On August 14th, 1875, we went to London on our second tour, of which, for the sake of brevity, it may be desirable to give a very short sketch only.
On the 15th my husband preached in the afternoon and evening at the Mildmay Conference Hall, when on the latter occasion he addressed about 3,000 persons from 1st Peter i. 8; and during the 15 days we were in London he preached 14 times altogether. Whilst there, he held several meetings also at the Mildmay Conference Hall for the benefit of young converts. Messrs. Moody and Sankey, after their long service in England, Scotland, and Ireland, had by that time returned to the United States; and as these devoted servants of Christ, whose labours were so abundantly blessed in the conversion of sinners, were unable to remain long in the places they visited, Mr. Müller had it especially laid upon his heart to preach in the large cities where they laboured, in order that, through his long experience in the ministry of the Word, he might help young converts, and instruct them more than (from want of time) these brethren had been able to do.
On August 30th we went to Stafford, on our way to Windermere and the Lake District in the north of England, where a few days were spent; and on Sept. 11th reached Kilmarnock, Scotland, at which town Mr. Müller preached morning and evening on the 12th. At Saltcoats he spoke on the 16th for an hour and a quarter at a Conference, and preached altogether seven times at Kilmarnock in the Churches of that town.
On Sept. 20th we went to Dundee, where on the 21st he spoke at the Conference Hall in the morning to about 1,200 people, and in the evening addressed 2,000 in the same place. On the 23rd he gave an address at a public breakfast, spoke at the Conference Hall again in the afternoon, and held a third meeting in the evening. On Sept. 29th, at St. Peter's, where McCheyne laboured, he preached from Psalm ciii. 3-5; held a meeting on the 30th at the Free Memorial Church, preached on the evening of Oct. 3rd at Kinnaird Hall to about 3,000 hearers, and during the 15 days we were at Dundee, spoke 17 times in public altogether. After leaving Dundee and visiting Dalkeith, on Oct. 9th we went to Perth, where Mr. Müller preached five times, and on the 13th proceeded to Glasgow, in which city, at the Convention, he gave two addresses, on the 14th, on the power of the Spirit, speaking on the first occasion to about 5,000 people, and afterwards (by request) on the same subject to an overflow meeting of 1,200.
On the evening of the 17th, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Glasgow, he addressed an assembly of 3,000 from 1st Cor. xv. 1-2, when, at the inquirers' meeting which followed this service, it was found that 20 persons were impressed, and that one individual had found peace in Christ. Upon four subsequent occasions he preached at the same Theatre; and on the evening of Nov. 3rd addressed a congregation of 1,000 at Kirkentilloch, including eight or ten ministers who were present. On the 9th he spoke to 1,600 Sunday School and other Christian teachers at Glasgow for an hour and a quarter, preached at Queen's Park Free Church on the 10th, and on the 14th spoke at the Marble Hall from Ex. xii. 1-12. On Nov. 17th he held a meeting for young men at Queen's Park Free Church, and on the 18th, at the noon prayer meeting, spoke for the last time at Glasgow. During our visit of 36 days, Mr. Müller spoke 38 times in public altogether, with much help from the Lord, and there is reason to believe that great blessing resulted from his ministry.
Our tour through Scotland would have been continued at that time, but having received an earnest invitation to attend a Convention at Dublin, fixed for the end of November, on the afternoon of the 19th we left Glasgow for Greenock, and went by steamer to Dublin, where, after a favourable night passage, we arrived on the 20th. On the 21st my husband spoke in the morning at Merrion Hall, and preached in the evening at the same place to a congregation of about 2,000.
On the 23rd he spoke (by request) at the Christian Convention to an assembly of 400, consisting of ministers only, on "What is holiness, and how is it attained?" and in the afternoon addressed 2,000 persons at the same place on "Faith which worketh by love." On Nov. 25th he spoke again at the Convention, gave an address at the noon prayer meeting also on the 26th, and immediately after closing it, gave it over again (by particular request) to an overflow meeting assembled at the United Presbyterian Church close by. On Dec. 3rd he preached at the Metropolitan Hall; and at the Exhibition Palace, on the afternoon of Sunday, the 5th, addressed the largest congregation he had in Dublin—2,500 persons, at least, being present. During the 20 days we were there, he spoke in public 21 times altogether.
Not being able conveniently to remain longer in Ireland, in consequence of having accepted invitations for other places, on Dec. 10th we left Dublin, and went, viâ Kingstown and Holyhead, to Leamington, Warwickshire, where Mr. Müller preached many times to crowds of hearers at the Public Hall, the Wesleyan Church, the Albert Hall, the Congregational Church, and at other places. He preached once at Warwick also, once at Kenilworth, twice at Coventry, once at Rugby, on Jan. 4th, 1876, and gave a farewell address at the Public Hall Leamington, from Ephes. vi. 10-18, the next evening. During our stay at Leamington of 27 days, including the services just mentioned, and expositions of the Scriptures to visitors at the Arboretum, a large Hydropathic Establishment in the town, he held 46 meetings altogether.
On Jan. 7th we went to Liverpool, as he had been requested to preach for a time at the great Victoria Hall there, erected for Messrs. Moody and Sankey. On the 8th he gave an address at the opening of a small Institution, spoke at the Albion Hall on Sunday, the 9th, and on the evening of that day preached from Psalm xxiii., at the great Victoria Hall, to between 6,000 and 7,000 hearers. During our stay at Liverpool he spoke many times at the Victoria Hall, on Sundays, at the daily noon prayer meetings, and at 7 o'clock every evening to very large audiences, until Jan. 18th, when we went to the Conference at York, where he gave addresses upon different subjects at three meetings, each of which lasted about three-quarters of an hour. On Jan. 22nd we returned to Liverpool, where he continued to hold services at the Albion and Victoria Halls; on Feb. 6th he preached at Toxteth Tabernacle, and continued to speak in public until the 14th. During the 35 days we were at Liverpool, and the 3 in York, he spoke at 48 meetings altogether. Whilst engaged in these services he was greatly helped by the Lord, and believers and young converts thanked him repeatedly for the blessing his ministry had been to them. At the Victoria Hall one of the orphans, formerly under his care—the commander of a merchant vessel—was converted the very first evening through his preaching.
On Feb. 15th we went to Kendal, where, on the 16th, he addressed about 800 people at the Friends' Meeting House, and held three other meetings in the town, including two at the Sand Area Chapel. On Feb. 21st we left for Carlisle, and here, on the evening of the 22nd, Mr. Müller addressed 400 men and women, the work people of Messrs. Cann. The next day we started for Annan, Scotland, a little town of 3,000 inhabitants, at which place, on the 23rd, he preached at the United Presbyterian Church to about 600 hearers. On Feb. 24th we went on to Edinburgh, where the General Assembly Hall of the Free Church was at once kindly placed at his disposal, that he might hold as many meetings in it as he pleased. In this beautiful Hall every Sunday evening, and at the Noon meetings, he addressed very large congregations during the six weeks that we remained in Edinburgh. Besides these services, he preached at St. George's Free Church, at North Leith Free Church three times, at Dr. Chalmers's Memorial Church, at Bristol Street Baptist Church, Barclay Free Church, etc., and held 53 meetings altogether. On April 6th we went to Arbroath, at which place, and at Montrose, he preached eight times; and at Aberdeen, where we arrived on April 16th, in 21 days he preached 31 times. In Edinburgh and at Aberdeen he had also two meetings, at which he addressed a number of ministers for upwards of an hour; and at the Free Church College, Edinburgh, spoke to the Theological Students for about the same time.
On May 10th he held a meeting at the Free Church, Ballater; on the 12th preached at Crathie Free Church, near Balmoral Castle; and after he had held three other services at Crathie, we went by stage coach to Bræmar, where he preached once at the National, and once at the Free Church. On our return to Crathie, two more meetings were also held there. Whilst at this village, we became acquainted with a Christian housekeeper living at Balmoral Castle, who kindly conducted us one afternoon through the Queen's residence in Scotland; and, a short time before we left Crathie, Her Majesty arrived at the Castle, whom we saw driving out occasionally, accompanied by the Princess Beatrice.
After our departure from Crathie we went to Inverness, where Mr. Müller preached many times, and remained there until May 31st, when we set off for Wick, about 15 miles from John O'Groat's House, in the extreme North of Scotland. During our short stay at Wick, on the morning of June 1st we took a drive to Canisbury, the parish in which John O'Groat's House is situated, and walked upon the sea-shore, from which the Orkney Islands can be seen. At 2 in the afternoon Mr. Müller preached at Canisbury Free Church, where the country people flocked in great numbers from their little farms and cottages, three, four, and five miles off to hear him; and after the service, at 4 o'clock we returned to Wick, where he held a meeting in the evening.
On June 3rd we went back to Inverness, and here he resumed his labours until the 8th, when, in consequence of the death of an aged lady residing at Reading, Berkshire, who had made him her executor, we were obliged rather suddenly to leave; but during our two visits to this town, including the services at Wick and Canisbury, he preached 24 times altogether.
From Inverness we went--viâ Edinburgh and London, to Reading, where he preached 13 times, and thence proceeded to London. There, during the 10 days we remained, he spoke ten times in public. These services brought his second preaching tour to a close, and, on July 5th, we returned to Bristol.
As the origin of these Missionary Tours has been fully explained in the Introduction to this book, it will be unnecessary to advert to the circumstances which led to them any further. It may therefore now be stated, that on March 26th, 1875, Mr. Müller and myself set off upon our first missionary journey to a few places in England, and began by visiting Brighton, where he preached several times. He held one meeting also at Lewes; and after he had preached repeatedly again at the Presbyterian Church, the Pavilion Dome, etc., at Brighton, we went to London, where, on the evening of May 6th, he addressed a very large congregation at Mr. Spurgeon's Tabernacle. On May 8th, we went to Sunderland, where he preached six times, and on the 25th proceeded to Newcastle, at which town he held a meeting at one of the Wesleyan Chapels, and gave a long address to Christian workers at a Union Prayer-Meeting the next day. He preached at Newcastle also on May 26th, and on the 27th we returned to Sunderland. There he preached on the morning and evening of May 30th, attended a Union Prayer-Meeting the following day, at which he spoke for three quarters of an hour, and gave a farewell address on June 2nd. On the 3rd we went again to Newcastle, at which town he held eighteen meetings—making a total of sixty-two since we left home on March 26th—and thence returned to London, where, on June 24th and 25th, he spoke at the Conference Hall, Mildmay Park, and was one of the speakers who addressed about 3,000 persons on the evening of the 27th. On July 1st we went to Notting Hill. There my husband preached at the Talbot Street Tabernacle four times, and on the evening of June 5th addressed 1,500 Christian Workers for nearly an hour and a half at the "Edinburgh Castle," London—a service which brought his first preaching tour to a close.
On July 6th we returned to Bristol, where, besides working daily at the Orphan Houses, and transacting much business connected with the other branches of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, Mr. Müller preached, as usual, several times; and after remaining at home for five weeks and four days, we set off again upon our missionary travels.
Before the perusal of this book is entered upon, it seems desirable that I should myself state to the reader, what led me to undertake these missionary tours. It may be well to refer also to the objects I had particularly in view in connection with them; to mention how far the desired result has been attained; and to notice a few other points relating to these journeys.
During many years the thought occurred to me again and again, that it might be the will of God I should seek to benefit His children and the unconverted, not through my publications only, but by ministering personally amongst them in other places besides Bristol; but my position as pastor of a large church, and as Director of a great Institution, which seemed to require my constant presence, for a long time put aside the thought. At last, however, when staying in the Isle of Wight in the autumn of 1874, finding that my preaching at Ventnor and Ryde had been unusually blessed and valued, I judged, that, having very efficient fellow labourers in the Church at Bristol, I could be spared, and that my absence would not be particularly felt. With reference to the work on Ashley Down, too, as Mr. Wright had for many years been an able helper in connection with it; as he had by that time been appointed Co-Director of the Institution; and as I had laboured in word and doctrine in Bristol (almost exclusively) for forty-three years; it was laid upon my heart to go from city to city, and from country to country, in order to benefit (if possible) both the Church of Christ and the world at large, by my ministry and experience. Accordingly, after much prayer and waiting upon God, I decided upon devoting a very considerable portion of my time habitually to this service, as long as health and strength should be continued to me.
The objects I have in view in undertaking these tours are the following:--
1. To preach the Gospel in the simplest way possible, that persons may understand how the blessing, which sinners receive through faith in Christ, is to be obtained. Many who are really in earnest about their salvation, are nevertheless without peace, because they rest upon their feelings. They do not see that every one, who is convinced that he is a lost sinner by nature, and confesses this before God, passes sentence upon himself (so to speak), that, if he depends solely on the perfect obedience of the Lord Jesus unto death, even the death on the cross and upon His substitutional sacrifice, he receives the forgiveness of all his sins, is justified the moment he believes in Jesus and shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Rom. v. 1; Acts x. 43; John iii. 16.
2. During my pastoral labours for many years I found, that numbers of true children of God are without the knowledge of their standing in Christ. They do not enter into the fact, that they have passed from death unto life, that they are regenerated, pardoned, justified, accepted in the Beloved, and are no longer under condemnation. Now, having entered into all this experimentally for more than half a century myself, I desire (with the help of God) to bring others also to an apprehension of these blessings; and how greatly this service is needed, is obvious from the fact, that there are great numbers of preachers of the Gospel and pastors, who, being without the knowledge of their own personal salvation, are, in consequence, entirely destitute of any real peace and joy in the Lord.
3. Another object I aim at is, to bring Christians back to the Holy Scriptures; to urge them to try everything by the word of God, and to value that only, which will stand this test. I endeavour therefore, to lead believers to become lovers of the Bible, by exhorting them to a daily, systematic, consecutive reading and study of it; for I know from an experience of more than half a century the blessedness of doing this myself, and also, what loss I experienced during the first three years after my conversion, from not attending to it.
4. Further, I aim at a removal of sectarianism, at promoting brotherly love amongst true Christians; and with this object in view go amongst all real believers, by whatever name they are called, provided they are sound in the foundation truths of our holy faith. Though not agreeing at all, with some of their opinions and practices, I nevertheless preach amongst all, having seen for many years how greatly the heart of the Lord Jesus must be grieved by the disunion that exists among His own true disciples. On this account, therefore, I have sought (in my feeble measure) to unite all real believers; but, as this cannot be done, by standing aloof from our brethren in Christ, until they see eye to eye with us, in every point, I have gone amongst them, and have united with them, in so far as nothing has been required of me which I could not do with a good conscience.
5. As for more than half a century I have seen how very little real trust in the Living God there is (generally speaking), even amongst true Christians, I have sought also in these my missionary tours, particularly, to strengthen their faith; because, in the course of my pastoral labours, the blessed results of real confidence in God on the one hand have come to my knowledge, and the misery of distrusting Him also on the other.
6. Both in my public ministry of the Word, and private intercourse with Christians, I seek to lead my fellow disciples to more real separation from the world and deadness to it, and to promote heavenly mindedness in them, according to the Scriptures. At the same time, however, I warn them against extravagances (such as sinless perfection in the flesh), which are not to be found in the Word of God.
7. As the Lord enables me, I give instruction also about the true character of the present dispensation and the end thereof, and strive to lead the Church of Christ to look for His second coming as her great hope.
In these nine long missionary tours, I have gladly embraced every opportunity also of having meetings with ministers and pastors of Churches, both for the sake of encouraging them in their service, and that I might benefit them through my own experience of fifty-seven years in the ministry of the Word. I have availed myself too of every opportunity of addressing students in Universities, Theological Seminaries, and Colleges, and have had opportunities likewise of addressing 1,000 or 1,500 Christian workers at a time, and of seeking to benefit them by my experience. This kind of work I have now been able to do in twenty-two different countries; for after having spent a considerable time in such labour in England, Scotland, and Ireland, I was led in the providence of God to Switzerland, Germany, Holland, France, Spain, Italy, Canada, the United States, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Turkey, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Russia, and Russian Poland.
The reader may now be desirous of asking—"And what has been the result of all this service?" My reply is—The day of the Lord alone will reveal it. Here on earth but little can be known, comparatively, of the fruit of our labours; yet, as far as I have been permitted to see, even here, there is good reason to believe, that I have not been directed to one single place, regarding which there was not manifest proof, that the Lord sent me there, on account of the visible blessing which rested on my labours.
It may be desirable also to state, why an account of these missionary tours has been published in this form, as several of these journeys have already been referred to in the Reports of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. The reason is, that, in the Reports a very brief account only of them has been given, and that always in detached portions. Now, as my dear wife has invariably accompanied me in my travels, during the past eight years, and has kept a journal regularly of my labours for the Lord, we judged that a connected and much fuller account of them might be given in a book, than could be published in any other manner. Through a perusal of this Narrative it is hoped also that Christians may be led to give themselves to prayer for blessing on this my past service, and that God may help me in any future labours, to which, in His providence, I may yet be called. We considered likewise, that, in this way, Christians may be led to give themselves to prayer for the countries, in which I have been labouring; and, lastly, that, with God's blessing, other aged and experienced brethren and pastors may be led to devote the evening of their life to similar service. God has been pleased within the last thirty-five years to raise up thousands for evangelistic work; but, it is well known, that there are comparatively very few who labour amongst the churches, and can bring the experience of a long life in the service of the Lord to bear upon the assemblies of Christians whom they visit. If, through the reading of this book, God should be pleased to incline the hearts of aged, experienced, and very godly servants of Christ, to devote their declining years to the visiting of Churches, both my dear wife and myself shall consider ourselves abundantly recompensed for our attempt to serve Him by publishing this Narrative. Hundreds of times, both separately and unitedly, we have besought our Heavenly Father to bless this labour for Him, and we are sure that He will graciously answer our request.
It now remains only, that I say a few words regarding the photograph, which is given in this book.
During the last thirty years I have been asked many hundreds of times, both verbally and in writing, for my likeness; but my reply has invariably been: "As I do not wish to direct attention to myself, but to my Lord and Master, I must decline to comply with your request." Notwithstanding this, however, applications for my portrait have been continued, and are still made more than ever. Twenty years ago I was offered £500, if I would allow it to be published; but the offer was declined for the reasons already given. Since we have been travelling about, in almost every town or city, where I have laboured (with very rare exception) this request has been renewed; and very often has been made by many residing in the same place. Again and again photographers (brethren in Christ) have called and begged me to let them take my likeness, because so many friends desired to possess it. Whilst at St. Petersburg, a Christian gentleman came to see me (who, together with his wife, after a state of long spiritual deadness, had been revived in soul through my ministry), and on taking leave of me, with the probability that we should never meet again on earth, begged earnestly for my photograph; but I gave the answer, which has always been given under such circumstances. As recently as during my last stay in London, I received a letter from a photographer, stating that a servant of Christ, who was going to publish the photographs of certain well known pastors and teachers, desired particularly to include mine amongst the rest; but his application succeeded no better than others of the same kind have done. This very day on which I am now writing, another request for my photograph has been made to me by letter, and many hundreds of times have I thus been entreated for my likeness, but in vain.
And what has been the result of all this? In consequence of my steadfast refusal to be photographed, several representations of me (for likenesses they cannot be called, as I never sat for one of them) have been published, without my knowledge and against my will. A religious periodical, extensively circulated in America, containing one of these portraits, has gone all through the United States. An enterprising photographer tried once to secure my likeness too, by an instantaneous process, as I was driving in an open carriage up a hill, but was foiled in the attempt. A portrait of George Müller also, with a most doleful expression of countenance (conveying not the slightest idea of the happy man he really is), has been going the round, and occasionally has come before me, even in the houses of my best friends. In the fear of God, therefore, I have come to this conclusion: Since the public insist upon having a portrait of me (whether I like to give it or whether I do not), let my beloved Christian friends at least have a photograph that is a real and not a false representation of their unworthy brother in Christ; and especially, let it be one with a pleasant, cheerful expression of countenance, that will glorify and not dishonour the Lord I love; for our very faces even should show forth His praise.
And now in conclusion, I have one earnest request to make, which is this: that (after yielding to the desire for my likeness so very long expressed, and having had it published) my friends will have the great kindness to refrain from applying either to me or to any of my helpers at the Orphan Houses for it, under the supposition that the photograph can be obtained in the form of a "carte-de-visite." As it has not been published separately from this book, it cannot possibly be had in any other form than is given here. One especial reason I had for inserting it in the book, and for not allowing it to be published separately, was, that as the amount of work we have at the Orphan Houses is already very great, I earnestly desire that it may not be increased by our having to respond to continual applications by letter for my photograph, which in all probability would be made, if the likeness could be obtained separately. I am sure, however, that nothing further need be said on the subject, as all my dear Christian friends, who really love and esteem me, will at once see how reasonable and important my request is.
New Orphan Houses,
Ashley Down, Bristol.