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Free Books » Muller, George » A Narrative of Some of the Lord's Dealings

A Narrative of Some of the Lord's Dealings with George Muller - Part 4.5 A Narrative of Some of the Lord's Dealings by Muller, George

Index

CHAPTER V.

 

Matters more particularly connected with my own personal affairs, or those of my family, from May 26, 1856, to June, 1874.

26, 1856, to June, 1874.

 

In giving the continuation of my Narrative, I had not only before me the importance of bringing before the reader, how the Lord has been pleased more and more to honor the Scriptural principles, on which the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad was formed on March 5, 1834, though now it is a hundred times larger than it was at the beginning; but, also, to show, how I have continued regarding my own personal affairs, to act on the same principles which led me in 1830 to do what I did, and how, with every succeeding year, the Lord not only has honored these principles, but has done so more and more. After having now been a believer in the Lord Jesus more than forty-eight years, and after having been thus led by the Lord through a great variety of positions and circumstances, I am, and have been, for many years, able to say: The Lord is good and doeth good. Psalm 119, 68.

I will now refer to some matters connected with myself, since May 26, 1856, where the Fourth Part of this Narrative leaves off. In July, 1856, the Fourth Part was published, in which, particularly at the close, I plainly stated in figures, how abundantly the Lord had been pleased, simply through trusting in Him, to supply all my temporal necessities. I did this to the honor of the Lord, and in entire dependence on God; for, looking at it naturally, the result would be, that my dear Christian friends, who had, before that time, felt interested in my temporal affairs, would say, that I received such an abundance, that they needed no longer to supply me with means. But, though this would be naturally suggested to me, yet, since I had only the honor of God in view, in writing the Lord’s dealings with me, and not my honor nor my temporal advantage, I wrote as I did, whatever the consequences as to my temporal interests might be. And what has been the result? Some of my dear Christian friends have indeed said, "Mr. Müller is so well supplied, that he does not need anything from us." But how has the Lord acted? He knew, that I held His bountiful supplies as His steward only, that I did not wish to lay up money, but counted it an honor to spend it for Him; and therefore, though some on the ground of my abundance have withheld, He Himself has honoured more and more not only my trust in Him, but also the principles on which I acted with reference to stewardship; so that since May 26, 1856, instead of having far less, God has given me year by year a greater abundance still. During the very first month, after the Fourth Part of my Narrative had appeared before the eye of the public, I received a greater amount of money than ever I had received during one month in my whole life before; and from that time it has been, I may say, one continual stream of abundance. When on the 31st of December, 1856, I made up my accounts, I found, that I had received in the course of the year:—

1, By anonymous donations through the

boxes in the chapels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £163 2 6

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anony-

mously . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £90 12 0

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . .£513 6 1

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions,

etc., worth at least . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£14 0 0

—————

£781 0 7

—————

[N.B.—Boxes are fixed in our chapels, to receive donations for the poor, or for the rent or other expenses of the chapels, into which also donations were placed for myself, it being written on the papers, that they were thus intended.]

Thus the poor foreigner, whose whole possession was five pounds, when he began to labour for the Lord in this country, had now received, during one year, £781 0s. 7d., simply in answer to prayer, without asking anyone for anything, and without a shilling of salary, either in connexion with the ministry of the Word, or as Director of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad. "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." Psalm 34, 8.

Jan. 20, 1857. What I am going to write under this date, as copied from my private account papers, is stated as an illustration of the blessedness of acting on the principles of stewardship, on which I have so often written in the Reports, and also again and again in this Narrative. The statement is as follows: "Gave away a coat today to a needy person, and said to myself, God will repay, without, of course, giving it for that reason. Gave also a Half Sovereign to a sick man, and two days since £7 2s. 6d. to poor saints." See now how the Lord repays. Today, Jan. 20, 1857, I had given to me for myself £150—Oct. 12, 1857, Today I heard of the conversion of a gentleman, for whose conversion I had been daily praying for 12 years and 11 months; viz. since November 1844. How great my joy was, on this account, those can easily understand, who after having long waited upon the Lord, at last have their prayers answered. Dec. 31, 1857. On this day I found, that, during the past year, the Lord had been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the Chapel boxes . . . . . £177 11 9¼

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £ 94 11 0

3, Through two legacies of £50 & £10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £ 60 0 0

4, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . . £494 8 5

5, Through presents in clothes, etc., worth at least . . . . . . . . £10 0 0

—————

£836 11 2¼

—————

On Feb. 6, 1858, fell asleep suddenly, Edward Wakefield, Esq., of Birklands, Kendal, who had been for many years one of my dearest earthly male friends; but whose blessed end I could only rejoice in, because of the depth of my love for him, though I deeply felt for his surviving widow and sons, on account of their great loss. I often thought afterwards, that, in addition to all the numberless attractions heaven had to me, among the rest there was this also, the renewal of my intercourse with this lovely, holy Mr. Wakefield.

On June 19, 1858, a Christian lady in Berkshire, whom I had never seen, sent me £100 for my own personal expenses; and on Aug. 6th a Christian gentleman, at Birmingham, sent me £100, with the especial wish, to use it in taking care of my health. This last donation came to hand almost instantly, after I had given to a Christian brother in business, who was in great difficulty, a considerable sum, in order to enable him to continue his business; and thus the Lord again proved, how He had taken notice of this, and how He was willing yet further and further to supply me with means for His work or the necessities of those, among whom more especially my lot was cast.

Dec. 31, 1858. During the year 1858 the Lord was pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the Chapel boxes . . . . . £166 6 9¼

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £74 19 6

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . . £777 15 8

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc.,

worth at least . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £10 0 0

—————

£1029 1 11¼

£1029 1 11¼

Do you see, esteemed reader, how my income increased more and more? And how came this? Because I acted according to the injunctions of the Lord, in regard to the means, with which He was pleased to in trust me; at least it was my aim so to do. As He was pleased to give me means, so His own blessed work was remembered, as to Missions, the circulation of the Holy Scriptures and Tracts, etc.; and as He was pleased to intrust me with means, the Orphan, the widow, the poor generally, and especially also poor believers were remembered; and, with all this, relatives also had a share out of that with which I was intrusted, in ease they needed it; and so it came, that the Lord was pleased to give me more and more. There was not then a single Non-conformist minister in Bristol or Clifton, whose income was £1029 in the year 1858, except it had been derived from private property; and even among the ministers in the Establishment there were exceedingly few in Bristol and Clifton whose emolument in connexion with their office brought them in £1029, whilst I, who had not a single shilling regular income, who had not a single fee for any thing I did in my service, either as minister of the gospel or Director of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, was so abundantly cared for by my Heavenly Father, because I really depended on Him, and really trusted in Him, and did not merely say so. But was I now much richer at the end of the year 1858 than I had been. at the end of 1848? On no account. Though my income had increased more and more, I was now, what I had been all along, a poor man, content to hang upon God for everything, yea counting it an honour to be allowed so to do.

Feb. 10, 1859. This day thirty years ago I left my father’s house, to set out for England. How wonderfully has the Lord dealt with me since!

June 18, 1859. Received from a Baroness in Holland, whose name I had not even heard before, £17 2s. 7d., as one of the numberless ways, in which God has been pleased to supply me with means for myself.

On Oct. 7th, 1859, it was twenty-nine years since I was united in marriage to my beloved, excellent wife Mary, who, with very little interruption, except at her confinements, enjoyed very good health up to this time; but at the end of the twenty-ninth year of our conjugal union she was laid aside by rheumatism, became a great sufferer, and continued a sufferer month after month, till about the middle of the year 1860; so that for about nine months this most devoted servant of the Lord Jesus was almost entirely helpless, and unable to work. And yet this great affliction to her and to me, was so used by the Lord in the re-establishing of her health and strength, as that she was through this very affliction, which obliged her to rest so much, spared to me and the work of the Lord for ten years longer, than otherwise, humanly speaking, she might have been. When my beloved wife was first taken ill, I said to myself, The Lord has graciously continued to me this beloved wife for twenty-nine years in almost uninterrupted good health; it becomes me therefore, not only to be satisfied with His holy will concerning this affliction, but particularly to seek to look at the Lord’s kindness in the almost uninterrupted good health of my dearest Mary, instead of dwelling only on the trial of her present illness.

Oct. 22, 1859. Today I was informed of the death of one of my oldest friends in England, who also had been one of the largest donors to the Lord’s work in which I am engaged; but I am in peace, in perfect peace, because I neither trusted in him nor in any of the donors, but in the Living God alone.

Dec. 31, 1859. During the past year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the

chapel boxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £165 6 3

2, Through donors in Bristol not anonymously . . . . . . £86 10 0

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . £765 16 7

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, &c.,

worth at least . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £20 0 0

—————

£1037 12 10

—————

Jan. 14, 1860. Last evening I sent off £5 10s. 0d. for four poor saints and £2 10s. 0d. for the Lord’s work, and today I received a present of £150 for myself. I refer to this and other such instances as the best practical illustration of the truth of that word "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth." Proverbs xi, 24.

Dec. 31, 1860. During the past year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the

chapel boxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £126 13 1

2, Through donors in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £86 12 0

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . £824 3 11½

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, &c.

worth at least . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£17 0 0

—————

£1054 9 0½

—————

Observe, esteemed Reader, the steady increase of my income. The Lord intrusted me with more and more. Why? Because, by His grace, I sought to act for Him as His steward, and had, therefore, not only for myself and family all the necessaries, yea, all the conveniences of life, but also the joy, the honor and precious privilege of being allowed to give away year by year a large sum, comparatively.

Dec. 31, 1861. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the

chapel boxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £158 19 7

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . £115 16 6

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . £800 1 5

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc.,

worth at least . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £22 15 0

—————

£1,097 12 6

—————

Dec. 31, 1862. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me :—

1, By anonymous donations through the

chapel boxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £119 15 7½

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . £102 11 2

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . £824 3 8

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc.,

worth at least . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £20 16 6

—————

£1,067 6 11½

—————

In going over these accounts, in which every shilling received by me was entered, I find how great is the number of kind Christian friends, who helped me with their means, in regard to my private expenses, who have fallen asleep since. But while they have been removed, and therefore their kind help has failed, my never-failing Friend, the Living God, has remained to me, and has continued most abundantly to help me, year after year. Nor do I doubt in the least, that He will continue to help me to the end of my course.

Dec. 31, 1863. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £111 13 8½

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . . £97 13 5

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . . £929 7 5

4, Through the legacy of a Clifton lady . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £20 0 0

5, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £13 16 0

—————

£1,172 10 6½

—————

Regarding all the presents, which I receive from Christian friends, the reader has to keep before him, not only that they come from the greatest variety of places in the United Kingdom, but from many foreign countries, and, in most cases, from individuals, who are personally strangers to me. Moreover, in no one instance have I, since Oct. 1830, when I began thus to live in entire dependence upon the Lord for my temporal necessities, either directly or indirectly, solicited presents, nor given the least hint to any one of my circumstances when I was in need. The reader who is able to keep this fully before him will be able to admire more abundantly the hand of God, in supplying me so bountifully year after year.

Dec. 31, 1864. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £111 12 8

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . . £86 19 8¼

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,016 13 3

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £15 10 0

—————

£1,230 15 7¼

—————

The reader may exclaim £1,230! what a large sum! Yes, esteemed reader, it is a large sum. And what did Mr. Müller do with all this money? Did he invest it? Yes I did. I had a beloved wife, a most beloved wife; I had a daughter, a most beloved daughter, and the best provision I could make for them was, to seek week after week, month after month, year after year, to lay up treasure in heaven. And this I did. And so it came, that as I had always an abundance of opportunities to spend my means in the Lord’s work, or on poor saints, or on poor unconverted persons, now and then also in connexion with relatives who were in need; I was generally at the close of each succeeding year as I had been at the end of the previous year, viz., without property in so far as it regards earthly possessions; but, at the same time, it pleased the Lord, yet further to intrust His servant not only with means for himself, but to give to him more than ever, as the reader will see in what follows. The great secret in stewardship, if we desire to be intrusted with more, is, to be faithful in the stewardship, which implies, that we do not consider what we have to belong to ourselves, but to the Lord. This, by God’s grace, I have sought to do, and, at the same time, trusted in God fully; and thus it has come, that I have abounded more and more. All this I write, by God’s grace, not in self-complacency, but with self-abasement; but I write it, that my brethren in Christ may be benefited, and that it may be seen that discipleship can be carried out in the nineteenth century as fully as ever, and with regard to not laying up treasure upon earth in particular.

Dec. 31, 1865. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £105 9 1½

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £155 6 10

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,079 14 2

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £24 14 0

—————

£1,365 4 1½

—————

Jan. 22, 1866. This evening about half-past eleven, my beloved fellow-labourer and intimate friend for thirty-six years, Mr. Henry Craik, fell asleep, after an illness of 7 months. Both of us had then known the Lord a little above forty years; and both of us were then a little above sixty years of age. My beloved brother and friend now had finished his course; I was privileged and honored, further to labor for the Lord, and to do now this without him, with whom I had often taken counsel. My heart, however, as in all my former trials and difficulties, looked to the Lord, whom I knew, and on whom I had been in the habit practically to lean for more than thirty-six years. And now, after the lapse of all these years, since that mournful event, I have to state to His praise, that He has helped me, and that in every way His blessing has been continued to me, and even far more abundantly than before.

Jan. 30, 1866. The earthly remains of my beloved friend, Mr. Craik, were committed to the grave this day; but I am ill at home, and became much worse this evening.

For about three months afterwards I was more or less in a feeble state of health.

Dec. 31, 1866. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me: —

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £136 6 2½

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £167 12 4

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,281 10 6

4, Through a legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £5 0 0

5, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £11 12 6

—————

£1,602 1 6½

—————

£1,602 was Mr. Müller’s income in the year 1866, perhaps the reader will exclaim: or, if not uttering the words, will with a measure of astonishment look at the greatness of the amount. Well, the sum is large, very large; but I had more than thirty years before made my boast in God, and, since then, repeated this my boast in Him in the most public way. I had sought to honour God in the most public way possible, in declaring, that having Him on our side, and leaning upon Him, was sufficient for all temporal and spiritual emergencies and difficulties and necessities; and He, on His part, honored me; yes, most unworthy though I was of it and am still, He honored me, for Jesus’ sake, and made it manifest before the world, that I had not honored Him in vain; for He supplied me bountifully with means for the great work which I had undertaken for Him, and He also bountifully supplied me with means for my own temporal necessities and those of my family, so that He was pleased to give me 6 or 7 times as much as I needed for self and family. He thus verified already even as to this life in my happy experience the truth of that word, "Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men!" Psalm xxxi,19.

Dec. 31, 1867. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £167 1 9

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £174 1 3

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,465 17 4½

4, Through a legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £19 19 0

5, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £21 0 0

—————

£1,847 19 4½

—————

Notice particularly, esteemed Reader, that I was not one year or another year, and these far between, bountifully supplied by the Lord; but year after year. Observe, also, in particular, that these donations were received from hundreds of donors, who were residing not only in various parts of England, Scotland and Ireland, but in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Canada, the United States, India, Australia, New Zealand, China, etc. There is scarcely a country in the world from whence I have not received donations for myself as well as for the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, which furnishes another precious proof, that the hearts of all men are in the hands of God, and that, if we have Him on our side, we cannot but be cared for and helped, whatever our position may be, and wherever our lot may be cast. When the Israelites wandered through the wilderness, they had food, water to drink, raiment, and everything they really needed; and had they not rebelled against God, they would have fared still better, humanly speaking, notwithstanding their wilderness position.

Dec. 31, 1868. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £175 5 8

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £220 11 5½

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,421 15 3

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £21 5 0

—————

£1,838 17 4½

—————

What a goodly sum again! More than six times as much, as I need for myself and family, to have not only all the necessaries, but all the conveniences of life!

March 19, 1869. This day it is forty years, when I arrived in England.

Apr. 28, 1869. Today I drew cheque 10,000.—I mention this to the reader, to show the greatness of my business arrangements. But since Apr. 28, 1869, the work in which I am engaged has so increased, as that I draw now three times as many cheques as formerly, and already in the few years which have elapsed since Apr. 28, 1869, the number of cheques drawn has been multiplied to about one half of what it had been for 34 years previously, and still the work is increasing more and more.

Dec. 31, 1869. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £160 3 9½

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £314 0 2

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,179 6 11

4, Through two legacies of £90 and £25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . £115 0 0

5, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £32 6 0

—————

£1,800 16 10½

—————

Feb. 6, 1870. On Oct. 7, 1830, therefore 39 years and 4 months since, the Lord gave me my most valuable, lovely and holy wife. Her value to me, and the blessing God made her to be to me, is beyond description. This blessing was continued to me till this day, when this afternoon, about four o’clock, the Lord took her to Himself.

Feb. 11, 1870. Today the earthly remains of my precious Mary were laid in the grave. Many thousands of persons showed the deepest sympathy. About 1,200 of the Orphans, who were able to walk, followed in the procession; the whole staff of Helpers at the Orphan Houses, who could be spared, and hundreds of Believers of the Church, with which she had been in communion; I myself, sustained by the Lord to the utmost, performed the service at the chapel in the cemetery, etc.

Shortly after the funeral, I was very unwell, but, as soon as I was sufficiently recovered, I preached my late dear wife’s Funeral Sermon.

As all the principal matters connected with her illness, her removal, our happy conjugal life, and her usefulness as a helper to me in the work of the Lord, are contained in the Funeral Sermon, I give it here; and also because the reader will thus be furnished somewhat better with the inner life and the ways of the writer, than otherwise he would:—

 

"Thou art good, and doest good."—Psalm cxix. 68.

good."—Psalm cxix. 68.

 

The reason why I purpose to preach this funeral sermon, is not, because the late Mrs. Müller was my own beloved wife; nor, that I might have an opportunity of speaking highly of her, most worthy though she is of it; but that I may magnify the Lord in giving her to me, in leaving her to me so long, and in taking her from me to Himself. At the same time it appeared to me well, that, as she became the first member of the church assembling at Bethesda, when it was formed in August 1832; and as her whole life ever since then has been of the most blameless character; and as her life was full of most remarkable and instructive events; that, at the departure of such a Christian, we should ponder the lessons which her life is calculated to teach. She had lived to see 2,700 believers received into communion in that church, of which she was the first; and when she fell asleep there were 920 in communion in that church, about 1,500 having, during the 37 years and a half, either fallen asleep, or left Bristol, about 200 united with other Churches in Bristol, and 70 having been excluded from Fellowship.

During the six days that my beloved wife was on her death-bed, my soul was sustained by the truth contained in the words of our text. Whether she was more easy from pain, or in severe pain; whether there was a little prospect that she might yet be given back to me, or whether all hope was gone; my soul was sustained by these words. They were ever present with me, and I rested my soul on them. When it pleased God to take my darling wife to Himself, my soul was so sustained by these words, that if I had gone out that evening to preach, I should have preached on this text. I desire now, as God may help me, for the benefit of my younger fellow-believers in Christ particularly, to dwell on the truth contained in these words, with reference to my beloved departed wife.

I. The Lord was good and did good, in giving her to me.

II. He was good and did good in so long leaving her to me.

III. He was good, and did good, in taking her from me.

I. In giving her to me, I own the hand of God; nay, His hand was most marked; and my soul says, "Thou art good, and doest good."

I refer to a few particulars for the instruction of others. When at the end of the year 1829, I left London to labour in Devonshire in the Gospel, a brother in the Lord gave to me a card, containing the address of a well-known Christian lady, Miss Paget, who then resided in Exeter, in order that I should call on her, as she was an excellent Christian. I took this address and put it into my pocket, but thought little of calling on her. Three weeks I carried this card in my pocket, without making an effort to see this lady; but at last I was led to do so. This was God’s way of giving me my excellent wife. Miss Paget asked me to preach the last Tuesday in the month of January, 1830, at the room which she had fitted up at Poltimore, a village near Exeter, and where Mr. A. N. Groves, afterwards my brother-in-law, had preached once a month before he went out as a Missionary to Bagdad. I accepted readily the invitation, as I longed, everywhere to set forth the precious truth of the Lord’s return, and other deeply important truths, which not long before my own soul had been filled with. On leaving Miss Paget, she gave me the address of a Christian brother, Mr. Hake, who had an Infant Boarding School for young ladies and gentlemen, at Northernhay House, the former residence of Mr. A. N. Groves, in order that I might stay there on my arrival in Exeter from Teignmouth. To this place I went at the appointed time. Miss Groves, afterwards my beloved wife, was there; for Mrs. Hake had been a great invalid for a long time, and Miss Groves helped Mr. Hake in his great affliction, by superintending his household matters. My first visit led to my going again to preach at Poltimore, after the lapse of a month, and I stayed again at Mr. Hake’s house; and this second visit led to my preaching once a week in a chapel at Exeter; and thus I went, week after week, from Teignmouth to Exeter, each time staying in the house of Mr. Hake. All this time my purpose had been, not to marry at all, but to remain free for travelling about in the service of the Gospel; but after some months I saw, for many reasons, that it was better for me, as a young Pastor, under 25 years of age, to be married. The question now was, to whom shall I be united? Miss Groves was before my mind; but the prayerful conflict was long, before I came to a decision; for I could not bear the thought, that I should take away from Mr. Hake this valued helper, as Mrs. Hake continued still unable to take the responsibility of so large a household. But I prayed again and again. At last this decided me, I had reason to believe that I had begotten an affection in the heart of Miss Groves for me, and that therefore I ought to make a proposal of marriage to her, however unkindly I might appear to act to my dear friend and brother Mr. Hake, and to ask God to give him a suitable helper to succeed Miss Groves. On Aug. 15th, 1830, I therefore wrote to her, proposing to her to become my wife, and on Aug. 19th, when I went over as usual to Exeter for preaching, she accepted me. The first thing we did, after I was accepted, was, to fall on our knees, and to ask the blessing of the Lord on our intended union. In about two or three weeks the Lord, in answer to prayer, found an individual, who seemed suitable to act as housekeeper, whilst Mrs. Hake continued ill; and on Oct. 7, 1830, we were united in marriage. Our marriage was of the most simple character. We walked to church, had no wedding breakfast, but in the afternoon had a meeting of Christian friends in Mr. Hake’s house and commemorated the Lord’s death; and then I drove off in the stage-coach with my beloved bride to Teignmouth, and the next day we went to work for the Lord. Simple as our beginning was, and unlike the habits of the world, for Christ’s sake, so our Godly aim has been, to continue ever since. Now see the hand of God in giving me my dearest wife:—1st, that address of Miss Paget’s was given to me under the ordering of God. 2nd, I must at last be made to call on her, though I had long delayed it. 3rd, She might have provided a resting-place with some other Christian friend, where I should not have seen Miss Groves. 4th, My mind might have at last, after all decided, not to make a proposal to her; but God settled the matter thus in speaking to me through my conscience—you know that you have begotten affection in the heart of this Christian sister, by the way you have acted towards her, and therefore, painful though it may be, to appear to act unkindly towards your friend and brother, you ought to make her a proposal. I obeyed. I wrote the letter in which I made the proposal, and nothing but one even stream of blessing has been the result.

Let me here add a word of Christian counsel. To enter upon the marriage union is one of the most deeply important events of life. It cannot be too prayerfully treated. Our happiness, our usefulness, our living for God or for ourselves afterwards, are often most intimately connected with our choice. Therefore, in the most prayerful manner, this choice should be made. Neither beauty, nor age, nor money, nor mental powers, should be that which prompt the decision; but 1st, Much waiting upon God for guidance should be used; 2nd, A hearty purpose, to be willing to be guided by Him should be aimed after; 3rd, True godliness without a shadow of doubt, should be the first and absolutely needful qualification, to a Christian, with regard to a companion for life. In addition to this, however, it ought to be, at the same time, calmly and patiently weighed whether, in other respects, there is a suitableness. For instance, for an educated man to choose an entirely uneducated woman, is unwise; for however much on his part love might be willing to cover the defect, it will work very unhappily with regard to the children.

From what has been stated, I think it is plain, that "He who is good and doeth good," had given me Miss Groves for a wife. Let us now see for a few moments what I had received in her as God’s gift.

I mention here, as her chief excellence, that she was a truly devoted Christian. She had for her one object of life, to live for God; and during the 39 years and four months, that I was united to her by conjugal bonds, her steady purpose to live for God increased more and more. She was also, as a Christian, of a meek and quiet spirit. I speak to those who knew her, and not a few of whom knew her 30 years and upwards, and who know what a very excellent Christian she was. If all Christians were like her, the joys of heaven would be found on earth far more abundantly than they are now. In her, God had been pleased to give me a Christian wife, who never at any time hindered me in the ways of God, but sought to strengthen my hands in God, and this, too, in the deepest trials, under the greatest difficulties, and when the service in which she helped me brought on her the greatest personal sacrifices. When, during the years from September, 1838, to the end of 1846, we had the greatest trials of faith in the Orphan Work; and when hundreds of times the necessities of the Orphans could only be met by our means, and when often all our own money had to be expended; that precious wife never found fault with me, but heartily joined me in prayer for help from God, and with me looked out for help, and help came and then we rejoiced together, and often wept for joy together. But the precious wife, who was God’s own gift to me, was exquisitely suited to me, even naturally, by her temperament. Thousands of times I said to her, "My darling, God Himself singled you out for me, as the most suitable wife I could possibly wish to have had." Then, as to her education, she was just all I could have wished. She had had a very good and sound education, and she knew besides, the accomplishments of a lady. She played nicely and painted beautifully, though not five minutes were spent at the piano or in drawing or painting after our marriage. She possessed superior knowledge of Astronomy, was exceedingly well grounded in English Grammar and Geography, had a fair knowledge of History and French, had also begun Latin and Hebrew, and learned German, when in 1843 and 1845 she accompanied me in my service to Germany. All this cultivation of mind became not only helpful in the education of our daughter, but was more or less used by the Lord in His service to the praise of His name. She was a very good arithmetician, which for 34 years was a great help to me; for she habitually examined month by month all the account books, and the hundreds of bills of the matrons of the various Orphan Houses; and should any tradesman or one of the matrons at any time have made the least mistake, it would be surely found out by her. But, in addition to the good education of a lady, she possessed—what in our days is so rare among ladies—a thorough knowledge of useful needlework of every kind, and an excellent knowledge of the quality of material for clothes, linen, &c., and thus became so eminently useful as the wife of the director of the five Orphan Houses on Ashley Down, where hundreds of thousands of yards of material of all kinds, had to be ordered by her, and to be approved of or to be rejected. My beloved wife could do fancy needlework as other ladies, and had done it when young; but she did not thus occupy her time, except she would with her own dear hands now and then net a purse for her husband while she was in the country for change of air. Her occupation had habitually a useful end. It was to get ready the many hundreds of neat little beds for the dear Orphans, most of whom never had seen such beds, far less slept in them, that she laboured. It was to get good blanketing or good blankets, that she was busied, thus to serve the Lord Jesus, in caring for these dear bereaved children, who had not a mother or father to care for them. It was to provide numberless other useful things in the Orphan Houses, and especially for the sick rooms of the Orphans, that, day by day, except on the Lord’s days, she was seen in the Orphan Houses. The knowledge which is useful to help the needy, to alleviate suffering, to make a useful wife, a useful mother, how far above the value of doing fancy work! Mrs. Müller preeminently possessed and valued useful knowledge. She and her dear sisters had been brought up by a wise as well as a loving mother, who saw to it, that, while there was nothing spared with regard to a good school, and the attendance of good masters, &c., her daughters should, also, be eminent in useful knowledge. May Christian mothers, who hear me now, take heed, that their daughters have an education which will make them useful wives and useful mothers.

We have seen now, that God Himself had given me my beloved wife; we have also seen how suitable she was to me; and, in the gift of such a wife, a good foundation for real conjugal happiness was laid. And were we happy? Verily we were. With every year our happiness increased more and more. I never saw my beloved wife at any time, when I met her unexpectedly anywhere in Bristol, without being delighted so to do. I never met her even in the Orphan Houses, without my heart being delighted so to do. Day by day, as we met in our dressing room, at the Orphan Houses, to wash our hands before dinner and tea, I was delighted to meet her, and she was equally pleased to see me. Thousands of times I told her—"My darling, I never saw you at any time, since you became my wife, without my being delighted to see you." This was not only our way in the first year of our marriage union, nor in the tenth, in the twentieth, and in the thirtieth year, but also in the fortieth year of our conjugal life. Thus I spoke to her many times since the seventh of October, 1869. Further, day after day, if anyhow it could be done, I spent after dinner twenty minutes or half an hour with her in her room at the Orphan Houses, seated on her couch, which the love of a Christian brother together with an easy chair, had sent her in the year 1860, when she was, for about nine months, so ill in rheumatism. I knew that it was good for her, that her dear active mind and hands should have rest, and I knew well that this would not be, except her husband was by her side; moreover, I also needed a little rest after dinner, on account of my weak digestive powers; and therefore I spent these precious moments with my darling wife. There we sat, side by side, her hand in mine, as an habitual thing, having a few words of loving intercourse, or being silent, but most happy in the Lord, and in each other, whether we spoke or were silent. And thus it was many times, since October 7, 1869, viz., in the fortieth year of our conjugal life. Our happiness in God, and in each other, was indescribable, We had not some happy days every year, nor a month of happiness every year; but we had twelve months of happiness in the year, and thus year after year. Often and often did I say to that beloved one, and this again and again even in the fortieth year of our conjugal union—" My darling do you think there is a couple in Bristol, or in the world, happier than we are?" Why do I refer to all this? To show what a remarkably great blessing to a husband is a truly Godly wife, who also in other respects is fitted for him.

But while I own in the fullest degree, that the foundation of true spiritual happiness in our marriage life was laid, in that my dearest wife was a decided Christian, and fitted for me by God in other respects, and thus given to me by him; yet, at the same time, I am most fully convinced, that this was not enough for the continuation of real conjugal happiness during a course of 39 years and four months, had there not been more. I therefore must add here the following points: 1. Both of us, by God’s grace, had one object of life, and only one—to live for Christ. Everything else was of a very inferior character to us. However weak and failing in a variety of ways, there was no swerving from this one holy object of life. This Godly purpose, and the Godly aim, day by day, to carry out this purpose, greatly added,—of necessity added,—to true happiness, and, therefore, to an increase of conjugal happiness also. Should this be wanting in any two Christians, who are united by marriage ties, let them not be surprised if conjugal happiness, real conjugal happiness, is also wanting. 2. We had, all the 39 years and four months, the blessing of having an abundance of work to do, and we did that work; by God’s grace we gave ourselves to it; and this abundance of work greatly tended, instrumentally, to the increase of our happiness. Our mornings never began with the uncertainty of how to spend the day, and what to do; for as the day began, we had always an abundance of work. I reckon this an especial blessing, and it greatly increased our happiness, and sweetened exceedingly the little while we had for rest in each other’s society. Many true Christians even make the mistake of aiming after a position in which they may be free from work, and have all their time on hand. They know not that they wish for some very great evil, instead of some very great blessing. They forget that they desire a time, when, for want of regular occupation, they will be particularly exposed to temptation. 3. But great as habitually our occupation was, and especially during the last 25 years, we never allowed this to interfere with the care about our own souls. Before we went to work, we had, as an habitual practice, our seasons for prayer and reading the Holy Scriptures. Should the children of God neglect this, and let their work or service for God interfere with caring about their own souls, they cannot, for any length of time, be happy in God; and their conjugal happiness, therefore, must also suffer on account of it. 4. Lastly, and most of all to be noticed is this: we had for many years past, whether 20 or 30 years or more I do not know, besides our seasons for private prayer, and family prayer, also habitually our seasons for praying together. For many years my precious wife and I, had, immediately after family prayer, in the morning, a short time for prayer together, when the most important points for thanksgiving, or the most important points for prayer, with regard to the day, were brought before God. Should very heavy trials press on us, or should our need of any kind be particularly great, we prayed again after dinner, when I visited her in her room, as stated before; and this, at times of extraordinary difficulties or necessities, might he repeated once or twice more in the afternoon; yet very rarely was this the case. Then in the evening, during the last hour of our stay at the Orphan Houses, though her or my work was never so much, it was an habitually understood thing, that this hour was for prayer. My beloved wife came then to my room, and now our prayer, and supplication, and intercession, mingled with thanksgiving, lasted generally 40 minutes, 50 minutes, and sometimes the whole hour. At these seasons we brought perhaps 50 or more different points, or persons, or circumstances before God. The burden of our prayer was generally of the same character, except when prayers were turned into praises, or when fresh points were added, or when peculiar mercies or blessings, or peculiar difficulties arid trials, led, during a part of the time, to a variation. We never thus met for prayer without having, on various accounts, cause for thanksgiving; but, at the same time, our seasons for prayer never arrived, without our having abundant cause for "casting our burden upon the Lord." These seasons for united prayer, I mean in addition to the family prayer, I particularly commend to all Christian husbands and wives. I judge that it was in our own history the great secret for the continuation not only of conjugal happiness, but of the love to each other, which was even more abundantly fresh and warm than it had been during the first year, though we were then exceedingly fond of each other.

I now pass on to the second part of our precious text:—

II. The Lord was good, and doing good, in so long leaving to me my precious wife.

I think it has been clearly shown to the Christians who hear me, that God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, and my Father, through faith in His name, gave to me my beloved wife; and I will now endeavour to show as clearly, that God’s hand was most distinctly seen in leaving her to me as a companion in joy, and sorrow, and service for 39 years and four months. I have stated before, that we were married on Oct. 7, 1830. On Aug. 9, 1831, my beloved wife was, after seventeen hours’ suffering of the severest kind, delivered of a still-born child. Her life had been in the greatest danger, humanly speaking, and remained in the greatest danger for several weeks afterwards, so that two medical gentlemen visited her daily, or even two or three times a day. That she did not sink at that time, but was raised up again, and given back to me for 38 years and six months more, was of God, and was, I believe, the result of my most earnestly crying to God for this blessing. But my dearest wife never was fully again in health and strength what she had been before. The second time when her life was again, humanly speaking, in the greatest danger, was when, four months after our arrival in Bristol, her confinement came on, Sept. 16, 1832. She was very ill. She was in the greatest danger. I was the whole night in prayer. But God had mercy on me, and not only spared my precious wife to me, but made her also the living mother of a living child. Our beloved daughter was given to us on Sept. 17, 1832. On. March 19, 1834, she became the living mother of a living male child; but that time was in as marked a way free from great peril, apparently, as the two previous times had been the reverse. In this, too, I own the hand of God. About a year after this she was staying in the house of a Christian friend, at Stoke Bishop, and, while out walking, suddenly a carriage drove up and turned speedily round, and my beloved wife was all but killed; but God in a marked way preserved her life, though she was somewhat bruised by falling whilst she sought to save her life. On June 12, 1838, my beloved wife was taken ill. Often had I prayed respecting her hour. She continued in most severe sufferings from a little after nine until midnight. Thus hour after hour passed away, until eleven the next morning. Another medical gentleman was then called in, at the desire of the one who attended her. At three in the afternoon she was delivered of a still-born child. The whole of the night I was in prayer, as far as my strength allowed me. I cried at last for mercy, and God heard me. For more than a fortnight after her delivery, my precious wife was so ill, that her two medical attendants came twice or three times daily. Her life was in the greatest danger, humanly speaking. But this time also "He who is good, and doeth good" gave her back to me, to leave her yet 31 years and six months longer to me, and to make her more useful to me, and in the Orphan work than ever. The hand of God, in sparing her life in 1838, was most marked. In 1845 my beloved wife accompanied me the second time to Germany, where I intended to labour in the Gospel, and, especially, in writing German Tracts, and circulating them in many tens of thousands, together with my Narrative in German. Soon after our arrival in Stuttgart she was taken very ill; but God restored her then also, and gave her back to me for 24 years and six months longer. In the summer of 1859 she complained about the weakness of her left arm, which increased after a time more and more, instead of decreasing; and towards the end of October, being exposed to a draught, this weak left arm became exceedingly painful, and after a day or two swelled greatly, and especially her hand became greatly enlarged. Now that very ring, which at the wedding on Oct. 7, 1830, I had put on her finger needed to be broken off. Her arm and hand became worse, and continued thus week after week. That room, in which I had been in the habit of paying those happy visits to my beloved wife after dinner and at other times, was now, week after week, for a long time, without her. But this was the state of my heart at that time. When this most heavy affliction began, I said to myself, "Twenty-nine years the Lord has given me this precious wife with comparatively little illness, and shall I now be dissatisfied, because He has been pleased to afflict her thus, in the 30th year of our conjugal union? Nay, it becomes me rather to be very grateful for having had her so long in comparatively good health, and fully to submit myself to the will of the Lord. This my soul was enabled to do. Keenly as I felt her absence from the Orphan Work for almost nine months, with the exception of a very few times, when she drove up to give various directions, yet, as I saw the hand of God in the whole, and was enabled to take the whole out of His hand, my soul was kept in peace, whilst day by day we were able still to have our precious seasons for prayer, and whilst day by day also we entreated God, that, if it might be, He would graciously be pleased yet to restore that feeble arm and hand again, and spare her longer to me for service. At last, in April, 1860, my dearest wife was brought so far, as that our kind and most attentive medical attendant could recommend her to go to Clevedon and use the warm sea-baths for the benefit of her arm and hand. I therefore took her to Clevedon, our daughter remaining with her, and myself going down as often as I could. The warm sea-baths seemed to agree with her well, and progress appeared to be made, when one day, returning from the bath, she slipped as she was stepping out of the road on the footpath near her lodgings, fell against the wall with her head, and on her weak arm, which she carried in a sling, and which had made her so helpless in not being able to break the fall. She seemed as dead, and our dear daughter ran to the lodgings to get help. But when she returned, her dear mother, who had been stunned by the fall, had revived, and could be moved to her bed. All now seemed gloomy and dark indeed. The prospect of removal of the rheumatism from the arm and hand, appeared entirely gone, and my precious wife was worse than ever. I now went down evening after evening to Clevedon, after the day’s work on Ashley Down, to wait on her by night. Her suffering was very great for some time; but gradually this wore off, and she was brought back to the state in which she had been when she first went to Clevedon; and, after a stay of more than three months at Clevedon, there had been granted considerable improvement. She now returned to Bristol, spent about six weeks at home, and I then took her and my daughter to Teignmouth for a month, that she might have further change of air, and further the use of warm sea-baths, which evidently had been of considerable use to her. By the time we returned from Teignmouth, my dearest wife was so far restored, as to the use of her arm and hand, that she could take her work again at the Orphan Houses, and her dear hand was so far reduced in size, that her wedding ring, being put together again by a jeweller, could be put on again. How good was the Lord in sparing to me my dearest wife in this illness in 1859! How good to me, in that she was not killed on the spot, when she had that heavy fall at Clevedon! I magnify Him for it! "He is good and doeth good." But I cannot dismiss this part, without noticing one point in particular. My dearest wife had worked so hard in 1856, 1857, 1858, and 1859, when, through the opening of the New Orphan House No. 2, and the prospect of the opening of the New Orphan House No. 3, there was such an abundance of work, that her health had been brought into a very low state, and her strength had been greatly reduced. I begged her not to work so much, but it was in vain, she loved work; she never could bear to be idle. And thus it came, on account of her very low state of health, that the rheumatism had so much effect on her. But now see how the Lord worked. This very illness, most painful though it was to her, and most trying as it was to me, became God’s precious instrument in sparing to the Orphans their true friend, and to her own dear sisters a sister, to her own daughter a mother, and to her poor husband a precious wife for ten years more. This very illness obliged her to rest, beyond what she otherwise would have done. She was also medically ordered to take more nourishment than otherwise she would have taken; and by October 1860 she was in a far better state of health than she had been for years. How true that word, therefore, in this instance: "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God." Rom. viii. 28. We have seen now "How good the Lord was to me" in sparing my dearest wife to me 39 years and four months, as she might have been removed from me far sooner. It now lastly remains, to show—

III. "That the Lord is good and was doing good" in the removal of the desire of my eyes.

Perhaps all Christians who have heard me, will have no difficulty in giving their hearty assent that "The Lord was good, and doing good" in giving me such a wife; and they will also, probably, most readily admit that He was good, and doing good in leaving her to me so long; but I ask these dear Christian friends to go further with me, and to say from their hearts, "The Lord was good, and doing good" in the removal of that useful, lovely, excellent wife from her husband, and that at the very time when, humanly speaking, he needed her more than ever. While I am saying this, I feel the void in my heart. That lovely one is no more with me, to share my joys and sorrows. Every day I miss her more and more. Every day I see more and more how great her loss to the Orphans. Yet, without an effort, my inmost soul habitually joys in the joy of that loved departed one. Her happiness gives joy to me. My dear daughter and self would not have her back, were it possible to produce it by the turn of the hand. God Himself has done it, we are satisfied with Him.

During the last two or three years it was most obvious to my loving heart and eye, that my precious companion for so many years was again failing in her health. She did not only considerably lose flesh, but evidently seemed much more worn than she used to be. I begged her to work less, and to take more nourishment; but I could neither prevail as to the one nor the other. When I expressed my sorrow, that she lay awake at night for two hours or more, she would say, "My dear, I am getting old, and old persons need not so much sleep." When I brought before her, that I feared that her health would be again reduced, as in 1859, and that I feared the worst, she would say, "My darling, I think the Lord will allow me to see the New Orphan Houses No. 4 and No. 5 furnished and opened, and then I may go home; but most of all I wish, that the Lord Jesus would come, and that we might all go together." Thus her dear mind and hands would be at work, and as there was such an abundance of work in such a great variety of ways to be done, she was generally all the day at work at the Orphan Houses. Under these circumstances she caught cold in the early part of January, which brought on a most distressing cough, and that to such a degree, that she never had had nearly as bad a cough all the previous 39 years. With difficulty only I could prevail on her to allow me to send for our dear medical friend; for she ever made little of her own illnesses, whilst most solicitous about the health of others, especially myself and daughter and her sisters. I now pressed affectionately upon her, she would drive to and from the Orphan Houses, also lie down a little on her couch after dinner, which had been advised by our kind medical friend. It was during the time of this distressing cough, that I felt her pulse, because I wished to know how it was with her health generally; and I found she had a very feeble, irregular, and intermitting pulse, which only too much confirmed my fears about her health, during the last two or three years. Still my precious wife would not allow that there was much the matter with her. Through the medical means, the entirely avoiding night air, going to and fro in a fly when she went to the Orphan Houses, the use of a more generous and somewhat altered diet, and the resting a little more than usual, the distressing cough was so entirely removed, that scarcely the least trace of it remained, and my beloved one was again able to go out to Public Worship in a fly on the mornings of the Lord’s days, Jan. 23rd and Jan. 30th, but stayed at home in the evenings, to avoid a return of the cough. On Sunday, Jan. 30th, there was an additional reason for not going out in the evening, because she felt a pain across the lower part of her back, and in her right arm. This pain was rather worse than better on Monday, Jan. 31st, and we considered it better to send for our dear medical friend, to call and see her, if possible before we started for the Orphan Houses; but as he was already from home, visiting his patients, my dear wife set off in a fly to the Orphan Houses, our daughter accompanying her mother, to work for her under her direction, as it was feared her pain would prevent her doing anything actively herself. The day passed tolerably, though the pain increased, instead of decreasing. At tea-time she drove home with her sister Miss Groves, who also had been for weeks in a very feeble state of health, and with my daughter; I remained, to go in the evening to our usual public prayer-meeting at Salem Chapel. When I came home, I found our dear medical friend, Mr. Josiah Pritchard, had been, ordered my dearest wife to bed, and to remain in bed, and to have a fire lighted in her bed-room, stating that it was acute rheumatism, or what is commonly called rheumatic fever. She suffered much pain during the following night, but the next day, and the night from Tuesday to Wednesday especially, the pain was still more severe, and her limbs became one by one so painful, that she could neither move them, nor bear them to be touched, except the arm and hand which had been so weak ten years before. When I heard what Mr. Pritchard’s judgment was, viz., that the malady was rheumatic fever, I naturally expected the worst, as to the issue, on account of what I had found out about the action of my dear wife’s heart, when I felt her pulse; but though my heart was nigh to be broken, on account of the depth of my affection, I said to myself, "The Lord is good, and doeth good," all will be according to His own blessed character. Nothing but that, which is good, like Himself, can proceed from Him. If he pleases to take my dearest wife, it will be good, like Himself. What I have to do, as His child, is to be satisfied with what my Father does, that I may glorify Him. After this my soul not only aimed, but this, my soul, by God’s grace, attained to. I was satisfied with God. On. Tuesday, Feb. 1st, I was alone in the room of my precious wife at the Orphan Houses. She was at home in bed, a thing which had not been the case for more than nine years, as far as I can recollect. There were hanging in her room a number of precious texts from the Holy Scriptures, printed in large type, arranged for each day in the month, called "The Silent Comforter." The sheet then turned up, contained these words, "I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me" (Psalm cxix. 75). I read this again and again, and each time my inmost soul responded, "Yes, Lord, Thy judgments are right, I am satisfied with them. Thou knowest the depth of the affection of Thy poor child for his beloved wife, yet I am satisfied with Thy judgments; and my inmost soul says, that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. All this is according to that Love, with which Thou hast loved me in Christ Jesus, and whatever the issue, all will be well." There was also written on that sheet of "The Silent Comforter," "My times are in Thy hand" (Psalm xxxi. 15). My heart responded, in reading these words, "Yes, my Father, the times of my darling wife are in Thy hands. Thou wilt do the very best thing for her and for me, whether life or death. If it may be, raise yet up again my precious wife, Thou art able to do it, though she is so ill; but howsoever Thou dealest with me, only help me to continue to be perfectly satisfied with Thy holy will." During the whole week, whilst my beloved wife was lying on her death-bed, these lines of the precious hymn—"One there is above all others—O how He loves!" were ever present with me:

"Best of blessings he’ll provide us

Nought but good shall e’er betide us,

Safe to glory He will guide us,

Oh how He loves!"

My heart continually responded—"Nought but good shall e’er betide us." My inmost soul was assured, that however my loving Father acted with His poor child, it would be for his good. On Wednesday, Feb. 2nd, my beloved wife being comparatively free from pain, I read to her, before I went to the Orphan Houses, this verse out of the eighty-fourth Psalm—"The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." Having read the verse, I said, "My darling, we have both received grace, and we shall therefore receive glory; and as, by God’s grace, we walk uprightly, nothing that is good for us will He withhold from us." She evidently was blessed through this verse, for she spoke about it to our daughter in the course of the day. To my own heart the verse was a great support, for I said to myself again and again: "I walk uprightly, and therefore my Father will withhold nothing from me, that is good for me; if therefore the restoration of my dearest Mary is good for me, it will be surely given; if otherwise, I have to seek to glorify God by most perfect submission to His holy will." On Thursday, Feb. 3rd, I evidently saw how grave Mr. Pritchard considered the case to be, indeed on Wednesday evening already; for I was to give to my dear wife every two hours a small quantity of beef tea during the night, or a tea-spoon full of wine in a table-spoon full of water. At such occasions I had always about one minute of prayer with her. On Friday evening Mr. Pritchard said, that it would be a comfort to him for Dr. Black to see Mrs. Müller, as the case was a very grave one. I told him, that I was perfectly satisfied with his treatment, but if it would at all be a comfort to himself, to make an appointment with Dr. Black. This, however, could not be till Sunday, the 6th of Feb., as Dr. Black would be out of town on Saturday. Saturday morning I stayed home till nearly dinner time, to be with the dear invalid as long as I possibly could; and when at last I left her, I said, "My darling, I am sorry to have to leave you, but I shall return as soon as I can." She sweetly replied, "You leave me with Jesus." When I came home, she was about the same as when I had left her; but, during the coming night, her pains and sufferings exceeded the pains she had had before. I was almost the whole of the night seeking in one shape or other to alleviate her suffering, and the trial she now had, that she had not the use of one of her limbs. At last, from two to four in the morning, she was easier; but the sufferings of that night brought her soon to the close of her earthly pilgrimage. About ten in the morning dear Mr. Pritchard, who from the first had called twice a day, and who to the utmost had done all that medical skill, coupled with Christian kindness could do, called to see her, and found her, as I thought, much worse. He proposed at once to send for Dr. Black, and to wait till he arrived. About eleven o’clock Dr. Black very kindly came, examined the dear invalid, and confirmed what Mr. Pritchard had told me just before, that all hope of recovery was gone. After the medical gentlemen had left, I felt it now my duty to tell my precious wife, that the Lord Jesus was coming for her. Her reply was "He will soon come." By this, I believe, she meant to indicate, the Lord will soon return, and we shall be re-united. As there was yet life, I felt it my duty, to do to the last, every thing that medical skill could devise, and that love on my part could do. At half-past one p.m. when I gave her the medicine, and a little later a spoonful of wine in water, I observed that she had difficulty in swallowing, and a few minutes later, that she could not distinctly articulate. She tried to make me to understand, but I could not. I sat quietly before her, and about a quarter of an hour later I observed, that her dear bright eyes were set. I now called my dear daughter and her aunt, Miss Groves, stating that the loved one was dying. They at once came to the bedroom, and we were presently joined by Mrs. Mannering, another sister of my dearest wife. We all four sat quietly for about two hours and a half, watching the last moments of that much loved one, when about 20 minutes after four in the afternoon of Lord’s-day Feb. 6, 1870, she fell asleep in Jesus. I now fell on my knees and thanked God for her release, and for having taken her to Himself, and asked the Lord to help and support us.

My soul was so sustained, and so peaceful, that had I had physical strength, and had I not had plain home duties, I could have preached immediately after; and the portion on which I should have preached, would have been the one which forms the text of this sermon.

I now repeat again—"The Lord was good, and doing good" in taking my beloved wife; because, 1. She had worked long, very long and very much on earth, and He was now pleased to appoint her to other service. 2. "He was good, and doing good" in releasing her from her pain and suffering, which she had endured to so great a degree during the last week of her life. 3. "He was good, and doing good" in keeping her from a state of protracted suffering, to which, humanly speaking, she would have been subject, even if life should have been continued to her. 4. "He was good, and doing good" in taking her, the weaker vessel, first, instead of removing me and leaving her. I adored the Lord’s kindness in this, in sparing her this heavy trial, as I think it would have been to her, and I gladly bear it for her. 5. "He was," most of all, "good, and doing good" in giving to my dearest wife what had been long the desire of her heart, even to be with Jesus. As long as two years since, my daughter had seen the following, written by her dear mother, in one of her pocket books, kept at the Orphan Houses, of which I knew nothing, but which precious jewel my dear daughter pointed out to me two days after the death of her dear mother, and which is now before me. The words written are these—"Should it please the Lord, to remove M. M. [Mary Müller] by a sudden dismissal, let none of the beloved survivors consider, that it is in the way of judgment, either to her or to them. She has so often, when enjoying conscious nearness to the Lord, felt, ‘How sweet it would be, now to depart and to be for ever with Jesus,’ that nothing but the shock it would be to her beloved husband and child, &c., &c., has checked in her the longing desire, that thus her happy spirit might take its flight. Precious Jesus! Thy will in this as in everything else, and not hers be done." With such words before me, and knowing besides, as I do, the deep personal attachment my dearest wife had to that Blessed One who hung for us on the cross, can it be otherwise than that my inmost soul should rejoice in the joy which my loved one has now, in being with the Lord Jesus for ever? The depth of my love for her is rejoicing in her joy. Remember that word of our Lord, "If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father" (John xiv. 28). As a husband, I feel more and more every day, that I am without this pleasant, useful, loving companion. As the director of the five Orphan Houses, I miss her in numberless ways, and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God, and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to His holy will to glorify Him, I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me; but I also say, I shall meet her again, to spend a happy eternity with her. Will all who hear me now meet my precious wife? Only those will who have passed sentence upon themselves as guilty sinners, and who have put their trust alone in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of their souls. He came into the world to save sinners, and all who believe in Him, shall be saved; but without faith in the Lord Jesus, we cannot be saved. Let all those, who are as yet not reconciled to God, by faith in the Lord Jesus, be in earnestness about their souls, lest suddenly a fever should lay them low and find them unprepared, or lest suddenly the Lord Jesus should return again, before they are prepared to meet Him. May the Lord in mercy grant, that this may not be the case. Amen.

The reader has seen, from the Sermon, how much I was sustained, when thus bereaved, and now, after the lapse of more than four years I would say to the praise of God, that throughout, without one moment’s exception, I was enabled most fully to bow under the hand of God, and to be to the full satisfied with His holy pleasure. But while thus enabled to glorify God by perfect submission to His will, I, at the same time, felt myself deeply bereaved. That most lovely companion, who had been so greatly a help to me, was no longer to be found in my home. In Jesus I found, as in my never failing Friend, my repose and solace; my soul was unspeakably blessed through this bereavement; but my earthly joy was all but gone, with the exception, that I had left a most beloved, a most affectionate daughter, who for 24 years as a believer had been to her parents all they could wish. When now between eight and nine o’clock in the evenings, I went home from the Orphan Houses, instead of in company with my beloved Mary, as for so many years past (for she was always with me), I said to myself: "I shall not meet my beloved wife at home, but I shall meet the Lord Jesus, my precious Friend; He will comfort me;" and I thanked God, that He had left my beloved daughter to me, who always watched for my arrival, to greet me, and did all she could, to soothe my bereaved heart. But the loss was great, the wound was deep, and, as weeks and months passed on, while continuing habitually not only to be satisfied with God, but also to praise Him, for what he had done in thus bereaving me, the wound seemed to deepen instead of being healed, and the bereavement to be felt more and more; which, no doubt in a great measure, was connected with the state of my nervous system, which had been greatly affected through my bereavement.

Dec. 31, 1870. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £153 14 1

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £358 16 3

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,469 17 11

4, Through four legacies of £19 15s. 0d., £5,

£19 19s. 0d., and £10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £54 14 0

5, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £30 7 6

—————

£2,067 9 9

—————

Aug. 4, 1871. Today Mr. Wright, my principal helper in the work of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, and whom, as I have before stated, I had requested to become, in the event of my death, my successor as Director of the Institution, asked for the hand of my beloved daughter. This request was as unlooked for on my part as any thing could have been, while, at the same time I knew no one, to whom I could so willingly entrust this my choicest earthly treasure. My beloved daughter had the greatest conflict in her mind for about two weeks, before she accepted this offer, her only and great difficulty being because of having to leave me. It was only on beseeching her, not to let this stand in the way, and pointing out to her, how great my comfort and joy would be in seeing her united to such a husband, that she at last decided to accept the offer.

The engagement of my beloved daughter, together with a variety of reasons, finally led me to the decision to marry again; as not only from the time of my bereavement I greatly missed my beloved departed wife, in my position, but judged, that now, in the prospect of my beloved daughter’s marriage, it would be the best for me to marry again. This decision, as one of the deepest importance, was come to in the fear of God, and in the full assurance that I had the sanction and approval of my Heavenly Father. My dear daughter was united to Mr. Wright on Nov. 16, 1871, and I married, on Nov. 30, 1871, Miss Susannah Grace Sangar, whom I had known for more than twenty-five years as a consistent Christian, and regarding whom I had every reason to believe that she would prove a great helper to me in my various services. It is now two years and a half, since we have been united, and I record it to the praise of the Lord, that He has given to me in this my beloved second wife a very great help in service, and one who becomes more and more so, the more she becomes acquainted with the work, and who seeks to her utmost to relieve me from such work, as she can do. Great as her difficulties were, in entering upon services connected with so large an Institution as her husband is the director of, I obtained in her as a helper, far more than I could have reasonably expected.

Dec. 31, 1871. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £149 3 2½

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £392 15 9½

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,603 13 1

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £26 5 0

—————

£2,171 17 1

—————

From the latter part of January, 1872, to the end of March, my dear wife was ill, and suffered much pain. About the 10th of April she recovered and was very well the remainder of the year and all the year of 1873.

Dec. 31, 1872. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £105 19 8

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £292 10 3

3, Through two legacies of £200, and £100, left

by two entire strangers to me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £300 13 1

4, Through presents in clothes, provisions, etc., worth at least . . £28 6 0

—————

£2,240 17 5

—————

Oct. 16, 1873. Today I gave for the Lord’s work £100, and sent £7 10s. to poor believers. When I came home in the evening, I found that a Christian friend had died, who had left me all his property, having no relatives at all, whereby I came into the possession of £620 9s. 7d. I mention this, to show, how abundantly the Lord repays.

Dec. 31, 1873. During this year the Lord has been pleased to give me:—

1, By anonymous donations through the chapel boxes. . . . . . £103 13 7½

2, Through donors in Bristol, not anonymously . . . . . . . . . £273 8 0

3, Through donors not residing in Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . £1,324 19 2

4, Through presents in articles, worth at least . . . . . . . . . . . £33 6 6

—————

£2,770 8 1½

—————

The reader will observe, how my income during this year was greater still than before. The secret of this will be seen more plainly hereafter, if not perceived already.

January 1, 1874. On the very first day of this year, I reaped further, as, by God’s grace, I had been enabled to sow, during the past year. There was paid to me the legacy of £360, left to me by a lady in Worcestershire, whom I had only seen once. I received further, on this very first day, in 18 donations, £35 1s. 6d.

March 19, 1874. Today it is 45 years, since I arrived in England. This day I received from a gentleman at Birmingham a present of £50, and £4 10s. in three other donations, like an earnest, that the Lord would care for me in the 46th year also, and, as it were, to tell me by this, that His love to me was unaltered, though I had now before me one of the deepest afflictions, through which I ever passed. I give the particulars.

On Saturday, March 14th, my dear wife, who had been for about two years in very good health, felt unwell; but as it appeared only a cold, she went out to worship the next day, Lord’s day, as usual, though her indisposition was rather more than less. On Monday she accompanied me again, as her practice had been, day by day, to the Orphan Houses, and in the evening to our usual Prayer-Meeting at Bethesda; but was no better. During the night she was feverish and restless, and now consented to my former repeated proposal to send for our medical adviser, Dr. Williams. When he came he advised her, not to go out that day, but to stay at home. In the evening of Tuesday, when I returned home from the Orphan Houses, I found her up, but no better. This was the last day she was downstairs for more than seven weeks. The fever increased more and more, though there seemed not in any way dangerous symptoms, speaking after the manner of men. On Thursday, March 26th, I left my dear wife for the Orphan Houses better than she had been for several days; more quiet, less under the power of the fever apparently, and having had a better night than several nights before. My dear daughter, Mrs. Wright, took my place in the house, in case anything should need direction, during my absence. At half-past one, p.m., my dear daughter came to the Orphan Houses, to fetch me, as my dear wife had had a hæmorrhage. I hastened home and found that she had had the most fearful loss of blood. Dr. Williams had been sent for, and soon was on the spot. My dear wife looked pale as death, and the perspiration of death was on her brow; but by the means used, after awhile seemed brought back again to life. But now as to my feelings, when I came home, and saw the death-like countenance of my dear wife. There was naturally everything to make one excited to the utmost, yea, to be overwhelmed; because there seemed nothing but death to be expected within a few hours. My soul, however, by the grace of God, was calm and in perfect peace. I was enabled, through my knowledge of God, to take this cup out of the hands of my Heavenly Father, as the best thing for me under the circumstances. I delighted myself in God. I was satisfied with his dealings with me, being assured that much good would come out of this to me. And so it came, that, hopeless though the case might have appeared, looking at it medically, my dear wife revived; and in a few days all seemed to have passed over, except that, of course, extreme weakness was left. But as life returned, the power of the fever also increased, and on Sunday, April 5th, my dear wife was delirious, the fever having now come to its highest point. The deep trial of soul I had, in seeing this state, I can scarcely describe. In the evening Dr. Williams consulted with Dr. Black, who had kindly come to see the invalid, and the judgment was, my dear wife might yet recover, if she could have some sleep; but for more than 30 hours she had not shut her eyes even for a moment; and a third nurse had to be sent for, to relieve one of the other two nurses, to get some rest. This was the second time, when my dear wife seemed on the very brink of the grave. I did what I could in seeing that all medical directions to the utmost were carried out; but my hope was in God alone. I knew Him, and I knew He would do what would be best for me. My heart was satisfied with Him. I delighted myself in Him. And thus it came, that I was at peace; perfectly at peace, whatever the issue might be, being assured that all was ordered according to that infinite love and wisdom, which led God not to spare His only begotten Son. And how did matters turn out, the reader may ask? During the night the crisis came; the fever turned; my beloved wife had about five hours sleep, and slept the greater part of Monday morning, Apr. 6th. From that day very slight indications of improvement were seen. But still, day after day, the pulse continued to be about 120, besides being extremely weak. Day after day passed, and, though very slowly, there appeared a little improvement, after the crisis of the fever had now taken place twelve days since, when, on Apr. 17, I was told, that one of the most eminent and most experienced London physicians had stated that he never had known a patient to recover after such an hæmorrhage as my dear wife had had. Thus, for the third time all prospect of restoration, especially as the pulse of my dear wife still remained about 120, seemed gone. For the third time now my inmost soul sought to be satisfied with God, to delight myself in God, to kiss the hand which smote me; and, by His grace, I did so. With all my affection for my beloved wife; and with all my appreciation of her usefulness in the work, and her help to me individually in the variety of my service; I was satisfied with God’s will. I know what a lovely, gracious, bountiful Being God is, from the revelation which he has been pleased to make of Himself in His holy Word; I believe this revelation; I also know from my own experience the truth of it; and therefore I was satisfied with God, I delighted myself in God; and so it came, that He gave me the desire of my heart, even the restoration of my dear wife. See Psalm xxxvii., 4. Notwithstanding the unlikely prospect of restoration, yea great improbability, my dear wife improved, and in the beginning of May she was so far restored, as to be able to be wheeled in an easy chair out of her bed-room to a sitting-room, and to be on the sofa, first for 2 hours a day, then for 3 and four hours, then for 6 and 8 hours, and on May 11 she was well enough to be taken out in a carriage for an hour, the following 5 days for 2 hours each day, and thus she was so far restored by God’s kindness, as to be able to be removed to the sea side for change of air. I have so minutely dwelt on this case, to show how much may be obtained by prayer; for thousands of prayers ascended up on her behalf, not only in the United Kingdom, but even in various foreign lands, where her case soon had become known to Christians. I have further stated this case so fully, to show the deep importance to be satisfied with the will of God, not only for the sake of glorifying Him, but as the best way, in the end, of having given to us the desire of our hearts.

May 29th, 1874. A week since we left home for Burnham, in Somersetshire, that my dear wife might have the benefit of change by the sea-side. Ever since we came here, she has been decidedly getting better, and is now, with God’s blessing, in the way to full restoration ere long.

In the introduction to this volume I stated, that, while I had often written, within the last thirty years, "On Stewardship," on " Systematic giving, as the Lord is pleased to prosper us," on "Not laying up treasure on earth," and the blessing, both temporal and spiritual, the sure fruit of acting on those principles, I had only alluded to myself with reference to these points, without stating in figures, how I had acted. This I purpose now to do, from the time that I began to carry out these principles in my own life. It is not the praise of men that I seek, but the glory of God, and the real good and profit of my beloved fellow-disciples, hoping that they may be led to act on the same principles, if they have not done so already. The last few months of the year 1830 I omit, and begin with the year 1831. During this year it pleased the Lord to give to me, after I had given up my emolument in connexion with my pastoral position in the Church at Teignmouth, £151 18s. 8d. The whole of this £151 18s. 8d. was given to me, without asking any human being either directly or indirectly for any thing. Out of this £151 18s. 8d. we gave away, during that year £50; I say we, for my beloved wife was altogether of one mind with me in these matters, and as willing to live simply, economically, and savingly for the Lord as I was.—In the year 1832 my income was £195 3s. 0d. You see how the Lord repaid us. The money we had spent for Him, He indeed repaid. He gave not only £50 in return, but nearly four times £50: this is His way. Thus I have found it for 44 years, only with successive years more and more so. During this year we gave away £70. The latter part of this year the Lord gave to us a beloved daughter; but this made no difference in our way of living or acting. The only difference it did make, if any, was this, to be the more earnestly concerned to lay up treasure in heaven, that she too might partake of the benefit.—In the year 1833 my income was £267 15s. 8¼d. You perceive how the Lord had again repaid not only the £70 given to Him, during the previous year; but how again nearly four times, He was pleased to repay us; for He always sees to it, that we shall be His debtors, but that He will not be in debt to us. Of this £267 15s. 8¼d. we gave away £110; for our lot was now cast in the city of Bristol, among many poor believers, and we counted it an honour and a privilege, to give to them, according to our ability. This £110 was, of course, not given at once, nor at 10 or 20 different times only; but as it pleased the Lord to give to us the means, and as the cases of necessity were brought before us by Him, so we desired grace to give out of that with which he was pleased to intrust us.—In the year 1834, the Lord was pleased to give to me, altogether, in various forms, £288 0s. 8¼d., repaying thus again bountifully, and with very large interest, the £110 which had been given away in His work, or among His own poor, or among those who knew Him not, or to one or the other relative who might be in need. Out of this £288 0s. 8¼d., we gave away £120. We had now two children, the Lord having given to us a little son also, on March 19, 1839; but this made no difference as to the principles on which we acted.—In the year 1835, the total of my income was £285 1s. 1¼d., out of which we gave away £120. You see, esteemed reader, we went on spending our means for the Lord, in the measure in which He was pleased to intrust us with them, and according to the calls, which He was pleased in return to make upon us, as His stewards.—In the year 1836 the Lord was pleased to give to me £232 11s. 9d., out of which we gave away £80. Well, and how did we fare the next year? If we could spare that £80, it may be said, ought we not to have kept it for coming necessities, such as great sickness, falling off of income, loss of friends, etc. We never reckoned thus, but lived by the day, looking to the Lord, remembering the word of our adorable Lord Jesus, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," Matthew vi. 34. We were not anxiously concerned as to what we should eat, what we should drink, or wherewithal we should be clothed; but we remembered that our Heavenly Father knoweth, that we have need of all these things, and that, if we sought first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things should be added to us. And just as our adorable Lord said, so have I literally found it to be, for forty-four years. How then, still the reader may ask, was it in the next year, 1837? The answer is, my income was considerably more than during the previous year, it amounted now to £307 2s. 6½d.; thus the £80, given away during the previous year, was again nearly four times repaid; and during this year now we gave away £140. You see, dear reader, not the twentieth part of what the Lord gave us, nor the tenth of what He was pleased to intrust us with, though if this were carried out, much more would be given, than now generally is given by believers; but all we had was the Lord’s, and again and again we stood with our all before the Lord.—Well, you may say, this was a goodly sum, which you gave away in the year 1837, and how did you fare in the year 1838? Our Heavenly Father repaid us most bountifully. The Lord was pleased, during the year 1838, to give to me altogether £350 4s. 8d., out of which we gave away £166. By this time the necessities of the Orphan Work began to call for our means, and very, very often, the necessities of the hour or the day had to be met out of that which the Lord was pleased to give me for myself; and in this state we continued for about five years, up to 1843, yea, more or less to the year 1848.—This £166 was again bountifully repaid by our Heavenly Father; for in the year 1839 my income was £313 2s. 5d., out of which we gave away £140—Now observe the income of the year 1840. It was altogether £242 8s. 11½d. The Lord varied His mode of dealing. There was not more, than in the years 1837, 1838, and 1839, but considerably less. Thus often the Lord deals with his children, for the trial of their faith, to benefit them by His dealings, to teach them precious lessons, and to see how they will act under such circumstances. Well, and how did the writer and his beloved wife act? We did not say, the Lord has forsaken us, nor did we say, we must now save up the money, which we do not need. We gave still, as before, according to our ability, though it could not be as much as in the years 1837, 1838, and 1839. We did not say, that it was better to discontinue to act on these principles; but we held it fast, that our way of obedience to God is, to give as He is pleased to prosper us. In the year 1840 we gave away £80 out of our income of £242 8s. 11½d.—In the year 1841 the trial of faith still continued. The whole of my income being only £238 11s. 1d.; but we acted as before, and gave away again that year £80—In 1842 the total of my income was £329 16s. 0d. We had continued to act according to God’s principles in our stewardship, and He was pleased to intrust us now again with more. Out of this amount we gave away £130. We did not say, then, the rented house, in which we live, suited us well, and, on that account, we had better save our money, and buy it; but we remembered, that we were strangers and pilgrims on earth, that as yet we had not entered upon our possessions, which are of a heavenly character, but that we are only God’s stewards of that, with which He intrusts us; and therefore we spent our means for Him. I have no hesitation in placing myself side by side with the Christian who in the year 1842 sought to amass wealth, and who has continued to do so, and to ask him, whether he is happier than I am, and whether he has brighter prospects concerning eternity than I have. Oh, that Christian men would seek to cling to the Word of God, and to practice the blessed statements contained therein!—In the year 1843 the Lord again bountifully repaid, what had been spent for Him during the previous year; for my income amounted to £326 1s. 10d., out of which we gave away £140—In the year 1844 my income was £267 6s. 9d., of which we gave away £100—In the year 1845 my income was £433 19s. 1d. Do you see, dear Reader, how the Lord was pleased to repay the £100, given away in the year 1844? We saw it. We knew that word, and believed it, "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty." Proverbs xi. 24. And, therefore, it was our joy and delight yet further to act according to this word, and we gave away, during that year, £220; not indeed for the purpose of obtaining more for it, but to glorify God with the means, with which He had been pleased to intrust us, whilst, however, we knew at the same time, that He would abundantly repay. And this He did; for in the year 1846 my income was £399 2s. 11d., out of which we gave away £180. The reader will perceive that we went on in a steady even course. It is just this which brings in the end such abundant blessing, and which leads to an acquaintance with God, which can be only obtained in that way.—In the year 1847 my income was £412 18s. 8½d., out of which we had the honour of being permitted to give away £180—In the year 1848 my income was £474 17s. 7d. You see how bountifully God repaid the £180—Even if my income had been only £180 altogether, yet I ought to have been exceedingly grateful; for every shilling of that amount would have come to me as the result of prayer only from the bountiful hands of my Heavenly Father; but He did not give only what we had given, but He gave nearly three times as much again as we had given. Out of this £474 17s. 7d. we gave away £240—In the year 1849 my income was £413 2s. 4d., whereby the £240 was amply repaid, and we had the joy and privilege of giving away £190 of the amount.—In 1850 my income was £402 4s. 5d., out of which we gave away £180—In 1851 my income was £465 13s. 1d., of which we gave away £220—In. 1852 my income was £445 8s. 8½d. I beg the reader to remember, that I had not a single fee, nor any emolument whatever in connexion with my pastoral position. I had no fees for burials, baptisms, marriages, or any thing else. My aim never was, how much I could obtain, but rather, how much could I give. Moreover, as Director of the Orphan Houses and other Objects of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, labouring as I and my beloved wife did, day after day, and year after year, I might, with all fairness, have taken a handsome remuneration; for, speaking after the manner of men, we earned it; but for many reasons we preferred not to do this, but to leave the supply of our temporal necessities directly to our kind, loving, Heavenly Father; and He provided bountifully for us, and much more than we needed; and He did so, by inclining the hearts of His stewards to remember our need. Since October 1830 I never asked any one of my fellow-men, either directly or indirectly to give me any thing, when I was in need; nor did I give even the least hint of my necessitous circumstances, whilst in them, but only spoke to my Heavenly Father about them; and He listened to my supplications. Out of the £445 8s. 8½d., my income for 1852, we gave away £190—£190 you say; and why did not you save that £190 to put it into the bank? Because we knew a better way, a happier way, a safer way. We did indeed lay up treasure; not on earth, but in heaven. We put it into heaven’s Bank, that our benefit derived from it might not be only for time, but for eternity. Moreover, if we had attempted to save money for an investment in houses, or lands, or otherwise, our Heavenly Father would have shut up His hands and no longer supplied us so bountifully as He had been pleased to do; whilst, on the other hand, as we continued to act as stewards and not as owners, with reference to the amount, with which it pleased Him to intrust us, He condescended to honour us more and more as stewards; and from this time in particular.—Now see what he gave me in the year 1853. The £190, which we had given during the previous year, God repaid bountifully, in giving me £638 11s. 8½d.; and being thus made stewards over more, we sought to be faithful stewards, and only stewards, and not owners, and therefore gave away £368 during this year. From the end of 1852, as the reader will see, my income now became larger and larger.—In 1854 it was £697 11s. 5d., of which we gave away £440. This again was abundantly repaid; for in 1885 my income was £726 16s. 2¼d., of which we gave away £466. Some Christians may say, I act as you do; I do not lay up money, I consider that foolish; but I seek to enjoy life, and what I earn by my labour, I spend on my family and on the enjoyments of life; I live, as it is called, up to my income. Do you? is my reply. I have not so learned of my adorable Lord and Master, the Lord Jesus, whose example and that of the Apostles, I would seek for grace to imitate, howsoever much, as yet, I fall short of the blessed, holy patterns. True enjoyment of life does not consist in seeking how much we can spend on ourselves, to please ourselves, to gratify ourselves; but how much we can minister to the comfort and happiness of others, both temporally and spiritually. Thus the end, for which we are left in the world, after our conversion, is at least in some degree answered. I am far from wishing to bring the children of God into bondage, and to make their consciences to be morbid, in which state there is a constant scruple, as to whether we may spend this sovereign or this shilling or not, on ourselves; and yet, there is verily, on the other hand, a propriety and impropriety as to dress, furniture, house, style of living generally, etc.—In the year 1856 my income was £781 0s. 7d., and we had now the joy and privilege of being able to give away £500 during that year.—In 1857 my income was £836 11s. 2¼d. and we gave away that year £566—In 1858 my income was £1,029 1s. 11¼d. Yes, dear Reader, £1,029 1s. 11¼d. Exactly thus. It is correct to the farthing. For if anonymous donations came in, they might even contain farthings. You are surprised at the greatness of the amount! Well, it is a large sum; but you see now, from what I have stated in the previous pages, if you had not seen it before, what was the secret of my having so much. It was not, because I deserved it. Far less because I begged it of my fellow-men, for I not only never asked any one for any thing, nor even gave hints to them directly or indirectly to give to me; but I spoke to God, and to Him only, about my temporal necessities. And then, when it pleased Him to send me more than I required for my family and self, I gladly gave to the Lord’s work, or to the poor, or, should a relative happen to need any thing, gave to them also; and so it came, that, acting for God as His steward, at least aiming after doing so, He condescended to intrust me yet more and more with means; made me a steward over more; and gave to me thus yet further and further the joy and honour of communicating to the necessities of others or His own blessed work. Out of the £1,029 1s. 11¼d. we gave away £768—In the year 1859 the total of my income was £1,037 12s. 10d. You see again by this, how bountifully the Lord was pleased to repay me any thing that was given back to Him, out of that which He had been pleased first to give to me. Out of this goodly sum £1,037 12s. 10d., we gave away £776. I so well remember, when I used to tell my beloved departed wife, that I had put £100 or £200, or more or less, as the case might be, to the Building Fund of the Orphan Houses, or to Missions, how she would with an affectionate smile say, thank you, my dear; or, if I proposed to her to do so, how I had at once not only her most hearty approval, but she would rejoice at our being able so to do. I also well remember, how many times I said to her, and our beloved daughter, My dears, if the Lord should take me away before you, and you should ever be in need of any thing, ask the Lord in child-like simplicity, that He would graciously be pleased to repay you a little of that, which I gave to the poor, or to His work, and you will find, how, without fail, He will do so.—In the year 1860 my income was £1,054 9s. 0½d., out of which we gave away £800—In the year 1861 my income was £1,097 12s. 6d. This year we gave away £847. A goodly sum, you will say, you gave away; you might have bought with that a very respectable house. Yes, but if I had acted thus, except there were most decided reasons for it, while I could not live in a rented house; or, except the Lord’s service plainly made it manifest that I ought to do so, my stewardship would have been changed; or, if not changed, it would have been altered in degree. Moreover, I never had even the least desire to buy houses or land, though for the Lord I have bought and builded more than Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine out of every Thousand have done. I had it continually before me, I have but one brief life on earth, that I must make the best of that, and that, therefore, with regard to money, I must lay up treasure in heaven. To me the things of God have been, whatever my weakness and infirmity may be, deep realities for more than forty-four years; and I have been always certain, that when I shall in heaven meet my rich brethren in Christ, who have not acted on earth as stewards, but as owners; or my brethren and sisters in Christ, who as persons in business have sought with all their might to become rich; they will, with deep sorrow, look back upon their want of true wisdom in these things, and lament their way of having acted as they have.—In the year 1862 it pleased the Lord to give to me altogether £1,067 6s. 11½d., of which He was pleased to give to us grace to give away £876 17s. 0d. I say He gave to us grace to do so. Let none of my dear Readers suppose, that I do not naturally care about money, and that on this account I have given away so much. This would be a great mistake. As in every other respect I have to pray, "Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe," so in this particular also. If I were left to myself, I should even now, after all the experience I have had, become a lover of money, and hold it fast, and seek to increase my possessions more and more; for I am naturally a calculating business man. But as long as grace is in exercise, I calculate with regard to the eternity before me, in comparison with the little span of time here on earth; and I also calculate, that since "the Lord Jesus became poor, that I through His poverty might be made rich;" and that since He shed His blood to save me; it well becomes me to give back to Him in return, of that with which He has been pleased to intrust me, as His steward.—In the year 1863 it pleased the Lord to give to me altogether, £1,172 10s. 6½d. Do you perceive, in this instance, the truth of the statement of our Lord, to which I have repeatedly referred in the previous part of this Volume, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again." Luke vi., 38. One of the especial reasons, which lead me to make these statements, is, to give a practical illustration of what I have so often stated on this subject; and what could be more manifest, than that the Lord acted according to His word, in dealing with me, year after year, with reference to my income, as He did. You see, then, how bountifully the Lord gave back to me the £876 17s. 0d., which we had given away during the year 1862, not by sending directly, from Himself, in a miraculous way, but by inclining the hearts of His stewards to send to me. Of this £1,172 10s. 6½d. we gave away £961 3s. 8d. during the year 1863.—In the year 1864 my income was still more. It amounted altogether to £1,230 15s. 7¼d. Notice especially, dear Reader, how the Lord dealt with me habitually as I dealt with Him. I depended on Him, I trusted in Him; and I was not confounded in doing so. Moreover, I acted as His steward, I sought also, to be a faithful steward; and He was thus pleased to make me, year after year, to be a steward over more. Of this £1,230 15s. 7¼d. we gave away in the year 1864, £1,024 4s. 5d.—In the year 1865 my income was £1,365 4s. 1½d., and of this amount we gave away £1,131 10s. 8d. Do you see how God repaid us? Do you also see the blessedness of such a life? Well, why should not all Christians, in principle, go on in this way? I know of none. All, whom ever I have known, who carried out, in reality, these principles, were happy in doing so, were prospered by God, were owned by God; but there must be persevering reality.—In the year 1866 my income was still larger. It amounted to £1,602 1s. 6½d. Will not my dear fellow-servants in the Gospel, of whatever name, consider before God the Lord’s gracious and faithful dealings with me? Of the £1,602 1s. 6½d. we gave away £1,362 13s. 2d. during that year. I remember meeting that year a beloved Christian brother, who in course of conversation said, "Do you not think it right, to make provision for one’s wife and children, that they be not a burden to others, after we are gone?" My reply was, "Yes, I seek to do so, by laying up treasure in Heaven." How have matters turned out since 1866? In the year 1870 the Lord took my beloved wife to Himself, and she is thus well provided for; and in 1871 my beloved daughter was married to dear Mr. Wright, and the Lord has thus well provided for her.—In the year 1867 my income was altogether £1,847 19s. 4½d., of which we gave away £1,579 2s. 2d. See, dear Reader, how great the joy, the honour, the privilege, to be allowed to spend £1,579 2s. 2d. in one year for the Lord’s work, or the poor! If all my fellow-believers only knew the blessedness of living the life of trust in God as I do, and to act on the principles on which I act, they would verily walk in the same road. But, because they know not this blessedness, I write thus and bring thus minutely in figures these matters before them, if by any means they may be led to seek to know for themselves the blessedness of this path.—In the year 1868 my income was £1,838 17s. 4½d., of which, by the grace of God, we were enabled to give away £1,557 3s. 6d.—In the year 1869 my income was £1,800 16s. 10½d., of which we were enabled to give away £1,559 10s. 8d.—In 1870 my income amounted altogether to £2,067 9s. 9d. He who had gladly laboured now in the word and doctrine for forty years, without being chargeable to any one, and who during those forty years never had received for any one thing he did in connexion with his pastoral position or as preacher of the Gospel, a single fee; and he who had never saved up money for investment or interest was so well cared for by his Heavenly Father, that his income now amounted to more than Two Thousand Pounds. Now, however, I was bereaved of my beloved wife. The sharer of my joys in these matters was removed, yet my beloved daughter remained to me, who, even as her beloved mother had done before, took always great delight, when I told her that I had invested for her £100 or £200, or less or more, by giving it to Missions, etc.; and this she did not merely in the year 1870 or in 1871, but had done it many years before, when I had told her of it; for she knew my ways in these things to the full. Of the £2,067 9s. 9d., the Lord’s kind gift to me for 1870, I was enabled, by the grace of God, to give away £1,713 11s. 7d.—In the year 1871 my income altogether was £2,171 17s. 1d., of which I gave away £1,570 9s. 11d.—My income in the year 1872 was £2,240 17s. 5d. I had now again a companion in my beloved second wife, who shared my joy when I sent any thing to the poor, or gave away otherwise. She had lost the property she once possessed, which, among other reasons, fitted her the better to be my wife; for if she had been rich, she would not have suited me. I own it freely, that I had joy in the thought that she possessed no property, and that I could make her to share with me the abundance, with which it pleased the Lord to bless me year after year. But after I had made her an offer, I found that she had £200 left, which she gave to me, before our marriage, for the Lord’s work; thus it was seen that in this respect she was of one mind with me. Of the £2,240 17s. 5d., my income in the year 1872, we gave away £1,637 3s. 2d.—In the year 1873 my income was altogether £2,770 8s. 1½d., made up to this larger amount than ever, as stated before, by six legacies, which I received during this year, amounting to £1,035 0s. 10d. Out of this £2,770 8s. 1½d., we had grace given to us to give away £1,819 10s. The reader may have observed, that the amount, left in my hands, for family expenses, in the years 1871, 1872, and 1873, is greater than in the previous years. This arose not from the fact, that I lived now very expensively, much less that I now, after all, invested money; but simply, because I saw not clearly as yet, how to spend all which was left over. The year 1874 furnished me, however, with the opportunity of giving away more largely.

It now only remains to state what my income was from Jan. 1, 1874, to May 26, 1874. I have stated before, that on Jan. 1, 1874, I received £360 as the payment of a legacy, left to me by a lady in Worcestershire, whom I only saw once. In addition to this amount, the Lord was pleased to give me from Jan. 1, 1874 to May 26, 1874, £844 19s. 2½d., making £1,204 19s. 2½d., within these nearly five months; and from Jan. 1, 1874, to May 26, 1874, I gave away £1,739 0s. 7d. I say I because my dear wife was ill, while I gave away the greater part of this amount. The sum given away being above Five Hundred Pounds more than my income, leads me to make the following remarks. The reader of the previous pages would be mistaken, if he supposed that, as soon as the Lord has sent me means, my aim is, to seek to get rid of them as fast as possible, as if it were a crime to possess a Ten Pound Note. This is not at all my way of acting. All I seek after is, to have grace, not to hold any thing as my own, but as belonging to the Lord; so that, whether I have much or little, I desire to look on the much or the little as a steward would, and not as an owner. I seek, therefore, for grace, to be willing, to give of that which the Lord has given to me, a part, or, if He would bid me, all. Often the Lord brings before me needy saints, besides those 68 poor believers whom I seek habitually to help; or some needy unbelievers; or special claims in His work; and then I seek to be ready to give as His steward, out of that with which He has intrusted me. In this way it came, that the legacy of £620 9s. 7d. into the possession of which I came at the end of the year 1873, and the legacy of £360, which I received on Jan. 1, 1874, and a little besides were in my hands unused, when the Lord brought before me a suitable opportunity of spending a large sum to the praise of His name. As a steward, having clearly ascertained His will, I gladly obeyed and gave. This is the explanation, how £1,739 0s. 7d. could be given away by me between Jan. 1, 1874, and May 26, 1874, when my income during that time had been only

£1,204 19s. 2½d., and yet my expenses had been far greater than ever, on account of the illness of my beloved wife.

From what has been stated before, it will be seen, that during the 43 years and 5 months from Jan. 1, 1831 to May 26, 1874, the total of my income was £37,523 3s. 6d., of which, however, more than £26,000 came in during the last sixteen years only. The total amount, which, by God’s grace, I was enabled to give away, during these 43 years and 5 months, is £27,179 0s. 8d. Of this amount, however, more than £21,700 was given away within the last sixteen years only. It may be profitable to the reader, to dwell yet a little more on this, to see how God gave abundantly as we had grace to return to Him, of that which He had given to us. My income for 9 years, from Jan. 1, 1831, to Dec. 31, 1839, was altogether £2,391 0s. 6¼d. During these same nine years, out of that amount we gave away £986. Of course our family expenses had to be met, and my income, during those nine years, being comparatively small, what was given away was necessarily a small amount also. During the next nine years, from Jan. 1, 1840, to Dec. 31, 1848, my income was £3,125 2s. 11¼d. Notice the increase in my income. As I had sown during the previous nine years, so I reaped. Out of this amount we gave away, from Jan. 1, 1840, to Dec. 31, 1848, £1,350. During the next nine years, from Jan. 1, 1849, to Dec. 31, 1857, my income was £5,406 10s. 8¼d. Of this amount we gave away, during those nine years, £3,120. Now observe, not merely with regard to what has been stated already, but also with regard to what follows, how steady perseverance in acting according to God’s principles surely will bring abundant blessing and recompense in the end. During the next nine years, from Jan. 1, 1858, to Dec. 31, 1866, my income was altogether, £10,656 15s. 2½d. Out of this amount we gave away £8,547 8s. 11d. During the remaining seven years and five months, from Jan. 1, 1867, to May 26, 1874, my income was £15,943 5s. 2½d., and out of this amount we gave away £13,175 11s. 9d. during those seven years and five months.

Of the Twenty Seven Thousand One Hundred Seventy-nine Pounds and Eight Pence, which we gave away from Jan 1, 1831, to May 26, 1874, Twenty-Two Thousand Pounds were given to the Lord’s work. The remaining £5,179 0s. 8d. was given to poor believers (chiefly the poor of the church whose pastor I am), or other poor believers, or to poor unbelievers, or to relatives who might be in need.

I have no doubt, that most of the Christian readers will say, This is a blessed way! It is delightful to be allowed to give away so much! How I should like to be able to do the same. My reply is, Yes, it is a blessed way! It is delightful to be allowed to give away so much. Will you not then try this way for yourself? Give, as God prospers you. Begin with little, if you have not faith enough to begin with much; only give that little, constrained by the Love of Christ, heartily, faithfully, steadily. Do not begin, and after a few weeks leave off; but go on steadily, under all Circumstances; and you will find, that you will be so blessed in your own soul, besides so prospered in your circumstances, as that you will more and more take delight in giving, and have also the ability for so doing. There is one thing additionally to be observed. Do not, as stewards, waste your Lord’s means. Though you were to give much, if you lived in an unbecoming way, spending too much on yourself, in the way of luxury or otherwise, you would not be intrusted with much. I have not only allowed to myself and family all the necessaries, but even the conveniences of life; I do this still, if not even more, as I am increasing in years; but I have ever guarded against extravagance in any way; lest my stewardship should be taken from me.

Now, at the evening of life, looking back upon the first of Jan. 1831, do you suppose I regret to have given away more than Twenty Seven Thousand Pounds? Verily not, I thank God for the honour bestowed upon me, in allowing me so to do, and I am not in the least tired of this way; while, at the same time, I need to pray still "Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe."

I had no intention of writing in this volume about my pastoral position; but I cannot close, without at least very briefly hinting at it. As in every way I have abundant cause for praise and thanksgiving, so in this respect also. On May 26, 1832, I arrived in Bristol for service in the Gospel. All the very many Nonconformist ministers of the Gospel, then living in this city, have since either removed to other places, or have fallen asleep. I alone remain, yet honoured to labour for the Lord; and, I may say to his praise, with health and strength, yea with vigour of body and mind. Even of all the evangelical ministers of the establishment, living when I came to Bristol in 1832, only one survives. I am still, by God’s grace, permitted, week after week, to preach, and am very rarely hindered by illness; and during the last 6 or 7 years have preached to larger congregations than all the previous 35 or 36 years. Since coming to Bristol, above Three Thousand believers have been received into Fellowship, more than one half of whom, since then, have either fallen asleep, or have removed from Bristol; a very small portion also have joined other churches, and a still smaller portion have been separated from fellowship. There are at present actually in fellowship in the Church, under my pastoral care, One Thousand and Seventy believers, meeting in three different chapels, on the same principles of which I have written in the first volume of this Narrative. I am helped in my pastoral position, and in preaching the Word, by various Godly, experienced and well-instructed brethren, who have addicted themselves to this service. I cannot close, without saying that I am blessed with the love of the saints, among whom I labour, and that there is a goodly measure of love and union among us.

I have now finished this service, which year after year I have longed to perform, for the honour of God, and for the good of my fellow-disciples; and I commend this volume to Him whose praise I have sought in it. Farewell, esteemed Reader. Help the writer by your prayers; for the older he becomes, the more he knows his own weakness, and therefore is conscious of needing the help of God.