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The Period Of World-Wide Witness
GOD'S real answers to prayer are
often seeming denials. Beneath the outward request He hears the voice of the
inward desire, and He responds to the mind of the Spirit rather than to the
imperfect and perhaps mistaken words in which the yearning seeks expression.
Moreover, His infinite wisdom sees that a larger blessing may be ours only by
the withholding of the lesser good which we seek; and so all true prayer trusts
His to give His own answer, not in our way or time, or even to our own expressed
desire, but rather to His own unutterable groaning within us which He can interpret
better than we.
Monica, mother of Augustine, pleaded with God that her dissolute son might not go to Rome, that sink of iniquity; but he was permitted to go, and thus came into contact with Ambrose, bishop of Milan, through whom he was converted. God fulfilled the mother's desire while denying her request.
When George Müller, five times within the first eight years after conversion, had offered himself as a missionary. God had blocked his way; now, at sixty-five, He was about to permit him, in a sense he had never dreamed of, to be a missionary to the world. From the beginning of his ministry he had been more or less an itinerant, spending no little time in wanderings about in Britain and on the Continent; but now he was to go to the regions beyond and spend the major part of seventeen years in witnessing to the prayer-hearing God.
These extensive missionary tours occupied the evening of Mr. Müller's useful life, from 1875 to 1892. They reached, more or less, over Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and Australia; and would of themselves have sufficed for the work of an ordinary life.
They had a singular suggestion. While, in 1874, compelled by Mrs. Müller's health to seek a change of air, he was preaching in the Isle of Wight, and a beloved Christian brother for whom he had spoken, himself a man of much experience in preaching, told him how
"that day had been the happiest of his whole life";
and this remark, with others like
it previously made, so impressed him that the Lord was about to use him to help
on believers outside of Bristol, that he determined no longer to confine his
labours in the Word and doctrine to any one place, but to go wherever a door
might open for his testimony.
In weighing this question he was impressed with seven reasons or motives, which led to these tours:
1. To preach the gospel in its simplicity, and especially to show how salvation is based, not upon feelings or even upon faith, but upon the finished work of Christ; that justification is ours the moment we believe, and we are to accept and claim our place as accepted in the Beloved without regard to our inward states of feeling or emotion.
2. To lead believers to know their saved state, and to realize their standing in Christ, great numbers not only of disciples, but even preachers and pastors, being themselves destitute of any real peace and joy in the Lord, and hence unable to lead others into joy and peace.
3. To bring believers back to the Scriptures, to search the Word and find its hidden treasures; to test everything by this divine touchstone and hold fast only what will stand this test; to make it the daily subject of meditative and prayerful examination in order to translate it into daily obedience.
4. To promote among all true believers, brotherly love; to lead them to make less of those non-essentials in which disciples differ, and to make more of those great essential and foundation truths in which all true believers are united; to help all who love and trust one Lord to rise above narrow sectarian prejudices, and barriers to fellowship.
5. To strengthen the faith of believers, encouraging a simpler trust, and a more real and unwavering confidence in God, and particularly in the sure answers to believing prayer, based upon His definite promises.
6. To promote separation from the world and deadness to it, and so to increase heavenly-mindedness in children of God; at the time warning against fanatical extremes and extravagances.
7. And finally to fix the hope of disciples on the blessed coming of our Lord Jesus; and, in connection therewith, to instruct them as to the true character and object of the present dispensation, and the relation of the church to the world in this period of the outgathering of the Bride of Christ.
These seven objects may be briefly
epitomized thus: Mr. Müller's aim was to lead sinners to believe on the name
of the Son of God, and so to have eternal life; to help those who have
thus believed, to know that they have this life; to teach them so to
build up themselves on their most holy faith, by diligent searching into
the word of God, and praying in the Holy Ghost, as that this life shall be more
and more a real possession and a conscious possession; to promote among all
disciples the unity of the Spirit and the charity which is the
bond of perfectness, and to help them to exhibit that life before the world;
to incite them to cultivate an unworldly and spiritual type of character
such as conforms to the life of God in them; to lead them to the prayer of
faith which is both the expression and the expansion of the life of faith;
and to direct their hope to the final appearing of the Lord, so that
they should purify themselves even as He is pure, and occupy till He comes.
Mr. Müller was thus giving himself to the double work of evangelization and
edification, on a scale commensurate with his love for a dying world, as opportunity
afforded doing good unto all men, and especially to them who are of the household
Of these long and busy missionary journeys, it is needful to give only the outline, or general survey. March 26, 1875, is an important date, for it marks the starting-point He himself calls this "the beginning of his missionary tour."
From Bristol he went to Brighton, Lewes, and Sunderland-- on the way to Sunderland preaching to a great audience in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, at Mr. Spurgeon's request-- then to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and back to London, where he spoke at the Mildmay Park Conference, Talbot Road Tabernacle, and "Edinburgh Castle." This tour closed, June 5th, after seventy addresses in public, during about ten weeks.
Less than six weeks passed, when, on August 14th, the second tour began, in which case the special impulse that moved him was a desire to follow up the revival work of Mr. Moody and Mr. Sankey. Their short stay in each place made them unable to lead on new converts to higher attainments in knowledge and grace, and there seemed to be a call for some instruction fitted to confirm these new believers in the life of obedience. Mr. Müller accordingly followed these evangelists in England, Ireland, and Scotland, staying in each place from one week to six, and seeking to educate and edify those who had been led to Christ. Among the places visited on this errand in 1875, were London; then Kilmarnock, Saltwater, Dundee, Perth, Glasgow, Kirkentilloch in Scotland, and Dublin in Ireland; then, returning to England, he went to Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth, Coventry, Rugby, etc. In some cases, notably at Mildmay Park, Dundee and Glasgow, Liverpool and Dublin, the audiences numbered from two thousand to six thousand, but everywhere rich blessing came from above. This second tour extended into the new year, 1876, and took in Liverpool, York, Kendal, Carlisle, Annan, Edinburgh, Arbroath, Montrose, Aberdeen, and other places; and when it closed in July, having lasted nearly eleven months, Mr. Müller had preached at least three hundred and six times, an average of about one sermon a day, exclusive of days spent in travel. So acceptable and profitable were these labours that there were over one hundred invitations urged upon him which he was unable to accept.
The third tour was on the Continent. It occupied most of the year closing May 26, 1877, and embraced Paris, various places in Switzerland, Prussia and Holland, Alsace, Wurtemberg, Baden, Hesse Darmstadt, etc. Altogether over three hundred addresses were given in about seventy cities and villages to all of which he had been invited by letter. When this tour closed more than sixty written invitations remained unaccepted, and Mr. Müller found that, through his work and his writings, he was as well known in the continental countries visited, as in England.
Turning now toward America, the fourth tour extended from August, 1877, to June of the next year. For many years invitations had been coming with growing frequency, from the United States and Canada; and of late their urgency led him to recognize in them the call of God, especially as he thought of the many thousands of Germans across the Atlantic, who as they heard him speak in their own native tongue would keep the more silence. (Acts xxii.2.)
Mr. and Mrs. Müller, landing at Quebec, thence went to the United States, where, during ten months, his labours stretched over a vast area, including the States of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri. Thus having swept round the Atlantic sea-border, he crossed to the Pacific coast, and returning visited Salt Lake City in Utah-- the very centre and stronghold of Mormonism-- Illinois, Ohio, etc. He spoke frequently to large congregations of Germans, and, in the Southern States, to the coloured population; but he regarded no opportunity for service afforded him on this tour as so inspiring as the repeated meetings with and for ministers, evangelists, pastors, and Christian workers; and, next to them in importance, his interviews with large bodies of students and professors in the universities, colleges, theological seminaries, and other higher schools of education. To cast the salt of the gospel into the very springs of social influence, the sources whence power flows, was to him a most sacred privilege. His singular catholicity, charity, and humility drew to him even those who differed with him, and all denominations of Christians united in giving him access to the people. During this tour he spoke three hundred times, and travelled nearly ten thousand miles; over one hundred invitations being declined, for simple lack of time and strength.
After a stay in Bristol of about two months, on September 5, 1878, he and his wife began the fifth of these missionary tours. In this case, it was on the Continent, where he ministered in English, German, and French; and in Spain and Italy, when these tongues were not available, his addresses were through an interpreter. Many open doors the Lord set before him, not only to the poorer and humbler classes, but to those in the middle and higher ranks. In the Riviera, he had access to many of the nobility and aristocracy, who from different countries sought health and rest in the equable climate of the Mediterranean, and at Mentone he and Mr. Spurgeon held sweet converse. In Spain Mr. Müller was greatly gladdened by seeing for himself the schools, entirely supported by the funds of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, and by finding that, in hundreds of cases, even popish parents so greatly valued these schools that they continued to send their children, despite both the threats and persuasions of the Romish priests. He found, moreover, that the pupils frequently at their homes read to their parents the word of God and sang to them the gospel hymns learned at these schools, so that the influence exerted was not bounded by its apparent horizon, as diffused or refracted sunlight reaches with its illumining rays far beyond the visible track of the orb of day.
The work had to contend with governmental opposition. When a place was first opened at Madrid for gospel services, a sign placed outside, announcing the fact. Official orders were issued that the sign should be painted over, so as to obliterate the inscription. The painter of the sign, unwilling both to undo his own work and to hinder the work of God, painted the sign over with watercolours, which would leave the original announcement half visible, and would soon be washed off by the rains; whereupon the government sent its own workman to daub the sign over with thick oil-colour.
Mr. Müller, ready to preach the gospel to those at Rome also, felt his spirit saddened and stirred within him, as he saw that city wholly given to idolatry-- not pagan but papal idolatry-- the Rome not of the Caesars, but of the popes. While at Naples he ascended Vesuvius. Those masses of lava, which seemed greater in bulk than the mountain itself, more impressed him with the power of God than anything else he had ever seen. As he looked upon that smoking cone, and thought of the liquid death it had vomited forth, he said within himself,
"What cannot God do!"
He had before felt somewhat of His
Almightiness in love and grace, but he now saw its manifestation in judgment
and wrath. His visit to the Vaudois valleys, where so many martyrs had suffered
banishment and imprisonment, loss of goods and loss of life for Jesus' sake,
moved him to the depths of his being and stimulated in him the martyr spirit.
When he arrived again in Bristol, June 18, 1879, he had been absent nine months and twelve days, and preached two hundred and eighty-six times and in forty-six towns and cities. After another ten weeks in Bristol, he and his wife sailed again for America, the last week of August, 1879, landing at New York the first week in September. This visit took in the States lying between the Atlantic Ocean and the valley of the Mississippi-- New York and New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota-- and, from London and Hamilton to Quebec, Canada also shared the blessing. This visit covered only two hundred and seventy-two days, but he preached three hundred times, and in over forty cities. Over one hundred and fifty written invitations still remained without response, and the number increased the longer his stay. Mr. Müller therefore assuredly gathered that the Lord called him to return to America after another brief stay at Bristol, where he felt it needful to spend a season annually, to keep in close touch with the work at home and relieve Mr. and Mrs. Wright of their heavy responsibilities, for a time.
Accordingly on September 15, 1880, again turning from Bristol, these travellers embarked the next day on their seventh mission tour, landing, ten days later, at Quebec. Mr. Müller had a natural antipathy to the sea, in his earlier crossing to the Continent having suffered much from sea-sickness; but he had undertaken these long voyages, not for his own pleasure or profit, but wholly on God's errand; and he felt it to be a peculiar mark of the lovingkindness of the Lord that, while he was ready to endure any discomfort, or risk his life for His sake, he had not in his six crossings of the Atlantic suffered in the least, and on this particular voyage was wholly free from any indisposition.
From Quebec he went to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Among other places of special interest were Boston, Plymouth-- the landing-place of the Pilgrims,-- Wellesley and South Hadley colleges-- the great schools for woman's higher education,-- and the centres farther westward, where he had such wide access to Germans. This tour extended over a smaller area than before, and lasted but eight months; but the impression on the people was deep and permanent. He had spoken about two hundred and fifty times in all; and Mrs. Müller had availed herself of many opportunities of personal dealing with inquirers, and of distributing books and tracts among both believers and unbelievers. She had also written for her husband more than seven hundred letters,-- this of itself being no light task, inasmuch as it reaches an average of about three a day. On May 30, 1881, they were again on British shores.
The eighth long preaching tour, from August 23, 1881, to May 30, 1882, was given to the Continent of Europe, here again Mr. Müller felt led by the low state of religious life in Switzerland and Germany.
This visit was extended to the Holy Land in a way strikingly providential. After speaking at Alexandria, Cairo, and Port Said, he went to Jaffa, and thence to Jerusalem, on November 28. With reverent feet he touched the soil once trodden by the feet of the Son of God, visiting, with pathetic interest, Gethsemane and Golgotha, and crossing the Mount of Olives to Bethany, thence to Bethlehem and back to Jaffa, and so to Haipha, Mt. Carmel, and Beyrût, Smyrna, Ephesus, Constantinople, Athens, Brindisi, Rome, and Florence. Again were months crowded with services of all sorts whose fruit will appear only in the Day of the Lord Jesus, addresses being made in English, German, and French, or by translation into Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, and modern Greek. Sightseeing was always but incidental to the higher service of the Master. During this eighth tour, covering some eight months, Mr. Müller spoke hundreds of times, with all the former tokens of God's blessing on his seed-sowing.
The ninth tour, from August 8, 1882, to June 1, 1883, was occupied with labours in Germany, Austria, and Russia, including Bavaria, Hungary, Bohemia, Saxony, and Poland. His special joy it was to bear witness in Kroppenstädt, his birthplace, after an absence of about sixty-four years. At St. Petersburg, while the guest of Princess Lieven, at her mansion he met and ministered to many of high rank; he also began to hold meetings in the house of Colonel Paschkoff, who had suffered not only persecution but exile for the Lord's sake. While the Scriptures were being read one day in Russ, with seven poor Russians, a policeman summarily broke up the meeting and dispersed the little company. At Lodz in Poland, a letter was received, in behalf of "almost the whole population," begging him to remain longer; and so signs seemed to multiply, as he went forward, that he was in the path of duty and that God was with him.
On September 26, 1883, the tenth tour began, this time his face being turned toward the Orient. Nearly sixty years before he had desired to go to the East Indies as a missionary; now the Lord permitted him to carry out the desire in a new and strange way, and India was the twenty-third country visited in his tours. He travelled over 1,000 miles, and spoke over two hundred times, to missionaries and Christian workers, European residents, Eurasians, Hindus, Moslems, educated natives, native boys and girls in the orphanage at Colar, etc. Thus, in his seventy-ninth year, this servant of God was still in labours abundant, and in all his work conspicuously blessed of God.
After some months of preaching in England, Scotland, and Wales, on November 19, 1885, he and his wife set out on their fourth visit to the United States, and their eleventh longer mission tour. Crossing to the Pacific, they went to Sydney, New South Wales, and, after seven months in Australia, sailed for Java, and thence to China, arriving at Hong Kong, September 12th; Japan and the Straits of Malacca were also included in this visit to the Orient. The return to England was by way of Nice; and, after travelling nearly 38,000 miles, in good health Mr. and Mrs. Müller reached home on June 14, 1887, having been absent more than one year and seven months, during which Mr. Müller had preached whenever and wherever opportunity was afforded.
Less than two months later, on August 12, 1887, he sailed for South Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Ceylon, and India. This twelfth long tour closed in March, 1890, having covered thousands of miles. The intense heat at one time compelled Mr. Müller to leave Calcutta, and on the railway journey to Darjeeling his wife feared he would die. But he was mercifully spared.
It was on this tour and in the month of January, 1890, while at Jubbulpore, preaching with great help from the Lord, that a letter was put into Mr. Müller's hands from a missionary at Agra, to whom Mr. Wright had sent a telegram, informing his father-in-law of his dear Lydia's death. For nearly thirty years she had laboured gratuitously at the orphan houses and it would be difficult to fill that vacancy; but for fourteen years she had been her husband's almost ideal companion, and for nearly fifty-eight years her father's unspeakable treasure-- and here were two other voids which could never be filled. But Mr. Müller's heart, as also Mr. Wright's, was kept at rest by the strong confidence that, however mysterious God's ways, all His dealings belong to one harmonious spiritual mechanism in which every part is perfect and all things work together for good. (Romans viii.28.)
This sudden bereavement led Mr. Müller to bring his mission tour in the East to a close and depart for Bristol, that he might both comfort Mr. Wright and relieve him of undue pressure of work.
After a lapse of two months, once more Mr. and Mrs. Müller left home for other extensive missionary journeys. They went to the Continent and were absent from July, 1890, to May, 1892. A twelvemonth was spent in Germany and Holland, Austria and Italy. This absence in fact included two tours, with no interval between them, and concluded the series of extensive journeys reaching through seventeen years.
This man-- from his seventieth to his eighty-seventh year-- when most men are withdrawing from all activities, had travelled in forty-two countries and over two hundred thousand miles, a distance equivalent to nearly eight journeys round the globe. He estimated that during these seventeen years he had addressed over three million people; and from all that can be gathered from the records of these tours, we estimate that he must have spoken, outside of Bristol, between five thousand and six thousand times. What sort of teaching and testimony occupied these tours, those who have known the preacher and teacher need not be told. While at Berlin in 1891, he gave an address that serves as an example of the vital truths which he was wont to press on the attention of fellow disciples. We give a brief outline:
He first urged that believers should never, even under the greatest difficulties, be discouraged, and gave for his position sound scriptural reasons.
Then he pointed out to them that the chief business of every day is first of all to seek to be truly at rest and happy in God.
Then he showed how, from the word of God, all saved believers may know their true standing in Christ, and how in circumstances of particular perplexity they might ascertain the will of God.
He then urged disciples to seek with intense earnestness to become acquainted with God Himself as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and carefully to form and maintain godly habits of systematic Bible study and prayer, holy living and consecrated giving.
He taught that God alone is the one all-satisfying portion of the soul, and that we must determine to possess and enjoy Him as such.
He closed by emphasizing it as the one, single, all-absorbing, daily aim to glorify God in a complete surrender to His will and service.
In all these mission tours, again,
the faithfulness of God was conspicuously seen, in the bounteous supply of every
need. Steamer fares and long railway journeys; hotel accommodations, ordinarily
preferred to private hospitality, which seriously interfered with private habits
of devotion, public work, and proper rest-- such expenses demanded a heavy outlay;
the new mode of life, now adopted for the Lord's sake, was at least three times
as costly as the former frugal housekeeping; and yet, in answer to prayer and
without any appeal to human help, the Lord furnished all that was required.
Accustomed to look, step by step, for such tokens of divine approval, as emboldened him to go forward, Mr. Müller records how, when one hundred pounds was sent to him for personal uses, this was recognized as a foretoken from his great Provider, "by which," he writes,
"God meant to say to my own heart, 'I am pleased with thy work and service in going about on these long missionary tours. I will pay the expenses thereof, and I give thee here a specimen of what I am yet willing to do for thee.' "
Two other facts Mr. Müller specially records in connection with these tours:
first, God's gracious guiding and guarding of the work at Bristol so that it suffered nothing from his absence; and
secondly, the fact that these journeys had no connection with collecting of money for the work or even informing the public of it. No reference was made to the Institution at Bristol, except when urgently requested, and not always even then; nor were collections ever made for it. Statements found their way into the press that in America large sums were gathered, but their falsity is sufficiently shown by the fact that in his first tour in America, for example, the sum total of all such gifts was less than sixty pounds, not more than two thirds of the outlay of every day at the orphan houses.
These missionary tours were not always approved even by the friends and advisers of Mr. Müller. In 1882, while experiencing no little difficulty and trial, especially as to funds, there were not a few who felt a deep interest in the Institution on Ashley Down, who would have had God's servant discontinue his long absences, as to them it appeared that these were the main reason for the falling off in funds. He was always open to counsel, but he always reserved to himself an independent decision; and, on weighing the matter well, these were some of the reasons that led him to think that the work of God at home did not demand his personal presence:
1. He had observed year after year that, under the godly and efficient supervision of Mr. Wright and his large staff of helpers, every branch of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution had been found as healthy and fruitful during these absences as when Mr. Müller was in Bristol.
2. The Lord's approval of this work of wider witness had been in manner conclusive and in measure abundant, as in the ample supply of funds for these tours, in the wide doors of access opened, and in the large fruit already evident in blessing to thousands of souls.
3. The strong impression upon his mind that this was the work which was to occupy the "evening of his life," grew in depth, and was confirmed by so many signs of God's leading that he could not doubt that he was led both of God's providence and Spirit.
4. Even while absent, he was never out of communication with the helpers at home. Generally he heard at least weekly from Mr. Wright, and any matters needing his counsel were thus submitted to him by letter; prayer to God was as effectual at a distance from Bristol as on the spot; and his periodical returns to that city for some weeks or months between these tours kept him in close touch with every department of the work.
5. The supreme consideration, however, was this: To suppose it necessary for Mr. Müller himself to be at home in order that sufficient means should be supplied, was a direct contradiction of the very principles upon which, and to maintain which, the whole work had been begun. Real trust in God is above circumstances and appearances. And this had been proven; for, during the third year after these tours began, the income for the various departments of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution was larger than ever during the preceding forty-four years of its existence; and therefore, notwithstanding the loving counsel of a few donors and friends who advised that Mr. Müller should stay at home, he kept to his purpose and his principles, partly to demonstrate that no man's presence is indispensable to the work of the Lord. "Them that honour Me I will honour." (1 Samuel ii.39.) He regarded it the greatest honour of his life to bear this wide witness to God, and God correspondingly honoured His servant in bearing this testimony,
It was during the first and second
of these American tours that the writer had the privilege of coming into personal
contact with Mr. Müller. While I was at San Francisco, in 1878, he was to speak
on Sabbath afternoon, May 12th, at Oakland, just across the bay, but conscientious
objections to needless Sunday travel caused me voluntarily to lose what then
seemed the only chance of seeing and hearing a man whose career had been watched
by me for over twenty years, as he was to leave for the East a few days earlier
than myself and was likely to be always a little in advance. On reaching Ogden,
however, where the branch road from Salt Lake City joins the main line, Mr.
and Mrs. Müller boarded my train and we travelled to Chicago together. I introduced
myself, and held with him daily converse about divine things, and, while tarrying
at Chicago, had numerous opportunities for hearing him speak there.
The results of this close and frequent contact singularly blessed to me, and at my invitation he came to Detroit, Michigan, on his next tour, and spoke in the Fort Street Presbyterian Church, of which I was pastor, on Sundays, January 18 and 25, 1880, and on Monday and Friday evenings, in the interval.
In addition to these numerous and favourable opportunities thus providentially afforded for hearing and conversing with Mr. Müller, he kindly met me for several days in my study, for an hour at a time, for conference upon those deeper truths of the word of God and deeper experiences of the Christian life, upon which I was then very desirous of more light. For example, I desired to understand more clearly the Bible teaching about the Lord's coming. I had opposed with much persistency what is known as the premillennial view, and brought out my objections, to all of which he made one reply:
"My beloved brother, I have heard all your arguments and objections against this view, but they have one fatal defect: not one of them is based upon the word of God. You will never get at the truth upon any matter of divine revelation unless you lay aside your prejudices and like a little child ask simply what is the testimony of Scripture."
With patience and wisdom he unravelled the tangled skein of my perplexity and difficulty, and helped me to settle upon biblical principles all matters of so-called expediency. As he left me, about to visit other cities, his words fixed themselves in my memory. I had expressed to him my growing conviction that the worship in the churches had lost its primitive simplicity; that the pew rent system was pernicious; that fixed salaries for ministers of the gospel were unscriptural; that the church of God should be administered only by men full of the Holy Ghost, and that the duty of Christians to the non-churchgoing masses was grossly neglected, etc. He solemnly said to me:
"My beloved brother, the Lord has given you much light upon these matters, and will hold you correspondingly responsible for its use. If you obey Him and walk in the light, you will have more; if not, the light will be withdrawn."
It is a singular lesson on the importance of an anointed tongue, that forty simple words, spoken over twenty years ago, have had a daily influence on the life of him to whom they were spoken. Amid subtle temptations to compromise the claims of duty and hush the voice of conscience, or of the Spirit of God, and to follow the traditions of men rather than the word of God, those words of that venerated servant of God have recurred to mind with ever fresh force. We risk the forfeiture of privileges which are not employed for God, and of obscuring convictions which are not carried into action. God's word to us is "use or lose."
"To him that hath shall be given: from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he seemeth to have."
It is the hope and the prayer of
him who writes this memoir that the reading of these pages may prove to be an
interview with the man whose memorial they are, and that the witness borne by
George Müller may be to many readers a source of untold and life-long blessing.
It need not be said that to carry out conviction into action is a costly sacrifice. It may make necessary renunciations and separations which leave one to feel a strange sense both of deprivation and loneliness. But he who will fly as an eagle does into the higher levels where cloudless day abides, and live in the sunshine of God, must consent to live a comparatively lonely life. No bird is so solitary as the eagle. Eagles never fly in flocks: one, or at most two, and the two, mates, being ever seen at once. But the life that is lived unto God, however it forfeits human companionship, knows divine fellowship, and the child of God who like his Master undertakes to "do always the things that please Him," can like his Master say, "The Father hath not left me alone."
"I am alone; yet not alone, for the Father is with me."
Whosoever will promptly follow whatever light God gives, without regard to human opinion, custom, tradition, or approbation, will learn the deep meaning of these words:
"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord."