The Preaching Tours and Missionary Labours of George Muller - LightNovelOnl.com
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One of these dark vaults contained a stone figure, representing a man stretched out at full length upon a rack, with his arms drawn up above his head, to show the manner in which the limbs of victims used to be gradually torn from their bodies, by means of machinery, which ruptured their blood vessels also, and dislocated their bones. Then, on the walls were iron rings, to which, with outstretched arms, condemned criminals were fastened in such a way that it was impossible to move; and there, without food or water, they were left to perish. In another of the dungeons was a second figure, of a man in chains, standing upright, but fettered so cruelly that, if it had been a living human being, the agony occasioned by the bonds would have been excruciating. Some of the prisoners, not killed by cold and hunger, were partially devoured by rats, whilst others were slowly put to death by atrocities that rivalled even the dread punishments of the Inquisition. A wall smeared with blood, which has left indelible stains, was also pointed out, together with a trap-door in the roof of these dungeons, through which the condemned were let down into their dreary sepulchres beneath.
It may seem almost strange to dwell even for a moment upon such horrors; but it should be remembered that the terrible deeds just adverted to were _facts_. Many of the Lord's people too, in years gone by, have had to pass through fiery trials such as these. Deep gratitude should therefore fill our own hearts, that _we_ do not live at a time when, and in countries where, such outrages can legally be perpetrated. The present Emperor of Austria, Francis Joseph I. (as our guides informed us) once caused himself to be shut up for a few hours in the dungeon where the second figure was, in order that he might be able, practically to enter into the terrible character of these prisons; and afterwards gave orders, that no condemned criminals should in future be subjected to such punishments.
On Nov. 1st we left Brunn, and went to Prague, the capital of Bohemia, 135 miles distant, where Mr. Muller preached six times, including an English meeting on Nov. 3rd, at the Presbyterian Church, and two services on the 6th and 7th, in German, at the American-Bohemian Chapel, with translation into the Bohemian language, by the pastor, Mr. Clark.
At most of these meetings, nearly half the hearers were papists, several of whom (we heard) were deeply impressed by the preaching of the gospel.
Information also reached us, whilst at Prague, that much blessing resulted from my husband's ministry at Pesth.
Prague has a population of about 163,000, out of which number 12,000 are Jews, who live in the Judenstadt. The city contains 50 Churches, 22 Chapels, 17 Convents, 2 Protestant Churches, 11 Synagogues, and more than 300 Factories. John Huss used to preach at St. Gallus Church; but he, and his friend Jerome of Prague, were eventually burned at Constance, as heretics.
After a visit of a few days only, on Wednesday, Nov. 8th, early in the morning, we left for Dresden, Saxony, via Bodenbach, on the Bohemian frontier; travelled through a district (called from its mountainous, picturesque character the "Switzerland of Saxony"), and reached Dresden in the afternoon. There, in consequence of letters not having reached the persons for whom they were intended, no meetings could be arranged for Mr. Muller until Sunday evening, Nov. 12th, when he preached in English at the Presbyterian Church. On the 14th he gave an address in a drawing-room, at the house of Col. Rose, and on the 15th held a meeting in the large saloon of Braun's Hotel.
On Nov. 16th we went to Leipsic, where, the following evening, he spoke at a drawing-room meeting, held at the house of Dr. Konig; and on the 18th addressed about 200 students at a Hall in the city, in the presence of some of their professors, and a few other gentlemen. On the morning of Sunday, the 19th, he spoke to 300 children, some students and other persons, at Dr. Konig's Sunday-school; and in the afternoon at 5 o'clock, preached at the American Chapel, in English.
During our short visit to Leipsic, the winter set in with great severity, and snow fell the greater part of each day that we remained.
This city is the great centre of the German book trade; it has 300 booksellers' Establishments, representing 4,500 firms; 300 hand- and steam-presses, and a Booksellers' Exchange.
On Monday, Nov. 20th, we left Leipsic for Halberstadt, and early in the afternoon walked through the town (a quaint, old-fashioned one) to the Cathedral School, which is near the spot, formerly occupied by the buildings, where, in his youthful days, my husband went to school. We visited the fine, old Protestant Cathedral also, containing the altar, at which, when a young man, he received the Lord's supper for the first time.
The next morning, a carriage conveyed us to Kroppenstadt (where he was born), twelve miles distant, when he remarked that the road leading to this town looked much the same as it did when he was a boy, except that fruit trees have since been planted on each side of it, instead of poplars. At Kroppenstadt (visited on this occasion for the first time since his childhood), Mr. Muller held two meetings at a large Hall, when (by particular request) he gave an account of his life and labours, and preached the gospel also, fully and faithfully at the same time, to the inhabitants of his native place, who flocked to hear him in such numbers that the building was crowded to overflowing. These two meetings were very precious ones. Early on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 23rd, we visited the house in which he was born, and then drove to Heimersleben, three miles distant; where the pleasant dwelling that became his home after his parents had removed from Kroppenstadt, looked much the same as it did many years ago.
On the afternoon of that day we left Heimersleben, and proceeded to Berlin, 110 miles distant, where, on Sunday evening, Nov. 26th, he preached at St. Johannes Kirche, Alt Moabit, to a large congregation; and held meetings at Christus Kirche the three following evenings. On the 30th Nov. he spoke at the Vereins Haus, and on Dec. 1st preached at the Hall of the Moravian Brethren. The afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 3rd, was devoted to a meeting for 100 Sunday School children, at the house of some Christian ladies; and in the evening at 6, he preached again at St. Johannes Kirche, Alt Moabit. At a drawing-room meeting held at the house of Mr. Gartner, on Dec. 2nd, he addressed about 80 gentlemen and ladies, and on the 5th preached at Jesus Kirche in the evening, from John xiv. 13, 14. On the 6th and 8th he held meetings again at this church; spoke at the Hall of the Moravian Brethren on the 7th; and on Sunday, Dec. 10th, preached at Jesus Kirche in the morning, and at St.
Johannes, Alt Moabit, in the evening. The congregations at all these services were generally large.
Early on the morning of the 11th we left Berlin, and travelling by rail via Schneidemuhl, arrived at Dantzic (a large, fortified town in Northern Prussia, beautifully situated close upon the Baltic, 284 miles from Berlin), in the evening at 6.45. Here Mr. Muller preached twice at the Hall of the Moravian Brethren, four times at the Garrison Church, and once at the Baptist Chapel. At Dantzic he found two of his old Christian University friends, both of whom, after having been 50 years ministers in the town, had celebrated their Jubilee. The intercourse he had with them was of a very pleasant and profitable character.
On Thursday, Dec. 21st, we rose soon after 5; left Dantzic by an early train for Dirschau, and arrived at Koenigsberg in the afternoon at half-past 2. There, on Dec. 21st and 22nd Mr. Muller preached in the evening at a large Hall to upwards of 500 persons; on the 23rd he gave an address at the Moravian Church, and on the 25th (Christmas day) spoke again at the same place. On the morning of the 26th (second Christmas day in Germany,) at half-past 9, he addressed an immense audience of 3000 people at the Tragheimer Kirche, a large building which was crowded to the utmost; and in the afternoon spoke at the Moravian Hall, where hundreds could not get in for want of room. On the 27th he preached again at the Tragheimer Kirche; and on the 28th held a meeting at the same church, which was his closing one at Koenigsberg.
On Friday, Dec. 29th, at 12.36 in the middle of the day, we left for St.
Petersburg, and at half-past 4 reached the Russian frontier, where an inspection of passports and the usual Custom House examination of luggage occasioned a detention of two hours. At half-past 6, however, we obtained a comfortable sleeping compartment in a Russian train, heated with warm air, containing two couches, double windows and a little table, in which we passed the night; and the next morning awoke, to find ourselves travelling through a vast wilderness of snow, with which every thing around was laden. On the evening of that day (Dec. 30th), at 6 o'clock, we reached St. Petersburg after a journey of 685 miles from Koenigsberg, and found Colonel Paschkoff, and Princess Lieven at the station, kindly waiting to receive us. The latter (a beloved sister in the Lord), pressed us immediately to make her house our home, but though we at first declined the invitation,--after passing two nights at an hotel, as she still urged us to become her guests, we accepted this offer of hospitality, and were entertained at her mansion with the utmost kindness and affection during the whole of our long visit to St.
On Sunday morning, Dec. 31st, Mr. Muller preached morning and evening in English, at the British and American Chapel, with much help; and, as long as we remained, was engaged day after day in important service for the Lord. During our stay he preached 16 times at the British and American chapel, in English; 8 times in German at the German Reformed Church, 11 times in German at the Moravian Church; held three meetings for the Swedes at the British and American Chapel, with translation into Swedish, attended three pastors' meetings, held 5 large drawing-room meetings at Col. Paschkoff's mansion, conducted two at the residence of Count Korff, and held 35 at the house of Princess Lieven. Besides these services he received visitors as inquirers every day, and had about 40 private interviews of an hour, one hour and a half, or two hours, with three, four, and five Christian workers at a time, either for the purpose of answering questions that had been sent in, or in order to converse with them about different portions of the word of God. At an Evangelical Hospital in St. Petersburg, on the afternoon of Feb. 2nd, he gave two addresses also (in German) to the patients, who occupied four wards; spoke to about 40 children, belonging to a separate Institution under the same roof afterwards; and addressed 30 deaconesses, who labour amongst the patients and the children. On the evening of Friday, Feb.
9th, at 9 o'clock, we were somewhat startled by a visit from the police, with a summons for my husband to appear early the next morning before their chief officer; when, on presenting himself at the Police Court, he was charged with having held meetings with translation into Russ, for which no permission had been given by the Minister of the Interior.
Though he was treated with great courtesy by this functionary, who shook hands with him, and offered a sort of half apology for acting as he did; from that time the services at Col. Paschkoff's house were stopped; but Mr. Muller was allowed to continue his other labours without hindrance.
There is, however, so little real religious liberty in Russia, that the spread of the Gospel is lamentably prevented by the absence of it.
During our visit to St. Petersburg, the cold was occasionally very severe, and more intense than we ever found it in Canada, or in the United States. On March 13th we visited the Church of St. Peter and St.
Paul, which contains the tombs of the Russian Emperors, and passed the spot where Alexander II. was murdered by the Nihilists. A visit in a sledge also, to a little settlement of Laplanders encamped on the Neva upon the ice, gave some idea of the habits of these poor people. A party of Lapps (clothed in skins and furs, with the warm side turned inwards and looking as if _sewn up_ in their thick garments) were standing near a tent. They wear no under linen (we were told), and never wash themselves nor change their clothes, except when they fall off from dirt and constant use. The interior of a Laplander's hut too, upon the ice, presented a miserable, uncomfortable appearance. It consisted of a tent made of skins, with the fur turned inwards, and had an opening at the top, which answered the double purpose of chimney and of window. An iron pot, containing soup, was suspended over a small fire in the centre of this tent, and the floor of ice in the hut was covered by rugs; but all the domestic arrangements inside were of a most repulsive character, and made us feel unspeakably thankful for the mercies and comforts of our own Christian home.
The population of St. Petersburg is about 800,000. "This city is situated on the river Neva, near its entrance into the gulf of Finland, 15 miles from Lake Ladoga, where it is divided by islands into four channels called the Great and Little Neva. The dead flat, on which the city now stands, was once a morass, occupied by a few fishermen's huts, on the site of which Peter the Great began to build in 1703, by erecting a small hut for himself, and some wooden hovels near the Old Fort. The best streets are broad and spacious, and the Nevski Prospekt, is nearly three miles in length."
The last time Mr. Muller held a meeting in _English_ at St. Petersburg was at the British and American Chapel, where on Sunday evening, March 11th, he preached a farewell sermon to a large congregation from Prov.
iv. 23; "Keep thine heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."
On Tuesday, March 20th, at half past one p.m., we left for Warsaw, in Russian Poland, and arrived there the following evening at 10 minutes after 8, after a long, fatiguing journey of 700 miles. On the morning of March 25th (Easter Sunday) my husband preached in German at a Baptist Church; during the week he held four meetings at private houses, and on the following Sunday (April 1st) preached again at the Baptist Church; but as the Russian authorities would not allow him to use the German Reformed Church, our stay at Warsaw was of brief duration only. This city contains 401,000 inhabitants, 127,500 of whom are Jews. There are 217 Synagogues and 653 Talmudical schools at Warsaw, and throughout the whole of Poland (where there are more Israelites than in any country in the world) the Jews number upwards of a million.
Having received a kind invitation to the house of Mr. Janatz, a converted Jew, who lives in the country, 14 miles from Warsaw; on Monday morning (April 2nd), we went by rail to Pruszkow, from which place, a carriage and four conveyed us over four miles of ploughed fields, and across much marshy ground to his residence. After remaining there two hours, a meeting was held in the afternoon, at an Orphanage, a mile and a half distant, where my husband addressed a large company, including orphans, country people, and the workmen on Mr. Janatz's estate.
On the morning of April 4th, at a quarter past 10, we left our friend's house, returned by carriage to Pruszkow and there took the 11.45 train for Lodz (a large manufacturing town in Poland, the second in size to Warsaw and 100 miles from it), where, after changing trains at Koluszki, we arrived at 4 o'clock. There, during the twelve days that we remained, Mr. Muller preached twelve times at the German Baptist Church, upon each occasion to a most crowded congregation, for evening after evening throughout the week, as late as half past 8, about 1,200 hearers assembled, who listened to him with the deepest interest. On the morning of April 10th he received a note in German, of which the following is a translation:--"I, and almost the whole population of this town, in the name of the Lord Jesus, entreat that you will have the kindness to remain with us till after next Sunday. In the name of many thousands I thank you for your ministry."
As every evening during our stay, this church continued to be crowded to the utmost, and avowed infidels even were moved to tears; as the preaching too was the theme of conversation in the factories, public houses, and in many private families, our visit to Lodz was prolonged until April 15th, on which day we rose at a quarter before 5, and after a long journey of 325 miles, arrived at Breslau (Silesia) at half-past 10 that night. There, during the three weeks that we remained, having to give himself in earnest to the writing of the new Report, and to write numerous letters of importance, my husband did not engage at all in the public ministry of the Word. On the morning of May 7th, we left for Dresden; arrived there at 5 minutes to 4 in the afternoon, and in the evening went to the Scotch Church, where he preached in English to a very small congregation compared with the multitudes who had thronged the church at Lodz. On the 8th we proceeded to Hanover; remained there until the 11th, and then, continuing our journey to England (after passing one night at Cologne, a day and a half at Antwerp, and sleeping at Calais, where we arrived at one o'clock in the middle of the night), on the afternoon of May 14th, at half past one, embarked in the "Calais-Douvres," and landed at Dover at 3 o'clock. From there we went on immediately to London, where Mr. Muller spoke seven times at the Mildmay Conference Hall, preached once at Upper Clapton, and once at Kilburn Hall, at the West End of London. On May 26th he held a meeting in German, for a large company of Jews at Whitechapel, and on the 29th we spent a few hours at Belstead, near Ipswich, where he gave an address at a large school for young ladies; the service was attended also by some of the clergy and many residents from the town and neighbourhood.
The meetings just mentioned brought this ninth tour to a close. In the course of his nine missionary journeys, my husband has preached or otherwise spoken in public about Two Thousand Four Hundred times, and we have travelled sixty-eight thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight miles by land and water altogether. On June 1st we left London at 3 p.m., reached Bristol at 5.36, and, upon our arrival on Ashley Hill, were most heartily welcomed home, by a very large company of the Orphan boys and girls, whose warm, affectionate greetings almost melted us to tears.
As these nine long tours are now ended, we desire most gratefully to record our praises and thanksgivings to the Lord for all the mercies and blessings connected with them, and earnestly commend ourselves to the prayers of the believing reader for any future service of the same character in which we may be engaged, desiring especially that help and guidance may be granted us with reference to our approaching missionary visit to India, for which country (God willing) we purpose to embark on Sept. 26th of the present year (1883).
A Brief Account OF THE LIFE AND LABOURS OF GEORGE MuLLER.
By MRS. MuLLER. Price 1s. Nisbet & Co., London; Bible and Tract Warehouse, 34, Park Street, Bristol; and through all Booksellers.
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Narrative of some of the Lord's Dealings with George Muller, in 3 volumes, 9s. 6d.
Jehovah Magnified. Addresses by Mr. Muller. Cloth flush, 2s.; embossed cloth, 3s.; cloth elegant, gilt edges, 4s.
Counsel to Christians. Addresses by Mr. Muller. Cloth limp, 1s.; cloth, boards, 1s. 6d.; bevelled boards, 2s.
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