George Müller (born Johann Georg Ferdinand Müller, 27 September 1805 – 10 March 1898) was a Christian evangelist and the director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England. He cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime and provided educational opportunities for the orphans to the point that he was even accused by some of raising the poor above their natural station in British life. He established 117 schools which offered Christian education to more than 120,000 children, many of whom were orphans.
Upon his death, a leading British daily newspaper had this to say of this remarkable man:
Müller is much admired by Messianic Evangelicals. Speaking of the Bible, Müller had this to say:
"The rackety young Prussian student from Halberstadt lived to become at once the oldest and most practical philanthropist of his adopted country. He robbed the cruel streets of thousands of victims, the gaols of thousands of felons, the workhouse of helpless waifs. A man without friends, without influence, without money, without social position and with a dissipated and reckless past, he became, by integrity of conduct and nobility of life, honoured and loved by thousands."
Though a founding member of the Plymouth Brethren, Müller came to oppose the Darbyite pre-tribulation rapture doctrine and, like Messianic Evangelicals, held to a post-tribulation rapture.
""[...] That the word of God alone is our standard of judgment in spiritual things; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in our day, as well as in former times, he is the teacher of his people. The office of the Holy Spirit I had not experimentally understood before that time. Indeed, of the office of each of the blessed persons, in what is commonly called the Trinity, I had no experimental apprehension. I had not before seen from the Scriptures that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world; that in him that wonderful plan of our redemption originated, and that he also appointed all the means by which it was to be brought about. Further, that the Son, to save us, had fulfilled the law, to satisfy its demands, and with it also the holiness of God; that he had borne the punishment due to our sins, and had thus satisfied the justice of God. And, further, that the Holy Spirit alone can teach us about our state by nature, show us the need of a Saviour, enable us to believe in Christ, explain to us the Scriptures, help us in preaching, etc. It was my beginning to understand this latter point in particular which had a great effect on me; for the Lord enabled me to put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and almost every other book, and simply reading the word of God and studying it. The result of this was, that the first evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously. But the particular difference was, that I received real strength for my soul in doing so. I now began to try by the test of the Scriptures the things which I had learned and seen, and found that only those principles which stood the test were really of value."
What attracts us most to him, though, was that he was a firm believer in the power of prayer and expected each prayer to be answered. Once, while crossing the Atlantic on the SS Sardinian in August 1877, his ship ran into thick fog. He explained to the captain that he needed to be in Quebec by the following afternoon, but Captain Joseph E. Dutton (later known as 'Holy Joe') said that he was slowing the ship down for safety and Müller's appointment would have to be missed. Müller asked to use the chartroom to pray for the lifting of the fog. The captain followed him down, claiming it would be a waste of time. After Müller prayed a very simple prayer, the captain started to pray, but Müller stopped him; partly because of the captain's unbelief, but mainly because he believed the prayer had already been answered. Müller said, 'Captain, I have known my Lord for more than fifty years and there is not one instance that I have failed to have an audience with the King. Get up, Captain, for you will find that the fog has gone.' When the two men went back to the bridge, they found the fog had lifted, and Müller was able to keep his appointment. The captain became a believer shortly afterwards.
In responding to the no more important question by an enquirer of how to ascertain the will of Yahweh, he responded with Prussian thoroughness that would have impressed the methodicalness of the Wesley brothers:
George Müller did not believe in being salaried or in making known his financial needs publicly but in solely depending on Yahweh for his provision. He did not, of course, expect Yahweh to create gold and silver and put them into his hands. He knew, however, that Elohim (God) could incline the hearts of men to aid him, and he believed, if the thing that he attempted was of Him, that he would so incline them, in answer to prayer, as his necessities should require. By this means he financed every project he undertook that Yahweh gave him permission to undertake. It is by this means that NCAY expects its own ministers to seek their daily provision, and to labour with their own hands like the apostle Paul to make up any deficit.
- "(1) I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
- (2) Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
- (3) I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
- (4) Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
- (5) I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.
- (6) Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective."
One of Müller's most important pieces of counsel was to seek the simcha (joy) of Yahweh always:
"According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord's work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself."