There are a fair number of books on George Müller and a few written by him. The most important books to read to really know George Müller are the Narratives [The Lord's Dealings With George Müller] of which there are five. These are detailed summaries of how God provided, decisions made, interlaced with wonderful spiritual admonition. Other books that contain his counsel and sermons are, Counsels to Christians, Jehovah Magnified and Sermons and Addresses. Then there is the book by his second wife on their many itineration throughout the globe [Preaching Tours and Missionary Labours of George Müller - Susannah Müller}, and the book by his son-in-law on what took place after he died [Fred Bergin: Ten Years After]. There are also many other books. The most important of the books on George Müller by others is Müller of Bristol, written by his official biographer, A. T. Pierson. I have also included books on people who were influential in his life, such as Henry Craik [his ministry partner and fellow pastor], and Anthony Groves [his first wife's brother who was such an example to Müller]. On the main page there is a link to the three books that he considered the most influential in his life. Müller also gave talks in various places, some of which I have found and will eventually be added. You may have noticed two larger, more modern volumes on the Narratives published by Dust and Ashes. I don't find any address for Dust and Ashes any more, but they were a wonderful source of good books in the past. You can buy them used on various used sites, however. I also like Roger Steer's book on Müller.
Müller began publishing a narrative of God's work at the orphanage beginning in 1837. He states in the preface of the first edition that it was only after much consideration and prayer that he decided to begin writing the first narrative—he states in fact that he prayed more about this step than any other concerning the work of his ministry. Realizing, however, that many believers were suffering trials from a lack of confidence in God in regards to temporal things, or from conducting their business in an unscriptural way, he felt it would be helpful to record the way God directed and provided for his work. He also wanted to let the people supporting his work know how God had blessed the work. Eventually five updates were published, each covering a specific time period. Though it takes quite a while to read the Narratives, you will be abundantly rewarded for the time invested.—Dan (Read the Preface)
This Narratives covers from January to July of 1837. (Read the final Summary.)
This narrative covers from July of 1837 to the end of 1840. As Müller wrote: "In publishing the continuation of the Narrative of some of the Lord's dealings with me, I have thought it well to give it in the same form in which the larger portion of the former part is written. I therefore proceed to give extracts from my journal making here and there such remarks as occasion may seem to require. The first, part of the Narrative was carried on to the beginning of July 1837, from which period the Continuation commences."—George Müller (Read Müller's Summary)
In the third part of the Narratives, Müller provides detail on the time period following December of 1841, but also shares about his efforts to witness in Germany. It follows Müller's work up to May 10, 1844. (Read summary at end of the third Narrative)
The fourth Narrative begins where the third ended and continued to May 26, 1856, a twelve year period!
Narratives Fifth Part - (FORTHCOMING!)
This edition of the Narratives was prepared for the American reader and was to initially include all of them Recognizing that the full editions published together would end up with a book 1800 pages long that would include quite a bit of repetition, it was decided to publish a more condensed version, which was entitled, the Life of Trust.
"Mr. Brooks, in this compilation, has endeavored to select those incidents and practical remarks from Mr. Müller’s Narratives, that show in an unmistakeable way, both to believers and unbelievers, the secret of believing prayer, the manifest hand of a living God, and His unfailing response, in His own time and way, to every petition which is according to His will."—Taken from the Preface of Answers to Prayer.
These addresses were taken down as they were being delivered and published in various places. Müller carefully checked them and writes the introduction to the volume. As attested to in the title, the book is filled with helpful counsel to believers. (Read Müller's Counsel to Christians)
This book of sermons was put together by a printer while Müller was absent on a preaching tour. Müller wrote a preface in which he explains the circumstances of collecting the sermons as well as mentioning that certain items contained—his autograph and the message on his preaching tours—would not have been included. He also mentions that some of the expressions are not his own and reflect the fact that the sermons were taken down as he was speaking and were not always edited by him prior to their being printed. The sermons are still a blessing. (Download a copy of Jehovah Magnified)
About 1.5 years after the death of his first wife Mary (Groves), Müller married Susannah Grace Sanger, someone he had known for more than twenty-five years as a consistent follower of Jesus. Though the new Mrs. Müller became sick to the point of almost dying, after her recovery she joined Müller in 1875 in a new global ministry, which continued until 1892. Müller was 70 at the time. They went on 16 trips and traveled more than 200,000 miles. Their journeys took them to Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia. This book shares the story of those voyages.
Müller had seven motives in going: (1) To preach the gospel in simplicity; (2) to lead believers to know their standing in Christ; (3) to bring believers back to the Bible; (4) to promote brotherly love; (5) to encourage a simpler trust; (6) to promote separation from the world; (7) to fix hopes on the coming of Jesus.
On the first journey he spoke 70 times in 10 weeks. On the second journey he spoke on average one sermon for day for 11 months. On the sixth tour he preached 300 sermons in 272 days. On the seventh tour, he preached 250 sermons, wrote 700 letters in eight months. He preached 200 sermons, traveled 21,000 miles for the 10th tour when he was 79. He traveled 38,000 miles over the course of 19 months on the 11th trip.
I think the Narratives are better and more spiritual, but the Preaching Tours volume provides interesting detail on this important phase of Müller's ministry.
This is the official biography of George Müller. The Narratives had been playing an ongoing autobiographical role while George Müller was living, but James Wright, the new director of the Orphanage and the husband of Lydia, felt burdened to publish a biography to cover the final 13 years of Müller's life that had never been reported. He felt a biography was needed that would not have so much repetition, would be about 450 pages long, and provide greater detail than had been communicated through the various reports prepared immediately following Müller's decease. About that time Wright learned that A. T. Pierson had been asked to prepare a biography for American readers. Pierson, who was both personally acquainted with George Müller and thoroughly supportive of the objectives of the Ministry, was accordingly asked to write the official biography for readers on both sides of the Atlantic.
This book was published shortly after Müller's death. James Wright considered it a helpful and accurate biography of Müller but he still opted to have Pierson pen the official biography—George Mueller of Bristol—to provide greater detail.
This book was copyrighted in 1914 and therefore came after the other books, for the purpose of acquainting later readers with Müller's life, values and ministry, inspire similar exploits of faith, and to reveal the extent of his achievements by placing his exploits in the context of his times. as expressed by the author: "George Müller, of Ashley Down, is a lovely character; George Müller, Bible teacher and Bible distributor, and missionary organiser, is a delight to the Christian; but George Miiller contra mundum, warring against the world, the flesh, and the devil; grappling with one of the chief social problems of the day while yet politicians dared scarcely recognise its existence; rejecting the help of the ungodly but achieving marvels in the name of the Lord—even while almost all Europe was in a cataclysm of revolution—was indeed an apostolic witness of faith." (Read Hardings volume on George Müller's life)
This is Andrew Reed's biography published in 1885.
In my mind this book is a bit sad, in that it describes how various forces played a role in diminishing the work of the ministry. The diminishment began while Müller was still alive, and somewhat foresaw new approaches for orphans, in which they lived in smaller settings. Müller was caring for close to 2,000 orphans at a time at the high point of the ministry—in 1874 he makes the statement that he fed 2,100 people every day. Needless to say, though the children were well cared for and apparently had few if any complaints, a desire for more personal attention led for calls for smaller orphanages. This book also speaks of the diminishment of donations, apparently the will of God, but just the same disappointing. Few people know "the rest of the story." This book shares it and accordingly provides an important piece of Müller's history.—Dan
Henry Craik was George Müller's partner in ministry, first at Teignmouth where they served as pastors of the same church for two years, and later in Bristol at Bethesda Chapel and the orphanage for 33 years. In the foreword, Müller confesses that the members of Teignmouth seemed to appreciate Craik's ministry more than his, which could have been a cause for envy but wasn't. Later at Bristol, his work with the orphanage the Scriptural Knowledge Institution gained greater prominence and could have been a point of envy for Craik but wasn't.
Groves was the brother of Mary Groves, Müller’s first wife. The father of “faith missions,” Grove began donating his possessions to others while still living in England, in his desire to live a life of dependence like the disciples of Jesus. Eventually he became a missionary in Baghdad (Iraq now) and later in India. He desired to help converts form their own churches without financial, training or other dependence on outsiders.
This is the little book that so influenced George Müller.
Groves first served as a missionary in what we know today as Baghad, Iraq.
Müller mentions three books that greatly influenced him: August Francke's Autobiography that he would have undoubtedly read in German, John Newton's autobiographical Authentic Narrative, and Robert Philips' Life and Times of George Whitefield. Francke's book provided the inspiration for an orphanage and the means to make it a work of faith by only seeking the required financial resources from God. From John Newton he learned the importance of keeping detailed notes on what was going on. From George Whitefield he learned the value of having his devotion moments with Jesus on his knees. When I learned of these books being the most impactful books of Müller, I obtained them by way of purchase or as pdfs on the internet. I have placed them here so that you can read them as well.
I should also mention that George Müller is often characterized as a man of "one book": the Bible. And that is true for the most part, though we know that the three books mentioned above were highly impactful in his life. When I visited the Müller Foundation in Bristol, England, they had a bookcase full of his books. Though I wasn't able to touch any of them, from what I could see, they looked pretty untouched. So he wasn't spending lots of time reading them. One might wonder if these books came after his death, but there is a picture of the same bookcase in historical pictures, so one gets the idea they may have came from his era.
While I am at it, I also inquired about the location of the original diaries that contained his personal notes. The person I was talking with suggested their whereabouts are unknown. Someone, somewhere has those treasured diaries, unless they were lost during the war when so many buildings in Bristol were destroyed. I hope they are found some day!—Dan
Here is what A. T. Pierson says about the role Francke's book played in Müller's life:
"For some two months he availed himself of the free lodgings furnished for poor divinity students in the famous Orphan Houses built by A. H. Francké. This saintly man, a professor of divinity at Halle, who had died a hundred years before (1727), had been led to found an orphanage in entire dependence upon God. Half unconsciously George Mueller's whole life-work at Bristol found both its suggestion and pattern in Francké's orphanage at Halle. The very building where this young student lodged was to him an object lesson-- a visible, veritable, tangible proof that the Living God hears prayer, and can, in answer to prayer alone, build a house for orphan children. That lesson was never lost, and George Mueller fell into the apostolic succession of such holy labour! He often records how much his own faith-work was indebted to that example of simple trust in prayer exhibited by Francké. Seven years later he read his life, and was thereby still more prompted to follow him as he followed Christ."
The reading of this book would later also influence Hudson Taylor, as attested to by A. T. Pierson: "It was the witness of Mr. Mueller to a prayer-hearing God which encouraged Rev. J. Hudson Taylor in 1863, thirty years after Mr. Mueller's great step was taken, to venture wholly on the Lord, in founding the China Inland Mission. It has been said that to the example of A. H. Francké, in Halle, or George Mueller in Bristol, may be more or less directly traced every form of "faith work," prevalent since."
Notice the diary entries of George Müller in regard to Francke's influence—he spells the name Franke:
November 20. This evening I took tea at a sister's house, where I found Franke's life. I have frequently, for a long time, thought of labouring in a similar way, though it might be on a much smaller scale; not, to imitate Franke, but in reliance upon the Lord. May God make it plain!
November 21. Today I have had it very much impressed on my heart, no longer merely to think about the establishment of an Orphan-House, but actually to set about it, and I have been very much in prayer respecting it, in order to ascertain the Lord's mind.
"February 9. I read a part of Franke's life. The Lord graciously help me to follow him, as far as he followed Christ. The greater part of the Lord's people whom we know in Bristol are poor, and if the Lord were to give us grace to live more as this dear man of God did, we might draw much more than we have as yet done out of our Heavenly Father's bank, for our poor brethren and sisters."
A. T. Pierson writes: "It was just before this, on the ninth of the same month, that the reading of John Newton's Life stirred him up to bear a similar witness to the Lord's dealings with himself."
Notice Müller's thoughts from his first Narrative: "October 9. I have many times had thoughts of giving in print some account of the Lord's goodness to me, for the instruction, comfort, and encouragement of the children of God; and I have been more than ever stirred up to do so since I read Newton's life a few days ago. I have considered, today, all the reasons for and against, and find that there are scarcely any against, and many for it."
A. T. Pierson wrote: "Early in the year 1838, he began reading that third biography which, with those of Francké and John Newton, had such a singular influence on his own life-- Philip's Life of George Whitefield. The life-story of the orphan's friend had given the primary impulse to his work; the life-story of the converted blasphemer had suggested his narrative of the Lord's dealings; and now the life-story of the great evangelist was blessed of God to shape his general character and give new power to his preaching and his wider ministry to souls. These three biographies together probably affected the whole inward and outward life of George Mueller more than any other volumes but the Book of God, and they were wisely fitted of God to co-work toward such a blessed result. The example of Francké incited to faith in prayer and to a work whose sole dependence was on God. Newton's witness to grace led to a testimony to the same sovereign love and mercy as seen in his own case. Whitefield's experience inspired to greater fidelity and earnestness in preaching the Word, and to greater confidence in the power of the anointing Spirit. Particularly was this impression deeply made on Mr. Mueller's mind and heart: that Whitefield's unparalleled success in evangelistic labours was plainly traceable to two causes and could not be separated from them as direct effects; namely, his unusual prayerfulness, and his habit of reading the Bible on his knees."
Notice George Müller's diary entries: "
Jan. 12. Trowbridge. This evening I commenced reading Whitfield’s life, written by Mr. Philip.
Jan. 13. I have already received blessings through Whitfield’s life. His great success in preaching the Gospel is evidently to be ascribed, instrumentally, to his great prayerfulness, and his reading the Bible on his knees. I have known the importance of this for years; I have practiced it a little, but far too little. I have had more communion with God today than I have had, at least generally, for some time past.
Jan. 14. Lord’s day. I have, continued reading Whitfield’s life. God has again blessed it to my soul. I have spent several hours in prayer today, and read on my knees, and prayed for two hours over Psalm lxiii. God has blessed my soul much today.