« VorigeDoorgaan »
an infant orphan-house, and the next year one for boys. For ten years Muller had no desire to build; but at length thought it the will of the Lord that he should do so, and he began praying for means. The work of building did not commence until the requisite funds had come in. In June, 1849, the first building was opened, and occupied by 250 orphans; and in six months was completely filled, so that plans were at once made to provide accommodation for one thousand children.
This orphan work has now grown until five buildings are none too many for the applicants. Each of these buildings was completed, paid for and occupied, before another was begun. The conditions for admission are-1. The children shall have been lawfully begotten. 2. They shall be bereaved of both parents by death. 3. They shall be in needy circumstances.
For the orphan work above Mr. Muller has thus far received voluntary offerings in many and needful articles to an amount exceeding £500,000.
Great as the orphan work has become, this is only one of five distinct objects which engage Mr. Muller. And for the means of carrying them on he depends entirely upon a covenant-keeping God. These objects are briefly-1. To promote religious instruction in the secular schools of the United Kingdom. 2. Bible distribution at home and for twelve years past, largely in Wales (who can doubt the effect of this in emancipating Wales from papal thraldom). 3. Missionaries in various parts of the world are aided to the amount of £12,000, or more, annually. 4. Religious tracts and books are circulated. Numerous instances of conversion are directly traceable to this agency.
For this comprehensive and costly work, not a single penny has ever been directly or indirectly solicited of human kind. Mr. Muller simply lays his case before God, and asks of Him what he 'needs, and the supply has always been timely and adequate. From the first, the names of contributors have been scrupulously withheld from publication, for fear that praise and notoriety might induce persons to contribute. Every precaution is taken to secure the praise and honour of Him alone whose are all the silver and the gold and the cattle on a thousand hills.
Nowhere is George Muller more respected and beloved than in the city where he dwells. His influence is recognized and felt in more ways than one in Bristol. While his preaching and labours aim at spiritual ends, he is not indifferent to the physical welfare of his fellow-citizens. In so ancient a city, sanitary arrangements are usually very defective. Numerous narrow streets, with their overhanging houses, so pleasing to lovers of the picturesque, but
FACTS ABOUT THE BIBLE.
so prejudicial to health and free ventilation, have been widened, and in new streets the building improvements are perceptible, the conception of which, we were told, was due to Mr. Muller. At the picture shops we sought in vain for his photograph, and were informed that he had steadily refused to have his likeness taken, thinking his consent might be wrongly construed.
FACTS ABOUT THE BIBLE.
THE first Bible Society was that of London, which gave an impulse to the whole population of Christendom. It was formed while England was at war with Holland, Spain, France, and America; a very limited association, confined exclusively to the object of providing the soldiers and sailors of Great Britain with the Word of Life, while it held in its hands the great charter of human rights and the great problem of man's redemption. The British and Foreign Bible Society, resulting from the impulse thus given, was instituted in 1804. At the bombardment of Copenhagen, two shells entered the buildings which contained many thousand copies of the Scriptures supplied by the London Society. These buildings were nearly burned to the ground, that part only escaping in which the Bibles were deposited. These were destined for Iceland, in the strange condition of having 50,000 inhabitants, nearly all of whom could read and write, yet almost entirely without printed books, this want being supplied by transcription. When the British Society turned their attention to it, they found there were not fifty Bibles in the island. It is a singular circumstance in the history of European literature that letters flourished in Iceland between the tenth and fourteenth centuries. The first edition of the Bible in Iceland is said to have been finished in the fifteenth century; if so, they enjoyed this precious treasure in their own tongue previous to any nation in modern Europe. Contrast the then state of things with the present, when the Bible is not only translated, but circulated among nearly all the known languages. I hold in my hand the first translation of the first verse in Genesis, given me by that veteran missionary, Dr. Van Dyck, of Syria, who came to this country some thirteen or fourteen years ago, accompanied by two Arab scholars, and was several years engaged at the Bible house, superintending the printing of the whole Bible in Arabic at a great expense; after completing it he returned to his missionary field in Syria.
While the world has been agitated by the throes of war which have called forth eulogies and panegyrics unnumbered, to my eye the multiplication and circulation of the Bible constitutes one of
LIONS IN THEIR FAMILIES.
the finest and most imposing spectacles in the moral history of the race of man. What limit can be put to its benefits, which concern two worlds, opening up to our faith not only the blessings of this life, but unfolding the glories of the world to come to all who embrace its sacred truths. What a magnificent, transcendent manifestation is the preservation of this sacred volume; midst the countless tomes of books which have come and gone, it stands alone. Solomon said there was no end to book-making; a generation or two wipes them all out, but the Bible remains. What bonfires have been made of its pages; yet it rises again like Phoenix from its ashes. It my be bound with bonds of iron, riveted through and through; yet from out of its hidden mysteries there will be diffused a light tenfold more brilliant than the sun. Yes, the canopy of heaven is studded with brilliants at night all luminous and splendid; amid them all we may discern one constellation more brilliant then the rest. Among the vast productions of genius and literature there may be great brilliancy, but this one great luminary outshines and eclipses them all.
I remember many years ago, at one of the anniversary meetings of the American Bible Society which was held in the old Broadway Tabernacle, that gifted orator, the late Hon. Theodore Frelinghuysen, presented a resolution that the Society should enter upon the great work of distributing the Bible throughout the world, I think it was reserved to this institution to inaugurate such an undertaking.
LIONS IN THEIR FAMILIES.
I HAD not gone far from camp, and, most carelessly, my gun was still unloaded, when I saw my gun-bearer, who had my cartridges, running away at full speed. Knowing that he must have seen something to frighten him so, I did not shout, but went to where he had been standing, and there, not twenty yards off, were a pair of lions; they were both full-grown, and the male had an immense mane. The lioness was rolling on her back, playfully striking at her lord and master with her four paws, like a kitten, while he stood gravely and majestically looking on. I stopped a moment to watch them, though the ground was quite open, and they must have seen me if they had looked round, and then I rushed off after my Kaffir ; but when I had succeeded in getting him they had gone. I once had the pleasure of, unobserved my self, watching a lion family feeding.
I was walking out in Zululand, toward evening; at about a mile from camp I saw a herd of zebras galloping across, and when
LIONS IN THEIR FAMILIES.
they were nearly two hundred yards off, I saw a yellow body flash toward their leader and saw him fall beneath the lion's weight. There was a tall tree about sixty yards from the place, and I stalked up to it, while the lion was too much occupied to look about him, and climbed up. He had by this time quite killed the animal; but instead of proceeding to eat it, he got up and roared vigorously, until there was an answer, and in a few minutes a lioness, accompanied by four whelps, came trotting up from the same direction as the zebras, which no doubt she had been to drive toward her husband. They formed a fine picture as they all stood round the carcass, the whelps tearing and biting at it, but unable to get through the skin. Then the lion lay down, and the lioness, driving off her offspring before her, did the same four or five yards off, upon which he got up, and commencing to eat, had soon finished. a hind leg, retiring a few yards on one side as soon as he done so. The lioness next came up and tore the carcass to shreds, bolting huge mouthfuls, but not objecting to the whelps eating all they could find. There was a good deal of snarling and quarrelling among these young lions, and occasionally a stand up fight for a minute, but their mother did not take any notice of them, except to give them a smart blow with her paw when they got in her way.
At last one of the whelps, having probably eaten as much as it could gorge, began to wander about, and in a few minutes came my way. Seeing it so near, the idea of catching it entered my head, and descending to the lower branch, I waited till it came underneath and dropped down over it, seizing it with both hands; but I had counted without my host; the little beast snarled and bit at my bare arms in such a fashion that I was glad to fling it away and scuttle up the tree again as fast as I could, out of the way of the enraged mother, who was coming down at full gallop, her tail carried out straight behind, and looking the very personification of fury, She rushed right against the tree in her blind fury, and then running up, glared at me and roared terribly. I might easily enough have sent my spear into her; but as there was not the faintest chance of its killing her, and it would answer no useful purpose, I refrained, and watched her instead as she flew at her offspring, and drove it, yelling at her rough treatment, toward the others. There was now left of the zebra but a few bones, which hundreds of vultures were now circling round wanting to pick, while almost an equal number hopped awkwardly on the ground within fifty or sixty yards of it; and the whole lion family walked quietly away, the lioness leading, and the lion often turning his head to see that they were not followed, bringing up the rear.Drummond's "Large Game in South-eastern Africa."
PRAYER FOR STRENGTH.
O! FATHER, infinite, my hands are weak,
And tremblingly seem sinking 'neath the load; Oh! suffer not the tender cords to break:
Stay, Lord, my feeble strength o'er life's rough road.
For I have grasped the burden of my lot,
And welcomed it. "Tis great, and hard doth bear,
And keenly chafe on many a tender spot,
Yet, if sustained by Thee, no weight I'll bear.
For Thou are all omnipotent and wise,
And if proportioned wrong the burden seems, To one so frail and weak, yet I will rise,
Trusting that Thou Thy strength sufficient deems. The burden chafes, because from early friends, From loves of youth, I walk along, condemned; My heart is human, but if One attends
I need none else,-my cause is well sustained. Thou placed me on this earth, midst those who taught Much of Thy wrath. 'Tis well; I thank Thee Lord: But are these later visions all for naught,
Which ope, as buds of promise, from Thy word?
I know they are not; from Thy blest realm they come, Inspiring one of feeble strength to rise,
And offer Thy great love to welcome home
Thy erring children, whom Thou'lt ne'er despise. Thy love, which casteth not aside the sin-defiled, Nor driv'st them to Thyself by fear of wrath, But through Thy Son, our Brother, once reviled, Doth show Thy yearning heart toward all of earth. Thy love, which seeketh not to break our strength, Nor crush to earth-worms Thine own children dear, But which, infused in human souls, at length
Doth raise their love and hopes to Thine own sphere.
Thy love, which will'st the happiness of all,
Though not by rendering void Thy high, pure laws, But through Thy Son, answering our feeble call, Thou show'st man's height assisted by Thy powers.
Therefore, O Lord, I must go forth to these,
These weak, these feeble, impotent and blind, And, in Thy strength, gladly the burdens seize, Seeking to aid the tried of human kind.
For I can ne'er resist this call from Thee—
This call which comes to me from every hand; And though the strength, seems weakness found in me, Yet in Thy strength I'll trust and firmly stand.