The Preaching Tours and Missionary Labours of George Muller Part 6

The Preaching Tours and Missionary Labours of George Muller -

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On Saturday morning, Dec. 20th, we left Toronto, and went, via Hamilton and Niagara Falls, to Buffalo, on the shores of Lake Erie, in the United States, 120 miles distant. There, on the following day (Sunday), Mr.

Muller preached at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in the morning, and at the Central Presbyterian in the evening, where there was a "union service." During our visit to Buffalo, he held meetings also at the Hall of the Young Men's Christian Association, at Prospect Avenue Church, the North Presbyterian, First Baptist, and Lafayette Street Churches, at St.

Peter's (a large German Church which was crowded to the utmost with a mass meeting of Germans, 2,000 being present) at the new Church of the Evangelical Association, and at Calvary Presbyterian Church. On Dec.

30th, at a meeting for pastors, he addressed about 50 for an hour and 10 minutes, who received him most affectionately, and on Jan. 4th, 1880, preached again at St. Peter's in German to a vast audience of 2,000. In addition to his English services, he held four large German meetings altogether.

On Jan. 5th we left Buffalo, and returning through Niagara Falls and Hamilton, went via Paris, to Woodstock, Canada, where, during our short stay, my husband preached at the Baptist, Knox, and Methodist Churches, and gave an address at the Baptist College to the students. During our stay at Woodstock, a pastor from Hamilton related to us the following interesting circumstance:--

Several years ago John and Thomas Gain of Hamilton (two orphan lads) were converted through going to a Sunday School, which they had been in the habit of attending, and some time afterwards "George Muller's Life of Trust" was given to them. In consequence of reading this book--having determined to begin business for themselves, and to carry it on by prayer and faith, according to the principles therein so strongly advocated, they began to manufacture paper bags, with addresses printed on them of the men of business by whom the bags were ordered. Desiring, however, to adhere closely to their principle of trust in God, they were most careful to avoid undertaking orders that involved any departure from it, and all _kinds_ of business upon which they could not confidently ask His blessing. This path of faith resulted in prosperity, for the Lord so blessed them, that they became comparatively rich. John Gain, who has since departed to be with Christ, died triumphantly; but his brother Thomas is still living, and continues to carry on business at Hamilton. The gentleman who related these particulars, knew them both well, as they were formerly members of the church of which he was the pastor.

On Jan. 10th, we left Woodstock, and went to London, Ontario, where, the next morning (Sunday), Mr. Muller preached at Queen's Avenue Methodist Church, and that evening and the next addressed large audiences at St.

Andrew's. After this last service we were introduced to several persons, amongst whom was the Rev. Josiah Henson, a venerable negro, with a pleasant expression of countenance, and white hair, who shook hands with us most cordially. This was "Uncle Tom," the hero of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," a well-known character to many.

During the remainder of our short stay at London, Mr. Muller held a few other meetings; and on Jan. 17th we left Canada for Detroit, Michigan, United States, where, on the afternoons of Sunday, the 18th, and Monday, the 19th, he preached at Fort Street Presbyterian Church; and on the evening of the latter day, at St. John's, a German Lutheran Church, which was crowded. A number of German ministers too from the city and neighbourhood were present on this occasion. Whilst at Detroit, my husband preached likewise at the First Baptist, Jefferson Avenue, Central Methodist Episcopal, Simpson Methodist Episcopal, and Central Presbyterian Churches; held three more meetings for the Germans, addressed a number of pastors at Lafayette Street Church, spoke at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church on Feb. 2nd, to about 500 Christian Workers, and had five private interviews of two hours each with Dr.

Pierson (pastor of Fort Street Presbyterian Church) with reference to his labours in the ministry.

From Detroit, on Feb. 4th, we went to Ypsilanti (at which place Mr.

Muller preached three times, and addressed about 200 students of the Normal School, or State College who were being trained for teachers), and from Ypsilanti proceeded to Ann Arbor, where, on Sunday morning, Feb. 8th, he addressed a union meeting of Germans in their own language at a German Church. On that evening also, at the great University Hall (the largest in the State of Michigan) he addressed a mass-meeting, consisting of about 1,000 students out of the 2,000 who belong to the University, and 1,800 persons from churches which had been closed, that their members might attend this service. From the platform of the Hall (a large semi-circular building), just before the sermon, Dr. Brown, of the Presbyterian Church, made a short opening speech, and concluded his remarks by saying:--"We have for years, Mr. Muller, been acquainted with your life and labours; we thank God for you; your work has been an inspiration to us, and we now most heartily welcome you to the University and to the Churches of Ann Arbor." My husband then addressed the vast audience for an hour, and spoke particularly to the students who formed a large portion of the congregation.

The following brief account of this University may here be considered interesting:--

"The University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, is one of the noblest Institutions in the land. With fees little more than nominal, and with a standard of scholarship as high as any College or University in the country, it numbers amongst its students natives of every part of the globe. The University buildings occupy a square of ground, each front of which is nearly a quarter of a mile in length. There are no dormitories, all the space being devoted to purposes of instruction. The library is large and constantly increasing; the geological collection is one of the most perfect in the country; there is a fine art gallery; and the medical museum is complete." Before our departure, Mr. Muller preached at the Presbyterian Church, and held a second German service on Feb.


On the 11th we left Ann Arbor for Olivet, but, in consequence of a railway accident, our journey was delayed; and having to pass one night at Jackson on the way, and to drive through Charlotte to another station, we did not reach our destination until Thursday afternoon the 12th. At Olivet, a little village, remarkable chiefly for its College, my husband preached only twice; and on the latter occasion addressed the College students (of whom there were about 300) at the Church belonging to the Institution.

On Feb. 14th, we had a long drive to Marshall, 12 miles distant, and then continued our journey by rail to Kalamazoo, 35 miles from Marshall.

Here Mr. Muller preached twice at the First Presbyterian Church, and held two union meetings, one at the Wesleyan and the other at the Baptist Church. On the afternoon of Feb. 8th, he gave an address also at Mount Holyoke Seminary for Ladies, which stands upon a hill in a beautiful situation, at a little distance from the town. On Feb. 19th, he held a meeting for the 135 students of Kalamazoo College, and on the 20th we left for Chicago, 142 miles from Kalamazoo.

There my husband preached at the First Congregational Church on Sunday morning, the 22nd; addressed about 2,000 Germans at Mr. Moody's Tabernacle in the afternoon; held German meetings at Farwell Hall, on the evenings of the 23rd, 24th, and 25th; and on the 26th gave a farewell address to the Germans of Chicago at Moody's Tabernacle in the evening. On Feb. 27th, at an evening meeting connected with the Sunday School Teachers' Convention for Cook's County, held at Farwell Hall, which was attended by delegates and superintendents from Chicago and other places; Mr. Muller addressed 1,000 Christian workers for about an hour, and was followed by Major Whittle and Mr. Jacobs, who also gave addresses. On Sunday, Feb. 29th, my husband preached at the Tabernacle in the morning, from 2nd Tim. iv. 7, 8, with great help and power, and spoke in the afternoon on the Second Coming of Christ, from the parable of the ten virgins, at the same place.

On the evenings of the 1st and 2nd of March, he preached again at the Tabernacle; held a meeting at the Second Presbyterian Church on the evening of the 3rd, gave an address at the lecture room of the First Congregational Church on the 4th, and on the 5th held a farewell meeting at the lecture room of Dr. Goodwin's Church. Before our departure the German pastors stated that his ministry had been made a great blessing to their congregations.

On March 6th we left Chicago for Milwaukee, the commercial capital of Wisconsin, 85 miles distant, which contains a population of 130,000, two thirds of whom are Germans. On the following day (Sunday) Mr. Muller preached both morning and evening at Immanuel Church, held a meeting on the 8th at Plymouth Congregational Church, and on the evening of Tuesday, March 9th, addressed a mass meeting of Germans at the Second Congregational Church. During our stay at Milwaukee, he held three other German meetings, and on the evening of the 11th preached at the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was his last service in that city.

On March 12th, at midnight, we left for St. Paul, Minnesota, 324 miles from Milwaukee; and, after travelling for many miles along the banks of the _Upper_ Mississippi through a beautiful district, reached our destination on the 13th, at 1.25 p.m. After our arrival the cold became so severe, that the thermometer registered 10 degrees below zero, that is, 42 degrees of frost. The next morning (Sunday, 14th), at Immanuel Church, Mr. Muller held a meeting for the Germans, who form more than half the population of St. Paul; and in the evening a mass meeting of Germans assembled at the Opera House, where he addressed them in their own language for an hour. On Monday morning, the 15th, he attended a meeting of pastors, and on that evening and the next, preached to large congregations of Germans. During the remainder of our stay at St. Paul, he preached in English also at the Congregational, Methodist Episcopal, and Baptist Churches, and gave an address at a meeting of ladies one afternoon.

"St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, is on the river Mississippi, 2,082 miles from its mouth at New Orleans, and is the largest city in the State. The Mississippi rises in Minnesota; at its source it is 3,160 miles from its mouth, and passes over more than 18 degrees of latitude."

During our visit to St. Paul the weather was intensely cold, but the air was of the dryest, purest, most invigorating character, and is considered particularly healthy even for invalids.

On March 20th, we went to Minneapolis, where, on the morning of Sunday, the 21st, Mr. Muller spoke at the Hall of the Young Men's Christian Association, and preached in the evening at the Plymouth Congregational Church, to about 1,800 people. On March 22nd, at a pastors' meeting, he addressed 50 of his brethren in the ministry, by whom he was most affectionately received; preached on the 24th at East Minneapolis, on the opposite bank of the Mississippi; held a meeting for the Germans on the 25th; answered written questions at the Methodist Episcopal Centenary Church the following evening, which had been handed in; and on the 27th, addressed the students of the College at Minneapolis, 275 in number.

The following note from a pastor at Minneapolis was received after our departure:--

"Dear Brother in Christ,--I cannot express to you the pleasure I have enjoyed in listening to your addresses in this city, all of which, in the English language, I have heard. My faith in God, as the hearer and answerer of prayer, has been greatly strengthened, and I feel that, through his abounding grace, I have, during the last week, enjoyed especial nearness to Him, and have been better fitted for the ministry I love. I shall ever be thankful for your visit to Minneapolis, and think of you and your work with affectionate interest. For twelve years I have ministered to the church which I now serve, and God has been pleased to give me some souls as seals of my ministry; but I long to be more like my Master, and more successful in my work. God bless you, dear Mr.

Muller, and your beloved wife, your Orphanage in Bristol; and may He abundantly prosper all the labours of your hands. If it shall never be my privilege to meet you again in this world, I shall hope to be filled with your company in our Father's house above."

"Yours, until He come."

The State of Minnesota, in which St. Paul and Minneapolis are situated, is remarkable for the richness and fertility of its soil. The land is divided into sections which contain many hundreds of acres each, and the field operations carried on are conducted by hundreds of men, who form a little army, and work at the same time, with military order and regularity. The harvesting machines used are so constructed that the corn is reaped, gathered into sheaves, bound into bundles, and thrown aside by one single machine; and as there is no ploughing by hand--at the time of seed sowing furrows, seven miles in length, are made across the prairies by ploughing machines which turn up the soil, deposit the grain in the earth, and then cover it over.

On March 27th we left by rail for Northfield, a village in Minnesota, 42 miles from Minneapolis, where (on our arrival at the Archer House) we found the wife of a Baptist minister of Faribault kindly waiting to receive us, who, when only 12 years of age, was converted at Bristol through my husband's ministry. The next morning (Easter Sunday) Mr.

Muller preached at the Methodist Episcopal Church to a crowded audience from 1st Cor. xv.; in the evening, at the Congregational Church, he addressed a union meeting of the various Northfield congregations; and before our departure held a meeting for the Germans at a German Church.

The morning of March 31st was ushered in by heavy thunder storms, accompanied by high wind; but the weather moderated in time for us to reach the station at half-past 8. After passing through Faribault, we changed trains at Austin, travelled thence to Plymouth Junction, on one of the great prairies, and at half-past 8 p.m. reached Cedar Rapids, on the Red Cedar river (222 miles from Northfield) where we passed the night. The next afternoon our journey was continued, and at 5 p.m. we arrived at Mount Vernon, Iowa, where a rough, covered waggon conveyed us to the village inn. There, in the evening, and twice on the following Sunday (April 4th) Mr. Muller preached at the Methodist Episcopal Church, to large attentive audiences; but, as engagements had been made for other places, our visit to Mount Vernon was of brief duration only.

On April 5th, accordingly, we rose at half-past 4, and at 6 left for Davenport, Iowa; where (after waiting at De Witt for an hour and a half) we arrived in the middle of the day. That evening, and on the 6th and 7th, Mr. Muller preached at the German Congregational Church; during the remainder of our stay at Davenport he held meetings at the Methodist Episcopal, Congregational, and Baptist Churches; and addressed about 200 students at the High School besides.

Before our departure, we visited Rock Island, in the Mississippi, upon which a town of the same name stands; and drove through Moline, celebrated for its large arsenal. Rock Island is connected with Davenport by a bridge.

On April 13th we set off for Jacksonville, Illinois; and in the course of our journey south, found the weather become as hot as an English July. At this town (which is 85 miles from Davenport) we arrived at 9.20 p.m.; and, after alighting from the train, were driven to the Dunlap House, about a mile distant from the station. The next evening Mr.

Muller preached at the Methodist Episcopal Church, to a large congregation, where, as the thermometer was at 80, its 14 windows and the front doors were left open, that no inconvenience might be occasioned from the oppressiveness of the heat.

On April 15th we visited the "State Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb," a most interesting institution, where the Principal (Dr. Gillett) conducted us to a large hall, in which the inmates of the Establishment (consisting of 460 deaf and dumb pupils, male and female, and 35 teachers) were at dinner. All eyes being immediately directed towards us, Dr. Gillett explained at once by signs and finger language, who the visitors were; and announced that at half-past one, Mr. George Muller, of Bristol, England, would address the whole assembly in the Chapel; upon which, a young man (one of the deaf mutes) stood up, and with his fingers said--"My ears itch to hear him." Our attention was then directed to 'the happy family' seated at two adjoining tables, the members of which included a Pole, some Jews, a German, a Portuguese, a Frenchman, a negro, a Swede, an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotchman, an American, and an Italian. At the hour appointed, we went into the Chapel, which adjoins the Institution, and there, from a high platform (with Dr. Gillett standing close to him, who, with his fingers, interpreted as rapidly as the words were uttered) Mr. Muller preached the gospel to the large community of deaf and dumb, and afterwards (by particular request) gave a very brief account of the Orphan work on Ashley Down, Bristol, and the other branches of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. At the close of his address, an attempt was made by the--_hearers_ (can they be called?) to express their satisfaction by applause; but the desire was checked instantly by Dr. Gillett. We then distributed some gospel tracts amongst them, and afterwards visited the educational and industrial departments of the Institution, including a room devoted to drawing, painting, and other artistic employments, in which some of the deaf and dumb pupils excel. All the furniture used in the Establishment, as well as the boots and shoes worn by its inmates, are made on the premises. This is the largest Deaf and Dumb Institution in the world.

Before our departure from Jacksonville, Mr. Muller preached twice at the Presbyterian Church; but, having made engagements for other places, was unable to prolong his visit.

On April 17th, therefore, we rose at half past 4, set off by an early train for Bloomington, Illinois (90 miles from Jacksonville), and arrived there the same morning at half past 10. The next day (Sunday, the 18th), my husband preached morning and evening at the First Presbyterian Church, when the congregations were larger than could have been expected, considering the unfavourable weather, which was oppressively hot, with very high wind and rain that fell at intervals in torrents. These storms gradually increased, and on Monday, in the middle of the night, we were roused by a cyclone, which broke over the town.

The high wind then became a hurricane, the sky was in a blaze with lightning for hours, loud peals of thunder burst overhead, and rain, mixed with hail, swept down upon the streets in a complete deluge. Every moment we expected our windows to be blown in, and feared that a frightful crash in some part of the hotel would announce that great damage had been done; but, happily, towards morning, the wind gradually abated, and at last (through the Lord's kindness) the storm ceased. For a few days the newspapers contained alarming accounts of this tornado, and mentioned numerous places devastated by it, amongst which was Marshfield, where the destruction was overwhelming.

"This part of the country" (said the "Daily Sentinel," of Indianapolis) "was visited last evening by one of the most terrific cyclones on record. After passing through several miles of country, it struck Marshfield about half past 6 p.m., when, an eye witness of the approaching storm, described it as a frightful-looking black cloud, lined with fleecy white. It was funnel shaped, and moved like a screw-propeller with wonderful velocity, literally destroying and blowing away everything in its path, which was about half a mile wide, and carrying death and destruction with it. Seventy-eight people were killed instantly, and eighty-five were wounded. Large trees were twisted off, telegraph wires were snapped, houses were blown from their foundations, and what was a beautiful, peaceful, quiet town 24 hours ago, is now a waste of desolation."

Before our departure from Bloomington, Mr. Muller preached at each of the two Presbyterian Churches, and held one German meeting.

On April 21st we went to Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana (166 miles from Bloomington) a beautiful city on the western branch of the White River, surrounded by an extensive plain. There my husband preached at the Second and Third Presbyterian, the First Baptist, the Meridian Street Methodist, and the German Methodist Churches, and attended a meeting of pastors on the 26th, when he addressed many of his brethren in the ministry for an hour.

From Indianapolis, on April 28th we proceeded to Cincinnati, Ohio, where, during our visit of 10 days, he preached three times at the Vine Street Congregational Church, and twice at the Central Presbyterian Church; gave an address at the Friends' Meeting House, conducted three services in the city for the Germans (of whom there are many thousands in Cincinnati), addressed about 200 ministers at a pastors' meeting, and, on the evening of May 5th, preached in German at Immanuel Methodist Church, Covington, Kentucky, about five miles distant. Besides these services, on May 1st we visited Mr. Shipley's Home for Children, when he gave a short address to the young people.

Cincinnati is 861 miles from New York. It extends along the northern bank of the river Ohio, and has a population of between three and four hundred thousand.

From there, on May 8th we went to Dayton, Ohio, 56 miles from Cincinnati, where Mr. Muller preached the same evening at a German Church. During our stay, he held meetings also at the First Presbyterian and First Baptist Churches, and gave an address at the Hall of the Young Men's Christian Association.

On May 11th we visited the "Central National Soldiers' Home," three miles and a half from Dayton, which consists of a group of buildings more than 40 in number, where (up to that time) 4,245 men had been received, all of whom were soldiers disabled or invalided by wounds, received during the late war. The Brick Hall (which seats 3,000) is the largest dining hall in the United States. As numbers of these soldiers were either walking or sitting about in the beautiful grounds belonging to the Institution, we were able to distribute tracts amongst them. The average expenses of the Home are 400,000 dollars (or 80,000) per annum.

From Dayton, on May 12th, we went to Cleveland, Ohio, 190 miles distant, where, on that evening and the next, my husband preached at the United German Church.

On the 14th we left for Buffalo, and the following day continued our journey to Dansville, Livingstone County, New York (283 miles from Cleveland) where, at "Our Home on the Hill Side" (a Hygienic Institution) we spent eleven days, having received an invitation from Dr. Jackson, the Principal of the Establishment, to be his guests.

There, on Sunday morning (the 16th) Mr. Muller preached at "Liberty Hall" (the Chapel belonging to the Institution) to the patients, and the other inmates of the Home; and in the evening addressed a large, crowded audience, at the Methodist Episcopal Church, Dansville. During the week, he conducted morning family worship at "Our Home," gave one or two addresses at the prayer meetings; and on the following Sunday (May 23rd) preached at the English and German Lutheran Churches.

This Hygienic Institution consists of one large main building, and a number of smaller detached residences, which belong to it. Here, "all the natural agencies, such as air, water, food, sunlight, electricity, exercise, rest, and recreation are brought into use for the restoration of the sick, and obedience to the laws of nature is enjoined, as one of the first requisites for recovery."

On the morning of May 27th, Mr. Muller gave a farewell address to the inmates of "Our Home;" at half past 3 we left for Rochester, and in the evening went on to the Sanatorium, at Clifton Springs, 90 miles from Dansville. There he preached at the Chapel on the evening of the 28th, conducted family worship on the mornings of Saturday the 29th, and Sunday the 30th, and preached on the evening of the 30th at the Chapel to a large congregation. On Monday evening (May 31st) he preached again at the Chapel of the Sanatorium, gave a farewell address at the same place the following morning; and, at a little prayer meeting in the evening, we were both commended to the Lord for our approaching voyage to England.

As the time for our departure from the United States had now arrived, on Wednesday, June 2nd, at 9.22 a.m., we started (via Syracuse, Richland, and Watertown) for Cape Vincent, at the north-east extremity of Lake Ontario; reached our destination at half past 6, and, embarking in the boat which was waiting, after a pleasant little voyage of eleven miles across the lake, landed at Kingston at half past 8, and went to the "British American Hotel."

On the following morning we rose at half past 3, went on board the steamer "Spartan" and started for Montreal. The vessel was crowded with passengers, but, the weather being fine, the voyage was delightful.

After leaving Lake Ontario, we passed through the "Lake of the Thousand Islands" (as the first 40 miles of the river St. Lawrence are called) surrounded by the most beautiful scenery, reached Ogdensburg in a few hours, and at 4 o'clock went down "the Rapids," a dangerous passage, formerly considered impracticable, but now, by the help of Indian pilots, successfully accomplished. In the evening, at the close of a long day's voyage, we arrived at Montreal, changed steamers there, and after a favourable night passage, on Friday morning, June 4th, at half past 7, landed at Quebec.

On the evening of that day Mr. Muller preached at the Hall of the Young Men's Christian Association, but there was no time for him to hold further meetings before our departure for England.

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