Precious Answers to Prayer
In remarkable ways God helped Mr. Müller as “The Narratives” show:—
THE ARTIST’S FIRST RETURN.
“April 30 .—Received the following letter from a considerable distance: ‘My dear Christian Brother, I am the husband of Mrs. —— who sends you by this post the two Sovereign piece. How can we better dispose of this relic of affectionate remembrance, than by depositing it in the bank of Christ, who always pays the best interest, and never fails.—Now, my best and spiritual counsellor, I cannot express to you the exceeding great joy I feel, in relating what follows. I am an artist, a poor artist, a landscape painter. About two weeks ago I sent a picture to Bristol for exhibition, just as I finished your book that was lent us. I most humbly and earnestly prayed to God to enable me, by the sale of my Bristol picture, to have the blessed privilege of sending you half the proceeds. The price of the picture is £20. Now mark. Immediately the exhibition is open, God, in His mercy,[Pg 57] mindful of my prayer, sends me a purchaser. I have exhibited in Bristol before, but never sold a picture. Oh! my dear friend, my very heart leaps for joy. I have never been so near God before. Through your instrumentality I have been enabled to draw nearer to God, with more earnestness, more faith, more holy desires.—This is the first return God has blessed me with for the whole of my last year’s labours. What a blessing to have it so returned!—Oh, with what joy I read your book!—The picture I speak of is now being exhibited in the academy of arts at Clifton, numbered in the Catalogue ——, the title is ——. I cannot pay you till the close of the exhibition, as I shall not be paid till then, &c.’ Of such letters I have had thousands during the last 40 years.”
THE NORTH WIND CHANGED INTO A SOUTH WIND.
“It was towards the end of November of 1857, when I was most unexpectedly informed that the boiler of our heating apparatus at No. 1 leaked very considerably, so that it was impossible to go through the winter with such a leak.—Our heating apparatus consists of a large cylinder boiler, inside of which the fire is kept, and with which boiler the water pipes, that warm the rooms, are connected. Hot air is also connected with this apparatus. The boiler had been considered suited for the work of the winter. To suspect that it was worn out, and not to do anything towards replacing it by a new[Pg 58] one, and to have said, I will trust in God regarding it, would be careless presumption, but not faith in God. It would be the counterfeit of faith. “The boiler is entirely surrounded by brickwork; its state, therefore, could not be known without taking down the brickwork; this, if needless, would be rather injurious to the boiler, than otherwise; and as for eight winters we had had no difficulty in this way, we had not anticipated it now. But suddenly, and most unexpectedly, at the commencement of the winter, this difficulty occurred. What then was to be done? For the children, especially the younger infants, I felt deeply concerned, that they might not suffer, through want of warmth. But how were we to obtain warmth? The introduction of a new boiler would, in all probability, take many weeks. The repairing of the boiler was a questionable matter, on account of the greatness of the leak; but, if not, nothing could be said of it, till the brick-chamber in which it is enclosed, was, at least in part, removed; but that would, at least, as far as we could judge, take days; and what was to be done in the meantime, to find warm rooms for 300 children? It naturally occurred to me, to introduce temporary gas-stoves; but on further weighing the matter, it was found, that we should be unable to heat our very large rooms with gas, except we had many stoves, which we could not introduce, as we had not a sufficient quantity of gas to spare from our lighting apparatus. Moreover, for each of these stoves we needed a small chimney, to carry off the[Pg 59] impure air. This mode of heating, therefore, though applicable to a hall, a staircase, or a shop, would not suit our purpose. I also thought of the temporary introduction of Arnott’s stoves; but they would have been unsuitable, requiring long chimneys (as they would have been of a temporary kind) to go out of the windows. On this account, the uncertainty of their answering in our case, and the disfigurement of the rooms, led me to give up this plan also. But what was to be done? Gladly would I have paid £100, if thereby the difficulty could have been overcome, and the children not be exposed to suffer for many days from being in cold rooms. At last I determined on falling entirely into the hands of God, who is very merciful and of tender compassion, and I decided on having the brick-chamber opened, to see the extent of the damage, and whether the boiler might be repaired, so as to carry us through the winter. “The day was fixed, when the workmen were to come, and all the necessary arrangements were made. The fire, of course, had to be let out while the repairs were going on. But now see. After the day was fixed for the repairs a bleak North wind set in. It began to blow either on Thursday or Friday before the Wednesday afternoon, when the fire was to be let out. Now came the first really cold weather, which we had in the beginning of that winter, during the first days of December. What was to be done? The repairs could not be put off. I now asked the Lord for two things, viz., that He[Pg 60] would be pleased to change the north wind into a south wind, and that He would give to the workmen ‘a mind to work’; for I remembered how much Nehemiah accomplished in 52 days, whilst building the walls of Jerusalem, because ‘the people had a mind to work.’ Well, the memorable day came. The evening before, the bleak north wind blew still: but, on the Wednesday, the south wind blew: exactly as I had prayed. The weather was so mild that no fire was needed. The brickwork is removed, the leak is found out very soon, the boiler makers begin to repair in good earnest. About half-past eight in the evening, when I was going home, I was informed at the lodge, that the acting principal of the firm, whence the boiler makers came, had arrived to see how the work was going on, and whether he could in any way speed the matter. I went immediately, therefore, into the cellar, to see him with the men, to seek to expedite the business. In speaking to the principal of this, he said in their hearing, ‘the men will work late this evening, and come very early again to-morrow.’ “‘We would rather, Sir,’ said the leader, ‘work all night.’ Then remembered I the second part of my prayer, that God would give the men ‘a mind to work.’ Thus it was: by the morning the repair was accomplished, the leak was stopped, though with great difficulty, and within about 30 hours the brickwork was up again, and the fire in the boiler; and all the time the south wind blew so mildly, that there was not the least need of a fire. “Here, [Pg 61]then, is one of our difficulties which was overcome by prayer and faith.”
CONVERSION OF THE ORPHANS.
“May 26, 1860.—Day after day, and year after year, by the help of God, we labour in prayer for the spiritual benefit of the Orphans under our care. These our supplications, which have been for 24 years brought before the Lord concerning them, have been abundantly answered, in former years, in the conversion of hundreds from among them. We have, also, had repeated seasons in which, within a short time, or even all at once, many of the Orphans were converted. Such a season we had about three years since, when, within a few days, about 60 were brought to believe in the Lord Jesus; and such seasons we have had again twice during the first year. The first was in July, 1859, when the Spirit of God wrought so mightily in one school of 120 girls, as that very many, yea more than one-half, were brought under deep concern about the salvation of their souls. This work, moreover, was not a mere momentary excitement; but, after more than eleven months have elapsed, there are 31 concerning whom there is full confidence as to their conversion, and 32 concerning whom there is like-*wise a goodly measure of confidence, though not to the same amount, as regarding the 31. There are therefore 63 out of the 120 Orphans in that one School who are considered to have been converted[Pg 62] in July, 1859. This blessed and mighty work of the Holy Spirit cannot be traced to any particular cause. It was however, a most precious answer to prayer. As such we look upon it, and are encouraged by it to further waiting upon God. The second season of the mighty working of the Holy Spirit among the Orphans, during the past year, was at the end of January and the beginning of February, 1860. The particulars of it are of the deepest interest; but I must content myself by stating, that this great work of the Spirit of God in January and February, 1860, began among the younger class of the children under our care, little girls of about 6, 7, 8 and 9 years old; then extended to the older girls; and then to the boys, so that within about 10 days above 200 of the Orphans were stirred up to be anxious about their souls, and in many instances found peace immediately, through faith in our Lord Jesus. They at once requested to be allowed to hold prayer-meetings among themselves, and have had these meetings ever since. Many of them also manifested a concern about the salvation of their companions and relations, and spoke or wrote to them, about the way to be saved.”
APPRENTICING THE ORPHANS.
“In the early part of the summer, 1862, it was found that we had several boys ready to be apprenticed; but there were no applications made by masters for apprentices. As all our boys are invari[Pg 63]ably sent out as indoor apprentices, this was no small difficulty; for we not only look for Christian masters, but consider their business, and examine into their position, to see whether they are suitable; and the master must also be willing to receive the apprentice into his own family. Under these circumstances, we again gave ourselves to prayer, as we had done for more than twenty years before, concerning this thing, instead of advertising, which, in all probability, would only bring before us masters who desire apprentices for the sake of the premium. We remembered how good the Lord had been to us, in having helped us hundreds of times before, in this very matter. Some weeks passed, but the difficulty remained. We continued, however, in prayer, and then one application was made, and then another; and since we first began to pray about this matter, last summer, we have been able to send out altogether 18 boys up to May 26, 1863; the difficulty was thus again entirely overcome by prayer, as every one of the boys, whom it was desirable to send out, has been sent out.”
SICKNESS AT THE ORPHANAGE.
Sickness at times visited the houses. “During the summer and autumn of 1866 we had also the measles at all the three Orphan-Houses. After they had made their appearance, our especial prayer was: 1. That there might not be too many children ill at one time in this disease, so that our[Pg 64] accommodation in the Infirmary rooms or otherwise might be sufficient. This prayer was answered to the full; for though we had at the New Orphan-House No. 1 not less than 83 cases, in No. 2 altogether 111, and in No. 3 altogether 68; yet God so graciously was pleased to listen to our supplications, as that when our spare rooms were filled with the invalids, He so long stayed the spreading of the measles till a sufficient number were restored, so as to make room for others, who were taken ill. 2. Further we prayed, that the children, who were taken ill in the measles, might be safely brought through and not die. Thus it was. We had the full answer to our prayers; for though 262 children altogether had the measles, not one of them died. 3. Lastly we prayed, that no evil physical consequences might follow this disease, as is so often the case; this was also granted. All the 262 children not only recovered, but did well afterwards. I gratefully record this signal mercy and blessing of God, and this full and precious answer to prayer, to the honour of His name.”
HELP FOR NEEDY BRETHREN.
1863.—”The end of the year was now at hand, and, in winding up the accounts, it was my earnest desire, to do once more all I could, in sending help to needy labourers in the gospel. I went therefore through the list, writing against the various names of those to whom I had not already recently[Pg 65] sent, what amount it appeared desirable to send; and I found, when these sums were added together, the total was £476, but £280 was all I had in hand. I wrote therefore a cheque for £280, though I would have gladly sent £476, yet felt thankful, at the same time, that I had this amount in hand for these brethren. Having written the cheque, as the last occupation of the day, then came my usual season for prayer, for the many things which I daily, by the help of God, bring before Him; and then again, I brought also the case of these preachers of the Gospel before the Lord, and besought Him that He would even now be pleased to give me yet a goodly sum for them, though there remained but three days to the close of our year. This being done, I went home about nine o’clock in the evening, and found there had arrived from a great distance £100 for Missions, with £100 left at my disposal, and £5 for myself. I took, therefore, the whole £200 for Missions, and thus had £480 in hand to meet the £476 which I desired for this object. Those who know the blessedness of really trusting in God, and getting help from Him, as in this case, in answer to prayer, will be able to enter into the spiritual enjoyment I had in the reception of that donation, in which both the answer to prayer was granted, and with it the great enjoyment of gladdening the hearts of many devoted servants of Christ.”
THE HEART’S DESIRE GIVEN TO HELP MISSION WORK IN CHINA.
[Pg 66] “Sept. 30 .—From Yorkshire £50.—Received also One Thousand Pounds to-day for the Lord’s work in China. About this donation it is especially to be noticed, that for months it had been my earnest desire to do more than ever for Mission Work in China, and I had already taken steps to carry out this desire, when this donation of One Thousand Pounds came to hand. This precious answer to prayer for means should be a particular encouragement to all who are engaged in the Lord’s work, and who may need means for it. It proves afresh, that, if our work is His work, and we honour Him, by waiting upon and looking to Him for means, He will surely, in His own time and way, supply them.”
THE JOY OF ANSWERS TO PRAYER.
“The joy which answers to prayer give, cannot be described; and the impetus which they afford to the spiritual life is exceedingly great. The experience of this happiness I desire for all my Christian readers. If you believe indeed in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of your soul, if you walk uprightly and do not regard iniquity in your heart, if you continue to wait patiently, and believingly upon God; then answers will surely be given to your prayers. You may not be called upon to serve the Lord in the way the writer does, and therefore may never have[Pg 67] answers to prayer respecting such things as are recorded here; but, in your various circumstances, your family, your business, your profession, your church position, your labour for the Lord, etc., you may have answers as distinct as any here recorded.”
THE GREAT NEED OF BEING SAVED BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.
“Should this, however, be read by any who are not believers in the Lord Jesus, but who are going on in the carelessness or self-righteousness of their unrenewed hearts, then I would affectionately and solemnly beseech such, first of all to be reconciled to God by faith in the Lord Jesus. You are sinners. You deserve punishment. If you do not see this, ask God to show it unto you. Let this now be your first and especial prayer. Ask God also to enlighten you not merely concerning your state by nature, but especially to reveal the Lord Jesus to your heart. God sent Him, that He might bear the punishment, due to us guilty sinners. God accepts the obedience and sufferings of the Lord Jesus, in the room of those who depend upon Him for the salvation of their souls; and the moment a sinner believes in the Lord Jesus, he obtains the forgiveness of all his sins. When thus he is reconciled to God, by faith in the Lord Jesus, and has obtained the forgiveness of his sins, he has boldness to enter into the presence of God, to make known his requests unto Him; and the more he is enabled to[Pg 68] realize that his sins are forgiven, and that God, for Christ’s sake, is well pleased with those who believe on Him, the more ready he will be to come with all his wants, both temporal and spiritual, to his Heavenly Father, that He may supply them. But as long as the consciousness of unpardoned guilt remains, so long shall we be kept at a distance from God, especially as it regards prayer. Therefore, dear reader, if you are an unforgiven sinner, let your first and especial prayer be, that God would be pleased to reveal to your heart the Lord Jesus, His beloved Son.”
A DOUBLE ANSWER.
“July 25 .—From the neighbourhood of London £100, with the following letter: ‘My dear Sir, I believe that it is through the Lord’s actings upon me, that I enclose you a cheque on the Bank of England, Western Branch, for £100. I hope that your affairs are going on well. Yours in the Lord * * * *.’ This Christian gentleman, whom I have never seen, and who is engaged in a very large business in London, had sent me several times before a similar sum. A day or two before I received this last kind donation, I had asked the Lord, that He would be pleased to influence the heart of this donor to help me again, which I had never done before regarding him; and thus I had the double answer to prayer, in that not only money came in, but money from him. The reader will now see the meaning in the donor’s letter, when he wrote ‘I be[Pg 69]lieve that it is through the Lord’s actings upon me that I enclose you a cheque, &c.’ Verily it was the Lord who acted upon this gentleman, to send me this sum. Perhaps the reader may think, that in acknowledging the receipt of the donation, I wrote to the donor what I have here stated. I did not. My reason for not doing so was, lest he should have thought I was in especial need, and might have been thus influenced to send more. In truly knowing the Lord, in really relying upon Him and upon Him alone, there is no need of giving hints directly or indirectly, whereby individuals may be induced further to help. I might have written to the donor (as was indeed the case), I need a considerable sum day by day for the current expenses of the various objects of the Institution, and also might have with truth told him, at that time, that I yet needed about Twenty Thousand Pounds, to enable me to meet all the expenses connected with the contemplated enlargement of the Orphan work. But my practice is, never to allude to any of these things in my correspondence with donors. When the Report is published, every one can see, who has a desire to see, how matters stand; and thus I leave things in the hands of God, to speak for us to the hearts of His stewards. And this He does. Verily we do not wait upon God in vain!”
CHRISTIANS IN BUSINESS.
“Jan. 1 .—From Scotland £50 for Missions, £25 for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures and[Pg 70] £25 for the circulation of Tracts. Received also from a considerable distance £10 for these objects, with £10 for the Orphans. About this latter donation I make a few remarks. At the early part of the year 1868, a Christian business man wrote to me for advice in his peculiar difficult business affairs. His letter showed that he had a desire to walk in the ways of the Lord, and to carry on his business to the glory of God; but his circumstances were of the most trying character. I therefore wrote to him to come to Bristol, that I might be able to advise him. Accordingly he undertook the long journey, and I had an interview with him, through which I saw his most trying position in business. Having fully conversed with him, I gave him the following counsel: 1, That he should day by day, expressly for the purpose, retire with his Christian wife, that they might unitedly spread their business difficulties before God in prayer, and do this, if possible, twice a day. 2, That he should look out for answers to his prayers, and expect that God would help him. 3, That he should avoid all business trickeries, such as exposing for sale two or three articles, marked below cost price, for the sake of attracting customers, because of its being unbecoming a disciple of the Lord Jesus to use such artifices; and that, if he did so, he could not reckon on the blessing of God. 4, I advised him further, to set apart; out of his profits, week by week, a certain proportion for the work of God, whether his income was much or little, and use this income[Pg 71] faithfully for the Lord. 5, Lastly, I asked him, to let me know, month after month, how the Lord dealt with him.—The reader will feel interested to learn, that from that time the Lord was pleased to prosper the business of this dear Christian brother, so that his returns from the 1st of March, 1868, up to March 1, 1869, were £9,138 13s. 5d., while during the same period the previous year they had been only £6,609 18s. 3d., therefore £2,528 15s. 2d. more than the year before. When he sent me the donation above referred to, he also writes, that he had been enabled to put aside during the previous year £123 13s. 3d. for the work of God or the need of the poor.—I have so fully dwelt on this, because Christians in business may be benefited by it.”
REVIVAL IN THE ORPHAN-HOUSES.
“In giving the statistics of the previous year [1871-72], I referred already to the great spiritual blessing, which it pleased the Lord to grant to the Orphan Work at the end of that year and the beginning of this; but, as this is so deeply important a subject, I enter somewhat further and more fully into it here. It was stated before, that the spiritual condition of the Orphans generally gave to us great sorrow of heart, because there were so few, comparatively, among them, who were in earnest about their souls, and resting on the atoning death of the Lord Jesus for salvation. This our sorrow led us[Pg 72] to lay it on the whole staff of assistants, matrons and teachers, to seek earnestly the Lord’s blessing on the souls of the children. This was done in our united prayer meetings, and, I have reason to believe, in secret also; and in answer to these our secret and united prayers, in the year 1872, there were, as the result of this, more believers by far among the Orphans than ever. On Jan. 8, 1872, the Lord began to work among them, and this work was going on more or less afterwards. In the New Orphan-House No. 3, it showed itself least, till it pleased the Lord to lay His hand heavily on that house, by the small-pox; and, from that time the working of the Holy Spirit was felt in that house also, particularly in one department. At the end of July, 1872, I received the statements of all the matrons and teachers in the five houses, who reported to me, that, after careful observation and conversation, they had good reason to believe that 729 of the Orphans then under our care, were believers in the Lord Jesus. This number of believing Orphans is by far greater than ever we had, for which we adore and praise the Lord! See how the Lord overruled the great trial, occasioned by the small-pox, and turned it into a great blessing! See, also, how, after so low a state, comparatively, which led us to prayer, earnest prayer, the working of the Holy Spirit was more manifest than ever!”
MR. MÜLLER’S MISSION TOURS.
[Pg 73] In the year 1875, when seventy years of age, Mr. Müller was led to start on his Missionary Tours, and during the next twenty years preached to more than three million people, in forty-two countries of the world. “On August 8th, 1882,” Mr. Müller says, “we began our ninth Missionary Tour. The first place at which I preached was Weymouth, where I spoke in public four times. From Weymouth we went, by way of Calais and Brussels, to Düsseldorf on the Rhine, where I preached many times six years before. During this visit, I spoke there in public eight times. Regarding my stay at Düsseldorf, for the encouragement of the reader, I relate the following circumstance. During our first visit to that city, in the year 1876, a godly City Missionary came to me one day, greatly tried, because he had six sons, for whose conversion he had been praying many years, and yet they remained unconcerned about their souls, and he desired me to tell him what to do. My reply was, ‘Continue to pray for your sons, and expect an answer to your prayer, and you will have to praise God.’ Now, when after six years I was again in the same city, this dear man came to me and said he was surprised he had not seen before himself what he ought to do, and that he had resolved to take my advice and more earnestly than ever give himself to prayer. Two months after he saw me, five of his six sons were converted [Pg 74]within eight days, and have for six years now walked in the ways of the Lord, and he had hope that the sixth son also was beginning to be concerned about his state before God. May the Christian reader be encouraged by this, should his prayers not at once be answered; and, instead of ceasing to pray, wait upon God all the more earnestly and perseveringly, and expect answers to his petitions.”
THE DIVINE PLAN FOR SENDING OUT FOREIGN MISSIONARIES.
The Bristol Church with which Mr. Müller was connected has been privileged to set an example to the Church of God of the way in which Foreign Missionaries (who are so greatly needed) can be sent forth in answer to prayer. Mr. Müller writes on p. 516, Vol. I. of his Narrative:— “I also mention here, that during the eight years previous to my going to Germany to labour there, it had been laid on my heart, and on the hearts of some other brethren among us, to ask the Lord that he would be pleased to honour us, as a body of believers, by calling forth from our midst brethren, for carrying the truth into foreign lands. But this prayer seemed to remain unanswered. Now, however, the time was come when the Lord was about to answer it, and I, on whose heart particularly this matter had been laid, was to be the first to carry forth the truth from among us. About that very[Pg 75] time the Lord called our dear brother and sister Barrington from among us, to go to Demerara, to labour there in connexion with our esteemed brother Strong, and our dear brother and sister Espenett, to go to Switzerland. Both these dear brethren and sisters left very shortly after I had gone to Germany. But this was not all. Our much valued brother Mordal, who had commended himself to the saints by his unwearied faithful service among us for twelve years, had from Aug. 31, 1843, (the day on which brothers Strong and Barrington sailed from Bristol for Demerara), his mind likewise exercised about service there, and went out from among us eleven months after. He, together with myself, had had it particularly laid upon his heart, during the eight years previously, to ask the Lord again and again to call labourers from among us for foreign service. Of all persons he, the father of a large family, and about 50 years of age, seemed the least likely to be called to that work; but God did call him. He went, laboured a little while in Demerara, and then, on January 9, 1845, the Lord took him to his rest.—When we ask God for a thing, such as that He would be pleased to raise up labourers for His harvest, or send means for the carrying on of His work, the honest question to be put to our hearts should be this: Am I willing to go, if He should call me? Am I willing to give according to my ability? For we may be the very persons whom the Lord will call for the work, or whose means He may wish to employ.” In [Pg 76]the Report of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for 1896 Mr. Müller shows how greatly this body of believers has been honoured by God. “From our own midst, as a church sixty brethren and sisters have gone forth to foreign fields of labour, some of whom have finished their labour on earth; but there are still about forty yet engaged in this precious service.” Why should not the great and crying need for workers in Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world be thus met by thousands of churches in Europe and America following this divine plan of praying the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth labourers from among them? Surely they may expect God to answer their prayers as He did the prayers of this Bristol church. Look what has been done in China by the faithful use of God’s method! We quote Mr. Hudson Taylor’s words as given in China’s Millions for July, 1897:— “For the obtaining of fellow-workers we took the Master’s direction, ‘Pray ye the Lord of the Harvest.’ As for the first five before the Mission was formed, so for the twenty-four for whom we first asked for the C.I.M.; for further reinforcements when they were needed; for the seventy in three years, for the hundred in one year, and for further additions from time to time, we have ever relied on this plan. Is it possible that in any other way such a band of workers from nearly every denomination, and from many lands, could have been gathered[Pg 77] and kept together for thirty years with no other bond save that which the call of God and the love of GOD has proved—a band now numbering over seven hundred men and women, aided by more than five hundred native workers.”
THE BEGINNING OF THE 1859 REVIVAL.
“In November, 1856, a young Irishman, Mr. James McQuilkin, was brought to the knowledge of the Lord. Soon after his conversion he saw my Narrative advertised, viz.: the first two volumes of this book. He had a great desire to read it, and procured it accordingly, about January, 1857. God blessed it greatly to his soul, especially in showing to him, what could be obtained by prayer. He said to himself something like this: ‘See what Mr. Müller obtains simply by prayer. Thus I may obtain blessing by prayer.’ He now set himself to pray, that the Lord would give him a spiritual companion, one who knew the Lord. Soon after he became acquainted with a young man who was a believer. These two began a prayer-meeting in one of the Sunday Schools in the parish of Connor. Having his prayer answered in obtaining a spiritual companion, Mr. James McQuilkin asked the Lord to lead him to become acquainted with some more of His hidden ones. Soon after the Lord gave him two more young men, who were believers previously, as far as he could judge. In Autumn, 1857, Mr. James McQuilkin stated to these three[Pg 78] young men, given him in answer to believing prayer, what blessing he had derived from my Narrative, how it had led him to see the power of believing prayer; and he proposed that they should meet for prayer to seek the Lord’s blessing upon their various labours in the Sunday Schools, prayer-meetings, and preaching of the Gospel. Accordingly in Autumn, 1857, these four young men met together for prayer in a small school-house near the village of Kells, in the parish of Connor, every Friday evening. By this time the great and mighty working of the Spirit, in 1857, in the United States, had become known, and Mr. James McQuilkin said to himself, ‘Why may not we have such a blessed work here, seeing that God did such great things for Mr. Müller, simply in answer to prayer.’ On January 1, 1858, the Lord gave them the first remarkable answer to prayer in the conversion of a farm servant. He was taken into the number, and thus there were five who gave themselves to prayer. Shortly after, another young man, about 20 years old, was converted; there were now six. This greatly encouraged the other three who first had met with Mr. James McQuilkin. Others now were converted, who were also taken into the number; but only believers were admitted to these fellowship meetings, in which they read, prayed, and offered to each other a few thoughts from the Scriptures. These meetings and others for the preaching of the Gospel were held in the parish of Connor, Antrim, Ireland. Up to this time all was going on[Pg 79] most quietly, though many souls were converted, There were no physical prostrations, as afterwards. “About Christmas, 1858, a young man, from Ahoghill, who had come to live at Connor, and who had been converted through this little company of believers, went to see his friends at Ahoghill, and spoke to them about their own souls, and the work of God at Connor. His friends desired to see some of these converts. Accordingly Mr. James McQuilkin, with two of the first who met for prayer, went on February 2, 1859, and held a meeting at Ahoghill in one of the Presbyterian Churches. Some believed, some mocked, and others thought there was a great deal of presumption in these young converts; yet many wished to have another meeting. This was held by the same three young men on February 16th, 1859; and now the Spirit of God began to work, and to work mightily. Souls were converted, and from that time conversions multiplied rapidly. Some of these converts went to other places, and carried the spiritual fire, so to speak, with them. The blessed work of the spirit of God spread in many places.—On April 5th, 1859, Mr. James McQuilkin went to Ballymena, held a meeting there in one of the Presbyterian Churches; and on April 11th held another meeting in another of the Presbyterian churches. Several were convinced of sin and the work of the Spirit of God went forward in Ballymena.—On May 28th, 1859, he went to Belfast. During the first week there were meetings held in five different Presbyterian[Pg 80] Churches, and from that time the blessed work commenced at Belfast. In all these visits he was accompanied and helped by Mr. Jeremiah Meneely, one of the three young men who first met with him, after the reading of my Narrative. From this time the work of the Holy Ghost spread further and further; for the young converts were used by the Lord to carry the truth from one place to another. “Such was the beginning of that mighty work of the Holy Spirit, which has led to the conversion of hundreds of thousands; for some of my readers will remember how in 1859 this fire was kindled in England, Wales and Scotland; how it spread through Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland; how the Continent of Europe was more or less partaking of this mighty working of the Holy Spirit; how it led thousands to give themselves to the work of Evangelists; and how up to the year 1874 not only the effects of this work, first begun in Ireland, are felt, but that still more or less this blessed work is going on in Europe generally. It is almost needless to add, that in no degree the honour is due to the instruments, but to the Holy Spirit alone; yet these facts are stated, in order that it may be seen, what delight God has in answering abundantly the believing prayer of His children.”
MR. MÜLLER’S MARRIAGE.
In Vol. 3 of The Narrative, Mr. Müller shows the ordering of God in his meeting with and sub[Pg 81]sequent marriage to his first wife, Miss Mary Groves. “In giving her to me, I own the hand of God; nay, His hand was most marked; and my soul says, ‘Thou art good, and doest good.’ “I refer to a few particulars for the instruction of others. When at the end of the year 1829, I left London to labour in Devonshire in the Gospel, a brother in the Lord gave to me a card, containing the address of a well-known Christian lady, Miss Paget, who then resided in Exeter, in order that I should call on her, as she was an excellent Christian. I took this address and put it into my pocket, but thought little of calling on her. Three weeks I carried this card in my pocket, without making an effort to see this lady; but at last I was led to do so. This was God’s way of giving me my excellent wife. Miss Paget asked me to preach the last Tuesday in the month of January, 1830, at the room which she had fitted up at Poltimore, a village near Exeter, and where Mr. A. N. Groves, afterwards my brother-in-law, had preached once a month, before he went out as a Missionary to Bagdad. I accepted readily the invitation, as I longed, everywhere to set forth the precious truth of the Lord’s return, and other deeply important truths, which not long before my own soul had been filled with. “On leaving Miss Paget, she gave me the address of a Christian brother, Mr. Hake, who had an Infant Boarding School for young ladies and gentlemen, at Northernhay House, the former residence[Pg 82] of Mr. A. N. Groves, in order that I might stay there on my arrival in Exeter from Teignmouth. To this place I went at the appointed time. Miss Groves, afterwards my beloved wife, was there; for Mrs. Hake had been a great invalid for a long time, and Miss Groves helped Mr. Hake in his great affliction, by superintending his household matters. My first visit led to my going again to preach at Poltimore, after the lapse of a month, and I stayed again at Mr. Hake’s house; and this second visit led to my preaching once a week in a chapel at Exeter; and thus I went, week after week, from Teignmouth to Exeter, each time staying in the house of Mr. Hake. All this time my purpose had been, not to marry at all, but to remain free for travelling about in the service of the Gospel; but after some months I saw, for many reasons, that it was better for me, as a young Pastor, under 25 years of age, to be married. The question now was, to whom shall I be united? Miss Groves was before my mind; but the prayerful conflict was long, before I came to a decision; for I could not bear the thought, that I should take away from Mr. Hake this valued helper, as Mrs. Hake continued still unable to take the responsibility of so large a household. But I prayed again and again. At last this decided me, I had reason to believe that I had begotten an affection in the heart of Miss Groves for me, and that therefore I ought to make a proposal of marriage to her, however unkindly I might appear to act to my dear friend and brother Mr. Hake, and to ask God to[Pg 83] give him a suitable helper to succeed Miss Groves. On Aug. 15th, 1830, I therefore wrote to her, proposing to her to become my wife, and on Aug. 19th, when I went over as usual to Exeter for preaching, she accepted me. The first thing we did, after I was accepted, was, to fall on our knees, and to ask the blessing of the Lord on our intended union. In about two or three weeks the Lord, in answer to prayer, found an individual, who seemed suitable to act as housekeeper, whilst Mrs. Hake continued ill; and on Oct. 7, 1830, we were united in marriage. Our marriage was of the most simple character. We walked to church, had no wedding breakfast, but in the afternoon had a meeting of Christian friends in Mr. Hake’s house and commemorated the Lord’s death; and then I drove off in the stagecoach with my beloved bride to Teignmouth, and the next day we went to work for the Lord. Simple as our beginning was, and unlike the habits of the world, for Christ’s sake, so our Godly aim has been, to continue ever since. Now see the hand of God in giving me my dearest wife:—1st, that address of Miss Paget’s was given to me under the ordering of God. 2nd, I must at last be made to call on her, though I had long delayed it. 3rd, She might have provided a resting-place with some other Christian friend, where I should not have seen Miss Groves. 4th, My mind might have at last, after all, decided, not to make a proposal to her; but God settled the matter thus in speaking to me through my conscience—you know that you have begotten affection[Pg 84] in the heart of this Christian sister, by the way you have acted towards her, and therefore, painful though it may be, to appear to act unkindly towards your friend and brother, you ought to make her a proposal. I obeyed. I wrote the letter in which I made the proposal, and nothing but one even stream of blessing has been the result. “Let me here add a word of Christian counsel. 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 afterwards, 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 prompt 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.”
DANGEROUS ILLNESS OF MR. MÜLLER’S DAUGHTER.
[Pg 85] “In July, 1853, it pleased the Lord to try my faith in a way in which before it had not been tried. My beloved daughter and only child, and a believer since the commencement of the year 1846, was taken ill on June 20th. “This illness, at first a low fever, turned to typhus. On July 3rd there seemed no hope of her recovery. Now was the trial of faith. But faith triumphed. My beloved wife and I were enabled to give her up into the hands of the Lord. He sustained us both exceedingly. But I will only speak about myself. Though my only and beloved child was brought near the grave, yet was my soul in perfect peace, satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, being assured that He would only do that for her and her parents, which in the end would be the best. She continued very ill till about July 20th, when restoration began. “On Aug. 18th she was so far restored that she could be removed to Clevedon for change of air, though exceedingly weak. It was then 59 days since she was first taken ill. * * * * * * “Parents know what an only child, a beloved child is, and what to believing parents an only child, a believing child must be. Well, the Father in Heaven said, as it were, by this His dispensation, ‘Art thou willing to give up this child to me?’ My heart responded, As it seems good to Thee, my Heavenly Father. Thy will be done. But as our hearts were[Pg 86] made willing to give back our beloved child to Him who had given her to us, so He was ready to leave her to us, and she lived. ‘Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.’ Psalm xxxvii. 4. The desires of my heart were, to retain the beloved daughter if it were the will of God; the means to retain her were to be satisfied with the will of the Lord. “Of all the trials of faith that as yet I have had to pass through, this was the greatest; and by God’s abundant mercy, I own it to His praise, I was enabled to delight myself in the will of God; for I felt perfectly sure, that, if the Lord took this beloved daughter, it would be best for her parents, best for herself, and more for the glory of God than if she lived: this better part I was satisfied with; and thus my heart had peace, perfect peace, and I had not a moment’s anxiety. Thus would it be under all circumstances, however painful, were the believer exercising faith.”
THE DAILY BREAD.
“Aug. 3, 1844. Saturday. With the 12s. we began the day. My soul said: ‘I will now look out for the way in which the Lord will deliver us this day again; for He will surely deliver. Many Saturdays, when we were in need, He helped us, and so He will do this day also.’ Between nine and ten o’clock this morning I gave myself to prayer for means, with three of my fellow-labourers, in my house. Whilst we were in prayer, there was a knock at[Pg 87] my room-door, and I was informed that a gentleman had come to see me. When we had finished prayer, it was found to be a brother from Tetbury, who had brought from Barnstaple £1 2s. 6d. for the Orphans. Thus we have £1 14s. 6d., with which I must return the letter-bag to the Orphan-Houses, looking to the Lord for more. “Aug. 6.—Without one single penny in my hands the day began. The post brought nothing, nor had I yet received anything, when ten minutes after ten this morning the letter-bag was brought from the Orphan-Houses, for the supplies of to-day.—Now see the Lord’s deliverance! In the bag I found a note from one of the labourers in the Orphan-Houses, enclosing two sovereigns, which she sent for the Orphans, stating that it was part of a present which she had just received unexpectedly, for herself.—Thus we are supplied for to-day. “Sept. 4.—Only one farthing was in my hands this morning. Pause a moment, dear reader! Only one farthing in hand when the day commenced. Think of this, and think of nearly 140 persons to be provided for. You, poor brethren, who have six or eight children and small wages, think of this; and you, my brethren, who do not belong to the working classes, but have, as it is called, very limited means, think of this! May you not do, what we do, under your trials? Does the Lord love you less than He loves us? Does He not love all His children with no less love than that, with which He loves His only begotten Son, according to John xvii. 20-23? Or[Pg 88] are we better than you? Nay, are we not in ourselves poor miserable sinners as you are; and have any of the children of God any claim upon God, on account of their own worthiness? Is not that, which alone can make us worthy to receive anything from our Heavenly Father, the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, which is imputed to those who believe in Him? Therefore, dear reader, as we pray in our every need, of whatever character it may be, in connection with this work, to our Father in Heaven for help, and as He does help us, so is He willing to help all His children who put their trust in Him.—Well, let us hear then, how God helped when there was only one farthing left in my hands, on the morning of Sept. 4, 1844. “A little after nine o’clock I received a sovereign from a sister in the Lord, who does not wish the name of the place, where she resides, mentioned. Between ten and eleven o’clock the bag was sent from the Orphan-Houses, in which in a note it was stated that £1 2s. was required for to-day. Scarcely had i read this, when a fly stopped before my house, and a gentleman, Mr. ——, from the neighbourhood of Manchester, was announced. I found that he was a believer, who had come on business to Bristol. He had heard about the Orphan-Houses, and expressed his surprise, that without any regular system of collections, and without personal application to anyone, simply by faith and prayer, I obtained £2,000 and more yearly for the work of the Lord in my hands. This brother, whom I had[Pg 89] never seen before; and whose name I did not even know before he came, gave me £2, as an exemplification of what I had stated to him.”
“THE POOR WITH YOU ALWAYS.”
“Feb. 12, 1845.—After I had sent off this morning the money which was required for the housekeeping of to-day, I had again only 16s. 2½d. left, being only about one-fourth as much as is generally needed for one day, merely for housekeeping, so that there was now again a fresh call for trusting in the Lord. In the morning I met again, as usual, with my dear wife and her sister, for prayer, to ask the Lord for many blessings in connection with this work, and for means also. “About one hour after, I received a letter from Devonshire, containing an order for £22 of which £10 was for the Orphans, £2 for a poor brother in Bristol, and £10 for myself.—Besides having thus a fresh proof of the willingness of our Heavenly Father to answer our requests on behalf of the Orphans, there is this, moreover, to be noticed. For many months past, the necessities of the poor saints among us have been particularly laid upon my heart. The word of our Lord: ‘Ye have the poor with you always,’ and ‘whensoever ye will ye may do them good,’ has again and again stirred me up to prayer on their behalf, and thus it was again in particular this morning. It was the coldest morning we have had the whole winter. In my morning[Pg 90] walk for prayer and meditation I thought how well I was supplied with coals, nourishing food, and warm clothing, and how many of the dear children of God might be in need; and I lifted up my heart to God to give me more means for myself, that I might be able, by actions, to show more abundant sympathy with the poor believers in their need; and it was but three hours after when I received this £10 for myself.”
THE LORD DIRECTING THE STEPS.
“Feb. 1, 1847.—Before breakfast I took a direction in my usual morning’s walk, in which I had not been for many weeks, feeling drawn in that direction, just as if God had an intention in leading me in that way. Returning home I met a Christian gentleman whom formerly I used to meet almost every morning, but whom I had not met for many weeks, because I had not been walking in that direction. He stopped me and gave me £2 for the Orphans. Then I knew why I had been led thus; for there is not yet enough in hand, to supply the matrons to-morrow evening with the necessary means for house-keeping during another week. “Feb. 4.—Yesterday nothing had come in. This morning, just before I was going to give myself to prayer about the Orphans, a sister in the Lord sent a sovereign, which she had received, as she writes, ‘From a friend who had met the Orphan Boys, and was particularly pleased with their neat and orderly[Pg 91] appearance.’ After having received this £1, I prayed for means for present use, though not confining my prayers to that. About a quarter of an hour after I had risen from my knees, I received a Setter, with an order for £5. The donor writes, that it is ‘the proceeds of a strip of land, sold to the railway company.’ What various means does the Lord employ to send us help, in answer to our prayers!”
CONTINUED TRIALS OF FAITH AND PATIENCE.
With the enlargement of the work, by which some 330 persons needed to be provided for, the trials of faith continued. Mr. Müller writes:— “If we formerly had no certain income, so now have we none. We have to look to God for everything in connection with the work, of which often, however, the pecuniary necessities are the smallest matter; but to Him we are enabled to look, and therefore it is, that we are not disappointed.” “Oct. 7, 1852.—This evening there was only £8 left in hand for the current expenses for the Orphans. Hitherto we had generally abounded. But though much had come in, since the commencement of this new period, yet our expenses had been greater than our income, as every donation almost of which the disposal was left with me, had been put to the Building Fund. Thus the balance in hand on May 26, 1852, notwithstanding the large income since then, was reduced to about £8. I there[Pg 92]fore gave myself particularly to prayer for means, that this small sum might be increased. “Oct. 9.—This morning Luke vii came in the course of my reading before breakfast. While reading the account about the Centurion and the raising from death the widow’s son at Nain, I lifted up my heart to the Lord Jesus thus: ‘Lord Jesus, Thou hast the same power now. Thou canst provide me with means for Thy work in my hands. Be pleased to do so.’ About half an hour afterwards I received £230 15s. “The joy which such answers to prayer afford, cannot be described. I was determined to wait upon God only, and not to work an unscriptural deliverance for myself. I have thousands of pounds for the Building Fund; but I would not take of this sum because it was once set apart for that object. There is also a legacy of £100 for the Orphans two months overdue, in the prospect of the payment of which the heart might be naturally inclined to use some money of the Building Fund, to be replaced by the legacy money, when it comes in; but I would not thus step out of God’s way of obtaining help. At the very time when this donation arrived, I had packed up £100 which I happened to have in hand; received for the Building Fund, in order to take it to the Bank, as I was determined not to touch it, but to wait upon God. My soul does magnify the Lord for His goodness. “June 13, 1853.—We were now very poor. Not indeed in debt, nor was even all the money gone;[Pg 93] for there was still about £12 in hand; but then there was needed to be bought flour, of which we buy generally 10 sacks at a time, 300 stones of oatmeal, 4 cwt. of soap, and there were many little repairs going on in the house, with a number of workmen, besides the regular current expenses of about £70 per week. Over and above all this, on Saturday, the day before yesterday, I found that the heating apparatus needed to be repaired, which would cost in all probability £25. It was therefore desirable, humanly speaking, to have £100 for these heavy extra expenses, besides means for the current expenses. “But I had no human prospect whatever of getting even 100 pence, much less £100. In addition to this, to-day was Monday, when generally the income is little. But, in walking to the Orphan-House this morning, and praying as I went, I particularly told the Lord in prayer, that on this day, though Monday, He could send me much. And thus it was. I received this morning £301 for the Lord’s service, as might be most needed.—The joy which I had cannot be described. I walked up and down in my room for a long time, tears of joy and gratitude to the Lord raining plentifully over my cheeks, praising and magnifying the Lord for His goodness, and surrendering myself afresh, with all my heart, to Him for His blessed service. I scarcely ever felt more the kindness of the Lord in helping me. “Nov. 9.—Our need of means is now great, very great. The Lord tries our faith and patience. This[Pg 94] afternoon, a brother and sister in the Lord, from Gloucestershire, called to see me at the New Orphan-House, before going through the house. After a few minutes I received from the sister a sovereign, which she had been requested to bring to me for the Building Fund; and she gave me from herself £1 for my own personal expenses, and £1 for the Building Fund, and her husband gave me £5 for the Orphans, and £5 for Foreign Missions. “Thus the Lord has refreshed my spirit greatly; but I look for more, and need much more. “Nov. 12.—This evening, while praying for means, came a little parcel, containing ten sovereigns, from a Christian lady, living not far from the New Orphan-House. This was a very great refreshment to my spirit. “Oct. 17, 1854.—This morning at family prayer, came, in the course of reading, Exodus v, which shows that, just before the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt, their trials were greater than ever. They had not only to make the same number of bricks as before, but also to gather stubble, as no straw was given them any longer. This led me, in expounding the portion, to observe that even now the children of God are often in greater trial than ever, just before help and deliverance comes. Immediately after family prayer it was found, that by the morning’s post not one penny had come in for the work of the Lord in which I am engaged, though we needed much, and though but very little had come in during the three previous days. Thus I[Pg 95] had now to remember Exodus v, and to practice the truths contained therein. In the course of the day nothing was received. In the evening I had, as usual, a season for prayer with my dear wife, respecting the various objects of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, and then we left the New Orphan-House for our home. “When we arrived at our house, about nine o’clock, we found that £5 and also 5s. had been sent from Norwich in two Post Office Orders for the Building Fund, and that £8 3s. 11d. had been sent in for Bibles, Tracts, and Reports, which had been sold. This called for thanksgiving. But a little later, between nine and ten o’clock, a Christian gentleman called and gave me £1 for the Orphans and £200 for foreign missions. He had received these sums from an aged Christian woman, whose savings as a servant, during her whole life, made up the £200, and who, having recently had left to her a little annual income of about £30, felt herself constrained, by the love of Christ, to send the savings of her whole life for foreign missions. * * * “Our especial prayer had been again and again, that the Lord would be pleased to send in means for missionary brethren, as I had reason to believe they were in much need of help; and only at eight o’clock this evening I had particularly besought the Lord to send help for this object. By the last mail I had sent off £40 to British Guiana, to help seven brethren there in some measure. This amount took the last pound in hand for this object. How gladly[Pg 96] would I have sent assistance to other brethren also, but I had no more. Now I am in some degree supplied for this object. “July 12, 1854.—Our means were now again reduced to about £30, as only about £150 had come in since June 15. In addition to this, we had very heavy expenses before us. This morning, in reading through the book of Proverbs, when I came to chapter xxii. 19—’That thy trust may be in the Lord, &c.,’ I said in prayer to Him: ‘Lord, I do trust in Thee; but wilt Thou now be pleased to help me; for I am in need of means for the current expenses of all the various objects of the Institution.’ By the first delivery of letters I received an order on a London bank for £100, to be used for all the various objects ‘as the present need might require.'”
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR ETERNITY?
“In looking over my account books, I meet again and again with the name of one and another who has finished his course. Soon, dear reader, your turn and mine may come. Are you prepared for eternity? Affectionately I press this question upon you. Do not put it away. Nothing is of greater moment than this point; yea, all other things, however important in their place, are of exceedingly small importance, in comparison with this matter. Do you ask, how you may be prepared for eternity, how to be saved, how to obtain the forgiveness of your sins? The answer is, believe in the Lord[Pg 97] Jesus, trust in Him, depend upon Him alone as it regards the salvation of your soul. He was punished by God, in order that we guilty sinners, if we believe in Him, might not be punished. He fulfilled the law of God, and was obedient even unto death, in order that we disobedient, guilty sinners, if we believe in Him, might, on His account, be reckoned righteous by God. Ponder these things, dear reader, should you have never done so before. Through faith in the Lord Jesus alone can we obtain forgiveness of our sins, and be at peace with God; but, believing in Jesus, we become, through this very faith, the children of God; have God as our Father, and may come to Him for all the temporal and spiritual blessings which we need. Thus everyone of my readers may obtain answers to prayers, not only to the same extent that we obtain them, but far more abundantly. “It may be that few, comparatively, of the children of God are called to serve the Lord in the way of establishing Orphan-Houses, &c.; but all of them may, yea, are called upon to trust in God, to rely upon Him, in their various positions and circumstances, and apply the word of God, faith, and prayer to their family circumstances, their earthly occupation, their afflictions and necessities of every kind, both temporally and spiritually; just as we, by God’s help, in some little measure seek to apply the word of God, faith and prayer to the various objects of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad. Make but trial of it, if you have never[Pg 98] done so before, and you will see how happy a life it is. * * * * “Truly I prefer by far this life of almost constant trial, if I am only able to roll all my cares upon my Heavenly Father, and thus become increasingly acquainted with Him, to a life of outward peace and quietness, without these constant proofs of His faithfulness, His wisdom, His love, His power, His over-ruling providence, &c.”
WAITING ONLY UPON GOD.
“Sept 6, 1854.—Received from Clerkenwell £50 to be used one-half for missions, and the other half as I thought best. I took the one-half for the support of the Orphans, and find the following remark in my journal respecting this donation: ‘What a precious answer to prayer!’ Since Aug. 26th we have been day by day coming to the Lord for our daily supplies. Precious, also, on account of Missionary brethren, whom I seek to help, for whom there was nothing in hand when this donation was received.” Mr. Müller adds a few remarks to this part of the Narrative:— “1. Should anyone suppose, on account of its having been stated in the previous pages that we were repeatedly brought low as to means, that the Orphans have not had all that was needful for them; we reply that never, since the work has been in existence, has there a meal-time come, but the Or[Pg 99]phans have had good nourishing food in sufficient quantity: and never have they needed clothes, but I have had the means to provide them with all they required. “2. Never since the Orphan work has been in existence have I asked one single human being for any help for this work; and yet, unasked for, simply in answer to prayer, from so many parts of the world, as has been stated, the donations have come in, and that very frequently at a time of the greatest need.” Mr. Müller writes under date, 1859:— “Every Wednesday evening I meet with my helpers for united prayer; and day by day I have stated seasons, when I seek to bring the work with its great variety of spiritual and temporal necessities, before the Lord in prayer, having perhaps each day 50 or more matters to bring before Him, and thus I obtain the blessing. I ask no human being for help concerning the work. Nay, if I could obtain £10,000 through each application for help; by God’s grace, I would not ask. And why not? Because I have dedicated my whole life cheerfully to the precious service of giving to the world and to the church, a clear, distinct, and undeniable demonstration, that it is a blessed thing to trust in, and to wait upon, God; that He is now, as He ever was, the Living God, the same as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that if we know and are reconciled to Him through faith in the Lord Jesus, and ask Him in His name for that which is according to His[Pg 100] mind, He will surely give it to us, in His own time, provided that we believe that He will. * * * * * “Nor has God failed me at any time. Forty years have I proved His faithfulness, in this work.”
IN THE LORD JEHOVAH IS EVERLASTING STRENGTH.
Under date Nov. 9, 1861, Mr. Müller wrote:— “Nov. 9. Saturday evening. When this week commenced, I received only £3 19s. by the first delivery. Shortly after there came in the course of my reading, through the Holy Scriptures, Isaiah xxvi, 4, ‘Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.’—I laid aside my Bible, fell on my knees, and prayed thus: I believe that there is everlasting strength in the Lord Jehovah, and I do trust in Him; help me, O Lord, for ever to trust in Thee. Be pleased to give me more means this day, and much this week, though only so little now has come in.—That same day, Nov. 3rd, I received £10 from Surbiton, £5 from a donor residing in Clifton, £2 from a Bristol donor, and in the course of the week altogether £457 came in; thus Jehovah again proved, that in Him is everlasting strength, and that He is worthy to be trusted.—Dear believing reader, seek but in the same way to trust in the Lord, if you are not in the habit of doing so already, and you will find as I have found thousands of times, how blessed it is. But if the reader should be yet going on in carelessness about his soul, and therefore be without the knowledge of[Pg 101] God and His dear Son, then the first, and most important thing, such a one has to do, is to trust in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of his soul, that he may be reconciled to God, and obtain the forgiveness of his sins.”
JESUS CHRIST, THE SAME YESTERDAY, AND TO-DAY, AND FOREVER.
“May 26, 1861.—At the close of the period I find, that the total expenditure for all the various objects was £24,700 16s. 4d., or £67 13s. 5¾d. per day, all the year round. During the coming year I expect the expenses to be considerably greater. But God, who has helped me these many years, will, I believe, help me in future also. “You see, esteemed reader, how the Lord, in His faithful love helped us year after year. With every year the expenses increased, because the operations of the Institutions were further enlarged; but He never failed us. You may say, however, ‘What would you do, if He should fail in helping you?’ My reply is, that cannot be, as long as we trust in Him and do not live in sin. But if we were to forsake Him, the fountain of living waters, and to hew out to ourselves broken cisterns, which cannot hold water, by trusting in an arm of flesh; or if we were to live in sin, we should then have to call upon Him in vain, even though we professed still to trust in Him, according to that word: ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.’ Psalm lxvi, 18. “Hitherto, [Pg 102]by God’s grace, I have been enabled to continue to trust in Him alone; and hitherto, though failing and weak in many ways, yet, by God’s grace, I have been enabled to walk uprightly, hating sin and loving holiness, and longing after increased conformity to the Lord Jesus. “Oct. 21 1868—As the days come, we make known our requests to Him, for our outgoings have now been for several years at the rate of more than One Hundred Pounds each day; but though the expenses have been so great, He has never failed us. We have indeed, as to the outward appearance, like the ‘Burning Bush in the Wilderness;’ yet we have not been consumed. Moreover, we are full of trust in the Lord, and therefore of good courage, though we have before us the prospect, that, year by year, our expenses will increase more and more. Did all my beloved fellow disciples, who seek to work for God know the blessedness of looking truly to God alone, and trusting in Him alone, they would soon see how soul refreshing this way is, and how entirely beyond disappointment, so far as He is concerned. Earthly friends may alter their minds regarding the work in which we are engaged; but if indeed we work for God, whoever may alter His mind regarding our service, He will not. Earthly friends may lose their ability to help us, however much they desire so to do; but He remains throughout eternity the infinitely Rich One. Earthly friends may have their minds after a time diverted to other objects, and, as they cannot help everywhere, [Pg 103]much as they may desire it, they may, though reluctantly, have to discontinue to help us; but He is able, in all directions, though the requirements were multiplied a million times, to supply all that can possibly be needed, and does it with delight, where His work is carried on, and where He is confided in. Earthly friends may be removed by death, and thus we may lose their help, but He lives for ever, He cannot die. In this latter point of view, I have especially, during the past 40 years, in connection with this Institution, seen the blessedness of trusting in the Living God alone. Not one nor two, nor even five nor ten, but many more, who once helped me much with their means, have been removed by death; but have the operations of the Institution been stopped on that account? No. And how came this? Because I trusted in God, and in God alone.”
THOROUGHLY IN HEART PREPARED FOR TRIALS OF FAITH.
Under date July 28, 1874, Mr. Müller wrote:— “It has for months appeared to me, as if the Lord meant, by His dealings with us, to bring us back to that state of things, in which we were for more than ten years, from August, 1838, to April, 1849, when we had day by day, almost without interruption, to look to Him for our daily supplies, and, for a great part of the time, from meal to meal. The difficulties appeared to me indeed very great, as the Insti[Pg 104]tution is now twenty times larger, than it was then, and our purchases are to be made in a wholesale way; but, at the same time, I am comforted by the knowledge, that God is aware of all this; and that, if this way be for the glory of His name, and for the good of His church and the unconverted world, I am, by His grace, willing to go this way, and to do it to the end of my course. The funds were thus fast expended; but God, our infinitely rich Treasurer, remains to us. It is this which gives me peace. Moreover, if it pleases Him, with a work requiring about £44,000 a year, to make me do again at the evening of my life, what I did from August, 1838, to April, 1849, I am not only prepared for it, but gladly again I would pass through all these trials of faith, with regard to means, if He only might be glorified, and His church and the world be benefited. Often and often this last point has of late passed through my mind, and I have placed myself in the position of having no means at all left, and Two Thousand and One Hundred persons not only daily at the table, but with everything else to be provided for, and all funds gone; 189 Missionaries to be assisted, and nothing whatever left; about one hundred schools, with about nine thousand scholars in them, to be entirely supported, and no means for them in hand; about Four Millions of Tracts and Tens of Thousands of copies of the Holy Scriptures yearly now to be sent out, and all the money expended. Invariably, however, with this probability before me, I have said to myself: ‘God, who has[Pg 105] 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.’ “Thus I wrote in my journal on July 28, 1874. The reader will now feel interested in learning how we fared under these circumstances. “When I came home, last evening (July 27), I found letters had arrived, which contained £193, among which there was one from a Missionary in Foreign lands, helped by the funds of this Institution, who, having come into the possession of some money, by the death of a relative, sent £153 0s. 4d. for Foreign Missions. This morning, July 28, came in £24 more, so that, when I met this afternoon with several of my helpers for prayer for means and various other matters, such as spiritual blessing upon the various Objects of the Institution, for more rain in this very dry season, the health of our fellow-labourers, etc., we had received, since yesterday afternoon, altogether £217. We thanked God for it, and asked for more. When the meeting for prayer was over, there was handed to me a letter from Scotland, containing £73 17s. 10d., and a paper with 13s. This was the immediate answer to prayer for more means. “Aug. 12.—The [Pg 106]income for this whole week, since Aug. 5, has been £897 15s. 6½d. “Sept. 16.—Just after having again prayed for the payment of legacies, which have been left, I had a legacy receipt sent for the payment of a legacy for £1,800. “Sept. 23.—Income to-day £5,365 13s. 6d., of which there was sent in one donation £5,327 7s. 6d. The Lord be praised!”
STRONG IN FAITH, GIVING GLORY TO GOD.
On March 27, 1881, Mr. Müller found that no money remained in hand for the School, Bible, Missionary and Tract Funds. Nearly £1,400 had been spent for these Objects during the previous month. He writes:— “What was now to be done, dear reader, under these circumstances, when all the money for the above Objects was again gone? I reply, we did what we have done for 47 years, that is, we waited continually upon God. My dear fellow-labourers in Bristol, and my dear wife and myself in America, brought our necessities again and again before the Lord. “Here in the United States, besides our habitual daily prayer for help, we had especial seasons 4, 5, and 6 times a day additionally, for pouring out our hearts before our Heavenly Father, and making known our requests unto Him, being assured that help would come: and we have not waited upon the[Pg 107] Lord in vain. This plan may be despised by some, ridiculed by others, and considered insufficient by a third class of persons; but, under every trial and difficulty, we find prayer and faith to be our universal remedy; and, after having experienced for half a century their efficacy, we purpose, by God’s help, to continue waiting upon Him, in order to show to an ungodly world, and to a doubting Church, that the Living God is still able and willing to answer prayer, and that it is the joy of His heart to listen to the supplications of His children. In Psalm ix. 10, the Divine testimony regarding Jehovah is, ‘They that know thy name will put their trust in Thee.’ We know Him, by His grace, and do therefore put our trust in Him. “April 27.—On March 27th we had no means at all in hand for these Objects, as stated under that date. We have now been helped through one more month, in answer to prayer, and have been supplied with all we needed, though that amounted to nearly £1000, and have £23 8s. 6¼d. left. “April 29.—A servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, having received a legacy of £532 14s. 5d., gave £500 of it for these Objects. “July 28, 1881.—The income has been for some time past only about the 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[Pg 108] cannot be carried on. But I believe that the Lord will help, both with means for the Orphans and also for the 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. “The foregoing was written at 7 A. M. July 28, 1881. As yet we have the means to meet our expenses, and I expect that we shall not be confounded, though for seven years we have not been so poor.” The result has indeed been seen, and will be seen. For more than 20 years since those words were written and Mr. Müller had thus recorded his confidence in the Lord’s help, God has sustained the work, and in May, 1902, there was a balance in hand of some thousands of pounds, notwithstanding that more than £500,000 had been received and expended since this entry was made in Mr. Müller’s journal on July 28, 1881. During these 20 years faith and patience were at times greatly tried: “Aug. 15, 1881.—The balance for the Orphans is now reduced to £332 12s. 7d., lower than it has been for more than twenty-five years. This sum we have in hand to meet the daily expenses in connection with 2,100 persons. It is only enough for the average outgoings of 4½ days. But our eyes are upon the Lord. I look to my heavenly Pro[Pg 109]vider. The total income of to-day has been £28 5s. 2½d. “Aug. 22.—Part of a legacy, left years ago, £1,000, was paid, as the answer to many prayers. “Feb. 26, 1882.—The balance in hand to-day for the Orphans is £97 10s. 7½d., viz., £24 more than the average expenses of one single day. “March 2.—Our position now regarding the Orphan work is, praying day by day ‘Give us this day our daily bread’. For a considerable time we have had day by day to look to the Lord for the supply of our daily wants; but God has helped us thus far. “April 20, 1882.—When in the greatest need we received from Edinburgh £100 with this statement: ‘The enclosed was intended as a legacy, but I have sent it in my lifetime.’ “June 3.—From Wottan-under-edge £500. A glorious deliverance was this donation, and a precious earnest of what God would do further for us. “Oct. 21.—Received from Wottan-under-edge £1,000. * * * * * God, in answer to our prayers, spoke to His dear child, and inclined his heart to send to us more than ever. Thus He also gives proof, that during the previous year, when we were so low as to funds, it was only for the trial of our faith and patience, and not in anger; nor did He thereby mean to indicate, that He would not help us any more. For my own part, I expected further great help from God, and I have not been confounded. “Aug. 17, 1883.—Our balance was reduced this[Pg 110] afternoon to £10 2s. 7d. Think of this, dear reader! Day by day about 2,100 persons are to be provided for in the Orphan Institution, and £10 2s. 7d. was all that was in hand to do this. You see that we are just in the same position in which we were 46 years since as to funds. God is our banker. In Him we trust, and on Him we draw by faith. This was Saturday. In the evening £30 was received. On Monday we received £129 further, but had to pay out £60. On Tuesday we received £295, but had to pay out £180. * * * * * “God is pleased continually to vary His mode of dealing with us, in order that we may not be tempted to trust in donors, or in circumstances, but in Him alone, and to keep our eye fixed upon Him. This, by His grace, we are enabled to do, and our hearts are kept in peace.” Some ten months later, when the balance in hand was only £41 10s., a very little more than one-half of the average expenses for the Orphans for one day, and there were sanitary operations advisable to be carried out, the expenses of which would amount to upwards of £2,000, Mr. Müller received a legacy of £11,034 6s. “June 7, 1884.—This is the largest donation I have ever received at one time. This legacy had been above six years in Chancery, and year after year its payment was expected, but remained unsettled by the Chancery Court. I kept on praying, however, and for six years prayed day by day that the money might be paid, believing that God in His[Pg 111] own time (which is always the best), would help at last; for many legacies in Chancery I had prayed out of the Court, and the money was eventually paid. In the present case, too, after faith and patience had been sufficiently exercised, God granted this request likewise.” 1893.—In the Fifty-fourth Report of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution Mr. Müller says:— “The readers of the last report will remember, under what particular trials we entered upon the last financial year of the Institution, from May 26th, 1892, to May 26th, 1893; but we trusted in God; with unshaken confidence we looked to Him, and we expected that we should somehow or other be helped. * * While thus we went on, my heart was at peace habitually, being assured that all this was permitted by God, to prepare a blessing for thousands, who would afterwards read the record of His dealings with us, during the year from May 26th, 1892, to May 26th, 1893. With reference to our dear fellow-labourers, Mr. Wright and I have seen already, while passing through the trial, how God has blessed it to them. “Aug. 30, 1892.—This evening, whilst reading in the Psalms, I came to Psalm lxxxi, 10, and remembered the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart, when reading this verse on Dec. 5, 1835, and the effect which this had, not only on leading me to found the greatest Orphan Institution in the world, but I thought also of the blessing which has thus been brought to tens of thousands of believers and[Pg 112] unbelievers all over the world. Putting aside the Bible, therefore, I fell on my knees and asked God that He would graciously be pleased to repeat His former kindness, and to supply me again more abundantly with means. Accordingly in less than half an hour, I received £50 from a Bristol Donor and from Redland a large quantity of fish, in addition to £97 already received to-day as the result of much prayer. By the last delivery, at 9 p. m., I received £5 more also, and had thus £152 in all, this day, as the result of prayer. “Nov. 11.—There came in to-day, by the first two deliveries, only about £8, but the Lord increased the income to more than £200 this day. I am never discouraged by very little only coming in, but say to myself, and also to my dear helpers, ‘More prayer, more patience, and more exercise of faith will bring greater blessing’; for thus I have invariably found it, since October, 1830, now 63 years ago, when I first began this life of entire dependence upon God for everything. “March 1, 1893.—The income during this week, ending to-day, was £92 8s. 8¾d. for the Orphans, and £9 11s. 2d. for the other Objects, being about the sixth part of our weekly expenses; but now the great trial of our faith was nearly brought to a close, as will presently be seen. “March 4.—This very day God begins to answer our prayers, as we have received a very good offer for the land we have to sell, even £1,000 per acre. The beginning of the day was darker as to[Pg 113] outward appearances than ever: but we trusted in God for help. The first three deliveries of letters brought us only £4, and the remaining three brought us so little that the whole day’s income was only £8 instead of £90, the amount we require every day to meet all our expenses. But God has now helped us. We have been able this evening to sell ten acres of land and two-fifths of an acre at £1,000 per acre, and shall receive £10,405 altogether for the whole of one field. The contract was signed at 8 o’clock this evening.”
MR. MÜLLER’S DEPARTURE TO BE WITH CHRIST.
On the evening of Wednesday, March 9th, 1898, Mr. Müller took part in the usual meeting for prayer held in the Orphan-House No. 3; retired at his usual hour to rest, and early on the following morning (the 10th of March) alone, in his bed-room, breathed his last, realizing what had long been with him a most joyous anticipation, viz., that “to depart and to be with Christ is far better.” March 14.—This day Mr. Müller’s earthly remains were laid in the grave of his first and second wives, at Arno’ Vale Cemetery. The attendant circumstances, throughout, were very remarkable and interesting to the Christian mind chiefly as illustrating God’s eternal principle—”Them that honour Me I will honour.” The man who in life sought not his own glory, became in death the one to whom all classes delighted to show respect and honour. From [Pg 114]the masses of sympathizing spectators that lined the streets, from the tearful eyes, and the audible prayerful ejaculations that escaped the lips of bystanders (many of them the poorest of the poor), as the orphans filed past, following the hearse; from the suspension of all traffic in the principal streets, the tolling of muffled bells, and the half-masted flags, and from the dense crowds in the cemetery that awaited the arrival of the funeral company, it seemed as if the whole city had spontaneously resolved to do honour to the man who had not lived for himself, but for the glory of God and the good of his fellows. For some 21 months before Mr. Müller’s death the trials of faith and patience were great. Mr. James Wright, Mr. Müller’s successor, writes: “He who is pleased, sometimes, to teach His servants ‘how to abound,’ sees it best for them, at other times ‘to be instructed how to suffer need.’ For many of the 64 years during which this work has been carried on, the former was our experience; we abounded and richly abounded, latterly, and especially during the last 2 or 3 years it has been the very reverse. Pressing need has been the rule; a balance in hand, over and above our need, the rare exception. Yet we have never been forsaken.” “Sept. 23, 1897.—Residue of the legacy of the late G. J., Esq., £2,679 18s. 7d. This sum was received when we were in the deepest need; and after it had pleased the Lord to allow a very protracted trial of faith and patience; but see, beloved reader,[Pg 115] He did not disappoint nor forsake us, as He never does those who really trust in Him. The joy of such a deliverance cannot be tasted without the experience of the previous trial. “Feb. 26, 1898.—The following entry, under this date, is in Mr. Müller’s own hand-writing: “The income to-day, by the two first deliveries, was £7 15s. 11d. Day by day our great trial of faith and patience continues, and thus it has been, more or less, now, for 21 months, yet, by Thy grace, we are sustained.” March 1, 1898.—The following, again, is from a memorandum in Mr. Müller’s own hand-writing, under this date: “For about 21 months with scarcely the least intermission the trial of our faith and patience has continued. Now, to-day, the Lord has refreshed our hearts. This afternoon came in, for the Lord’s work, £1,427 1s. 7d. as part payment of a legacy of the late Mrs. E. C. S. For 3 years and 10 months this money had been in the Irish Chancery Court. Hundreds of petitions had been brought before the Lord regarding it, and now at last, this portion of the total legacy has been received.” Thus the Lord, in love and faithfulness, greatly refreshed the heart of His servant, only nine days before taking him home to be with Himself.