
the will was admitted to probate, was only 169 pounds 9s. 4d., of which
books, household furniture, etc., were reckoned at over one hundred
pounds, the only _money_ in his possession being a trifle over sixty
pounds, and even this only awaiting disbursement as God's steward.

The will of Mr. Muller contains a pregnant clause which should not be
forgotten in this memorial. It closes with a paragraph which is deeply
significant as meant to be his posthumous word of testimony--"a last
testament":

"I cannot help admiring God's wondrous grace in bringing me to the
knowledge of the Lord Jesus when I was an entirely careless and
thoughtless young man, and that He has kept me in His fear and truth,
allowing me the great honour, for so long a time, of serving Him."

In the comprehensive summary contained in this Fifty-ninth Report,
remarkable growth is apparent during the sixty-four years since the
outset of the work in 1834. During the year ending May 26, 1898, the
number of day-schools was 7, and of pupils, 354; the number of children
in attendance from the beginning, 81,501. The number of home
Sunday-schools, 12, and of children in them, 1341; but from the
beginning, 32,944. The number of Sunday-schools _aided_ in England and
Wales, 25. The amount expended in connection with home schools, 736
pounds 13s. 10d.; from the outset, 109,992 pounds 19s. 10d. The Bibles
and parts thereof circulated, 15,411; from the beginning, 1,989,266.
Money expended for this purpose the past year, 439 pounds; from the
first, 41,090 pounds 13s. 3d. Missionary labourers aided, 115. Money
expended, 2082 pounds 9s. 6d; from the outset, 261,859 pounds 7s. 4d.
Circulation of books and tracts, 3,101,338. Money spent, 1001 pounds
3s.; and from the first, 47,188 pounds 11s. 10d. The number of orphans
on Ashley Down, 1620; and from the first, 10,024. Money spent in orphan
houses, last year, 22,523 pounds 13s. 1d.; and from the beginning,
988,829 pounds.

To carry out conviction into action is sometimes a costly sacrifice; but
whatever Mr. Muller's fidelity to conviction cost in one way, he had
stupendous results of his life-work to contemplate, even while he lived.
Let any one look at the above figures and facts, and remember that here
was one poor man who, dependent on the help of God only in answer to
prayer, could look back over threescore years and see how he had built
five large orphan houses and taken into his family over ten thousand
orphans, expending, for their good, within twelve thousand pounds of a
round million. He had given aid to day-schools and Sunday-schools, in
this and other lands, where nearly one hundred and fifty thousand
children have been taught, at a cost of over one hundred and ten
thousand pounds more. He had circulated nearly two million Bibles and
parts thereof at the cost of over forty thousand pounds; and over three
million books and tracts, at a cost of nearly fifty thousand pounds
more. And besides all this he had spent over two hundred and sixty
thousand pounds to aid missionary labourers in various lands. The sum
total of the money thus spent during sixty years has thus reached very
nearly the astonishing aggregate of one and a half million of pounds
sterling ($7,500,000).

To summarize Mr. Muller's service we must understand his great secret.
Such a life and such a work are the result of one habit more than all
else,--daily and frequent communion with God. Unwearied in supplications
and intercessions, we have seen how, in every new need and crisis,
prayer was the one resort, the prayer of faith. He first satisfied
himself that he was in the way of duty; then he fixed his mind upon the
unchanging word of promise; then, in the boldness of a suppliant who
comes to a throne of grace in the name of Jesus Christ and pleads the
assurance of the immutable Promiser, he presented every petition. He was
an unwearied intercessor. No delay discouraged him. This is seen
particularly in the case of individuals for whose conversion or special
guidance into the paths of full obedience he prayed. On his prayer list
were the names of some for whom he had besought God, daily, by name, for
one, two, three, four, six, ten years before the answer was given. The
year just before his death, he told the writer of two parties for whose
reconciliation to God he had prayed, day by day, _for over sixty years,_
and who had not as yet to his knowledge turned unto God: and he
significantly added, "I have not a doubt that I shall meet them both in
heaven; for my Heavenly Father would not lay upon my heart a burden of
prayer for them for over threescore years, if He had not concerning them
purposes of mercy."

This is a sufficient example of his almost unparalleled perseverance and
importunity in intercession. However long the delay, he held on, as with
both hands clasping the very horns of the altar; and his childlike
spirit reasoned simply but confidently, that the very fact of his own
spirit being so long drawn out in prayer for one object, and of the
Lord's enabling him so to continue patiently and believingly to wait on
Him for the blessing, was a promise and prophecy of the answer; and so
he waited on, so assured of the ultimate result that he praised God in
advance, believing that he had practically received that for which he
asked.

It is most helpful here to add that one of the parties for whom for so
many years he unceasingly prayed has recently died in faith, having
received the promises and embraced them and confessed Jesus as his Lord.
Just before leaving Bristol with this completed manuscript of Mr.
Muller's life, I met a lady, a niece of the man referred to, through
whom I received a knowledge of these facts. He had, before his
departure, given most unequivocal testimony to his faith and hope in the
Saviour of sinners.

If George Muller could still speak to us, he would again repeat the
warning so frequently found in his journal and reports, that his fellow
disciples must not regard him as a _miracle-worker,_ as though his
experience were to be accounted so exceptional as to have little
application in our ordinary spheres of life and service. With patient
repetition he affirms that in all essentials such an experience is the
privilege of all believers. God calls disciples to various forms of
_work,_ but all alike to the same _faith._ To say, therefore, "I am not
called to build orphan houses, etc., and have no right to expect answers
to my prayers as Mr. Muller did," is wrong and unbelieving. Every child
of God, he maintained, is first to get into the sphere appointed of God,
and therein to exercise full trust, and live by faith upon God's sure
word of promise.

Throughout all these thousands of pages written by his pen, he teaches
that every experience of God's faithfulness is both the reward of past
faith and prayer, and the preparation of the servant of God for larger
work and more efficient service and more convincing witness to his Lord.

No man can understand such a work who does not see in it the
_supernatural_ power of God. Without that the enigma defies solution;
with that all the mystery is at least an open mystery. He himself felt
from first to last that this supernatural factor was the key to the
whole work, and without that it would have been even to himself a
problem inexplicable. How pathetically we find him often comparing
himself and his work for God to "the Burning Bush in the Wilderness"
which, always aflame and always threatened with apparent destruction,
was not consumed, so that not a few turned aside wondering to see this
great sight. And why was it not burnt? Because Jehovah of hosts, who was
in the Bush, dwelt in the man and in his work: or, as Wesley said with
almost his last breath, "Best of all, God is with us."

This simile of the Burning Bush is the more apt when we consider the
_rapid growth of the work._ At first so very small as to seem almost
insignificant, and conducted in one small rented house, accommodating
thirty orphans, then enlarged until other rented premises became
necessary; then one, two, three, four, and even five immense structures
being built, until three hundred, seven hundred, eleven hundred and
fifty, and finally two thousand and fifty inmates could find shelter
within them,--how seldom has the world seen such vast and, at the same
time, rapid enlargement! Then look at the outlay! At first a trifling
expenditure of perhaps five hundred pounds for the first year of the
Scriptural Knowledge Institution, and of five hundred pounds for the
first twelve month of the orphan work, and in the last year of Mr.
Muller's life a grand total of over twenty-seven thousand five hundred,
for all the purposes of the Institution.

The cost of the houses built on Ashley Down might have staggered a man
of large capital, but this poor man only cried and the Lord helped him.
The first house cost fifteen thousand pounds; the second, over
twenty-one thousand; the third, over twenty-three thousand; and the
fourth and fifth, from fifty thousand to sixty thousand more--so that
the total cost reached about one hundred and fifteen thousand. Besides
all this, there was a yearly expenditure which rose as high as
twenty-five thousand for the orphans alone, irrespective of those
occasional outlays made needful for emergencies, such as improved
sanitary precautions, which in one case cost over two thousand pounds.

Here is a burning bush indeed, always in seeming danger of being
consumed, yet still standing on Ashley Down, and still preserved because
the same presence of Jehovah burns in it. Not a branch of this
many-sided work has utterly perished, while the whole bush still
challenges unbelievers to turn aside and see the great sight, and take
off the shoes from their feet as on holy ground where God manifests
Himself.

Any complete survey of this great life-work must include much that was
wholly outside of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution; such as that
service which Mr. Muller was permitted to render to the church of Christ
and the world at large as a preacher, pastor, witness for truth, and
author of books and tracts.

His preaching period covered the whole time from 1826 to 1898, the year
of his departure, over seventy years; and from 1830, when he went to
Teignmouth, his preaching continued, without interruption except from
ill health, until his life closed, with an average through the whole
period of probably three sermons a week, or over ten thousand for his
lifetime. This is probably a low estimate, for during his missionary
tours, which covered over two hundred thousand miles and were spread
through' seventeen years, he spoke on an average about once a day
notwithstanding already advanced age.

His church life was much blessed even in visible and tangible results.
During the first two and a half years of work in Bristol, two hundred
and twenty-seven members were added, about half of whom were new
converts, and it is probable that, if the whole number brought to the
knowledge of Christ by his preaching could now be ascertained, it would
be found to aggregate full as many as the average of those years, and
would thus reach into the thousands, exclusive of orphans converted on
Ashley Down. Then when we take into account the vast numbers addressed
and impressed by his addresses, given in all parts of the United
Kingdom, on the Continent of Europe, and in America, Asia, and
Australia, and the still vaster numbers who have read his Narrative, his
books and tracts, or who have in various other ways felt the quickening
power of his example and life, we shall get some conception--still, at
best, inadequate--of the range and scope of the influence he wielded by
his tongue and pen, his labours, and his life. Much of the best
influence defies all tabulated statistics and evades all mathematical
estimates; it is like the fragrance of the alabaster flask which fills
all the house but escapes our grosser senses of sight, hearing, and
touch. This part of George Muller's work we cannot summarize: it belongs
to a realm where we cannot penetrate. But God sees, knows, and rewards
it.


CHAPTER XXI

THE CHURCH LIFE AND GROWTH

THROUGHOUT Mr. Muller's journal we meet scattered and fragmentary
suggestions as to the true conception of Christian teaching and
practice, the nature and office of the Christian ministry, the
principles which should prevail in church conduct, the mutual relations
of believers, and the Spirit's relation to the Body of Christ, to pure
worship, service, and testimony. These hints will be of more value if
they are crystallized into unity so as to be seen in their connection
with each other.

The founder of the orphan houses began and ended his public career as a
preacher, and, for over sixty years, was so closely related to one body
of believers that no review of his life can be complete without a
somewhat extended reference to the church in Bristol of which he was one
of the earliest leaders, and, of all who ministered to it, the longest
in service.

His church-work in Bristol began with his advent to that city and ended
only with his departure from it for the continuing city and the Father's
House. The joint ministry of himself and Mr. Henry Craik has been traced
already in the due order of events; but the development of church-life,
under this apostolic ministry, furnishes instructive lessons which yield
their full teaching only when gathered up and grouped together so as to
secure unity, continuity, and completeness of impression.

When Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik began joint work in Bristol, foundations
needed to be relaid. The church-life, as they found it, was not on a
sufficiently scriptural basis, and they waited on God for wisdom to
adjust it more completely to His word and will. This was the work of
time, for it required the instruction of fellow believers so that they
might be prepared to cooperate, by recognizing scriptural and spiritual
teaching; it required also the creation of that bond of sympathy which
inclines the flock to hear and heed the shepherd's voice, and follow a
true pastoral leadership. At the outset of their ministry, these
brethren carefully laid down some principles on which their ministry was
to be based. On May 23, 1832, they frankly stated, at Gideon Chapel,
certain terms on which alone they could take charge of the church: they
must be regarded as simply God's servants to labour among them so long
as, and in such way as might be His will, and under no bondage of fixed
rules; they desired pew-rents to be done away with, and voluntary
offerings substituted, etc.

There was already, however, a strong conviction that a new start was in
some respects indispensable if the existing church-life was to be
thoroughly modelled on a scriptural pattern. These brethren determined
to stamp upon the church certain important features such as these:
Apostolic simplicity of worship, evangelical teaching, evangelistic
work, separation from the world, systematic giving, and dependence on
prayer. They desired to give great prominence to the simple testimony of
the Word, to support every department of the work by free-will
offerings, to recognize the Holy Spirit as the one presiding and
governing Power in all church assemblies, and to secure liberty for all
believers in the exercise of spiritual gifts as distributed by that
Spirit to all members of the Body of Christ for service. They believed
it scriptural to break bread every Lord's day, and to baptize by
immersion; and, although this latter has not for many years been a term
of communion or of fellowship, believers have always been carefully
taught that this is the duty of all disciples.

It has been already seen that in August, 1832, seven persons in all,
including these two pastors, met at Bethesda Chapel to unite in
fellowship, without any formal basis or bond except that of loyalty to
the Word and Spirit of God. This step was taken in order to start anew,
without the hindrance of customs already prevailing, which were felt to
be unscriptural and yet were difficult to abolish without discordant
feeling; and, from that date on, Bethesda Chapel has been the home of an
assembly of believers who have sought steadfastly to hold fast the New
Testament basis of church-life.

Such blessed results are largely due to these beloved colleagues in
labour who never withheld their testimony, but were intrepidly
courageous and conscientiously faithful in witnessing against whatever
they deemed opposed to the Word. Love ruled, but was not confounded with
laxity in matters of right and wrong; and, as they saw more clearly what
was taught in the Word, they sought to be wholly obedient to the Lord's
teaching and leading, and to mould and model every matter, however
minute, in every department of duty, private or public, according to the
expressed will of God.

In January, 1834, all teachers who were not believers were dismissed
from the Sunday-school; and, in the Dorcas Society, only believing
sisters were accepted to make clothes for the destitute. The reason was
that it had been found unwise and unwholesome to mix up or yoke together
believers and unbelievers.* Such association proved a barrier to
spiritual converse and injurious to both classes, fostering in the
unbelievers a false security, ensnaring them in a delusive hope that to
help in Christian work might somehow atone for rejection of Jesus Christ
as a Saviour, or secure favour from God and an open door into heaven. No
doubt all this indiscriminate association of children of God with
children of the world in a "mixed multitude" is unscriptural.
Unregenerate persons are tempted to think there is some merit at least
in mingling with worshippers and workers, and especially in giving to
the support of the gospel and its institutions. The devil seeks to
persuade such that it is acceptable to God to conform externally to
religious rites, and forms, and take part in outward acts of service and
sacrifice, and that He will deal leniently with them, despite their
unbelief and disobedience. Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik felt keenly that
this danger existed and that even in minor matters there must be a line
of separation, for the sake of all involved.

* 2 Cor. vi. 14-18.

When, in 1837, in connection with the congregation at Bethesda, the
question was raised--commonly known as that of close communion--whether
believers who had not been baptized as such should be received into
fellowship, it was submitted likewise to the one test of clear scripture
teaching. Some believers were conscientiously opposed to such reception,
but the matter was finally and harmoniously settled by "receiving all
who love our Lord Jesus into full communion, irrespective of baptism,"
and Mr. Muller, looking back forty-four years later upon this action,
bears witness that the decision never became a source of dissension.*

* Appendix L.

In all other church matters, prayer and searching the Word, asking
counsel of the Holy Oracles and wisdom from above, were the one resort,
and the resolution of all difficulties. When, in the spring of 1838,
sundry questions arose somewhat delicate and difficult to adjust, Mr.
Muller and Mr. Craik quietly withdrew from Bristol for two weeks, to
give themselves to prayer and meditation, seeking of God definite
direction.

The matters then at issue concerned the scriptural conception, mode of
selection and appointment, scope of authority and responsibility, of
_the Eldership;_ the proper mode of observance of the _Lord's Supper,_
its frequency, proper subjects, etc. Nothing is ever settled finally
until settled rightly, nor settled rightly until settled scripturally. A
serious peril confronted the church--not of controversy only, but of
separation and schism; and in such circumstances mere discussion often
only fans the embers of strife and ends in hopeless alienation. These
spiritually minded pastors followed the apostolic method, referring all
matters to the Scriptures as the one rule of faith and practice, and to
the Holy Spirit as the presiding Presence in the church of God; and they
purposely retired into seclusion from the strife of tongues and of
conflicting human opinion, that they might know the mind of the Lord and
act accordingly. The results, as might be foreseen, were clear light
from above for themselves, and a united judgment among the brethren; but
more than this, God gave them wisdom so to act, combining the courage of
conviction with the meekness and gentleness of Christ, as that all
clouds were dispelled and peace restored.*

* Appendix M.

For about eight years, services had been held in both Gideon and
Bethesda chapels; but on April 19, 1840, the last of the services
conducted by Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik was held at Gideon,--Bethesda,
from this time on, becoming the central place of assembly. The reasons
for this step were somewhat as follows:

These joint pastors strongly felt, with some others, that not a few of
the believers who assembled at Gideon Chapel were a hindrance to the
clear, positive, and united testimony which should be given both to the
church and world; and it was on this account that, after many meetings
for prayer and conference, seeking to know God's mind, it was determined
to relinquish Gideon as a place of worship. The questions involved
affected the preservation of the purity and simplicity of apostolic
worship, and so the conformity of church-life to the New Testament
pattern. These well-yoked pastors were very jealous for the Lord God of
hosts, that, among the saints to whom they ministered, nothing should
find a lodgment which was not in entire accord with scriptural
principles, precepts, and practices.

Perhaps it is well here to put on record, even at risk of repetition,
the principles which Mr. Muller and his colleague were wont to enforce
as guards or landmarks which should be set up and kept up, in order to
exclude those innovations which always bring spiritual declension.

1. Believers should meet, simply as such, without reference to
denominational lines, names, or distinctions, as a corrective and
preventive of sectarianism.

2. They should steadfastly maintain the Holy Scriptures as the divine
rule and standard of doctrine, deportment, and discipline.

3. They should encourage freedom for the exercise of whatever spiritual
gifts the Lord might be pleased by His Spirit to bestow for general
edification.

4. Assemblies on the Lord's day should be primarily for believers, for
the breaking of bread, and for worship; unbelievers sitting
promiscuously among saints would either hinder the appearance of meeting
for such purposes, or compel a pause between other parts of the service
and the Lord's Supper.

5. The pew-rent system should be abolished, as promoting the caste
spirit, or at least the outward appearance of a false distinction
between the poorer and richer classes, especially as pew-holders
commonly look on their sittings as private property.

6. All money contributed for pastoral support, church work, and
missionary enterprises at home and abroad should be by free-will
offerings.

It was because some of these and other like scriptural principles were
thought to be endangered or compromised by practices prevailing at
Gideon Chapel before Mr. Muller and Mr. Craik took charge, that it
seemed best on the whole to relinquish that chapel as a place of
worship. As certain customs there obtaining had existed previously, it
seemed to these godly-minded brethren that it would be likely to cause
needless offence and become a root of bitterness should they require
what they deemed unscriptural to be renounced; and it seemed the way of
love to give up Gideon Chapel after these eight years of labour there,
and to invite such as felt called on to separate from every sectarian
system, and meet for worship where free exercise would be afforded for
every spiritual gift, and where New Testament methods might be more
fully followed, to assemble with other believers at Bethesda, where
previous hindering conditions had not existed.

Mr. Muller remained very intimately connected with Bethesda and its
various outgrowths, for many years, as the senior pastor, or
elder,--though only _primus inter pares,_ i.e., leader among equals. His
opinions about the work of the ministry and the conduct of church-life,
which did so much to shape the history of these churches, therefore form
a necessary part of this sketch of the development of church-life.

It was laid upon his heart frequently to address his brethren in the
ministry of the Word and the curacy of souls. Everywhere, throughout the
world, he welcomed opportunities for interviews, whether with many or
few, upon whom he could impress his own deep convictions as to the vital
secrets of effective service in the pulpit and pastorate. Such meetings
with brethren in the ministry numbered hundreds and perhaps thousands in
the course of his long life, and as his testimony was essentially the
same on all occasions, a single utterance may be taken as the type of
all. During his American tours, he gave an hour's address which was
reported and published, and the substance of which may therefore be
given.

First of all he laid great stress upon the _need of conversion._ Until a
man is both truly turned unto God and sure of this change in himself he
is not fitted to convert others. The ministry is not a human profession,
but a divine vocation. The true preacher is both a _herald_ and a
_witness,_ and hence must back up his message by his personal testimony
from experience.

But even conversion is not enough: there must be an _intimate knowledge
of the Lord Jesus._ One must know the Lord as coming near to himself,
and know the joy and strength found in hourly access. However it be
done, and at any cost, the minister of Christ must reach this close
relationship. It is an absolute necessity to peace and power.

_Growth in happiness and love_ was next made very prominent. It is
impossible to set limits to the experience of any believer who casts
himself wholly on God, surrenders himself wholly to God, and cherishes
deep love for His word and holy intimacy with Himself. The first
business of every morning should be to secure happiness in God.

He who is to nourish others must carefully _feed his own soul._ Daily
reading and study of the Scriptures, with much prayer, especially in the
early morning hours, was strenuously urged. Quietness before God should
be habitually cultivated, calming the mind and freeing it from
preoccupation. Continuous reading of the Word, in course, will throw
light upon the general teaching of the Word, and reveal God's thoughts
in their variety and connection, and go far to correct erroneous views.

_Holiness_ must be the supreme aim: prompt obedience to all known truth,
a single eye in serving God, and zeal for His glory. Many a life has
been more or less a failure because habits of heart well pleasing to God
have been neglected. Nothing is more the crowning grace than the
unconscious grace of _humility._ All praise of man robs God of His own
honour. Let us therefore be humble and turn all eyes unto God.

The _message_ must be gotten from God, if it is to be with power. "Ask
God for it," said Mr. Muller, "and be not satisfied until the heart is
at rest. When the text is obtained ask further guidance in meditating
upon it, and keep in constant communion so as to get God's mind in the
matter and His help in delivery. Then, after the work is done, pray much
for blessing, as well as in advance." He then told some startling facts
as to seed sown many years before, but even now yielding fruit in answer
to prayer.

He laid also special emphasis upon _expounding the Scripture._ The word
of God is the staple of all preaching; Christ and nothing else the
centre of all true ministry of the Word. Whoever faithfully and
constantly preaches Christ will find God's word not returning to him
void. Preach simply. Luther's rule was to speak so that an ignorant
maid-servant could understand; if she does, the learned professor
certainly will; but it does not hold true that the simple understand all
that the wise do.

Mr. Muller seldom addressed his brethren in the ministry without giving
more or less counsel as to the conduct of church-life, giving plain
witness against such hindrances as unconverted singers and choirs,
secular methods of raising money, pew-rents and caste distinctions in
the house of prayer, etc.; and urging such helps as inquirers' meetings,
pastoral visits, and, above all else, believing prayer. He urged
definite praying and importunate praying, and remarked that Satan will
not mind how we labour in prayer for a few days, weeks, or even months,
if he can at last discourage us so that we cease praying, as though it
were of no use.

As to prayers for past seed-sowing, he told the writer of this memoir
how in all supplication to God he looked not only forward but
_backward._ He was wont to ask that the Lord would be pleased to bless
seed long since sown and yet apparently unfruitful; and he said that, in
answer to these prayers, he had up to that day evidence of God's loving
remembrance of his work of faith and labour of love in years long gone
by. He was permitted to know that messages delivered for God, tracts
scattered, and other means of service had, after five, ten, twenty, and
even sixty years, at last brought forth a harvest. Hence his urgency in
advising fellow labourers to pray unceasingly that God would work
mightily in the hearts of those who had once been under their care,
bringing to their remembrance the truth which had been set before them.

The humility Mr. Muller enjoined he practised. He was ever only the
_servant_ of the Lord. Mr. Spurgeon, in one of his sermons, describes
the startling effect on London Bridge when he saw one lamp after another
lit up with flame, though in the darkness he could not see the
lamplighter; and George Muller set many a light burning when he was
himself content to be unseen, unnoticed, and unknown. He honestly sought
not his own glory, but had the meek and quiet spirit so becoming a
minister of Jesus Christ.

Mr. Henry Craik's death in 1866, after thirty-four years of co-labour in
the Lord, left Mr. Muller comparatively alone with a double burden of
responsibility, but his faith was equal to the crisis and his peace
remained unbroken. A beloved brother, then visiting Bristol, after
crowded services conducted by him at Bethesda, was about leaving the
city; and he asked Mr. Muller, "What are you going to do, now that Mr.
Craik is dead, to hold the people and prevent their scattering?" "My
beloved brother," was the calm reply, "we shall do what we have always
done, _look only to the Lord."_

This God has been the perpetual helper. Mr. Muller almost totally
withdrew from the work, during the seventeen years of his missionary
tours, between 1875 and 1892, when he was in Bristol but a few weeks or
months at a time, in the intervals between his long journeys and
voyages. This left the assembly of believers still more dependent upon
the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls. But Bethesda has never, in a
sense, been limited to any one or two men, as the only acknowledged
leaders; from the time when those seven believers gathered about the
Lord's table in 1832, the New Testament conception of the equality of
believers in privilege and duty has been maintained. The one supreme
Leader is the Holy Ghost, and under Him those whom He calls and
qualifies. One of the fundamental principles espoused by these brethren
is that the Spirit of God controls in the assemblies of the saints; that
He sets the members, every one of them, in the Body as it pleaseth Him,
and divides unto them, severally as He will, gifts for service in the
Body; that the only true ordination is His ordination, and that the
manifestation of His gifts is the sufficient basis for the recognition
of brethren as qualified for the exercise of an office or function, the
possession of spiritual gifts being sufficient authority for their
exercise. It is with the Body of Christ as with the human body: the eye
is manifestly made for seeing and the ear for hearing, the hand and foot
for handling and walking; and this adaptation both shows the design of
God and their place in the organism. And so for more than threescore
years the Holy Spirit has been safely trusted to supply and qualify all
needed teachers, helpers, and leaders in the assembly. There has always
been a considerable number of brethren and sisters fitted and disposed
to take up the various departments of service to which they were
obviously called of the Spirit, so that no one person has been
indispensable. Various brethren have been able to give more or less time
and strength to preaching, visiting, and ruling in the church; while
scores of others, who, like Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, the tent-makers,
have their various business callings and seek therein to "abide with
God," are ready to aid as the Lord may guide in such other forms of
service as may consist with their ordinary vocations. The prosperity of
the congregation, its growth, conduct, and edification, have therefore
been dependent only on God, who, as He has withdrawn one worker after
another, has supplied others in their stead, and so continues to do.

To have any adequate conception of the fruits of such teaching and such
living in church-life, it is needful to go at least into one of the
Monday-night prayer meetings at Bethesda. It is primitive and apostolic
in simplicity. No one presides but the unseen Spirit of God. A hymn is
suggested by some brother, and then requests for prayer are read,
usually with definite mention of the names of those by and for whom
supplication is asked. Then prayer, scripture reading, singing, and
exhortation follow, without any prearrangement as to subject, order in
which or persons by whom, the exercises are participated in. The fullest
liberty is encouraged to act under the Spirit's guidance; and the fact
of such guidance is often strikingly apparent in the singular unity of
prayer and song, scripture reading and remarks, as well as in the
harmonious fellowship apparent. After more than half a century these
Monday-night prayer services are still a hallowed centre of attraction,
a rallying-point for supplication, and a radiating-point for service,
and remain unchanged in the method of their conduct.

The original congregation has proved a tree whose seed is in itself
after its kind. At the time of Mr. Muller's decease it was nearly
sixty-six years since that memorable evening in 1832 when those seven
believers met to form a church; and the original body of disciples
meeting in Bethesda had increased to ten, six of which are now
independent of the mother church, and four of which still remain in
close affiliation and really constitute one church, though meeting in
Bethesda, Alma Road, Stokes Croft, and Totterdown chapels. The names of
the other churches which have been in a sense offshoots from Bethesda
are as follows: Unity, Bishopston, Cumberland Hall, Charleton Hall,
Nicholas Road, and Bedminster.

At the date of Mr. Muller's decease the total membership of the four
affiliated congregations was upwards of twelve hundred.

In this brief compass no complete outline could be given of the church
life and work so dear to him, and over which he so long watched and
prayed. This church has been and is a missionary church. When on March
1, 1836, Mr. and Mrs. Groves, with ten helpers, left Bristol to carry on
mission work in the East Indies, Mr. Muller felt deeply moved to pray
that the body of disciples to whom he ministered might send out from
their own members labourers for the wide world-field. That prayer was
not forgotten before God, and has already been answered exceeding
abundantly above all he then asked or thought. Since that time some
sixty have gone forth to lands afar to labour in the gospel, and at the
period of Mr. Muller's death there were at work, in various parts of the
world, at least twenty, who are aided by the free-will offerings of
their Bristol brethren.

When, in 1874, Mr. Muller closed the third volume of his Narrative, he
recorded the interesting fact that, of the many nonconformist ministers
of the gospel resident in Bristol when he took up work there more than
forty-two years before, _not one remained,_ all having been removed
elsewhere or having died; and that, of all the Evangelical clergy of the
establishment, only _one_ survived. Yet he himself, with very rare
hindrance through illness, was permitted to preach and labour with
health and vigour both of mind and body; over a thousand believers were
already under his pastoral oversight, meeting in three different
chapels, and over three thousand had been admitted into fellowship.

It was the writer's privilege to hear Mr. Muller preach on the morning
of March 22, 1896, in Bethesda Chapel. He was in his ninety-first year,
but there was a freshness, vigour, and terseness in his preaching that
gave no indication of failing powers; in fact, he had never seemed more
fitted to express and impress the thoughts of God.

His theme was the seventy-seventh psalm, and it afforded him abundant
scope for his favourite subject--prayer. He expounded the psalm verse by
verse, clearly, sympathetically, effectively, and the outline of his
treatment strongly engraved itself on my memory and is here reproduced.

"I cried unto God with my voice." Prayer seeks a voice--to utter itself
in words: the effort to clothe our desires in language gives
definiteness to our desires and keeps the attention on the objects of
prayer.

"In the day of my trouble." The Psalmist was in trouble; some distress
was upon him, perhaps physical as well as mental, and it was an
unceasing burden night and day.

"My soul refused to be comforted." The words, "my sore ran in the
night," may be rendered, "my hand reached out"--that is in prayer. But
unbelief triumphed, and his soul refused all comfort--even the comfort
of God's promises. His trouble overshadowed his faith and shut out the
vision of God.

"I remembered, or thought of God, and was troubled." Even the thought of
God, instead of bringing peace, brought distress; instead of silencing
his complaint, it increased it, and his spirit was overwhelmed--the sure
sign, again, of unbelief. If in trouble God's promises and the thought
of God bring no relief, they will only become an additional burden.

"Thou holdest mine eyes waking." There was no sleep because there was no
rest or peace. Care makes wakeful. Anxiety is the foe of repose. His
spirit was unbelieving and therefore rebellious. He would not take God
at His word.

"I have considered the days of old." Memory now is at work. He calls to
remembrance former experiences of trouble and of deliverance. He had
often sought God and been heard and helped, and why not now? As he made
diligent search among the records of his experience and recollected all
God's manifest and manifold interpositions, he began to ask whether God
could be fickle and capricious, whether His mercy was exhausted and His
promise withdrawn, whether He had forgotten His covenant of grace, and
shut up His fountains of love.

Thus we follow the Psalmist through six stages of unbelief:

1. The thought of God is a burden instead of a blessing.

2. The complaining spirit increases toward God.

3. His spirit is agitated instead of soothed and calmed.

4. Sleep departs, and anxiety forbids repose of heart.

5. Trouble only deepens and God seems far off.

6. Memory recalls God's mercies, but only to awaken distrust.

At last we reach the _turning-point_ in the psalm: he asks as he reviews
former experiences, WHERE IS THE DIFFERENCE? IS THE CHANGE IN GOD OR IN
ME? "Selah"--the pause marks this turning-point in the argument or
experience.

"And I said, This is _my infirmity."_ In other words, "I HAVE BEEN A
FOOL!" God is faithful. He never casts off. His children are always dear
to Him. His grace is exhaustless and His promise unfailing. Instead of
fixing his eyes on his trouble he now fixes his whole mind on God. He
remembers His work, and meditates upon it; instead of rehearsing his own
trials, he talks of His doings. He gets overwhelmed now, not with the
greatness of his troubles, but the greatness of his Helper. He recalls
His miracles of power and love, and remembers the mystery of His mighty
deeds--His way in the sea, His strange dealings and leadings and their
gracious results--and so faith once more triumphs.

What is the conclusion, the practical lesson?

Unbelief is folly. It charges God foolishly. Man's are the weakness and
failure, but never God's. My faith may be lacking, but not His power.
Memory and meditation, when rightly directed, correct unbelief. God has
shown Himself great. He has always done wonders. He led even an
unbelieving and murmuring people out of Egypt and for forty years
through the wilderness, and His miracles of power and love were
marvelous.

The psalm contains a _great lesson._ Affliction is inevitable. But our
business is never to lose sight of the Father who will not leave His
children. We are to roll all burdens on Him and wait patiently, and
deliverance is sure. Behind the curtain He carries on His plan of love,
never forgetting us, always caring for His own. His ways of dealing we
cannot trace, for His footsteps are in the trackless sea, and unknown to
us. But HE IS SURELY LEADING, and CONSTANTLY LOVING. Let us not be
fools, but pray in faith to a faithful God.

This is the substance of that morning exposition, and is here given very
inadequately, it is true, yet it serves not only to illustrate Mr.
Muller's mode of expounding and applying the Word, but the exposition of
this psalm is a sort of exponent also of his life. It reveals his habits
of prayer, the conflicts with unbelief, and how out of temptations to
distrust God he found deliverance; and thus is doubly valuable to us as
an experimental commentary upon the life-history we are studying.


CHAPTER XXII

A GLANCE AT THE GIFTS AND THE GIVERS

THERE is One who still sits over against the Treasury, watching the
gifts cast into it, and impartially weighing their worth, estimating the
rich man's millions and the widow's mites, not by the amount given, but
by the motives which impel and the measure of self-sacrifice accepted
for the Lord's sake.

The ample supplies poured into Mr. Muller's hands came alike from those
who had abundance of wealth and from those whose only abundance was that
of deep poverty, but the rills as well as the rivers were from God. It
is one of the charms of this life-story to observe the variety of
persons and places, sums of money and forms of help, connected with the
donations made to the Lord's work; and the exact adaptation between the
need and the supply, both as to time and amount. Some instances of this
have been given in the historic order; but to get a more complete view
of the lessons which they suggest it is helpful to classify some of the
striking and impressive examples, which are so abundant, and which
afford such valuable hints as to the science and the art of giving.

Valuable lessons may be drawn from the beautiful spirit shown by givers
and from the secret history of their gifts.

In some cases the facts were not known till long after, even by Mr.
Muller himself; and when known, could not be disclosed to the public
while the parties were yet alive. But when it became possible and proper
to unveil these hidden things they were revealed for the glory of God
and the good of others, and shine on the pages of this record like stars
in the sky. Paul rejoiced in the free-will offerings of Philippian
disciples, not because he desired a gift, but fruit that might abound to
their account; not because their offerings ministered to his necessity,
but because they became a sacrifice of a sweet smell acceptable, well
pleasing to God. Such joy constantly filled Mr. Muller's heart. He was
daily refreshed and reinvigorated by the many proofs that the gifts
received had been first sanctified by prayer and self-denial. He lived
and breathed amid the fragrance of sweet-savour offerings, permitted for
more than threescore years to participate in the joy of the Lord Himself
over the cheerful though often costly gifts of His people. By reason of
identification with his Master, the servant caught the sweet scent of
these sacrifices as their incense rose from His altars toward heaven.
Even on earth the self-denials of his own life found compensation in
thus acting in the Lord's behalf in receiving and disbursing these
gifts; and, he says, "the Lord thus impressed on me from the beginning
that the orphan houses and work were HIS, _not_ MINE."

Many a flask of spikenard, very precious, broken upon the feet of the
Saviour, for the sake of the orphans, or the feeding of starving souls
with the Bread of Life, filled the house with the odour of the ointment,
so that to dwell there was to breathe a hallowed atmosphere of devotion.

Among the first givers to the work was a poor needlewoman, who, to Mr.
Muller's surprise, brought _one hundred pounds._ She earned by her work
only an _average, per week,_ of _three shillings and sixpence,_ and was
moreover weak in body. A small legacy of less than five hundred pounds
from her grandmother's estate had come to her at her father's death by
the conditions of her grandmother's will. But that father had died a
drunkard and a bankrupt, and her brothers and sisters had settled with
his creditors by paying them five shillings to the pound. To her
conscience, this seemed robbing the creditors of three fourths of their
claim, and, though they had no legal hold upon her, she privately paid
them the other fifteen shillings to the pound, of the unpaid debts of
her father. Moreover, when her unconverted brother and two sisters gave
each fifty pounds to the widowed mother, she as a child of God felt that
she should give double that amount. By this time her own share of the
legacy was reduced to a small remainder, and it was out of this that she
gave the one hundred pounds for the orphan work!

As Mr. Muller's settled principle was _never to grasp eagerly at any
gift whatever the need or the amount of the gift,_ before accepting this
money he had a long conversation with this woman, seeking to prevent her
from giving either from an unsanctified motive or in unhallowed haste,
without counting the cost. He would in such a case dishonour his Master
by accepting the gift, as though God were in need of our offerings.
Careful scrutiny, however, revealed no motives not pure and Christlike;
this woman had calmly and deliberately reached her decision. "The Lord
Jesus," she said, "has given His last drop of blood for me, and should I
not give Him this hundred pounds?" He who comes into contact with such
givers in his work for God finds therein a means of grace.

This striking incident lends a pathetic interest to the beginnings of
the orphan work, and still more as we further trace the story of this
humble needlewoman. She had been a habitual giver, but so unobtrusively
that, while she lived, not half a dozen people knew of either the legacy
or of this donation. Afterward, however, it came to the light that in
many cases she had quietly and most unostentatiously given food,
clothing, and like comforts to the deserving poor. Her gifts were so
disproportionate to her means that her little capital rapidly
diminished. Mr. Muller was naturally very reluctant to accept what she
brought, until he saw that the love of Christ constrained her. He could
then do no less than to receive her offering, in his Master's name,
while like the Master he exclaimed, "O woman, great is thy faith!"

Five features made her benevolence praiseworthy. First, all these deeds
of charity were done in secret and without any show; and she therefore
was kept humble, not puffed up with pride through human applause; her
personal habits of dress and diet remained as simple after her legacy as
before, and to the last she worked with her needle for her own support;
and, finally, while her _earnings_ were counted in shillings and pence,
her _givings_ were counted in sovereigns or five-pound notes, and in one
case by the hundred pounds. Her money was entirely gone, years before
she was called higher, but the faithful God never forgot His promise: "I
will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Never left to want, even after
bodily weakness forbade her longer to ply her needle, she asked no human
being for help, but in whatever straits made her appeal to God, and was
not only left to suffer no lack, but, in the midst of much bodily
suffering, her mouth was filled with holy song.

Mr. Muller records the _first bequest_ as from a dear lad who died in
the faith. During his last illness, he had received a gift of some new
silver coins; and he asked that this, his only treasure in money, might
be sent for the orphans. With pathetic tenderness Mr. Muller adds that
this precious little legacy of _six shillings sixpence halfpenny,_
received September 15, 1837, was the first they ever had. Those who
estimate all donations by money-worth can little understand how welcome
such a bequest was; but to such a man this small donation, bequeathed by
one of Christ's little ones, and representing all he possessed, was of
inestimable worth.

In May, 1842, a gold watch and chain were accompanied by a brief note,
the contents of which suggest the possibilities of service, open to us
through the voluntary limitation of artificial or imaginary wants. The
note reads thus: "A pilgrim does not want such a watch as this to make
him happy; one of an inferior kind will do to show him how swiftly time
flies, and how fast he is hastening on to that Canaan where time will be
no more: so that it is for you to do with this what it seemeth good to
you. It is the last relic of earthly vanity, and, while I am in the
body, may I be kept from all idolatry!"

In March, 1884, a contribution reached Mr. Muller from one who had been
enabled in a like spirit to increase the amount over all previous gifts
by the sale of some jewelry which had been put away in accordance with 1
Peter iii. 3. How much superfluous ornament, worn by disciples, might be
blessedly sacrificed for the Lord's sake! The one ornament which is in
His sight of great price would shine with far more lustre if it were the
only one worn.

Another instance of turning all things to account was seen in the case
of a giver who sent a box containing four old crown pieces which had a
curious history. They were the wedding-day present of a bridegroom to
his bride, who, reluctant to spend her husband's first gift, kept them
until she passed them over, as heirlooms, to her four grand-children.
They were thus at last put out to usury, after many years of gathering
"rust" in hoarded idleness and uselessness. Little did bridegroom or
bride foresee how these coins, after more than a hundred years, would
come forth from their hiding-place to be put to the Lord's uses. Few
people have ever calculated how much is lost to every good cause by the
simple withdrawal of money from circulation. Those four crown pieces had
they been carefully invested, so as to double in value, by compound
interest, every ten years, would have increased to one thousand pounds
during the years they had lain idle!

One gift was sent in, as an offering to the Lord, instead of being used
to purchase an engagement-ring by two believers who desired their lives
to be united by that highest bond, the mutual love of the Lord who
spared not His own blood for them.

At another time, a box came containing a new satin jacket, newly bought,
but sacrificed as a snare to pride. Its surrender marked an epoch, for
henceforth the owner determined to spend in dress only what is needful,
and not waste the Lord's money on costly apparel. Enlightened believers
look on all things as inalienably God's, and, even in the voluntary
diversion of money into sacred rather than selfish channels, still
remember that they give to Him only what is His own! "The little child
feels proud that he can drop the money into the box after the parent has
supplied the means, and told him to do so; and so God's children are
sometimes tempted to think that they are giving of their own, and to be
proud over their gifts, forgetting the divine Father who both gives us
all we have and bids us give all back to Him."

A gift of two thousand pounds on January 29,1872, was accompanied by a
letter confessing that the possession of property had given the writer
much trouble of mind, and it had been disposed of from a conviction that
the Lord "saw it not good" for him to _hold so much_ and therefore
allowed its possession to be a curse rather than a blessing. Fondness
for possessions always entails curse, and external riches thus become a
source of internal poverty. It is doubtful whether any child of God ever
yet hoarded wealth without losing in spiritual attainment and enjoyment.
Greed is one of the lowest and most destructive of vices and turns a man
into the likeness of the coin he worships, making him hard, cold,
metallic, and unsympathetic, so that, as has been quaintly said, he
drops into his coffin "with a chink."

God estimates what we _give_ by what we _keep,_ for it is possible to
bestow large sums and yet reserve so much larger amounts that no
self-denial is possible. Such giving to the Lord _costs us nothing._

In 1853, a brother in the Lord took out of his pocket a roll of
bank-notes, amounting to one hundred and ten pounds, and put it into Mr.
Muller's hand, it being _more than one half of his entire worldly
estate._ Such giving is an illustration of self-sacrifice on a large
scale, and brings corresponding blessing.

The _motives_ prompting gifts were often unusually suggestive. In
October, 1857, a donation came from a Christian merchant who, having
sustained a heavy pecuniary loss, _wished to sanctify his loss by a gift
to the Lord's work._ Shortly after, another offering was handed in by a
young man in thankful remembrance that twenty-five years before Mr.
Muller had prayed over him, as a child, that God would convert him. Yet
another gift, of thirty-five hundred pounds, came to him in 1858, with a
letter stating that the giver had further purposed to give to the orphan
work the chief preference in his will, but had now seen it to be far
better to _act as his own executor_ and give the whole amount while he
lived. Immense advantage would accrue, both to givers and to the causes
they purpose to promote, were this principle generally adopted! There is
"many a slip betwixt the cup" of the legator and "the lip" of the
legatee. Even a wrong wording of a will has often forfeited or defeated
the intent of a legacy. Mr. Muller had to warn intending donors that
nothing that was reckoned as real estate was available for legacies for
charitable institutions, nor even money lent on real estate or in any
other way derived therefrom. These conditions no longer exist, but they
illustrate the ease with which a will may often be made void, and the
design of a bequest be defeated.

Many donors were led to send thank-offerings for _avoided_ or _averted
calamities:_ as, for example, for a sick horse, given up by the
veterinary surgeon as lost, but which recovered in answer to prayer.
Another donor, who broke his left arm, sends grateful acknowledgment to
God that it was not the _right_ arm, or some more vital part like the
head or neck.

The offerings were doubly precious because of the unwearied faithfulness
of God who manifestly prompted them, and who kept speaking to the hearts
of thousands, leading them to give so abundantly and constantly that no
want was unsupplied. In 1859, so great were the outlays of the work that
if day by day, during the whole three hundred and sixty-five, fifty
pounds had been received, the income would not have been more than
enough. Yet in a surprising variety and number of ways, and from persons
and places no less numerous and various, donations came in. Not one of
twenty givers was personally known to Mr. Muller, and no one of all
contributors had ever been asked for a gift, and yet, up to November,
1858, over _six hundred thousand pounds_ had already been received, and
in amounts varying from eighty-one hundred pounds down to a single
farthing.

Unique circumstances connected with some donations made them remarkable.
While resting at Ilfracombe, in September, 1865, a gentleman gave to Mr.
Muller a sum of money, at the same time narrating the facts which led to
the gift. He was a hard-working business man, wont to doubt the reality
of spiritual things, and strongly questioned the truth of the narrative
of answered prayers which he had read from Mr. Muller's pen. But, in
view of the simple straightforward story, he could not rest in his
doubts, and at last proposed to himself a test as to whether or not God
was indeed with Mr. Muller, as he declared. He wished to buy a certain
property if rated at a reasonable valuation; and he determined, if he
should secure it at the low price which he set for himself, he would
give to him one hundred pounds. He authorized a bid to be put in, in his
behalf, but, curious to get the earliest information as to the success
of his venture, he went himself to the place of sale, and was surprised
to find the property actually knocked off to him at his own price.
Astonished at what he regarded as a proof that God was really working
with Mr. Muller and for him, he made up his mind to go in person and pay
over the sum of money to him, and so make his acquaintance and see the
man whose prayers God answered. Not finding him at Bristol, he had
followed him to Ilfracombe.

Having heard his story, and having learned that he was from a certain
locality, Mr. Muller remarked upon the frequent proofs of God's strange
way of working on the minds of parties wholly unknown to him and leading
them to send in gifts; and he added: "I had a letter from a lawyer in
your very neighbourhood, shortly since, asking for the proper form for a
bequest, as a client of his, not named, wished to leave one thousand
pounds to the orphan work." It proved that the man with whom he was then
talking was this nameless client, who, being convinced that his doubts
were wrong, had decided to provide for this legacy.

In August, 1884, a Christian brother from the United States called to
see Mr. Muller. He informed him how greatly he had been blessed of God
through reading his published testimony to God's faithfulness; and that
having, through his sister's death, come into the possession of some
property, he had _come across the sea,_ that he might see the orphan
houses and know their founder, for himself, and hand over to him for the
Lord's work the entire bequest of about seven hundred pounds.

Only seventeen days later, a letter accompanying a donation gave further
joy to Mr. Muller's heart. It was from the husband of one of the orphans
who, in her seventeenth year, had left the institution, and to whom Mr.
Muller himself, on her departure, had given the first two volumes of the
Reports. Her husband had read them with more spiritual profit than any
volume except the Book of books, and had found his faith much
strengthened. Being a lay preacher in the Methodist Free Church, the
blessed impulses thus imparted to himself were used of God to inspire a
like self-surrender in the class under his care.

These are a few examples of the countless encouragements that led Mr.
Muller, as he reviewed them, to praise God unceasingly.

A Christian physician enclosed ten pounds in a letter, telling how first
he tried a religion of mere duty and failed; then, after a severe
illness, learned a religion of love, apprehending the love of God to
himself in Christ and so learning how to love others. In his days of
darkness he had been a great lover of flowers and had put up several
plant-houses; flower-culture was his hobby, and a fine collection of
rare plants, his pride. He took down and sold one of these
conservatories and sent the proceeds as _"the price of an idol,_ cast
down by God's power." Another giver enclosed a like amount from the sale
of unnecessary books and pictures; and a poor man his half-crown, "the
fruit of a little tree in his garden."

A poor woman, who had devoted the progeny of a pet rabbit to the orphan
work, when the young became fit for sale changed her mind and "kept back
a part of the price"; _that part,_ however, _two rabbits,_ she found
_dead_ on the day when they were to be sold.

In July, 1877, ten pounds from an anonymous source were accompanied by a
letter which conveys another instructive lesson. Years before, the
writer had resolved before God to discontinue a doubtful habit, and send
the cost of his indulgence to the Institution. The vow, made in time of
trouble, was unpaid until God brought the sin to remembrance by a new
trouble, and by a special message from the Word: "Grieve not the Spirit
of God." The victory was then given over the habit, and, the practice
having annually cost about twenty-six shillings, the full amount was
sent to cover the period during which the solemn covenant had not been
kept, with the promise of further gifts in redemption of the same
promise to the Lord. This instance conveys more than one lesson. It
reminds us of the costliness of much of our self-indulgence. Sir Michael
Hicks-Beach, in submitting the Budget for 1897, remarked that what is
annually wasted in the unsmoked remnants of cigars and cigarettes in
Britain is estimated at a million and a quarter pounds--the equivalent
of all that is annually spent on foreign missions by British Christians.
And many forms of self-gratification, in no way contributing to either
health or profit, would, if what they cost were dedicated to the Lord,
make His treasuries overflow. Again, this incident reminds us of the
many vows, made in time of trouble, which have no payment in time of
relief. Many sorrows come back, like clouds that return after the rain,
to remind of broken pledges and unfulfilled obligations, whereby we have
grieved the Holy Spirit of God. "Pay that which thou hast vowed; for God
hath no pleasure in fools." And again we are here taught how a sensitive
and enlightened conscience will make restitution to God as well as to
man; and that past unfaithfulness to a solemn covenant cannot be made
good merely by keeping to its terms _for the future._ No honest man
dishonours a past debt, or compromises with his integrity by simply
beginning anew and paying as he goes. Reformation takes a retrospective
glance and begins in restitution and reparation for all previous wrongs
and unfaithfulness. It is one of the worst evils of our day that even
disciples are so ready to bury the financial and moral debts of their
past life in the grave of a too-easy oblivion.

One donor, formerly living in Tunbridge Wells, followed a principle of
giving, the reverse of the worldly way. As his own family increased,
instead of decreasing his gifts, he gave, for each child given to him of
God, the average cost of maintaining one orphan, until, having seven
children, he was supporting seven orphans.

An anonymous giver wrote: "It was my idea that when a man had sufficient
for his own wants, he ought then to supply the wants of others, and
consequently I never had sufficient. I now clearly see that God expects
us to give of what we have and not of what we have not, and to leave the
rest to Him. I therefore give in faith and love, knowing that if I first
seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all other things will be
added unto me."

Another sends five pounds in fulfillment of a secret promise that, if he
succeeded in passing competitive examination for civil service, he would
make a thank-offering. And he adds that Satan had repeatedly tried to
persuade him that he could not afford it yet, and could send it better
in a little while. Many others have heard the same subtle suggestion
from the same master of wiles and father of lies. Postponement in giving
is usually its practical abandonment, for the habit of procrastination
grows with insensibly rapid development.

Habitual givers generally witnessed to the conscious blessedness of
systematic giving. Many who began by giving a tenth, and perhaps in a
legal spirit, felt constrained, by the growing joy of imparting, to
increase, not the amount only, but the proportion, to a fifth, a fourth,
a third, and even a half of their profits. Some wholly reversed the law
of appropriation with which they began; for at first they gave a tithe
to the Lord's uses, reserving nine tenths, whereas later on they
appropriated nine tenths to the Lord's uses, and reserved for themselves
only a tithe. Those who learn the deep meaning of our Lord's words, "It
is more blessed to give than to receive," find such joy in holding all
things at His disposal that even personal expenditures are subjected to
the scrutiny of conscience and love, lest anything be wasted in
extravagance or careless self-indulgence. Frances Ridley Havergal in her
later years felt herself and all she possessed to be so fully and
joyfully given up to God, that she never went into a shop to spend a
shilling without asking herself whether it would be for God's glory.

Gifts were valued by Mr. Muller only so far as they were the Lord's
money, procured by lawful means and given in the Lord's own way. To the
last his course was therefore most conscientious in the caution with
which he accepted offerings even in times of sorest extremity.

In October, 1842, he felt led to offer aid to a sister who seemed in
great distress and destitution, offering to share with her, if need be,
even his house and purse.

This offer drew out the acknowledgment that she had some five hundred
pounds of her own; and her conversation revealed that this money was
held as a provision against possible future want, and that she was
leaning upon that instead of upon God. Mr. Muller said but little to
her, but after her withdrawal he besought the Lord to make so real to
her the exhaustless riches she possessed in Christ, and her own heavenly
calling, that she might be constrained to lay down at His feet the whole
sum which was thus a snare to her faith and an idol to her love. _Not a
word spoken or written passed between him and her on the subject, nor
did he even see her;_ his express desire being that if any such step
were to be taken by her, it might result from no human influence or
persuasion, lest her subsequent regret might prove both a damage to
herself and a dishonour to her Master.

For nearly four weeks, however, he poured out his heart to God for her
deliverance from greed. Then she again sought an interview and told him
how she had been day by day seeking to learn the will of God as to this
hoarded sum, and had been led to a clear conviction that it should be
laid entire upon His altar. Thus the goodly sum of five hundred pounds
was within so easy reach, at a time of very great need, that a word from
Mr. Muller would secure it. Instead of saying that word, he exhorted her
to make no such disposition of the money at that time, but to count the
cost; to do nothing rashly lest she should repent it, but wait at least
a fortnight more before reaching a final decision. His correspondence
with this sister may be found fully spread out in his journal,* and is a
model of devout carefulness lest he should snatch at a gift that might
be prompted by wrong motives or given with an unprepared heart. When
finally given, unexpected hindrances arose affecting her actual
possession and transfer, so that more than a third of a year elapsed
before it was received; but meanwhile there was on his part neither
impatience nor distrust, nor did he even communicate further with her.
To the glory of God let it be added that she afterward bore cheerful
witness that never for one moment did she regret giving the whole sum to
His service, and thus transferring her trust from the money to the
Master.

* Narrative, I. 487 _et seq._

In August, 1853, a poor widow of sixty, who had sold the little house
which constituted her whole property, put into an orphan-house box
elsewhere, for Mr. Muller, the entire proceeds, ninety pounds. Those who
conveyed it to Mr. Muller, knowing the circumstances, urged her to
retain at least a part of this sum, and prevailed on her to keep five
pounds and sent on the other eighty-five. Mr. Muller, learning the
facts, and fearing lest the gift might result from a sudden impulse to
be afterward regretted, offered to pay her travelling expenses that he
might have an interview with her. He found her mind had been quite made
up for ten years before the house was sold that such disposition should
be made of the proceeds. But he was the more reluctant to accept the
gift lest, as she had already been prevailed on to take back five pounds
of the original donation, she might wish she had reserved more; and only
after much urgency had failed to persuade her to reconsider the step
would he accept it. Even then, however, lest he should be evil spoken of
in the matter, he declined to receive any part of the gift for personal
uses.

In October, 1867, a small sum was sent in by one who had years before
taken it from another, and who desired thus to _make restitution,_
believing that the Christian believer from whom it was taken would
approve of this method of restoring it. Mr. Muller promptly returned it,
irrespective of amount, that restitution might be made directly to the
party who had been robbed or wronged, claiming that such party should
first receive it and then dispose of it as might seem fit. As it did not
belong to him who took it, it was not his to give even in another's
behalf.

During a season of great straits Mr. Muller received a sealed parcel
containing money. He knew from whom it came, and that the donor was a
woman not only involved in debt, but frequently asked by creditors for
their lawful dues in vain. It was therefore clear that it was not _her_
money, and therefore not hers to _give;_ and without even opening the
paper wrapper he returned it to the sender--and this at a time when
there was _not in hand enough to meet the expenses of that very day._ In
June, 1838, a stranger, who confessed to an act of fraud, wished through
Mr. Muller to make restitution, with interest; and, instead of sending
the money by post, Mr. Muller took pains to transmit it by bank orders,
which thus enabled him, in case of need, to prove his fidelity in acting
as a medium of transmission--an instance of the often-quoted maxim that
it is the honest man who is most careful to provide things honest in the
sight of all men.

Money sent as proceeds of a musical entertainment held for the benefit
of the orphans in the south of Devon was politely returned, Mr. Muller
had no doubt of the kind intention of those who set this scheme on foot,
but he felt that money for the work of God _should not be obtained in
this manner,_ and he desired only money provided in God's way.

Friends who asked that they might know whether their gifts had come at a
particularly opportune time were referred to the next Report for answer.
To acknowledge that the help came very seasonably would be an indirect
revelation of need, and might be construed into an indirect appeal for
more aid--as help that was peculiarly timely would soon be exhausted.
And so this man of God consistently avoided any such disclosure of an
exigency, lest his chief object should be hindered, namely, "to show how
blessed it is to deal with God alone, and to trust Him in the darkest
moments." And though the need was continual, and one demand was no
sooner met than another arose, he did not find this a trying life nor
did he ever tire of it.

As early as May, 1846, a letter from a brother contained the following
paragraph:

"With regard to property, I do not see my way clearly. I trust it is all
indeed at the disposal of the Lord; and, if you would let me know of any
need of it in His service, any sum under two hundred pounds shall be at
your disposal at about a week's notice."

The need at that time was great. How easy and natural to write back that
the orphan work was then in want of help, and that, as Mr. Muller was
just going away from Bristol for rest, it would be a special comfort if
his correspondent would send on, say a hundred and ninety pounds or so!
But to deal with the Lord alone in the whole matter seemed so
indispensable, both for the strengthening of his own faith and for the
effectiveness of his testimony to the church and the world, that at once
this temptation was seen to be a snare, and he replied that only to the
Lord could the need of any part of the work be confided.

_Money to be laid up_ as a fund for his old age or possible seasons of
illness or family emergencies was always declined. Such a donation of
one hundred pounds was received October 12, 1856, with a note so
considerate and Christian that the subtle temptation to lay up for
himself treasures on earth would have triumphed but for a heart fixed
immovably in the determination that there should be no dependence upon
any such human provision. He had settled the matter beyond raising the
question again, that he would live from day to day upon the Lord's
bounty, and would make but _one investment,_ namely, using whatever
means God gave, to supply the necessities of the poor, depending on God
richly to repay him in the hour of his own need, according to the
promise:

       "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord;
        And that which he hath given will He pay him again."
                                Proverbs xix. 17.

God so owned, at once, this disposition on Mr. Muller's part that his
courteous letter, declining the gift for himself, led the donor not only
to ask him to use the hundred pounds for the orphan work, but to add to
this sum a further gift of two hundred pounds more.


CHAPTER XXIII

GOD'S WITNESS TO THE WORK

THE eleventh chapter of Hebrews--that "Westminster Abbey" where Old
Testament saints have a memorial before God--gives a hint of a peculiar
reward which faith enjoys, even in this life, as an earnest and
foretaste of its final recompense.

By faith "the elders obtained a good report," that is, _they had witness
borne to them_ by God in return for witness borne to Him. All the marked
examples of faith here recorded show this twofold testimony. Abel
testified to his faith in God's Atoning Lamb, and God testified to his
gifts. Enoch witnessed to the unseen God by his holy walk with Him, and
He testified to Enoch, by his translation, and even before it, that he
pleased God. Noah's faith bore witness to God's word, by building the
ark and preaching righteousness, and God bore witness to him by bringing
a flood upon a world of the ungodly and saving him and his family in the
ark.

George Muller's life was one long witness to the prayer-hearing God;
and, throughout, God bore him witness that his prayers were heard and
his work accepted. The pages of his journal are full of striking
examples of this witness--the earnest or foretaste of the fuller
recompense of reward reserved for the Lord's coming.

Compensations for renunciations, and rewards for service, do not all
wait for the judgment-seat of Christ, but, as some men's sins are open
beforehand, going before to judgment, so the seed sown for God yields a
harvest that is 'open beforehand' to joyful recognition. Divine love
graciously and richly acknowledged these many years of self-forgetful
devotion to Him and His needy ones, by large and unexpected tokens of
blessing. Toils and trials, tears and prayers, were not in vain even
this side of the Hereafter.

For illustrations of this we naturally turn first of all to the orphan
work. Ten thousand motherless and fatherless children had found a home
and tender parental care in the institution founded by George Muller,
and were there fed, clad, and taught, before he was called up higher.
His efforts to improve their state physically, morally, and spiritually
were so manifestly owned of God that he felt his compensation to be both
constant and abundant, and his journal, from time to time, glows with
his fervent thanksgivings.

This orphan work would amply repay all its cost during two thirds of a
century, should only its _temporal benefits_ be reckoned. Experience
proved that, with God's blessing, one half of the lives sacrificed among
the children of poverty would be saved by better conditions of
body--such as regularity and cleanliness of habits, good food, pure air,
proper clothing, and wholesome exercise. At least two thirds, if not
three fourths, of the parents whose offspring have found a shelter on
Ashley Down had died of consumption and kindred diseases; and hence the
children had been largely tainted with a like tendency. And yet, all
through the history of this orphan work, there has been such care of
proper sanitary conditions that there has been singular freedom from all
sorts of ailments, and especially epidemic diseases; and when scarlet
fever, measles, and such diseases have found entrance, the cases of
sickness have been comparatively few and mild, and the usual percentage
of deaths exceedingly small.

This is not the only department of training in which the recompense has
been abundant. Ignorance is everywhere the usual handmaid of poverty,
and there has been very careful effort to secure proper _mental_
culture. With what success the education of these orphans has been
looked after will sufficiently appear from the reports of the school
inspector. From year to year these pupils have been examined in reading,
writing, arithmetic, Scripture, dictation, geography, history, grammar,
composition, and singing; and Mr. Horne reported in 1885 an average per
cent of all marks as high as 91.1, and even this was surpassed the next
year when it was 94, and, two years later, when it was 96.1.

But in the moral and spiritual welfare of these orphans, which has been
primarily sought, the richest recompense has been enjoyed. The one main
aim of Mr. Muller and his whole staff of helpers, from first to last,
has been to save these children--to bring them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord. The hindrances were many and formidable. If the
hereditary taint of disease is to be dreaded, what of the awful legacy
of sin and crime! Many of these little ones had no proper bringing up
till they entered the orphan houses; and not a few had been trained
indeed, but only in Satan's schools of drink and lust. And yet,
notwithstanding all these drawbacks, Mr. Muller records, with devout
thankfulness, that _"the Lord had constrained them,_ on the whole, to
behave exceedingly well, so much so as to attract the attention of
observers." Better still, large numbers have, throughout the whole
history of this work, given signs of a really regenerate state, and have
afterwards maintained a consistent character and conduct, and in some
cases have borne singular witness to the grace of God, both by their
complete transformation and by their influence for good.

In August, 1858, an orphan girl, Martha Pinnell, who had been for over
twelve years under Mr. Muller's care, and for more than five years ill
with consumption, fell asleep in Jesus. Before her death, she had, for
two and a half years, known the Lord, and the change in her character
and conduct had been remarkable. From an exceedingly disobedient and
troublesome child with a pernicious influence, she had become both very
docile and humble and most influential for good. In her unregenerate
days she had declared that, if she should ever be converted, she would
be "a thorough Christian," and so it proved. Her happiness in God, her
study of His word, her deep knowledge of the Lord Jesus, her earnest
passion for souls, seemed almost incredible in one so young and so
recently turned to God. And Mr. Muller has preserved in the pages of his
Journal four of the precious letters written by her to other inmates of
the orphan houses.*

* Narrative, III. 253-257.

At times, and frequently, extensive revivals have been known among them
when scores and hundreds have found the Lord. The year ending May 26,
1858 was especially notable for the unprecedented greatness and rapidity
of the work which the Spirit of God had wrought, in such conversions.
Within a few days and without any special apparent cause except the very
peaceful death of a Christian orphan, Caroline Bailey, more than fifty
of the one hundred and forty girls in Orphan House No. 1 were under
conviction of sin, and the work spread into the other departments, till
about sixty were shortly exercising faith. In July, 1859, again, in a
school of one hundred and twenty girls more than half were brought under
deep spiritual concern; and, after a year had passed, shewed the grace
of continuance in a new life. In January and February, 1860, another
mighty wave of Holy Spirit power swept over the institution. It began
among little girls, from six to nine years old, then extended to the
older girls, and then to the boys, until, inside of ten days, above two
hundred were inquiring and in many instances found immediate peace. The
young converts at once asked to hold prayer meetings among themselves,
and were permitted; and not only so, but many began to labour and pray
for others, and, out of the seven hundred orphans then in charge, some
two hundred and sixty were shortly regarded as either converted or in a
most hopeful state.

Again, in 1872, on the first day of the week of prayer, the Holy Spirit
so moved that, without any unusual occasion for deep seriousness,
hundreds were, during that season, hopefully converted. Constant prayer
for their souls made the orphan homes a hallowed place, and by August
1st, it was believed, after careful investigation, that seven hundred
and twenty-nine might be safely counted as being disciples of Christ,
the number of believing orphans being thus far in excess of any previous
period. A series of such blessings have, down to this date, crowned the
sincere endeavours of all who have charge of these children, to lead
them to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

By far the majority of orphans sent out for service or apprenticeship,
had for some time before known the Lord; and even of those who left the
Institution unconverted, the after-history of many showed that the
training there received had made impossible continuance in a life of
sin.

Thus, precious harvests of this seed-sowing, gathered in subsequent
years, have shown that God was not unrighteous to forget this work of
faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope.

In April, 1874, a letter from a former inmate of the orphanage enclosed
a thank offering for the excellent Bible-teaching there received which
had borne fruit years after. So carefully had she been instructed in the
way of salvation that, while yet herself unrenewed, she had been God's
instrument of leading to Christ a fellow servant who had long been
seeking peace, and so, became, like a sign-board on the road, the means
of directing another to the true path, by simply telling her what she
had been taught, though not then following the path herself.

Another orphan wrote, in 1876, that often, when tempted to indulge the
sin of unbelief, the thought of that six years' sojourn in Ashley Down
came across the mind like a gleam of sunshine. It was remembered how the
clothes there worn, the food eaten, the bed slept on, and the very walls
around, were the visible answers to believing prayer, and the
recollection of all these things proved a potent prescription and remedy
for the doubts and waverings of the child of God, a shield against the
fiery darts of satanic suggestion.

During the thirty years between 1865 and 1895, two thousand five hundred
and sixty-six orphans were known to have left the institution as
believers, an average of eighty-five every year; and, at the close of
this thirty years, nearly six hundred were yet in the homes on Ashley
Down who had given credible evidence of a regenerate state.

Mr. Muller was permitted to know that not only had these orphans been
blessed in health, educated in mind, converted to God, and made useful
Christian citizens, but many of them had become fathers or mothers of
Christian households. One representative instance may be cited. A man
and a woman who had formerly been among these orphans became husband and
wife, and they have had eight children, all earnest disciples, one of
whom went as a foreign missionary to Africa.

From the first, God set His seal upon this religious training in the
orphan houses. The _first two children_ received into No. 1 both became
true believers and zealous workers: one, a Congregational deacon, who,
in a benighted neighbourhood, acted the part of a lay preacher; and the
other, a laborious and successful clergyman in the Church of England,
and both largely used of God in soul-winning. Could the full history be
written of all who have gone forth from these orphan homes, what a
volume of testimony would be furnished, since these are but a few
scattered examples of the conspicuously useful service to which God has
called those whose after-career can be traced!

In his long and extensive missionary tours, Mr. Muller was permitted to
see, gather, and partake of many widely scattered fruits of his work on
Ashley Down. When preaching in Brooklyn, N. Y., in September, 1877, he
learned that in Philadelphia a legacy of a thousand pounds was waiting
for him, the proceeds of a life-insurance, which the testator had willed
to the work, and in city after city he had the joy of meeting scores of
orphans brought up under his care.

He minutely records the remarkable usefulness of a Mr. Wilkinson, who,
up to the age of fourteen and a half years, had been taught at the
orphanage. Twenty years had elapsed since Mr. Muller had seen him, when,
in 1878, he met him in Calvary Church, San Francisco, six thousand five
hundred miles from Bristol. He found him holding fast his faith in the
Lord Jesus, a happy and consistent Christian. He further heard most
inspiring accounts of this man's singular service during the Civil War
in America. Being on the gunboat Louisiana, he had there been the
leading spirit and recognized head of a little Bethel church among his
fellow seamen, who were by him led so to engage in the service of Christ
as to exhibit a devotion that, without a trace of fanatical enthusiasm,
was full of holy zeal and joy. Their whole conversation was of God. It
further transpired that, months previous, when the cloud of impending
battle overhung the ship's company, he and one of his comrades had met
for prayer in the 'chain-locker'; and thus began a series of most
remarkable meetings which, without one night's interruption, lasted for
some twenty months. Wilkinson alone among the whole company had any
previous knowledge of the word of God, and he became not only the leader
of the movement, but the chief interpreter of the Scriptures as they met
to read the Book of God and exchange views upon it. Nor was he satisfied
to do thus much with his comrades daily, but at another stated hour he,
with some chosen helpers, gathered the coloured sailors of the ship to
teach them reading, writing, etc.

A member of the Christian Commission, Mr. J. E. Hammond, who gave these
facts publicity, and who was intimately acquainted with Mr. Wilkinson
and his work on shipboard, said that he seemed to be a direct "product
of Mr. Muller's faith, his calm confidence in God, the method in his
whole manner of life, the persistence of purpose, and the quiet
spiritual power," which so characterized the founder of the Bristol
orphanage, being eminently reproduced in this young man who had been
trained under his influence. When in a sail-loft ashore, he was
compelled for two weeks to listen to the lewd and profane talk of two
associates detailed with him for a certain work. For the most part he
took refuge in silence; but his manner of conduct, and one sentence
which dropped from his lips, brought both those rough and wicked sailors
to the Saviour he loved, one of whom in three months read the word of
God from Genesis to Revelation.

Mr. Muller went nowhere without meeting converted orphans or hearing of
their work, even in the far-off corners of the earth. Sometimes in great
cities ten or fifteen would be waiting at the close of an address to
shake the hand of their "father," and tell him of their debt of
gratitude and love. He found them in every conceivable sphere of
service, many of them having households in which the principles taught
in the orphan homes were dominant, and engaged in the learned
professions as well as humbler walks of life.

God gave His servant also the sweet compensation of seeing great
blessing attending the day-schools supported by the Scriptural Knowledge
Institution.

The master of the school at Clayhidon, for instance, wrote of a poor
lad, a pupil in the day-school, prostrate with rheumatic fever, in a
wretched home and surrounded by bitter opposers of the truth. Wasted to
a skeleton, and in deep anxiety about his own soul, he was pointed to
Him who says, "Come unto Me,... and I will give you rest." While yet
this conversation was going on, as though suddenly he had entered into a
new world, this emaciated boy began to repeat texts such as "Suffer the
little children to come unto me," and burst out singing:

       "Jesus loves me, this I know,
        For the Bible tells me so."

He seemed transported with ecstasy, and recited text after text and hymn
after hymn, learned at that school. No marvel is it if that schoolmaster
felt a joy, akin to the angels, in this one proof that his labour in the
Lord was not in vain. Such examples might be indefinitely multiplied,
but this handful of first-fruits of a harvest may indicate the character
of the whole crop.

Letters were constantly received from missionary labourers in various
parts of the world who were helped by the gifts of the Scriptural
Knowledge Institution. The testimony from this source alone would fill a
good-sized volume, and therefore its incorporation into this memoir
would be impracticable. Those who would see what grand encouragement
came to Mr. Muller from fields of labour where he was only represented
by others, whom his gift's aided, should read the annual reports. A few
examples may be given of the blessed results of such wide scattering of
the seed of the kingdom, as specimens of thousands.

Mr. Albert Fenn, who was labouring in Madrid, wrote of a civil guard
who, because of his bold witness for Christ and renunciation of the
Romish confessional, was sent from place to place and most cruelly
treated, and threatened with banishment to a penal settlement. Again he
writes of a convert from Borne who, for trying to establish a small
meeting, was summoned before the governor.

"Who pays you for this?" "No one." "What do you gain by it?" "Nothing."
"How do you live?" "I work with my hands in a mine." "Why do you hold
meetings?" "Because God has blessed my soul, and I wish others to be
blessed." "You? you were made a miserable day-labourer; I prohibit the
meetings." "I yield to force," was the calm reply, "but as long as I
have a mouth to speak I shall speak for Christ." How like those
primitive disciples who boldly faced the rulers at Jerusalem, and, being
forbidden to speak in Jesus' name, firmly answered: "We ought to obey
God rather than men. Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken
unto you more than unto God judge ye: for we cannot but speak the things
which we have seen and heard."

A missionary labourer writes from India, of three Brahman priests and
scores of Santhals and Hindus, sitting down with four Europeans to keep
the supper of the Lord--all fruits of his ministry. Within a twelvemonth,
sixty-two men and women, including head men of villages, and four
Brahman women, wives of priests and of head men, were baptized,
representing twenty-three villages in which the gospel had been
preached. At one time more than one hundred persons were awakened in one
mission in Spain; and such harvests as these were not infrequent in
various fields to which the founder of the orphan work had the joy of
sending aid.

In 1885, a scholar of one of the schools at Carrara, Italy, was
confronted by a priest. "In the Bible," said he, "you do not find the
commandments of the church." "No, sir," said the child, "for it is not
for the church of God to _command,_ but to _obey."_ "Tell me, then,"
said the priest, "these commandments of God." "Yes, sir," replied the
child; "I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other God before me.
Neither shalt thou make any graven image." "Stop! stop!" cried the
priest, "I do not understand it so." "But so," quietly replied the
child, "it is written in God's word." This simple incident may
illustrate both the character of the teaching given in the schools, and
the character often developed in those who were taught.

Out of the many pages of Mr. Muller's journal, probably about one-fifth
are occupied wholly with extracts from letters like these from
missionaries, teachers, and helpers, which kept him informed of the
progress of the Lord's work at home and in many lands where the
labourers were by him enabled to continue their service.
Bible-carriages, open-air services, Christian schools, tract
distribution, and various other forms of holy labour for the benighted
souls near and far, formed part of the many-branching tree of life that
was planted on Ashley Down.

Another of the main encouragements and rewards which Mr. Muller enjoyed
in this life was the knowledge that his example had emboldened other
believers to attempt like work for God, on like principles. This he
himself regarded as the greatest blessing resulting from his life-work,
that hundreds of thousands of children of God had been led in various
parts of the world to trust in God in all simplicity; and when such
trust found expression in similar service to orphans, it seemed the
consummation of his hopes, for the work was thus proven to have its seed
in itself after its kind, a self-propagating life, which doubly
demonstrated it to be a tree of the Lord's own planting, that He might
be glorified.

In December, 1876, Mr. Muller learned, for instance, that a Christian
evangelist, simply through reading about the orphan work in Bristol, had
it laid on his heart to care about orphans, and encouraged by Mr.
Muller's example, solely in dependence on the Lord, had begun in 1863
with three orphans at Nimwegen in Holland, and had at that date, only
fourteen years after, over four hundred and fifty in the institution. It
pleased the Lord that he and Mrs. Muller should, with their own eyes,
see this institution, and he says that in "almost numberless instances"
the Lord permitted him to know of similar fruits of his work.

At his first visit to Tokyo, Japan, he gave an account of it, and as the
result, Mr. Ishii, a native Christian Japanese, started an orphanage
upon a similar basis of prayer, faith, and dependence upon the Living
God, and at Mr. Muller's second visit to the Island Empire he found this
orphan work prosperously in progress.

How generally fruitful the example thus furnished on Ashley Down has
been in good to the church and the world will never be known on earth. A
man living at Horfield, in sight of the orphan buildings, has said that,
whenever he felt doubts of the Living God creeping into his mind, he
used to get up and look through the night at the many windows lit up on
Ashley Down, and they gleamed out through the darkness as stars in the
sky.

It was the witness of Mr. Muller to a prayer-hearing God which
encouraged Rev. J. Hudson Taylor, in 1863, thirty years after Mr.
Muller's great step was taken, to venture wholly on the Lord, in
founding the China Inland Mission. It has been said that to the example
of A. H. Francke in Halle, or George Muller in Bristol, may be more or
less directly traced every form of 'faith work,' prevalent since.

The Scriptural Knowledge Institution was made in all its departments a
means of blessing. Already in the year ending May 26, 1860, a hundred
servants of Christ had been more or less aided, and far more souls had
been hopefully brought to God through their labours than during any year
previous. About six hundred letters, received from them, had cheered Mr.
Muller's heart during the twelvemonth, and this source of joy overflowed
during all his life. In countless cases children of God were lifted to a
higher level of faith and life, and unconverted souls were turned to God
through the witness borne to God by the institutions on Ashley Down. Mr.
Muller has summed up this long history of blessing by two statements
which are worth pondering.

First, that the Lord was pleased to give him far beyond all he at first
expected to accomplish or receive.

And secondly, that he was fully persuaded that all he had seen and known
would not equal the thousandth part of what he should see and know when
the Lord should come, His reward with Him, to give every man according
as his work shall be.

The _circulation of Mr. Muller's Narrative_ was a most conspicuous means
of untold good.

In November, 1856, Mr. James McQuilkin, a young Irishman, was converted,
and early in the next year, read the first two volumes of that Narrative
He said to himself: "Mr. Muller obtains all this simply by prayer; so
may I be blessed by the same means," and he began to pray. First of all
he received from the Lord, in answer, a spiritual companion, and then
two more of like mind; and they four began stated seasons of prayer in a
small schoolhouse near Kells, Antrim, Ireland, every Friday evening. On
the first day of the new year, 1858, a farm-servant was remarkably
brought to the Lord in answer to their prayers, and these _five_ gave
themselves anew to united supplication. Shortly a sixth young man was
added to their number by conversion, and so the little company of
praying souls slowly grew, only believers being admitted to these simple
meetings for fellowship in reading of the Scriptures, prayer, and mutual
exhortation.

About Christmas, that year, Mr. McQuilkin, with the two brethren who had
first joined him--one of whom was Mr. Jeremiah Meneely, who is still at
work for God--held a meeting by request at Ahoghill. Some believed and
some mocked, while others thought these three converts presumptuous; but
two weeks later another meeting was held, at which God's Spirit began to
work most mightily and conversions now rapidly multiplied. Some converts
bore the sacred coals and kindled the fire elsewhere, and so in many
places revival flames began to burn; and in Ballymena, Belfast, and at
other points the Spirit's gracious work was manifest.

Such was the starting-point, in fact, of one of the most widespread and
memorable revivals ever known in our century, and which spread the next
year in England, Wales, and Scotland. Thousands found Christ, and walked
in newness of life; and the results are still manifest after more than
forty years.

As early as 1868 it was found that one who had thankfully read this
Narrative had issued a compendium of it in Swedish. We have seen how
widely useful it has been in Germany; and in many other languages its
substance at least has been made available to native readers.

Knowledge came to Mr. Muller of a boy of ten years who got hold of one
of these Reports, and, although belonging to a family of unbelievers,
began to pray: "God, teach me to pray like George Muller, and hear me as
Thou dost hear George Muller." He further declared his wish to be a
preacher, which his widowed mother very strongly opposed, objecting that
the boy did not know enough to get into the grammar-school, which is the
first step toward such a high calling. The lad, however, rejoined: "I
will learn and pray, and God will help me through as He has done George
Muller." And soon, to the surprise of everybody, the boy had
successfully passed his examination and was received at the school.

A donor writes, September 20, 1879, that the reading of the Narrative
totally changed his inner life to one of perfect trust and confidence in
God. It led to the devoting of at least a tenth of his earnings to the
Lord's purposes, and showed him how much more blessed it is to give than
to receive; and it led him also to place a copy of that Narrative on the
shelves of a Town Institute library where three thousand members and
subscribers might have access to it.

Another donor suggests that it might be well if Prof. Huxley and his
sympathisers, who had been proposing some new arbitrary "prayer-gauge"
would, instead of treating prayer as so much waste of breath, try how
long they could keep five orphan houses running, with over two thousand
orphans, and without asking any one for help,--either "GOD or MAN."

In September, 1882, another donor describes himself as "simply astounded
at the blessed results of prayer and faith," and many others have found
this brief narrative "the most wonderful and complete refutation of
skepticism it had ever been their lot to meet with"--an array of facts
constituting the most undeniable "evidences of Christianity." There are
abundant instances of the power exerted by Mr. Muller's testimony, as
when a woman who had been an infidel, writes him that he was "the first
person by whose example she learned that there are some men who live by
faith," and that for this reason she had willed to him all that she
possessed.

Another reader found these Reports "more faith-strengthening and
soul-refreshing than many a sermon," particularly so after just wading
through the mire of a speech of a French infidel who boldly affirmed
that of all of the millions of prayers uttered every day, not one is
answered. We should like to have any candid skeptic confronted with Mr.
Muller's unvarnished story of a life of faith, and see how he would on
any principle of' compound probability' and 'accidental coincidences,'
account for the tens of thousand's of answers to believing prayer! The
fact is that one half of the infidelity in the world is dishonest, and
the other half is ignorant of the daily proofs that God is, and is a
Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

From almost the first publication of his Narrative, Mr. Muller had felt
a conviction that it was thus to be greatly owned of God as a witness to
His faithfulness; and, as early as 1842, it was laid on his heart to
send a copy of his Annual Report gratuitously to every Christian
minister of the land, which the Lord helped him to do, his aim being not
to get money or even awaken interest in the work, but rather to
stimulate faith and quicken prayer.*

* The author of this memoir purposes to give a copy of it to every
foreign missionary, and to workers in the home fields, so far as means
are supplied in answer to prayer. His hope is that the witness of this
life may thus have still wider influence in stimulating prayer and
faith. The devout reader is asked to unite his supplications with those
of many others who are asking that the Lord may be pleased to furnish
the means whereby this purpose may be carried out. Already about one
hundred pounds sterling have been given for this end, and part of it,
small in amount but rich in self-denial, from the staff of helpers and
the orphans on Ashley Down. A. T. P.

Twenty-two years later, in 1868, it was already so apparent that the
published accounts of the Lord's dealings was used so largely to
sanctify and edify saints and even to convert sinners and convince
infidels, that he records this as _the greatest of all the spiritual
blessings_ hitherto resulting from his work for God. Since then thirty
years more have fled, and, during this whole period, letters from a
thousand sources have borne increasing witness that the example he set
has led others to fuller faith and firmer confidence in God's word,
power, and love; to a deeper persuasion that, though Elijah has been
taken up, God, the God of Elijah, is still working His wonders.

And so, in all departments of his work for God, the Lord to whom he
witnessed bore witness to him in return, and anticipated his final
reward in a recompense of present and overflowing joy. This was
especially true in the long tours undertaken, when past threescore and
ten, to sow in lands afar the seeds of the Kingdom! As the sower went
forth to sow he found not fallow fields only, but harvest fields also,
from which his arms were filled with sheaves. Thus, in a new sense the
reaper overtook the ploughman, and the harvester, him that scattered the
seed. In every city of the United Kingdom and in the "sixty-eight
cities" where, up to 1877, he had preached on the continents of Europe
and America, he had found converted orphans, and believers to whom
abundant blessing had come through reading his reports. After this date,
twenty-one years more yet remained crowded with experiences of good.
Thus, before the Lord called George Muller higher, He had given him a
foretaste of his reward, in the physical, intellectual and spiritual
profit of the orphans; in the fruits of his wide seed-sowing in other
lands as well as Britain; in the scattering of God's word and Christian
literature; in the Christian education of thousands of children in the
schools he aided; in the assistance afforded to hundreds of devoted
missionaries; in the large blessing imparted by his published narrative,
and in his personal privilege of bearing witness throughout the world to
the gospel of grace.


CHAPTER XXIV

LAST LOOKS, BACKWARD AND FORWARD.

THE mountain-climber, at the sunset hour, naturally takes a last
lingering look backward at the prospect visible from the lofty height,
before he begins his descent to the valley. And, before we close this
volume, we as naturally cast one more glance backward over this
singularly holy and useful life, that we may catch further inspiration
from its beauty and learn some new lessons in holy living and unselfish
serving.

George Muller was divinely fitted for, fitted into his work, as a
mortise fits the tenon, or a ball of bone its socket in the joint. He
had adaptations, both natural and gracious, to the life of service to
which he was called, and these adaptations made possible a career of
exceptional sanctity and service, because of his complete self-surrender
to the will of God and his childlike faith in His word.

Three qualities or characteristics stand out very conspicuous in him:
_truth, faith,_ and _love._ Our Lord frequently taught His disciples
that the childlike spirit is the soul of discipleship, and in the ideal
child these three traits are central. Truth is one centre, about which
revolve childlike frankness and sincerity, genuineness and simplicity.
Faith is another, about which revolve confidence and trust, docility and
humility. Love is another centre, around which gather unselfishness and
generosity, gentleness and restfulness of spirit. In the typical or
perfect child, therefore, all these beautiful qualities would coexist,
and, in proportion as they are found in a disciple, is he worthy to be
called _a child of God._

In Mr. Muller these traits were all found and conjoined in a degree very
seldom found in any one man, and this fact sufficiently accounts for his
remarkable likeness to Christ and fruitfulness in serving God and man.
No pen-portrait of him which fails to make these features very prominent
can either be accurate in delineation or warm in colouring. It is
difficult to overestimate their importance in their relation to what
George Muller _was_ and _did._

Truth is the corner-stone of all excellence, for without it nothing else
is true, genuine, or real. From the hour of his conversion his
truthfulness was increasingly dominant and apparent. In fact, there was
about him a scrupulous exactness which sometimes seemed unnecessary. One
smiles at the mathematical precision with which he states facts, giving
the years, days, and hours since he was brought to the knowledge of God,
or since he began to pray for some given object; and the pounds,
shillings, pence, halfpence, and even farthings that form the total sum
expended for any given purpose. We see the same conscientious exactness
in the repetitions of statements, whether of principles or of
occurrences, which we meet in his journal, and in which oftentimes there
is not even a change of a word. But all this has a significance. It
_inspires absolute confidence_ in the record of the Lord's dealings.

First, because it shows that the writer has disciplined himself to
accuracy of statement. Many a falsehood is not an intentional lie, but
an undesigned inaccuracy. Three of our human faculties powerfully affect
our veracity: one is memory, another is imagination, and another is
conscience. Memory takes note of facts, imagination colours facts with
fancies, and conscience brings the moral sense to bear in sifting the
real from the unreal. Where conscience is not sensitive and dominant,
memory and imagination will become so confused that facts and fancies
will fail to be separated. The imagination will be so allowed to invest
events and experiences with either a halo of glory or a cloud of
prejudice that the narrator will constantly tell, not what he clearly
sees written in the book of his remembrance, but what he beholds painted
upon the canvas of his own imagination. Accuracy will be, half
unconsciously perhaps, sacrificed to his own imaginings; he will
exaggerate or depreciate--as his own impulses lead him; and a man who
would not deliberately lie may thus be habitually untrustworthy: you
cannot tell, and often he cannot tell, what the exact truth would be,
when all the unreality with which it has thus been invested is
dissipated like the purple and golden clouds about a mountain, leaving
the bare crag of naked rock to be seen, just as it is in itself.

George Muller felt the immense importance of exact statement. Hence he
disciplined himself to accuracy. Conscience presided over his narrative,
and demanded that everything else should be scrupulously sacrificed to
veracity. But, more than this, God made him, in a sense, a _man without
imagination_--comparatively free from the temptations of an enthusiastic
temperament. He was a mathematician rather than a poet, an artisan
rather than an artist, and he did not see things invested with a false
halo. He was deliberate, not impulsive; calm and not excitable. He
naturally weighed every word before he spoke, and scrutinized every
statement before he gave it form with pen or tongue. And therefore the
very qualities that, to some people, may make his narrative bare of
charm, and even repulsively prosaic, add to its value as a plain,
conscientious, unimaginative, unvarnished, and trustworthy statement of
facts. Had any man of a more poetic mind written that journal, the
reader would have found himself constantly and unconsciously making
allowance for the writer's own enthusiasm, discounting the facts,
because of the imaginative colouring. The narrative might have been more
readable, but it would not have been so reliable; and, in this story of
the Lord's dealings, nothing was so indispensable as exact truth. It
would be comparatively worthless, were it not undeniable. The Lord
fitted the man who lived that life of faith and prayer, and wrote that
life-story, to inspire confidence, so that even skeptics and doubters
felt that they were reading, not a novel or a poem, but a history.

Faith was the second of these central traits in George Muller, and it
was purely the product of grace. We are told, in that first great lesson
on faith in the Scripture, that (Genesis xv. 6) Abram believed in
Jehovah--literally, _Amened_ Jehovah. The word "Amen" means not 'Let it
be so,' but rather _'it shall be so.'_ The Lord's word came to Abram,
saying this 'shall not be,' but something else 'shall be'; and Abram
simply said with all his heart, 'Amen'--'it shall be as God hath said.'
And Paul seems to be imitating Abram's faith when, in the shipwreck off
Malta, he said, "I believe God, that _it shall be_ even as it was told
me." That is faith in its simplest exercise and it was George Muller's
faith. He found the word of the Lord in His blessed Book, a new word of
promise for each new crisis of trial or need; he put his finger upon the
very text and then looked up to God and said: "Thou hast spoken. I
believe." Persuaded of God's unfailing truth, he rested on His word with
unwavering faith, and consequently he was at peace.

Nothing is more noticeable, in the entire career of this man of God,
reaching through sixty-five years, than the steadiness of his faith and
the steadfastness it gave to his whole character. To have a word of God
was enough. He built upon it, and, when floods came and beat against
that house, how could it fall! He was never confounded nor obliged to
flee. Even the earthquake may shake earth and heaven, but it leaves the
true believer the inheritor of a kingdom which cannot be moved; for the
object of all such shaking is to remove what can be shaken, that what
cannot be shaken may remain.

If Mr. Muller had any great mission, it was not to found a world-wide
institution of any sort, however useful in scattering Bibles and books
and tracts, or housing and feeding thousands of orphans, or setting up
Christian schools and aiding missionary workers. His main mission was to
teach men that it is _safe to trust God's word,_ to rest implicitly upon
whatever He hath said, and obey explicitly whatever He has bidden; that
prayer offered in faith, trusting His promise and the intercession of
His dear Son, is never offered in vain; and that the life lived by faith
is a walk with God, just outside the very gates of heaven.

_Love,_ the third of that trinity of graces, was the other great secret
and lesson of this life. And what is love? _Not_ merely a complacent
affection for what is lovable, which is often only a half-selfish taking
of pleasure in the society and fellowship of those who love us. Love is
the _principle of unselfishness:_ love 'seeketh not her own'; it is the
preference of another's pleasure and profit over our own, and hence is
exercised toward the unthankful and unlovely, that it may lift them to a
higher level. Such love is benevolence rather than complacence, and so
it is "of God," for He loveth the unthankful and the evil: and he that
loveth is born of God and knoweth God. Such love is obedience to a
principle of unselfishness, and makes self-sacrifice habitual and even
natural. While Satan's motto is 'Spare thyself!' Christ's motto is to
Deny thyself!' The sharpest rebuke ever administered by our Lord was
that to Peter when he became a Satan by counselling his Master to adopt
Satan's maxim.* We are bidden by Paul, _"Remember Jesus Christ,"_** and
by Peter, _"Follow His steps."_*** If we seek the inmost meaning of these
two brief mottoes, we shall find that, about Jesus Christ's character,
nothing was more conspicuous than the obedience of faith and
self-surrender to God: and in His career, which we are bidden to follow,
the renunciation of love, or self-sacrifice for man. The taunt was
sublimely true: "He saved others, Himself He cannot save"; it was
_because_ he saved others that He could not save Himself. The seed must
give up its own life for the sake of the crop; and he who will be life
to others must, like his Lord, consent to die.

* Matt. xvi.

** 2 Tim. II. (Greek).

*** 1 Pet. II. 21.

Here is the real meaning of that command, "Let him deny himself and take
up his cross." Self-denial is not cutting off an indulgence here and
there, but laying the axe at the root of the tree of self, of which all
indulgences are only greater or smaller branches. Self-righteousness and
self-trust, self-seeking and self-pleasing, self-will, self-defence,
self-glory--these are a few of the myriad branches of that deeply rooted
tree. And what if one or more of these be cut off, if such lopping off
of some few branches only throws back into others the self-life to
develop more vigorously in them?

And what is _cross_-bearing? We speak of our 'crosses'--but the word of
God never uses that word in the plural, for there is but _one_
cross--the cross on which the self-life is crucified, the cross of
voluntary self-renunciation. How did Christ come to the cross? We read
in Philippians the seven steps of his descent from heaven to Calvary. He
had everything that even the Son of God could hold precious, even to the
actual equal sharing of the glory of God. Yet for man's sake what did he
do? He did not hold fast even His equality with God, He emptied Himself,
took on Him the form of a servant, was made in the likeness of fallen
humanity; even more than this, He humbled Himself even as a man,
identifying Himself with our poverty and misery and sin; He accepted
death for our sakes, and that, the death of shame on the tree of curse.
Every step was downward until He who had been worshipped by angels was
reviled by thieves, and the crown of glory was displaced by the crown of
thorns! That is what the cross meant to _Him._ And He says: "If any man
will _come after Me,_ let him deny himself, and _take up the cross_ and
follow Me." This cross is not _forced upon_ us as are many of the little
vexations and trials which we call 'our crosses'; it is _taken up_ by
us, in voluntary self-sacrifice for His sake. We choose self-abnegation,
to lose our life in sacrifice that we may find it again in service. That
is the self-oblivion of love. And Mr. Muller illustrated it. From the
hour when he began to serve the Crucified One he entered more and more
fully into the fellowship of His sufferings, seeking to be made
conformable unto His death. He gave up fortune-seeking and fame-seeking;
he cut loose from the world with its snares and joys; he separated
himself from even its doubtful practices, he tested even churchly
traditions and customs by the word of God, and step by step conformed to
the pattern showed in that word. Every such step was a new self-denial,
but it was following _Him._ He chose voluntary poverty that others might
be rich, and voluntary loss that others might have gain. His life was
one long endeavour to bless others, to be the channel for conveying
God's truth and love and grace to them. Like Paul he rejoiced in such
sufferings for others, because thus he filled up that which is behind of
the afflictions of Christ in his flesh for His body's sake which is the
church.* And unless Love's voluntary sacrifice be taken into account,
George Muller's life will still remain an enigma. Loyalty to truth, the
obedience of faith, the sacrifice of love--these form the threefold key
that unlocks to us all the closed chambers of that life, and these will,
in another sense, unlock any other life to the entrance of God, and
present to Him an open door into all departments of one's being. George
Muller had no monopoly of holy living and holy serving. He followed his
Lord, both in self-surrender to the will of God and in self-sacrifice
for the welfare of man, and herein lay his whole secret.

* Coloss. 1: 24.

To one who asked him the secret of his service he said: "There was a day
when I died, _utterly died;"_ and, as he spoke, he bent lower and lower
until he almost touched the floor--"died to George Muller, his opinions,
preferences, tastes and will--died to the world, its approval or
censure--died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and
friends--and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto
God."

When George Muller trusted the blood for salvation, he took Abel's
position; when he undertook a consecrated walk he took Enoch's; when he
came into fellowship with God for his life-work he stood beside Noah;
when he rested only on God's word, he was one with Abraham; and when he
died to self and the world, he reached the self-surrender of Moses.

The godlike qualities of this great and good man made him none the less
a man. His separation unto God implied no unnatural isolation from his
fellow mortals. Like Terence, he could say: "I am a man, and nothing
common to man is foreign to me." To be well known, Mr. Muller needed to
be known in his daily, simple, home life. It was my privilege to meet
him often, and in his own apartment at Orphan House No. 3. His room was
of medium size, neatly but plainly furnished, with table and chairs,
lounge and writing-desk, etc. His Bible almost always lay open, as a
book to which he continually resorted.

His form was tall and slim, always neatly attired, and very erect, and
his step firm and strong. His countenance, in repose, might have been
thought stern, but for the smile which so habitually lit up his eyes and
played over his features that it left its impress on the lines of his
face. His manner was one of simple courtesy and unstudied dignity: no
one would in his presence, have felt like vain trifling, and there was
about him a certain indescribable air of authority and majesty that
reminded one of a born prince; and yet there was mingled with all this a
simplicity so childlike that even children felt themselves at home with
him. In his speech, he never quite lost that peculiar foreign quality,
known as accent, and he always spoke with slow and measured
articulation, as though a double watch were set at the door of his lips.
With him that unruly member, the tongue, was tamed by the Holy Spirit,
and he had that mark of what James calls a 'perfect man, able also to
bridle the whole body.'

Those who knew but little of him and saw him only in his serious moods
might have thought him lacking in that peculiarly human quality,
_humour._ But neither was he an ascetic nor devoid of that element of
innocent appreciation of the ludicrous and that keen enjoyment of a good
story which seem essential to a complete man. His habit was sobriety,
but he relished a joke that was free of all taint of uncleanness and
that had about it no sting for others. To those whom he best knew and
loved he showed his true self, in his playful moods,--as when at
Ilfracombe, climbing with his wife and others the heights that overlook
the sea, he walked on a little in advance, seated himself till the rest
came up with him, and then, when they were barely seated, rose and
quietly said, "Well now, we have had a good rest, let us go on." This
one instance may suffice to show that his sympathy with his divine
Master did not lessen or hinder his complete fellow feeling with man.
That must be a defective piety which puts a barrier between a saintly
soul and whatsoever pertains to humanity. He who chose us out of the
world sent us back into it, there to find our sphere of service; and in
order to such service we must keep in close and vital touch with human
beings as did our divine Lord Himself.

Service to God was with George Muller a passion. In the month of May,
1897, he was persuaded to take at Huntly a little rest from his constant
daily work at the orphan houses. The evening that he arrived he said,
What opportunity is there here for services for the Lord? When it was
suggested to him that he had just come from continuous work, and that it
was a time for rest, he replied that, being now free from his usual
labours, he felt he must be occupied in some other way in serving the
Lord, to glorify whom was his object in life. Meetings were accordingly
arranged and he preached both at Huntly and at Teignmouth.

As we cast this last glance backward over this life of peculiar sanctity
and service, one lesson seems written across it in unmistakable letters:
PREVAILING PRAYER. If a consecrated human life is an _example_ used by
God to teach us the _philosophy_ of holy living, then this man was meant
to show us how _prayer, offered in simple faith, has power with God._

One paragraph of Scripture conspicuously presents the truth which George
Muller's living epistle enforces and illustrates; it is found in James
v. 16-18:

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," is the
sentence which opens the paragraph. No translation has ever done it
justice. Rotherham renders it: "Much avails a righteous man's
supplication, working inwardly." The Revised Version translates, "avails
much in its working." The difficulty of translating lies not in the
_obscurity_ but in the _fulness_ of the meaning of the original. There
is a Greek middle participle here (Transcriber's note: The Greek word
appears here in parentheses), which may indicate "either the _cause_ or
the _time_ of the effectiveness of the prayer," and may mean, through
its working, or while it is actively working. The idea is that such
prayer has about it supernatural energy. Perhaps the best key to the
meaning of these ten words is to interpret them in the light of the
whole paragraph:

"Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed
earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the
space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven
gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."

Two things are here plainly put before us: first, that Elijah was but a
man, of like nature with other men and subject to all human frailties
and infirmities; and, secondly, that this man was such a power because
he was a man of prayer: he prayed earnestly; literally "he prayed with
prayer"; prayed habitually and importunately. No man can read Elijah's
short history as given in the word of God, without seeing that he was a
man like ourselves. Under the juniper-tree of doubt and despondency, he
complained of his state and wished he might die. In the cave of a morbid
despair, he had to be met and subdued by the vision of God and by the
still, small voice. He was just like other men. It was not, therefore,
because he was above human follies and frailties, but because he was
subject to them, that he is held up to us as an encouraging example of
power that prevails in prayer. He laid hold of the Almighty Arm because
he was weak, and he kept hold because to lose hold was to let weakness
prevail. Nevertheless, this man, by prayer alone, shut up heaven's
floodgates for three years and a half, and then by the same key unlocked
them. Yes, this man tested the meaning of those wonderful words:
"concerning the work of My hands command ye Me." (Isaiah xlv. 11.) God
put the forces of nature for the time under the sway of this one man's
prayer--one frail, feeble, foolish mortal locked and unlocked the
springs of waters, because he held God's key.

George Muller was simply another Elijah. Like him, a man subject to all
human infirmities, he had his fits of despondency and murmuring, of
distrust and waywardness; but he prayed and kept praying. He denied that
he was a miracle-worker, in any sense that implies elevation of
character and endowment above other fellow disciples, as though he were
a specially privileged saint; but in a sense he _was_ a miracle-worker,
if by that is meant that he wrought wonders impossible to the natural
and carnal man. With God all things are possible, and so are they
declared to be to him that believeth. God meant that George Muller,
wherever his work was witnessed or his story is read, should be a
standing rebuke, to the _practical impotence of the average disciple._
While men are asking whether prayer can accomplish similar wonders as of
old, here is a man who answers the question by the indisputable logic of
facts. _Powerlessness always means prayerlessness._ It is not necessary
for us to be sinlessly perfect, or to be raised to a special dignity of
privilege and endowment, in order to wield this wondrous weapon of power
with God; but it _is_ necessary that we be men and women of
prayer--habitual, believing, importunate prayer.

George Muller considered nothing too small to be a subject of prayer,
because nothing is too small to be the subject of God's care. If He
numbers our hairs, and notes a sparrow's fall, and clothes the grass in
the field, nothing about His children is beneath His tender thought. In
every emergency, his one resort was to carry his want to his Father.
When, in 1858, a legacy of five hundred pounds was, after fourteen
months in chancery, still unpaid, the Lord was besought to cause this
money soon to be placed in his hands; and he prayed that legacy out of
the bonds of chancery as prayer, long before, brought Peter out of
prison. The money was paid contrary to all human likelihood, and with
interest at four per cent. When large gifts were proffered, prayer was
offered for grace to know whether to accept or decline, that no money
might be greedily grasped at for its own sake; and he prayed that, if it
could not be accepted without submitting to conditions which were
dishonouring to God, it might be declined so graciously, lovingly,
humbly, and yet firmly, that the manner of its refusal and return might
show that he was acting, not in his own behalf, but as a servant under
the authority of a higher Master.

These are graver matters and might well be carried to God for guidance
and help. But George Muller did not stop here. In the lesser affairs,
even down to the least, he sought and received like aid. His oldest
friend, Robert C. Chapman of Barnstaple, gave the writer the following
simple incident:

In the early days of his love to Christ, visiting a friend, and seeing
him mending a quill pen, he said: "Brother H----, do you pray to God
when you mend your pen?" The answer was: "It would be well to do so, but
I cannot say that I do pray when mending my pen." Brother Muller
replied: "I always do, and so I mend my pen much better."

As we cast this last backward glance at this man of God, seven
conspicuous qualities stand out in him, the combination of which made
him what he was: Stainless uprightness, child-like simplicity,
business-like precision, tenacity of purpose, boldness of faith,
habitual prayer, and cheerful self-surrender. His _holy living_ was a
necessary condition of his _abundant serving,_ as seems so beautifully
hinted in the seventeenth verse of the ninetieth Psalm:

       "Let the _beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,_
        And _establish Thou the work of our hands upon us."_

How can the work of our hands be truly established by the blessing of
our Lord, unless His beauty also is upon us--the beauty of His holiness
transforming our lives and witnessing to His work in us?

So much for the backward look. We must not close without a forward look
also. There are two remarkable sayings of our Lord which are complements
to each other and should be put side by side:

[Transcriber's note: The following two paragraphs are printed
side-by-side in two columns.]

"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his
cross and follow Me."

"If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall
also my servant be. If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour."

One of these presents the cross, the other the crown; one the
renunciation, the other the compensation. In both cases it is, "Let him
follow Me"; but in the second of these passages the following of Christ
_goes further than the cross of Calvary;_ it reaches through the
sepulchre to the Resurrection Life, the Forty Days' Holy Walk in the
Spirit, the Ascension to the Heavenlies, the session at the Right Hand
of God, the Reappearing at His Second Coming, and the fellowship of His
final Reign in Glory. And two compensations are especially made
prominent: first, the _Eternal Home with Christ;_ and, second the
_Exalted Honour from the Father._ We too often look only at the cross
and the crucifixion, and so see our life in Christ only in its oneness
with Him in suffering and serving; we need to look beyond and see our
oneness with Him in recompense and reward, if we are to get a complete
view of His promise and our prospect. Self-denial is not so much an
_impoverishment_ as a _postponement:_ we make a sacrifice of a present
good for the sake of a future and greater good. Even our Lord Himself
was strengthened to endure the cross and despise the shame by the joy
that was set before Him and the glory of His final victory. If there
were seven steps downward in humiliation, there are seven upward in
exaltation, until beneath His feet every knee shall bow in homage, and
every tongue confess His universal Lordship. He that descended is the
same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all
things.

George Muller counted all as loss that men count gain, but it was for
the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus, his Lord. He suffered the loss
of all things and counted them as dung, but it was that he might win
Christ and be found in Him; that he might know Him, and not only the
fellowship of His sufferings and conformity to His death, but the power
of His resurrection, conformity to His life, and fellowship in His
glory. He left all behind that the world values, but he reached forth
and pressed forward toward the goal, for the prize of the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus. "Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be
thus minded."

When the Lord Jesus was upon earth, there was one disciple whom He
loved, who also leaned on His breast, having the favoured place which
only one could occupy. But now that He is in heaven, every disciple may
be the loved one, and fill the favoured place, and lean on His bosom.
There is no exclusive monopoly of privilege and blessing. He that
follows closely and abides in Him knows the peculiar closeness of
contact, the honour of intimacy, that are reserved for such as are
called and chosen and faithful, and follow the Lamb whithersoever He
goeth. God's self-denying servants are on their way to the final
sevenfold perfection, at home with Him, and crowned with honour:
       "And there shall be no more curse;
        But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it;
        And His servants shall serve Him;
        And they shall see His face;
        And His name shall be in their foreheads,
        And there shall be no night there,
        And they shall reign for ever and ever."
                                Amen!


APPENDIX A

SCRIPTURE TEXTS THAT MOULDED GEORGE MULLER

CERTAIN marked Scripture precepts and promises had such a singular
influence upon this man of God, and so often proved the guides to his
course, that they illustrate Psalm cxix. 105:

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path."

Those texts which, at the parting of the way, became to him God's
signboards, showing him the true direction, are here given, as nearly as
may be in the order in which they became so helpful to him. The study of
them will prove a kind of spiritual biography, outlining his career.
Some texts, known to have been very conspicuous in their influence, we
put in capitals. The italics are his own.

"GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON, THAT
WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING
LIFE." (John iii. 16.)

"Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm."
(Jeremiah xvii. 5.)

"O, fear the Lord, ye His saints; for there is no want to them that fear
Him." (Psa. xxxiv. 9.)

"Owe no man anything, but to love one another." (Rom. xiii. 8.)

"SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND ALL THESE
THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU." (Matt. vi. 33.)

"The holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation."
(2 Tim. iii. 15.)

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it
shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he
that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
(Matt. vii. 7, 8.)

"WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK IN MY NAME, THAT WILL I DO, THAT THE FATHER MAY
BE GLORIFIED IN THE SON: IF YE SHALL ASK ANYTHING IN MY NAME I WILL DO
IT." (John xiv. 13, 14.)

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall
eat, and what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put
on.... Take, therefore, no thought for the morrow." (Matt. vi. 25-34.)

"If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine." (John vii.
17.)

"If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye
shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John viii.
31, 32.)

"And the eunuch said, See, here is water: what doth hinder me to be
baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou
mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son
of Gad. And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the
eunuch, and he baptized him." (Acts viii, 36-38.)

"Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism
into death." (Rom. vi. 3, 4.)

"Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to
break bread." (Acts xx. 7.)

"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of
glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a
man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a man in
vile raiment; and ye have respect unto him that weareth the gay
clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to
the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool, are ye not
then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?"
(James ii. 1-6.)

"Having, then, gifts differing according to the grace that is given us."
(Rom. xii. 6.)

"All these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every
man severally as he will." (1 Cor. xii. 11.)

"Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your
account." (Philip, iv. 17.)

"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall
drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall put on.".... "Behold the
fowls of the air.... Consider the lilies of the field.... For your
heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things." (Matt. vi.
25-32.)

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth." (Matt. vi. 19.)

"SELL THAT YE HAVE AND GIVE ALMS." (Luke xii. 33.)

"A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven." (John
iii. 27.)

"Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to
take out of them a people for His name." (Acts xv. 14. Comp. Matt. xiii.
24-30, 36-43.)

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come....
Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being
deceived." (2 Tim. iii. 1, 13.)

"Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch
not the unclean thing." (2 Cor. vi. 14-18.)

"Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."
(Zech. iv. 6.)

"MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE." (2 Cor. xii. 9.)

"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Let
every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God." (1 Cor. vii.
20, 24.)

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness." (2 Tim. iii. 16.)

"OPEN THY MOUTH WIDE, AND I WILL FILL IT." (Psa. lxxxi. 10.)

"Mine hour is not yet come." (John ii. 4.)

"He took a child, and set him in the midst of them; and when He had
taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of
such children in My name, receiveth Me; and whosoever shall receive Me,
receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me." (Mark ix. 36, 37.)

"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all
men." (Rom. xii. 18.)

"For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure;
but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now
no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous;
nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised thereby." (Heb. xii. 10, 11.)

"WHAT THINGS SOEVER YE DESIRE, WHEN YE PRAY, BELIEVE THAT YE RECEIVE
THEM, AND YE SHALL HAVE THEM." (Mark xi. 24.)

"He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." (1 Pet. ii. 6.)

"O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come." (Psa. lxv.
2.)

"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath
done for my soul." (Psa. lxvi. 16.)

"A FATHER OF THE FATHERLESS." (Psa. lxviii. 5.)

"My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary
of His correction." (Prov. iii. 11.)

"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that
fear Him." (Psa. ciii. 13.)

"JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY, AND TO-DAY, AND FOR EVER." (Heb. xiii.
8.)

"To-morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." "Sufficient
unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matt, vi. 34.)

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." (1 Sam. vii. 12.)

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good:"

"Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him!" (Psalm xxxiv. 8.)

"All the fat is the Lord's." (Lev. iii. 16.)

"I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me." (Psa. xl. 17.)

"Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of
thine heart." (Psa. xxxvii. 4.)

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." (Psa.
lxvi. 18.)

"Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: The
Lord will hear when I call unto Him." (Psa. iv. 3.)

"JEHOVAH JIREH." (The Lord will provide.) (Gen. xxii. 14.)

"HE HATH SAID, I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE; SO THAT WE MAY
BOLDLY SAY, THE LORD IS MY HELPER." (Heb. xiii. 5, 6.)

"Be thou not one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties
for debts." (Prov. xxii. 26.)

"He that hateth suretyship is sure." (Prov. xi. 15.)

"I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more
abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." (2 Cor. xii. 15.)

"Ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal. iii. 26.)

"CASTING ALL YOUR CARE UPON HIM FOR HE CARETH FOR YOU." (1 Pet. v. 7.)

"Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Phil. iv.
6.)

"Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest
see the glory of God?" (John xi. 40.)

"WE KNOW THAT ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD."
(Rom. viii. 28.)

"Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. xviii. 25.)

"Of such (little children) is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. xix. 14.)

"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how
shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. viii. 32.)

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." (James i. 17.)

"The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord
shall not want any good thing." (Psa. xxxiv. 10.)

"There is that scattereth and yet increaseth; and there is that
withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal
soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be watered also
himself." (Prov. xi. 24, 25.)

"Give and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down and
shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For
with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you
again." (Luke vi. 38.)

"The liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he
stand." (Isa. xxxii. 8.)

"For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do
them good. (Mark xiv. 7.)

"Let not then your good be evil spoken of." (Rom. xiv. 16.)

"Let your moderation (yieldingness) be known unto all men." (Phil. iv.
5.)

"MY BRETHREN, COUNT IT ALL JOY WHEN YE FALL INTO DIVERS TEMPTATIONS
(_i.e._ TRIALS); KNOWING THIS, THAT THE TRYING OF YOUR FAITH WORKETH
PATIENCE. BUT LET PATIENCE HAVE HER PERFECT WORK, THAT YE MAY BE PERFECT
AND ENTIRE, WANTING NOTHING." (James i. 2-4.)

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy
paths." (Prov. iii. 5,6.)

"The integrity of the upright shall guide them; but the perverseness of
transgressors shall destroy them." (Prov. xi. 3.)

"Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established."
(Prov. xvi. 3.)

"For I say through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among
you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to
think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of
faith." (Rom. xii. 3.)

"Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine
heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord." (Psa. xxvii. 14.)

"After he had patiently endured he obtained the promise." (Heb. vi. 15.)

"VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK THE FATHER IN
MY NAME, HE WILL GIVE IT YOU." (John xvi. 23.)

"He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which
soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." (2 Cor. ix. 6.)

"Ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in
your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. vi. 20.)

"THEY THAT KNOW THY NAME WILL PUT THEIR TRUST IN THEE: FOR THOU, LORD,
HAST NOT FORSAKEN THEM THAT TRUST THEE." (Psa. ix. 10.)

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee,
because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the
Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." (Isa. xxvi. 3, 4.)

"If there be first a willing mind it is accepted according to that a man
hath and not according to that he hath not." (2 Cor viii. 12.)

"BE YE STEADFAST, UNMOVABLE, ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD,
FORASMUCH AS YE KNOW THAT YOUR LABOUR IS NOT IN VAIN IN THE LORD." (1
Cor. xv. 58.)

"Let us not be weary in well doing, for _in due season_ we shall reap if
we faint not." (Gal. vi. 9.)

"Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that
fear Thee; which Thou 'hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before
the sons of men!" (Psa. xxxi. 19.)

"THOU ART GOOD AND DOEST GOOD." (Psa. cxix. 68.)

"I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in
faithfulness hast afflicted me. (Psa. cxix. 75.)

"My times are in Thy hand." (Psa. xxxi. 15.)

"The LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory:
no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." (Psa.
lxxxiv. 11.)

"Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe." (Psa. cxix. 117.)

"Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every man
according as his work shall be." (Rev. xxii. 12.)

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts xx. 35.)

"Give us _this day_ our _daily_ bread." (Matt. vi. 11.)

"Able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think." (Eph. iii.
20.)

"Them that honour Me I will honour." (1 Sam. ii. 30.)

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold
that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise
and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter i. 7.)


APPENDIX B

APPREHENSION OF TRUTH

SOME points which God began to show Mr. Muller while at Teignmouth in
1829:

1. That the word of God alone is our standard of judgment in spiritual
things; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in
our day, as well as in former times, He is the teacher of His people.
The office of the Holy Spirit I had not experimentally understood before
that time. Indeed, of the office of each of the blessed persons, in what
is commonly called the Trinity, I had no experimental apprehension. I
had not before seen from the Scriptures that the Father chose us before
the foundation of the world; that in Him that wonderful plan of our
redemption originated, and that He also appointed all the means by which
it was to be brought about. Further, that the Son, to save us, had
fulfilled the law, to satisfy its demands, and with it also the holiness
of God; that He had borne the punishment due to our sins, and had thus
satisfied the justice of God. And further, that the Holy Spirit alone
can teach us about our state by nature, show us the need of a Saviour,
enable us to believe in Christ, explain to us the Scriptures, help us in
preaching, etc. It was my beginning to understand this latter point in
particular, which had a great effect on me; for the Lord enabled me to
put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and
almost every other book, and simply reading the word of God and studying
it. The result of this was, that the first evening that I shut myself
into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the
Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a
period of several months previously. _But the particular difference was
that I received real strength for my soul in doing so._ I now began to
try by the test of the Scriptures the things which I had learned and
seen, and found that only those principles which stood the test were
really of value.

2. Before this period I had been much opposed to the doctrines of
election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace: so much so
that, a few days after my arrival at Teignmouth I called election a
devilish doctrine. I did not believe that I had brought myself to the
Lord, for that was too manifestly false; but yet I held, that I might
have resisted finally. And further, I knew nothing about the choice of
God's people, and did not believe that the child of God, when once made
so; was safe for ever. In my fleshly mind I had repeatedly said, If once
I could prove that I am a child of God for ever, I might go back into
the world for a year or two, and then return to the Lord, and at last be
saved. But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the
word of God. Being made willing to have no glory of my own in the
conversion of sinners, but to consider myself merely as an instrument;
and being made willing to receive what the Scriptures said; I went to
the Word, reading the New Testament from the beginning, with a
particular reference to these truths. To my great astonishment I found
that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering
grace were about four times as many as those which speak apparently
against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had
examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above
doctrines. As to the effect which my belief in these doctrines had on
me, I am constrained to state, for God's glory, that though I am still
exceedingly weak, and by no means so dead to the lusts of the flesh, and
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, as I might and as I ought
to be, yet, by the grace of God, I have walked more closely with Him
since that period. My life has not been so variable, and I may say that
I have lived much more for God than before. And for this have I been
strengthened by the Lord, in a great measure, through the
instrumentality of these truths. For in the time of temptation, I have
been repeatedly led to say: Should I thus sin? I should only bring
misery into my soul for a time, and dishonour God; for, being a son of
God for ever, I should have to be brought back again, though it might be
in the way of severe chastisement. Thus, I say, the electing love of God
in Christ (when I have been able to realize it) has often been, the
means of _producing holiness, instead of leading me into sin._ It is
only the notional apprehension of such truths, the want of having them
in the heart, whilst they are in the head, which is dangerous.

3. Another truth, into which, in a measure, I was led, respected the
Lord's coming. My views concerning this point, up to that time, had been
completely vague and unscriptural. I had believed what others told me,
without trying it by the Word. I thought that things were getting better
and better, and that soon the whole world would be converted. But now I
found in the Word that we have not the least Scriptural warrant to look
for the conversion of the world before the return of our Lord. I found
in the Scriptures that that which will usher in the glory of the church,
and uninterrupted joy to the saints, is the return of the Lord Jesus,
and that, till then, things will be more or less in confusion. I found
in the Word, that the return of Jesus, and not death, was the hope of
the apostolic Christians; and that it became me, therefore, to look for
His appearing. And this truth entered so into my heart that, though I
went into Devonshire exceedingly weak, scarcely expecting that I should
return again to London, yet I was immediately, on seeing this truth,
brought off from looking for death, and was made to look for the return
of the Lord. Having seen this truth, the Lord also graciously enabled me
to apply it, in some measure at least, to my own heart, and to put the
solemn question to myself--What may I do for the Lord, before He
returns, as He may soon come?

4. In addition to these truths, it pleased the Lord to lead me to see a
higher standard of devotedness than I had seen before. He led me, in a
measure, to see what is my true glory in this world, even to be
despised, and to be poor and mean with Christ. I saw then, in a measure,
though I have seen it more fully since, that it ill becomes the servant
to seek to be rich, and great, and honoured in that world where his Lord
was poor, and mean, and despised.


APPENDIX C

SEPARATION FROM THE LONDON SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONG THE
JEWS.

IT became a point of solemn consideration with me, whether I could
remain connected with the Society in the usual way. My chief objections
were these: 1. If I were sent out by the Society, it was more than
probable, yea, almost needful, if I were to leave England, that I should
labour on the Continent, as I was unfit to be sent to eastern countries
on account of my health, which would probably have suffered, both on
account of the climate, and of my having to learn other languages. Now,
if I _did_ go to the Continent, it was evident that without ordination I
could not have any extensive field of usefulness, as unordained
ministers are generally prevented from labouring freely there; but I
could not conscientiously submit to be ordained by unconverted men,
professing to have power to set me apart for the ministry, or to
communicate something to me for this work which they do not possess
themselves. Besides this, I had other objections to being connected with
_any_ state church or national religious establishment, which arose from
the increased light which I had obtained through the reception of this
truth, that _the word of God is our only standard, and the Holy Spirit
our only teacher._ For as I now began to compare what I knew of the
establishment in England and those on the Continent with this only true
standard, the word of God, I found that all establishments, even because
they are establishments, i.e., the world and the church mixed up
together, not only contain in them the principles which necessarily must
lead to departure from the word of God; but also, as long as they remain
establishments, entirely preclude the acting throughout according to the
Holy Scriptures.--Then again, if I were to stay in England, the Society
would not allow me to preach in any place indiscriminately, where the
Lord might open a door for me; and to the ordination of English bishops
I had still greater objections than to the ordination of a Prussian
Consistory.

2. I further had a conscientious objection against being led and
directed by _men_ in my missionary labours. As a servant of Christ, it
appeared to me I ought to be guided by the Spirit, and not by men, as to
time and place; and this I would say, with all deference to others, who
may be much more taught and much more spiritually minded than myself. A
servant of Christ has but one Master.

3. I had love for the Jews, and I had been enabled to give proofs of it;
yet I could not conscientiously say, as the committee would expect from
me, that I would spend the greater part of my time only among them. For
the scriptural plan seemed to me that, in coming to a place, I should
seek out the Jews, and commence my labour particularly among them; but
that, if they rejected the gospel, I should go to the nominal
Christians.--The more I weighed these points, the more it appeared to me
that I should be acting hypocritically, were I to suffer them to remain
in my mind, without making them known to the committee.


APPENDIX D

THE SCRIPTURAL KNOWLEDGE INSTITUTION FOR HOME AND ABROAD

I. THE PRINCIPLES OF THE INSTITUTION.

1. WE consider every believer bound, in one way or other, to help the
cause of Christ, and we have scriptural warrant for expecting the Lord's
blessing upon our work of faith and labour of love: and although,
according to Matt. xiii. 24-43, 2 Tim. iii. 1-13, and many other
passages, the world will not be converted before the coming of our Lord
Jesus, still, while He tarries, all scriptural means ought to be
employed for the ingathering of the elect of God.

2. The Lord helping us, we do not mean to seek the patronage of the
world; i.e., we never intend to ask _unconverted_ persons of rank or
wealth to countenance this Institution, because this, we consider, would
be dishonourable to the Lord. In the name of our God we set up our
banners, Psa. xx. 5; He alone shall be our Patron, and if He helps us we
shall prosper, and if He is not on our side, we shall not succeed.

3. We do not mean to _ask_ unbelievers for money (2 Cor. vi. 14--18);
though we do not feel ourselves warranted to refuse their contributions,
if they, of their own accord should offer them. (Acts xxviii. 2-10.) 4.
We reject altogether the help of unbelievers in managing or carrying on
the affairs of the Institution. (2 Cor. vi. 14-18.)

5. We intend never to enlarge the field of labour by contracting debts
(Rom. xiii. 8), and afterwards appealing to the Church of God for help,
because this we consider to be opposed both to the letter and the spirit
of the New Testament; but in secret prayer, God helping us, we shall
carry the wants of the Institution to the Lord, and act according to the
means that God shall give.

6. We do not mean to reckon the success of the Institution by the amount
of money given, or the number of Bibles distributed, etc., but by the
Lord's blessing upon the work (Zech. iv. 6); and we expect this, in the
proportion in which He shall help us to wait upon Him in prayer.

7. While we would avoid aiming after needless singularity, we desire to
go on simply according to Scripture, without compromising the truth; at
the same time thankfully receiving any instruction which experienced
believers, after prayer, upon scriptural ground, may have to give us
concerning the Institution.

II. THE OBJECTS OF THE INSTITUTION ARE:

1. To _assist_ day-schools, Sunday-schools, and adult-schools, in which
instruction is given upon _scriptural principles,_ and, as far as the
Lord may give the means, and supply us with suitable teachers, and in
other respects make our path plain, to establish schools of this kind.

a. By day-schools upon scriptural principles, we understand day-schools
in which the teachers are godly persons,--in which the way of salvation
is scripturally pointed out,--and in which no instruction is given
opposed to the principles of the gospel.

b. Sunday-schools, in which all the teachers are believers, and in which
the Holy Scriptures alone are the foundation of instruction, are such
only as the Institution assists with the supply of Bibles, Testaments,
etc.; for we consider it unscriptural that any persons who do not
profess to know the Lord themselves should be allowed to give religious
instruction.

c. The Institution does not assist any adult-schools with the supply of
Bibles, Testaments, spelling-books, etc., except the teachers are
believers.

2. To circulate the Holy Scriptures.

We sell Bibles and Testaments to poor persons at a reduced price. But
while we, in general, think it better that the Scriptures should be
_sold,_ and not given altogether gratis, still, in cases of extreme
poverty, we think it right to give, without payment, a cheap edition.

3. The third object of this Institution is to aid missionary efforts.

We desire to assist those missionaries whose proceedings appear to be
most according to the Scriptures.

It is proposed to give such a portion of the amount of the donations to
each of the fore-mentioned objects as the Lord may direct; but if none
of the objects should claim a more particular assistance, to lay out an
equal portion upon each; yet so that if any donor desires to give for
one of the objects exclusively the money shall be appropriated
accordingly.


APPENDIX E

REASONS WHICH LED MR. MULLER TO ESTABLISH AN ORPHAN HOUSE

I HAD constantly cases brought before me which proved that one of the
especial things which the children of God needed in our day was _to have
their faith strengthened._ For instance: I might visit a brother who
worked fourteen or even sixteen hours a day at his trade, the necessary
result of which was that not only his body suffered, but his soul was
lean, and he had no enjoyment in the things of God. Under such
circumstances I might point out to him that he ought to work less, in
order that his bodily health might not suffer, and that he might gather
strength for his inner man by reading the word of God, by meditation
over it, and by prayer. The reply, however, I generally found to be
something like this: "But if I work less, I do not earn enough for the
support of my family. Even now, whilst I work so much, I have scarcely
enough. The wages are so low, that I must work hard in order to obtain
what I need." There was no trust in God. No real belief in the truth of
that word: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness: and
all these things shall be added unto you." I might reply something like
this: "My dear brother, it is not your work which supports your family,
but the Lord; and He who has fed you and your family when you could not
work at all, on account of illness, would surely provide for you and
yours if, for the sake of obtaining food for your inner man, you were to
work only for so many hours a day as would allow you proper time for
retirement. And is it not the case now, that you begin the work of the
day after having had only a few hurried moments for prayer; and when you
leave off your work in the evening, and mean then to read a little of
the word of God, are you not too much worn out in body and mind to enjoy
it, and do you not often fall asleep whilst reading the Scriptures, or
whilst on your knees in prayer?" The brother would allow it was so; he
would allow that my advice was good; but still I read in his
countenance, even if he should not have actually said so, "How should I
get on if I were to _carry out_ your advice?" I longed, therefore, to
have something to point the brother to, as a visible proof that our God
and Father is the same faithful God as ever He was; as willing as ever
to PROVE Himself to be the LIVING GOD, in our day as formerly, _to all
who put their trust in Him._--Again, sometimes I found children of God
tried in mind by the prospect of old age, when they might be unable to
work any longer, and therefore were harassed by the fear of having to go
into the poor-house. If in such a case I pointed out to them how their
Heavenly Father has always helped those who put their trust in Him, they
might not, perhaps, always say that times have changed; but yet it was
evident enough that God was not looked upon by them as the LIVING God.
My spirit was ofttimes bowed down by this, and I longed to set something
before the children of God whereby they might see that He does not
forsake, even in our day, those who rely upon Him.--Another class of
persons were brethren in business, who suffered in their souls, and
brought guilt on their consciences, by carrying on their business almost
in the same way as unconverted persons do. The competition in trade, the
bad times, the over-peopled country, were given as reasons why, if the
business were carried on simply according to the word of God it could
not be expected to do well. Such a brother, perhaps, would express the
wish that he might be differently situated; but very rarely did I see
_that there was a stand made for God, that there was the holy
determination to trust in the living God, and to depend on Him, in order
that a good conscience might be maintained._ To this class likewise I
desired to show, by a visible proof, that God is unchangeably the
same.--Then there was another class of persons, individuals who were in
professions in which they could not continue with a good conscience, or
persons who were in an unscriptural position with reference to spiritual
things; but both classes feared, on account of the consequences, to give
up the profession in which they could not abide with God, or to leave
their position, lest they should be thrown out of employment. My spirit
longed to be instrumental in strengthening their faith by giving them
not only instances from the word of God of His willingness and ability
to help all those who rely upon Him, but _to show them by proofs_ that
He is the same in our day. I well knew _that the word of God ought to be
enough,_ and it was, by grace, enough to me; but still, I considered
that I ought to lend a helping hand to my brethren, if by any means, by
this visible proof to the unchangeable faithfulness of the Lord I might
strengthen their hands in God; for I remembered what a great blessing my
own soul had received through the Lord's dealings with His servant, A.
H. Francke, who, in dependence upon the living God alone, established an
immense orphan house, which I had seen many times with my own eyes. I,
therefore, judged myself bound to be the servant of the Church of God,
in the particular point on which I had obtained mercy: namely, _in being
able to take God by His word and to rely upon it._ All these exercises
of my soul, which resulted from the fact that so many believers, with
whom I became acquainted, were harassed and distressed in mind, or
brought guilt on their consciences, on account of not trusting in the
Lord, were used by God to awaken in my heart the desire of setting
before the church at large, and before the world, a proof that He has
not in the least changed; and this seemed to me best done by the
establishing of an orphan house. It needed to be something which could
be seen, even by the natural eye. Now if I, a poor man, simply by prayer
and faith, obtained, _without asking any individual,_ the means for
establishing and carrying on an orphan house, there would be something
which, with the Lord's blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening
the faith of the children of God, besides being a testimony to the
consciences of the unconverted of the reality of the things of God.
This, then, was the primary reason for establishing the orphan house. I
certainly did from my heart desire to be used by God to benefit the
bodies of poor children bereaved of both parents, and seek, in other
respects, with the help of God, to do them good for this life;--I also
particularly longed to be used by God in getting the dear orphans
trained up in the fear of God;--but still, the first and primary object
of the work was (and still is) that God might be magnified by the fact
that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need only _by
prayer and faith,_ without any one being asked by me or my fellow
labourers, whereby it may be seen that God is FAITHFUL STILL, and HEARS
PRAYER STILL.

The three chief reasons for establishing an orphan house are: 1. That
God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means,
in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that
thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2. The spiritual
welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal
welfare.

That to which my mind has been particularly directed is to establish an
orphan house in which destitute fatherless and motherless children may
be provided with food and raiment, and scriptural education. Concerning
this intended orphan house I would say:

1. It is intended to be in connection with the Scriptural Knowledge
Institution for Home and Abroad, in so far as it respects the reports,
accounts, superintendence, and the principles on which it is conducted,
so that, in one sense, it may be considered as a new object of the
Institution, yet with this difference, _that only those funds shall be
applied to the orphan house which are expressly given for it._ If,
therefore, any believer should prefer to support either those objects
which have been hitherto assisted by the funds of this Institution, or
the intended orphan house, it need only be mentioned, in order that the
money may be applied accordingly.

2. It will only be established if the Lord should provide both the means
for it and suitable persons to conduct it.

As to the means, I would make the following remarks: The reason for
proposing to enlarge the field is not because we have of late
particularly abounded in means; for we have been rather straitened. The
many gracious answers, however, which the Lord had given us concerning
this Institution led brother C----r and me to give ourselves to prayer,
asking Him to supply us with the means to carry on the work, as we
consider it unscriptural to contract debts. During five days, we prayed
several times, both unitedly and separately. After that time, the Lord
began to answer our prayers, so that, within a few days, about 501. was
given to us. I would further say that the very gracious and tender
dealings of God with me, in having supplied, in answer to prayer, for
the last five years, my own temporal wants without any certain income,
so that money, provisions, and clothes have been sent to me at times
when I was greatly straitened, and that not only in small but large
quantities; and not merely from individuals living in the same place
with me, but at a considerable distance; and that not merely from
intimate friends, but from individuals whom I have never seen: all this,
I say, has often led me to think, even as long as four years ago, that
the Lord had not given me this simple reliance on Him merely for myself,
but also for others. Often, when I saw poor neglected children running
about the streets at Teignmouth, I said to myself: "May it not be the
will of God that I should establish schools for these children, asking
Him to give me the means?" However, it remained only a thought in my
mind for two or three years. About two years and six months since I was
particularly stirred up afresh to do something for destitute children,
by seeing so many of them begging in the streets of Bristol, and coming
to our door. It was not, then, left undone on account of want of trust
in the Lord, but through an abundance of other things calling for all
the time and strength of my brother Craik and myself; for the Lord had
both given faith, and had also shown by the following instance, in
addition to very many others, both what He can and what He will do. One
morning, whilst sitting in my room, I thought about the distress of
certain brethren, and said thus to myself: "Oh, that it might please the
Lord to give me the means to help these poor brethren!" About an hour
afterwards I had 60 pounds sent as a present for myself from a brother
whom up to this day I have never seen, and who was then, and is still,
residing several thousand miles from this. Should not such an
experience, together with promises like that one in John xiv. 13, 14,
encourage us to ask with all boldness, for ourselves and others, both
temporal and spiritual blessings? The Lord, for I cannot but think it
was He, again and again brought the thought about these poor children to
my mind, till at last it ended in the establishment of "The Scriptural
Knowledge Institution, for Home and Abroad"; since the establishment of
which, I have had it in a similar way brought to my mind, first about
fourteen months ago, and repeatedly since, but especially during these
last weeks, to establish an orphan house. My frequent prayer of late has
been, that if it be of God, He would let it come to pass; if not, that
He would take from me all thoughts about it. The latter has not been the
case, but I have been led more and more to think that the matter may be
of Him. Now, if so, He can influence His people _in any part of the
world_ (for I do not look to Bristol, nor even to England, but to the
living God, whose is the gold and the silver), to intrust me and brother
C----r, whom the Lord has made willing to help me in this work with the
means. Till we have _them,_ we can do nothing in the way of renting a
house, furnishing it, etc. Yet, when once as much as is needed for this
has been sent us, as also proper persons to engage in the work, we do
not think it needful to wait till we have the orphan house endowed, or a
number of yearly subscribers for it; but we trust to be enabled by the
Lord, who has taught us to ask for our _daily_ bread, to look to Him for
the supply of the _daily_ wants of those children whom He may be pleased
to put under our care. Any donations will be received at my house.
Should any believers have tables, chairs, bedsteads, bedding,
earthenware, or any kind of household furniture to spare, for the
furnishing of the house; or remnants, or pieces of calico, linen,
flannel, cloth, or any materials useful for wearing apparel; or clothes
already worn, they will be thankfully received.

Respecting the persons who are needed for carrying on the work, a matter
of no less importance than the procuring of funds, I would observe that
we look for them to God Himself, as well as for the funds; and that all
who may be engaged as masters, matrons, and assistants, according to the
smallness or largeness of the Institution, must be known to us as true
believers; and moreover, as far as we may be able to judge, must
likewise be qualified for the work.

3. At present nothing can be said as to the time when the operations are
likely to commence; nor whether the Institution will embrace children of
both sexes, or be restricted either to boys or girls exclusively; nor of
what age they will be received, and how long they may continue in it;
for though we have thought about these things, yet we would rather be
guided in these particulars by the amount of the means which the Lord
may put into our hands, and by the number of the individuals whom He may
provide for conducting the Institution. Should the Lord condescend to
use us as instruments, a short printed statement will be issued as soon
as something more definite can be said.

4. It has appeared well to us to receive only such destitute children as
have been bereaved of both parents.

5. The children are intended, if girls, to be brought up for service; if
boys, for a trade; and therefore they will be employed, according to
their ability and bodily strength, in useful occupations, and thus help
to maintain themselves; besides this, they are intended to receive a
plain education; but the chief and the special end of the Institution
will be to seek, with God's blessing, to bring them to the knowledge of
Jesus Christ by instructing them in the Scriptures.

FURTHER ACCOUNT RESPECTING THE ORPHAN HOUSE, ETC.

When, of late, the thoughts of establishing an orphan house, in
dependence upon the Lord, revived in my mind, during the first two weeks
I only prayed that if it were of the Lord He would bring it about; but
if not, that He graciously would be pleased to take all thoughts about
it out of my mind. My uncertainty about knowing the Lord's mind did not
arise from questioning whether it would be pleasing in His sight that
there should be an abode and scriptural education provided for destitute
fatherless and motherless children; but whether it were His will that
_I_ should be the instrument of setting such an object on foot, as my
hands were already more than filled. My comfort, however, was, that, if
it were His will, He would provide not merely the means, but also
suitable individuals to take care of the children, so that my part of
the work would take only such a portion of my time as, considering the
importance of the matter, I might give, notwithstanding my many other
engagements. The whole of those two weeks I never asked the Lord for
money or for persons to engage in the work. On December 5th, however,
the subject of my prayer all at once became different. I was reading
Psalm lxxxi., and was particularly struck, more than at any time before,
with verse 10: _"Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it."_ I thought a
few moments about these words, and then was led to apply them to the
case of the orphan house. It struck me that I had never asked the Lord
for anything concerning it, except to know His will respecting its being
established or not; and I then fell on my knees, and opened my mouth
wide, asking him for much. I asked in submission to His will, and
without fixing a time when He should answer my petition. I prayed that
He would give me a house, i.e., either as a loan, or that some one might
be led to pay the rent for one, or that one might be given permanently
for this object; further, I asked Him for 1000 pounds; and likewise for
suitable individuals to take care of the children. Besides this, I have
been since led to ask the Lord to put into the hearts of His people to
send me articles of furniture for the house, and some clothes for the
children. When I was asking the petition I was fully aware what I was
doing, i.e., that I was asking for something which I had no natural
prospect of obtaining from the brethren whom I know, but which was not
too much for the Lord to grant.


APPENDIX F

ARGUMENTS IN PRAYER FOR THE ORPHAN WORK

THE arguments which I plead with God are:

1. That I set about the work for the glory of God, i.e., that there
might be a visible proof, by God supplying, _in answer to prayer only,_
the necessities of the orphans, that He is the _living_ God, and most
willing, even in _our_ day, to answer prayer: and that, therefore, He
would be pleased to send supplies.

2. That God is the "Father of the fatherless," and that He, therefore,
as their Father, would be pleased to provide. (Psalm lxviii. 5.)

3. That I have received the children in the name of Jesus, and that,
therefore, He, in these children, has been received, and is fed, and is
clothed; and that, therefore, He would be pleased to consider this.
(Mark ix. 36, 37.)

4. That the faith of many of the children of God has been strengthened
by this work hitherto, and that, if God were to withhold the means for
the future, those who are weak in faith would be staggered; whilst, by a
continuance of means, their faith might still further be strengthened.

5. That many enemies would laugh, were the Lord to withhold supplies,
and say, did we not foretell that this enthusiasm would come to nothing?

6. That many of the children of God, who are uninstructed, or in a
carnal state, would feel themselves justified to continue their alliance
with the world in the work of God, and to go on as heretofore, in their
unscriptural proceedings respecting similar institutions, so far as the
obtaining of means is concerned, if He were not to help me.

7. That the Lord would remember that I am His child, and that He would
graciously pity me, and remember that _I_ cannot provide for these
children, and that therefore He would not allow this burden to lie upon
me long without sending help.

8. That He would remember likewise my fellow labourers in the work, who
trust in Him, but who would be tried were He to withhold supplies.

9. That He would remember that I should have to dismiss the children
from under our scriptural instruction to their former companions.

10. That He would show that those were mistaken who said that, _at the
first,_ supplies might be expected, while the thing was new, but not
afterwards.

11. That I should not know were He to withhold means, what construction
I should put upon all the many most remarkable answers to prayer which
He has given me heretofore in connection with this work, and which most
fully have shown to me that it is of God.


APPENDIX G

THE PURCHASE OF A SITE, ETC.

MR. BENJAMIN PERRY gives an account of the circumstances under which the
land was purchased, prior to the erection of the orphan houses on Ashley
Down, as he heard it from Mr. Muller's own mouth, showing how directly
the Lord worked on the mind of the owner. Mr. Muller had been making
inquiries respecting the purchase of land much nearer Bristol, the
prices asked being not less than 1000 pounds per acre, when he heard
that the land upon which the Orphan Houses Nos. 1 and 2 stand was for
sale, the price being 200 pounds per acre. He therefore called at the
house of the owner, and was informed that he was not at home, but that
he could be seen at his place of business in the city. Mr. Muller went
there, and was informed that he had left a few minutes before, and that
he would find him at home. Most men would have gone off to the owner's
house at once; but Mr. Muller stopped and reflected, "Peradventure the
Lord, having allowed me to miss the owner twice in so short a time, has
a purpose that I should not see him to-day; and lest I should be going
before the Lord in the matter, I will wait till the morning." And
accordingly he waited and went the next morning, when he found the owner
at home; and on being ushered into his sitting-room, he said: "Ah, Mr.
Muller, I know what you have come to see me about. You want to buy my
land on Ashley Down. I had a dream last night, and I saw you come in to
purchase the land, for which I have been asking 200 pounds per acre; but
the Lord told me not to charge you more than 120 pounds per acre, and
therefore if you are willing to buy at that price the matter is
settled." And within ten minutes the contract was signed. "Thus," Mr.
Muller pointed out, "by being careful to _follow_ the Lord, instead of
_going before_ His leading, I was permitted to purchase the land for 80
pounds per acre less than I should have paid if I had gone to the owner
the evening before."


APPENDIX H

GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN PROVIDING

MR. PERRY writes: At one meeting at Huntly, by special request Mr.
Muller gave illustrations of God's faithfulness in answer to prayer,
connected with the orphan work, of which the following are examples:

a. He stated that at various times, not only at the beginning of the
work, but also in later years, God had seen fit to try his faith to the
utmost, but only to prove to him the more definitely that He would never
be other than his faithful covenant-keeping God. In illustration he
referred to a time when, the children having had their last meal for the
day, there was nothing left in money or kind for their breakfast the
following morning. Mr. Muller went home, but nothing came in, and he
retired for the night, committing the need to God to provide. Early the
next morning he went for a walk, and while praying for the needed help
he took a turn into a road which he was quite unconscious of, and after
walking a short distance a friend met him, and said how glad he was to
meet him, and asked him to accept 5 pounds for the orphans. He thanked
him, and without saying a word to the donor about the time of need, he
went at once to the orphan houses, praising God for this direct answer
to prayer.

b. On another occasion, when there were no funds in hand to provide
breakfast for the orphans, a gentleman called before the time for
breakfast and left a donation that supplied all their present needs.
When that year's report was issued, this proof of God's faithfulness in
sending help just when needed was recorded, and a short time after the
donor called and made himself known, saying that as his donation had
been given at such a special time of need he felt he must state the
circumstances under which he had given the money, which were as follows:
He had occasion to go to his office in Bristol early that morning before
breakfast, and on the way the thought occurred to him: "I will go to Mr.
Muller's orphan house and give them a donation," and accordingly turned
and walked about a quarter of a mile toward the orphanage, when he
stopped, saying to himself, "How foolish of me to be neglecting the
business I came out to attend to! I can give money to the orphans
another time," and he turned round and walked back towards his office,
but soon felt that he _must_ return. He said to himself: "The orphans
may be needing the money _now._ I may be leaving them in want when God
had sent me to help them;" and so strong was this impression that he
again turned round and walked back till he reached the orphanages, and
thus handed in the money which provided them with breakfast. Mr. Mullets
comment on this was: "Just like my gracious heavenly Father!" and then
he urged his hearers to trust and prove what a faithful covenant-keeping
God He is to those who put their trust in Him.


APPENDIX K

FURTHER RECOLLECTIONS OF MR. MULLER

MR. PERRY furnishes also the following reminiscences: As George Muller
was engaged in free, homely conversation with his friends on a Sunday
afternoon within about three weeks of his departure to be with the Lord,
he referred to two visits he had made during the previous week to two
old and beloved friends. He had fully appreciated that, though they were
about ten years younger than himself, his power to walk, and specially
his power to continue his service for his Lord, was far greater than
theirs. So that he playfully said, with a bright smile: "I came away
from both these beloved brethren feeling that I was quite young by
comparison as to strength, though so much older," and then at once
followed an ascription of praise to God for His goodness to him: "Oh,
how very kind and good my heavenly Father has been to me! I have no
aches or pains, no rheumatism, and now in my ninety-third year I can do
a day's work at the orphan houses with as much ease and comfort to
myself as ever."

One sentence aptly sets forth a striking feature in his Christian
character, viz.: George Muller, nothing. In himself worse than nothing.

The Lord Jesus, everything. By grace, in Christ, the son of the King.

And as such he lived; for all those who knew and loved this beloved and
honoured servant of Christ best would testify that his habitual attitude
towards the Lord was to treat Him as an ever-present, almighty, loving
Friend, whose love was far greater to him than he could ever return, and
who delighted in having his entire confidence about everything, and was
not only ready at hand to listen to his prayers and praises about great
and important matters, but nothing was too small to speak to Him about.
So real was this that it was almost impossible to be enjoying the
privilege of private, confidential intercourse with him without being
conscious that at least to him the Lord was really present, One to whom
he turned for counsel, in prayer, or in praise, as freely as most men
would speak to a third person present; and again and again most marked
answers to prayer have been received in response to petitions thus
unitedly presented to the Lord altogether apart from his own special
work.


APPENDIX L

CHURCH FELLOWSHIP, BAPTISM, ETC.

WHEN brother Craik and I began to labour in Bristol, and consequently
some believers united with us in fellowship, assembling together at
Bethesda, we began meeting together on the basis of the written Word
only, without having any church rules whatever. From the commencement it
was understood that, as the Lord should help us, we would try everything
by the word of God, and introduce and hold fast that only which could be
proved by Scripture. When we came to this determination on Aug. 13,
1832, it was indeed in weakness, but it was in uprightness of heart.--On
account of this it was that, as we ourselves were not fully settled as
to whether those only who had been baptized after they had believed, or
whether all who believed in the Lord Jesus, irrespective of baptism,
should be received into fellowship, nothing was determined about this
point. We felt free to break bread and be in communion with those who
were not baptized, and therefore could with a good conscience labour at
Gideon, where the greater part of the saints, at least at first, were
unbaptized; but, at the same time, we had a secret wish that none but
believers who were baptized might be united with us at Bethesda. Our
reason for this was that we had witnessed in Devonshire much painful
disunion, resulting as we thought, from baptized and unbaptized
believers being in fellowship. Without, then, making it a rule, that
Bethesda Church was to be one of close communion, we nevertheless took
care that those who applied for fellowship should be instructed about
baptism. For many months there occurred no difficulty as none applied
for communion but such as had either been already baptized, or wished to
be, or who became convinced of the scriptural character of believers'
baptism, after we had conversed with them; afterwards, however, three
sisters applied for fellowship, none of whom had been baptized; nor were
their views altered after we had conversed with them. As, nevertheless,
brother Craik and I considered them true believers, and we ourselves
were not fully convinced what was the mind of the Lord in such a case,
we thought it right that these sisters should be received; yet so that
it might be unanimously, as all our church acts _then_ were done; but we
knew _by that time_ that there were several in fellowship with us who
could not conscientiously receive unbaptized believers. We mentioned,
therefore, the names of the three sisters to the church, stating that
they did not see believers' baptism to be scriptural, and that, if any
brother saw, on that account, a reason why they should not be received,
he should let us know. The result was that several objected, and two or
three meetings were held, at which we heard the objections of the
brethren, and sought for ourselves to obtain acquaintance with the mind
of God on the point. Whilst several days thus passed away before the
matter was decided, one of those three sisters came and thanked us that
we had not received her, before being baptized, for she now saw that it
was only shame and the fear of man which had kept her back, and that the
Lord had now made her willing to be baptized. By this circumstance those
brethren who considered it scriptural that all ought to be baptized
before being received into fellowship, were confirmed in their views;
and as to brother Craik and me, it made us, at least, still more
question whether those brethren might not be right; and we felt,
therefore, that in such a state of mind we could not oppose them. The
one sister, therefore, who wished to be baptized was received into
fellowship, but the two others not. Our consciences were the less
affected by this because all, though not baptized, might take the Lord's
supper with us at Bethesda, though not be received into full fellowship;
and because at Gideon, where there were baptized and unbaptized
believers, they might even be received into full fellowship; for we had
not then clearly seen that there is _no scriptural_ distinction between
being in fellowship with individuals and breaking bread with them. Thus
matters stood for many months, i.e., believers were received to the
breaking of bread even at Bethesda, though not baptized, but they were
not received to all the privileges of fellowship.--In August of 1836 I
had a conversation with brother K. C. on, the subject of receiving the
unbaptized into communion, a subject about which, for years, my mind had
been more or less exercised. This brother put the matter thus before me:
either unbaptized believers come under the class of persons who walk
disorderly, and, in that case, we ought to withdraw from them (2 Thess.
iii. 6); or they do not walk disorderly. If a believer be walking
disorderly, we are not merely to withdraw from him at the Lord's table,
but our behaviour towards him ought to be decidedly different from what
it would be were he not walking disorderly, _on all occasions_ when we
may have intercourse with him, or come in any way into contact with him.
Now this is evidently not the case in the conduct of baptized believers
towards their unbaptized fellow believers. The Spirit does not suffer it
to be so, but He witnesses that their not having been baptized does not
necessarily imply that they are walking disorderly; and hence there may
be the most precious communion between baptized and unbaptized
believers. The Spirit does not suffer us to refuse fellowship with them
in prayer, in reading or searching the Scriptures, in social and
intimate intercourse, and in the Lord's work; and yet this ought to be
the case, were they walking disorderly.--This passage, 2 Thess. iii. 6,
to which brother E. C. referred, was the means of showing me the mind of
the Lord on the subject, which is, _that we ought to receive all whom
Christ has received_ (Rom. xv. 7), _irrespective of the measure of grace
or knowledge which they have attained unto._--Some time after this
conversation, in May, 1837, an opportunity occurred, when we (for
brother Craik had seen the same truth) were called upon to put into
practice the light which the Lord had been pleased to give us. A sister,
who neither _had been baptized,_ nor considered herself under any
obligation to be baptized, applied for fellowship. We conversed with her
on this as on other subjects and proposed her for fellowship, though our
conversation had not convinced her that she ought to be baptized. This
led the church again to the consideration of the point. We gave our
reasons, from Scripture, for considering it right to receive this
unbaptized sister to all the privileges of the children of God; but a
considerable number, one-third perhaps, expressed conscientious
difficulty in receiving her. The example of the Apostles, in baptizing
the first believers upon a profession of faith, was especially urged,
which indeed would be an unsurmountable difficulty had not the truth
been mingled with error for so long a time, so that it does not prove
wilful disobedience if any one in our day should refuse to be baptized
after believing. The Lord, however, gave us much help in pointing out
the truth to the brethren, so that the number of those who considered
that only baptized believers should be in communion decreased almost
daily. At last, only fourteen brethren and sisters out of above 180
thought it right, this August 28, 1837, to separate from us, after we
had had much intercourse with them. [I am glad to be able to add that,
even of these fourteen, the greater part afterwards saw their error, and
came back again to us, and that the receiving of all who love our Lord
Jesus into full communion, irrespective of baptism, has never been the
source of disunion among us, though more than fifty-seven years have
passed away since.]


APPENDIX M

CHURCH CONDUCT

I.--QUESTIONS RESPECTING THE ELDERSHIP.

(1) _How does it appear to be the mind of God that, in every church,
there should be recognized Elders?_

_Ans._ From the following passages compared together: Matt. xxiv. 45;
Luke xii. 42.

From these passages we learn that some are set by the Lord Himself in
the office of rulers and teachers, and that this office (in spite of the
fallen state of the church) should be in being, even down to the close
of the present dispensation. Accordingly, we find from Acts xiv. 23, xx.
17; Tit. i. 5; and 1 Pet. v. 1, that soon after the saints had been
converted, and had associated together in a church character, Elders
were appointed to take the rule over them and to fulfil the office of
under-shepherds.

This must not be understood as implying that, when believers are
associated in church fellowship, they ought to elect Elders according to
their own will, whether the Lord may have qualified persons or not; but
rather that such should wait upon God, that He Himself would be pleased
to raise up such as may be qualified for teaching and ruling in His
church.

(2) _How do such come into office?_

_Ans._ By the appointment of the Holy Ghost, Acts xx. 28.

(3) _How may this appointment be made known to the individuals called to
the office, and to those amongst whom they may be called to labour?_

_Ans._ By the secret call of the Spirit, 1 Tim. iii. 1, confirmed by the
possession of the requisite qualifications, 1 Tim. iii. 2-7; Tit. i.
6-9, and by the Lord's blessing resting upon their labours, 1 Cor. ix.
2.

In 1 Cor. ix. 2, Paul condescends to the weakness of some, who were in
danger of being led away by those factious persons who questioned his
authority. As an Apostle--appointed by the express word of the Lord--he
needed not such outward confirmation. But if he used his success as an
argument in confirmation of his call, how much more may ordinary
servants of the Lord Jesus employ such an argument, seeing that the way
in which they are called for the work is such as to require some outward
confirmation!

(4) _Is it incumbent upon the saints to acknowledge such and to submit
to them in the Lord?_

_Ans._ Yes. See 1 Cor. xvi. 15, 16; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; Heb. xiii. 7,
17; and 1 Tim. v. 17.

In these passages obedience to pastoral authority is clearly enjoined.

II.--_Ought matters of discipline to be finally settled by the Elders_
in private, _or_ in the presence of the church, and as the act of the
whole body?

_Ans._ (1) Such matters are to be finally settled in the presence of the
church. This appears from Matt. xviii. 17; 1 Cor. v. 4, 5; 2 Cor. ii.
6-8; 1 Tim. v. 20.

(2) Such matters are to be finally settled _as the act of the whole
body,_ Matt. xviii. 17, 18. In this passage the act of exclusion is
spoken of as the act of the whole body. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5, v. 12, 13. In
this passage Paul gives the direction, respecting the exercise of
discipline, in such a way to render the whole body responsible: verse 7,
"Purge out the old leaven that ye may be a new lump"; and verse 13,
"Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." From 2
Cor. ii. 6-8 we learn that the act of exclusion was not the act of the
Elders only, but of the church: "Sufficient to such a man is this
punishment [rather, public censure] _which was inflicted of many."_ From
verse 8 we learn that the act of restoration was to be a public act of
the brethren: "Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm [rather,
ratify by a public act] your love towards him."

As to the reception of brethren into fellowship, this is an act of
simple obedience to the Lord, both on the part of the elders and the
whole church. We are bound and privileged to receive all those who make
a credible profession of faith in Christ, according to that Scripture,
"Receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of
God." (Rom. xv. 7.)

III.--_When should church acts (such as acts of reception, restoration,
exclusion, etc.) be attended to?_

_Ans._ It cannot be expressly proved from Scripture whether such acts
were attended to at the meeting for the breaking of bread, or at any
other meeting; therefore this is a point on which, if different churches
differ, mutual forbearance ought to be exercised. The way in which such
matters have hitherto been managed amongst us has been by the church
coming together on a week-evening. Before we came to Bristol we had been
accustomed to this mode, and, finding nothing in Scripture against it,
we continued the practice. But, after prayer and more careful
consideration of this point, it has appeared well to us that such acts
should be attended to on the Lord's days, when the saints meet together
for the breaking of bread. We have been induced to make this alteration
by the following reasons:

(1) _This latter mode prevents matters from being delayed._ There not
being a sufficiency of matter for a meeting on purpose every week, it
has sometimes happened that what would better have been stated to the
church at once has been kept back from the body for some weeks. Now, it
is important that what concerns the whole church should be made known as
soon as possible to those who are in fellowship, that they may act
accordingly. Delay, moreover, seems inconsistent with the
pilgrim-character of the people of God.

(2) _More believers can be present on the Lord's days than can attend on
week-evenings._ The importance of this reason will appear from
considering how everything which concerns the church should be known to
_as many as possible._ For how can the saints pray for those who may
have to be excluded,--how can they sympathize in cases of peculiar
trial,--and how can they rejoice and give thanks on account of those who
may be received or restored, unless they are made acquainted with the
facts connected with such cases?

(3) _A testimony is thus given that all who break bread are church
members._ By attending to church acts in the meeting for breaking of
bread, we show that we _make no difference_ between receiving into
fellowship at the Lord's Supper, and into church membership, but that
the individual who is admitted to the Lord's table is therewith also
received to all the privileges, trials, and responsibilities of church
membership.

(4) There is a peculiar propriety in acts of reception, restoration, and
exclusion being attended to when the saints meet together for the
breaking of bread, as, in that ordinance especially, we show forth our
fellowship with each other.

Objections answered.

(1) This alteration has the appearance of changeableness.

_Reply._ Such an objection would apply to any case in which increased
light led to any improvement, and is, therefore, not to be regarded. It
would be an evil thing if there were any change respecting the
foundation truths of the Gospel; but the point in question is only a
matter of church order.

(2) More time may thus be required than it would be well to give to such
a purpose on the Lord's day.

_Reply._ As, according to this plan, church business will be attended to
_every Lord's day,_ it is more than probable that the meetings will be
thereby prolonged for a few minutes only; but, should circumstance
require it, a special meeting may still be appointed during the week,
for all who break bread with us. This, however, would only be needful,
provided the matters to be brought before the brethren were to require
more time than could be given to them at the breaking of bread.*

* The practice, later on, gave place to a week-night meeting, on
Tuesday, for transaction of such "church acts."--A. T. P.

N.B. (1) Should any persons be present who do not break bread with us,
they may be requested to withdraw whenever such points require to be
stated as it would not be well to speak of in the presence of
unbelievers.

(2) As there are two places in which the saints meet for the breaking of
bread, the matters connected with church acts must be brought out at
each place.

IV.--QUESTIONS RELATIVE TO THE LORD'S SUPPER.

(1) _How frequently ought the breaking of bread to be attended to?_

_Ans._ Although we have no express command respecting the frequency of
its observance, yet the example of the apostles and of the first
disciples would lead us to observe this ordinance every Lord's day.
(Acts xx. 7.)

(2) _What ought to be the character of the meeting at which the saints
are assembled for the breaking of bread?_

_Ans._ As in this ordinance we show forth our common participation in
all the benefits of our Lord's death, and our union to Him and to each
other (1 Cor. x. 16, 17), opportunity ought to be given for the exercise
of the gifts of teaching or exhortation, and communion in prayer and
praise. (Rom. xii. 4-8; Eph. iv. 11-16.) The manifestation of our common
participation in each other's gifts cannot be fully given at such
meetings, if the whole meeting is, necessarily, conducted by one
individual. This mode of meeting does not, however, take off from those
who have the gifts of teaching or exhortation the responsibility of
edifying the church as opportunity may be offered.

(3) _Is it desirable that the bread should be broken at the Lord's
Supper by one of the elders, or should each individual of the body break
it for himself?_

_Ans._ Neither way can be so decidedly proved from Scripture that we are
warranted in objecting to the other as positively unscriptural, yet--

(1) The letter of Scripture seems rather in favour of its being done by
each brother and sister (1 Cor. x. 16, 17): "The bread which _we
break."_

(2) Its being done by each of the disciples is more fitted to express
that we all, by our sins, have broken the body of our Lord.

(3) By attending to the ordinance in this way, we manifest our freedom
from the common error that the Lord's Supper must be administered by
some particular individual, possessed of what is called a ministerial
character, instead of being an act of social worship and obedience.


APPENDIX N

THE WISE SAYINGS OF GEORGE MULLER

FEW who have not carefully read the Narrative of Mr. Muller and the
subsequent Reports issued year by year, have any idea of the large
amount of wisdom which there finds expression. We give here a few
examples of the sagacious and spiritual counsels and utterances with
which these pages abound.

THE BODY.

CARE OF THE BODY.

I find it a difficult thing, whilst caring for the body, not to neglect
the soul. It seems to me much easier to go on altogether regardless of
the body, in the service of the Lord, than to take care of the body, in
the time of sickness, and not to neglect the soul, especially in an
affliction like my present one, when the head allows but little reading
or thinking.--What a blessed prospect to be delivered from this wretched
evil nature!

HABITS OF SLEEP.

My own experience has been, almost invariably, that if I have not the
_needful_ sleep, my spiritual enjoyment and strength is greatly affected
by it. I judge it of great moment that the believer, in travelling,
should seek as much as possible to refrain from travelling by night, or
from travelling in such a way as that he is deprived of the needful
night's rest; for if he does not, he will be unable with renewed bodily
and mental strength to give himself to prayer and meditation, and the
reading of the Holy Scriptures, and he will surely feel the pernicious
effects of this all the day long. There may occur cases when travelling
by night cannot be avoided; but, if it can, _though we should seem to
lose time by it, and though it should cost more money,_ I would most
affectionately and solemnly recommend the refraining from
night-travelling; for, in addition to our drawing beyond measure upon
our bodily strength, we must be losers spiritually. The next thing I
would advise with reference to travelling is, with all one's might to
seek morning by morning, before setting out, to take time for meditation
and prayer, and reading the word of God; for although we are always
exposed to temptation, yet we are so especially in travelling.
Travelling is one of the devil's especial opportunities for tempting us.
Think of that, dear fellow believers. Seek always to ascertain carefully
the mind of God, before you begin anything; but do so in particular
before you go on a journey, so that you may be quite sure that it is the
will of God that you should undertake that journey, lest you should
needlessly expose yourself to one of the special opportunities of the
devil to ensnare you. So far from envying those who have a carriage and
horses at their command, or an abundance of means, so that they are not
hindered from travelling for want of means, let us who are not thus
situated rather thank God that _in this particular_ we are not exposed
to the temptation of needing to be less careful in ascertaining the will
of God before we set out on a journey.

CHILDREN.

CONVERSION OF CHILDREN.

As far as my experience goes, it appears to me that believers generally
have expected far too little of present fruit upon their labours among
children. There has been a hoping that the Lord some day or other would
own the instruction which they give to children, and would answer at
some time or other, though after many years only, the prayers which they
offer up on their behalf. Now, while such passages as Proverbs xxii. 6,
Ecclesiastes xi. 1, Galatians vi. 9, 1 Cor. xv. 58, give unto us
assurance not merely respecting everything which we do for the Lord, in
general, but also respecting bringing up children in the fear of the
Lord, in particular, that our labour is not in vain in the Lord; yet we
have to guard against abusing such passages, by thinking it a matter of
little moment whether we see _present_ fruit or not; but, on the
contrary, we should give the Lord no rest till we see present fruit, and
therefore, in persevering, yet submissive, prayer, we should make known
our requests unto God. I add, as an encouragement to believers who
labour among children, that during the last two years seventeen other
young persons or children, from the age of eleven and a half to
seventeen, have been received into fellowship among us, and that I am
looking out now for many more to be converted, and that not merely of
the orphans, but of the Sunday-school and day-school children.

NEGLECT OF CHILDREN.

The power for good or evil that resides in a little child is great
beyond all human calculation. A child rightly trained may be a
world-wide blessing, with an influence reaching onward to eternal years.
But a neglected or misdirected directed child may live to blight and
blast mankind, and leave influences of evil which shall roll on in
increasing volume till they plunge into the gulf of eternal perdition.

"A remarkable instance was related by Dr. Harris, of New York, at a
recent meeting of the State Charities Aid Association. In a small
village in a county on the upper Hudson, some seventy years ago, a young
girl named 'Margaret' was sent adrift on the casual charity of the
inhabitants. She became the mother of a long race of criminals and
paupers, and her progeny has cursed the county ever since. The county
records show _two hundred_ of her descendants who have been criminals.
In one single generation of her unhappy line there were twenty children;
of these, three died in infancy, and seventeen survived to maturity. Of
the seventeen, nine served in the State prison for high crimes an
aggregate term of fifty years, while the others were frequent inmates of
jails and penitentiaries and almshouses. Of the nine hundred
descendants, through six generations, from this unhappy girl who was
left on the village streets and abandoned in her childhood, a great
number have been idiots, imbeciles, drunkards, lunatics, paupers, and
prostitutes: but two hundred of the more vigorous are on record as
criminals. This neglected little child has thus cost the county
authorities, in the effects she has transmitted, _hundreds of thousands
of dollars,_ in the expense and care of criminals and paupers, besides
the untold damage she has inflicted on property and public morals."

TRAINING OF CHILDREN.

Seek to cherish in your children early the habit of being interested
about the work of God, and about cases of need and distress, and use
them too at _suitable times,_ and under _suitable circumstances,_ as
your almoners, and you will reap fruit from doing so.

CHRISTIAN LIFE.

BEGINNING OF LIFE, ETC.

God alone can give spiritual life at the first, and keep it up in the
soul afterwards.

CROSS-BEARING.

The Christian, like the bee, might suck honey out of every flower. I saw
upon a snuffer-stand in bas-relief, "A heart, a cross under it, and
roses under both." The meaning was obviously this, that the heart which
bears the cross for a time meets with roses afterwards.

KEEPING PROMISES.

It has been often mentioned to me, in various places, that brethren in
business do not sufficiently attend to the keeping of promises, and I
cannot therefore but entreat all who love our Lord Jesus, and who are
engaged in a trade or business, to seek for His sake not to make any
promises, except they have every reason to believe they shall be able to
fulfil them, and therefore carefully to weigh all the circumstances,
before making any engagement, lest they should fail in its
accomplishment. It is even in these little ordinary affairs of life that
we may either bring much honour or dishonour to the Lord; and these are
the things which every unbeliever can take notice of. Why should it be
so often said, and sometimes with a measure of ground, or even much
ground: "Believers are bad servants, bad tradesmen, bad masters"? Surely
it ought not to be true that _we, who have power with God to obtain by
prayer and faith all needful grace, wisdom, and skill,_ should be bad
servants, bad tradesmen, bad masters.

THE LOT AND THE LOTTERY.

It is altogether wrong that I, a child of God, should have anything to
do with so worldly a system as that of the lottery. But it was also
unscriptural to go to the lot at all for the sake of ascertaining the
Lord's mind, and this I ground on the following reasons. We have neither
a commandment of God for it, nor the example of our Lord, nor that of
the apostles, _after the Holy Spirit had been given on the day of
Pentecost._ 1. We have many exhortations in the word of God to seek to
know His mind by prayer and searching the Holy Scriptures, but no
passage which exhorts us to use the lot. 2. The example of the apostles
(Acts i.) in using the lot, in the choice of an apostle in the room of
Judas Iscariot, is the only passage which can be brought in favour of
the lot from the New Testament (and to the Old we have not to go, under
this dispensation, for the sake of ascertaining how we ought to live as
disciples of Christ). Now concerning this circumstance we have to
remember that the Spirit was not yet given (John vii. 39; xiv. 16, 17;
xvi. 7, 13), by whose teaching especially it is that we may know the
mind of the Lord; and hence we find that, after the day of Pentecost,
the lot was no more used, but the apostles gave themselves to prayer and
fasting to ascertain how they ought to act.

NEW TASTES.

What a difference grace makes! There were few people, perhaps, more
passionately fond of travelling, and seeing fresh places, and new
scenes, than myself; but now, since, by the grace of God, I have seen
beauty in the Lord Jesus, I have lost my taste for these things.... What
a different thing, also, to travel in the service of the Lord Jesus,
from what it is to travel in the service of the flesh!

OBEDIENCE.

_Every instance of obedience, from right motives, strengthens us
spiritually, whilst every act of disobedience weakens us spiritually._

SEPARATION UNTO GOD.

May the Lord grant that the eyes of many of His children may be opened,
so that they may seek, in all spiritual things, to be separated from
unbelievers (2 Cor. vi. 14-18), and to do _God's work_ according to
_God's mind!_

SERVICE TO ONE'S GENERATION.

My business is, with all my might to serve my own generation; in doing
so I shall best serve the next generation, should the Lord Jesus
tarry.... The longer I live, the more I am enabled to realize that I
have but one life to live on earth, and that this one life is but a
_brief_ life, for sowing, in comparison with _eternity,_ for reaping.

SURETY FOR DEBT.

How precious it is, even for this life, to act according to the word of
God! This perfect revelation of His mind gives us directions for
everything, even the most minute affairs of this life. It commands us,
"Be thou not one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties
for debts." (Prov. xxii. 26.) The way in which Satan ensnares persons,
to bring them into the net, and to bring trouble upon them by becoming
sureties, is, that he seeks to represent the matter as if there were no
danger connected with that particular case, and that one might be sure
one should never be called upon to pay the money; but the Lord, the
faithful Friend, tells us in His own word that the only way in such a
matter "to be sure" is "to hate suretyship." (Prov. xi. 15.) The
following points seem to me of solemn moment for consideration, if I
were called upon to become surety for another: 1. What obliges the
person, who wishes me to become surety for him, to need a surety? Is it
really a good cause in which I am called upon to become surety? I do not
remember ever to have met with a case in which in a plain, and godly,
and in all respects scriptural matter such a thing occurred. There was
generally some sin or other connected with it. 2. If I become surety,
notwithstanding what the Lord has said to me in His word, am I in such a
position that no one will be injured by my being called upon to fulfil
the engagements of the person for whom I am going to be surety? In most
instances this alone ought to keep one from it.

3. If still I become surety, the amount of money for which I become
responsible must be so in my power that I am able to produce it whenever
it is called for, in order that the name of the Lord may not be
dishonoured.

4. But if there be the possibility of having to fulfil the engagements
of the person in whose stead I have to stand, is it the will of the Lord
that I should spend my means in that way? Is it not rather His will that
my means should be spent in another way? 5. How can I get over the plain
word of the Lord, which is to the contrary, even if the first four
points could be satisfactorily settled?

CHURCH LIFE.

ASSEMBLY OF BELIEVERS.

It has been my own happy lot, during the last thirty-seven years, to
become acquainted with hundreds of individuals, who were not inferior to
apostolic Christians.

That the disciples of Jesus should meet together on the first day of the
week for the breaking of bread, and that that should be their principal
meeting, and that those, whether one or several, who are truly gifted by
the Holy Spirit for service, be it for exhortation, or teaching, or
rule, etc., are responsible to the Lord for the exercise of their
gifts--these are to me no matters of uncertainty, but points on which my
soul, by grace, is established, through the revealed will of God.

FORMALISM.

I have often remarked the injurious effects of doing things because
others did them, or because it was the custom, or because they were
persuaded into acts of _outward_ self-denial, or giving up things whilst
the heart did not go along with it, and whilst the _outward act_ WAS NOT
_the result of the inward powerful working of the Holy Ghost, and the
happy entering into our fellowship with the Father and with the Son._

Everything that is a mere form, a mere habit and custom in divine
things, is to be dreaded exceedingly: _life, power, reality,_ this is
what we have to aim after. Things should not result from without, but
from within. The sort of clothes I wear, the kind of house I live in,
the quality of the furniture I use, all such like things should not
result from other persons' doing so and so, or because it is customary
among those brethren with whom I associate to live in such and such a
simple, inexpensive self-denying way; but whatever be done in these
things, in the way of giving up, or self-denial, or deadness to the
world, should result from the joy we have in God, from the knowledge of
our being the children of God, from the entering into the preciousness
of our future inheritance, etc. Far better that for the time being we
stand still, and do not take the steps which we see others take, than
that it is merely the force of example that leads us to do a thing, and
afterwards it be regretted. Not that I mean in the least by this to
imply we should continue to live in luxury, self-indulgence, and the
like, whilst others are in great need; but we should begin the thing in
a right way, i.e., aim after the right state of heart; begin _inwardly_
instead of _outwardly._ If otherwise, it will not last. We shall look
back, or even get into a worse state than we were before. But oh, how
different if joy in God leads us to any little act of self-denial! How
gladly do we do it then! How great an honour then do we esteem it to be!
How much does the heart then long to be able to do more for Him who has
done so much for us! We are far then from looking down in proud
self-complacency upon those who do not go as far as we do, but rather
pray to the Lord that He would be pleased to help our dear brethren and
sisters forward who may seem to us weak in any particular point; and we
also are conscious to ourselves that if we have a little more light or
strength with reference to one point, other brethren may have more light
or grace in other respects.

HELPING ONE ANOTHER.

As to the importance of the children of God's opening their hearts to
each other, especially when they are getting into a cold state, or are
under the power of a certain sin, or are in especial difficulty; I know
from my own experience how often the snare of the devil has been broken
when under the power of sin; how often the heart has been comforted when
nigh to be overwhelmed; how often advice, under great perplexity, has
been obtained,--by opening my heart to a brother in whom I had
confidence. We are children of the same family, and ought therefore to
be helpers one of another.

INQUIRY MEETINGS.

1. Many persons, on account of timidity, would prefer coming at an
appointed time to the vestry to converse with us, to calling on us in
our own house. 2. The very fact of appointing a time for seeing people,
to converse with them in private concerning the things of eternity, has
brought some who, humanly speaking, never would have called on us under
other circumstances; yea, it has brought even those who, though they
thought they were concerned about the things of God, yet were completely
ignorant; and thus we have had an opportunity of speaking to them. 3.
These meetings have also been a great encouragement to ourselves in the
work; for often, when we thought that such and such expositions of the
Word had done no good at all, it was, through these meetings, found to
be the reverse; and likewise, when our hands were hanging down, we have
been afresh encouraged to go forward in the work of the Lord, and to
continue sowing the seed in hope, by seeing at these meetings fresh
cases, in which the Lord had condescended to use us as instruments,
particularly as in this way instances have sometimes occurred in which
individuals have spoken to us about the benefit which they derived from
our ministry, not only a few months before, but even as long as two,
three, and four years before.

For the above reasons I would particularly recommend to other servants
of Christ, especially to those who live in large towns, if they have not
already introduced a similar plan, to consider whether it may not be
well for them also to set apart such times for seeing inquirers. Those
meetings, however, require much prayer, to be enabled to speak aright,
to all those who come, according to their different need; and one is led
continually to feel that one is not sufficient of one's self for these
things, but that our sufficiency can be alone of God. These meetings
also have been by far the most wearing-out part of all our work, though
at the same time the most refreshing.

PASTORAL VISITATION.

An _unvisited_ church will sooner or later become an _unhealthy church._

PEW-RENTS.

1. Pew-rents are, according to James ii. 1-6, against the mind of the
Lord, as, in general, the poor brother cannot have so good a seat as the
rich. 2. A brother may gladly do something towards my support if left to
his own time; but when the quarter is up, he has perhaps other expenses,
and I do not know whether he pays his money grudgingly, and of
necessity, or cheerfully; but God loveth a cheerful giver. _I knew it to
be a fact_ that sometimes it had not been convenient to individuals to
pay the money, when it had been asked for by the brethren who collected
it. 3. Though the Lord had been pleased to give me grace to be faithful,
so that I had been enabled not to keep back the truth, when He had shown
it to me; still I felt that the pew-rents were a snare to the servant of
Christ. It was a temptation to me, at least for a few minutes, at the
time when the Lord had stirred me up to pray and search the Word
respecting the ordinance of baptism, because 30 pounds of my salary was
at stake if I should be baptized.

STATE CHURCHES.

All establishments, even because they are establishment, i.e., the world
and the church mixed up together, not only contain in them the
principles which necessarily must lead to departure from the word of
God; but also, as long as they remain establishments, entirely preclude
the acting throughout according to the Holy Scriptures.

FAITH.

ANXIETY.

        Where Faith begins, anxiety ends;
        Where anxiety begins, Faith ends.

Ponder these words of the Lord Jesus, "Only believe." As long as we are
able to trust in God, holding fast in heart, that he is able and willing
to help those who rest on the Lord Jesus for salvation, in all matters
which are for His glory and their good, the heart remains calm and
peaceful. It is only when we _practically_ let go faith in His power or
His love, that we lose our peace and become troubled. This very day I am
in great trial in connection with the work in which I am engaged; yet my
soul was calmed and quieted by the remembrance of God's power and love;
and I said to myself this morning: "As David encouraged himself in
Jehovah his God, when he returned to Ziklag, so will I encourage myself
in God;" and the result was peace of soul.... It is the very time for
_faith_ to work, when _sight_ ceases. The greater the difficulties, the
easier for _faith._ As long as there remain certain natural prospects,
faith does not get on even as easily (if I may say so), as when all
natural prospects fail.

DEPENDENCE ON GOD.

Observe two things! We acted _for God_ in delaying the public meetings
and the publishing of the Report; but _God's way leads always into
trial, so far as sight and sense are concerned. Nature_ always will be
tried _in God's ways._ The Lord was saying by this poverty, "I will now
see whether you truly lean upon me, and whether you truly look to me."
Of all the seasons that I had ever passed through since I had been
living in this way, _up to that time,_ I never knew any period in which
my faith was tried so sharply, as during the four months from Dec. 12,
1841, to April 12, 1842. But observe further: We might even now have
altered our minds with respect to the public meetings and publishing the
Report; for _no one knew our determination, at this time,_ concerning
the point. Nay, on the contrary, we knew with what delight very many
children of God were looking forward to receive further accounts. But
the Lord kept us steadfast to the conclusion, at which we had arrived
under His guidance.

GIFT AND GRACE OF FAITH.

It pleased the Lord, I think, to give me in some cases something like
the gift (not grace) of faith, so that unconditionally I could ask and
look for an answer. The difference between the _gift_ and the _grace_ of
faith seems to me this. According to the _gift of faith_ I am able to do
a thing, or believe that a thing will come to pass, the not doing of
which, or the not believing of which would not be sin; according to the
_grace of faith_ I am able to do a thing, or believe that a thing will
come to pass, respecting which I have the word of God as the ground to
rest upon, and, therefore, the not doing it, or the not believing it
_would be sin._ For instance, _the gift of faith_ would be needed, to
believe that a sick person should be restored again, though _there is no
human probability: for there is no promise to that effect; the grace of
faith_ is needed to believe that the Lord will give me the necessaries
of life, if I first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness: for
_there is a promise to that effect._ (Matt. vi. 33.)

SELF-WILL.

The natural mind is ever prone _to reason, _when we ought _to believe;_
to be _at work,_ when we ought to be _quiet;_ to go our own way, when we
ought steadily to walk on in God's ways, however trying to nature.

TRIALS OF FAITH.

The Lord gives faith, for the very purpose of trying it for the glory of
His own name, and for the good of him who has it; and, by the very trial
of our faith, we not only obtain blessing to our own souls, by becoming
the better acquainted with God, if we hold fast our confidence in Him,
but our faith is also, by the exercise, strengthened: and so it comes,
that, if we walk with God in any measure of uprightness of heart, the
trials of faith will be greater and greater.

It is for the church's benefit that we are put in these straits; and if,
therefore, in the hour of need, we were to take goods on credit, the
first and primary object of the work would be completely frustrated, and
no heart would be further strengthened to trust in God, nor would there
be any longer that manifestation of the special and particular
providence of God, which has hitherto been so abundantly shown through
this work, even in the eyes of unbelievers, whereby they have been led
to see _that there is, after all, reality in the things of God,_ and
many, through these printed accounts, have been truly converted. For
these reasons, then, we consider it our precious privilege, as
heretofore, to continue to wait upon the Lord only, instead of taking
goods on credit, or borrowing money from some kind friends, when we are
in need. Nay, we purpose, as God shall give us grace, to look to Him
only, though morning after morning we should have nothing in hand for
the work--yea, though from meal to meal we should have to look to Him;
being fully assured that He who is now (1845) in the tenth year feeding
these many orphans, and who has never suffered them to want, and that He
who is now (1845) in the twelfth year carrying on the other parts of the
work, without any branch of it having had to be stopped for want of
means, will do so for the future also. And here I do desire in the deep
consciousness of my natural helplessness and dependence upon the Lord to
confess that through the grace of God my soul has been in peace, though
day after day we have had to wait for our daily provisions upon the
Lord; yea, though even from meal to meal we have been required to do
this.

GIVING.

ASKING GIFTS, ETC.

It is not enough to obtain means for the work of God, but that these
means should be obtained in God's way. To ask unbelievers for means is
_not_ God's way; to _press_ even believers to give, is _not_ God's way;
but the _duty_ and the _privilege_ of being allowed to contribute to the
work of God should be pointed out, and this should be followed up with
earnest prayer, believing prayer, and will result in the desired end.

CLAIMS OF GOD.

It is true, the Gospel demands our _All;_ but I fear that, in the
general claim on _All,_ we have shortened the claim on _everything._ We
are not under law. True; but that is not to make our obedience less
complete, or our giving less bountiful: rather, is it not, that after
all claims of law are settled, the new nature finds its joy in doing
more than the law requires? Let us abound in the work of the Lord more
and more.

GIVING IN ADVERSITY.

At the end of the last century a very godly and liberal merchant in
London was one day called on by a gentleman, to ask him for some money
for a charitable object. The gentleman expected very little, having just
heard that the merchant had sustained heavy loss from the wreck of some
of his ships. Contrary, however, to expectation, he received about ten
times as much as he had expected for his object. He was unable to
refrain from expressing his surprise to the merchant, told him what he
had heard, how he feared he should scarcely have received anything, and
asked whether after all there was not a mistake about the shipwreck of
the vessels. The merchant replied, It is quite true, I have sustained
heavy loss, by these vessels being wrecked, but that is the very reason,
why I give you so much; for I must make better use than ever of my
stewardship, lest it should be entirely taken from me.

How have we to act if prosperity in our business, our trade, our
profession, etc., should suddenly cease, notwithstanding our having
given a considerable proportion of our means for the Lord's work? My
reply is this: "In the day of adversity _consider."_ It is the will of
God that we should ponder our ways; that we should see whether there is
any particular reason, why God has allowed this to befall us. In doing
so, we may find, that we have too much looked on our prosperity as a
matter of course, and have not sufficiently owned and recognized
_practically_ the hand of God in our success. Or it may be, while the
Lord has been pleased to prosper us, we have spent too much on
ourselves, and may have thus, though unintentionally, _abused_ the
blessing of God. I do not mean by this remark to bring any children of
God into bondage, so that, with a scrupulous conscience, they should
look at every penny, which they spend on themselves; this is not the
will of God concerning us; and yet, on the other hand, there is verily
such a thing as propriety or impropriety in our dress, our furniture,
our table, our house, our establishment, and in the yearly amount we
spend on ourselves and family.

GIVING AND HOARDING.

I have every reason to believe, that, had I begun to lay up, the Lord
would have stopped the supplies, and thus, the ability of doing so was
only _apparent._ Let no one profess to trust in God, and yet lay up for
future wants, otherwise the Lord will first send him to the hoard he has
amassed, before He can answer the prayer for more.

"There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that
withholdeth _more than is meet,_ but it tendeth to poverty." (Prov. xi.
24.) Notice here the word _"more than is meet;"_ it is not said,
withholdeth all; but "more than is meet" viz., while he gives, it is so
little, in comparison with what it might be, and ought to be, that it
tendeth to poverty.

MOTIVES TO GIVING.

Believers should seek more and more to enter into the grace and love of
God, in giving His only-begotten Son, and into the grace and love of the
Lord Jesus, in giving Himself in our room, in order that, constrained by
love and gratitude, they may be increasingly led to surrender their
bodily and mental strength, their time, gifts, talents, property,
position in life, rank, and all they have and are to the Lord. By this I
do not mean that they should give up their business, trade, or
profession, and become preachers; nor do I mean that they should take
all their money and give it to the first beggar who asks for it; but
that they should hold all they have and are, for the Lord, not as
owners, but as stewards, and be willing, _at His bidding,_ to use for
Him part or all they have. However short the believer may fall, nothing
less than this should be his aim.

STEWARDSHIP.

It is the Lord's order, that in whatever way He is pleased to make us
His stewards, whether as to temporal or spiritual things, if we are
indeed acting as _stewards_ and not as _owners,_ He will make us
stewards over _more._

Even in this life, and as to temporal things, the Lord is pleased to
repay those who act for Him as stewards, and who contribute to His work
or to the poor, as He may be pleased to prosper them? But how much
greater is the _spiritual_ blessing we receive, both in this life and in
the world to come, if constrained by the love of Christ, we act as God's
stewards, respecting that with which He is pleased to intrust us!

SYSTEMATIC GIVING.

Only _fix even the smallest amount_ you purpose to give of your income,
and give this regularly; and as God is pleased to increase your light
and grace, and is pleased to prosper you more, so give more. If you
neglect an _habitual giving, a regular giving, a giving from principle
and upon scriptural ground,_ and leave it only to feeling and impulse,
or particular arousing circumstances, you will certainly be a loser.

A merchant in the United States said in answer to inquiries relative to
his mode of giving, "In consecrating my life anew to God, aware of the
ensnaring influence of riches and the necessity of deciding on a plan of
charity, before wealth should bias my judgment, I adopted the following
system:

"I decided to balance my accounts as nearly as I could every month,
reserving such portion of profits as might appear adequate to cover
probable losses, and to lay aside, by entry on a benevolent account, one
tenth of the remaining profits, great or small, as a fund for benevolent
expenditure, supporting myself and family on the remaining nine tenths.
I further determined that if at any time my net profits, that is profits
from which clerk-hire and store expenses had been deducted, should
exceed five hundred dollars in a month, I would give 12 per cent.; if
over seven hundred dollars, 15 per cent.; if over nine hundred dollars,
17 per cent.; if over thirteen hundred dollars, 22 per cent.--thus
increasing the proportion of the whole as God should prosper me, until
at fifteen hundred dollars I should give 25 per cent, or 375 dollars a
month. As capital was of the utmost importance to my success in
business, I decided not to increase the foregoing scale until I had
acquired a certain capital, after which I would give one quarter of all
net profits, great or small, and, on the acquisition of another certain
amount of capital, I decided to give half, and, on acquiring what I
determined would be a full sufficiency of capital, then to give the
whole of my net profits.

"It is now several years since I adopted this plan, and under it I have
acquired a handsome capital, and have been prospered beyond my most
sanguine expectations. Although constantly giving, I have never yet
touched the bottom of my fund, and have repeatedly been surprised to
find what large drafts it would bear. True, during some months, I have
encountered a salutary trial of faith, when this rule has led me to lay
by the tenth while the remainder proved inadequate to my support; but
the tide has soon turned, and with gratitude I have recognized a
heavenly hand more than making good all past deficiencies."

The following deeply interesting particulars are recorded in the memoir
of Mr. Cobb, a Boston merchant. At the age of twenty-three, Mr. Cobb
drew up and subscribed the following remarkable document:

"By the grace of God I will never be worth more than 50,000 dollars,

"By the grace of God I will give one fourth of the net profits of my
business to charitable and religious uses.

"If I am ever worth 20,000 dollars I will give one half of my net
profits; and if ever I am worth 30,000 dollars, I will give three
fourths; and the whole after 50,000 dollars. So help me God, or give to
a more faithful steward, and set me aside."

"To this covenant," says his memoir "he adhered with conscientious
fidelity. He distributed the profits of his business with an increasing
ratio, from year to year, till he reached the point which he had fixed
as a limit to his property, and then gave to the cause of God all the
money which he earned. At one time, finding that his property had
increased beyond 50,000 dollars, he at once devoted the surplus 7,500
dollars.

"On his death-bed he said, 'by the grace of God--_nothing else_--by the
grace of God I have been enabled, under the influence of these
resolutions to give away more than 40,000 dollars.' How good the Lord
has been to me!"

Mr. Cobb was also an active, humble, and devoted Christian, seeking the
prosperity of feeble churches; labouring to promote the benevolent
institutions of the day; punctual in his attendance at prayer meetings,
and anxious to aid the inquiring sinner; watchful for the eternal
interests of those under his charge; mild and amiable in his deportment;
and, in the general tenor of his life and character, an example of
consistent piety.

His last sickness and death were peaceful, yea triumphant. "It is a
glorious thing," said he, "to die. I have been active and busy in the
world--I have enjoyed as much as any one--God has prospered me--I have
everything to bind me here--I am happy in my family--I have property
enough--but how small and mean does this world appear on a sick-bed!
Nothing can equal my enjoyment in the near view of heaven. _My hope in
Christ_ is worth infinitely more than all other things. The blood of
Christ--the blood of Christ--none but Christ! Oh! how thankful I feel
that God has provided a way that I, sinful as I am, may look forward
with joy to another world, through His dear Son."

GOD.

APPROVAL OF GOD.

_In the whole work we desire to stand with God, and not to depend upon
the favourable or unfavourable judgment of the multitude._

CHASTISEMENTS OF GOD.

_Our Heavenly Father never takes any earthly thing from His children
except He means to give them something better instead._

The Lord, in His very love and faithfulness, will not, and cannot, let
us go on in backsliding, but He will visit us with stripes, to bring us
back to Himself!

The Lord never lays more on us, in the way of chastisement, than our
state of heart makes needful; so that whilst He smites with the one
hand, He supports with the other.

If, as believers in the Lord Jesus, we see that our Heavenly Father, on
account of wrong steps, or a wrong state of heart, is dealing with us in
the way of discipline or correction, we have to be grateful for it; for
He is acting thus towards us according to that selfsame love, which led
Him not to spare His only begotten Son, but to deliver Him up for us;
and our gratitude to Him is to be expressed in words, and even by deeds.
We have to guard against _practically_ despising the chastening of the
Lord, though we may not do so in word, and against _fainting_ under
chastisement: since all is intended for blessing to us.

FAITHFULNESS OF GOD.

Perhaps you have said in your heart: "How would it be, suppose the funds
of the orphans were reduced to nothing, and those who are engaged in the
work had nothing of their own to give, and a meal-time were to come, and
you had no food for the children." Thus indeed it may be, for our hearts
are desperately wicked. If ever we should be so left to ourselves, as
that either we depend no more upon the living God, or that "we regard
iniquity in our hearts," then such a state of things, we have reason to
believe, would occur. But so long as we shall be enabled to trust in the
living God, and so long as, though falling short in every way of what we
might be, and ought to be, we are at least kept from living in sin, such
a state of things cannot occur.

The Lord, to show His continued care over us, raises up new helpers.
They that trust in the Lord shall never be confounded! Some who helped
for a while may fall asleep in Jesus; others may grow cold in the
service of the Lord; others may be as desirous as ever to help, but have
no longer the means; others may have both a willing heart to help, and
have also the means, but may see it the Lord's will to lay them out in
another way;--and thus, from one cause or another, were we to lean upon
man, we should surely be confounded; but, in leaning upon the living God
alone, we are BEYOND _disappointment, and_ BEYOND _being forsaken
because of death,_ or _want of means,_ or _want of love,_ or _because of
the claims of other work._ How precious to have learned in any measure
to stand with God alone in the world, and yet to be happy, and to know
that surely no good thing shall be withheld from us whilst we walk
uprightly!

PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD.

A brother, who is in about the same state in which he was eight years
ago, has very little enjoyment, and makes no progress in the things of
God. The reason is that, against his conscience, he remains in a
calling, which is opposed to the profession of a believer. We are
exhorted in Scripture to abide in our calling; but only if we can abide
in it _"with God."_ (1 Cor. vii. 24.)

POWER OF GOD.

There is a worldly proverb, dear Christian reader, with which we are all
familiar, it is this, "Where there is a will there is a way." If this is
the proverb of those who know not God, how much more should believers in
the Lord Jesus, who have power with God, say: "Where there is a will
there is a way."

TRUST IN GOD.

Only let it be trust _in God,_ not in _man,_ not in _circumstances,_ not
_in any of your own exertions,_ but real trust in God, and you will be
helped in your various necessities.... Not in circumstances, not in
natural prospects, not in former donors, _but solely in God._ This is
just that which brings the blessing. If we _say_ we trust in Him, but in
reality do not, then God, taking us at our word, lets us see that we do
not really confide in Him; and hence failure arises. On the other hand,
if our trust in the Lord is real, help will surely come, "According unto
thy faith be it unto thee."

It is a source of deep sorrow to me, that, notwithstanding my having so
many times before referred to this point, thereby to encourage believers
in the Lord Jesus, to roll all their cares upon God, and to trust in Him
at all times, it is yet, by so many, put down to mere natural causes,
that I am helped; as if the Living God were no more the Living God, and
as if in former ages answers to prayers might have been expected, but
that in the nineteenth century they must not be looked for.

WILL OF GOD.

How important it is to ascertain the will of God, before we undertake
anything, because we are then not only blessed in our own souls, but
also the work of our hands will prosper.

Just in as many points as we are acting according to the mind of God, in
so many are we blessed and made a blessing. Our manner of living is
according to the mind of the Lord, for He delights in seeing His
children thus come to Him (Matt. vi); and therefore, though I am weak
and erring in many points, yet He blesses me in this particular.

First of all, to see well to it, that the work in which he desires to be
engaged is _God's work;_ secondly, that _he_ is the person to be engaged
in this work; thirdly, that _God's time_ is come, when he should do this
work; and then to be assured, that, if he seeks God's help in His own
appointed way, He will not fail him. We have ever found it thus, and
expect to find it thus, on the ground of the promises of God, to the end
of our course.

1. Be slow to take new steps in the Lord's service, or in your business,
or in your families. Weigh everything well; weigh all in the light of
the Holy Scriptures, and in the fear of God. 2. Seek to have no will of
your own, in order to ascertain the mind of God, regarding any steps you
propose to take, so that you can honestly say, you are willing to do the
will of God, if He will only please to instruct you. 3. But when you
have found out what the will of God is, seek for His help, and seek it
earnestly, perseveringly, patiently, believingly, and expectingly: and
you will surely, in His own time and way, obtain it.

We have not to rush forward in self-will and say, I will do the work,
and I will trust the Lord for means, this cannot be real trust, it is
the counterfeit of faith, it is presumption; and though God, in great
pity and mercy, may even help us finally out of debt; yet does this, on
no account, prove that we were right in going forward before His time
was come. We ought, rather, under such circumstances to say to
ourselves: Am I indeed doing the _work of God?_ And if so, _I_ may not
be the person to do it; or if I am the person, _His time_ may not yet be
come for me to go forward; it may be His good pleasure to exercise my
faith and patience. I ought, therefore, quietly to wait His time; for
when it is come, God will help. Acting on this principle brings
blessing.

To ascertain the Lord's will we ought to use scriptural means. Prayer,
the word of God, and His Spirit should be united together. We should go
to the Lord repeatedly in prayer, and ask Him to teach us by His Spirit
through His word. I say by His Spirit through His word. For if we should
think that His Spirit led us to do so and so, because certain facts are
so and so, and yet His word is opposed to the step which we are going to
take, we should be deceiving ourselves.... No situation, no business
will be given to me _by God,_ in which I have not time enough to care
about my soul. Therefore, however outward circumstances may appear, it
can only be considered as permitted of God, to prove the genuineness of
my love, faith, and obedience, but by no means as the leading of His
providence to induce me to act contrary to His revealed will.

MARRIAGE.

To enter upon the marriage union is one of the most deeply important
events of life. It cannot be too prayerfully treated. Our happiness, our
usefulness, our living for God or for ourselves after wards, are often
most intimately connected with our choice. Therefore, in the most
prayerful manner, this choice should be made. Neither beauty, nor age,
nor money, nor mental powers, should be that which prompts the decision;
but 1st, Much waiting upon God for guidance should be used; 2nd, A
hearty purpose to be willing to be guided by Him should be aimed after;
3rd, True godliness without a shadow of doubt, should be the first and
absolutely needful qualification, to a Christian, with regard to a
companion for life. In addition to this, however, it ought to be, at the
same time, calmly and patiently weighed, whether, in other respects,
there is a suitableness. For instance, for an educated man to choose an
entirely uneducated woman, is unwise; for however much on his part love
might be willing to cover the defect, it will work very unhappily with
regard to the children.

PRAYER.

ANSWERS TO PRAYER.

I myself have for twenty-nine years been waiting for an answer to prayer
concerning a certain spiritual blessing. Day by day have I been enabled
to continue in prayer for this blessing. At home and abroad, in this
country and in foreign lands, in health and in sickness, however much
occupied, I have been enabled, day by day, by God's help, to bring this
matter before Him; and still I have not the full answer yet.
Nevertheless, I look for it. I expect it confidently. The very fact that
day after day, and year after year, for twenty-nine years, the Lord has
enabled me to continue, patiently, believingly, to wait on Him for the
blessing, still further encourages me to wait on; and so fully am I
assured that God hears me about this matter, that I have often been
enabled to praise Him beforehand for the full answer, which I shall
ultimately receive to my prayers on this subject. Thus, you see, dear
reader, that while I have hundreds, yea, thousands of answers, year by
year, I have also, like yourself and other believers, the trial of faith
concerning certain matters.

ANXIETY AVOIDED BY PRAYER.

Though all believers in the Lord Jesus are not called upon to establish
orphan houses, schools for poor children, etc., and trust in God for
means; yet all believers, according to the will of God concerning them
in Christ Jesus, may cast, and ought to cast, all their care upon Him
who careth for them, and need not be anxiously concerned about anything,
as is plainly to be seen from 1 Peter v. 7; Philippians iv. 6; Matthew
vi. 25-34.

My Lord is not limited; He can again supply; He knows that this present
case has been sent to me; and thus, this way of living, so far from
_leading to anxiety,_ as it regards possible future want, is rather the
means of _keeping from it_.... This way of living has often been the
means of reviving the work of grace in my heart, when I have been
getting cold; and it also has been the means of bringing me back again
to the Lord, after I have been backsliding. For it will not do,--it is
not possible, to live in sin, and at the same time, by communion with
God, to draw down from heaven everything one needs for the life that now
is.... Answer to prayer, obtained in this way, has been the means of
quickening my soul, and filling me with much joy.

I met at a brother's house with several believers, when a sister said
that she had often thought about the care and burden I must have on my
mind, as it regards obtaining the necessary supplies for so many
persons. As this may not be a solitary instance, I would state that, by
the grace of God, this is no cause of anxiety to me. The children I have
years ago cast upon the Lord. The whole work is His, and it becomes me
to be _without carefulness._ In whatever points I am lacking, in this
point I am able, by the grace of God, to roll the burden upon my
heavenly Father. Though now (July 1845) for about seven years our funds
have been so exhausted, that it has been comparatively a _rare_ case
that there have been means in hand to meet the necessities of the
orphans for _three days_ together; yet have I been only once tried in
spirit, and that was on Sept. 18, 1838, when for the first time the Lord
seemed not to regard our prayer. But when He did send help at that time,
and I saw that it was only for the trial of our faith, and not because
He had forsaken the work that we were brought so low, my soul was so
strengthened and encouraged, that I have not only not been allowed to
distrust the Lord since that time, but I have not even been cast down
when in the deepest poverty. Nevertheless, in this respect also am I
now, as much as ever, dependent on the Lord; and I earnestly beseech for
myself and my fellow-labourers the prayers of all those, to whom the
glory of God is dear. How great would be the dishonour to the name of
God, if we, who have so publicly made our boast in Him, should so fall
as to act in these very points as the world does! Help us, then,
brethren, with your prayers, that we may trust in God to the end. We can
expect nothing but that our faith will yet be tried, and it may be more
than ever; and we shall fall, if the Lord does not uphold us.

BORROWING AND PRAYING.

As regards borrowing money, I have considered that there is no ground to
go away from the door of the Lord to that of a believer, so long as He
is willing to supply our need.

COMMUNION WITH GOD IN PRAYER.

How truly precious it is that every one who rests alone upon the Lord
Jesus for salvation, has in the living God a father, to whom he may
fully unbosom himself concerning the most minute affairs of his life,
and concerning everything that lies upon his heart! Dear reader, do you
know the living God? Is He, in Jesus, your Father? Be assured that
Christianity is something more than forms and creeds and ceremonies:
there is life, and power, and reality, in our holy faith. If you never
yet have known this, then come and taste for yourself. I beseech you
affectionately to meditate and pray over the following verses: John iii.
16; Rom. x. 9, 10; Acts x. 43; 1 John v. 1.

CONDITIONS OF PRAYER.

Go for yourself, with all your temporal and spiritual wants, to the
Lord. Bring also the necessities of your friends and relatives to the
Lord. Only make the trial, and you will perceive how able and willing He
is to help you. Should you, however, not at once obtain answers to your
prayers, be not discouraged; but continue patiently, believingly,
perseveringly to wait upon God: and as assuredly as that which you ask
would be for your real good, and therefore for the honour of the Lord;
and as assuredly as you ask it solely on the ground of the worthiness of
our Lord Jesus, so assuredly you will at last obtain the blessing. I
myself have had to wait upon God concerning certain matters for years,
before I obtained answers to my prayers; but at last they came. At this
very time, I have still to renew my requests daily before God,
respecting a certain blessing for which I have besought Him for eleven
years and a half, and which I have as yet obtained only in part, but
concerning which I have no doubt that the full blessing will be granted
in the end.... The great point is that we ask only for that which it
would be for the glory of God to give to us; for that, and that alone,
can be for our real good. But it is not enough that the thing for which
we ask God be for His honour and glory, but we must secondly ask it in
the name of the Lord Jesus, viz., expect it only on the ground of His
merits and worthiness. Thirdly, we should believe that God is able and
willing to give us what we ask Him for. Fourthly, we should continue in
prayer till the blessing is granted; without fixing to God a time when,
or the circumstances under which, He should give the answer. Patience
should be in exercise, in connection with our prayer. Fifthly, we
should, at the same time, look out for and expect an answer till it
comes. If we pray in this way, we shall not only have answers, thousands
of answers to our prayers; but our own souls will be greatly refreshed
and invigorated in connection with these answers.

If the obtaining of your requests were not for your real good, or were
not tending to the honour of God, you might pray for a long time,
without obtaining what you desire. The glory of God should be always
before the children of God, in what they desire at His hands; and their
own spiritual profit, being so intimately connected with the honour of
God, should never be lost sight of, in their petitions. But now, suppose
we are believers in the Lord Jesus, and make our requests unto God,
depending alone on the Lord Jesus as the ground of having them granted;
suppose, also, that, so far as we are able honestly and uprightly to
judge, the obtaining of our requests would be for our real spiritual
good and for the honour of God; we yet need, lastly, to _continue_ in
prayer, until the blessing is granted unto us. It is not enough to begin
to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue _for a time_
to pray; but we must patiently, believingly continue in prayer, until we
obtain an answer; and further, we have not only to _continue_ in prayer
unto the end, but we have also _to believe_ that God does hear us, and
will answer our prayers. Most frequently we fail in not continuing in
prayer until the blessing is obtained and _in not expecting_ the
blessing.

FAITH, PRAYER, AND THE WORD OF GOD.

_Prayer and faith, the universal remedies against every want and every
difficulty;_ and the nourishment of prayer and faith, God's holy word,
helped me over all the difficulties.--I never remember, in all my
Christian course, a period now (in March 1895) of sixty-nine years and
four months, that I ever SINCERELY and PATIENTLY sought to know the will
of God by _the teaching of the Holy Ghost,_ through the instrumentality
of the _word of God,_ but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if
_honesty of heart_ and _uprightness before God_ were lacking, or if I
did not _patiently_ wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred
_the counsel of my fellow men_ to the declarations of _the word of the
living God,_ I made great mistakes.

SECRET PRAYER.

Let none expect to have the mastery over his inward corruption in any
degree, without going in his weakness again and again to the Lord for
strength. Nor will prayer with others, or conversing with the brethren,
make up for secret prayer.

SNARES OF SATAN AS TO PRAYER.

It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the
Word and prayer when our enjoyment is gone; as if it were of no use to
read the Scriptures when we do not enjoy them, and as if it were of no
use to pray when we have no spirit of prayer; whilst the truth is, in
order to enjoy the Word, we ought to continue to read it, and the way to
obtain a spirit of prayer is to continue praying; for the less we read
the word of God, the less we desire to read it, and the less we pray,
the less we desire to pray.

WORK AND PRAYER.

Often the work of the Lord itself may be a temptation to keep us from
that communion with Him which is so essential to the benefit of our own
souls.... Let none think that public prayer will make up for closet
communion.

Here is the great secret of success. Work with all your might; but trust
not in the least in your work. Pray with all your might for the blessing
of God; but work, at the same time, with all diligence, with all
patience, with all perseverance. Pray then, and work. Work and pray. And
still again pray, and then work. And so on all the days of your life.
The result will surely be, abundant blessing. Whether you _see_ much
fruit or little fruit, such kind of service will be blessed.... Speak
also for the Lord, as if everything depended on your exertions; yet
trust not the least in your exertions, but in the Lord, who alone can
cause your efforts to be made effectual, to the benefit of your fellow
men or fellow believers. Remember, also, that God delights to bestow
blessing, but, generally, as the result of earnest, believing prayer.

PREACHING.

It came immediately to my mind that such sort of preaching might do for
illiterate country people, but that it would never do before a
well-educated assembly in town. I thought, the truth ought to be
preached at all hazards, but it ought to be given in a different form,
suited to the hearers. Thus I remained unsettled in my mind as it
regards the mode of preaching; and it is not surprising that I did not
then see the truth concerning this matter, for I did not understand the
work of the Spirit, and therefore saw not the powerlessness of human
eloquence. Further, I did not keep in mind that if the most illiterate
persons in the congregation can comprehend the discourse, the most
educated will understand it too; but that the reverse does not hold
true.

RESTITUTION.

Restitution is the revealed will of God. If it is omitted, while we have
it in our power to make it, guilt remains on the conscience, and
spiritual progress is hindered. Even though it should be connected with
difficulty, self-denial, and great loss, it is to be attended to. Should
the persons who have been defrauded be dead, their heirs are to be found
out, if this can be done, and restitution is to be made to them. But
there may be cases when this cannot be done, and then _only_ the money
should be given to the Lord for His work or His poor. One word more.
Sometimes the guilty person may not have grace enough, if the rightful
owners are living, to make known to them the sin; under such
circumstances, though not the best and most scriptural way, rather than
have guilt remaining on the conscience, it is better to make restitution
anonymously than not at all. About fifty years ago, I knew a man under
concern about his soul, who had defrauded his master of two sacks of
flour, and who was urged by me to confess this sin to his late employer,
and to make restitution. He would not do it, however, and the result was
that for twenty years he never obtained real peace of soul till the
thing was done.

REWARDS.

Christians do not practically remember that while we are saved by grace,
altogether by grace, so that in the matter of salvation works are
altogether excluded; yet that so far as the rewards of grace are
concerned, in the world to come, there is an intimate connection between
the life of the Christian here and the enjoyment and the glory in the
day of Christ's appearing.

SIN AND SALVATION.

Rumblings last our whole life. Jesus came not to save _painted_ but
_real_ sinners; but He _has_ saved us, and will surely make it manifest.

SPIRIT OF GOD.

At Stuttgart, the dear brethren had been entirely uninstructed about the
truths relating to the power and presence of the Holy Ghost in the
church of God, and to our ministering one to another as fellow members
in the body of Christ; and I had known enough of painful consequences
when brethren began to meet professedly in dependence upon the Holy
Spirit without knowing what was meant by it, and thus meetings had
become opportunities _for unprofitable talking rather than for godly
edifying...._ All these matters ought to be left to the ordering of the
Holy Ghost, and that if it had been truly good for them, the Lord would
have not only led me to speak _at that time,_ but also on _the very
subject_ on which they desired that I should speak to them.

TRUTH--PROPORTION OF FAITH.

Whatever parts of truth are made too much of, though they were even the
most precious truths connected with our being risen in Christ, or our
heavenly calling, or prophecy, sooner or later those who lay an _undue_
stress upon _these parts_ of truth, and thus make them too prominent,
will be losers in their own souls, and, if they be teachers, they will
injure those whom they teach.

UNIVERSALISM.

In reference to universal salvation, I found that they had been led into
this error because (1) They did not see the difference between the
earthly calling of the Jews, and the heavenly calling of the believers
in the Lord Jesus in the present dispensation, and therefore they said
that, because the words "everlasting," etc., are applied to "the
possession of the land of Canaan" and the "priesthood of Aaron,"
therefore, the punishment of the wicked cannot be without end, seeing
that the possession of Canaan and the priesthood of Aaron are not
without end. My endeavour, therefore, was to show the brethren the
difference between the _earthly_ calling of Israel and our _heavenly_
one, and to prove from Scripture that, whenever the word "everlasting"
is used with reference to things purely not of the earth, but beyond
time, it denotes a period without end. (2) They had laid exceeding great
stress upon a few passages where, in Luther's translation of the German
Bible, the word hell occurs, and where it ought to have been translated
either "hades" in some passages, or "grave" in others, and where they
saw a _deliverance out of hell,_ and a _being brought up out of hell,_
instead of _"out of the grave."_

WORD OF GOD.

_The word of God is our only standard, and the Holy Spirit our only
teacher._

Besides the Holy Scriptures, which should be always THE book, THE CHIEF
book to us, not merely in theory, but also in practice, such like books
seem to me the most useful for the growth of the inner man. Yet one has
to be cautious in the choice, and to guard against reading too much.

WORK FOR GOD.

When He orders something to be done for the glory of His name, He is
both able and willing to find the needed individuals for the work and
the means required. Thus, when the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was to
be erected, He not only fitted men for the work, but He also touched the
hearts of the Israelites to bring the necessary materials and gold,
silver, and precious stones; and all these things were not only brought,
but in such abundance that a proclamation had to be made in the camp,
that no more articles should be brought, because there were more than
enough. And again, when God for the praise of His name would have the
Temple to be built by Solomon, He provided such an amount of gold,
silver, precious stones, brass, iron, etc., for it, that all the palaces
or temples which have been built since have been most insignificant in
comparison.


PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA





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