An Extraordinary Life Of Faith And Trust.
For many centimes there has not been a more remarkable testimony of
unfaltering trust in the faithfulness of God in supplying human wants,
than is found in the life and labor of George Muller and his Orphan
Home, in Bristol, England. His record is one of humility, yet one of
daily dependence upon the providence and the knowledge of God to supply
his daily wants. It has been one of extraordinary trial; yet never, for
a single hour, has God forsaken him. Beginning, in 1834, with absolutely
nothing; giving himself, his earthly all and his family to the Lord, and
asking the Lord's pleasure and blessing upon his work of philanthropy,
he has never, for once, appealed to any individual for aid, for
assistance, for loans; but has relied wholly in prayer to the
Lord--coming with each day's cares and necessities--and the Lord has
ever supplied. He has never borrowed, never been in debt; living only
upon what the Lord has sent--yet in the forty-third year of his life of
faith and trust--he has been able, through the voluntary contributions
which the Lord has prompted the hearts of the people to give, to
accomplish these wonderful results: _Over half a million dollars_ have
been spent in the construction of buildings--_over fifteen thousand
orphans have been cared for and supported--and over one million dollars_
have been received for their support. _Every dollar of which has been
asked for in believing prayer from the Lord_. The record is the most
astounding in the faith of the Christian religion, and the power and
providence of God to answer prayer, that modern times can show.
The orphans' homes have been visited again and again by Christian
clergymen of all denominations, to feel the positive satisfaction and
certainty that all this were indeed the work of prayer, and they have
been abundantly convinced.
The spectacle is indeed a _standing miracle. "A man sheltering, feeding,
clothing, educating, and mailing comfortable and happy, hundreds of poor
orphan children, with no funds of his own, and no possible means of
sustenance, save that which God sent him in answer to prayer_."
An eminent clergyman who for five years had been constantly hearing of
this work of faith, and could hardly believe in its possibility, at last
visited Mr. Muller's home for the purpose of thorough investigation,
exposing it, if it were under false pretenses or mistaken ways of
securing public sympathy, or else with utmost critical search, desired
to become convinced it was indeed supported only by true prayer. He had
reserved for himself, as he says, a wide margin for deductions and
disappointment, but after his search, as "_I left Bristol, I exclaimed
with the queen of Sheba, 'The half had not been told me.' Here I saw,
indeed, seven hundred orphan children fed and provided for, by the hand
of God, in answer to prayer, as literally and truly as Elijah was fed by
ravens with meat which the Lord provided_."
Mr. Muller himself has said in regard to their manner of living:
"_Greater and more manifest nearness of the Lord's presence I have never
had, than when after breakfast, there were no means for dinner, and then
the Lord provided the dinner for more than one hundred persons; and when
after dinner, there were no means for the tea; and yet the Lord provided
the tea; and all this without one single human being having been
informed about our need_."
Thus it will be seen his life is one of daily trial and trust, and he
says, "Our desire therefore, is, not that we may be without trials of
faith, but that the Lord graciously would be pleased to support us in
the trial, that we may not dishonor him by distrust."
The question having been asked of him, "Such a way of living must lead
the mind continually to think whence food, clothes, etc., are to come,
with no benefit for spiritual exercise," he replies: "Our minds are very
little tried about the necessaries of life; just because the care
respecting them is laid upon our Father, who, because we are his
children, not _only allows_ us to do so, _but will have us to do so_.
"It must also be remembered that even if our minds _were_ much tried
about our supplies, yet because we look to the _Lord alone_ for all
these things, we should be brought by our sense of need, into the
presence of our Father for the supply of it, _and that is a blessing_,
and satisfying to the soul."
This humble statement from the experience of one who has tried and
proven the Lord in little things, as well as large, conveys to the
Christian that world of practical instruction which is contained in the
precepts of the Bible, viz: to _encourage all to cast their cares on
God_; and teaches them the lessons of their dependence upon Him for
their daily supplies.
The meaning of the Lord's blessing upon the work of Mr. Muller, is to
make it a standing example and illustration to be adopted in every
Christian home. "_How God supplies our needs, how he rewards faith, how
he cares for those who trust in Him. How he can as well take care of his
children to-day as he did in the days of the Prophets, and how surely he
fulfills his promise, even when the trial brings us to the extremities
of circumstances seemingly impossible_."
Mr. Muller's experience is remarkable, not because the Lord has made his
an exceptional case for the bestowal of blessings, but because of the
_remarkable, unwavering and persevering application of his faith_, by
the man himself.
His faith began with small degrees, and small hopes. It was painfully
tried. But it clung hopefully, and never failed to gain a triumph. Each
trial only increased its tenacity, and brought him greater humility, for
it opened his own heart to a sense of his own powerlessness, and this
faith has grown with work and trial, till its strength is beyond all
The lessons which the Lord wishes each one to take from it, is this:
"_Be your faith little or weak, never give it up; apply my promises to
all your needs, and expect their fulfillment. Little things are as
sacred as great things_."
In the journal kept by Mr. Muller during his many years of experience,
he has preserved many incidents of answer to prayer in small matters, of
which we quote the following from his book. "_The Power of Faith and
1. "One of the orphan boys needed to be apprenticed. I knew of no
suitable believing master who would take an indoor apprentice. I gave
myself to prayer, and brought the matter daily before the Lord. At last,
though I had to pray about the matter from May 21 to September, the Lord
granted my request, and I found a suitable place for him.
2. I asked the Lord that he would be pleased to deliver a certain sister
in the Lord from the great spiritual depression under which she was
suffering, and after three days the Lord granted my request.
3. I asked the Lord daily in his mercy to keep a sister in the Lord from
insanity, who was then apparently on the border of it. I have now to
record his praise, after nearly four years have passed away, that the
Lord has kept her from it.
4. During this year has occurred the conversion of one of the greatest
sinners that I had ever heard of in all my service for the Lord.
Repeatedly I fell on my knees with his wife, and asked the Lord for his
conversion, when she came to me in the deepest distress of soul, on
account of the most barbarous and cruel treatment that she had received
from him in his bitter enmity against her for the Lord's sake. And now
the awful persecutor is converted.
5. It pleased the Lord to try my faith in a way in which before, it had
not been tried. My beloved daughter was taken ill on June 20. This
illness, at first a low fever, turned to typhus, _and July 3 there
seemed no hope of her recovery_.
Now was the trial of faith, but faith triumphed. My wife and I were
enabled to give her up into the hands of the Lord. He sustained us both
She continued very ill till about July 20, when restoration began. On
August 18, she was so far restored that she could be removed to Clevedon
for change of air. It was then 59 days since she was taken ill.
6. The heating apparatus of our Orphan Home unexpectedly gave out. It
was the commencement of Winter. To repair the leak was a questionable
matter. To put in a new boiler would in all probability take many weeks.
Workmen were sent for to make repairs. But on the day fixed for repairs
a _bleak north wind set in_."
Now came cold weather, the fire must be put out, the repairs could not
be put off. Gladly would I have paid one hundred pounds if thereby the
difficulty could have been overcome, and the children not be exposed to
suffer for many days from living in cold rooms.
At last I determined on falling entirely into the hands of God, who is
very merciful and of tender compassion. I now asked the Lord for two
things, viz.: "That He would be pleased to change the _north wind into a
south wind_, and that he would give the workmen a mind to work.
Well, the memorable day came. The evening before, the bleak north wind
blew still; but on the Wednesday the south wind blew _exactly as I had
prayed_. The weather was so mild that no fire was needed.
About half-past eight in the evening, the principal of the firm whence
the boiler-makers came, arrived to see how the work was going on, and
whether he could in any way speed the matter.
The principal went with me to see his men; to the foreman of whom he
said: "The men will work late this evening, and come very early again
"_We would rather_," said the leader, "_work all night_."
Then remembered I the second part of my prayer, that God would give the
men a mind to work. By morning the repair was accomplished, the leak was
stopped, and in thirty hours the fire was again in the boiler; _and all
the time the south wind blew so mildly that there was not the least need
of a fire_.
7. In the year 1865, the scarlet fever broke out in several of the
Orphan Homes. In one of which were four hundred girls, and in the other
four hundred and fifty. It appeared among the infants. The cases
increased more and more. But we betook ourselves to God in prayer. Day
by day we called upon Him regarding this trial, and generally two or
three times a day. At last, when the infirmary rooms were filled, and
some other rooms that could be spared for the occasion, to keep the sick
children from the rest, and when we had no other rooms to spare, at
least not without inconvenience, it pleased the Lord to answer our
prayers, and in mercy stay the disease. The disease was very general in
the town of Bristol, and many children died in consequence. _But not one
in the Orphan Home died. All recovered_.
At another date, the whooping-cough also broke out among the four
hundred and fifty girls of our Home, and though many were dying in the
towns of the same disease, yet all in the Orphan Home recovered except
one little girl who had very weak lungs, a constitutional tendency to
8. In the early part of one Summer, it was found that we had several
boys ready to be apprenticed, but there were no applications made by
masters for apprentices. This was no small difficulty, as the master
must be also willing to receive the apprentice into his own family. We
again gave ourselves to _prayer_, instead of _advertising_. Some weeks
passed, but the difficulty remained. We continued in prayer, and then
one application was made for an apprentice, and from the time we first
began, we have been able to find places for eighteen boys."
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