George Muller of Bristol

and his witness to a prayer-hearing God

by Arthur T. Pierson (1899)

I, who am an elder myself, appeal to the church elders among you. I am a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and I will share in the glory that will be revealed. I appeal to you to be shepherds of the flock that God gave you and to take care of it willingly, as God wants you to, and not unwillingly. Do your work, not for mere pay, but from a real desire to serve.

(1 Peter 5:1-2) Good News Translation

Here then we have a threefold witness to the secret of true prosperity and unmingled blessing: devout meditation and reflection upon the Scriptures, which are at once a book of law, a river of life, and a mirror of self—fitted to convey the will of God, the life of God, and the transforming power of God.

The supreme end of life is to know God and make Him known;

He used argument in prayer, and at this time he piles up eleven reasons why God should and would send help. This method of holy argument—ordering our cause before God, as an advocate would plead before a judge—is not only almost a lost art, but to many it actually seems almost puerile.

Early in the year 1838, he began reading that third biography which, with those of Francke and John Newton, had such a singular influence on his own life—Philip’s Life of George Whitefield.

Starting p. 60

Conscientious misgivings, about the same time, ripened into settled convictions that he could no longer, upon the same principle of obedience to the word of God, consent to receive any stated salary as a minister for Christ. p 65

that he would thenceforth receive no fixed salary for any service rendered to God’s people.

Henceforth he allowed himself but seven hours’ sleep and gave up his after-dinner rest.

Purposes and principles

  1. Every believer’s duty and privilege is to help on the cause and work of Christ.
  2. The patronage of the world is not to be sought after, depended upon, or countenanced.
  3. Pecuniary aid, or help in managing or carrying on its affairs, is not to be asked for or sought from those who are not believers.
  4. Debts are not to be contracted or allowed for any cause in the work of the Lord. For example, nothing must be bought, whatever the extremity, for which there was not money in hand to pay:
  5. The standard of success is not to be a numerical or financial standard.
  6. All compromise of the truth or any measures that impair testimony to God are to be avoided.

Thus the word of God was accepted as counselor, and all dependence was on God’s blessing in answer to prayer.

Objectives

  1. To establish or aid day-schools, Sunday-schools, and adult-schools, taught and conducted only by believers and on thoroughly scriptural principles.
  2. To circulate the Holy Scriptures, wholly or in portions, over the widest possible territory.
  3. To aid missionary efforts and assist laborers, in the Lord’s vineyard anywhere, who are working upon a biblical basis and looking only to the Lord for support.

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