Mr. Müller relates the following incidents in connection with the purchase of the land for the Fourth and Fifth Orphan-Houses, after receiving five thousand pounds for the Building Fund:
“I had now, through all that had come in since May 26th, 1864, including this last-mentioned donation, above Twenty-Seven Thousand Pounds in hand. I had patiently waited God’s time. I had determined to do nothing, until I had the full half of the sum needed for the two houses. But now, having above Two Thousand Pounds beyond the half, I felt, after again seeking counsel from God, quite happy, in taking steps for the purchase of land.
“My eyes had been for years directed to a beautiful piece of land, only separated by the turnpike road from the ground on which the New Orphan-House No. 3 is erected. The land is about 18 acres, with a small house and outhouses built on one end thereof. Hundreds of times had I prayed, within the last years, that God for Jesus’ sake would count me worthy, to be allowed to erect on this ground two more Orphan-Houses; and hundreds of times I had with a prayerful eye looked on this land, yea, as it were, bedewed it with my prayers. I might have bought it years ago; but that would have been going before the Lord. I had money enough in hand to have paid for it years ago; but I desired patiently, submissively, to wait God’s own time, and for Him to mark it clearly and distinctly that His time was come, and that I took the step according to His will; for whatever I might apparently accomplish, if the work were mine, and not the Lord’s, I could expect no blessing.
But now the Lord’s mind was clearly and distinctly made manifest. I had enough money in hand to pay for the land and to build one house, and therefore I went forward, after having still asked the Lord for guidance, and being assured that it was His will I should take active steps. The first thing I did was, to see the agent who acted for the owner of the land, and to ask him, whether the land was for sale. He replied that it was, but that it was let till March 25th, 1867. He said that he would write for the price. Here a great difficulty at once presented itself, that the land was let for two years and four months longer, whilst it appeared desirable that I should be able to take possession of it in about six months, viz., as soon as the conveyance could be made out, and the plans be ready for the New Orphan-House No. 4, and arrangements be made with contractors.
But I was not discouraged by this difficulty; for I expected, through prayer, to make happy and satisfactory arrangements with the tenant, being willing to give him a fair compensation for leaving before his time had expired. But, before I had time to see about this, two other great difficulties presented themselves: the one was, that the owner asked £7,000 for the land, which I judged to be considerably more than its value; and the other, that I heard that the Bristol Waterworks Company intended to make an additional reservoir for their water, on this very land, and to get an Act of Parliament passed to that effect.
“Pause here for a few moments, esteemed Reader. You have seen, how the Lord brought me so far, with regard to pecuniary means, that I felt now warranted to go forward; and I may further add, that I was brought to this point as the result of thousands of times praying regarding this object; and that there were, also, many hundreds of children waiting for admission; and yet, after the Lord Himself so manifestly had appeared on our behalf, by the donation of £5,000, He allows this apparent death-blow to come upon the whole.
But thus I have found it hundreds of times since I have known the Lord. The difficulties, which He is pleased to allow to arise, are only allowed, under such circumstances, for the exercise of our faith and patience; and more prayer, more patience, and the exercise of faith, will remove the difficulties. Now, as I knew the Lord, these difficulties were no insurmountable difficulties to me, for I put my trust in Him, according to that word: “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.” (Psalm ix. 9, 10).
I gave myself, therefore, earnestly to prayer concerning all these three especial difficulties which had arisen regarding the land. I prayed several times daily about the matter, and used the following means: 1. I saw the Acting Committee of the Directors of the Bristol Waterworks Company regarding their intended reservoir on the land, which I was about to purchase, and stated to them, what I had seen in print concerning their intentions. They courteously stated to me, that only a small portion of the land would be required, not enough to interfere with my purpose; and that, if it could be avoided, even this small portion should not be taken.
2. This being settled, I now saw the tenant, after many prayers; for I desired, as a Christian, that if this land were bought, it should be done under amicable circumstances with regard to him. At the first interview, I stated my intentions to him, at the same time expressing my desire that the matter should be settled pleasantly with regard to himself. He said that he would consider the matter, and desired a few days for that purpose. After a week I saw him again, and he then kindly stated, that, as the land was wanted for such an object, he would not stand in the way; but that, as he had laid out a good deal on the house and land, he expected a compensation for leaving it before his time was up. As I, of course, was quite willing to give a fair and reasonable compensation, I considered this a very precious answer to prayer.
3. I now entered upon the third difficulty, the price of the land. I knew well how much the land was worth to the Orphan Institution; but its value to the Institution was not the market value. I gave myself, therefore, day by day to prayer, that the Lord would constrain the owner to accept a considerably lower sum than he had asked; I also pointed out to him why it was not worth as much as he asked. At last he consented to take £5,500 instead of £7,000, and I accepted the offer; for I knew that by the level character of the land we should save a considerable sum for the two houses, and that by the new sewer, which only a few months before had been completed, running along under the turnpike road near the field, we should be considerably benefited. In addition to these two points I had to take into the account, that we can have gas from Bristol, as in the three houses already in operation.
And lastly, the most important point of all, the nearness of this piece of land to the other three houses, so that all could easily be under the same direction and superintendence. In fact, no other piece of land, near or far off, would present so much advantage to us, as this spot, which the Lord thus so very kindly had given to us. All being now settled, I proceeded to have the land conveyed to the same trustees who stood trustees for the New Orphan-Houses No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3.—I have thus minutely dwelt on these various matters for the encouragement of the reader, that he may not be discouraged by difficulties, however great and many and varied, but give himself to prayer, trusting in the Lord for help, yea, expecting help, which, in His own time and way, He will surely grant.”