Legacy of Faithfulness: George Muller
By Josh Buice
Recently, my wife and I spent nine days in London and traveled out each day to various cities such as Bristol, Bedford, Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Upon our return home, I decided to write a series of posts on the lives of specific people from church history that left us with testimonies of genuine faith in the gospel, perseverance under persecution, and remained steadfast to the end. The goal in this series of articles is to lightly explore their lives and focus on their perseverance in the gospel of Jesus Christ. A life that finished well in the gospel is a life worth remembering. We have already looked at the lives of John Bunyan and Charles Spurgeon. Today’s focus is a man known as Muller.
George Muller’s Salvation and Doctrine
George Muller was born in Kroppenstaedt, a Prussian village, on September 27, 1805. George Muller was born as a German, but also as a sinner. He loved his sin and excelled in it. According to his very own testimony, he was a liar and a thief.  After finding himself in jail for stealing at 16 years of age, his father devised a plan for his life that would be a good occupation for his son and a good retirement plan for himself. Muller’s father sent him to the University of Halle to study divinity and prepare for the ministry. There was no desire for God by George or his father.
In November of 1825, when Muller was 20 years old, he was invited to a Bible study and that was the turning point for this man. He would come to discover his true happiness in God. Later, he would discover the doctrines of grace, although he had often spoken evil of the doctrine of election. Muller came into contact with a particular man who taught him the doctrines of grace, and it literally changed his life and subsequent ministry.
The doctrinal conviction of George Muller in God’s sovereignty changed the way he looked at the world, the way he trusted God, the way he prayed, and the way he preached. The present day stereotype of Calvinism as a missions killing doctrine is simply not accurate. If anyone could put that to death by demonstrating what real Calvinism looks like in the pulpit and in mission, it’s George Muller.
George Muller’s Preaching Ministry
George Muller spent his life in Bristol, England (west of London). He gave his life primarily to one church for 66 years. It’s estimated that he preached nearly 10,000 sermons to the flock that God entrusted to his care. Muller had challenges that he faced, people to care for, orphans to minister to, and he did all of this while preaching every week for over six decades. His passion was relentless. His preaching was God centered and Christ exalting. He didn’t manipulate people for results, yet many people came to faith under his preaching and were discipled in God’s Word.
Early in his life, he had ambitions to become a missionary. At the age of 70, he set out to travel to different countries to preach the gospel. He visited 42 different countries over a period of 17 years and preached to between 3 and 4 million people.  Muller would often preach in the people’s known language since he knew six languages fluently (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, French, and English).
George Muller’s Legacy of Faith
George Muller had a love for God and this self denying and God glorying pursuit led him to engage in ministry to orphans. In Bristol during his time, there was a massive problem with orphans. When Muller recognized it, he put his hand to the plough and never looked back. Muller prayed for God to provide the land, and God provided. He prayed for God to provide the housing, and God provided. He then prayed for God to provide the children, and God provided. The first orphan entered Muller’s care on 11th of April 1836. The first entry into their log books was Charlotte Hill.  Over the course of Muller’s ministry, he would care for over 10,000 orphans and through his ministry beyond his death, 17,000 orphans in total would be ministered to. He was serving as unto the Lord rather than unto men.
During Muller’s ministry, he experienced hardships and trials. He married Mary Groves at the age of 25, and they had four children, two of which were stillborn. His son Elijah died when he was only 1 year old. Mary preceded him in death. If you travel to Bristol, you can see the sermon text from Mary’s funeral in the little one room museum devoted to George Muller. As he preached her funeral, more than 800 people gathered outside in overflow and were unable to enter due to the crowd. Muller said of his wife Mary:
Were we happy? Verily we were. With every year our happiness increased more and more. I never saw my beloved wife at any time, when I met her unexpectedly anywhere in Bristol, without being delighted so to do. I never met her even in the Orphan Houses, without my heart being delighted so to do. Day by day, as we met in our dressing room, at the Orphan Houses, to wash our hands before dinner and tea, I was delighted to meet her, and she was equally pleased to seeme. Thousands of times I told her—“My darling, I never saw you at any time, since you became my wife, without my being delighted to see you.”
Yet through the death of his children and the death of his wife, he never became sidetracked in his mission for God. He would marry Susannah Sangar at 66 years of age. She too would precede him in death. Yet, Muller kept serving God.
George Muller loved orphans because he loved God and God had demonstrated love to Muller who was lost in his sin. Muller had unshakable faith in God to provide. He never asked people for money, but he did ask God for the people’s money. He was constantly on his knees praying. Two years after the first orphans entered his care, he had no money. On the morning of August 18th, 1838 he writes in his journal, “I have not a penny in hand for the orphans. In a day or two many pounds will be needed. My eyes are up to the Lord.” By that evening, he wrote in the journal, “Before this day is over, I have received from a sister 5 pounds. She had some time since put away her trinkets to be sold for the benefit of the orphans. This morning, whilst in prayer, it came to her mind, I have this 5 pounds, and owe no man anything, therefore it would be better to give this money at once, as it may be some time before I can dispose of the trinkets. She therefore brought it, little knowing that there was not a penny in hand.” 
George Muller lived among the orphans and loved them dearly. He invested in them by teaching them the gospel, educating them, and although he received grief because the orphans were often better educated than those who came from good homes in Bristol, the business owners eventually had to compete for the orphans who were “graduating” from the care of Muller.
One famous story about Muller’s faith is taken from a specific time when the orphans were out of food:
“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.” Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children. 
Eventually George Muller’s work was finished. He led a prayer meeting at his church on the evening of Wednesday, March 9, 1898. The next day a cup of tea was taken to him at seven in the morning but no answer came to the knock on the door. He was found dead on the floor beside his bed.  The orphan-loving pastor was gone at age 92. The city of Bristol came to a standstill. All of the factories and shops closed. People lined the streets to pay tribute to the orphan-loving, Christ exalting, gospel preacher known by many as – Muller. According to Arthur Pierson, “A thousand children gathered for a service at the Orphan House No. 3. They had now for a second time lost a ‘father’.”  As the streets were lined with people, the casket made its way to the cemetery followed by a train of orphan children.
Today, if you visit Bristol you will discover a tragedy. Nobody knows George Muller. Things changed over time and the way orphans were cared for changed politically, and so the mission of Muller and his care for the children was blessed by God. Eventually, the orphan houses became empty and were eventually sold. Muller saw the change coming and after his death, they continued to care for orphans and assist in providing care, but the orphan house ministry was no more. Over time the orphans disappeared from the streets. The orphan houses were sold. Today, if you walk the streets of Bristol and come to Ashley Down orphan houses, you will discover that of the five houses, two are apartments, and three are owned by a college.
As my wife and I stood in the intersection and looked at the busy streets from beneath an umbrella, I asked Kari – “Why don’t we go into the visitor’s center and just ask them if they know the history of the buildings?” She reluctantly agreed. As we entered the busy building full of people, we approached a desk and I asked the lady, “Excuse me, you wouldn’t happen to know the history of this building would you?” She said, “Hang on.” She then got up and got a book with a blank cover and handed it to my wife and I and said, “There is a table over there, go take a seat and have a little read.” As we opened this book, it was a collection of approximately 40 photocopied pictures of all of Muller’s work with the oprhans. As my wife and I sat in the busy college campus, we wiped tears away as we considered the history and work of this man that Bristol has forgotten.
We departed from that building and made our way to the cemetery where Muller was buried. We walked the street and arrived after dark. After discovering a way to enter the already closed cemetery, we asked permission at the newly constructed cafe to find a grave although it was already closed. After receiving permission, we walked up a muddy pathway in the dark to the location that we had on a small general map that was provided to us at the museum. It took a little effort, but we found his grave by flashlight. I must admit, I’m grateful to my wife for hanging with me on this journey.
It’s hard to believe that this man of faith is buried back in a wooded cemetery in a city that has failed to remember him. One thing is for certain, George Muller may be forgotten by Bristol, but he is remembered by God. George Muller persevered in the faith and we can learn much from his life that was spent for the glory of God.
George Mueller, Autobiography of George Mueller, or A Million and a Half in Answer to Prayer, compiled by G. Fred Bergin (Denton, Tex.: Westminster Literature Resources, 2003), 1:10.
Arthur T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol and His Witness to A Prayer-Hearing God (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 1999), 257. Originally published as “Authorized Memoir” (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell, 1899).
Roger Steer, George Muller – Delighted in God (Christian Focus Publications, Denmark, 2012), 65
“George Mueller, Orphanages Built by Prayer”
Pierson, George Mueller, 285.
Original article appeared at:
“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.” Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children."
The Life and Ministry
By Ed Reese
BORN: September 27, 1805 DIED: March 10, 1898
Kroppenstaedt, Prussia (Germany) Bristol, England
LIFE SPAN: 92 years, 5 months, 11 days
George Mueller has proved to the world the truth of Philippians 4:19 and
he will always be remembered as the man who got things from God. His
testimony is an inspiration to Christians everywhere. Three weeks after
his marriage, he and his wife decided to depend on God alone to supply
their needs--never again to approach people about them. Now he felt led
to relinquish his small salary as a preacher completely. Wishing that
all support be spontaneous, he put a box in the chapel for his needs;
determining never to run into debt, and to get his needs supplied only by
requests to God Himself. This was October, 1830. When he died, in March
1898, 68 years later, he had obtained from God more than any one else who
ever lived--seven and a half million dollars.
Mueller was the son of Herr and Frau Mueller. His father was a Prussian
tax-collector. The family moved to Heimershleben, four miles away, in
1810. Soon two other sons were born. Strangely gullible, the father
would entrust his small sons with considerable amounts of cash to teach
them to acquire the habit of possessing money without spending it. This
back-fired, for George, in particular, devised numerous methods of using
the money for himself without being detected. Before he was ten years
old, he repeatedly stole from the government funds in his father's
Herr Mueller wanted his son to be a clergyman and make a good living, in
order to be able to support him when he became old. Schooling was
obtained for George at Cathedral Classical School at Halberstadt, with
very little supervision given him from about age ten to 16. His mother
died when he was 14. George was playing cards, not even aware of her
illness that night. He spent the next day at a tavern with some friends.
Lutheran church confirmation classes started at this time, and it was a
custom for candidates on the eve of confirmation to make a formal
confession of their sins to the clergyman in the vestry. Mueller used
the opportunity to cheat clergyman of 11/12ths of the fee his father had
given him for the cleric. Confirmed the Sunday after Easter, 1820, he
was now a religious lost person. When George was 15, his father was
transferred to Schoenebeck, Prussia. The son was left at home to
supervise some repairs and to study for the ministry. George was up to
his old tricks. He collected money which the villagers owed his father
for taxes, then took a trip which he later called "...days of sin." He
would stay in expensive hotels, sneaking out after a week without paying
a bill. However, after a couple weeks of this, he was caught and put in
jail for 24 days. The elder Mueller bailed his son out, and soon George
entered school at Nordhausen, Prussia, where he stayed for two and
one-half years. He studied from 4 a.m. until 10 p.m. The teacher said he
had great promise, but drinking and debauchery continued to cancel these
acclaims. This time (1820-1825) was also spent in contriving to provide
himself with money for his bad habits.
In 1825, when 19 years old, he left school and entered Halle University
as a student of Divinity. The University had 1,260 students, including
some 900 divinity students preparing themselves for the Lutheran Church
ministries. Here he decided he must reform if a parish was to ever
choose him as pastor. He renewed an acquaintance in a tavern with a
fellow student named Beta, who was a backslidden Christian. They were
former school-fellows. In August, 1825, Mueller, Beta, and two other
students, pawned some of their belongings to get enough money for a few
days of travel. Switzerland was decided upon, and George forged the
necessary letters from their parents with which to get passports.
Mueller, like Judas, decided to carry the purse. His friends unwittingly
paid part of his expenses as a result and 43 idle days of travel
Back at the University, Beta was stricken with remorse and made full
confession to his father. Beta began to attend a Saturday night
Christian meeting in a home. Mueller, hearing about this, became
sincerely interested, and pressed his friend into taking him to the
meeting. Beta did, reluctantly, not believing George would like
it--reading the Bible, praying, singing hymns, and listening to a sermon.
As he sat in the Wagner residence, George saw something he had never seen
before--people on their knees praying. He felt awkward for being there
and even apologized for his presence. The host pleasantly invited him to
come as often as he pleased. As he walked home, he declared, "All we
have seen on our journey to Switzerland, and all our former pleasures,
are as nothing in comparison with this evening!" That Saturday night in
mid-November, 1825, turned him around as Christ became his Savior. At
age 20 the unstable pagan found the power to overcome his moral
weaknesses and a new life began.
In January, 1826, as he began reading missionary literature, he felt
inclined in this direction more and more. He wrote his father and
brother to this end. However, the reply from father was a furious
objection to these plans. As a result, George decided he would have to
support himself at the University, rather than take funds from his
father. Back at Halle he obtained a well-paying job of teaching German
to American college professors and translating lectures for them. He
preached his first sermon on August 27, 1826, at a village six miles from
Halle. During this time he lived for two months in the Orphan House
built by August Hermann Francke, Professor of Divinity at Halle. Here
the seed of an idea was sown that was to come to fruition later in
Bristol. In 1828, he completed his University courses.
Mueller now had a desire to become a missionary to the Jews, so he
applied to a society in London which majored in this work, which led to
an invitation to come for a six-month probationary period in London. He
left home on February 10, 1829 and arrived in London on March 19. His
English became fluent, although he never lost his German accent. The
regulations and routine at seminary tempted him to give up his ideas.
His study of Hebrew was unremitting, and soon resulted in delicate
health. Advised by doctors and friends, he went to the country for a
change of air and schedule which was to change his life as well. He
traveled to Teignmouth in Devonshire and became acquainted with Henry
Craik, who would become his loyal associate in the ensuing years. Here
he attended the reopening of a small meeting-house called Bethesda
Chapel, where he was touched deeply by one of the speakers. By the time
he returned to London, he was a different man, having learned the value
of meditation upon the Scriptures, beginning in August, 1829.
Now he began to gather some of his fellow-students from 6 to 8 a.m. each
morning for prayer and Bible reading. Evenings he would pray with anyone
he could find, often until after mid-night. During these days he felt he
did not want to be limited to ministry amongst the Jews alone, so he
resigned from the London Society. Back in the Devonshire area he began
to preach in chapels in Exmouth, Teignmouth and Shaldon. He was then
called upon to pastor at the Ebenezer Chapel in Teignmouth, a
congregation of 18 people where he began in 1830. During this year he
became convinced of the necessity of believer's baptism, and was
rebaptized. In January of 1830 he undertook a monthly preaching
engagement just outside Exeter, lodging there with a Mrs. Hake, an
invalid. Mary Groves, age 29, was keeping house for her. Mueller, with
a mature outlook on life, was greatly attracted to Mary, though he was
only 24 years of age. On October 7, 1830 they were joined in marriage at
St. David's Church in Exeter.
Three weeks after their marriage, they decided to depend upon God alone
to provide their needs as already indicated. They carried it to the
extent that they would not give definite answers to inquiries as to
whether or not they were in need of money at any particular moment. At
the time of need, there would always seem to be funds available from some
source, both in regards to their private income, and to the funds for his
vast projects soon to be discussed. No matter how pressing was the need,
George simply renewed his prayers, and either money or food always came
in time to save the situation. On February 19, 1832, he records an
instance of healing by faith. Suffering from a gastric ulcer, he
believed God could heal him and four days later he was as well as ever.
In the spring of 1832, he felt he must leave Teignmouth. Craik, his
friend, had gone on to Bristol for a visit, and Mueller felt led to go
there also. On April 22, he preached his first sermon in Bristol. A
friend offered to rent Bethesda Chapel there for a year if the two men
would stay and develop a work. Agreeing not to be bound by any
stipulation, Craik and Mueller accepted the call. On May 25, 1832, the
Muellers settled permanently in Bristol which became his home until he
died. A long association with the chapel on Great George Street also
began. In July of that year, Bristol was visited with a plague of
cholera which took many lives, but none of those among whom he and Craik
ministered. On September 17, 1832, his first child, Lydia, was born.
It was on February 25, 1834, that George Mueller founded a new Missionary
Institution which he called "The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for
Home and Abroad." It had four objectives:
1. To assist Sunday Schools, Day Schools and Adult Schools, and where
possible to start new ones.
2. To sell Bibles and Testaments to the poor at low prices, and if
necessary, to give them free of cost.
3. To aid missionary effort. (This was to provide financial aid to free-
4. To circulate tracts in English and in various foreign languages.
The Orphan House became a fifth objective, and the most well known
enterprise, yet it is right to point out that Mueller was greatly used in
developing the other objectives as well.
On March 19, 1834, a son, Elijah, was born but he died the next year,
June 25, 1835, from pneumonia, leaving the Muellers with only one
child--Lydia. The summer of 1835 found Mueller himself in very poor
health, slowing down his pace and giving him time to write "The Narrative
of the Lord's Dealing with George Mueller."
For some time he had been thinking about starting an orphanage in
Bristol. On December 9, 1835 he presented his burden at a public
meeting. No collection was taken, but someone handed him ten shillings
and a Christian woman offered herself for the work. After five days of
prayer $300 came in and it seemed they might now have enough money to
rent a house, equip and furnish it. The other request was for Christian
people to work with the children. His basic aim was to have a
work--something to point to as visible proof that God hears and answers
prayer. His heart went out to the many ragged children running wild in
the streets, but that was a secondary reason for starting the orphanage.
He rented Number 6 Wilson Street, where he himself had been living, and
on April 11, 1836, the doors of the orphanage opened with 26 children.
These were girls between seven and twelve years old.
The second House was opened on November 28, 1836, to care for children
from babyhood to seven years of age. In September, 1837, a third house
was opened for boys over seven years of age.
Illness plagued Mueller from time to time, and in late 1837 he was very
weak. This time his head provided the discomfort. He went to Germany in
the spring of 1838 as well as in February, 1840, when he saw his father
for a last time. Presumably he still had not accepted Christ as George
noted, "How it would have cheered the separation on both sides were my
dear father a believer." He died shortly thereafter. The years 1828 to
1843 were surely years of trials for Craik and Mueller as they prayed in
everything. All were properly clad and everyone sat down to regular
meals in the Houses. Mueller never incurred a debt, and God
supernaturally provided for everyone. A well known story indicates the
kind of life that was lived.
One morning the plates and cups and bowls on the table were
empty. There was no food in the larder, and no money to buy
food. The children were standing waiting for their morning
meal, when Mueller said, "Children, you know we must be in
time for school." Lifting his hand he said, "Dear Father,
we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat."
There was a knock on the door. The baker stood there, and
said, "Mr. Mueller, I couldn't sleep last night. Somehow I
felt you didn't have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted
me to send you some. So I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some
fresh bread, and have brought it." Mueller thanked the man.
No sooner had this transpired when there was a second knock
at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his
milk cart had broken down right in front of the Orphanage,
and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh
milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it. No wonder,
years later, when Mueller was to travel the world as an
evangelist, he would be heralded as "the man who gets things
By March, 1843, he felt the need for a second home for girls. On July,
1844, the fourth house on Wilson Street was opened--the total of his
homeless waifs now being 130. A letter received on October 30, 1845,
changed his entire ministry...he was now age 40. Basically, it was a
letter from a local resident complaining that the noise of the children
was a nuisance. They were vastly over-crowded and there was not enough
space for land cultivation, washing clothes, etc. He gave the letter
much thought, listing the pros and cons. If he were to leave, he would
have to build a structure to hold at least 300 orphans at a cost of
$60,000. On his 36th day of prayer over the dilemma, the first $6,000
came in for a building program. By June, 1848, he received all of the
$60,000 which he needed. He had begun to build the previous year on July
5, 1847, at a placed called Ashley Downs as the bulk of the money had
been sent in. Building Number 1 was opened in June, 1849, and housed 300
children with staff sufficient to teach and care for them. It was a
seven-acre site and finally cost about $90,000 as legal expenses,
furnishings, and land purchase brought the price up higher than
anticipated. The old houses on Wilson Street emptied and everyone was
now under one roof.
Mueller was becoming a well known Christian leader. He answered some
3,000 letters a year without a secretary. Besides his orphanages, the
four other objectives of his Scriptural Knowledge Institution claimed his
attention and he continued his pastoral work at Bethesda Chapel also.
In 1850, he felt the need for a second orphanage. Donations began to
come in miraculously again and finally, on November 12, 1857, a second
building housing 400 children at a cost of $126,000 was built. Number 3
opened on March 12, 1862, housing 450 children, and costing over
$138,000. It was housed on 11 1/2 acres. Number 4 was opened November
5, 1868, and Number 5 on January 6, 1870. These last two cost over
$300,000 and housed 450 each.
From 1848 to 1874, money came in to improve and expand the work which
went from 130 orphans to 2,050 during this time and up to 13 acres.
Mueller describes these days, writing in 1874:
But God, our infinite rich Treasurer, remains with us. It is
this which gives me peace. Moreover if it pleases Him, with
a work requiring about $264,000 a year...would I gladly pass
through all these trials of faith with regard to means, if He
only might be glorified, and His Church and the world
benefited...I have placed myself in the position of having no
means at all left; and 2,100 persons, not only daily at the
table, but with everything else to be provided for, and all
the funds gone; 189 missionaries to be assisted, and nothing
whatever left; about one hundred schools with 9,000 scholars
in them, to be entirely supported, and no means for them in
hand; about four million tracts and tens of thousands of
copies of the Holy Scriptures yearly now to be sent out, and
all the money expended...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.
His own personal income varied around $12,000 a year, of which he kept
for himself $1,800 giving the rest away.
His fellow worker, Henry Craik, died on January 22, 1866, followed by the
death of his wife on February 6, 1870. She was 72 and had suffered from
rheumatic fever. James Wright married Mueller's daughter, Lydia in 1871
and also replaced Craik as his associate. Mueller himself remarried on
November 30, 1871, to a Susannah Grace Sangar, whom he had known for 25
years as a consistent Christian. He was 66 and she in her late forties,
a perfect companion for him in his ministries still ahead.
Mueller decided to fulfill the many requests for his appearance around
the world. Turning the work over to Wright, from 1875 to 1892, Mueller
made 16 preaching trips to various sectors of the world. For the sake of
historians and others interested in statistical data, they were as
March 26 - July 6, 1875 England (Brighton, London, Sunderland,
Newcastle). Preached 70 times, such places as Spurgeon's Metropolitan
August 14, 1875 - July 5, 1876 England, Scotland and Ireland. His five
week stay in Liverpool had Sunday Crowds of 5,000.
August 16, 1876 - June 25, 1877 Switzerland, Germany and Holland.
Preached 302 times in 68 places in three languages.
August 18, 1877 - July 8, 1878 Canada and the United States. Preached
299 times, conference with President Rutherford Hayes.
September 5, 1878 - July 18, 1879 Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy.
Fellowship with Spurgeon in France, saw schools he supported in Spain.
August 27, 1879 - June 17, 1880 United States and Canada. Spoke again
299 times - in 42 places.
September 15, 1880 - May 31, 1881 Canada and the United States. Accepted
many invitations he had to turn down the previous tour.
August 23, 1881 - May 30, 1882 Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor,
Turkey, Greece. Many physical difficulties were encountered, traveling
August 8, 1882 - June 1, 1883 Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Russia,
Poland. Suppressed in Russia, could only preach to 20 at one time.
September 26, 1883 - June 5, 1884 India. 78 years old, preached 206 times
and traveled 21,000 miles.
August 18 - October 2, 1884 England and South Wales. Tour cut short
because of illness of Mrs. Mueller.
May 16 - July 1, 1885 England Tour cut short because of illness of George
September 1 - Oct. 3, 1885 England and Scotland, Primary ministry was in
Liverpool, England, and Dundee, Scotland.
November 4, 1885 - June 13, 1887 Australia, China, Japan, Straits of
Malacca. Ages 81 to 83 - traveled 37,280 miles around the world.
August 10, 1887 - March 11, 1890 Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand,
Ceylon, India. Intense heat of Calcutta almost killed him. Telegram
that daughter Lydia had died January 10, 1890 in Bristol cut short the
August 8, 1890 - May, 1892 Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy. At 86
preaching to large crowds.
George and his wife traveled 200,000 miles in 17 years of world-wide
evangelism efforts, in 42 countries, preaching to 3 million people.
It was on January 13, 1894 that his second wife passed away after 23 years
of marriage. He was now 89 years old, and was living out his days in
Orphan House #3. He preached his last sermon on Isaiah's Vision,
March 6, 1898 at Alma Road Chapel in Clifton. On March 10, 1898 the maid
went to his room, and found him dead on the floor by the side of his bed.
The funeral in Bristol on March 14th has never been surpassed there as tens
of thousands lined the streets. The grief of the orphans was evident.
He was buried by the side of his two wives.
Mueller was non-sectarian in his general outlook, and was one of the
founders of the Brethren movement. His influence touched the lives of
thousands--perhaps most notable, that of J. Hudson Taylor. His most
moving reunion with an orphan was on October 19, 1878 when a 71 year old
widow met him...she had been his first orphan over 57 years previously.
10,023 other orphans were to follow her there and have Daddy Mueller rear
them. Mueller read the Bible through over 200 times, half of these times
on his knees. He said he knew of some 50,000 specific answers to
prayer...requests to God alone!
Over 3,000 of his orphans were won to Christ through his ministry by the
November 21. Today it has been impressed on my heart no longer merely to think about establishing an orphan house but actually to begin making plans. I spent much time in prayer to find the Lord's will in this situation.
November 23. The Lord, in answer to prayer, has given me about fifty pounds. I had asked only for forty pounds. This has been a great encouragement to me and has stirred me to think and pray even more about establishing an orphan house.
November 25. I again spent much time in prayer yesterday and today about the orphan house. I am convinced that it is of God. May He in mercy guide me!
There are several reasons why I desire to establish an orphan house. One of the things the children of God need most is to have their faith strengthened. I visited a brother who worked fourteen to sixteen hours a day at his trade. His body ached, his soul was lean, and he had no joy in God.
I pointed out to him that he should work less in order that his health might not suffer. He could gather strength for his inner man by reading the Word of God, by meditation on it, and by prayer.
He replied, "But if I work less, I do not earn enough for the support of my family. Even now, while I work so much, I have scarcely enough."
He had no trust in God and no real belief in the truth of that word, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).
I explained to him, "My dear brother, it is not your work which supports your family, but the Lord. He has fed you and your family when you could not work at all because of illness. He would surely provide for you and yours, if, for the sake of obtaining food for your inner man, you worked fewer hours a day to give you proper time for rest. You begin to work after only a few hurried moments for prayer. You leave your work in the evening and intend to read a little of the Word of God, but by then you are too worn out in body and mind to enjoy it. You often fall asleep while reading the Scriptures or while on your knees in prayer."
The brother admitted this was true. He agreed that my advice was good, but I read in his countenance, even if he did not actually say so, "How could I make ends meet if I were to carry out your advice?" I longed to have something to give the brother as a visible proof that our God and Father is the same faithful God that He ever was. He is willing as ever to prove Himself the living God to all who put their trust in Him.
Sometimes children of God are fearful of growing old and being unable to work any longer. If I point out to them how their heavenly Father has always helped those who put their trust in Him, they might not say that times have changed. But it is evident that they do not see God as the living God. I longed to set something before the children of God that they might see that He does not forsake, even in hard times, those who rely on Him.
Christian businessmen suffer in their spiritual lives and bring guilt on their consciences by carrying on their business in the same way that unconverted people do. The competition in trade, bad times, and overpopulation are given as reasons why a business carried on according to the Word of God could not be expected to prosper. Few people have the holy determination to trust in the living God and depend on Him in order that a good conscience might be maintained. I want to show these people that God is faithful and can be trusted without reservation.
Some individuals are in professions which they cannot continue with a good conscience. But they fear leaving their profession lest they become unemployed. I long to strengthen their faith by proving that the promises from the Word of God of His willingness and ability to help all those who rely on Him are true.
I know that the Word of God ought to be enough. But by giving my brothers visible proof of the unchangeable faithfulness of the Lord, I might strengthen their faith. I want to be the servant of the Church in the particular point on which I had obtained mercy-in being able to take God at His Word and to rely on it.
This seems to me best done by establishing an orphan house-something which could be seen by the natural eye. If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith obtained, without asking any individual, the finances for establishing and carrying on an orphan house, this might strengthen the faith of the children of God. It would also be a testimony to the unconverted of the reality of the things of God.
This is the primary reason for establishing the orphan house. I certainly desire to be used by God to help the poor children and train them in the ways of God. But the primary object of the work is that God would be magnified because the orphans under my care will be provided with all they need through prayer and faith. Everyone will see that God is faithful and hears prayer.
November 28. I have been praying every day this week concerning the orphan house, entreating the Lord to take away every thought of it if the matter is not of Him. After repeatedly examining the motives of my heart, I am convinced that it is of God.
December 2. Brother Craik and I have talked about the orphan house. I wanted him to show me any hidden corruption of my heart or any other scriptural reason against engaging in it. The only reason I could doubt that it is of God for me to begin this work is the numerous responsibilities which I have already. But if the matter is of God, He will, in due time, send suitable individuals so that comparatively little of my time will be taken up in this service.
Brother Craik greatly encouraged me in the work. Today I took the first step in the matter and announced a public meeting on December 9. The brethren want to hear my thoughts concerning the orphan house, and I want to know the Lord's will more clearly.
December 5. This Scripture came alive to me today: "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" (Psa. 81:10). I was led to apply it to the' orphan house and asked the Lord for a building, one thousand pounds, and suitable individuals to take care of the children.
December 7. Today I received the first shilling for the orphan house.
December 9. This afternoon the first piece of furniture was given-a large wardrobe. I felt low in spirit about the orphan house, but as soon as I began to speak at the evening meeting, I received assistance from God. After the meeting, ten shillings were given to me. There was no collection taken, nor did anyone speak besides myself. The meeting was not in the least intended to work upon people's emotions, to gain support. After the meeting, a sister offered herself for the work. I went home happy in the Lord and full of confidence that the matter will come to pass, although only ten shillings have been given.
December 10. I received a letter from a brother and sister who wrote, "We offer ourselves for the service of the intended orphan house, if you think we are qualified for it. Also we will give up all the furniture and household items which the Lord has given us, for its use. We do this without expecting any salary, believing that if it is the will of the Lord to employ us, He will supply all our need."
During the next several weeks, God answered our prayers concerning the orphan house. We were given furniture, fabric, kitchen utensils, blankets, plates, and cups, in addition to financial support. Some days very little came in, and I would begin to feel discouraged. But the Lord strengthened me during those times and touched the hearts of others to abundantly supply our needs. Several other people offered their services to work among the orphans, completely trusting God for their support.
One sister in particular was a great source of blessing to me as she gave generously although she had little. She earned only a few shillings a week as a seamstress. When her father died, he left her four hundred pounds. She paid off the substantial debts he had contracted, gave one hundred pounds to her mother, and brought another hundred pounds to me for the work of the orphan house.
Before accepting the money, I had a long conversation with her. I needed to know her motives, and whether she might have given this money emotionally, without having counted the cost. But I had not conversed long with this beloved sister before I found that she was a quiet, calm, considerate follower of the Lord Jesus. She desired, in spite of what human reasoning might say, to act according to the words of our Lord, "lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth" (Matt. 6:19). "Sell that ye have, and give alms" (Luke 12:33).
When I continued questioning her in order that I might see whether she had counted the cost, she said to me, "The Lord Jesus gave His last drop of blood for me. Should I not give Him the hundred pounds?"
Four things must be noticed about this beloved sister. 1. She did all these things in secret and thus proved that she did not desire the praise of man. 2. She remained, as before, of an humble and lowly mind. She gave her money for the Lord and not to impress-man. 3. During all the time that she had this comparative abundance, she did not change her lodging, dress, or manner of life. She remained in every way the poor handmaiden of the Lord to all outward appearance. 4. She continued to work at her sewing all this time, earning three shillings or a little more a week while she gave away the money in five-pound notes.
At last all her money was gone several years before her death. She found herself completely dependent upon the Lord, who never forsook her, up to the last moments of her earthly life. Her body grew weaker, and she was able to work very little. But the Lord supplied her with all she needed, although she never asked for anything. For instance, a sister in our fellowship sent her all the bread she needed. She was full of thanksgiving, always praising the Lord.
April 2, 1836. This day was set apart for prayer and thanksgiving for the opening of the Orphan House. In the morning, several brethren prayed, and brother Craik spoke on the last verses of Psa. 20. I addressed our day and Sunday school children and the orphans; and in the evening, we had another prayer meeting. Seventeen children are living in the Orphan House.
May 16 For several weeks our income has been low. Although I prayed many times that the Lord would enable us to pay our taxes, the prayer remained unanswered. The Lord will send help by the time it is needed.
One thing particularly has been a trial to us lately, far more than our temporal circumstances. We have scarcely been able to relieve the poverty among the poor saints. Seven pounds twelve shillings were given to me as my part of the freewill offerings through the boxes, and two five-pound notes were put in yesterday-one for brother Craik and one for me. Thus the Lord has again delivered us and answered our prayers, not one single boar too late. The taxes are not yet due. May He fill my heart with gratitude for this fresh deliverance. May He enable me to trust more in Him and to wait patiently for His help!
January 9, 1834. During these past eighteen months, brother Craik and I have preached once a month at Brislington, a village near Bristol. We had not seen any fruit from our labors there. This led me to pray earnestly to the Lord for the conversion of sinners in that place. I asked the Lord to convert at least one soul this evening so that we might have a little encouragement. Tonight a young man was brought to the knowledge of the truth.
February 21. I began to form a plan to establish an institution for the spread of the gospel at home and abroad. I trust this matter is of God.
February 25. I was led again today to pray about forming a new missionary institution and felt more certain that we should do so. Some people may ask why we formed a new institution for the spread of the gospel and why we did not unite with some of the religious societies already in existence. I give, therefore, our reasons in order to show that nothing but the desire to maintain a good conscience led us to act as we have.
The Word of God is the only rule of action for the disciples of the Lord Jesus. In comparing the existing religious societies with the Word of God, we found that they departed so far from it that we could not be united with them and maintain a good conscience.
The goal which these religious societies are working toward is that the whole world will eventually be converted. They refer to the passage in Hab. 2:14, "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea;" or the one in Isa. 11:9, "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
These passages have no reference to the present dispensation but to the one which will begin when the Lord returns. In the present time, things will not become spiritually better, but worse. Only people gathered out from among the Gentiles for the Lord will be converted. This is clear from many passages in God's Word. (See Matt. 13:24-30,36-43; 2 Tim. 3:1-13; Acts 15:14.) A hearty desire and earnest prayer for the conversion of sinners is quite scriptural. But it is unscriptural to expect the conversion of the whole world. We could not set such a goal for ourselves in the service of the Lord.
But even worse is the connection of those religious societies with the world. In temporal things, the children of God must make use of the world but the work to be done requires that those who attend to it should have spiritual life (of which unbelievers are utterly destitute). The children of God are bound by their loyalty to their Lord to refrain from any association with the unregenerate.
The connection with the world is obvious in these religious societies, for everyone who donates a certain amount is considered to be a member. Although such an individual may live in sin; although he may manifest to everyone that he does not know the Lord Jesus; if only the money is paid, he is a member and has a right to vote. Moreover, whoever pays a larger sum can be a member for life, however openly sinful his life is. Surely such things ought not to be.
The methods used in these religious societies to obtain money for the work of the Lord are also unscriptural. It is common to ask the unconverted for money, which even Abraham would not have done. (See Gen. 14:21-24.) How much less should we do it! We are forbidden to have fellowship with unbelievers in all such matters because we are in fellowship with the Father and the Son. We can, therefore, obtain everything from the Lord we can possibly need in His service without being obliged to go to the unconverted world. The first disciple did this in 3 John 7-"Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles."
The individuals who manage the affairs of the societies may be unconverted persons or even open enemies to the truth. This is permitted because they are rich or influential. I have never known a case of a poor, but wise and experienced, servant of Christ being invited to lead such public meetings. Surely the Galilean fishermen or even our Lord Himself would not have been called to this office according to these principles. The disciples of the Lord Jesus should not judge a person's fitness for service in the Church by the position he fills in the world or by the wealth he possesses.
Almost all these societies contract debts so that it is rare to read a report of any of them without finding that they have expended more than they have received. This is contrary both to the spirit and to the letter of the New Testament. "Owe no man anything, but to love one another" (Rom. 13:8).
Brother Craik and I heartily agree that many true children of God are connected with these religious societies. The Lord has blessed their efforts in many ways, despite the existence of practices we judge to be unscriptural. Yet it appeared to us to be His will that we should be separate from these societies.
By the blessing of God, we may help the children of God in those societies to realize their unscriptural practices. We remained united in brotherly love with the individual believers belonging to them. We would by no means judge them if they do not see that their practices are contrary to Scripture. But since we see them to be so ourselves, we could not with a clear conscience remain.
We thought that it would be harmful to the brethren among whom we labored if we did nothing to support missionary work. Therefore, we wanted to do something to spread the gospel at home and abroad, however small the beginning might be.
March 5. This evening at a public meeting, brother Craik and I stated the principles on which we intend to establish our institution for the spread of the gospel at home and abroad. There was nothing outwardly impressive either in the number of people present or in our speeches. May the Lord graciously grant His blessing upon the institution which will be called The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad.
The Principles Of The Institution We consider every believer to be called to help the cause of Christ, and we have scriptural reasons to expect the Lord's blessing on our work of faith and labor of love. The world will not be converted before the coming of our Lord Jesus, but while He tarries, all scriptural means should be employed for the ingathering of the elect of God.
With the Lord's help, we will not seek the patronage of the world. We never intend to ask unconverted people of rank or wealth to support this institution because we believe this would be dishonorable to the Lord. "In the name of our God we will set up our banners" (Psa. 20:5). He alone will be our patron. If He helps us we will prosper; and if He is not on our side, we will not succeed.
We will not ask unbelievers for money although we will accept their contributions if they offer them of their own accord. (See Acts 28:2- 10.)
We reject the help of unbelievers in managing or carrying on the affairs of the institution. (See 2 Cor. 6:14-18.)
We intend never to enlarge the field of labor by contracting debts and then appealing to the Church for help. This is contrary both to the letter and the spirit of the New Testament. In secret prayer, God helping us, we will carry the needs of the institution to the Lord and act according to the direction that God gives.
We will not measure the success of the institution by the amount of money given or the number of Bibles distributed, but by the Lord's blessing on the work. "Not by might, nor by power, but my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6). We expect His blessing in proportion to our waiting upon Him in prayer.
While we avoid needless separation, we desire to go on simply according to Scripture, without compromising the truth. We will thankfully receive any scriptural instruction which experienced believers, after prayer, may have to give us concerning the institution.
The Goals Of The Institution 1. We will assist day schools, Sunday schools, and adult schools which give instruction on scriptural principles. As the Lord supplies the finances and suitable teachers and makes our path clear, we will establish schools of this kind. We also intend to place poor children into such day schools.
Our day school teachers must be godly people, the way of salvation must be scripturally pointed out, and no instruction may oppose the principles of the gospel.
Our Sunday school teachers must be believers and the Holy Scriptures alone will be the foundation of instruction. We consider it unscriptural that any people who do not know the Lord themselves should be allowed to. give religious instruction.
The institution will not provide any adult school with the supply of Bibles, Testaments, or spelling books unless the teachers are believers.
2. We will distribute the Holy Scriptures.
3. We will assist missionaries whose ministry appears to be carried out according to the Scitiptures.
March 7. Today we have only one shilling left. This evening when we came home from our work, we found our tailor waiting for us. He brought a new suit of clothes for brother Craik and me, which another brother had ordered for us.
April 23. Yesterday and today I asked the Lord to send us twenty pounds, that we might be able to purchase a larger stock of Bibles and Testaments than our small fund would allow. This evening a sister, unasked, promised to give us that sum. She added that she felt a particular joy in circulating the Holy Scriptures because reading the Word had brought her to the knowledge of the Lord.
June 8. I obtained no text for my sermon this morning despite repeated prayer and reading of the Word. When I awoke, these words were on my mind: "My grace is sufficient for thee." As soon as I dressed, I turned to 2 Cor. 12 to consider this passage. But after prayer, I decided that I had not been directed to this portion for the sake of speaking on it, as I at first thought.
Therefore, I followed my usual practice in such cases-I continued reading the Scriptures where I left off last evening. When I came to Heb. 11:13-16, I felt that this was the text. 'Having prayed, I was confirmed in it, and the Lord opened this passage to me. I preached on it with great enjoyment. God greatly blessed what I said, and at least one soul was brought to the Lord.
June 25. These last three days I have had very little real communion with God, and have therefore been irritable and weak spiritually.
June 26. I rose early this morning and spent nearly two hours in prayer before breakfast. I now feel more comfortable.
July 11. I have prayed much about a director for the boys' school which will be established in connection with our little institution. Eight have applied for the position, but none seemed to be suitable. Now, at last, the Lord has given us a brother who will begin the work.
October 9. Our institution, established in dependence upon the Lord, has now been in operation for seven months. Many have been benefited with instruction. In the Sunday school we have about 120 children; in the adult school, about 40 adults; in the day schools, 209 children. We have circulated 482 Bibles and 520 New Testaments. Lastly, a sizable amount has been spent to aid missionary work.
October 28. We heard a moving account of a poor little orphan boy who for some time attended one of our schools. He was recently taken to the poorhouse some miles outside of Bristol. He expressed great sorrow that he could no longer attend our school and ministry. May this lead me to do something to supply the temporal needs of poor children, the pressure of which has caused this poor boy to be taken away from our school!
November 4. I spent most of the morning reading the Word and in prayer. I also asked for our daily bread, for we have scarcely any money left.
November 5. I spent almost the whole day in prayer and reading the Word. I prayed again for the supply of our temporal needs, but the Lord has not yet answered.
November 8. The Lord has graciously again supplied our temporal needs during this week, although at the beginning of it we had little left. I have prayed much this week for money, more than any other week since we have been in Bristol. The Lord has provided through people paying what they owed us. We also sold some of the things that we did not need.
December 31. Since brother Craik and I have been laboring in Bristol, 227 brothers and sisters have been added to us in fellowship. Out of these, 103 have been converted, and many have been brought into the liberty of the gospel or reclaimed from backsliding. Forty-seven young converts are at Gideon and fifty-six at Bethesda.
January 1, 1835. Last evening we had a special prayer meeting to praise the Lord for His many mercies which we have received during the past year. We asked Him to continue to show us His favor.
January 13. I visited from house to house the people living on Orange Street, to find out whether any individuals wanted Bibles, whether they could read, and whether they wanted their children placed in our day schools or Sunday school. This gave me many opportunities to converse with them about their souls.
January 15. This morning I went again from house to house on Orange Street. I greatly delight in such work, for it is very important; but my hands are so full with other work that I can do little of it.
January 21. I received, in answer to prayer, five pounds for the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. The Lord pours in, while we continue to pour out. During the past week, fifty-eight copies of the Scriptures were sold at reduced prices. We want to continue this important work, but we will require much financial help.
January 28. For these past few days, I have prayed much about whether the Lord will have me to go as a missionary to the East Indies. I am willing to go if He wants to use me in this way.
January 29. I have been greatly stirred to pray about going to Calcutta as a missionary. May the Lord guide me in this matter!
February 25. In the name of the Lord and in dependence on Him alone for support, we have established a fifth day school for poor children, which opened today. We now have two boys' schools and three girls' schools.
June 3. Today we held a public meeting on account of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad. For the past fifteen months we have been able to provide poor children with schooling, circulate the Holy Scriptures, and aid missionary labors.
During this time, although the field of labor has been continually enlarging and although we have at times been brought low in funds, the Lord has never allowed us to stop the work. We have established three day schools and two other charity day schools, which otherwise would have been closed for- lack of funds.
The number of children that have been provided with schooling in the day schools. amounts to 439. The number of copies of the Holy Scriptures which have been circulated is 795 Bibles and 753 New Testaments. We have also sent aid to missionary labors in Canada, the East Indies, and on the continent of Europe.
June 25. Our little boy is so ill that I have no hope of his recovery.
June 26. My prayer last evening was that God would support my dear wife under the trial. Two hours later, the little one went home to be with the Lord. I fully realize that the dear infant is much better off with the Lord Jesus than with us, and when I weep, I weep for joy.
July 18. I have felt weak in my chest for several days. Today I felt it more than ever, and think it would be wise to refrain next week from all public speaking. May the Lord grant that I may be brought nearer to Him through this.
July 31. Today a former minister came to us and began to go from house to house to spread the truth as a city missionary. This was a divine appointment. Brother Craik had for some months been unable, on account of illness, to labor in the work of the schools and the circulation of the Scriptures. My own weakness increased so that I was obliged to give up the work entirely. How gracious, therefore, of the Lord to send our brother that the work might go on!
August 24. I feel very weak and suffer more than ever from the disease. Should I leave Bristol for a while? I have no money to go away to recover. A sister in the country invited me to visit for a week, and I may accept the invitation and go tomorrow.
August 26. Today I had five pounds given to me for the purpose of going away to recover.
August 29. Today I received another five pounds for the same purpose.
August 30. Today, for the first Sunday since our arrival in Bristol, I have been kept from preaching because-of illness. How mercifully the Lord has dealt in giving me so much strength for these years! Another five pounds were sent to me today. How kind the Lord is to provide me with the money to leave Bristol!
September 19. I received a kind letter from a brother and two sisters in the Lord who live on the Isle of Wight. They invited me to come and stay with them for some. time. In addition to this, they wrote that they had repeatedly prayed about the matter and were persuaded that I ought to come.
The Lord graciously provided the money so that my family and I could travel there for the rest that we needed.
September 29. Last evening when I said goodnight to the family, I wanted to go to sleep at once. The weakness in my body and the coldness of the night tempted me to pray no longer. However, the Lord helped me to kneel before Him. No sooner had I begun to pray than His Spirit shone into my soul and gave me such a spirit of prayer as I had not enjoyed for many weeks. He graciously revived His work in my heart. I enjoyed that nearness to God and fervency in prayer for more than an hour. My soul had been panting for many weeks for this sweet experience.
For the first time during this illness, I asked the Lord earnestly to restore me to health. I now long to go back to the work in Bristol, yet I am not impatient. The Lord will strengthen me to return to it. I went to bed especially happy and awoke this morning in great peace. For more than an hour, I had real communion with the Lord before breakfast. May He in mercy continue this state of heart to His most unworthy child!
November 15. We arrived safely in Bristol. Last week we prayed repeatedly concerning the work of the Scriptural Knowledge. Institution and especially that the Lord would give us the means to continue and even enlarge the work. In addition to this, I have asked for my own needs to be met and He has kindly granted both these requests. May I have grace to trust Him more and more!
For several months, I have been feeling that my work at Teignmouth would soon be completed. This feeling has continued to grow, and I am now convinced that Teignmouth is no longer my place of ministry. Perhaps my gift is going from place to place, seeking to bring believers back to the Scriptures, rather than staying in one place and laboring as a pastor. Wherever I go, I preach with much more enjoyment and power than at Teignmouth. Moreover, almost everywhere I have many more hearers than at Teignmouth and find the people hungering after spiritual food which is no longer the case at Teignmouth.
April 13. I received a letter from brother Craik from Bristol inviting me to come and help him. It appears to me that a place like Bristol would suit my gifts better. Lord, teach me! I feel more than ever that I will soon leave Teignmouth. But I fear that much connected with this decision is of the flesh. It seems to me that I will soon go to Bristol, if the Lord permits. I wrote a letter to brother Craik and promised to come, if I clearly see it is the Lord's will.
April 15. This evening I preached on the Lord's second coming. I told the brethren what effect this doctrine had upon me, and how it encouraged me to leave London and to preach throughout the land. The Lord had kept me at Teignmouth for these two years and three months, and it seemed that the time was near when I should leave. I reminded them of what I told them when they requested me to become their pastor-that I could stay only as long as I saw it was the Lord's will to do so. There was much weeping afterward, but I am now again in peace.
April 16. I am glad I have spoken to the brethren so that they may be prepared in case the Lord leads me to leave. I left today for Dartmouth and preached there in the evening. I had five answers to prayer today. 1. I awoke at five, a request I made of the Lord last evening. 2. The Lord removed an illness from my dear wife. It would have been difficult for me to leave her in that condition. 3. The Lord sent us money. 4. There was room for me on the Dartmouth coach. 5. This evening I was assisted in preaching, and my soul was refreshed.
I must offer a word of warning to believers. Often the work of the Lord itself may tempt us away from communion with Him. A full schedule of preaching, counseling, and travel can erode the strength of the mightiest servant of the Lord. Public prayer will never make up for closet communion.
After this evening's meeting, I should have withdrawn from the company of the brothers and sisters, explaining that I needed secret communion with the Lord. Instead, I spent the time until the coach came in conversation with them. Although I enjoyed their fellowship, my soul needed food. Without it, I was lean and felt the effects of it the whole day. I was even silent on the coach and did not speak a word for Christ or give away a single tract.
April 22. This morning I preached at Gideon Chapel in Bristol. In the afternoon I preached at the Pithay Chapel where a young man was converted. He was a notorious drunkard on his way to a tavern when an acquaintance met him and asked him to go to hear a foreigner preach. He did, and from that moment he was completely changed and never went to another tavern. His wife later told me that he was so happy in the Lord that he often neglected his supper to read the Scriptures instead.
Brother Craik's evening sermon spoke to my heart. I am now fully persuaded that Bristol is the place where the Lord will have me labor. But we are going home next week in order that in quietness, without being influenced by what we see here, we may seek the Lord's will concerning us.
April 29. As we sought the Lord, He helped us to see that He is sending us to Bristol!
April 30. Leaving the dear children of God in Teignmouth was difficult for me. Dozens begged us to return soon, many with tears in their eyes. The Lord has given a great blessing to our ministry. It was the Lord's will for us to come here for a time.
May 5. One other striking proof that leaving Teignmouth is of God is that some truly spiritual brothers, although they want me to stay, sincerely believe that I am called to go to Bristol.
May 15. While I was in prayer concerning Bristol, brother Craik sent for me. The congregation at Gideon Chapel have accepted our offer to come under the conditions we made. For the present, we wanted them to consider us only as ministering among them, but not in any fixed pastoral relationship. Thus we may preach the Word as the Spirit leads us. Regular salaries should be done away with, and we will go on trusting God to supply our needs. We intend, the Lord willing, to leave in about a week, although there is nothing settled about Bethesda Chapel.
May 21. Today I began to say goodbye to the brethren at Teignmouth, calling on each of them. It has been a trying day, filled with much weeping. If I was not fully persuaded that God wants us to go to Bristol, I would have hardly been able to bear it.
May 22. Some of the brethren at Teignmouth say that they expect us back again. As far as I understand the way God deals with His children, this seems unlikely. The Lord, after repeated prayer, gave me Col. 1:21-23 as a text for my last word of exhortation to them. It seemed best to me to speak as little as possible about myself and as much as possible about Christ. I scarcely alluded to our separation and only commended myself and the brethren, in the concluding prayer, to the Lord. Parting scenes are very trying, but I am convinced that the separation is of the Lord.
May 23. My wife, my father-in-law, and I left this morning for Exeter. Dear brother Craik intends to follow us tomorrow. Just before we left Teignmouth, we unexpectedly received enough money to defray all the moving expenses. The Lord has confirmed His will concerning us going to Bristol many times.
May 27. We arrived at Bristol two days ago. This morning we received a sovereign from a sister in Teignmouth. The Lord will provide for us here also.
May 28. We spoke to the brethren who manage the finances at Gideon Chapel about receiving the free-will offerings through a box-a matter which was not quite settled with them. The Lord had graciously ordered this matter for us, and they did not object.
June 4. For several days we have been looking for lodging but found none plain and cheap enough. We began to make this a matter of earnest prayer. Immediately afterward, the Lord gave us a suitable place. It was particularly difficult to find an inexpensive, furnished place with five rooms which we need since brother Craik and we live together. How good the Lord is to have answered our prayer, and what an encouragement to commit everything to Him in prayers June 25 Today it was finally settled that we may take Bethesda Chapel for a year. A brother paid our rent with the understanding that, if the Lord blesses our labors in that place, the other believers will help him with the expenses. But if not, he will pay it all. This was the only way we could agree to take the chapel. If we would have had to go into debt, we could not think it was of God to minister in this place.
July 6. Today we began preaching at Bethesda Chapel. It was a good day.
July 16. This evening from six to nine o'clock, we made appointments to talk with individuals about salvation. These meetings are beneficial in many ways. Many people prefer coming at an appointed time to the church office to converse with us. Appointing a time for counseling with them in private concerning the things of eternity has brought some who never would have called upon us under other circumstances.
These appointments have also been a great encouragement to us in the work. Often when we thought that our teaching of the Word had done no good at all, we found the opposite was true as we counseled with people. We have been encouraged to go forward in the work of the Lord after seeing the many ways the Lord has used us as His instruments. Individuals have told us about the help they derived from our ministry even as long as four years ago.
Other servants of Christ, especially those who live in large towns, should consider setting apart time for seeing inquirers into the faith. These appointments, however, require much prayer for wisdom to speak with sensitivity to all those who come. We are not sufficient in our own ability for these things, but our sufficiency is from God. The appointments have been by far the most exhausting part of all our work, although at the same time the most rewarding.
July 18. I spent the whole morning in my office to have a quiet time with the Lord. This is the only way, on account of my numerous engagements, to make sure that I have time for prayer, reading the Word, and meditation.
September 17. This morning the Lord, in addition to all His other mercies, has given us our first child-a little girl. She and my wife are both doing well.
October 1. Many more people have been convicted of sin through brother Craik's 'preaching than my own. This is probably because brother Craik is more spiritually minded than I am, and he prays more earnestly for the conversion of sinners than I do. He addresses sinners in his public ministry frequently. This led me to more earnest prayer for the conversion of sinners. Since then, the Lord has used me as an instrument of conversion much more often.
May 28, 1833. Most of the Lord's people whom we know in Bristol are poor. This morning, while sitting in my room, the distress of several of the brethren was brought to my mind. I said to myself, "If only the Lord would give me the means to help them!" About an hour later, I received sixty pounds which I used to buy bread for the poor.
May 29. During the last twelve months of our labors in Bristol, one hundred and nine people have been added to our fellowship. Sixty-five have been converted, many backsliders have returned, and many of the children of God have been encouraged and strengthened in the way of truth.
June 12. This morning I felt that we should do something for the poor. We have given bread to them daily for some time now. I longed to establish a school for the boys and girls, read the Scriptures to them, and speak to them about the Lord. The chief obstacle was the pressure of work coming upon brother Criik and me at that time.
The number of the poor who came for bread had increased to between sixty and eighty a day. Our neighbors were annoyed because the beggars were loitering in the street. We had to tell them to no longer come for bread, but our desire to help these people has not diminished.
December 17. This evening brother Craik and I had tea with a family of five who had been brought to the Lord through our ministry. As an encouragement to anyone who may desire to preach the gospel in a foreign language, I must mention that, the first member of this family who was converted came merely out of curiosity to hear my foreign accent.
December 31. At least 260 people have met with us about the concerns of their souls. Out of these, 153 have been added to us in fellowship these last eighteen months, sixty of whom have been brought to the knowledge of the Lord through our preaching and prayers.
Four years have passed since I began to trust in the Lord alone for the supply of my temporal needs. All I had then at most was worth one hundred pounds a year. I gave it up for the Lord and had nothing' left but about five pounds. The Lord greatly honored this little sacrifice and gave me considerably more in return.
During the last three years and three months, I never have asked anyone for anything. The Lord has graciously supplied all my needs as I bring them to Him. At the close of each of these four years, although my income has been comparatively great, I have had only a few shillings left. My needs are met each day by the help of God.
On October 7, 1830, I was united in marriage to Miss Mary Groves. This step was taken after much prayer and from a full conviction that it was better for me to be married. I have never regretted either the step itself or the choice, but I am truly grateful to God for giving me such a wife.
About this time, I began to have conscientious objections against receiving a salary by renting pews. According to James 2:1-6, this practice is against the mind of the Lord because the poor brethren cannot afford as good a seat as the rich. A brother may gladly give something toward my support if the choice is up to him. But when he has other expenses, I do not know whether he pays his money grudgingly or cheerfully, and God loves a cheerful giver. The renting of pews is also a snare to the servant of Christ. Fear of offending those who pay his salary has kept many ministers from preaching the uncompromising Word of God.
For these reasons, I told the brethren that at the end of October, 1830, I would give up my regular salary. After I had given my reasons for doing so, I read Phil. 4. If the saints wanted to give something toward my support by voluntary gifts, I had no objection to receiving it either in money or provisions. A few days later. I realized that if I personally received' every single gift, much of my time and that of the donors would be lost. Also, the poor might be embarrassed to give me a small amount. Others might give more than if the gifts were anonymous. Therefore, it would still be doubtful whether the gifts were given grudgingly or cheerfully. For these reasons, we put a box in the chapel with a sign explaining that whoever had a desire to give something toward my support could put his offering into the box.
My wife and I had the grace to take the Lord's commandment in Luke 12:33 literally, "Sell that ye have, and give alms." We never regretted taking that step. God blessed us abundantly as He taught us to trust in Him alone. When we were down to our last few shillings, we told Him about our needs and depended on Him to provide. He never failed us.
On November 18, 1830, our money was reduced to about eight shillings. When I was praying with my wife in the morning, I was led to ask the Lord for money. Four hours later, a sister said to me, "Do you want any money?"
I replied, "I told the brethren when I gave up my salary that I would tell the Lord only about my wants."
She said, "But He has told me to give you some money. About two weeks ago I asked Him what I should do for Him, and He told me to give you some money. Last Saturday the thought came again powerfully to my mind and has not left me since."
My heart rejoiced at seeing the Lord's faithfulness, but I thought it was better not to tell her about our circumstances, lest she would be influenced, to give accordingly. If it was of the Lord, she would be moved to give. I turned the conversation to other subjects, but she gave me enough money to last all week. My wife and I were full of joy on account of the goodness of the Lord. He did not try our faith much at first, but allowed us to see His willingness to help us. Liter, He tested our faith more fully.
The next Wednesday I went to Exmouth. Our money was again reduced to about nine shillings. I asked the Lord on Thursday to please give me some money. On Friday morning about eight o'clock, while in prayer, I was led to ask again for money. Before I rose from my knees, I felt fully assured that we would have the answer that same day. An hour later, I left the brother with whom I was staying, and he gave me some money. He said, "Take this for the expenses connected with your coming to us." I did not expect to have my expenses paid, but I saw the Lord's fatherly hand in this blessing.
When I came home about twelve o'clock, I asked my wife whether she had received any letters. She told me she had received one the day before from a brother who sent three sovereigns. Thus, even my prayer on the preceding day had been answered. The next day one of the brethren came and brought me four pounds which was due to me as a part of my former salary. I did not even know that this sum was due to me. Within thirty hours, in answer to prayer, I received seven pounds ten shillings.
Throughout 1830, the Lord richly supplied all my temporal needs, although I could not depend upon any human for a single shilling; Even regarding temporal things, I had lost nothing by acting according to the dictates of my conscience. In spiritual things, the Lord dealt bountifully with me and used me as an instrument in doing His work.
On the 6th, 7th, and 8th of January 1831, I repeatedly asked the Lord for money but received none. A few times I was tempted to distrust the Lord, although He had been so gracious to us. Up to this time, He had not only supplied all our needs but had given us many miraculous answers' to prayer. I began to think it would be of no use to trust in the Lord this time. Perhaps I had gone too far in living by faith.
But praise the Lord! This trial lasted only a few minutes. He enabled me to trust in Him, and Satan was immediately defeated. When I returned to my room only ten minutes later, the Lord sent deliverance. A sister brought us two pounds four shillings. The Lord triumphed, and our faith was strengthened.
When we again had only a few shillings, we were given five pounds from the offering box. I had asked the brethren to please let me have the money in the box every week. But they either forgot to take it out weekly or were ashamed to bring such small sums. It was generally taken out every three to five weeks. I explained to them that I desired to look neither to man nor the box but to God. Therefore, I decided not to remind them of my request to have the money weekly, lest it hinder the testimony I wished to give of trusting in God alone.
On January 28, we had little money again although I had seen a brother open the box and take out the money four days earlier. But I would not ask him to let me have it. When the coals for our fire were almost gone, I asked the Lord to incline the brother's heart to bring the money to us. Shortly afterward, it was given to us, and our temporal needs were supplied.
The Lord has kept me from speaking, either directly or indirectly, about my needs. In a few instances I have spoken to very poor brethren to encourage them to trust in the Lord, telling them that I had to do the same.
On February 14 we again had very little money, and I asked the Lord to supply our needs. The instant that I got up from my knees, a brother gave me one pound which had been taken out of the box.
In March I was again tempted to doubt the faithfulness of the Lord. Although I was not worried about money, I was not fully resting upon Him so that I could triumph with joy. One hour later the Lord gave me another proof of His faithful love. A Christian lady brought five sovereigns for us, with these words written on paper: "I was hungry and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink."
On the morning of April 16 our money was reduced to three shillings. I said to myself, "I must now go and ask the Lord earnestly for fresh supplies." But before I had prayed, two pounds were sent from Exeter as proof that the Lord hears before we call.
Some may say that such a way of life leads a Christian away from the Lord and from caring about spiritual things. They say it may cause the mind to be occupied with questions like: "What shall I eat, what shall I drink, and what shall I wear?" I have experienced both ways and know that my present manner of living by trusting God for temporal things is connected with less care. Trusting the Lord for the supply of my temporal needs keeps me from anxious thoughts like: "Will my salary last and will I have enough for the next month?" In this freedom I am able to say, "My Lord is not limited. He knows my present situation, and He can supply all I need." Rather than causing anxiety, living by faith in God alone keeps my heart in perfect peace.
This way of living has often revived the work of grace in my heart when I began to grow spiritually cold. It also has brought me back again to the Lord after I had been backsliding. It is not possible to live: in sin, and at the same time, by communion with God, draw down from heaven everything one needs for this life. Frequently, a fresh answer to prayer quickens my soul and fills me with great joy.
In June brother Craik and I went to Torquay to preach. When I came home, my wife had about three shillings left. We waited upon the Lord, but no money came. The next morning, we were still waiting on the Lord and looking for deliverance. We had only a little butter left for breakfast, sufficient for a visiting brother and a relative. We did not mention our circumstances to them so that they would not be made uncomfortable.
After the morning prayer meeting, our brother unexpectedly opened the offering box and gave me the money. He told me that he and his wife could not sleep last night because they thought that we might need money. I had repeatedly asked the Lord for the money but received nothing. But when I prayed that the Lord would impress it on the brother that we needed money, he opened the box and gave it to me.
One morning in November I suggested we pray about our temporal needs. Just as we were about to pray, a parcel came from Exmouth. We asked the Lord for meat for dinner since we had no money to buy any. After prayer, we opened the parcel and found a ham!
My wife and I never went into debt because we believed it to be unscriptural according to Rom. 13:8, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another." Therefore, we have no bills with our tailor, butcher, or baker, but we pay for everything in cash. We would rather suffer need than contract debts. Thus, we always know how much we have, and how much we can give away. Many trials come upon the children of God on account of not acting according to Rom. 13:8.
November 27 was the Lord's day. Our money had been reduced to two pence. Our bread was hardly enough for the day. I brought our need before the Lord several times. When I gave thanks after lunch, I asked Him to give us our daily bread, meaning literally that He would send us bread for the evening. While I was praying, there was a knock at the door. A poor sister came in and brought us some of her dinner and five shillings. Later, she also brought us a large loaf of bread. Thus, the Lord not only gave us bread but also money.
At the end of the year, we looked back and realized that all our needs had been met more abundantly than if I had received a regular salary. We are never losers from doing the will of the Lord. I have not served a hard Master, and that is what I delight to show.
God was also faithful to heal my physical infirmities. One Saturday afternoon, I broke a blood vessel in my stomach and lost a considerable quantity of blood. Immediately after I prayed, I began to feel better. Two brethren called on me to ask what arrangement should be made for a preacher at the Sunday services. I asked them to come again in about an hour when I would give them an answer.
After they were gone, the Lord gave me faith to get out of bed. I dressed and decided to go to the chapel. Walking the short distance to the chapel was an exertion to me in my weakened condition, but I preached that morning with a loud and strong voice for the usual length of time.
After the morning meeting, my doctor called on me and told me not to preach again in the afternoon because I could greatly injure myself. I told him that I would consider it great presumption if the Lord had not given me the faith to do it. That afternoon I preached again, and he called and said the same concerning the evening meeting. Nevertheless, having faith, I preached in the evening. After each meeting I became stronger, which was plain proof that the hand of God was in the matter.
The next day, the Lord enabled me to rise early in the morning and go to our usual prayer meeting, where I read, spoke, and prayed. Later I wrote four letters, studied the Scriptures at home, and attended the meeting again in the evening. My health improved every day. I attended the two meetings as usual, preached in the evening, and did my other work besides. In less than a week, I was as well as I was before I broke the blood vessel.
Do not attempt to imitate me in this matter if you do not have the faith. But if you do, it will most assuredly be honored by God. I often prayed with sick believers until they were restored. When I ask the Lord for the blessing of bodily health, my request almost always is granted. In answer to my prayers, I was immediately restored from a bodily infirmity which had afflicted me for a long time, and it has never returned since.
I had been an early riser in the past. But since my nerves became so weak, I thought it best for me to have more rest. For this reason I rose between six and seven, and sometimes after seven. I purposely got into the habit of sleeping a quarter of an hour or half an hour after dinner.
I thought I found benefit from the much-needed relaxation. In this way, however, my soul had suffered considerably. Unavoidable work often came upon me before I had sufficient time for prayer and reading the Word.
I finally decided that, whatever my body might suffer, I would no longer let the most precious part of the day pass away while I was in bed. By the grace of God I was able to begin the very next day to rise earlier and have continued to rise early since that time. I allow myself now-about seven hours of sleep. Although I am far from being strong and have much to tire me mentally, I find this is quite sufficient to refresh me. In addition, I gave up sleeping after dinner. The result has been that I can have long and precious times for prayer and meditation before breakfast.
Concerning my body and the state of my nerves, I have been much better since. The worst thing I could have done for my weak nerves was to have lain an hour or more in bed than I used to before my illness because it actually weakened my body.
I want to encourage all believers to get into the habit of rising early to meet with God. How much time should be allowed for rest? No rule of universal application can be given because all persons do not require the same amount of sleep. Also the same persons, at different times, according to the strength or weakness of their body, may require more or less. Most doctors agree that healthy men do not require more than between six or seven hours of sleep, and females need no more than seven or eight hours.
Children of God should be careful not to allow themselves too little sleep since few men can do with less than six hours of sleep and still be well in body and mind. As a young man, before I went to the university, I went to bed regularly at ten and rose at four, studied hard, and was in good health. Since I have allowed myself only about seven hours, I have been much better in body and in nerves than when I spent eight or eight and a half hours in bed.
Someone may ask, "But why should I rise early?" To remain too long in bed is a waste of time. Wasting-time is unbecoming a saint who is bought by the precious blood of Jesus. His time and all he has is to be used for the Lord. If we sleep more than is necessary for the refreshment of the body, it is wasting the time the Lord has entrusted us to be used for His glory, for our own benefit, and for the benefit of the aims and unbelievers around us.
Just as too much food injures the body, the same is true regarding sleep. Medical persons would readily agree that lying longer in bed than is necessary to strengthen the body actually weakens it.
It also injures the soul. Lying too long in bed not merely keeps us from giving the most precious part of the day to prayer and meditation, but this sloth leads also to many other evils. Anyone who spends one, two, or three hours in prayer and meditation before breakfast will soon discover the beneficial effect early rising has on the outward and inward man.
It may be said, "But how shall I set about rising early?" My advice is: Do not delay. Begin tomorrow. But do not depend on your own strength. You may have begun to rise early in the past but have given it up. If you depend on your own strength in this matter, it will come to nothing. In every good work, we must depend on the Lord. If anyone rises so that he may give the time which he takes from sleep to prayer and meditation, let him be sure that Satan will try to put obstacles in the way.
Trust in the Lord for help. You will honor Him if you expect help from Him in this matter. Pray for help, expect help, and you will have it. In addition to this, go to bed early. If you stay up late, you cannot rise early. Let no pressure of engagements keep you from going habitually early to bed. If you fail in this, you neither can nor should get up early because your body requires rest.
Rise at once when you are awake. Remain not a minute longer in bed or else you are likely to fall asleep again. Do not be discouraged by feeling drowsy and tired from rising early. This will soon wear off. After a few days you will feel stronger and fresher than when you used to lie an hour or two longer than you needed. Always allow yourself the same hours for sleep. Make no change except on account of sickness.
After I had preached about three weeks in the vicinity of Exmouth, I went to Teignmouth expecting to stay there ten days to preach the Word among the brethren. One young woman came to know Jesus Christ as her Savior that first evening. This blessed me because none of the resident ministers liked the sermon. The Lord judges so differently from man!
The next week, after preaching daily in the chapel, I was asked to stay and be their minister. Because of certain opposition, I decided to stay until I was formally rejected. I preached again on the Lord's day, although many did not enjoy hearing my sermon. Some people left and never returned. Others came to the chapel who had not been in the habit of attending before I came. A spirit of inquiry and a searching of the Scriptures suddenly began. People wanted to know whether the things I said were true. Most importantly, God set His seal of approval on the work by converting sinners.
I preached at this chapel as a visiting minister for twelve weeks. During this time, without my asking, the Lord graciously supplied my worldly needs through two brothers. When the twelve weeks were over, the eighteen member church unanimously invited me to become their pastor.
I now changed my opinion about the best method of preparing for public ministry of the Word. Rather than presuming to know what is best for the hearers, I ask the Lord to graciously teach me the subject I should speak about, or the portion of His Word I should explain. Sometimes will have a particular subject or passage on my mind before asking Him. If, after prayer, I feel persuaded that I should speak on that subject, I study it, but still leave myself open to the Lord to change it if He pleases.
Frequently, however, I have no subject in my mind before I pray. In this case, I wait on my knees for an answer, trying to listen for the voice of the Spirit to direct me. Then, if a passage of subject is brought to mind, I again ask the Lord if this is His will. Sometimes I ask repeatedly, especially if the subject or text is a difficult one. If after prayer, my mind is peaceful about it, I take this to be the text. But I still leave myself open to the Lord for direction, in case He decides to alter it, or if I have been mistaken.
Sometimes I still do not have a text after praying. At first I was puzzled by this, but I have learned to simply continue with my regular reading of the Scriptures, praying while I read for a text. I have had to read five, ten, even twenty chapters before the Lord has given me a text. Many times I have even had to go to the meeting place without a subject. But I have always obtained it, perhaps, only a few minutes before I was going to speak.
The Lord always helps me when I preach, provided I have earnestly sought Him in private. A preacher cannot know the hearts of the individuals in the congregation or what they need to hear. But the Lord knows; and if the preacher renounces his own wisdom, he will be assisted by the Lord. But if he is determined to choose a subject in his own wisdom, he should not be surprised when he sees little fruit resulting from his labors.
When I have obtained the text in the above way, whether it is a verse or a whole chapter or more, I ask the Lord to graciously teach me by His Holy Spirit while I meditate over the passages. I write down notes as the Word is opened to me to see how well I understand the passage. It is also useful to later refer to what I have written.
I seldom use any other study aids besides the Scriptures and some good translations in other languages. My chief help is prayer. Whenever I study a single part of divine truth, I always gain some light about it after praying and meditating over it. Extensive prayer is often difficult because of the weakness, of the flesh, physical infirmities, and a full schedule. But no one should expect to see much good resulting from his labors if he does not spend time in prayer and meditation.
I then leave myself entirely in the hands of the Lord, asking Him to bring to mind what I have learned in my prayer closet. He faithfully does this and often teaches me more while I am preaching. The preparation for the public ministry of the Word is even more excellent than preaching in church. To live in constant communion with the Lord, and to be habitually and frequently in meditation over the truth is Its own reward.
Expounding the Scriptures is most beneficial, especially when studying a whole gospel or epistle. This may be done either by entering minutely into the meaning of every verse or by giving the main points and leading the hearers to see the overall meaning of the whole book. Expounding the Scriptures encourages the congregation to bring their Bibles to church, and everything that leads believers to value the Scriptures is important.
This method of preaching is more beneficial to the hearers than if, on a single verse, some remarks are made so that the portion of Scripture is scarcely anything but a motto for the subject. Few people have grace to meditate for hours over the Word. Thus, exposition may open the Scriptures to them and create in them a desire to meditate for themselves. When they again read over the portion of the Word which has been expounded, they will remember what has been said. Thus, it leaves a more lasting impression on their minds.
Expounding large portions of the Word, such as an entire gospel or epistle, leads the teacher to consider portions of the Word which he might otherwise overlook. This keeps him from speaking too much on favorite subjects and leaning too much to particular parts of truth-a tendency which will surely sooner or later injure both himself and his hearers.
Simplicity in expression is of utmost importance. The teacher should speak so that even children and people who cannot read may be able to understand him, as far as the natural mind can comprehend the things of God. Every congregation has people of various educational and social backgrounds. The expounder of the truth of God speaks for God and for eternity. It is unlikely that he will benefit the hearers unless he uses plain speech.
If the preacher strives to speak according to the rules of this world, he may please many, particularly those who have a literary taste. But he is less likely to become an instrument in the hands of God for the conversion of sinners or for the building up of the saints. Neither eloquence nor depth of thought makes a truly great preacher. Only a life of prayer and meditation will render him a vessel ready for the Master's use and fit to be employed in the conversion of sinners and in the edification of the saints.
The anointing of the Holy Spirit helps me greatly when I preach. I would never attempt to teach the truth of God by my own power. One day before preaching at Teignmouth, I had more time than usual, so I prayed and meditated for Six hours in preparation for the evening meeting. After I had spoken a little while, I felt that I was speaking in my own strength rather than God's power. I told the brethren that I felt as though I was not preaching under the anointing and asked them to pray. After I continued a Little longer, I felt the same and therefore ended my sermon and proposed that we have a meeting for prayer. We did so, and I was particularly assisted by the Holy Spirit the next time I preached.
I am glad that I learned the importance of ministering in God's power alone. I can do all things through Christ, but without Him, I can accomplish nothing.
Answers to Prayer
God Brought a Chair in Answer to Prayer
It was my happiness to cross the Atlantic in the company of this dear brother on the steamship Sardinian, from Quebec to Liverpool, in June, 1880.
I met Mr. Müller in the express office the morning of sailing, about half an hour before the tender was to take the passengers to the ship. He asked of the agent if a deck chair had arrived for him from New York. He was answered, No, and told that it could not possibly come in time for the steamer. I had with me a chair I had just purchased and told Mr. Müller of the place near by, where I had obtained it, and suggested that as but a few moments remained he had better buy one at once.
His reply was, "No, my brother, Our Heavenly Father will send the chair from New York. It is one used by Mrs. Miller, as we came over, and left in New York when we landed. I wrote ten days ago to a brother who promised to see it forwarded here last week.He has not been prompt as I would have desired, but I am sure Our Heavenly Father will send the chair. Mrs. Müller is very sick upon the sea, and has particularly desired to have this same chair, and not finding it here yesterday when we arrived, as we expected, we have made special prayer that Our Heavenly Father would be pleased to provide it for us, and we will trust Him to do so." As this dear man of God went peacefully on board the tender, running the risk of Mrs. Müller making the voyage without a chair, when for a couple of dollars she could have been provided for, I confess I feared Mr. Müller was carrying his faith principles too far and not acting wisely.
I was kept at the express office ten minutes after Mr. Müller left. Just as I started to hurry to the wharf a team drove up the street, and on top of a load just arrived from New York, was Mr. Müller's chair! It was sent at once to the tender and placed in my hands to take to Mr. Müller (the Lord having a lesson for me) just as the boat was leaving the dock. I found Mr. and Mrs. Müller in a retired spot on one side of the tender and handed him the chair. He took it with the happy, pleased expression of a child who has just received a kindness deeply appreciated, and reverently removing his hat and folding his hands over it, he thanked his Heavenly Father for sending the chair. "In everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God.” "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you."
Taken from the Wonders of Prayer by Daniel W. Whittle