May 26th, 1899—May 26th, 1900
“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still, then are they glad because they are quiet.”—Ps. 107:29, 30.
“Be not anxious for the morrow,”
Why should we its trials borrow?
For each hour of need or sorrow,
Grace He gives, and daily bread.
Thus our treasures safe investing
In His care,
Kept in His pavilion resting,
May we dare
Still to trust, through faith’s deep testing,
Sure, God will His ways declare.
J. H. S.
A remarkable interposition of God on behalf of the work entirely relieves the financial strain.
The following instances of the Lord’s goodness in supplying our need for this His work, further tell of His power, and willingness to hear, and answer prayer.
On the 29th May the legacy of the late J. S., Esq., for £2,700, reached us.—From “A. Z.,” £200. This gift came from an anonymous donor, who, as far as I know, never helped us before. Thus on the third day of our new year, the Lord has greatly encouraged us by sending us these large sums, which, with other smaller donations that came in, make up a total of £2,924 17s. 7d. received on this one day.
We received on the 30th the legacy of the late Miss F. B., £500. Our infinitely rich Patron, “the living God,” who knew our need, continues to deal bountifully with us. In the case of this £500, as well as in that of the large legacy which was paid yesterday, we have had answers to a prayer frequently presented, viz., that executors and lawyers, having to do with estates where legacies have been left to us, may be disposed to wind up the accounts and pay the bequests quickly. In both these cases, the sums have been paid within a few weeks after the proving of the Wills.
On June 10th we received a legacy from the late Miss A. E. P., of £100. On the same day there came the legacy of the late Miss E. P., £1,000. The Christian lady who bequeathed the last-named sum was a liberal donor to this Institution during her life. She does not now regret the large sums she gave to God’s work. As regards ourselves, this “brook” has “dried up,” but the God of Elijah still lives, and by His grace our eyes are upon Him.
There came from Kirriemuir, on the 13th, £1, with the following letter:—
“Dear Brother in the Lord,
“It is 32 years since my dear husband was put to sleep, and I was, with four children, the youngest not born till eight months after, cast upon the Lord. Of all the money I received, a portion was to go to the Orphans; and, once more, I am enabled to send you £1 for them. I have indeed realized the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises, who is ‘the Husband of the widow.’
“Your sister in Him,——.”
The Apostle (2 Cor. 8:2) speaks of the Churches of Macedonia: “That in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” The letter just quoted shows that the same blessed Spirit can produce in His obedient children the same gracious fruit today.
On the 29th there came from Scotland, £80 for Missions, etc., with £20 for the Orphans, and £5 for myself.
We received on July nth, from Alresford, from an Orphan formerly under our care, 5s. 6d. for Missions. This dear Christian friend, who is now a trained nurse, has, since the 10th March, 1898, sent regularly on the 10th of each month, in remembrance of her beloved benefactor.—13th. From West Hartlepool, £20.—14th. From Watford, £6. In sending this gift, the donor bears the following noteworthy testimony:—
“Through reading The Lord’s Dealings with George Müller, I was led, from 1868 to 1893, while in business, to devote a portion for the Lord’s work in various ways. Blessed be His holy name! for those 25 years I had a very successful business career, and I believe that, for the whole time, there was not one week but what the Lord gave me enough and to spare to meet all liabilities and expenses. I saw many, very many instances of the Lord’s guidance and favor.”
We received on the 15th a thank-offering for an appeal case being decided in the donor’s favor, £200. On the 25th there arrived from London, £1. The donor had mislaid the keys of a safe; but, after “making known her request” to God, again and again, they were found. She says, and says truly, “This is only one of many such instances.” Yes, to the anointed eye they are as plentiful as daisy heads upon an unmown grass plot on a summer morning.
We received on Aug. 12th, £100 for Missions, with £75 for the Orphans, and £25 for myself, as a further thank-offering for an appeal case being decided in favor of the donor. On the 18th there came from South Kensington, £1, sent by an Orphan, formerly under our care, and whom we were under the painful necessity of expelling from the Institution, but who now writes very gratefully, and sends the above donation to its funds. This instance shows how important it is that servants of Christ should not give way to feelings of discouragement when, for the time being, those whom they are seeking to benefit occasion them only sorrow. Our resource, under such circumstances, should always be the Lord Himself, in regard to whom our work can never be in vain (1 Cor. 15:58): who always appreciates and rewards true-hearted service to Himself (Heb. 6:10), whatever be its issue manwards. And then we shall often find, if in the darkest outlook we thus encourage ourselves in our God, that He will give us, over and above the consciousness of His own approval, the joy of finding that our labor has not been without good result even in those who, for a time, seemed to profit nothing by it.
There arrived on the 29th, from Manchester, £5, from an Orphan formerly under our care, who writes as follows:
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“It is with feelings of deep gratitude and pleasure I send you £5 for the Orphans. It is over twenty-two years since I left the home of my childhood. I have not forgotten the goodness of the Lord to me all those years. I was led to trust in Him when ten years old. As a young man, my dear husband had a desire to meet with one of your Orphan girls. We met in one of the meetings here some thirteen years ago. We have five children, and I fully believe that two of them have given their hearts to Jesus. Ours is a happy, Christian home. We entertain some of God’s children who come this way. Some whom we had the pleasure to entertain are in Africa, some in India, and some in China. Kindly remember us to Mr. Bergin with gratitude.”
The mail of September 6th brought us from Fielding, N.Z., £5. The donor wrote as follows:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“I have settled to give you five pounds a year, as the Lord has blessed me, to help the dear Orphans under your care, and the Enemy came to me saying that my little bit would not be much for such a large work. However, I am sending it to you. ‘Give, and it shall be given?’
“Yours in our coming Lord, with love to all,——.”
The temptation which our dear friend experienced was to regard his £5 as such a “little bit,” compared with the requirements of the Orphan work, that it was scarcely worth sending. To show how fallacious such reasoning would be, I state that during the last financial year for the Orphan work alone there were 1,521 donors whose gifts ranged between £1 and £5. Assuming that the average of these was not less than £2 (it would probably be found to exceed this), the donations “not exceeding “£5 would amount to more than £3,000, which is nearly a 12th part of the total income for the Orphans for the year, so that a donation of £5 is far from being the insignificant factor that the “Enemy” sought to make it appear to our dear friend in New Zealand.
We received on October nth, from Sydenham, £50. From Birmingham, £10, “as conscience money for dishonesty committed fifty-three or fifty-four years ago.”
On the 12th there came from Portishead, £3 for Foreign Missions, £5 for the Orphans, £1 for Mr. Bergin and £1 for myself. The kind donor wrote:—
“I am thankful to say that God, in His great mercy, saved me just forty-two years one month and seventeen days ago, viz., on August 17th, 1857; and, praise Him, He has kept me until now. Very shortly after my conversion, for conscience sake, I gave up a good situation; and, as I endeavoured to honor God by so doing, He has greatly blessed me ever since. I, therefore, have proved the fulfillment of that promise: ‘Them that honor Me, I will honor.’”
Many of God’s children are able to bear a similarly happy testimony. Apparent loss, in the things of this life, incurred by faithfulness to God’s Word, is often abundantly compensated for in His subsequent dealings with His obedient child; but, even if this be not the case in a pecuniary sense, nevertheless the rich reward of the consciousness of our Heavenly Father’s approving smile becomes an ample recompense. The Apostle Paul said that he “exercised” himself to keep “a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.” This should be our aim at all costs; and, if Satan would deter us by the fear of possible consequences, our Lord’s word furnishes the shield for faith.—”Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” It is, however, deeply important that the conscience be enlightened by the direct precepts, or the obvious principles of God’s written revelation; otherwise we may be brought into bondage by a merely scrupulous (which must always be distinguished from a tender) conscience.
The legacy of the late Mr. S. B., for £300, reached us on the 27th. We received on the 28th from South Hackney, £72 10s. There came on the 30th, from the Board of Governors of the “Thomas Porter Equipment Fund,” £100. From Kenton, £1, with the following:—
“This is from a very poor man, but, I thought, as there is so much collecting going on, owing to the war, I would send this.”
On the 31st, from Danshill, £1 2s., “Instead of spending it on flowers for a funeral.” Yesterday, one donor stated that he was led to send a gift to us on account of the large collections which are being made for sufferers through the war. Today, another donor writes:—
“I trust God will not allow your work to be overlooked in these exciting and troublous times. I am constrained to send a Postal Order for £1 as a contribution to the Orphan work.”
Thus the Lord, in answer to our continued prayers, works on our behalf in the hearts of His children, without our making any appeal to their sympathies: and, as if to show us that He can take care that war and famine shall not prevent the needed supplies reaching us, He sends us, this week, nearly £1,000.
On November 2nd there came to us from “God’s Steward, Oxfordshire,” £10.—3rd. From Epsom, a box containing 3 silver rings, a cameo brooch set in gold, 3 large gold lockets with chains, a small gold locket, a gold chain, 4 diamond rings, 16 other gold rings, 2 silver bracelets, a silver locket and chain, a hair bracelet with gold clasp, and some other articles of jewellery, to be sold for the Orphans, with £5 for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures. This donation illustrates a way of serving the Lord, and promoting the spread of His truth, which is often lost sight of, viz., by placing at His disposal stores of plate, and valuable articles of jewellery, which the possessors never use, and perhaps would hesitate to wear. If given up under the constraint of His love, surely, with such sacrifices He is well-pleased.
We received on the 4th, from C. H. 3 G., £50.— 6th. From Bovey Tracey, £100. The donor, while in lodgings away from his home, was taken very ill. A servant of Christ, an entire stranger to the sick person, went to lodge in the same house, and was asked to visit the sick one. In conversation the sick gentleman opened his mind to his visitor; told him that he knew he was dying, and that he wished to give, immediately, some money for the help of children; for, though he had none of his own, he loved children. He asked his visitor if he could recommend any Home or Refuges for such, whereupon the visitor said he could recommend the Ashley Down Orphanage, and another Institution. A few days after, the above-mentioned donation of £100 came to hand. Thus, while we speak of our needs to the living God alone, He, who has His servants everywhere, pleads our cause, and influences His stewards to send us, when, and in such amounts as He pleases.
There came on the 16th, from near Melton Mowbray, £50. 20th.—From Scotland, £80 for Missions, etc., with £20 for the Orphans, and £5 for myself.
We received on December 6th, from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 15s. The kind donor said in his letter:—
“I hope the present outburst of patriotism is not being made at the expense of your Institution; but, as you look to your Father alone for your support, we may rest assured that, be the demands in other directions what they may, ‘He will not leave you nor forsake you.’”
To this it is our joy to set our “Amen.” The very unusual calls upon the benevolent, during the last seven months, doubtless diverted from this Institution many donations that otherwise would have come to us. This will be evident to the reader when I place before him, as I will now do, the state of our funds on the 26th day of seven successive months in our last financial year:
On June 26th the balance had risen to £4,990 14s. 9d., on July 26th the balance was £4,620 10s. 0d., on Aug. 26th, £3,339 9s. 7d., on Sept. 26th, £2,854 6s. 2d., on Oct. 26th, £2,785 os. 3d., on Nov. 26th (six weeks after the outbreak of the war), £1,602 15s. 1d., Dec. 26th, £1,101 0s. 6d. Thus, the close of 1899 found us with a rapidly diminishing balance and income, but found us also “in -perfect -peace!” We were fully persuaded that “He Himself knew what He would do,” and we simply prayed, and waited, and watched for His working, who “doeth wonders.”
We received on the 12th, from Redland, £20 4s., the result of one year’s work for the Ashley Down Orphans, from a Father, Mother, Daughter, and three Grandchildren. This labor of love has been persevered in, and the result annually sent to us for many years past, and all through this ten years.—25th. From “Mother,” £25 4s.
The first letter opened on the first day of the New Year, was from “South Brisbane, Queensland,” and contained a Bankers’ Draft for £100, with the following words:—
“Dear Steward of God,
“Please accept, in your Master’s name, and for the support of the Orphans (or otherwise as you may be directed) £100; draft enclosed herewith, 1 Peter 3:12. “Yours in Him,——.”
This sum came as a precious token of our Heavenly Father’s purpose to continue towards us His mercies in this, another year.
From “Needy,” £20 for Missions, etc., with £15 for the Orphans, and £5 for myself. This came from a business firm in one of the Midland counties. The father, the head of the firm, began nearly forty years ago to send, under the above pseudonym, small sums to this Institution. As his business increased the amount of his gifts increased, until they have now reached the present sum. The cheque was accompanied by the following instructive letter, which, by the father’s desire, was written by one of his sons:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“Please find enclosed cheque value £40 from our firm, £15 for Orphans, £5 for self, and the balance as you think needful. The other £2 enclosed is a small offering from my youngest brother, the “baby” of the family, who wishes it to be used for the dear children. Our dear father, who sent to Mr. Müller for many years before he allowed us to know anything about it, expressed a wish to me yesterday that I should write to you a few lines. I could have wished that he should, himself, write, and I told him I would be ready to follow him, if spared, when he himself could no longer do so, but he said he would rather have the joy and pleasure of seeing some of his children doing it during his life, so I readily and willingly complied. We thank God for pious parents, and the example set us not to think too much of ourselves, but to think and do for others who are less fortunate than ourselves, etc.”
In this letter, the one word “example” explains the deeply important lesson that the whole letter conveys. How is it that this Christian father, in the evening of life, has the peculiarly rich joy of seeing his dear children, from the eldest to the youngest, treading with evidently hearty delight the same scriptural, and therefore blessed path in which, by God’s grace, he was enabled to walk, viz., regarding himself as a steward of God’s bounties, and therefore required to “look not on his own things, but to look also on the things of others”? How, we ask, has it come to pass, that the father has this joy in the truly filial spirit and conduct of his sons? Because, in seeking to “train them up in the way that they should go,” he did not rely upon mere verbal instruction, but, as a living example before their eyes, allured them into this peaceful and happy path of obedience to God’s Word.
We received on the 6th, from “Mother,” £25. This came from the same kind anonymous donor who sent us £25 4s. on the 27th of last month, and who has been a contributor for many years.—8th. From Ealing, £10 10s. The kind donor sent this amount “fearing that the large fund now being got together as a War fund must naturally interfere with the amount of your receipts.” No doubt this, to some extent, is the case; nevertheless our gracious God does not forget us, as will be evident when I state the income of the last three weeks, which has been as follows: for the week ending Dec. 27th, £421 5s. 1d.; for week ending Jan. 3rd., £1,185 18s. 6d.; for week ending Jan. 10th, £1,044 10s. 1d.; and this, let it be remembered, without any application to man, directly or indirectly, privately or publicly, by word, letter or press.
From Bristol, £5. The donor writes: “This is for Orphan children, for they must be cared for as well as soldiers!” The legacy of the late Miss E. P., £450.
The Credulousness Of Unbelief Versus The Reasonableness Of Faith
There was left anonymously on February 5th at the Bible and Tract Warehouse, 78, Park Street, a bag, containing £36 in gold and £2 in silver. The income for the Orphans, which for the first two or three weeks was more than adequate to the daily expenditure, has, since, been much less than the average daily outgoings: the balance in hand is therefore rapidly diminishing. This fact, in child-like simplicity, we, in private, and at meetings of the helpers for prayer, spread before our God; and in such a donation as this £38 from an utterly unknown source, we hear our Heavenly Father’s voice, saying “Fear not, only believe”! “Thou shalt see greater things than these.”
There came from London on the 10th, £37 10s., with the following letter:—
“Presuming that, as formerly, no name or address of donor is published, I pass on, with my name, the enclosed. It is a dedicated amount and has just been waiting till the Master told where it was to go. Thirty-seven pounds ten shillings.
Four days ago as we were waiting upon God in prayer, telling Him, and Him only, of our needs, an unknown friend is directed to leave without a word, at our Book Depot, £38, nearly half of our average daily expenses. Now, today, we find that a servant of our Heavenly Master, who has been just waiting till He told her where to send £37 10s., has received clear intimation of His will that she should send it here, where a little group of other servants of His were telling Him that they were in increasing need. Now which, beloved reader, is the most reasonable, the credulousness of unbelief, which will have it that these repeatedly occurring coincidences are all mere chance, or the simple faith that beholds in these coincidences the proofs of the existence of a living God, who really listens to His servants’ prayers, and really works in the hearts of other servants of His to “will and to do His good pleasure,” and thus answers His suppliant ones?
There arrived on the 22nd from Islington, £10. From Southport, 4s. with the following letter:—
“Herewith I send you 4s. for your work amongst the Orphans. It is from my aged father (86) and myself, as a small thank-offering for the mercies received during last year. We could not send before, though we have long wanted to do so. Three times in last year I was ill, and through long continued weakness I lost my situation. This situation was a great joy to me, and a great help financially. Since the end of 1898, I have been solely dependent on the Lord; and, though often sorely tried, He has never failed me. In my illness in the early part of last year, His care for me was most wonderful, meeting heavy expenses in all sorts of ways: and, in November, when again very ill, and very downcast and unbelieving, because I could not begin some new work as I had hoped, when able to read, I was led to your last year’s Report. At that time, as before in the year, I was without a penny; but, as I read your Report, tears of joy and thankfulness came. I went to the Lord in all my weakness and poverty, and gave myself, my plans, everything, to Him, and pleaded, as often before, that He who had so often answered dear Mr. Müller, and now so wonderfully answered your prayers, would provide for me. I think it was the very next day, He began to answer in a most unlooked for, undreamed of way, and has continued to do so ever since. I can only praise Him, from day to day, as I leave myself in His hands. I tell you this, that you may see how the publishing of the Report may help many as it has helped me. With earnest wishes for the welfare of all under your care.
“I am sincerely yours,——.”
The mail of the 26th, brought us from Christians in Robertson, Cape Colony, £1 15s. Even from the seat of war God sends us help!
The income for January was larger than for the previous month, and the balance on the 26th of that month had risen to £1,360 0s. 10d.; but during February this melted away, and we began March with a practically empty purse. We began March, I say, thus, but in the fourth week of that month (as of old, in the fourth watch of the night), our promise-keeping Lord came to us. On March 2nd we received from St. John’s Wood, London, £50, with the following letter:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“I thank God for the good news of the relief of Lady-smith, with all its praying band, who have been supplicating the Throne of Grace. I enclose the sum of £50 for the
Orphans, which I vowed to give as a token of gratitude to our gracious prayer hearing and answering God.
“Yours in Him,——.”
From A. H., Esq., I received £70 10s. The donor, who is today leaving England for the West Coast of Africa, left this sum at the Orphan House, No. 3.—7th. From Edinburgh, £2 8s. 6d. The donor wrote:—
“A few years ago I had the privilege of reading the narrative of Mr. Müller, and it has been in the providence of God a means of great blessing to me. I just believed that God is the same now as He was in Bible times: that He does give us the desires of our hearts, if we make known our requests unto Him. To show you how God blessed me after I had acted on Mr. Müller’s advice, viz., to give systematically to the Lord; when I read of Christians, after doing this, receiving an advance on their wages, I thought to myself, Well, my pay is as high as ever it will be, because I have the standard pay at my trade. However, I said, I will lay apart a certain sum every week. Well, on the last day of last year, my employer told me that he was going to raise my wages, and it was exactly as much as I had laid aside for the Lord! You can imagine how happy I was to see God’s hand in it.”
For the sake of beloved fellow believers who may know but little of the deep joy of which the writer of the above letter testifies, I have given it. How much present, conscious blessing is lost by not “just believing that God is the same now as in Bible times.” That He “does give us the desires of our hearts if we make known our requests to Him.” How much more “real” God would become to His children if they “honored Him with their substance, and with the first-fruits of all their increase” (Prov. 3:9).
The total income of the Institution for the week ending on the 14th has been only £252 5s. 1d. Our fund for the Orphans is quite exhausted. We can only speak to the Lord, and wait upon and for Him.
Legacy Of Twenty Thousand Pounds, Less Duty, Received When There Was Nothing In Hand
We received on the 24th, the legacy of the late V. S. L., Esq., £18,000. This sum exceeded by about £7,000 the largest ever received at one time. It came to hand at a moment when our supplies for the Orphans had, again, become entirely exhausted, and therefore, as a fresh proof of our Heavenly Father’s tender care, and faithfulness to His promises, in affording the help needed.
The timeliness of it is especially instructive. When, some fourteen years ago, the Testator was moved by God to insert this bequest in his Will, what was then hidden from human ken was “naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” viz., that the year 1900, when this bequest would become payable, would, on account of a most costly war in South Africa, and an unprecedented famine in India, be a year of more than ordinary strain to charitable enterprises dependent, instrumentally, upon free-will offerings. Our Father in heaven foresaw the need of the hundreds of fatherless and motherless ones who, in the year 1900, would, in dependence solely upon His power and mercy, be gathered under the sheltering roofs of the Ashley Down Orphan Houses, or rather under His own sheltering wing, and He took care that even in the time of famine they should be satisfied. Such a deliverance does indeed illustrate His ever-enduring word: “Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”
Thus, our deliverance out of one more great strait, and the sustentation of the Orphans’ work in a time of diminished income, and rising prices of coal and many other articles of consumption, was accomplished by the fatherly care of the blessed God. I dwell on this that the reader may admire the lovingkindness of the Lord, who, having in the fourth decade of the present century, led His beloved departed servant Mr. Müller to begin this work, has now been pleased in the last year of the century to crown, as it were, the work with this signal mark of His favor, by causing the largest sum ever received in one amount to flow into its treasury.
There came on April 21st, from Scotland, £80 for Missions, etc., with £20 for the Orphans, and £5 for myself. From near Bristol, £60, with £20 for myself.
On May 18th we received from Southport, £25. The kind donor remembers the Orphan work daily, at family prayer. May many be led to follow his example. The legacy of the late E. T. B., Esq., £100.—19th. From Edgbaston, £200.—21st. From Neuchatel, £2. The donors wrote as follows:—
“Dear Mr. Wright,
“The reading of the life of Mr. Müller, by Dr. Pierson, which reached us at a peculiarly suitable time, was made a very great help and blessing to my husband and to myself, and it is in acknowledgment (not in discharge) of the debt, which we feel we owe to him, that I am now sending the enclosed cheque for £2 to be used for the Orphans. It is part of a sum of money at my disposal, which I should not have thought of using, or been willing, probably, to use in this way, had it not been for some of Mr. Müller’s weighty and practical counsels as to ‘ laying up,’ joined with the effect of the circumstances into which we ourselves have lately been brought.”
On the 23rd there came from London £10, “a thank-offering to God for the relief of Mafeking.”
One Year’s Income Over £43,000
Through another twelve months the “Father of the fatherless”—the “Hearer of prayer”—has condescended, in His dealings with this Institution, to illustrate in remarkable ways these His unchangeable titles. Between May 26th, 1899, and May 26th, 1900, there was received, in answer to believing prayer, without a single application to any human being for pecuniary help, a total sum of £43,985 18s. 0d. This is by far the largest income for the Orphans that has ever been received; and that in a year of war and famine.
The balance in hand for the Orphans at the end of the year, was £15,535 2s. 10d.
“Behold the eye of Jehovah is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy, … to keep them alive in famine.”