“At Hull my kind employer, busily occupied, wished me to remind him when my salary became due. I determined to ask God to bring the fact to his recollection, and so encourage me by answering prayer. At the end of a certain quarter, when my salary was due, one Saturday night I found myself possessed of only a single coin—one half-crown piece. Still I had hitherto had no lack, and I continued in prayer.
“That Sunday was a very happy one. After Divine service in the morning, the rest of the day was filled with gospel work in lodging-houses in the lowest part of the town as usual. It seemed as though heaven had begun below. After my last service at ten o’clock that night, a poor man asked me to go and pray with his wife, as she was dying, and the priest had refused to come without a payment of one shilling and sixpence, which the man could not produce, as the family were starving. It flashed into my mind at once that all the money I possessed was the solitary half-crown, and that it was in one coin, and, moreover, that though I had gruel sufficient for supper and for breakfast, I had nothing for dinner the next day.
“At once there was a stoppage of the flow of joy in my heart. Instead of reproving myself, I began to reprove the poor man. I found he had applied to the relieving officer, and had been told to come at eleven the next morning; but he feared his wife might not live through the night. ‘Ah,’ thought I, ‘if only I had two shillings and a sixpence instead of this half-crown, how gladly would I give these poor people one shilling!’ The truth of the matter was that I could trust God plus one shilling and sixpence, but could not trust Him only, without any money.
“My conductor led me into a court where, on my last visit, I had been roughly handled. I followed up a miserable flight of stairs, and into a wretched room, and oh, what a sight presented itself to us! Four or five starved-looking children stood about, and on a wretched pallet lay the poor mother, with a tiny babe, thirty-six hours old, moaning at her side. ‘Ah,’ thought I, ‘if I had two shillings and a sixpence instead of half a crown, how gladly would I give one shilling and sixpence of it.’ Still unbelief prevented me from relieving their distress at the cost of all I possessed.
“Strange to say, I could not comfort these poor people. I told them not to be cast down, for they had a kind, loving Father in heaven; but something said to me, ‘You hypocrite, speaking about a kind, loving Father when you are not prepared to trust Him without half a crown!’ I was nearly choked. If I had only had a florin and a sixpence!—but I was not yet ready to trust God without the sixpence.
“In those days prayer was a delight to me; and I tried to pray, but when I opened my lips with ‘Our Father which art in heaven,’ prayer seemed a mockery, and I passed through such a time of conflict as I have never experienced before or since. I arose from my knees in great distress of mind.
“The poor father turned to me and said, ‘Sir, if you can help us, for God’s sake, do!’ and the word flashed into my mind, ‘Give to him that asketh of thee’; and in the word of a king there is power. Slowly taking the half-crown from my pocket, I gave it to the man, saying that I was giving him my all, but that God was really a Father and might be trusted. All the joy came back to my heart, and the hindrance to blessing was gone—gone, I trust, for ever.
“Not only was the woman’s life saved, but I was saved too. My Christian life might have been a wreck had the striving of God’s Spirit not been obeyed. As I went home, my heart as light as my pocket, the lonely streets resounded with a hymn of praise. As I knelt at my bedside, I reminded the Lord that ‘he who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord’; and with peace within and peace without, I spent a restful night.
“Next morning, at breakfast, I was surprised to see my landlady come in with a letter in her hand. I could not recognise the handwriting or the postmark, and where it came from I could not tell.
On opening the envelope I found, inside a sheet of blank paper, a pair of kid gloves, and as I opened them, half a sovereign fell to the ground. ‘Praise the Lord!’ I exclaimed; ‘four hundred per cent, for twelve hours’ investment! How glad the merchants of Hull would be to lend their money at such a rate!’ I then and there determined that a bank which could not break should have my savings,—a determination I have not yet learned to regret.”
Andrew Murray, The Key to the Missionary Problem (London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1902), 100–103.