WomenOfGod: Hannah Whitehall Smith "The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life - Bondage or freedom"

The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life - Bondage or freedom.

Print Version / Share 

There are two kinds of Christian experience, one of which is an experience of bondage, and the other an experience of freedom. In bondage the soul is controlled by a stern sense of duty and obeys the law of God either from fear of punishment or from expectation of wages. In the experience of freedom, the controlling power is an inward lifeprinciple that works out, by the force of its own motions or instincts, the will of the divine Lifegiver without fear of punishment or hope of reward. In the first the Christian is a servant and works for hire. In the second he is a son and works for love.

This contrast in the experience of Christians should not be. To "walk in freedom" is plainly their only right and normal condition. But as we have to deal with what is, rather than with what ought to be, we cannot shut our eyes to the sad condition of bondage in which so many of God's children spend a large part of their Christian lives. The reason and the remedy for this are not difficult to find. The reason is legality and the remedy is Christ.

Nowhere do we find those two forms or stages of Christian life more fully developed and contrasted than in the Epistle to the Galatians. The occasion of its being written was that some Jewish brethren came among the churches in Galatia. They tried to draw them away from the liberty of the gospel by presenting certain forms and ceremonies as necessary to their salvation. Peter allowed himself to unite with these teachers. Therefore Paul reproves, not only the Galatians, but also Peter himself.

Neither Peter nor the Galatians committed any moral sin. They did, however, commit a spiritual sin. They got into a wrong attitude toward God a legal attitude. They began, as Christians generally do, in the right attitude. That is, they entered by the "hearing of faith" into the spiritual life. But when it came to a question of how they were to live in this life, they changed their ground. They sought to substitute works for faith. Having "begun in the Spirit," they were now seeking to be "made perfect by the flesh." They descended in their Christian living from the plane of life to the plane of law.

An illustration will help us to understand this. There are two men who do not steal. Outwardly their actions are equally honest, but inwardly there is a vital difference. One man had a dishonest nature that wants to steal, and is prevented

from doing so only by the fear of a penalty. The other possesses an honest nature that hates thieving and could not be induced to steal even by the hope of a reward. The one is honest in the spirit. The other is honest only in the flesh. No words are needed to identify which sort the Christian life is meant to be.

Bondage In Legalism

We are, however, continually tempted to forget that it is not what men do that is important, but what they are. In Christ Jesus neither following or not following legal observances matters. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." God is more concerned about our really being "new creatures" than about anything else. He knows that if we are right in our inward being, we will certainly do right in our outward actions. We may, in fact, sometimes even do right without being right at all. It is very evident that no doing of this kind has any vitality in it, nor is of any real account. The essential thing is character. Doing is valuable only as it is an indication of being.

Paul was grieved with the Galatian Christians because they seemed to have lost sight of this vital truth-that the inward life, the "new creature," was the only thing that mattered. They began on this plane, but fell from grace to a lower plane. Romans 7:6 tells us, "But now we are delivered from the law...we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.'' "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace " (Galatians 5 :4 ) .

This passage is the only one in which the expression "fallen from grace" is used in the New Testament. It means that the Galatians made the mistake of thinking that something else other than Christ was necessary for their right Christian living. The Jewish brethren who had come among them had taught them that Christ alone was not enough, and obedience to the ceremonial law must be added.

They, therefore, believed that some ceremonies of the Jewish ritual were necessary for salvation, and had tried to urge the "Gentiles to live as do the Jews" (Galatians 2:14). Modern Christians are greatly surprised at them and wonder how they could have been so legal. But are not some modern Christians tempted in a different way to follow legality? They added the ceremonial law. We add resolutions, or Christian work, or church going, or religious ceremonies of one sort or another. Therefore, what is the difference between us and them? It does not make much difference what you add, the wrong thing is to add anything at all.

We condemn outward deeds and outward ceremonies as bringing salvation. But I fear there are many like the Galatian Christians who frustrate the grace of God by legalism.

The following contrasts may help some to understand the difference between these two beliefs, and may enable them to discover where the secret of their own experience of legal bondage lies:

The Law says: The Gospel says:
Do this and you will live. (See Leviticus 18:5).
Live, and then you will do

Pay what you owe.
God forgives you. (See Luke 7:42)

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and spirit. (Ezekiel 18:31)
"I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within you" (Ezekiel 11:19)

"And thou shalt love the Lord God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:5).
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and gave His Son to be a propitiation for our sins"( 1 John 4:10)

"Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them (Deuteronomy 27:26).
"Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered"(Romans 4:7)

"The wages of sin is death"(Romans 6:23)
"The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ Christ our Lord". (Romans 6:23).

THE LAW THE GOSPEL
Demands holiness
Gives holiness.

Says, Do
Says, Done.

Extorts the unwilling service of a slave
Wins the loving service of a son.

Makes blessings the result of obedience.
Makes obedience the result of blessings.

Says, If
Says, Therefore.

Was given to restrain man's old old nature.
Was given to bring freedom to man's new nature.

Salvation was wages.
Salvation is a gift. Christ Set Us Free

Paul tells us that the law is our "schoolmaster" (Galatians 3:25), not our savior. He emphasizes the fact that it is our schoolmaster only for the purpose of bringing us to Christ, for after faith in Christ is come, he declares we are no longer to be under a schoolmaster. He uses the contrast between a servant and a son as an illustration of his meaning in Galatians 4:7. "Wherefore, " he says, "thou art no more a servant, but a son." Galatians 5:11 begs us, because of this, to "Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

It is as if a woman was paid for her work in weekly wages as a servant in a house. She was under the law of her master, whom she tried to please, but towards whom her service was one only of duty. Finally, however, the master offers her his love, and lifts her up from the place of a servant to be his bride and to share his fortunes. At once the whole spirit of her service is changed. She may perhaps continue to do the same things that she did before, but she does them now from a different motive. The old sense of duty is lost in the new sense of love. The cold word "master" is transformed into the loving word " husband ." "And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi (my husband), and shalt call me no more Baali (my lord)" (Hosea 2:16).

But imagine this bride beginning after a while to look back upon her former low position and begin to feel unworthy of union with her husband. Who can doubt that very soon the old sense of working for wages would drive out the new sense of working for love, and in spirit the old name of "my master" would again take the place of the new name of "my husband?"

We are amazed at such thinking. But isn't this just what happens to many Christians now? The slavery of duty takes the place of the service of love. God is looked upon as the stern taskmaster who demands our obedience, instead of the loving Father who wins it. We all know that nothing so destroys the sweetness of any relationship as when this legal spirit creeps in. The moment a husband and wife stop serving each other out of a heart of love and union, and begin to serve from a sense of duty alone, the sweetness of the union is lost. The marriage tie then becomes a bondage, and things that were a joy before are turned into crosses.

Many Christians think that taking up the cross means doing something we ought to do, but dislike to do. Such service is thought to have merit. We all know very well that we would not endure it a moment toward ourselves. What wife could endure her husband using language toward her that Christians are continually using toward the Lord? If he would say, for instance, every morning as he went to work, "I am going to work for you today, but I want you to know that it is a very great cross and I hardly know how to bear it." Or what husband would like such language from his wife? No wonder Paul was alarmed when he found there was danger of a legal spirit such as this creeping into the Church of Christ.

Legal Christians do not deny Christ. They only seek to add something to Christ. Their idea is Christ and something besides. Perhaps it is Christ and good works, or Christ and earnest feelings, or Christ and clear doctrines, or Christ and certain religious performances. All these are good in themselves, and good as the results or fruits of salvation. However, to add anything to Christ, no matter how good it may be is to deny His completeness and to exalt self.

A religion of bondage always exalts self. It is what I do-my efforts, my wrestlings, my faithfulness. But a religion of liberty leaves self nothing to glory in; it is all Christ, and what He does, and what He is, and how wonderfully He saves. The child does not boast of itself, but of his father and mother. Our souls can "make (their) boast in the Lord" (Psalm 34:2) when, in this life of liberty, we have learned to know that He and He alone is the sufficient supply for our every need.

Heirs Of God

We are the children of God. Therefore, we are His heirs. Our possessions come to us, not by working for them, but by inheritance from our Father. Ah, dear friends, how little some of you act like the "heirs of God" (Romans 8:17)! How poverty-stricken you are, and how hard you work for the little you do possess! You may think that good has come from your own effort, which does seem to have a "(show) of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body" (Colossians 2:2 3) . But I am convinced that any good results have come in spite of, and not because of, your legal working.

I had a friend once whose Christian life was a life of bondage. She worked for her salvation harder than any slave ever worked to purchase his freedom. She never felt as if the day could go right for herself or any of her family, unless she started it with a season of wrestling, and agonizing, and conflict. "Winding up her machine," I called it. One day we were talking about it, and she was telling me of the difficulty and bondage of her Christian life. She wondered what the Bible meant when it said Christ's yoke was easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30). I told her that I thought she must have gotten things wrong somehow, that the Bible did not suggest that any such wrestling and agonizing are necessary.

"What would you think," I asked, "of children who had to wrestle and agonize with their parents every morning for their necessary food and clothing, or of sheep that had to wrestle with their shepherd, before they could secure the necessary care?"

"Of course I see that would be all wrong," she said. "But then why do I have such good times after I have gone through these conflicts?"

This puzzled me for a moment, but then I asked, "What finally brings about those good times?" "Why, finally, " she replied, " I come to the point of trusting the Lord."

"Suppose you came to that point in the beginning?" I asked. "Oh," she replied, with sudden illumination, "I never until this minute thought that I might!"

Christ says that except we "become as little children we cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven (see Matthew 18:3). But it is impossible to get the child-spirit until the servant-spirit has disappeared. Notice, I do not say the spirit of service, but the servant-spirit. Every good child is filled with the spirit of service, but shouldn't have the servant-spirit. The child serves from love. The servant works for wages.

If a child of loving parents would get the idea that its parents would not give him food and clothing unless he earned them in some way, all the sweetness of the relationship between parent and child would be destroyed. I knew a little girl who did get this idea, and who went around the neighborhood asking at the doors for work so that she might earn a little money to buy herself some clothes. It nearly broke the hearts of her parents when they discovered it. Legal Christians grieve the heart of their Heavenly Father, far more than they know, by letting the servant-spirit creep into their relationship with Him. As soon as we begin to "work for our living" in spiritual things, we have stepped out of the son's place into the servant's, and have fallen from grace.

Spiritual Blessings

One servant, of whom we read in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, thought his lord was a hard master. The spirit of bondage makes us think the same now. How many Christians there are who have bowed their necks to the yoke of Christ as to

a "yoke of bondage." They have read His declaration that His yoke is easy, as though it were a fairy tale, and gone on their way, never dreaming that it was meant to be actually realized as fact! When some children of God find themselves experiencing freedom, they at once begin to think there must be something wrong in their experience because they no longer find anything to be a "cross" to them. A wife might as well think that there must be something wrong in her love for her husband, when she finds all her services for him are a pleasure instead of a trial!

Sometimes I think that the whole secret of the Christian life that I have been trying to describe is revealed in the child relationship. Nothing more is needed than just to believe that God is as good a Father as the best ideal earthly father. The relationship of a Christian to Him is just the same as that of a child to its parent in this world. Children do not need to carry money with them for their support. If the father has plenty, that satisfies them. This is a great deal better than if it were in the child's own possession since it might get lost. In the same way it is not necessary for Christians to have all their spiritual possessions in their own keeping. It is far better that their riches should be stored up for them in Christ, and that when they want anything they should receive it directly from His hands. Christ is "made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30). Apart from Him, we have nothing.

When people are comparative strangers to one another, they cannot receive gifts from each other comfortably. But when they are united in spirit with a bond of true love between them, no matter how great the gifts, they can be accepted without embarrassment or obligation. This principle holds true in the spiritual life. When Christians are living apart from God, they cannot be brought to accept any great gifts from Him. They feel as if they are too unworthy and do not deserve such gifts. Even when He puts the blessing into their hands, their false humility prevents them from seeing it, and they go on their way without it.

But when Christians get near enough to the Lord to feel the true spirit of adoption, they are ready to accept with delight all the blessings He has in store for them. They never think anything is too much to receive. For then they discover that He is only eager, as parents are, to pour out every good gift upon His children. All things are theirs because they are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

Bondage Or Freedom

Sometimes a great mystery is made out of the life hid with Christ in God, as though it were a strange mystical thing that ordinary people could not understand. But this contrast between bondage and freedom makes it very plain. It is only to find out that we really are sons, not servants (see Galatians 4:7), that we can enter into the blessed privileges of this relationship. All can understand what it is to be a little child. There is no mystery about that. God did not use the description of Father and children without knowing all that this relationship implies. Those who know Him as their Father know the whole secret. They are their Father's heirs and may enter now into possession of all that is necessary for their present needs. They will therefore be very simple in their prayers. "Lord," they will say, "I am your child, and I need such and such." "My child," He answers, "all things are yours in Christ. Come and take just what you need."

Where the executors of an estate are honorable men, the heirs are not obliged to "wrestle" for their inheritance. The executors are appointed to help them possess it. I sometimes think Christians look upon our Lord as someone appointed to keep them out of their possessions, instead of the one who has come to bring them in. They know little how such an implication grieves and dishonors Him.

It is because legal Christians do not know the truth of their relationship to God, as children to a father, and do not recognize His fatherly heart toward them, that they are in bondage. When they do recognize it, the spirit of bondage becomes impossible to them. Our freedom must come, therefore, from an understanding of the mind and thoughts of God towards us.

What are the facts of the case? If He has called us to the servants' place, rather than the Christians', whose lives are lives of weary bondage, we are right. But if He has called us to be children and heirs, if we are His friends, His brethren, His bride, how sadly and ,grievously wrong we are in being entangled under any yoke of bondage whatever, no matter how pious a yoke it may seem to be!

The thought of bondage is utterly abhorrent to any of earth's true relationships, and surely it must be more repugnant to a heavenly relationship. It will not hinder the final entrance of the poor enslaved soul into its heavenly rest, but it will put it into the sad condition of those who are described in 1 Corinthians 3: 1 5. " (Their) work shall be burned, (and they) shall suffer loss; (yet they themselves) shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

"Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5 :2 3 ) is the divine sentence concerning all who live and walk in the Spirit. You will find it most blessedly true in your own experience, if you will lay aside all self-effort and self-dependence of every kind and will consent to let Christ live in you, work in you, and be your indwelling life. The man who lives by the power of an inward righteous nature is not under bondage to the outward law of righteousness. But, he who is restrained by the outward law alone, without the inward restraint of a righteous nature, is a slave to the law. The one fulfils the law in his soul, and is therefore free. The other rebels against the law in his soul, and is therefore bound. I truly wish that every child of God knew the deliverance from bondage which I have tried to present!

Posted via email from Classic Christian Digest

MereChristianity: 4. The Perfect Penitent -C.S.Lewis

14.00 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

 

4. The Perfect Penitent

 

     We are faced, then, with  a  frightening alternative. This  man  we are

talking  about either  was (and  is) just what He said or else a lunatic, or

something worse. Now it seems to me  obvious  that He was neither a  lunatic

nor a fiend:  and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it

may seem, I have  to accept the view  that He was and is God. God has landed

on this enemy-occupied world in human form.


     And now, what was the purpose of  it all? What did He come to do? Well,

to teach, of  course; but as soon as you look into the  New Testament or any

other  Christian writing  you  will  find they are constantly  talking about

something different-about  His  death and  His coming  to life  again. It is

obvious  that  Christians think the chief point of the story lies here. They

think the main thing He came to earth to do was to suffer and be killed.


     Now before  I  became a Christian I was  under  the impression that the

first thing Christians had  to believe was one particular theory as  to what

the point of this  dying was. According to that  theory God wanted to punish

men for having  deserted and  joined the Great Rebel, but Christ volunteered

to be punished instead, and so  God let us off.  Now  I admit that even this

theory  does not seem to me quite so immoral and so silly as it used to; but

that is not the point  I want  to make. What I came to see later on was that

neither  this theory  nor any  other  is Christianity. The central Christian

belief is that Christ's death has somehow put us right with God and given us

a fresh start Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many

different theories have  been held as to  how it  works; what all Christians

are agreed on is that it does work. I will tell you what I think it is like.


All sensible people know that if you are tired and hungry a meal will do you

good. But  the  modern theory  of  nourishment-all  about  the  vitamins and

proteins-is a different thing. People ate their dinners and felt better long

before  the theory  of  vitamins was ever  heard of:  and  if the  theory of

vitamins is some day abandoned they will go on eating their dinners just the

same.  Theories  about   Christ's  death  are  not  Christianity:  they  are

explanations  about how it works.  Christians would not all agree as  to how

important these theories  are. My own  church-the Church of England-does not

lay down any one of  them as  the right one.  The Church  of Rome goes a bit

further. But I think they will all agree that the thing itself is infinitely

more important than any explanations that theologians have produced. I think

they would probably admit that no explanation will ever be quite adequate to

the reality. But as I said in the preface  to this book, I am only a layman,

and at  this point we are getting into  deep water. I can only tell you, for

what it is worth, how I, personally, look at the matter.


     On  my view the theories are not themselves the thing  you are asked to

accept. Many of you no doubt have read Jeans or Eddington. What they do when

they want to explain the atom,  or something of that sort, is  to give you a

description  out of which you can make a mental picture. But then  they warn

you that this picture is  not what the scientists actually believe. What the

scientists believe is a mathematical formula. The pictures are there only to

help you to understand the formula. They are not  really true in the way the

formula is; they  do not give you the real thing but only something more  or

less like it. They are  only meant to help, and if they do  not help you can

drop them. The thing itself  cannot  be pictured, it  can only  be expressed

mathematically. We are in  the same boat here. We believe that the  death of

Christ  is  just  that  point  in  history  at  which  something  absolutely

unimaginable from outside shows through into our own world. And if we cannot

picture even the atoms of which our own world is built, of course we are not

going to be able to picture this. Indeed, if  we  found that  we could fully

understand  it,  that  very fact would show it was not what it professes  to

be-the inconceivable, the uncreated, the thing from  beyond nature, striking

down into nature  like lightning. You  may ask what good will it be to us if

we  do not understand  it.  But that  is easily answered. A man  can eat his

dinner without  understanding  exactly  how  food  nourishes  him. A man can

accept what  Christ  has  done without  knowing  how  it  works: indeed,  he

certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it.


     We  are told that Christ was  killed for us, that His death  has washed

out  our sins,  and  that by  dying  He  disabled  death itself. That is the

formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed. Any theories

we build up as  to how  Christ's death did all  this are, in my view,  quite

secondary: mere  plans or diagrams to  be left alone if they do not help us,

and, even if they do help us, not to  be confused with the thing itself. All

the same, some of these theories are worth looking at.


     The one most people have  heard is the one I mentioned before -the  one

about our being let  off because Christ had volunteered to bear a punishment

instead of us. Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory. If God was

prepared  to  let us off,  why on earth did He not do so? And what  possible

point  could there be  in punishing an innocent person instead? None  at all

that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense.

On  the other hand, if you think  of a debt,  there is plenty of  point in a

person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not. Or if

you take "paying the penalty," not in the  sense of  being punished, but  in

the more general sense of "standing the racket" or "footing the bill," then,

of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got

himself into a  hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind

friend. Now what  was the sort  of "hole" man had  got  himself into? He had

tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other

words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement:

he  is  a  rebel  who  must lay  down  his  arms.  Laying  down  your  arms,

surrendering, saying you  are  sorry,  realising  that you have  been on the

wrong track  and  getting ready to  start  life  over again from the  ground

floor-that is the only  way out of a  "hole." This process of surrender-this

movement  full  speed  astern-is   what   Christians  call  repentance.  Now

repentance is  no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating

humble  pie. It means unlearning  all the self-conceit and self-will that we

have been training ourselves into for thousands  of years. It means  killing

part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs  a good  man

to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only

a good person  can repent perfectly.  The worse you are the more you need it

and the less you can  do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would

be a perfect person-and he would not need it.


     Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a

kind  of death, is not something God demands of you  before He will take you

back and which He could let  you off if He chose: it is simply a description

of what going back to Him is  like. If you ask God to take you  back without

it, you are really  asking  Him  to let you go  back without going back.  It

cannot hap pen. Very well,  then,  we  must go through with it. But the same

badness which makes us need  it, makes us unable to do it. Can we  do it  if

God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean  when  we talk of God helping us?  We

mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak. He lends us a little

of His reasoning powers and that  is how we think: He puts  a little  of His

love  into  us and that is how  we  love one another. When you teach a child

writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the

letters  because you are forming them. We love  and reason because God loves

and  reasons and holds  our hand while we  do it.  Now if we had not fallen,

that would be all plain sailing. But unfortunately we now need God's help in

order to do  something which God, in His own  nature,  never does  at all-to

surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die. Nothing in God's nature corresponds

to this  process at  all.  So that the one road for  which we now need God's

leadership most of  all is a  road God, in His own nature, has never walked.

God can share only what He has: this thing, in His own nature, He has not.


     But supposing God became  a  man-suppose  our  human  nature which  can

suffer and  die  was amalgamated  with God's  nature in one person-then that

person  could help us. He could surrender  His  will, and  suffer  and  die,

because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God. You and

I can go through this process only if  God does it in us; but  God can do it

only if He becomes  man. Our attempts at this dying  will succeed only if we

men  share in God's dying, just as our thinking can  succeed only because it

is a drop out of  the ocean of His  intelligence: but we cannot share  God's

dying unless God dies; and He cannot die  except by being a man. That is the

sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not

suffer at all.


     I have heard some people complain that if Jesus was God as well as man,

then His sufferings and death lose all value in their eyes, "because it must

have been so easy for him." Others may (very rightly) rebuke the ingratitude

and   ungraciousness   of   this   objection;  what   staggers   me  is  the

misunderstanding it betrays. In one sense, of  course, those who make it are

right.  They  have even understated their own  case. The perfect submission,

the  perfect  suffering, the perfect  death  were not  only  easier to Jesus

because He was God,  but were  possible only because He  was God. But surely

that is  a very odd reason for not  accepting them?  The  teacher is able to

form the letters for the child because the teacher is grown-up and knows how

to write. That, of course, makes it easier for the teacher, and only because

it is easier for him can he help the child. If it rejected him because "it's

easy for grown-ups" and waited to learn writing from another child who could

not write  itself (and so  had  no "unfair" advantage), it would not get  on

very  quickly. If I am  drowning in a rapid  river,  a man who still has one

foot on the bank may give me  a hand which saves my  life. Ought  I to shout

back  (between my gasps) "No, it's not  fair! You have  an advantage! You're

keeping one  foot  on  the bank"? That  advantage-call  it "unfair"  if  you

like-is the  only reason  why  he can be of any use to me. To what  will you

look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?


     Such  is my own way of looking at  what Christians call the  Atonement.

But remember this is only one more picture. Do not  mistake it for the thing

itself: and if it does not help you, drop it

 

Posted via email from Classic Christian Digest

WomenOfGod: Elisabeth Elliot "Topics 1"

Difficulties are Proof Contexts

Print Version / Share  

Repeatedly I am asked variations of this question: Did the Lord comfort you or were you sometimes lonely or sad? It is not an either-or thing. If I had not been lonely and sad at times, how could I have needed, received, or appreciated comfort? It is the sick who need the physician, the thirsty who need water. This is why Paul not only did not deplore his weaknesses, he "gloried" in them, for they provided the very occasions for his appropriating divine help and strength.
It was in prison that Joseph knew the presence of the Lord.
It was in the lion's den that Daniel's faith was proved.
It was in the furnace that Daniel's three friends found themselves accompanied by a fourth.
We have plenty of "proof texts"--but in order to experience their truth we have to be placed in "proof contexts." The prison, the lion's den, the furnace are where we are shown the realities, incontestably and forever.

Do You Want an Answer?

Print Version / Share 

This is the question we need to ask ourselves when we are seeking "solutions" to our problems. Often we want only an audience. We want the chance to air grievances, to present our excuses, to make an explanation for our behavior, rather than a cure. More often than not the clearest and most direct answer can be found in the Word, but it must be sought honestly.

"The way of the Lord gives refuge to the honest man, but dismays those who do evil" (Prv 10:29 NEB).

We can approach God's word with a will to obey whatever it says to us about our present situation, or we can avoid it and say to anyone who would try to point us to it, "Don't throw the Book at me." The latter is an evasion, which supports our suspicion that our problems are, in fact, insoluble. The honest (i.e., humble) heart will indeed find the Lord's way to be a refuge.

First Be Quiet

Print Version / Share 

Our hectic lives involve many changes, and changes require decisions, and decisions must often be made in the midst of a multitude of confusions. We run here and there asking advice. Often we make decisions without sufficient deliberation because we simply haven't time--or so we tell ourselves.

There is a marvelously helpful practice that we usually overlook. It is quietness. Notice how often in the gospels we find Jesus going away alone, even when people needed Him. He deliberately chose solitude. The more hectic our lives become, the more necessary is this quietness. When it is impossible to break away physically to a place of solitude for a day or so in order to think and pray over a hard decision, there is one thing which I think helps--do not speak about the decision to anyone but God for forty-eight hours at least. Just hold it before Him alone. Keep your mouth shut for two days. Pray. Listen. Seek his counsel.

Try this, too--sit before Him for fifteen consecutive minutes in silence, focusing your mind on the words of Psalm 86:11 (NEB), "Guide me, O Lord, that I may be true to thee and follow thy path."

Give Way to Truth

Print Version / Share 

Through a disagreement with my husband Lars yesterday I suddenly recognized an instrument used powerfully by the enemy to drive a wedge between two people who love each other (and there is nothing which fills the enemy with such glee as destroying unity). It is reason. I had good reasons for my argument and so did he. Reason comes very close to being an idol to me at times, and I am tempted to make sacrifices on its altar.

"Be faithful to Reason!" whispers the Destroyer. "Do not let go!"

"Be faithful to Me," Christ says, "give up your reasons, give way to Truth."

Reason is one of God's great gifts. We have intelligence and the faculty of reason, to be employed in the service of God and other people. Faithfulness to Christ (who is Truth) does not negate reason, but purifies it, raises it to a higher level.

"Pure" reason, logical argument, stood between my husband and me, as it stood between Job and his friends, and Jesus and the Pharisees.

"Knowledge gives self-importance--it is love that makes the building grow. A man may imagine that he understands something, but still not understand anything in the way he ought to!" (1 Cor 8:1,2 JB).

Posted via email from Classic Christian Digest

ManOfGod: D.L. Moody: "A Boy's Victory"

A Boy's Victory

Print Version / Share 

I remember when out in Kansas, while holding a meeting, I saw a little boy who came up to the window crying. I went to him and said, "My little boy, what is your trouble?" "Why, Mr. Moody, my mother's dead, and my father drinks, and they don't love me, and the Lord won't have anything to do with me because I am a poor drunkard's boy." "You have got a wrong idea, my boy; Jesus will love you and save you, and your father too," and I told him a story of a little boy in an eastern city. The boy said his father would never allow the canting hypocrites of Christians to come into his house, and would never allow his child to go to Sunday-school. A kind-hearted man got his little boy and brought him to Christ. When Christ gets into a man's heart, he cannot help but pray.

This father had been drinking one day and coming home he heard that boy praying. He went to him and said, "I don't want you to pray any more. You've been along with some of those Christians. If I catch you praying again I'll flog you." But the boy was filled with God, and he couldn't help praying. The door of communication was opened between him and Christ, and his father caught him praying again. He went to him. "Didn't I tell you never to pray again? If I catch you at it once more, you leave my house." He thought he would stop him. Not very long after this, one day his father had been drinking more than usual, and coming in found the boy offering a prayer. He caught the boy with a push and said, "Didn't I tell you never to pray again? Leave this house. Get your things packed up and go."

The little fellow hadn't many things to get together—a drunkard's boy never has—and he went up to his mother's room. "Good-by, mother." "Where are you going?" "I don't know where I'll go, but father says I cannot stay here any longer; I've been praying again," he said. The mother knew it wouldn't do to try to keep the boy when her husband had ordered him away, so she drew him to her bosom and kissed him, and bid him good-by. He went to his brothers and sisters and kissed them good-by. When he came to the door, his father was there, and the little fellow reached out his hand. "Good-by, father; as long as I live I will pray for you," and left the house. He hadn't been gone many minutes when the father rushed after him. "My boy, if that is religion, if it can drive you away from father and mother and home, I want it." Yes, maybe some other little boy has got a drinking father and mother. Lift your voice to heaven, and the news will be carried up to heaven, "He prays."

Posted via email from Classic Christian Digest

ManOfGod: George Mueller "Narrative of the Lord's Dealings with George Muller. Part VI"

Narrative of the Lord's Dealings with George Muller. Part VI

Print Version / Share 

PREFACE

TO THE

FIRST EDITION OF THE SIXTH PART

THE introduction to the third volume of this Narrative, gives also in part the reason for publishing this fourth volume. Besides what has been stated there, I have to add, that, during the last ten years and nine months, my life and service have been completely different from what they were before, having travelled in 23 countries in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia, on preaching tours, of which a brief account is given in the last chapter of this volume.

I refer also again minutely, in writing about myself in the last chapter, to the blessed results of systematic giving, as the Lord may prosper us, as exemplified in my own experience.

The author has now entered upon his eighty-first year, and greatly desired to show in his advanced age, that he is acting on the same principles as he did 56 years ago, trusting in God alone for everything, and is more and more assured of the blessedness of these principles, and desires that the reader if he does not act on them, may know their blessedness for himself.

Lastly, the author suggests, that this book should not be read like a common narrative, but only a few pages at a time; that that which is read should be pondered over, and that the whole book should habitually be read with self application.

GEORGE MULLER,

January 1, 1886.

New Orphan Houses, Ashley Down, Bristol.

(Permanent Address.)

A

NARRATIVE,

&c. &c.


SIXTH PART.

Supplies for the School—, Bible—, Missionary— and Tract Fund, sent in answer to prayer, from March 5, 1874, to May 26, 1885. Practical remarks, Letters from Donors, &c.

In the third volume of this Narrative, the account regarding the income for the first four Objects of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad was carried on up to March 5th, 1874, as that date finishes its history, in this particular, for the first forty years of its existence; and we now go on with the narrative in what follows.

March 7, 1874. From Ireland, for Missions, £150.

April 1. £100. from a shipowner, instead of insuring his vessels.— £100. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—From Wales £100., with £36. for the support of the Orphans, being the receipt on New Year’s Day in a house of business, carried on on the ready money system.

May 4. From "Needy," £6. 4s. ld. This donor gives month by month similar amounts, as God prospers him. About eight years ago he sent a few shillings, I think 4 or 5, but continued to send, under the name of "Needy," these small amounts. After some time they were somewhat enlarged, and after a year or two they became much larger. Now he sends about £60. a year, in monthly instalments, always varying; no doubt as God prospers him.—May 6. £100. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—May 9. £33. with the following letter: "My Dear Sir, Please to accept the enclosed cheque for £33. as from the Lord. I had a very handsome bracelet, and years ago I made up my mind, that, if a certain person died, I would sell it, and send the money to you. Pray make what use of it you please, keeping £5. for yourself. I always read your Reports every year, and my faith gets greatly strengthened, and I generally give several away. Sometimes I used to fear that I should never be able to sell my beautiful bracelet and send you the money. Being almost poor, compared with what I once was, to have sent you the money, was entirely out of my power. However, now when I am upwards of seventy years of age, my Heavenly Father has answered my prayer. That the Lord may greatly bless you, is the fervent prayer of your sincere sister in the Lord * * * *." I have given this letter as another instance of the remarkable way in which it pleases the Lord to supply us with means, but all comes in answer to prayer; we only speak to Him about our need. And this we have continually to do. Whilst I am writing this for the press, we have scarcely anything left for these first four Objects of the Institution, as the income has been exceedingly little for many days, and the outgoings have been exceedingly large. But I hope in God, and doubt not, that long ere this is out of the press, and before the eye of the public, He will again send in the means more bountifully, which He now, for the trial of our faith, for a while is pleased to withhold from us.—May 13. The following letter, containing ten shillings, is from one of the Orphans now in service, who has been long a believer, and who left our care more than twenty years since: "Dear Mr. Muller, Please to accept the enclosed trifle, towards the support of the great work you have in hand. The sum is very small, but it is given in the earnest desire to lay up treasure in heaven, and also to discharge the duty I think is laid upon every one, to help forward the work of. God, in spreading the gospel all over the world. Take my mite for the purpose which requires it most, and may it bring down a blessing, both to the receiver and to the giver. With the hope that you are well and strong in the Lord, I am, your unworthy Orphan, * * * *."—May 18. From Worcestershire £90. for Missions, with £10. for myself.—May 21. £100. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—May 23. From Grahamstown, Cape of Good Hope, £8. 10s. in eight donations.—From the neighbourhood of Bridgend £9. 6s. from donors who give as the Lord prospers them.—May 26. £980. 9s. 7d. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.

Supplies for the School—, Bible,— Missionary— and Tract Fund, sent in answer to prayer, from May 26, 1874, to May 26, 1875. Letters from Donors, Practical remarks, &c.

At the commencement of the last period, from May 26, 1874 to May 26, 1875, the balance in hand, for these Objects of the Institution, was £167. 1s. 3½d. We were thankful to have even this small balance in hand, though it was very little indeed, considering that during the previous year the expenses for these Objects alone had amounted to £16518. 5s. 5d. Yet, little as the balance was, we were not in debt, and looked out now for help to our infinitely rich Treasurer, the Living God, and were not confounded. Again and again, when either all, or almost all was gone, for these Objects, He was pleased to send us fresh supplies. I refer now to some of the ways, in which it pleased Him to help us.

July 10, 1874. £149. 19s. 9d. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—July 13. From one of the former Orphans, a Christian, now in service, 10s., "instead of buying herself a new bonnet."—July 28. From Scotland £37. 10s., £10. for Missions to the Jews, £20. for the Orphans, £1. 7s. for books, and £5. for myself.

August 1. From Scotland £150., with £10. for myself.—August 8. From Ireland £100. for Missions in Spain, £100. for Missions in Italy, £100. for Missions in China, and £200. for the Orphans.—Aug. 25. From India £87. 16s. 0d.—Aug. 27. When the new year for this Institution commenced, three months since, we began the operations of these four Objects with the balance of £167. 1s. 3½d. Since then we have expended £2526. 6s. 6d., and yet this day we have £553. 7s. 2d. left. Thus the Lord has again helped us, during these three months also, in answer to believing and expecting prayer.

Sept. 2. From Sale £66. 4s., with £50. for the Orphans.—Sept. 7. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.—Sept. 21. From Cardiff £125.—Sept. 27. Within the past four months we have expended for these Objects £4193. 15s. 11¾d., and yet the balance of £167. 1s. 3½d. which we had, when we began this period, is increased to £207. 5s.—Sept. 30. From one of the Midland Counties £450. for Missions, with £50. for myself.—From London £50., with £50. for the Orphans.

Oct. 13. From Slapton £5., "as a thank-offering for an abundant harvest."

Nov. 2. From Ireland £I00.—£200. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven—Nov. 14. £200. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—Nov. 20. From Yorkshire £200. for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures, and £100. for the Orphans.—Nov. 26. From Sale £40., with £100. for the Orphans, and £10. for myself.—Nov. 27. From Cambridge, for Missions, £31. 15s. 8d.—We had now expended £7360. 18s. 6d., though we commenced only with the balance of £167. 1s. 3½d. on May 27th, and had £128. 14s. 6¼d. left, as the result of waiting upon God in believing prayer.

Dec. 16. From the neighbourhood of Henley-on-Thames £100.—From Bedfordshire £5., with £5. for the Orphans’ treat and 6d. for a Report, from a small shopkeeper, who many times has sent £5. as the Lord is pleased to prosper him.—Dec. 23. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.—Dec. 27. During the past seven months we have been enabled to expend for these Objects £8687. 13s. 1½d., though, when this period began, we had only £167. 1s. 3½d. in hand. Now, however, all our means are gone. We have nothing at all left.—Dec. 28. See how soon the Lord has again sent us means, in answer to prayer, for these Objects. Received from a Christian Gentleman £181. 18s. 1d., with £50. for the Orphans, being the entire proceeds of a field, set apart for the benefit of this Institution.—Received also £10. from Menton in France for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures, and ten other donations besides, amounting altogether to £9. 8s. 1d. Thus above £200. came in at once, when all our means were completely expended, for these first four Objects of the Institution.

Jan. 1, 1875. With the new year, the Lord was pleased to send us, as the result of many prayers, many donations. I only mention, as specimens, the following:—From Ireland £50.—From Scotland £110.—Jan. 4. From Cork £50.—Jan. 5. An aged Christian near Spilsby, who, being too aged to continue his ordinary work, having yet a desire to do something for this Institution, and having some strength left, made 40 beehives during the past year, for its benefit, which be sold for £4. and sent the money. This affords another proof, how all, who really have it in their heart, may do something for the work of God.—Jan. 12. Received 15s. from one of the former Orphans, who went to service about 24 years since, and who has been for many years a believer. The donation was sent with the following letter: "Dear Mr. Muller, I have the pleasure of once more giving you my mite towards carrying on the great works in your hands. I send fifteen shillings for that part which requires it most; and may the dear Lord bless you in receiving, and me in giving the same. The thought crossed my mind the other day, that it was a great privilege to be used in the smallest degree as an instrument in answer to prayer, that is, I know that you pray earnestly every day for means to work with, and if I am inclined to send a small portion of my means, then I look upon it, that I ought to esteem it a great honour to be allowed in that way to be a co-worker with you. I desire your prayers on my behalf, that I may be preserved faithful unto the great day of the Lord, or the end of time allotted for me to live in this world. I am, dear Sir, your affectionate Orphan * * * *."—Jan. 18. From Algiers £10.—Jan. 22. From one of the former Orphans £6. 10s. The donor has been a Christian for many years, is now in business on his own account, and had taken one of our Christian Orphan Boys as an apprentice. When the one half of the premium was sent to him, he returned it, with a grateful letter for the benefit he had himself received at the Orphan Houses.—Jan. 23. Anonymously from Birmingham £400.—From Hampshire £100. for Foreign Missions, £75. for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures, £300. for the support of the Orphans, and £25. for myself.—Jan. 27. Today it was found, that we had expended for these Objects within the past eight months £10349. 8s. 10½d., though we had at the beginning of the period less than One Hundred and Seventy Pounds in hand, and today we have £322. 15s. 11½d. left, whilst a month since we had nothing at all; but more than this, we have been able to meet the monthly expenses, amounting to nearly Seventeen Hundred Pounds.

Feb. 6. By sale of gold and silver articles, given to be sold, £50.—Feb. 12. From one of the Midland Counties £450. for Home Missions, with £50. for myself.—Feb. 16. Received £250. with the following letter: "My dear Brother in Christ, After 54 years of natural life, and nearly as long since my ‘birth from above,’ during which interval the earth has, mostly, brought forth unto me plenty of thorns and thistles (of results painful and results dry and barren) I have now for the first time received what is to me an important supply of earthly riches; but without my own labour, and from a totally unexpected source, and after equally unexpected losses, risks and delays, during four years in receiving it. Therefore I desire to take the earliest appropriate day to express recognition of my Heavenly Father’s bounty, in having, according to my petitions, protected this from again wholly vanishing: and more especially for having preceded it with equal bounty of various spiritual riches for which I had been petitioning. I beg you to accept, therefore, the enclosed cheque for £250., being £120. for the important faithful and scriptural Missionary work; £70. for the Bible Fund, SCHOOLS and Tracts on correct Scriptural principles, greatly needed by the rising generation in these evil days, before Christ’s Church is translated to meet Him. £50. for the Orphans, that great work which shows the blessing and reality of "walking" truly and Scripturally by Faith. £10. for the personal use of yourself, as having been set forth by God as an instructive example of a believer "having Christ’s words abiding m him," and of the practical fulfilment of the promises attached thereto. Various other Christian works are pressed on me in God’s providence, to which to apply other portions of what God has entrusted to me; but, as my faith (besides knowledge of God’s will in worship and walk) has been greatly strengthened and helped (as could not be done by any mere words) during the last 25 years, by the Holy Spirit through your Autobiography and Orphan work, I feel it a privilege thus to testify this first (having specially prayed for wisdom) in beginning to employ this Divine bounty, while as yet the blessed powers of natural life are continued to you and to me. In former years I have gladly sent you a pound or a few pounds, from time to time, as I have felt able, without expecting, at all, that I should ever be so well enabled to send this. May our Father’s blessing continue on yourself and, on your works; and be on the expenditure, by you, of this comparatively small item toward your great works so graciously sustained in the Lord. Ever yours sincerely in Christ, * * * *." This donation, as unexpectedly received by me from the kind donor, as the money was unexpectedly received by him, which enabled him, to send it, was one of the various means, whereby the Lord was pleased to carry us through the expenses of the past year.— £12. from Glasgow, with the following letter: "Dear Mr. Muller, I think it but right you should have the first fruits of the tenth of my business, which plan has been adopted by me within the last few weeks, solely from reading your publications (The Lord’s Dealings with George Muller.) I prayed fervently that the Lord would incline my heart also to give systematically to Him, as others did. I say fervently, as I had to contend with a grasping, money loving disposition, which, I am glad to say, has been so far conquered victoriously, that I can now put on one side the Lord’s Tenth after the close of each day’s transactions, without any feelings of regret. I ask an interest in your prayers, that I may become one of the Lord’s stewards, and give still more largely to Him "who daily loadeth me with benefits." From this amount, £12., you will greatly oblige me by retaining £5. for yourself; the remainder apply as you think best. Trusting the Lord in His infinite goodness will spare you for many years to come, not only as a father to poor Orphans, but as a shining light to bring those out of darkness as once was yours sincerely and affectionately * * * *."—£200. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven. —Feb. 27. Saturday. Up to this day we had been enabled, by the help of God, as the result of prayer and faith, to expend within the past nine months, for these Objects alone, £12237. 12s. 1d., though we began the year with so small a balance, and we had now £52. 4s. 10½d. left for these Objects, which this very day was entirely expended, and we had now nothing at all in hand; but our infinitely rich Treasurer, the Living God, remained, and in Him we trusted, and to Him we made known our requests.

March 1. Monday. Since Saturday, when we had nothing at all left for these Objects, the Lord has graciously been pleased to give us, in answer to prayer, altogether £333. The donors who kindly helped us, will feel interested in knowing how God used them as His instruments to send, us help when we had nothing left, which I did not tell them, when I sent their receipts, as otherwise it would have been like an indirect request for further help. I never speak of the state of the funds to any one, not connected with the Institution, except when the yearly Report is issued.—I received this day £160. from London with the following letter: "My dear Sir and Brother, For the past nine years I have not been giving systematically of my income to the Lord’s work, as He has prospered me, though never thoughtlessly, I trust, disregarding any call, which came under my notice. On examining my books I find, that, after deducting my entire drawings from the business, which I started in my own name in 1866, a considerable sum has accumulated, and of this I have put aside Ten per Cent. to be more especially devoted to the Lord’s work, and desire to acknowledge that all I have and myself also are His, whilst I gratefully remember that what He has, and He Himself is mine. It was through reading the third Volume of your Narrative that I have been led to do this, and therefore send you the first payment out of this fund, say £160. herein, of which please retain £10. for yourself, and appropriate the £150. to any one or amongst all or any of the Objects of the Lord’s work in your hands. Etc."—Besides this donation, I received from Scotland £100., with £10. for myself.—From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £74. 19s. 11d.—From Budleigh Salterton £2.—From Grogan, Ireland, £3. 3s. 0d.—From L. C. J. £1. 0s. 6d.—From Leicester 10s.—From Attelborough £l.—From Edinburgh £1.— Through the chapel boxes 15s. 6d.—The Lord be praised for this precious help, received thus today in answer to prayer, when we had nothing at all left in hand for these Objects!—March 2. The Lord has still more abundantly helped us. I received from Yorkshire One Thousand Pounds. £13. 9s. 11d. came in besides.—How soon is God able to help us, and to replenish our stores! May all the readers be increasingly led to trust unreservedly in God. I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.—Received from London a diamond ring and 2 silver coins for the Bible and Tract Fund, with these words : "The engaged ring of my wife, for whom to die was gain, to be sold for the benefit of the Bible and Tract Fund."—March 19. £100. from Wick, for Missions to the heathen.—March 23. From Sale £100.

May 12. From New Zealand £25. for China Missions, £20. for the Orphans, and £5. for myself.—May 19. £200. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—May 21. From Plympton for the School Fund £20.—May 26. £280. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.

I have thus given specimens as to the way in which it pleased the Lord to supply us with means, during the past year, for the operations of the first four Objects of the Institution. Though we began the year with only £167. 1s. 3½d. in hand, yet God so helped us by prayer and faith, without asking any one but Himself, that we were able to expend for these Objects during the year £16,895. 4s. 7¾d., and had a balance of £18. 14s. 4½d. left on May 26, 1875. Only very few of the donations have been here referred to.

Supplies for the School—, Bible—, Missionary— and Tract Fund, sent in answer to prayer, from May 26, 1875, to May 26, 1876. Letters from Donors, Practical Remarks, &c.

When we began the period, we had, on May 26, 1875, the balance of £18. 14s. 4¼d. left for these Objects. When it is considered, that we had expended for them, during the previous year £16895. 4s. 7¾d., and that during the year from May 26th, 1875 to May 26th, 1876 our expenses for these Objects were £17643. 15s. 0½d., the reader sees, how small our balance was, to begin the year with, especially as we do not go in debt; yet, small as it was, it was a balance in hand. Our hope was now again in the Living God, who for more than forty-one years had never failed us. We trusted in Him, and in Him alone; and He graciously was pleased to supply us during the past year also with what we needed. I give now some instances as to the way, which God was pleased to use for our supply, in answer to our daily prayers. On May 28, 1875 we received from Nova Scotia 7 dollars, 4 dollars, and 4 dollars.

June 5. From Grahamstown, Cape of Good Hope, £1., £3., £1., £1., £1., 10s. 6d. and 10s.—June 16. From Ireland £100.

July 17th. Received from Ireland £30., with the following letter: "My dear sir, I enclose herewith first half notes for £30., the premium on insurance against losses in trade and on stock, which insurance I effect in the office of the Living God, in whose service I hold my stewardship; and I believe I am acting in accordance with His will in remitting it to you, to use it in His service. Please apply £5. of this sum to your own use, and remaining £25. as you think fit, according to His guidance. With my best wishes for the success of the undertaking committed to your charge, accept my regards and esteem. Yours sincerely ****."—L200. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven. —July 19. Received £250. with the following letter: "Dear Brother in Christ, only 5 months have passed, since I wrote to you, mentioning our Heavenly Father’s most unexpected earthly bounty, the first (of any material amount pecuniarily) in 54 years of varied and continual discipline. Out of that I begged you to use £250. in recognition by me of the Giver, and of the great spiritual benefit to me (for faith and walk) wrought by means of the history of the Orphanage and through the principles taught in your book "The Lord’s Dealings with you." Yet more unexpectedly, if that were, possible, God has, again so soon, showered upon me yet further, though smaller, supplies of money, unsought by me, from a source which, I had always reckoned, must flow to others, and not, by human possibility, to myself. Therefore,— with deep sense of the Giver, and with prayer that these gifts may be accompanied with the personal blessings to me of fitness for His service and the needed health, to turn the attention of very many fellow-Christians correctly to Scriptural teachings much neglected, and with the power and demonstration of the Spirit therewith,—I again enclose a cheque for £250. to be applied as before, by you, in the service of Him whom we are awaiting from heaven, even Him who is our Great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus. Namely £120. for that large, important, faithful and Scriptural Missionary work, which is under your hand. £70. for your Bible Fund, Schools and Tracts, greatly needed by the rising generation, in these evil days, before Christians are to be translated to meet Him. £50. for the Orphanage, that great work on which God’s blessing shows the reality of the promises to him in whom Christ’s words abide. £10. for yourself, as having been the instrument eminently owned of God, to teach to your fellow-Christians precious truths of faith and walk, for growing "strong in the Lord" and for acceptableness to Christ in the soon coining day. 2 Cor. v., 9, etc." This donation was one of the various ways, coming as unexpectedly to us, as the means came to the donor, whereby it pleased the Lord to carry us through the heavy expenses of the year; it also shows, how abundantly the Lord had been pleased to repay the donor for his former kindess.—July 21. By sale of gold and silver articles £125.—July 24. £12. 10s. "instead of insuring 500 acres against hail-storms."

Aug. 2. From Scotland £150.—Aug. 4. From New Zealand £40.—From India £5. for Missions with £5. for the Orphans.—Aug. 11. £500 for Missions and the circulation of the Holy Scriptures in Spain and Italy. The donor of this amount sent me a few years since his first donation, being Five Shillings. From that time he began to give, as the Lord prospered him. In this way not only his own soul has been greatly benefited, but the Lord from that time has so prospered him, that he has again and again been able to send me £500. as also £100. or £200. at a time.

Sep. 2. Received 10s., with the following letter, from one of the former Orphans under our care. "Dear and Honoured Sir, May I be allowed the privilege of writing to you, after so many years have passed, to thank you for the kind and fatherly care you showed me, while in the dear Orphan House, and to ask your forgiveness, for not doing so before. It is now seven years, since I left, and I can never think of it, without a bitter pang, at the remembrance of my ingratitude. I can never thank God enough for placing me there, and oh! if I had my time to spend over again, how different it would be. I know, dear sir, that we all have your prayers, and also the prayers of the dear teachers and helpers, although we have been away some time, and I know also what joy it will give you and them, to know that there is one more lost sheep found. It is some time, since I began to realize what a sinner I am, and also before I could find peace; but I rejoice to say, that at last I am able to put my whole trust in Jesus, and know what a precious Friend He is. I can now see the loving care He has shown me, ever since I was left an Orphan, which is now 18 years ago; and I can say, truly the promise has been fulfilled to me, "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." Since I left your fatherly care, I have been in 3 situations, and I am now living in a clergyman’s family as head-nurse, and have been here two years and six months. May I ask your prayers on my behalf, that my feet may not slip, but that I may go steadily on, and be able to show by my life, that I belong to Christ’s fold, and help others on the way; and may I also ask your acceptance of this trifle enclosed, as a very small token of my gratitude, and please use it in whatever way you think best. I know it is impossible ever to repay you, but one day you will be repaid. Oh! how I hope to meet you all again, where we never more shall part; and it is my hope now, that in this world I may be permitted to see the dear Orphan Houses once more. I do not know, whether there are any of the teachers in No. 1 that remember me; but if so, I know how pleased they will be, to see this. May I so far intrude on your valuable time as to tell them how very sorry I am for all the trouble I gave them, and to ask their forgiveness for me, and please give my kind duty to them. Believe me to be your very grateful but unworthy Orphan ****." This letter has been given to show, how, though sometimes the appearance may be, as if our labours were in vain, yet in the end it is made manifest, that they were not; and also, that, though it seems, as if our prayers were not answered, yet, in the Lord’s own time, they are answered. May parents, and guardians, and teachers be greatly encouraged by this letter! On Sep. 16th a gentleman called at the Orphan Houses, who up to that time had been unknown to me, and left, with valuable documents, the following paper: "I **** hereby present to the Orphanage and the other Institutions, conducted by Mr. G. Muller of Bristol £3,000 **** 5 per cent. Railway Stock and 25 shares of the same Company, £10 per share paid, to be disposed of as Mr. Muller shall think best." These documents were sold in the London market and produced £3734. 7s. 6d., of which four-fifths were taken for the School—, Bible—, Missionary— and Tract Fund, being £2987. 10s. and one-fifth (£746. 17s. 6d.) for the support of the Orphans. See, esteemed Reader, how able and how willing God is, to help those who seek to honour Him, by depending on Him alone. To the Living God, and to Him alone we look for all the means we require for this great work, and these means He supplies us with, simply in answer to prayer, year by year, and has done so now for more than forty-two years, though we need now about Forty Four Thousand Pounds yearly. But not only with regard to means, but for everything else we may require, we look to our Heavenly Father, making known our requests to Him, and He ever helps us, though sometimes we have had many times to repeat our requests to Him, before the answer has come. And what He condescends to do for us, in connection with this Institution, which is now so extensive, He is willing to do for all His children in their particular necessities as to their families, their business, their labour and service for Him, and as to every other way in which they may stand in need of His help. This large donation, just referred to, so kindly given by that donor, helped us to a considerable degree over the heavy expenses connected with these first four Objects of the Institution, during the past year.

Nov. 15. From India £77. 16s. 0d.— £200. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—Nov. 20. Received the following letter with £150. "Dear sir,— I have great pleasure in again forwarding my mite to be used by you, in carrying on the Lord’s work in your hands. Enclosed is £150., £120. of which is to be used in the work as you think best, the remainder is for your own private use. I would beg to add my testimony to many others, which you have received, as to the blessedness of giving systematically. I have been a farmer for about 20 years, and for about half that time did not act on that principle; and while giving my business as much care and more concern than now, still it was all I could do to make ends meet. About that time I had the subject of ‘giving as the Lord prospered’ brought under my notice, when I there and then vowed to the Lord, that I would give one-tenth of the profits of the farm to His cause, should He be pleased to give me any. From that time I have been prospered in my business far beyond what I ever could have anticipated; I have truly experienced the fulfilment of the promise contained in Luke vi, 38. I continued for a short time giving a tenth, but was gradually constrained to give more and more, until for some years I have been giving one-half, and can truly say, that the longer experience I have in this way, the more blessed do I find it to be. I heard you in Glasgow lately, and beg to thank you for your address on prayer. I trust many of us will have good cause to bless God for your visit. Please unite with me in asking God to give me more and more of His Holy Spirit’s influence, so that I may be enabled to live more by faith and less by sight, continually realising my relation to Him in Christ, and therefore be constrained to live more for His glory. That the Lord may long spare you, to be a testimony to the world of the power of faith, and that you may see much fruit from your tour at this time, is the earnest prayer of yours most sincerely, ****." I make the following remarks on this most instructive and profitable letter. The writer says: "I would beg to add my testimony to many others, which you have received, as to the blessedness of giving systematically." The reader may say, What is meant by giving systematically It means, Not to leave the giving to a certain impulse, to feeling, to powerful emotions under a charity sermon; but to give according to a certain order, or system, viz., "as God prospers us." This order we find laid down by the Holy Ghost through the Apostle Paul in I Cor. xvi, 2. It is true, that this commandment was given with reference to a particular circumstance, but it is most profitably applied to our times, and holds good with regard to ourselves. There is not only no reason, why we may not apply this to ourselves, but rather ought to do so, and upon the first day of the week "lay by in store, as God has prospered us." The following points are particularly to be noticed: 1, "As God has prospered us." If God has been pleased to give unto us much during the week, it is suitable that, constrained by gratitude and love, we should give much back to him in return, for His work or His poor. 2, If it be asked, How much should I give of what God is pleased to give to me? The reply is, no rule can be laid down. According to the grace and the knowledge the individual believers have, it is left to them. The Lord desires willing, cheerful givers; and therefore no law is given, under the present dispensation, regarding this point; yet, let it be remembered, that if the Israelites after the flesh were commanded to give the tenth, we, the Israel of God, the believers in the Lord Jesus, whose calling is a heavenly calling, not only may give the same, but should seek to give considerably more. 3, They were to attend to this every Lord’s day, every first day of week. Regularly, orderly, they were to attend to this. In most cases it can be known, how much the Lord has been pleased to give to us, during the previous week; but, suppose that, through particular circumstances, we could not fully ascertain this, then we should act according to the best of our judgment in the matter; and, should it afterwards be clearly seen, that we had not given enough, we may add to what we did give. But perhaps one may reply: If I acted thus, how are my bad debts to be covered; how shall I make up for other losses: how for flat and dull times in my business, etc.? Have you weighed before God, dear reader, that often God allows "bad debts," "losses in other respects," and "flat and dull times in business" to befall His children, because they withhold more than is meet; and that they would escape these things were they to act more as stewards and not as owners? 4, Notice especially that this commandment was not only given to one class of the believers, but to the rich, the middle class, and the poor; for though, at certain times, those who are poor, might have nothing to give, yet, at some time or other they might be particularly prospered, and have something to give. No class therefore was exempted. 5, Should it be said, How should I lay by in store? the reply is, that we may actually lay aside what we set apart for the Lord (and that in most cases may be the best); or we may keep a memorandum book, entering, how much we have put aside, for the Lord’s work and the poor; and how much, out of this, we have expended, and from time to time make up the account.—The writer of the letter goes on: "I have been a farmer for about 20 years, and for about half that time did not act on that principle; and while giving my business as much care and more concern than now, still it was all I could do to make ends meet." The writer attended with carefulness to His business; as he was a Christian, we have also reason to believe that he sought God’s blessing, but he practically forgot to look upon himself as a steward; and so it came, that he did not prosper as was the case afterwards. He goes on to write: "About that time I had the subject of ‘giving as the Lord prospered’ brought under my notice, when I there and then vowed to the Lord, that I would give one-tenth of the profits of the farm to His cause, should He be pleased to give me any. From that time I have been prospered in my business far beyond what I ever could have anticipated; I have truly experienced the fulfilment of the promise, contained in Luke vi, 38." Notice, how the prosperity in business was brought about. The writer had not previously neglected it, and only now paid attention to it; but previously he did not carry on his business as a steward for the Lord, but for himself as owner thereof. He now altered his course, and became the Lord’s steward, and thus acting according to the mind of the Lord, the Lord needed no longer to withhold prosperity from him; but could intrust him with more.—Have all my readers weighed the passage, to which the writer of the letter refers: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosoms"? Luke vi, 38. The word was spoken by the Lord Jesus. It refers evidently to the present dispensation. This word will be fulfilled in the case of those who act according to this verse. The writer of the letter found it thus. I have found it thus, thousands and tens of thousands of the children of God have found it thus. Of course, if any one from vanity or other unholy motives were to give, God could not fulfil this word.—Lastly the writer says: "I continued for a short time giving a tenth, but was gradually constrained to give more and more, until for some years I have been giving one-half, and can truly say, that the longer experience I have in this way, the more blessed do I find it to be." Notice 1, He gives after a short time more than a tenth. So great is the blessedness of giving, both temporarily and spiritually, that, if we do give from right motives, we are blessed in our souls and so blessed in our basket and store, that we shall give more and more, even as the writer gave only for a short time a tenth. The very blessing he received led him to give more than a tenth. He did not miss the tenth; he was not a loser on account of giving a tenth, but a gainer, both temporally and spiritually. And it was this which led him to give a fifth, a fourth, a third of his profits, yea soon one half. How is it in this respect with the Reader? How much, dear Reader, do you give back to the Lord? 2, The writer says: "I can truly say, that the longer experience I have in this way, the more blessed do 1 find it to be." Notice this particularly. Here is no acting under excitement. More than ten years have passed, during which the writer of this letter has acted on these principles, and the more hundreds and thousands he spends for the Lord, the more blessed does he find it. Now, esteemed Reader, whether you belong to the wealthy, the middle class, or the poor, if you have not previously acted on these principles, I beseech you to do so. I have done so for forty-seven years, and can assure you that both temporally and Spiritually, I have been abundantly blessed in doing so.

Dec. 23. Anonymously left at my house £25. for Missions, and £25. for the Orphans.—Dec. 30. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.—Dec. 31. Great as our expenses have been, during this year, the Lord has habitually helped us, and brought us now to the close of it; and, in the full assurance of faith, that He, in His faithful love, will help us during the coming year also, we go forward to it.

March 9, 1876. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.—March 15. From Wales £6. 15s. 6d. for Missions in Italy and Spain, with £10. for the support of the Orphans. The kind donor has often sent a similar donation.

May 1. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.—May 8. From Bengal, India, £10.—From Adelaide, South Australia, £20.—May 12. Received £1. 5s. 6d. from one of the former Orphans, with the following letter: "Dear Sir, It is with feelings of deep gratitude, that I now write again, to thank you for all the kindness I received when under your paternal care; for it was there that I first learned to love my Saviour, in whose footsteps I have been trying to walk ever since. I feel very grateful for having been put in so comfortable a situation as that in which I have just completed my five years’ apprenticeship, and I have now great pleasure in sending you 5s. 6d., my first week’s wages [besides board and lodging]. My master very kindly gave me £5., on completing my apprenticeship, one pound of which I beg also to enclose for disposal as you may think proper. I have engaged to live with my master for another year, and I hope that this year may be as happy a one as each of the five that I have already served him. I thank you for the Report you so kindly sent me, the reading of which afforded me much pleasure. I thank you also for the kindness manifested towards my sister, who I suppose is still under your care. Praying that God may still spare your life many more years to be the Orphans’ friend, I remain your grateful Orphan, ****."—May 16. From Otago, New Zealand, £l0.—May 23. From Oxfordshire £100. for Foreign Missions.—May 26. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.

Supplies for the School—, Bible—, Missionary— and Tract Fund, sent in answer to prayer, from May 26, 1876, to May 26, 1877. Letters from Donors, Practical remarks, &c.

When we began the period, we had, on May 26, 1876, the balance of £356. l9s. 4¼d. left for these Objects. When it is considered, that during the year from May 26th, 1875 to May 26th, 1876 our expenses for these Objects were £17643. 15s. 0½d., the reader sees, how small our balance was, to begin the year with, especially as we do not go in debt. Our hope was now again in the Living God, who for more than forty-two years had never failed us. We trusted in Him, and in Him alone; and He graciously was pleased to supply us during the past year also with what we needed. I give now some instances as to the way, which God was pleased to use for our supply, in answer to our daily prayers.

June 6, 1876, From Pennsylvania, United States of America, £10.—June 8. From ten donors in Grahamstown, Cape of Good Hope, £15. 8s. 6d.—June 13. From Victoria, Australia, £5. 5s.— From Adelaide, South Australia, £5.—June 21. From Ireland for Missions, £100.

July 5. Received £500. from a donor, whose first donation to the Institution was 5s. He had long been undecided, as to whether he could afford to give anything at all to the Lord’s work, as he considered that he ought first to be more prosperous in his business before he began to give; but at last he came to the decision, that he would wait no longer for greater prosperity, and give, according to his means. Since then the Lord began to prosper this donor so, as that he was able to send me much larger sums, and shortly hundreds of pounds, and repeatedly since £500. at once; having stated to me, that since he began to act as a steward for the Lord, he could send me with greater ease £500., than the first donation of 5s.—July 19. From New Zealand £4., with £4. for the Orphans.—July 22. From Jersey £50. for Missions.—July 24. £200. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—By sale of gold and silver articles, dentist gold and diamonds, given for the benefit of the Institution, £161. 13s. 6d. See Christian reader, how much may be obtained, by putting aside for the work of the Lord such superfluities. Were we all more in earnest, to see how much we can do for the spread of the Gospel, for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures and evangelical Tracts, for the instruction of poor children, for the support of the poor, etc., it would be found that there is in the church of God an abundance of pecuniary means to accomplish ten times as much as is accomplished now, in so far as regards means. We should say to ourselves individually, What can I do? How much can I spare? What needless articles have I to give? How can I practice self-denial, that I may have more to give? And thus could not only far more be accomplished than is now accomplished, but our own souls would thus be greatly blessed, whilst, by withholding more than is meet, we not only hinder the progress of the work of God, but injure our own souls.—July 27. Received 5s. from one of the former Orphans, who for more than twenty years has known the Lord, and walked in the ways of the Lord, with the following letter: "Much loved and honoured Sir, I write to ask your acceptance of the enclosed trifle, to be used as most needed. I am thankful, that I can send even so small a sum, to be used for God, as it is my earnest desire by my life and conversation to speak to others of a Saviour’s love, and tell how great things He hath done for me.—I have, indeed, much cause to praise Him for having directed your steps to Liverpool, as it was there our Heavenly Father was pleased to bless the preached Word through you, to the salvation of my beloved brother; and I most earnestly pray, you may still have strength to continue your work and labour of love for many years to come, together with all your faithful helpers in the work. Please to excuse this intrusion on your precious time, and believe me to remain, dear Sir, Your ever grateful Orphan, ****." The brother to whom the former Orphan refers, was also once an Orphan under our care, but did not, as his sister, leave the Orphan Institution as a believer in the Lord Jesus. He was, however, followed by our prayers; and, there is reason to believe, that many hundreds of prayers ascended to the Lord from the heart of his Christian sister. While I was preaching in January and February, 1876, in the immense Victoria Hall in Liverpool, erected for the dear American brethren, Moody and Sankey, the brother of the Orphan who writes this letter, and who is now commander of a merchant ship, came to hear me, and was, the very first time that I preached there, converted. Thus the Lord answered our prayers, and the prayers of his Christian sister for him, though only after many years. May through this the Christian reader be encouraged to continue to pray for his unconverted relatives!

Aug. 1. From the Bengal Presidency, India, £90. for these Objects, with £10. for myse1f.—Aug. 8. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200,—Aug. 21. From Ireland for Missions, £l00.—Aug. 29. From London £160. with £10. for myself.—From Berlin £34. 15s. 5d. This donation comes from a disciple of the Lord Jesus, who considers it a privilege to give to the work of the Lord a little capital, which he had saved, but which he now considers better spent for the Lord than to be kept. Since this donation was received, I have had the opportunity of becoming personally acquainted with the donor, and to hear from him, how greatly the Lord has been pleased to bless his soul through this act.

Sep. 5. From the neighbourhood of Manchester £24. 5s. 3d. for Missions, £100. for the support of the Orphans, and £5. for myself.—From a donor, who repeatedly has thus helped us, 19 Interest Warrants for these Objects, amounting to £74. 1s. 3d., deducting the Income Tax; and 10 Interest Warrants, amounting to £25. 7s. 10d., for the Orphans.—Sep. 19. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.

Oct. 7. £500. from two children of God, who, through the sale of some property, which had been left to them, were able to give this sum.—Oct. 9. From Christian Friends in Berne, 300 francs for the Schools in Spain, and 500 francs for the support of the Orphans.—From Heinrichsbad, Switzerland, £5. 18s. 5d.—From St. Gallen, Switzerland, 83 francs.—Oct. 11. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £56. 7s. 6d.—Oct. 13. From Switzerland 1,000 francs.—Oct. 14. From San Francisco, California, £1. L0s. 0d. The reader will have observed from what a variety of places not only, but also countries, the donations are received; yet all, without application to any individuals, only in answer to prayer. Not one out of fifty of the donors we know personally, and by far the greater part not even by name, till we receive their donations. Thus the Lord works for us, and helps us with means to carry on this Institution, and has done so for forty-three years now.

Nov. 2. £500. from two children of God, who, through the sale of some property, which had been left to them, were able to give this sum.—Nov. 11. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.—Nov. 17. From Cambridgeshire £81. 1s. 8d.—Nov. 18. From the neighbourhood of Stirling £100. with £10. for my own personal necessities.—Nov. 21. From the neighbourhood of Manchester £25. for Missions, £70. for the Orphans, and £5. for myself.—Nov. 27. From Jersey £50. for Missions in China, India, and Spain.

Dec. 15. From Reutlingen in Wurtemberg 220 Mark and 2s.—From Ober-Urbach in Wurtemberg 135 Mark and 60 German Pence.—Dec. 29. From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200.—Dec. 31, 1876. We have, in connection with this Institution also, abundant reason for praise and thanksgiving, at the close of another year. Since this new period commenced, on May 26, 1876, the Lord has in every way, as He is wont to do, helped and blessed the labour of our hands; and during these seven months and five days the total income for the various Objects of the Institution has been above £23,000., as the result of prayer and faith. Truly we do not wait upon Him in vain! May the Christian reader thereby be encouraged, in all his various necessities, of whatever kind they may be, to come with them to God, and he will find, as we do, that it is not in vain to wait upon God; but that He is now the Living God, ready to listen to the supplications of His children, as in the days of the prophets and apostles of old. These remarks are not made, as if I meant to convey thereby, that all the children of God should establish schools, or found Orphan Institutions, and trust in God for the needed funds: for such work an especial call is needed; but I mean to say, that in all our family matters, in our earthly occupation, in our labour in general for the Lord, in our spiritual conflict, in our trials and afflictions, we should thus be encouraged to come to the Lord and expect help and support from Him through prayer and faith, which I have found for 48 years my universal remedy for all my difficulties and necessities. When in the year 1835 I began the Orphan work, I had, in doing so, particularly in view, through this work to prove to the world at large, and to the church at large, that the Living God is now, as thousands of years since, the Living God, and that we may reckon on Him, as those did who really knew Him thousands of years ago. That end has been particularly answered by this Institution. Tens of thousands of souls have indeed been converted through the operations of the various Objects of the Institution, for which I adore and magnify the Lord; but the greatest blessing, which I have reason to believe, which has resulted from it, is, that thereby hundreds of thousands of children of God, in very many parts of the world, have been encouraged, in all simplicity to trust in God. While I am writing this, at Nimwegen in Holland, another precious proof of this kind has just been brought under my own eyes, of which I have had, I might almost say numberless instances, it is this: A Christian evangelist, simply through reading about the Orphan work in Bristol, had it laid on his heart to care about Orphans, and was encouraged by my example, solely in dependence on the Lord, to take them up. He began in the year 1863 with three at Nimwegen in Holland, and he has at present 453 in an Institution, near Nimwegen, through which I and my dear wife went, and which we saw with our own eyes with the deepest interest.

In the same way that I began to work, and have gone on in for more than 42 years, he has now worked about fourteen years, trusting alone in God, never going in debt; and year after year the Lord has enlarged the work and given him everything that he has needed. Very many Orphan Institutions similarly have been begun in various parts of the world, the founders being encouraged through what God has done for us in Bristol. His name be magnified for it!

Jan. 1, 1877. As the old year has closed with blessing, so the new year began in the same way. Many donations, and some considerable ones, were received this very day.—Jan. 5. From Hampshire £75. for Foreign Missions, £75. for the Bible Fund, £300. for the Orphans, and £50. for myself. The kind donor wrote, with regard for the donation for myself, that it was especially sent, on account of my considerable expenses in moving about on the Continent from town to town, and from country to country.—From Heidelberg 120 Mark. Also on Jan. 1st were received 20 Mark, and on the 3rd 40 Mark from Heidelberg.—Jan. 15. From Bonn £4. 12s. 6d., with £4. l2s. 6d. for myself.— Jan. 16. From Bonn 16s.—Jan. 26. £200. from two children of God, who, through the sale of some property, which had been left to them, were able to give this sum.—From Cologne 40 Mark for Missions.

Feb. 6. From Wesel 3 Mark, ditto 3 Mark, ditto 227 1/5 Mark.—From a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £250.—Feb. 8. From Ireland £250. for Missions.—Feb. 9. Legacy of the late Mrs. Mc. M. £30., with £10. for the Orphans—Feb. 12. From Ireland for Missions £102. 18s. 4d.—Feb. 21. From Norway £6. The reader cannot but observe from what a variety of countries our donations come. The Lord, in many parts of the earth, in answer to our prayers, inclines the hearts of His children, to remember our need.—Feb. 26. £300. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.

April 2. £200. from two children of God, who, through the sale of some property, which had been left to them, were able to give this sum.—April 3. From a small shopkeeper in Bedfordshire £5. The donor sends us help, as the Lord prospers him in his business, and has sent to us very many times a similar sum.—April 10. £200. from two children of God, to whom this sum had been left as a legacy, and who thus had the privilege of being able to give this amount.—April 23. Legacy of the late Miss B. £19. l9s. for circulation of the Holy Scriptures, and £19. 19s. for the support of the Orphans. April 25. From Kent £151. l7s. 10d.

May 2. From Lubeck 40 Mark for Missions in China, and 20 Mark and 5 Mark for the Orphans.—May 5. From Hanover 20 Mark and 40 Mark.—May 14. From Yorkshire for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures in foreign lands £150., and for the support of the Orphans £150.—May 16. £5. 11s., with the following letter: "My dear Sir, I enclose a cheque, value £5. 11s., for your good work, being a penny for every pound’s worth of goods, sold since the 1st of January. Use it as you think best. Since I have given systematically to God’s cause, I have had many times my faith severely tried. I have had losses in business, losses in health, etc., and I have been sometimes tempted almost to give it up. But I thank God I have been brought through thus far; and I feel assured, if I continue to trust in Him, I shall be brought through. Last year was a bad year for business men generally. I continued to give to God’s cause much the same, as I had been accustomed. A few days before I made up my yearly accounts, I received a letter from a gentleman, an acquaintance, saying that he bad just been balancing up his accounts for the year, and knowing I had been afflicted, etc., he hoped I would accept the enclosed cheque for £50. for my own private use. How kind of my Heavenly Father, to remember me in such a noble manner! Yours sincerely, ****." The reader has to notice, how this present of £50. repays what would be given on the receipt of £12,000. at one penny per pound.—May 21. From a farmer in South Africa £50.—May 23. From North Wales I received the following letter: "Dear Sir, I enclose you in Post Office Orders the sum of £11. 6s. 7d., which I leave to your best judgment. Since I received your last Report in September last, I have put by threepence on every pound that I have received in business, for your Institution; and although the times are become so poor, I am happy to say, we do meet our bills continually. I believe circumstances are nothing in the Lord’s way, if we trust in Him, etc."—May 26. From Grahamstown, Cape of Good Hope, from eight donors £14. 3s. 6d.— £200. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.

The Lord has helped us through one more year, to meet the expenses connected with the school—, Bible—, Missionary—and Tract Fund; but again and again all our means for these first four Objects of the Institution were gone, completely gone. Under these circumstances our Universal Remedy, prayer and faith, was used, and only this. My helpers in Bristol, I and my dear wife in Switzerland, Germany, or Holland, waited upon God, and He helped, without our appealing to any one, without making even known our need to any one, except speaking about it, in believing prayer, to our Heavenly Father. We had His ear and His heart, for Jesus’ sake, and were helped; and thus it has been, that we have been able to accomplish what we have, in connection with these first four Objects of the Institution, and are even able, with a small balance in hand for them, to close the year. It is unspeakably blessed so to know God, as to be able fully to confide in Him, at all times and under all circumstances, even the most trying; and in order that my younger brethren in Christ may be helped so to do, therefore do I write as I do, and therefore I seek now also, as far as my position in Bristol allows of it, to go from city to city, and from country to country, to spend the evening of my life, to testify to the blessedness of truly knowing God in Christ, as He has revealed Himself in the Holy Scriptures.

Supplies for the School—, Bible—, Missionary and Tract Fund, sent in answer to prayer, from May 26, 1877 to May 26, 1878. Letters from Donors, Practical Remarks, &c.

At the beginning of the last year, we had only the small balance of £71. 19s. 2½d. in hand. Our expenses for these Objects had been £16,430. during the year before; therefore our balance was not enough for the fourth part of the requirements of one single week, according to our average expenses. But, poor as we were, our infinitely rich Heavenly Father remained to us; to Him we betook ourselves in prayer, and, as He had done many thousands of times before, during the previous forty-three years, so He helped us during the forty-fourth year also, though not once, nor twice, but again and again all our money, to the last shilling, for these Objects, was gone. I particularly mention this, because some of our Readers suppose, that we had trials of faith, with reference to pecumary supplies, only many years since, and think that at present we continually abound. I refer now to some of the means, which the Lord was pleased to use in supplying our wants.

June 27. We entered today upon the second month of this new period of the Institution, without a penny in hand for these Objects, when in the course of the day came in from Redland, from a most unexpected donor, to make the hand of God the more manifest, £50.; and from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, £200. Also from Rotterdam 40 florins=£3. 2s. 8d.—June 28. From a small tradesman in Bedfordshire, who contributes as the Lord prospers him, £5. Received also from Belgium, £20. On June 30th, when again all money was gone for these Objects, I received from Scotland £500. with the following letter: "Dear Mr. Muller, It has been in my mind for some days to send you the enclosed for the work of the Lord in your hands, believing it His will for me so to do. He has bid us lay up treasure in heaven. I am glad to see you are going to America. The Lord bless you and your dear wife, and manifest Himself to you more and more, Yours very truly ****." By these and other donations, though repeatedly during the past month all was expended, we were carried to the beginning of July, having, in answer to much prayer, been able to meet all our expenses.

July 9. A servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven, having most unexpectedly received £56. 4s. 11d., gladly gave it for these Objects.—July 11. From Ireland £500. for missions. The donor will now have joy in being informed, which, when the money came to hand, was purposely not written to him, that, when his kind donation was received, all our money was gone for this Object, and the donation was the fruit of many prayers.—July 14. From Greenock £100., with £20. for my own personal expenses.—July 25. By sale of gold and silver articles, diamonds, dentist gold, &c., £190. 19s.—From Sussex £93. 18s. ld.—July 28, From Wales £100., with £39. for the Orphans and £30. for my own personal expenses.—July 30. Received £10. with the following letter: "Dear Sir, Herewith is Banker’s Draft for Ten Pounds, which please apply as you shall judge best, on behalf of the several or either of the Objects under your charge, and kindly acknowledge as above. The amount should have been sent in instalments previously, the writer having some years since resolved, before God, to discontinue a habit of doubtful character, and send the cost of it to your Institution. The resolution formed in time of trouble was not adhered to, but God has recently brought my sin to my remembrance, by again sending distress; and not only so, but through the ministry of His Word some months since ("Grieve not the Spirit of God") gave me victory over the habit referred to. I calculate, the practice costs something like 26s. per annum, and the enclosed covers a period from seven to eight years to about this time. I shall be a debtor to your Institution in that sum as long as I am spared, or the Lord come, and hope to send it annually. I do not wish my name to appear—my position is a very humble one—but shall be obliged by an interest in your prayers, especially as being now placed in perplexing circumstances, that I maybe able to rely upon God, when circumstances are mysterious and perplexing, and that I may grow in conformity to our dear Lord. With Christian love I remain, Dear Sir, yours truly ****."—From Tobago £5.—July 31. From the neighbourhood of Chippenham £100. for Foreign Missions.—On the same day we received from London, £25. for Home Missions, £25. for Foreign Missions, and £20. for the Orphans. And yet further from Kensington £30. for Missions, £20. for the School—, Bible— and Tract Fund, £30. for the Orphans and £20. for myself. These, and other donations, not referred to, carried us through the month of July, in which we had been again reduced to great poverty, but in which, as in thousands of times before, we were helped, not by exposing our need to our fellowmen, and asking them for help, but by taking it in confiding prayer to our Heavenly Father.

Aug. 2. From

Posted via email from Classic Christian Digest

Translate

Search This Blog