THE SPIRIT OF SUPPLICATION BESTOWED AND PRAYER ANSWERED--THE TIME OF MAN'S NEED AND OF GOD'S BOUNTY--FAITH NOT SHAKEN--DEALING ONLY WITH GOD--THE NEEDED AMOUNT FURNISHED--PERPETUAL "NEED"--NOT WEARY IN GOD'S WORK--JOY IN ANSWERED PRAYER--FOUR REQUESTS GRANTED--"CONTINUING INSTANT IN PRAYER"--THE BUILDING COMMENCED--PERSONAL HISTORY--A MARKED DELIVERANCE.
In the following chapter, Mr. Müller has grouped together, under the appropriate heads, the leading events connected with each of the departments of the work of the Lord in his hands.
I. ASSISTANCE TO THE MISSIONARY LABORERS.
During no former period since undertaking to send aid to laborers at home and abroad was I intrusted by the Lord with such large sums as during the one to which this chapter refers. I had never had more need of pecuniary supplies than during those two years, on account of the many pressing calls; but, at the same time, I had the exceeding great joy and privilege of being able to respond to them in such a way as I had never before been allowed to do. These remarks apply to all the various objects of the Institution, but especially to the supplies for brethren who labor at home and abroad in word and doctrine, without being connected with any society, or without having any regular salary for preaching the word.
On May 26, 1846, after the accounts had been closed, a check for one hundred pounds was given to me, the application of which was left to my disposal. I put half of the amount to the fund for these objects, and half to the orphan fund. When the accounts were closed, there was ninety-one pounds four shillings elevenpence three farthings in hand for these objects, to which this fifty pounds was added; therefore I began this period with more means than I had had in hand at any time previously at the beginning of a fresh period; and as was its beginning, so was the continuance. It has often struck me that one especial reason why, on the whole, I was allowed to have so little trial with regard to means for the work during those two years, in comparison with former times, may have been, that thereby the Lord would say that he was willing to give what would be needed, when once the new Orphan House should be built, though the expenses would be about two thousand five hundred pounds a year more than they were before.
June 4, 1846. To-day was given to me, just when I rose from my knees, after having asked the Lord for more means, especially for missionary purposes, the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds, with the request to use of it fifty pounds for the orphans, fifty pounds for laborers in England, and fifty pounds for laborers abroad.
From the commencement of this Institution, on March 5, 1834, it had been my desire to employ part of the funds, with which I might be intrusted, in aiding missionary brethren in foreign lands, who are not supported by any regular salary; and for several years I had likewise had the desire to assist brethren, laboring in similar circumstances, in Great Britain and Ireland. The Lord also had given me the great privilege to assist such brethren more or less during the time that this Institution had been in operation; but especially he began during the two years to which this chapter refers to allow me to do so in a far greater degree than before. I knew it to be a fact that many brethren who preach the word, without having any salary for doing so, or property to live upon, were in need. Now it might be said that such brethren ought to trust in God; that, if they preach Jesus as the only hope for the salvation of sinners, they ought to set them a good example by trusting themselves in God for the supply of their temporal necessities, in order that unconverted persons thereby might be led to trust in the Lord Jesus alone for the salvation of their souls. This is true, quite true. Preachers of the precious good news of salvation to every sinner who puts his trust in the merits of the Lord Jesus, ought indeed themselves to depend upon God, their Lord and Father, for the supply of their temporal necessities; but I also felt that I, as their brother, ought to seek to help them as far as lay in me. To this I set myself more than ever after the beginning of the year 1846, as I knew, that, from particular causes, there was an especial call to help such brethren; and as my own means would go but a little way, I gave myself to more earnest prayer than ever for such brethren. The result was, that, during the two years of this period, the Lord so answered my daily supplications with regard to this particular, that I was honored to send nearly three times as much to home and foreign laborers as during any previous period of the same length. One thousand five hundred and fifty-nine pounds eleven shillings sixpence was spent in this way, by which twenty-one brethren were assisted who labored in foreign lands, and nineteen who labored in Great Britain and Ireland. Large as this sum is, in comparison with what I had been able to do in this particular in former years, yet it is small, very small, in comparison with what my heart desired to be able to do for these forty brethren. It has frequently, yea almost always, so happened, that the assistance which God has allowed me to send to such brethren has come to them at a time of great need. Sometimes they had no money at all left. Sometimes even their last provisions were almost consumed, when I sent them supplies. Some of them are fathers of large families, or have sickly wives and children; some were once well off in this world, but for Christ's sake have become poor; and some have had for Christ's sake their all taken from them. Is it not an honor to help such brethren? I could fill hundreds of pages by giving extracts from the letters of the dear brethren to whom I have sent help, and they would be greatly to the edification of the reader; but I do not feel free to do so. As I have not only been laboring for these brethren in prayer that God would intrust me with means and allow me the privilege of helping them, but as I also have asked God to direct me especially to send to those who might be in particular need, in case I could not help them all; and as I have sought by an encouraging word to strengthen their hands in God; I have great reason to believe that these dear brethren have not only been helped by these pecuniary supplies in a temporal point of view, but also that the fact of God sending them help in their extremity has tended to refresh and strengthen their hearts, and to lead them more and more to trust in him.
March 7, 1847. Often of late had I entreated the Lord that he would be pleased to condescend to use me still further as a steward, in allowing me to send help to the many dear brethren whom I know laboring at home and abroad without any salary, the need of many of whom I knew. Under these circumstances I received this morning one hundred and fifty pounds, with the following lines:--
I have great pleasure in sending you one hundred pounds on account of laborers in the Lord's vineyard at home and abroad, and fifty pounds for other work in your hands.
Yours very affectionately,
* * *
April 5. I have been praying day by day, ever since I was able during the last month to send about one hundred and thirty pounds to home and foreign laborers, that the Lord would be pleased soon again to give me means for them, on account of their great need; indeed, all our means were so exhausted, that I had only just enough for to-morrow evening to meet the weekly expenses connected with the six day schools, when this morning I received one hundred and twenty-five pounds for these objects. Almost immediately after this donation had been given to me, I received a letter from Demerara about the great need among the brethren who labor there, by which intelligence the seasonable help just received has become still more precious to me.
May 26, 1848. By the Lord's faithful love I have been enabled to meet all the heavy expenses connected with these objects during the last two years, amounting to nearly two thousand and six hundred pounds, and at the same time owe no one anything, and have a balance of five pounds nineteen shillings seven pence halfpenny left in hand.
II. THE SUPPORT OF THE ORPHANS.
Jan. 20, 1847. For the whole of this period since May 26, 1846, therefore nearly eight months, when the accounts were closed, we have had always an abundance of means, and for the greater part of the time about two hundred pounds in hand. The sum of one thousand sixty-five pounds has come in for the orphans in less than eight months, to which is to be added the balance of eighty-five pounds four shillings ninepence three farthings in hand when the accounts were closed. Invariably I have thus been able to give to the matrons of the four Orphan Houses the money in advance, which was required for the necessities of one week. But now, after having paid away last evening forty-five pounds five shillings for the housekeeping of a week in advance and for other expenses, the money which remains in hand is needed for rent, and oatmeal, which has been ordered from Scotland. This morning therefore I gave myself particularly to prayer with regard to means for present use for the orphans. How blessed to have the living God to go to! Particularly precious to know him in these days of wide-spread distress! Potatoes are too dear for food for the orphans at this time. The rice, which we have substituted instead of them, is twice as dear as usual; the oatmeal more than twice as dear, and the bread one half dearer than usual. But the riches of God are as great as ever. He knows that our expenses are great. He knows that a little will not do in these days, when provisions are so dear, as there are about one hundred and fifty persons to be provided for, including teachers and apprentices. My soul is at peace.--Evening. About noon I received from a pious physician the following note, with a check for five pounds:--
My dear Sir:
I send you something towards buying bread for the orphans. The dearness of food must be felt by many; but the Lord in judgment is nevertheless gracious. He will sustain. I am your sincere friend and well-wisher,
* * * *
March 9. This evening, Tuesday, I find that since last Tuesday evening again forty-four pounds one shilling sixpence three farthings has come in. How good is the Lord in helping me week after week through the heavy expenses, especially in this season of deep distress and dearness of provisions! To his praise I can say we have lacked nothing all this winter. Whilst preparing these extracts from my journal for the press, I remember to have heard the following remarks made with reference to the time about which I am just now writing, I mean the season of dearth during the winter of 1846-7: "I wonder how it is now with the orphans? If Mr. Müller is now able, to provide for them as he has, we will say nothing." When I heard such like remarks I said nothing except this: "We lack nothing;" or, "God helps us." Should this fall into the hands of any who have had such thoughts, let them remember that 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. It is true that during the time of the dearth our expenses were considerably greater than usual; it is also true that many persons, who otherwise might have given, were unable to do so, or had their surplus directed into other channels, such as Ireland, etc.; but the gold and silver are the Lord's. To him we made our prayer. In him we put our trust. And he did not forsake us. For we went as easily through that winter as through any winter since the work had been in existence. Nor could it be otherwise; for God had at this very time an especial opportunity of showing the blessedness of trusting in him. Seek, dear reader, more and more to put your trust in him for everything, and you will even concerning this life find it most precious so to do.
March 10. I was able, last evening, to meet most comfortably all the expenses for the coming week, yet we had then nothing left, as I put by the rest of the money, that we might not get into debt with regard to the rent, the expenses of the apprentices, etc. When now there was again nothing left for future housekeeping expenses, a Christian lady at a considerable distance informed me by this morning's post that she has paid into the hands of Messrs. Stuckey & Co. of Bristol, my bankers, the sum of one hundred pounds for my use for the benefit of the orphans. By the same post I have received also ten shillings from Droitwich. The Lord's holy name be praised for this seasonable help!
May 11. This evening I have been able to meet all the expenses connected with housekeeping during the coming week, through what has come in since May 4, but at the same time I have nothing left. Hitherto the children have lacked nothing. Never were provisions nearly so dear since the commencement of the work as they are now. The bread is almost twice as much as eighteen months ago, the oatmeal nearly three times as much as formerly, the rice more than double the usual price, and no potatoes can be used on account of the exceeding high price.
May 30. Lord's-day morning. I have just now received, in our great need, when there was not sufficient in hand to meet the necessities of to-morrow, six pounds six shillings, from a Christian gentleman of title at Zurich in Switzerland, a distance of about one thousand miles. What a most seasonable help! Thus I am able to send all the remainder of the supplies which are needed till Tuesday evening.
In these days of straitness the question would naturally arise, If, when you have only to care for one hundred and thirty orphans, you are so poor, what will you do when there are three hundred, for whom you are just on the point of building a house? And, further, Is it not an indication not to increase the work, seeing you are now so poor with only about one third of the number of orphans which you purpose to receive into the new Orphan House? I am not tried, however, with such thoughts; for I know that, 1. Only for the trial of my faith, as heretofore, the Lord allows me now again to be poor. Never at any time have the expenses been so great for the work as from May 26, 1846, to May 26, 1847; but also never has so much come in in the same space of time during any other period of this work. 2. It is for the profit of the church at large that I have now again to pass through these days of poverty. 3. It is as easy for the Lord to supply me with all the means that the work will require when once the new Orphan House is opened, as it is for him to give me what I need now, though the expenses in all likelihood will then be two thousand five hundred pounds a year more than they are at present.
July 13. The proceeds of an orphan box from Stafford, four pounds seven shillings sixpence. The friend who sent the money wished to know whether it arrived in a time of need. I have had many similar requests, to which I can reply nothing, or say at the most that the answer may be learnt from the next Report. It will be easily perceived, on reflection, that if I said it came seasonably, that would imply we had little or nothing at all in hand, and what would that again mean but this, "As our expenses are so great, that which you have now sent will be soon gone again, and therefore send us some more, or get some friend to help us." But by this very thing the chief object of this work, "To show how blessed it is to deal with God alone, and how blessed to trust in him in the darkest moments," would be hindered. It is also for this very reason that I do not publish the accounts very frequently, for instance quarterly, as I have been requested to do; but I am delighted to wait a year, or eighteen months, or two years, or more; and even then I do not publish them for the sake of obtaining money (though unquestionably God has used the Reports as instruments to procure us means), but for the benefit of the church of God, to refresh, encourage, exhort, and instruct my brethren in Christ; and also because it is needful that from time to time I should give a public account of the way in which the considerable sums with which I have been intrusted have been spent.
Oct. 19. I left Bristol with my dear wife, partly because both of us much needed change of air, and partly because I had a great desire to labor in the word for a few weeks in Westmoreland and Cumberland. I was not able to leave more means than enough for about three days for housekeeping expenses. But I could not have stayed in Bristol, though there had been nothing at all in hand; my hope was that God would help during my absence. During all the time of my stay at Bowness in Westmoreland, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 20, there was day by day, with the exception of the first three days after my departure, need to wait upon God for daily supplies for the orphans. In consequence of this, every donation, without exception, which was received during my absence, came in most seasonably. Partly on account of my health, and partly on account of opportunities for service in Westmoreland and elsewhere, I did not feel it right to return to Bristol sooner than I did, though there was such great poverty; nor could I have done anything in Bristol which I could not do in Westmoreland, as it regards procuring means, since prayer and faith are all the means I make use of to obtain supplies when we are in need.
Dec. 23. The need of to-day was eleven pounds. This sum the Lord gave me thus: Last evening I received one pound, together with a pair of trousers and gaiters, and a remnant of fustian for the orphans. But as I knew how much there would be needed to-day, I waited further upon the Lord this morning for help, and, in one minute after I had risen from my knees, I received a letter from Liverpool with ten pounds for the orphans. The donor writes: "I have had the inclosed ten-pound note in my drawer for some time, intending to send it to you for the orphans; but my time is so occupied that at a suitable time when at my desk I have overlooked it. I now, however, inclose it," etc. How seasonable this help! How exactly to the very shilling what is needed to-day! How remarkable that just now this donor in Liverpool is led to send the ten pounds which had been, according to his own words, for some time in his drawer for the purpose of sending it! All this abundantly proves the most minute and particular providence of God, and his readiness to answer the supplications of his children.
Dec. 30. When this day began, I was without anything for the necessities of the day, though I had reason to believe that several pounds would again be required. I was therefore again looking out for fresh supplies. Accordingly, about ten o'clock this morning, a brother in the Lord, who had come last evening to stay for a night in my house, gave me ten pounds, to be used as it might be most needed. To be noticed in connection with this donation is: 1. I had, not long since, received a donation from him. 2. This brother had generally stated how he wished his donations to be appropriated, and they had been chiefly for missionary purposes; but this time he left it to me to use this money, as most needed, and therefore I could take of it what was needed for the orphans. 3: I was now extremely poor also with regard to the funds for all the other objects, so that I was obliged to tell the teachers of the day schools last Tuesday evening, 28th, that if no fresh supplies came in, I should not be able to give them their weekly salaries, as usual, next Tuesday evening, being now poorer in this particular than I had been for years. How kind therefore of the Lord, not only to give me this money through this brother at this time, but also to dispose his heart to leave the application of it to me as most needed. I took half of it for this day's housekeeping expenses for the orphans, and half for the school fund, for the weekly salaries of the teachers next Tuesday. I also received further this morning a half sovereign from Droitwich. The little that was left, after the housekeeping expenses were met, was put by for rent and the expenses for the apprentices, and I was again without a penny, looking out for fresh supplies for to-morrow.
Dec. 31, 1847. The last day of another year had now come. Great and many had been the mercies of God to me this year in every way, particularly also in connection with the orphans; but now I had again nothing for to-day, except two shillings which are in one of the boxes in my house. I was, however, by God's grace, able to look out for supplies for this last day of another year also, being fully assured that the Lord would not confound me. And thus it has been, according to my expectation; for, before I was called on for money, I received one hundred pounds, which was left to me to apply to any part of the Lord's service where there seemed the most need.
Feb. 2, 1848. This morning, on my walk before breakfast, I felt myself led out of my usual track into a direction in which I had not gone for some months. In stepping over a stile I said to myself: "Perhaps God has a reason even in this." About five minutes afterwards I met a Christian gentleman who gave me two sovereigns for the orphans, and then I knew the reason why I had been led this way.
Feb. 3. The reader might say, "You are continually in need. No sooner is the one demand met, than another comes. Do you not find it a trying life, and are you not tired of it?" My reply is, It is true I am more or less continually in need in connection with this work. And if I were to tell out all my heart to the reader concerning it, he would have still more reason to say that I am continually in need. For what I have here written is almost exclusively about the way in which God has been pleased to supply me with money for carrying on the work; but I do deliberately state that this, much as it might appear to one or the other, is by no means the chief thing that I stand in need of from day to day. I will just hint at a few other things. Sickness among the children, very difficult and tedious cases, in which, notwithstanding all the means which are used month after month, yea, year after year, the children remain ill. Nothing remains but either to keep them, or to send them to the Parish Union, to which they belong, as they have no relatives able to provide for them. The very fact of having cared for them and watched over them for years only endears them the more to us, and would make it the more trying to send them back to their parish. This is a "need" which brings me to God. Here is prayer required, not only for means which such sick children call for, but for guidance and wisdom from on high.
Sometimes children are to be placed out as servants or apprentices. A suitable place is needed, or else they had better remain under our care. The obtaining of this suitable place is a "need" indeed. It is more difficult to be obtained than money. Sometimes for many weeks have I had to wait upon God to have this "need" supplied; but he has always at last helped. Sometimes great has been my "need" of wisdom and guidance in order to know how certain children ought to be treated under particular circumstances; and especially how to behave towards certain apprentices or servants who were formerly in the Orphan Houses. A "need" in this respect is no small thing; though I have found that in this and in all other matters, concerning which I was in "need," I have been helped, provided I was indeed able to wait patiently upon God. That word, "godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come," (1 Tim. iv. 8,) I have in times almost without number found to be true in my own experience.
Further, when one or the other of the laborers needed to leave the work on account of health, or for other reasons, I have been at such times in far greater "need" than when I required money for the various objects of the Institution. I could only have such "need" supplied by waiting upon God. I could do nothing but speak to my heavenly Father about this matter, and he has always helped. One of the greatest difficulties connected with this work is to obtain suitable godly persons for it; so many things are to be taken into the account. Suitable age, health, gift, experience, love for children, true godliness, a ready mind to serve God in the work and not themselves, a ready mind to bear with the many trials and difficulties connected with it, a manifest purpose to labor, not for the sake of the remuneration, but to serve God in their work; surely, to obtain godly persons, in whom these qualifications even in some measure are found combined, is not an easy matter. Not that any one will suppose me to mean that I am looking out for perfect fellow-laborers. Not that any one will suppose that my fellow-laborers are referred to by me as if they were without weaknesses, deficiencies, and failings. I am myself far, very far from being without weaknesses, deficiencies, and failings. Moreover, I never expect to find fellow-laborers for this work who have not their weaknesses; but this I do mean to say, that the work of God in my hands is of that character, and, by God's grace, is really carried on with such a true purpose to serve God thereby (however much I and my fellow-laborers may fail), that it is with me a matter of deep moment to find truly suitable individuals for it, in whom, as much as possible, the above qualifications should be found united. And, however much there may be wanting, this is more and more my aim, that I may obtain such helpers; and hence it can be easily perceived how great my "need" must be again and again on this very account. I do here especially advise, that if any should apply in future for situations in connection with this work, they would keep these remarks before them; for, by God's grace, it is my purpose never to give to any persons a situation in connection with the Institution, if they are not suitable for it according to the light which God gives me.
Further, that the laborers work happily together among themselves, and that I go on happily in service with them; that I be their servant, on the one hand, and yet, on the other, maintain the place which God has given me in this work; surely, if any one carefully looks at this, he will at once see that there is a difficulty and a "need" far greater than any that is connected with money. O, how these matters lead one to call upon God! How they continually make one sensible of one's "need!" Truly, I am in need, in continual need. I might refer to many more points, in connection with this work, in which I am more or less continually in "need;" but I will only mention one. It is now many years since I have made my boast in the living God in so public a manner by my publications. On this account Satan unquestionably is waiting for my halting, and if I were left to myself I should fall a prey to him. Pride, unbelief, or other sins would be my ruin, and lead me to bring a most awful disgrace upon the name of Jesus. Here is then a "need," a great "need." I do feel myself in "need," in great "need," even to be upheld by God; for I cannot stand for a moment if left to myself. O that none of my dear readers might admire me, and be astonished at my faith, and think of me as if I were beyond unbelief! O, that none of my dear readers might think that I could not be puffed up by pride, or in other respects most awfully dishonor God, and thus at last, though God has used me in blessing hitherto to so many, become a beacon to the church of Christ! No, I am as weak as ever. I need as much as ever to be upheld as to faith, and every other grace. I am therefore in "need," in great "need;" and therefore help me, dear Christian reader, with your prayers.
I allow, then, most fully that I am in continual "need." This is the case with regard to money matters, because the work is now so large. A few hundred pounds go but a little way. There have often been weeks when my demands have been several hundred pounds a week, and it can therefore easily be supposed that, even if large donations come in, they do not last long. But whilst I allow this, I desire that the Christian reader may keep in mind that there are other necessities, and even greater ones than those connected with money. Should, however, the reader say that he thinks "I must find this a very trying life, and that I must be tired of it," I beg to state that he is entirely mistaken. I do not find the life in connection with this work a trying life, but a very happy one. It is impossible to describe the abundance of peace and heavenly joy that often has flowed into my soul by means of the fresh answers which I have obtained from God, after waiting upon him for help and blessing; and the longer I have had to wait upon him, or the greater my need was, the greater the enjoyment when at last the answer came, which has often been in a very remarkable way, in order to make the hand of God the more manifest. I do therefore solemnly declare that I do not find this life a trying life, but a very happy one, and I am consequently not in the least tired of it. Straits and difficulties I expected from the very beginning. Before I began this service I expected them; nay, the chief object of it was, that the church at large might be strengthened in faith, and be led more simply, habitually, and unreservedly to trust in the living God, by seeing his hand stretched out in my behalf in the hour of need. I did, therefore, expect trials, great trials and straits; but cheerfully, for the glory of God, and the profit of God's dear children, did I desire to pass through them, if only the saints might be benefited by the dealings of God with me. The longer I go on in this service, the greater the trials of one kind or another become; but at the same time the happier I am in this my service, and the more I am assured that I am engaged as the Lord would have me to be. How then could I be tired of carrying on the work of God on such principles as I do?
III. THE NEW ORPHAN HOUSE ON ASHLEY DOWN.
Up to May 26, 1846, £2,710, 3s. 5½d. had been received toward building the new Orphan House.
July 4, 1846. For about three months my faith and patience have been exceedingly tried about the field which I have purchased for the building of the orphan house, as the greatest difficulties arose about my possessing the land after all; but, by God's grace, my heart was kept in peace, being fully assured that if the Lord were to take this piece of land from me it would be only for the purpose of giving me a still better one; for our heavenly Father never takes any earthly thing from his children except he means to give them something better instead. But in the midst of all this great trial of faith I could not but think, judging from the way in which God so manifestly had given me this piece of land, that the difficulties were only allowed for the trial of my faith and patience. And thus it was. Last evening I received a letter by which all the difficulties were removed, and now, with the blessing of God, in a few days the conveyance will be made out.
July 6. The reason why, for several months, there had come in so little for the building fund, appeared to me this, that we did not need the money at present; and that when it was needed, and when my faith and patience had been sufficiently tried, the Lord would send more means. And thus it has proved; for to-day was given to me the sum of two thousand and fifty pounds, of which two thousand pounds is for the building fund, and fifty pounds for present necessities.
It is impossible to describe my joy in God when I received this donation. I was neither excited nor surprised; for I look out for answers to my prayers. I believe that God hears me. Yet my heart was so full of joy that I could only sit before God, and admire him, like David in 2 Sam. vii. At last I cast myself flat down upon my face, and burst forth in thanksgiving to God, and in surrendering my heart afresh to him for his blessed service.
July 21. This morning a gentleman from Devonshire, on his way to London, called on me. When he came I was just in prayer, having, among other matters, brought also before the Lord the following points: 1. I had been asking him for some supplies for my own temporal necessities, being in need. 2. I had asked him for more means for the building fund, and besought him to hasten the matter, on account of the inhabitants in Wilson Street, on account of the welfare of the children and those who have the oversight of them in the Orphan Houses, and lastly that I might be able to admit more orphans, the number of applications being so great. 3. I had also asked the Lord for means for present use for the orphans, as the outgoings are so great. 4. I had asked for means for the other objects. When I saw this gentleman from Devonshire, he gave me twenty pounds, of which ten pounds is to be used for the building fund, five pounds for present use of the orphans, two pounds for brother Craik and myself, and the remaining three pounds were left to my disposal, which I applied to the other objects of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. Thus I received, at the very moment that I had been asking God, four answers to my prayers.
Nov. 19. I am now led more and more to importune the Lord to send me the means which are requisite in order that I may be able to commence the building. Because, 1. It has been for some time past publicly stated in print that I consider it is not without ground that some of the inhabitants of Wilson Street consider themselves inconvenienced by the Orphan Houses being in that street, and I long therefore to be able to remove the orphans from thence, as soon as possible. 2. I become more and more convinced that it would be greatly for the benefit of the children, both physically and morally, with God's blessing, to be in such a position as they are intended to occupy, when the new Orphan House is built. And, 3. Because the number of very poor and destitute orphans, that are waiting for admission, is so great, and there are constantly fresh applications made. Now whilst, by God's grace, I would not wish the building to be begun one single day sooner than it is his will; and whilst I firmly believe that he will give me, in his own time, every shilling which I need; yet I also know that he delights in being earnestly entreated, and that he takes pleasure in the continuance in prayer, and in the importuning him, which so clearly is to be seen from the parable of the widow and the unjust judge. Luke xviii. 1-8. For these reasons I gave myself again particularly to prayer last evening, that the Lord would send further means, being also especially led to do so, in addition to the above reasons, because there had come in but little comparatively since the 29th of last month. This morning between five and six o'clock I prayed again, among other points, about the building fund, and then had a long season for the reading of the word of God. In the course of my reading I came to Mark xi. 24: "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." The importance of the truth contained in this portion I have often felt and spoken about; but this morning I felt it again most particularly, and, applying it to the new Orphan House, said to the Lord: "Lord, I believe that thou wilt give me all I need for this work. I am sure that I shall have all, because I believe that I receive in answer to my prayer." Thus, with the heart full of peace concerning this work, I went on to the other part of the chapter, and to the next chapter. After family prayer I had again my usual season for prayer with regard to all the many parts of the work, and the various necessities thereof, asking also blessings upon my fellow-laborers, upon the circulation of Bibles and tracts, and upon the precious souls in the adult school, the Sunday schools, the six day schools, and the four Orphan Houses. Amidst all the many things I again made my requests about means for the building: And now observe: About five minutes after I had risen from my knees, there was given to me a registered letter, containing a check for three hundred pounds, of which two hundred and eighty pounds are for the building fund, ten pounds for my own personal expenses, and ten pounds for brother Craik. The Lord's holy name be praised for this precious encouragement, by which the building fund is now increased to more than six thousand pounds.
Dec. 9. It is now four hundred days since day after day I have been waiting upon God for help with regard to the building of the Orphan House; but as yet he keeps me still in the trial of faith and patience. He is still saying, as it were, "Mine hour is not yet come." Yet he does sustain me in continuing to wait upon him. By his grace my faith is not in the least shaken; but I am quite sure that he, in his own time, will give me everything which I need concerning this work. How I shall be supplied with the means which are yet requisite, and when, I know not; but I am sure that God will help me in his own time and way. In the mean time I have abundant reason to praise God that I am not waiting on him in vain; for since this day twelvemonth he has given me, in answer to prayer, a most suitable piece of ground, and six thousand three hundred and four pounds for the building fund, and about two thousand seven hundred pounds for present use for the work, so that altogether I have received, since this day twelvemonth, solely in answer to prayer, the sum of nine thousand pounds. Surely, I am not waiting upon the Lord in vain! By his help, then, I am resolved to continue this course unto the end.
Dec. 22. To-day I have again a precious proof that continuing to wait upon the Lord is not in vain. During this month comparatively little had come in for the building fund; yet, by God's grace, I had been enabled, as before, yea, even with more earnestness perhaps than before, to make known my requests unto God, being more and more convinced that I ought to seek by earnest prayer soon to be able to begin the building. In addition to this I had also especially besought the Lord to give me means for missionary brethren, and also for brethren who labor in the word in various parts of England and Ireland, as all my means for them were now gone. I had also been waiting upon God for means to order a fresh stock of tracts. I had lastly again and again besought the Lord to give me means for the poor saints in Bristol, of whom there are many, and whose need is now particularly great. Now to-day the Lord has granted me precious answers to my requests concerning these various objects, for I received this morning one thousand pounds, with these words: "I send you some money, part of which you can apply to the orphans and the other objects of your Institution, according to their need, and the rest you can put to the building fund. At the present price of provisions your expenses must be large for the orphans. Please also take twenty-five pounds for your own need."
January 25, 1847. The season is now approaching when building may be begun. Therefore with increased earnestness I have given myself unto prayer, importuning the Lord that he would be pleased to appear on our behalf, and speedily send the remainder of the amount which is required, and I have increasingly, of late, felt that the time is drawing near when the Lord will give me all that which is requisite for commencing the building. All the various arguments which I have often brought before God I brought also again this morning before him. It is now fourteen months and three weeks since day by day I have uttered my petitions to God on behalf of this work. I rose from my knees this morning in full confidence not only that God could, but also would, send the means, and that soon. Never, during all these fourteen months and three weeks, have I had the least doubt that I should have all that which is requisite. And now, dear believing reader, rejoice and praise with me. About an hour after I had prayed thus, there was given to me the sum of two thousand pounds for the building fund. Thus I have received altogether £9,285, 3s. 9½d. towards this work. I cannot describe the joy I had in God when I received this donation. It must be known from experience in order to be felt. Four hundred and forty-seven days I have had to wait upon God before the sum reached the above amount. How great is the blessing which the soul obtains by trusting in God and by waiting patiently. Is it not manifest how precious it is to carry on God's work in this way, even with regard to the obtaining of means? From Dec. 10, 1845, to Jan. 25, 1847, being thirteen months and a half, I have received, solely in answer to prayer, nine thousand two hundred and eighty-five pounds. Add to this what came in during that time for present use for the various objects of the Institution, and the total is about twelve thousand and five hundred pounds, entirely the fruit of prayer to God. Can it be said, therefore, with good ground, that this way of carrying on the work of God may do very well in a limited and small way, but it would not do on a large scale? The fact brought out here contradicts such statements.
June 23. This day the Lord in his great goodness, by a donation of one thousand pounds for the building fund, has again encouraged my heart abundantly to trust in him for all that which I shall yet need to meet the remainder of the expenses connected with the fitting up and furnishing the new Orphan House, etc.
April 29, 1848. The total amount which I have received for the building fund is £11,062, 4s. 11½d. This sum enables me to meet all the expenses connected with the purchase of the piece of land and with the erection of the house. I stated before that I did not mean to commence the building until I had all the means requisite for it, and this intention was carried out. It was not until I had a sufficient amount of means to meet all the sums required for the various contractors that a single thing was done; but when I once had as much as was required for them, I did not consider it right to delay any longer, though I saw then clearly, and have since seen still more clearly, that I should need yet a considerable sum to complete the work. For whilst in every respect the building will be most plain and inexpensive, yet, it being intended to be the abode of three hundred orphans, with all their teachers and overseers, it necessarily must be a very large building, and was therefore found to be even somewhat more expensive than I had thought, as the whole (including fittings and furniture) cannot be accomplished for less than fourteen thousand five hundred pounds, towards which the Lord has already given me, as stated, eleven thousand and sixty-two pounds four shillings elevenpence halfpenny. The sum still needed is required for all the ordinary fittings, the heating apparatus, the gas fittings, the furnishing the whole house, making three large play-grounds and a small road, and for some additional work which could not be brought into the contracts. I did not think it needful to delay commencing the building, though several thousand pounds more would be required, as all these expenses needed not to be met till many months after the beginning of the building.
The work of the building commenced on July 5, 1847. Six hundred and seven days I sought the help of God day by day, before we came so far as to be able to commence the building; yet at last he gave me the desire of my heart.
IV. MISCELLANEOUS POINTS RESPECTING THE SCRIPTURAL KNOWLEDGE INSTITUTION FOR HOME AND ABROAD.
1. During the whole of this period six day schools, with 330 children, were supported by the funds of the Institution; two Sunday schools were entirely supported by it, and a third one was occasionally assisted. Again, four from among the Sunday-school children were, during these two years, received into church fellowship. The total number of the children who received instruction in the day schools of the Institution, from its commencement up to May 26, 1848, amounted to 4,519. The number of the adult scholars who were instructed during this period in the adult school, which was supported by the funds of the Institution, amounted to 292; and the total number of adults who had instruction from March 5, 1834, to May 26, 1848, was 1,438. The total of the expenses connected with all these schools, during these two years, amounted to £886, 1s. 11½d.
2. During this period were circulated 649 Bibles and 232 New Testaments. There were circulated from March 5, 1834, up to May 26, 1848, 5,746 Bibles and 3,760 New Testaments. During this period, £74, 9s. 10d. was expended of the funds of the Institution on this object.
3. From May 26, 1846, to May 26, 1848, was expended of the funds of the Institution on missionary objects, £1,559, 11s. 6d., whereby 43 laborers in the gospel, at home and abroad, were assisted.
4. During this period 64,021 tracts were circulated, and the sum of £63, 1s. 5d. was expended on this object of the funds of the Institution. The total number of tracts circulated from Nov. 19, 1840, to May 26, 1848, amounted to 163,668.
5. There were received into the four Orphan Houses, from May 26, 1846, to May 26, 1848, 51 orphans, who, together with those who were in the four houses on May 26, 1846, made up 172 in all.
On May 26, 1848, there were 122 orphans in the four houses. The number of the orphans under our care from April, 1836, to May 26, 1848, was 264. The total amount of expenditure in connection with the support of the orphans from May 26, 1846, to May 26, 1848, was £3,228, 5s. 11d.
I notice, in connection with the Orphan Houses, that without any one having been personally applied to for anything by me, the sum of £24,771, 19s. 8¾d. was given to me as the result of prayer to God from the commencement of the work up to May 26, 1848. This sum includes the £11,062, 4s. 11½d., which up to May 26, 1848, had been given towards the building fund. It may be interesting to the reader to know that the total amount which was given as free contributions for the other objects, from the commencement of the work up to May 26, 1848, was £7,060, 14s. 1¾d.; and that which came in by the sale of Bibles and tracts, and by the payment of the children in the day schools, amounted to £2,373, 3s. 7½d.
V. PERSONAL HISTORY.
Dec. 31, 1846. During this year there have been received into fellowship 66. The Lord has been pleased to give me during this year £399, 2s. 11d. To this is again to be added, what I have enlarged on in a former chapter, that during the whole of this year also my daughter was, free of all expenses, at a boarding-school, worth about fifty pounds.
In November, 1847, I had a most remarkable deliverance, which, to the praise of the Lord, is here recorded, as it is a further illustration of how the Lord watches over his children.
I was laboring for a little while at Bowness and Keswick in the ministry of the word, in October and November. When at Keswick, I stayed with my dear wife in a large boarding-house, in which, however, we were then alone, except a single gentleman. Just before we left Keswick, on the morning of Nov. 24, I heard that the gentleman, lodging in the same house, had shot himself during the night, but was not quite dead. We had not heard the report of the pistol, it being a very stormy night and the house large. Two days after, I received from a Christian brother at Keswick the following information respecting the transaction.
Keswick, Nov. 25, 1847.
Dear Mr. Müller:
The tender and Almighty care of our loving Father was never more over you, and indeed over all of us, than in your stay at Mrs. ----'s. Mr. ---- was quite deranged for two or three days before you left. Without any control, he had been walking about his room for the last two days and nights, with loaded pistols in his hands. Furthermore, he had taken into his head that you were going to kill him. How gracious of God that he spread his wings over you, and over dear Mrs. Müller, so that Satan could not break through the fence, to hurt even a hair of your heads. Speaking after the manner of men, there was nothing to have hindered him coming into the room, where we were all at tea, and of firing amongst us; but the Lord was our refuge and fortress, and preserved us from danger, which we knew not of. He shot himself in the neck and breast, but is not dead. He has a strait-waistcoat on. I assisted in cutting his clothes off, and in other little offices needed at such a time, and told him of Christ's love in dying for poor sinners. "I know it," he said. He shot himself the first time about three o'clock in the morning, and again about seven. What a scene his room presented; pistols lying in gore; bloody knives, lancets, and razors strewed about the floor, etc.
I add an extract from a second letter, written by the same Christian brother, because it shows still further how very merciful the Lord was to us at that time, in protecting us.
Mr. ---- is still alive, and has been removed by his friends into Yorkshire. It appears, insanity is in his family, his father being at this time in an asylum. It is evident that he had the pistols in his pockets, but of this no one knew until after the occurrence took place. I do not know what time of night you went to bed, but I judge it was about ten. If so, it was at ten o'clock Mr. ---- came down from his bedroom, after having been there six hours. It was a mercy you did not meet him, as it is plain that he had loaded pistols on his person.
Dec. 31, 1847. There have been received into fellowship, during this year, 39; and altogether, since Mr. Craik and I began laboring in Bristol, 1,157, besides the 68 whom we found in fellowship. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me £412, 18s. 8½d. To this is again to be added the free education of my dear daughter, at a boarding school, worth to us at least fifty pounds.
In April, 1848, I was enabled, by the help of the Lord, to complete all the arrangements for the publication of the Narrative of the Lord's dealings with me, in the French language; and about September of the same year the book appeared, under the following title: "Exposé de quelques-unes des dispensations de Dieu envers Georges Müller. Paris, librairie Protestante, Rue Tronchet, 2."
 The evening before my departure I had invited a number of believers to tea, to spend some time together in prayer, reading the Holy Scriptures, and in intercourse on spiritual subjects.