March 10th, 1898—May 26th, 1899
“Thou remainest … Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.”—Heb. 1:11, 12.
As we commence today’s untrodden way,
To Thee we turn,
And hear Thy loving call to watch and pray,
And of Thee learn.
We render now the tribute of our praise,
Which cheers with hope the thought of future days.
Mr. Wright took up the work laid down by Mr. Müller, and the following facts show forth the continuance of the Lord’s gracious provision for His own work.
Mr. Wright’s Account Of Mr. Müller’s Death
My beloved father-in-law, Mr. George Müller, who was the instrument in the hand of God in founding and for 64 years carrying on this Institution, had, a week or two before his departure to be with Christ, begun to prepare the manuscript for the Report. Probably in the afternoon of March the 9th, he laid down his pen, not knowing that he had finished this part of his service for his Lord.
In the evening of that day he took part in the usual meeting for prayer, held in the Orphan House No. 3; retired at his usual hour to rest, and early on the following morning, alone in his bedroom, breathed his last, realizing what had long been with him a most joyous anticipation, viz., that “to depart and to be with Christ is far better.”
At two o’clock in the afternoon of that day the helpers again assembled in the room, where, on the previous evening, he had, in our presence, poured out his soul in prayer to our God and Father, committing, as he little knew, for the last time, the whole work and all the workers to the faithful care of the living God.
In our first prayer meeting after the decease of the human guide, whom all of us so loved and revered, no fear as to the future was permitted to distract our hearts. By God’s grace our minds were kept “in -perfect peace,”—because “stayed upon Him.”2 And thus it has been, without intermission, ever since; the only difference being that the constant proofs of His presence with us, and His power, love and tender care toward us, have confirmed our faith in Himself.
It is written (Job 26:7): “He hangeth the earth upon nothing.” And so we exult in the fact that “The Scriptural Knowledge Institution” hangs, as it has ever hung since its commencement, “upon nothing “—that is, upon no visible support. It hangs upon no human patron, upon no endowment or funded property, but solely upon the good pleasure of the blessed God.
The following record tells how “the blessed God” delights in being thus trusted, and manifests His good pleasure in upholding this work.
On March 19th we received from Newport-on-Tay, £2. The donor writes: “I learned from Mr. Müller to keep a prayer-book.3 The last prayer in it is for you and your work, inserted this morning, No. 15,796; I commenced it in 1862”—From near Stroud, 10s., from two Orphans formerly under our care, one of whom has been 31 years, and the other 26 years in the same family, as servants, and are greatly valued. They write:—
“In thinking of the future we have no doubt, but feel sure that all will be well, for although dear Mr. Müller has been called away to his rest (and his loss will be greatly felt), yet Mr. Müller’s God still lives, and He will continue to bless His own work. He is still the Father of the fatherless, for He changeth not.”
The legacy of the late Miss H. G., of £1,099 7s. 6d. reached us on April 23rd.—During the last three or four weeks, in the increased income, our faithful God and Father has been answering, in a marked way, the many prayers that had gone up from our hearts in the name of Jesus, and now, the payment of this legacy, bequeathed some twelve years ago, is another precious token that we do not wait upon Him in vain!
Mr. Wright’s Remarks On The Lord’s Provision Of A Yoke-Fellow
The following words of Mr. Wright as to the way the Lord supplied his need of a helper at this time are so important that I give them in extenso:—
As if to show His delight in the life-testimony of His departed servant, and to confirm that testimony by a signal act of favor towards the Institution he had so long directed, it pleased God, within about a month of his decease, to give me one of the most striking answers to long continued prayer which I ever experienced.
In the Report for the year 1872, Mr. Müller announced that he had associated me with himself in the direction of the Institution, and that he had also nominated me to become his successor in its direction, in the event of his decease. Three years later he commenced the Missionary Tours, which formed the principal part of his labor for the Lord during seventeen subsequent years. When over seventy years of age, he began to encounter the exposure and fatigue of voyages to the Antipodes—and in two successive years, faced the extremes of temperature in St. Petersburg and Calcutta!—my beloved wife, his only child, and I began to realize how uncertain, humanly speaking, was his precious life; and how, any day, we might find that the direct responsibility of the Institution had come to rest upon our shoulders. Under these circumstances we had only one resource: we “cast our burden on the Lord.” Again and again our united prayer was that the Lord would be pleased to raise up some servant of His, who would be able and willing to share with me the labor and responsibility of the work.
After the tenth of January, 1890, when my loved one went to her Lord, I continued, alone, to “seek unto God” for the long asked and waited for blessing, a congenial sharer of my labors and responsibilities. In 1895 Mr. Müller became a second time a widower, and I began to unite with him in daily private prayer concerning all matters affecting the welfare of the Institution. Latterly his mind became impressed with the importance of the will of God being dearly manifested as to a fellow-laborer with myself in the oversight of the work.
In August of last year, Mr. Müller had attacks of heart weakness, which he evidently understood to indicate the approaching end of his service on earth. During the six or seven months that we were still permitted to have the cheer of his joyous and triumphant spirit with us, his prayer became more frequent, when we were together, that God would manifest His choice of “a man” who should be my helper. But no name escaped his lips. He was never led to drop a word from which I could gather that he had even thought of any one as the one in whom our prayers would find their answer.
After the 10th March, when, for the first time, I realized as a fact what I had looked forward to for twenty-six years as a possible, and, during the later portion of this time, as a probable issue, it can be well understood with what increased earnestness I urged my petition that our gracious tenderly pitiful Father in heaven would answer the prayers of so many years, and set before me, unmistakably, the man of His choice.
I had not much longer to wait: about two weeks later I became assured that it was the will of God that I should invite a brother in Christ, Mr. G. Frederic Bergin, to join me in the work. One thing which, at first, struck me as an insuperable difficulty; and which, I think, had hitherto prevented my ever thinking of him as eligible for the service, was that he had for twenty-four years been engaged in pastoral labor in the Church, and seemed to become, day by day, more needful to the Lord’s flock in this capacity of under shepherd. But it was brought to my mind that, 64 years ago, Mr. Müller himself had been placed in a very similar position; and that he, then, deliberately judged that, in consideration of the blessing to the Church of Christ at large, which he believed the Institution he had been led to establish would prove, he was justified in retiring in a great measure from a personal attention to the needs of a local Church. I could not fail to see how thoroughly subsequent events had proved that, in this decision, he had been guided of God: and I thought, may it not be the will of God that Mr. Bergin should be brought to the same conclusion?
At the end of another week I felt free to go forward. I had been intimately acquainted with my beloved friend for twenty-five years. Our hearts had become closely united through deep sympathy with each other in family joys and sorrows. We had worked, shoulder to shoulder, in the work of the Church for years; and, though of differing temperaments, and, at times, differing from each other as to the course which should be taken in this or that set of circumstances, we had never had a misunderstanding. We had, invariably, been enabled to respect each other’s judgment, and to wait till God brought us to a common view of our duty. Mr. Bergin is 17 years my junior, and, therefore, has the prospect, if it please the Lord, of occupying this service for a good many years. His personal experience in the path of faith for over twenty years will tend to fit him to encounter the trials of faith, to which we are often subjected, in carrying on the work of this Institution. Moreover, his singularly happy domestic life fits him to find his element in the loving care of children.
In the fullest certainty that I was directed of God, I went to Mr. Bergin, explained fully my need, and told him that I believed he was the man, who, as the Lord’s instrument, could meet it. To my delight, though not to my surprise, I found that the Lord had prepared his mind to entertain my invitation. After conferring with his beloved wife, who, up to that time, knew nothing of the exercises of his heart about the matter, he heartily consented to become my yoke-fellow, and on April 25th he was at my side on Ashley Down, actually at work.
I have dwelt, thus minutely, upon this event, not only because of its most important bearing upon the future conduct of this Institution, but because it furnishes, what its beloved Founder so desired all the providential dealings of God with it, should ever furnish, viz., a practical lesson of encouragement to the dear children of God to confide utterly in the love, and wisdom, and power, and tender compassion of their Heavenly Father. As long as the Founder and Director of the Institution was spared to live and work on earth, there was no absolute need that the yoke-fellow of his successor should be manifested; so, it pleased the Lord to conceal him from us both, and thus to exercise the faith and patience of His servants.
Both Mr. Müller and I felt, and felt deeply, that, which ever one of us should survive the other, that one would not be able to go on many weeks alone, but we were assured that our Father knew this better than ourselves; and that He knew what He would do when the need actually came. And this confidence our good and gracious God abundantly justified. I need scarcely add that we both crave the prayers of every believing reader, that our united service in connection with this Institution may, through the Lord’s constant grace, be only to the praise of Him who bought us with His blood.
To these deeply interesting and instructive words of Mr. Wright’s, I add that on March 10th, only a few hours after Mr. Müller’s death, I called on Mr. Wright. We wept and prayed together. On returning to my home a deep sense of his need of a companion in his labors, came over me, and I got on my knees before the Lord, told Him of this, and offered myself to Him for such service—if He saw I was the one who could be his helper. This I continued to do daily, without mentioning the matter to any human ear, not even to my wife, up to April 1st, when Mr. Wright called on me, and made known the exercises of his mind towards me. Our hearts were immediately one in this matter, as they had been for twenty-five years before on other matters. I set out for Barnstaple, where my wife was staying, with beloved Mr. R. C. Chapman. I told my wife all, and we together laid the whole matter before Mr. Chapman. He, on hearing of Mr. Wright’s and my own exercise of mind, and our twenty-five years of unbroken fellowship, expressed his full conviction that the matter was of God.
The resumed record tells that the prayers Mr. Wright asked on behalf of our united service, have been blessedly answered.
We received on the 29th April, from Kidderminster, “From two of the old Girls, £10, as a little token of gratitude.” There are not a few trials connected with a work like this, but this is a specimen of the many cups of cordial which our loving Father hands to us, in the deep affection towards the Homes, and the helpers, shown by so many of the dear Orphans after they leave; and, as in this case, after they have left us for a long time.
On May 16th there reached us from Ramsgate, £50. This kind donor was led on this occasion to send us a much larger donation than usual. How much more precious was this to us, as a purely spontaneous act, than it would have been if it came as a kind response to an urgent appeal from ourselves. I do not even know this kind friend, personally; but, in answer to our believing prayers, our Heavenly Father moves his heart thus greatly to aid us.
There came to us on June 8th, from Kendal, £50. From Sydenham, from an Orphan formerly under our care, £5, and the following letter:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“I have pleasure in sending £5 for the Orphans. I beg to express my sympathy with you, and the whole Church of God, at the loss of our esteemed dear Mr. Müller. May you be endowed with a double portion of his spirit, as the Orphans’ friend, is the sincere wish and prayer of
“Your former Orphan.”
The total receipts for the five objects of the Institution, during the week ending with this date, amounted to only £272 19s. 7½d., considerably less than one-half of our average weekly expenses. The great thing, under such circumstances, is to lay hold, by faith, of such an inspired word, as “My times are in Thy hand” the “hand” of the Father, that “spared not His own Son” the “hand” of the eternal Son that was “pierced” for our sins:—
“Sure, love so amazing, unmeasured, untold, No evil can do us, no good can withhold!”
One noticeable feature, too, in the donations received this week, is the number of contributions received from Orphans formerly under our care. The comfort that these gifts bring to our hearts is not to be estimated by the amounts. He who still “sits over against the treasury” (Mark 12:41) “beholds” these gifts, and estimates them at their true value.
The mail of July 4th brought us from Dunedin, N.Z., £7 5s., with the following letter:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“Please find enclosed a draft for £7 5s. for the Orphan work. When I heard of dear Mr. Müller’s death, I was in Melbourne, and I spoke on his death in a very large gathering there. When I reached my own people in Dunedin, I preached a funeral sermon, based on Heb. 11:4. Several of my hearers wanted to give a little towards the Homes, and the result is this draft, which I have the greatest pleasure in sending to you… It will be a joy of my life that I was privileged to see the dear man of God before he left this world for heaven.”
The writer of this letter was formerly an inmate of the Orphan House No. 1. He has been laboring in the gospel for years, and is ministering the Word to one of the largest congregations in Dunedin, N.Z.
I left Bristol this day week (July 20th) for Teignmouth for a little rest. Our funds for the Orphan work were extremely low when I left; but I knew that I could help by prayer at Teignmouth just as effectually as I could in Bristol; and as the leadings of our Heavenly Father plainly pointed to my going away at this time, I left in the fullest confidence that He would care for His own work. My beloved brother, Mr. Bergin, took up the extra responsibility devolving upon him in my absence, in the same calm assurance.
In our first week’s experience, as separated, locally, from each other, the Lord saw fit to test this confidence in Himself very severely. Our Orphan Fund was practically “nil” when I left, and day by day, from the 13th to the 20th, very little came in, so that the total income of the week was only £155 3s. 2¾d.—one-fourth part of our weekly expenditure. But the Lord did not permit our financial trial to trouble our hearts. We firmly “believed,” that, according to Psalm 27:13, we should yet again “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” so we simply continued to “wait on the Lord,” and charged our souls to be of “good courage,” and what was the result? I received tidings from Mr. Bergin that the week’s income on the 27th amounted to £1,025 9s. 0d.!
From Bristol there reached us on August 1st, £25, “From a lover of the little ones.”
The total income for all the branches of the work, for the week ending on the 3rd, has been only £142 18s. 9d., the smallest weekly income during the present financial year. “The fining pot for silver, the furnace for gold, but the Lord trieth the hearts” but His design is not to consume the precious metal, but only the dross.
On the 6th we received from Clifton, £50. From Dundee, £50. At our weekly evening prayer meeting at Orphan House, No. 3, on the evening of the 17th, a petition was presented for “a draught of financial blessing.” The very next morning a cheque arrived from South Wales for £200.
We received on September 7th, from St. Mary Church, £100. This donation, coming, as it did, from a widow, was an especial cheer in our poverty as regards funds for the Orphans. Received anonymously, from Bristol, the following letter:—
“A poor widow, I send a little of what the Lord has given me, for the Orphans. I still desire your prayers. I want more faith and patience. I send £20 for the Orphans, and £5 for yourself, from an Unknown Friend, fond of little children.”
On the 8th there came from Scarborough, 10s., “a thank-offering to God for finding a pair of spectacles after prayer for the discovery of them.” Our Heavenly Father’s care of His children extends to the minutest detail of their
circumstances: for our Lord Jesus, “the Faithful Witness,” declares that the “very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Nay more, He teaches us that the care of His Father and our Father encircles the little “sparrows.” A comparison of the Gospels presents this in two ways. In Luke 12:6, “not one of them (the sparrows) is forgotten before God,” that is they, or rather each one of them, is present to His infinite mind every moment of its brief, restless life. Then in Matt. 10:29, “One of them (the sparrows) shall not fall on the ground” (that is, when the life of any one of these insignificant little creatures ends, and it falls on the ground in death, the event happens not) “without your Father!” Now if, as the Lord tells us, we “are of more value than many sparrows” should we not conclude that no “care” of ours can escape His eye? and that when He counsels us to be “casting all our care upon Him” He means that we should not account the least to be too small to be included in that “all”? Do not the “cares” that we neglect to deal with thus, always become “worries”? Whereas, does not every “care” that we really cast upon Him become “bread” for us by the fresh lesson we learn of the tenderness of the Father’s heart, and the skilfulness of His hand?
We received from Abingdon, £130 10s. The Christian gentleman from whom this gift came had been a donor of large amounts to this Institution for about a quarter of a century. His first donation consisted of railway bonds, which realized several thousands of pounds sterling; and since then he gave, generally twice a year, a number of interest coupons, and dividend warrants, amounting to sums varying from £130 to £170.
Since he sent the donation entered under this date, he has fallen asleep in Jesus. If we were trusting in the human instruments that the Lord uses to supply the means needed for this work, we should indeed be cast down and discouraged when such a helper as this beloved friend has been, is removed by death. But, because, by the grace of God, we do not trust in the human stream, which must sooner or later dry up, but in the divine, and ever living Fountain, which cannot be exhausted, we are kept from all anxiety. We were deeply, and sincerely grateful to this kind friend for his long-continued, and generous aid, and now we delight to think how he is proving above, the wondrous recompense with which our most bountiful Lord rewards every service rendered to Him here below; while, regarding the funds of this Institution, we are assured that the lack occasioned by the cessation of our friend’s gifts will serve as a fresh opportunity for our infinitely rich God and Father to display His boundless resources and grace.
There was received on the 10th, from Bristol, from an aged widow, £100. We were in deep pecuniary need for the Orphans when this donation arrived, and it served to remind us of the sovereignty of our Lord in the choice of His instrument. We should not have expected a hundred shillings from this kind donor, but, most unexpectedly to us, she gave, and gave most cheerfully, one hundred pounds, little knowing what a great help she was rendering us. This is the second donation of one hundred pounds received from a widow within three days, another having sent us, as above noted on the 7th, a similar sum.
On the 12th there was left anonymously at our Bible and Tract Warehouse, £41. This anonymous donation consisted of 30 sovereigns, and 22 half-sovereigns, enclosed in a small tin canister, with the words: “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” Thus, while, on the one hand we are, day after day, kept very low as to funds (and this state of things has continued, more or less, for more than two years); yet, on the other hand, the Lord again and again refreshes us by sending most timely help, from most unexpected quarters, and in a great variety of ways. The next donation I record, further illustrates this, viz., from Harrogate, £60. In sending this gift the transmitter wrote:—
“A young man, who for long desired to send Mr. Müller something for his Orphans, wishes me to send you enclosed draft for sixty pounds.”
Our need is now (October 15th) more pressing than at any time during the last seven months. Mr. Bergin and I had been especially bringing our great need before the Lord, and the letter, which T next notice, came to hand immediately after:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“I herewith enclose you a cheque, £37 18s. 11d., for the dear Orphans. I have had this money sent to me in extra dividends this year, and, not standing in need of it, I have decided to send it to you for your large family, about which I am sure you must be greatly exercised at times.”
We accepted this letter as our Heavenly Father’s gracious intimation that He listens to us still for the sake of His beloved Son, and that, when His time is “fully come” He will again deal bountifully with us. The writer of the letter just quoted is right in his conclusion that we are often “greatly exercised;” but our gracious God so assures our hearts that He “will never leave nor forsake us,” nor “forsake the work of His own hands,” that we are kept in peace, and free from the faintest wish to depart from the position of absolute dependence upon Himself for all and everything that we need in carrying on the work.
18th. From the Board of Governors of the “Thomas Porter Equipment Fund,” £75.
The total income of the Institution for the week ending on the 19th has been £337 2s. 4d., only about one-half of the average weekly expenditure. We can do nothing but keep our eyes, unaverted and undistracted, upon our God until He shall have mercy upon us!
There came on the 20th, from near Bristol, £80, with £20 for myself, and the following letter, in which we again hear the “Eternal Voice” saying to us, “Fear not, only believe!”
“My dear Mr. Wright,
“I have pleasure in enclosing you cheque for £100, of which kindly accept £20 for your own private use, and £80 for the work as you may see fit to appropriate. While praying this morning for the work on Ashley Down, I was so impressed with the thought that this may be a time of special need, that I determined at once to send you the enclosed today.”
We received on the 27th, from Edgbaston, £200, a precious encouragement to continuance in prayer.
The total income for the week ending on November 15th, has been only £276 5s. 11d.—17th. Legacy of the late W. R., Esq., £180.—19th. Legacy of the late Mrs. E. H., £500. The Lord is graciously beginning to relieve our financial strain.
A Gift Of Two Thousand Four Hundred Pounds
We received on the 26th, from “God’s Steward,” Oxfordshire, £800 for the School, Bible and Tract Fund, £800 for Missions, and £800 for the Orphans. In August last this donor, who has for many years contributed, wrote me that he had dedicated a considerable portion of his property to the Lord, and he accordingly desired that I would receive the deeds of several houses that belonged to him; and, either use the rents accruing, or sell the property and use the proceeds in promoting Missions, circulating the Scriptures, or supporting the Orphans. He desired me to consult our solicitors as to how this purpose might be carried out forthwith.
I complied with this wish, and, in a day or two submitted for his consideration three different ways, in either of which the solicitors advised me that the business could be legally carried through. My kind correspondent was delighted to find that the Lord appeared to be opening the way for the carrying out of his purpose; but his second letter contained an expression which led me to think that, perhaps, he had not fully counted the cost in respect of the very serious diminution of his annual income that the gift of the property would involve; and, further, as I judged from the correspondence, that the pecuniary interest of a near relative might be affected, I felt that I could not proceed in the matter until I was assured that he had fully weighed the consequences to himself of the proposed step; and that the near relative referred to was entirely one with him in his purpose, and was prepared to signify this in writing.
Six days later I received a reply expressing a grateful sense of my consideration for himself, and his relative; but assuring me that my fears of possible inconvenience to himself had really no foundation; and, further, that the relative in question had, voluntarily, without any solicitation on his part, set him perfectly at liberty to carry out his purpose. He, moreover, informed me that the Lord had so ordered matters that the transaction could now be accomplished in a much simpler way than he had before thought of. That a portion of his property could be substituted for the house property, and that, in about three months he would be in a position to hand over the whole amount by a cash payment.
During the whole of the three months which elapsed before the money came into my hands, the Lord allowed us to continue in the same straitness, financially, which we had experienced for more than two years and a half. Often we were in the greatest need of supplies. The believing reader can judge, then, with what joy and thankfulness to our faithful God and Father, this precious donation was received; only the evening before, I had been led to praise God for the assurance, that, seeing we had been asking according to His will; asking solely on the ground of the merits of His beloved Son; and that we had been, and were patiently waiting, and fully expecting His deliverance, it must soon come; when lo! the very next post brought the long-waited-for blessing in the shape of a cheque for £2,400! Thus, after having, for two years and a half, been “instructed how to suffer need” it pleased the Lord, graciously, to allow us once more to abound.
That the reader may see that our joy in this deliverance was equalled by the joy of the beloved donor in the privilege conferred upon him in being permitted thus to sow for eternity, I quote the following from his letter:—
“I have been looking forward for years for this unspeakable privilege. Never, in all my life, previously, have I sent you any smaller sum with such deep feelings of joy and gladness, as I now experience in sending this larger amount to you to be used in the Lord’s service. I thank the Lord from the depth of my soul, that He has put this desire into my heart, and, by His grace, He has kept me steadfast in my purpose; not allowing a shade of regret or the least shadow of misgiving to cross my mind at any time. To Him alone be the glory.”
Financial Strain Relieved Entirely By Legacy Of £2000
On December 10th we received the legacy of the late Mrs. H. H., for £2,000. Intimation that this legacy had become payable reached us about ten months ago. Subsequently we were informed that the will was disputed, and we were invited by some of the beneficiaries under it to join them in active legal proceedings to defend our claims.
Observe, this was not one of those cases which often occur, in which, through the ambiguous wording of the Will, or some technical defect in the instrument itself, Executors run serious personal risk in seeking to carry out the provisions of the Will; and therefore the sanction of the Chancery, or other Law Court, is sought to enable them to act with safety, or the whole responsibility of the administration is devolved upon such Court. In such cases, what may be termed a “friendly action” may be instituted, simply with the view of carrying out the wishes of the Testator; and the beneficiaries under the Will may be made consenting parties to such proceedings, without assuming a hostile attitude towards any person whatever. But, as I said before, the course we were invited to enter upon in the present instance was litigation pure and simple, directed against the party, who, with or without just ground, sought to quash the Will. In such proceedings we preferred to take no part, believing it to be the more excellent, because the more scriptural, way to commit our cause to Him who judgeth righteously.
We, therefore, continually waited upon God in private and united prayer, that inasmuch as the deceased lady undoubtedly desired and intended by her Will to befriend the Orphans, He would, as “the Father of the fatherless,” defend the Orphans on Ashley Down, and not suffer the Will to be upset. Our petitions were listened to, and were answered. In the month of August the verdict of the Court was to the effect that the Will was .perfectly valid, and that its provisions were all to be carried out.
For two years and six months the financial strain in providing for the Orphans had been permitted to continue. My beloved father-in-law departed to be with Christ, after sharing this trial of faith and patience with his helpers for more than two years, and he departed in the buoyant hope, to the last moment, that, financially, the Lord would “revive us again.” With a face beaming with joyful confidence in the love and power of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he would turn to us, at our united meetings for prayer, and exclaim: “A little more faith, a little more prayer, a little more patience will bring the blessing!”
Now, see, beloved reader (and may God cause the lesson it conveys to sink down into your heart and mine), how God, in whom he trusted, vindicated the confidence of His child and servant. Nine months more had to pass, after beloved George Müller had entered his Lord’s presence, before God’s time had “fully come,” but come it did; and on the 10th December, nine months to a day after his departure, our faithful God turned our prayers once more into praises, and our poverty into comparative abundance! By the £2,400 donation of last month and the £2,000 legacy today we are richly supplied, for the present, for all the five branches of the Institution.
There came on the 13th, from Redland, £20. On the 26th, from Sydenham, £6 from an Orphan formerly under our care, who says:—
“I beg to enclose £6 for the Orphans. I send £1 extra (he is in the habit of sending £5 yearly) for restitution for small thefts, which I committed at the Orphan House, and for which I was punished at the time; but having been led recently to think on the subject, I have thought it right to make restitution.”
On balancing our books on December 26th, there was found in hand for the Orphans, after meeting all the current expenses, a balance of £1,213 8s. 8d., and for the School, Bible, Missionary, and Tract Fund, a balance of £1,151 8s. 7d., and this after expending about £1,000 in remittances to Laborers in the Gospel. It is more than two years and a half since we have had such sums in hand. The Lord allowed my beloved father-in-law to fall asleep nine months before this answer to many prayers was granted; yet he departed fully expecting it.
Though the Institution gained no pecuniary legacy by his death (for he gave daring his life with all his might, and died, as he had lived, a poor man), yet what a rich bequest of unanswered prayer it inherited! and these balances in hand today are but instalments of what the bequest implied.
There arrived on January 19th, from Herefordshire, £800, a most unexpected donation; but one that reminded us how truly our “Father who seeth in secret” listens to and verily answers the prayers we present to Him in secret.
We received on February 17th, from Herefordshire, £200, from the same donor. Thus the Lord has been pleased to use one of His stewards to supply us with £1,000. Verily, His poor, needy children and servants do not call upon Him in vain! There came in, also, from Wallington, £50, with the words:—
“I thank God that He has enabled me to send the enclosed £50 for the use of the dear children in the Orphanage under your care.” “Not grudgingly, nor of necessity,” did our kind friend send this gift, but as a “cheerful giver.”
I received on May 1st a letter, in which the writer expresses her regret that she finds it necessary, on account of special circumstances, to postpone her usual remittance for a while, and, under these circumstances, adds that she and her husband “are thankful that the Orphan Houses have recently received so helpful a legacy.” The writer refers to a legacy of which I received notice on March 28th, and she evidently supposes that the money has been paid to us. This, however, was not the case; and indeed, up to the date on which I am now writing (June 20th) nothing has yet been received on account of this legacy. The mistake into which our kind friend fell, in assuming that we were already handling this “helpful legacy,” is one into which many others have fallen, for I have received many congratulations from those who have assumed the same, some actually speaking of it as a “donation.”
Mr. Wright Refuses To Disclose The Financial Position
The receipt of this letter led me to special and earnest pleading with God; bringing before Him that He knew our real position; that, instead of, as many supposed, abounding, we were really in a strait; that, in His fear, we could not explain to our friends their mistake, or divulge to one of them our real position, as that would be indirectly appealing to them for money; that He knew the heavy expenses of this month; that from £2,000 to £2,500 would be required to meet them, towards which we had little more than £200 in hand. Now, note dear reader, the result. First, having thus really rolled the burden upon God, I was perfectly free from anxiety, and had a night’s unbroken sleep. Secondly, the first letter that I opened in the morning contained a cheque for One Thousand and Fifty Pounds! Concerning this I give the following particulars:—Four days ago I received a letter from a donor, who was an entire stranger to me, in which he wrote as follows:—
“I am very wishful to know what is the pecuniary position of your Orphanage this year, more especially since the first January last. I had a somewhat unusual conviction brought home to me about your needing help, one night, when lying awake in bed. My inquiry is in strict confidence. Give me at same time the name in which a draft should be made out.
“Yours very faithfully,—.”
To this letter I replied expressing my full appreciation of his kind interest in the Institution, but adding that the principle upon which my late father-in-law had, from the first, carried on the work was, never to divulge to any human being its present financial position. That only once a year, in the Annual Report, a financial statement was published; but that this always referred to a state of things eight or ten weeks previous to the date of publication: and that, as I had received the responsibility of carrying on the work as a sacred trust, I could not depart from the principle which had been undeviatingly adhered to up to the present hour. By return of post I received the following letter with cheque enclosed:—
“I am in receipt of your Report, and note it is your rule not to give information as to your present needs. I no w enclose draft in your favor for £1,050, to be devoted to the maintenance of the Orphans, and your other objects, as God may direct you. Please acknowledge receipt to me in enclosed envelope, and please note it is strictly private. He gave it me in a very direct manner, with what appeared to me a plain intimation that you required it. No thanks, whatever, are due to me. Trusting this instance of His wonderful kindness may still further strengthen your faith in Him, whose goodness is so great that words cannot characterize it,
“I am, “Yours truly,—.”
Now, that the reader of this book may be helped more clearly to see and admire the hand of the invisible, living God in this transaction, I here state, simply, that the fund for the Orphans was nearly exhausted. Moreover, we had been much in prayer, secretly and unitedly, that for the honor of His Name the Lord might be graciously pleased to close our financial year with a substantial balance on the right side, on the 26th of May. Under these circumstances came the letter of enquiry above quoted.
Now, as beloved Mr. Müller was wont to say, there is nothing sinful, in itself, in a child of God asking a fellow believer to help him with money for the work of God; much less is there any sin in giving information of financial need to one who, as in this instance, particularly enquires in order that he may be guided in his own action; but Mr. Müller began this work with one clearly defined purpose, viz., to illustrate the truth that the unseen God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, really listens to, and answers the believing prayers of His children now, at the end of the nineteenth century, just as much as He did in the days of the Apostles, or in the days of Daniel, David, Abraham, and Enoch. To emphasize this lesson, Mr. Müller resolved, from the outset, never to do what, otherwise, it would have been perfectly scriptural, and therefore lawful to do, viz., to make his needs known to his fellow Christians. Only into the ear of the living God would he tell his circumstances; and for 64 years God vindicated His servant and showed His approval of his utter trust in Himself. Beloved Mr. Bergin and I felt that if we departed a hair’s breadth from this position, in conducting the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, w-e should be marring its unique testimony, and so we had not a moment’s hesitation as to the nature of the reply that must be made to this kind friend’s inquiry.
Now, mark, dear reader, how our faithful God owned our reliance on Himself alone. In answer to our secret cries that He would influence our unknown friend’s heart, we receive by return of post one thousand and fifty pounds.
How true was the “conviction” which our kind helper had brought home to him as he lay awake! We were indeed “needing help.” And though we cannot (in spite of what he wrote in his second letter) fail to feel truly grateful to him as the instrument whom God used so greatly to help us, and have, therefore, very heartily thanked him, yet we do just as heartily echo his expressed desire that “this instance of the Lord’s wonderful kindness may still further strengthen our faith in Him, whose goodness is so great that words cannot characterize it,” and may this be the blessed result to many who shall read this record.
From “One of the Lord’s Stewards, Oxfordshire,” £8 3s. and 4 gold rings. These were further gifts from the donor of the £2,400, referred to under date of Nov. 26th, and he accompanied today’s gifts with a letter, from which I extract the following:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“Please to accept for your personal use, or how you feel best” (I took the donation for the Orphans) “the enclosed cheque for £8 3s. I thank the Lord from the depth of my heart for making my way clear, after many difficulties, to surrender all the money to Him, and placing it in your hands; and I have repeatedly done so, for not letting a shadow of regret cross my mind, but only constant inward rejoicing that He has granted me this great privilege in my own lifetime.
“Yours very truly, etc.”
We received on the 3rd the balance of the legacy of the late Mrs. S. E. B., £573 os. 3d. Thus our loving and faithful God and Father is answering the cries of His children, and pouring in the needed supplies to meet the heavy expenditure of this month.
There came on the 18th, from Sevenoaks, £300, with the following letter:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“Being desirous of furthering the Lord’s work while I have the opportunity, instead of leaving the money for it after my decease, I now enclose cheque for £300, to be used thus: £100 for the Orphans, and £200 towards Missions to Jews and Gentiles. Believing that the Lord will carry on your work in answer to prayer, as He did in the late good George Müller’s lifetime,
“Yours in Christian sympathy,—.”
This donation was a precious encouragement to us. Mr. Bergin and I had, a few days before, gone through our list of the Lord’s Missionary servants whom we seek to aid, apportioning amounts to the utmost extent we felt justified. After making up the total, it seemed doubtful whether we had not even over-stepped the limit, and we decided to delay sending out some remittances, unless the Lord was pleased to add to our Mission Fund. Again and again in our united meetings of the helpers for prayer, as well as in private, we besought the Lord to supply this need, and now, about a week before the close of our financial year, came this most helpful £200, which enabled us, at once, to send out all that we had desired.
Review Of The Year’s Mercies
The signal blessing that the God of all grace bestowed on the “Scriptural Knowledge Institution,” during the 64 years that my late beloved father-in-law was permitted to direct its operations, has continued to rest upon it, abundantly, through another twelve months. By the grace of God, my dear fellow-laborer, Mr. Bergin, and
our dear helpers in the work, and myself, have been enabled to trust in Him, and in Him alone; and He, who “is no respecter of persons,” has shown Himself strong on our behalf. In His unmerited mercy I am permitted the joyful privilege of bearing testimony to the lovingkindness and faithfulness of our God. Complete and uninterrupted oneness of mind and judgment in the conduct of the work has been given to Mr. Bergin and myself throughout the year; and our mutual conviction grows more and more that our union in this service is of God.
Between May 26th, 1898, and May 26th, 1899, in answer to believing prayer, without a single application to any human being for pecuniary help, the sum of £29,677 17s. 9d. was received for the work.
The year closed with a balance in hand for the Orphans of £728 is. 5d.
2 In order to estimate truly the working of God’s grace on that day in the heart of beloved Mr. Wright, it must be borne in mind that for nearly three years they had been going through an exceedingly great financial strain.
3 That is a book with a column to record the date when a particular prayer was offered, and another column to record when the prayer was answered.