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The Life of Andrew Murray of South Africa
Chapter IX. The Worcester Pastorate and the Great Revival

If such things are enthusiasm or the fruit of a distempered brain, let my brain be evermore possessed of that happy distemper ! If this be distraction, I pray God that the world of mankind may be seized with this benign, meek, beneficent, glorious distraction.—Jonathan Edwards.

THE congregation to which Mr. Murray was now called to minister in the providence of God formed a marked contrast to that which he had just quitted. The parish of Bloemfontein, at the time of Mr. Murray’s departure, possessed a superficial extent of not less than eighty miles from north to south and one hundred and twenty from east to west. The parish of Worcester was very much more circumscribed: on the east Mr. Murray was separated from his nearest ministerial neighbour at Robertson by only thirty miles, while the distance to his nearest colleague westwards, at Tulbagh, was very little more. Greater still was the contrast between the two congregations in outward aspect. The town of Bloemfontein has no running water, and even the district, though not devoid of rivers, owes hardly anything to irrigation, but depends for its fertility upon the rain and the dew. The district of Worcester, on the other hand, belongs to the best-watered portions of South Africa. When Governor Lord Charles Somerset, in 1819, selected the site for a new township, he did so with a keen eye to the possibilities of the situation. Worcester lies upon a broad plain with a gentle slope towards the Breede River, while a tributary of the latter, the Hex River, affords an unlimited supply of pure, fresh water. The main highway which connects the western districts with the south-east by way of the Breede River, and with the Great Karroo by the Hex River Pass, runs through the village. The visitor who treads its broad streets, shaded by oaks or lined by tall gum-trees, looks down long vistas that open out in every direction upon lofty blue mountains. A more complete contrast it would be hard to find between Worcester, with its smiling gardens and gurgling waters, and Bloemfontein, lying on the edge of a treeless, barren plain, and flanked only by low flat-topped kopjes.

The intellectual and spiritual condition, too, of the new pastorate differed greatly from that of the congregation which Mr. Murray had just left. Shortly after the foundation of the village of Worcester a congregation of the D. R. Church had been established, which in 1824 had been able to welcome its first pastor in the person of the Rev. Henry Sutherland, one of the Scotch clergymen who had been secured for South Africa by the efforts of Dr. Thom. Mr. Sutherland was a man of great piety and devotion, though he never succeeded in mastering the Dutch language, and confessed that he was better at prayer than at preaching. His influence, nevertheless, pervaded the congregation, which he served with great faithfulness for more than thirty-five years, and Worcester counted at this time not a few individuals whose religion, though somewhat formal and precise, was by no means lacking in earnestness and reality. Better educational conditions prevailed at Worcester than Bloemfontein, in spite of the Grey College, could boast of, and very few of the farmer lads and maidens grew up without having had a few years, or at the least a few months, of schooling. In the new congregation Mr. Murray’s flock was within easy reach. His parishioners were no longer stock farmers, owning many thousands of acres apiece, and dwelling upon farms which were sparsely scattered over a wide area, but agriculturists, whose farms, a couple of hundred acres in size, were situated within a few minutes’ drive of each other. It was to very different conditions and to a very different spiritual atmosphere that Mr. Murray came when he exchanged Bloemfontein for Worcester.

His settlement in the charge of Worcester synchronised with the holding of a Conference which, in its beneficent results for Church life and work, possesses for the historian of the D. R. Church an importance outweighing that of many Synods. The establishment of a Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch was the first effort of the D. R. Church to provide an indigenous ministry, and thus to stand, ecclesiastically, on its own feet. At the opening of that institution in November, 1859, the ministers present authorized the “ Stellenbosch triumvirate ” (Professors Murray and Hofmeyr and Rev. J. H. Neethling) to issue an invitation to members of all Christian Churches to attend a Conference at Worcester in the following April, in order to discuss great Church questions and burning problems like the following : missions, education, revivals, the sanctification of the Sabbath, intemperance, the Christian ministry, Christian literature, the public Press, etc. The programme was sufficiently ambitious, and only the most cursory examination of these great matters was felt to be possible; but it must be remembered that, owing to the immense distances and the imperfect means of travel, Christian conferences were as yet unknown in South Africa, while the signs of new life were only beginning to stir in the somewhat sluggish veins of the Chinch, which now sought to give expression to present needs and future hopes.

Mr. Murray at once grasped the significance of the proposed gathering, and in a letter to his brother, dated Bloemfontein, 19th January, i860, discussed some of the details with characteristic penetration—

To Professor John Murray.

I am still in doubts whether I would be able, and in fact whether it would be desirable, as Jan 1 suggests, to be inducted with the Conference. I was indeed delighted with the idea of it and the hope of being present, but I do not know whether its excitement would be a desirable time for having one’s spiritual vocation renewed; unless indeed we had faith to hope that it would be a time of God’s mighty power. I feel much the prevalence and the danger of carnal excitement, of the blood and heat of nature in spiritual work.

In regard to the Conference I have been anxious to say a few things, ist. Do you not almost think that in some points it would be more desirable to have it composed of ministers and members of the Dutch Church alone? This is what I had been led to expect from the first announcement of it in the Kerkbode. In Europe the individual action of the various Churches has been too strongly developed, and united labour is what is necessary to complete their efficiency. With our Church the need, I think, is a stronger individual development. We have no chance of competing with Churches in which the blood and power of a European life and organization circulates. We need to conquer the difficulties of our isolation and of the slow action of our Church courts. The prospect of this being done made me rejoice. But I must confess I do not see much that will result from a Conference of English-speaking missionaries and ourselves. Our people are still so separated from the English on the one side and the natives on the other, that you will find harmonious action to any great extent an impossibility. You know what a friend of the Alliance I am, but I do think that a first meeting like that at Worcester would issue in higher results, if confined at present to the friends of our Church.

2nd. In regard to the subjects to be brought forward, I think you must be very careful about the public treatment of them. The discussion, for instance, of the state of the Press will, I think, do more harm than good, unless your plans for a religious paper are well arranged, and you are sure of success. My opinion is that by private discussion you might succeed in fixing on a number of men to keep religious questions before the public through the medium of existing papers. But if you try and start an opposition to the Volksblad, many will stick to it without knowing why, and be led by it into more determined liberalism than it as yet advocates.

3rd. And now, what strikes me as one of the most needful points for deliberation, if not by the whole Conference then by our section of it, is the supply of ministers for our Church. Servaas [Dr. S. Hofmeyr] has told me what he has written on the subject in Elpis. I fear it will not be of much use. My idea is this, that we ought to realize in our Presbyterian system all the benefits of the Episcopal Church order. What we need is some man (call him an Agent) or some small Committee, at whose disposal funds ought to be placed by the liberality of a few friends of our Church, in order to enable him to get out men from Europe or America. Just think of Mr. Taylor and Mr. Pears in the Graaff-Reinet Presbytery, both above seventy, of five Free State and five Natal congregations vacant, and so on, and what is to become of our Church ? Were there an active man or Committee, would not the Burgersdorp congregation be induced to call a man like Callenbach, or the Aberdeen people to take a man from Scotland, whose expenses in Holland for six months could be borne by our Church here, if not by the Colonial Committee in Scotland?

I see great dangers arising from our want of ministers. On the one hand a secret feeling of dissatisfaction is unconsciously springing up and becoming strong against a Church that does not supply the wants of its members, as well as against individual ministers who venture to leave their parishes vacant, without the immediate prospect of a successor. People do not reason: they are led away by their feelings. They feel that there is blame somewhere, and a feeling of coldness arises towards the Church as impersonated in the clergy. I speak from what I have seen and heard in connexion with Hofmeyr’s and my own departure from the upper country. Now if we really acted in concert and energetically, we surely could get some ten or twelve ministers from Europe or America. And if our Church authorities are so constituted that they either will not or cannot act, let the Conference do it. Let men be appointed who have the confidence which you fear Huet has not, and through their instrumentality let us enter into correspondence with the Churches of Europe. If something be not done, and at once, many will be alienated from our Church, some in open membership, others in secret feeling.

And the other danger to which I was going to allude is almost greater. We retain the members of our Church, but supply them with poison. We compel orthodox churchwardens from very despair to call men whom they do not trust, but who will in course of time exercise a deadly influence upon them. Our conscience tells us that it is not a right state for Christ’s Church to be in, when the unclean in life and the unsound in faith are welcome, yea, are introduced by the Church to the people as fit to lead them to heaven, as worthy of their confidence and entitled to their obedience. And yet we know not how to secure the action of the Church in removing this fearful stain of guilt. Surely those of us who mourn the evil ought to do anything to save our own consciences and our Church, as well as our fellow-men, from such dangers.

So wide-spread was the interest which the Conference aroused, that the Volksblad despatched to Worcester a special reporter, from whose pen we have a very full account of what transpired on the 18th and 19th of April. This account was reprinted from the pages of that newspaper, and issued to the public in the shape of a royal octavo double-columned pamphlet of fifty-two pages. The attendance was representative of some twenty congregations, though it is noteworthy, to one who studies carefully the list of ministers who took part, how few of the fathers of the D. R. Church evinced their interest by being personally present. Only five of the older men attended the

Conference, while of the eleven younger ministers, seven were either sons or sons-in-law of the Rev. Andrew Murray, senior, who was himself there to represent the old guard. Among the prominent ministers and missionaries of denominations other than the D. R. Church, may be mentioned Dr. Adamson, formerly of the Scotch Church in Cape Town, Rev. Tindall of the Wesleyan Church, and Revs. Zahn and Esselen of the Rhenish Mission. The subjects, introduced by papers read to the gathering, and subsequently thrown open for discussion, consisted of the following : Revivals, introduced by Dr. Robertson, minister of Swellendam; Christian Philanthropy, by Rev. Ruytenbeek, missionary of Wynberg; Literature for the People, by Prof. Murray; The Hallowing of the Sabbath, by Dr. Abraham Faure (in absentia); Missions, by Dr. Philip Faure; Christian Governments, by Rev. de Smidt of Robertson; Y.M.C.A. Work, by Rev. Cachet, a young Dutch minister then labouring as missionary among the Mohammedans in Cape Town; and Education, by Rev. J. H. Neethling. Acting upon the advice given by Andrew Murray, the committee of arrangements had omitted from their programme the debatable question of the Public Press. On the evening preceding the Conference, as well as on both evenings during its session, were held largely attended prayer-meetings, which contributed in no small measure towards the maintenance of the spirit of brotherliness and high earnestness in the discussions.

Towards the end of the second day Andrew Murray, acting on the suggestion contained in his letter to his brother, proposed that the Conference should now terminate its proceedings, in order to allow the members of the Dutch Reformed section to discuss a matter of great urgency which appertained to them alone. Before the Conference as thus re-constituted he laid his proposals with reference to an immediate supply of ministers. They ran as follows—

1. That this meeting considers it desirable to depute a brother from its midst to Holland, Germany, Scotland, and if necessary America, in order to obtain the needful personnel to supply the lack of ministers missionaries ,and teachers.

2. That a Committee be appointed which shall carry this matter into execution. The Committee shall arouse interest . . . collect a fund of money . . . enter into correspondence with congregations and persons who desire assistance, and issue the necessary instructions to the deputy.

3. The meeting entrusts this mission to Dr. Robertson of Swellen-dam, and should he be unexpectedly prevented, the Committee is directed to find a substitute.

In moving this resolution Mr. Murray spoke as follows—

It is barely necessary to say anything in explanation of these proposals. But first, with reference to ministers—we have twenty-six vacant congregations. In addition, we have several congregations which will become vacant within the next three or four years. Ten of our ministers have already borne the labour and heat of the day, and have the right to demand assistance, while it is our duty to render that assistance. But where are we to find assistance? Can we devise no plan by which to supply the need? The reply may be, “Is there not a large number of Cape students in Europe whom we may soon expect here? May we not rely on the Theological Seminary, of which we have heard so much, and for which so much money has been collected?”

But when we consider the number of charges that are vacant, when we remember how largely the number of vacancies will increase during the next few years, and when we add the number of congregations that stand in urgent need of assistant ministers, we must be convinced that, even were the twenty students now in Europe immediately available, the existing need would not yet be supplied. And when these had received appointments the need would be doubly great. Up-country there is a crying need of ministers, which is on the increase. In the whole of the Free State there are but two ministers, while there are six vacant parishes and three centres at which new congregations will shortly be established. In all Natal there is only one minister, while six congregations likewise are pastorless. The government of Natal has made provision for the salary attached to three of these charges, and complains that they are not supplied. It is impossible for things to remain as they are. "What is the Reformed Church about that it sends us no men?” is the question asked. In the Free State the Volksraad has voted the salaries of five ministers at £275 each; and the question is repeated, "What is wrong with the Church that she takes no advantage of our offer?" From across the Vaal we hear the same complaint, "Of what use is it for us to be connected with the Dutch Reformed Church? We can get no ministers from her.” It surely is the vocation of the Church to concern itself with the matter, and to attempt to supply this demand.

Hitherto I have spoken only of ministers. The last Synod took a solemn decision to undertake a Foreign Mission. And not a moment too soon, too ; for there is great danger that we shall be left completely behind, while the country is being occupied by other missionary bodies.

In vain have we written to France, Germany, Switzerland and America for assistance in carrying out this project: no men can be found. We know that our mission work must be placed upon a better footing ; but how are we to do that unless we can find men for the work? Hence the idea of sending a brother to Europe and America to seek the needful personnel. It may be asked, "Will not our own young men, in whom the impulse to adopt the ministerial calling is so slight, be even more discouraged from following it?” He who puts a question like that knows very little of the existing need. Moreover, in this matter people act as they do in purchasing popular wares: the greater the demand, the greater the supply. The more ministers there are, the more villages will be established and congregations created, and the greater will be the demand for more ministers and more assistants.

It is hardly necessary for me to speak of teachers. When the question of education was discussed, the crying need for more facilities was pointed out. I see a chance of finding appointments within a twelvemonth for fifty teachers. I saw what happened in the case of five teachers who arrived but a very little while ago. People doubted whether I would find work for the five. As a matter of fact, they had hardly arrived, when I found situations for them ; and five more persons, who badly needed teachers, turned back disappointed. Some one to-day observed what a hoon it would be if Government were to find the salaries of a number of itinerant teachers. The Free State Government has acted nobly in this matter. The Volksraad has provided the salaries of twenty-five such teachers at /30 per annum (hear, hear). But the money remains lying in the treasury, for the men cannot be found.

The minister of Swellendam has remarked that our fellow-countrymen are hesitant about confiding in unknown persons. They want to act as they do when they purchase a horse or a sheep—look it carefully over first. When they have spoken three words with a new arrival, they are satisfied. One man is pleased with the stranger’s friendly manner, another with his fine appearance, another with his fluent speech, and so forth. As soon as they are here, matters soon adjust themselves. With reference to ministers, some congregations are willing to present a call in blank; but most congregations are afraid of calling an unknown man. They would like to see and hear him first, and they say, “Let him come to our country first and we will call him.” It is for this reason that we think it necessary to commission some one to visit Holland, and to bring out a number of ministers and missionaries; for we are convinced that they will soon receive appointments.

The resolution proposed by Mr. Murray was carried with enthusiasm, and the mover was appointed, together with Professor Hofmeyr and Elder J. A. le Sueur of Cape Town, as Committee to take action in accordance with the second clause of the motion. It was estimated that a sum of £2,500 would be necessary to cover the expenses of the delegate to Europe, as well as the passage-money to South Africa of the men whom he hoped to secure. The enterprise, it may be conceived, drew wide-spread attention, and Mr. Murray found himself busily employed in issuing appeals to the Church, visiting congregations, addressing gatherings, and, in general, in stimulating interest and calling forth financial support.

Dr. Robertson meanwhile signified his acceptance of the commission entrusted to him, and after a hearty public farewell in the Great Church in Cape Town, set sail for Europe in June, i860. On his arrival in Holland he found a serious religious situation, which, because of its direct bearing on developments in the near iuture in South Africa, is here described in his own words—

Dr. Robtrison to the Members of the Committee appointed by the Worcester Conference

Utrecht, 12th October, 1860.

Dear Brethren,—Nearly two months have now elapsed since my arrival here, and in the meantime I have come into contact with many people drawn from all circles, and have also had the opportunity of preaching at several places and to very large gatherings. I desire to convey to you unreservedly the impression which I have received during my stay in Holland, leaving it to you to make such use of it as you wish.

All Christians admit that the condition of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands is exceedingly parlous. Liberalism—for so the prevalent form of unbelief is called—has spread itself over the whole land, and seeks to rob the Church of Christ of its most cherished truths. The trinity, the divinity of Christ, the personality of the Spirit, the vicarious suffering of Christ, and naturally all that stands in closest connexion with these truths, are not merely denied but assailed. Miracles are declared to be impossible, and it is flatly denied that they ever happened, while everything that is said of the miraculous in Holy Scripture is declared to be legend or allegorical story. Yes, there are many who hold that the resurrection and the ascension of Christ are not facts, but that whatever is said of these events must also be accounted legendary. The eternity of punishment is, of course, also denied as in conflict with God’s goodness and love; and as for sin, it is looked upon as necessary, and therefore derived from God, or at least willed by Him.

I refrain from lengthy observations on these terrible errors, but feel bound to add that those who judge strictly and conscientiously are of opinion that, of the 1,400 or 1,500 ministers in Holland, only about one hundred can be looked upon as thoroughly orthodox; while others who judge more favourably think that they could find about two hundred. Is it to be marvelled at that under such circumstances I could secure but few orthodox ministers in Holland ? The congregations in general—let me say this to their honour—desire to have pious and orthodox clergymen. I should find little difficulty in obtaining ministers of liberal leanings for the Cape; but these I do not wish to accept. It would be in direct conflict with the trust committed to me, as well as with the declaration demanded by our Church of all ministers.

And there I cannot omit adding that not a few ministers have approached me and declared that they could not conscientiously sign the declaration which the Cape Church requires, and at the same time expressed their astonishment that certain clergymen now at the Cape, whose views when here were well known, have had the courage to do so. It is generally acknowledged here that no minister of liberal views who desires to act honestly can sign the declaration demanded at the Cape. The declaration submitted for signature in Holland amounts to nothing. A man can sign it, and still freely preach the greatest heresies. If our Cape Church is to remain orthodox and faithful to the confessions of the fathers, it ought to admit no ministers coming from Holland, whether they be South Africans or Hollanders, without previously instituting a serious examination into the faith that is in them, and obtaining from them a clear and unequivocal affirmation of their adhesion to the fundamental truths which our Dutch Reformed Church confesses.

Dr. Robertson’s mission was crowned with complete success. In Holland, indeed, he could obtain only two young ministers, Rev. G. van de Wall, who had emigrated to America some years previously, but who, arrested by Dr. Robertson’s appeal while on a visit to the homeland, now felt impelled to hearken to the urgent call from South Africa, and Rev. H. van Broekhuizen, the former’s brother-in-law. Turning to Scotland Dr. Robertson met immediately with a most encouraging response. Eight licentiates of the Free Church expressed their willingness to spend at least six months in Holland for the purpose of learning the language, and then proceeding to the Cape as pastors of congregations in the D. R. Communion. One of the number, Alexander McKidd, volunteered for service in the foreign mission field, and was one of the first two men to engage in mission work beyond the Vaal River, the other being Henri Gonin, a Swiss. In all, Dr. Robertson was able to secure for the D. R. Church the services of eleven ministers2 (out of the twelve he was commissioned to find), two of these being destined for the mission field. He also brought out two thoroughly qualified principals for the public schools at Murraysburg and Burgersdorp, at a salary of £300 per annum, and two private-school teachers for the parish of Glen Lynden, at salaries of from £80 to £100. He reported, moreover, that he could have found many more teachers of excellent character and qualifications, had any congregation definitely commissioned him to engage them. Four pious catechists from Holland completed the tale of Dr. Robertson’s acquisition of men to supply the many vacancies in needy South Africa. The wisdom of the resolution adopted by the Worcester Conference, and the wisdom of the choice of Dr. Robertson as deputy, were now clearly apparent. The men who came out in response to the appeal of the Cape Church proved in almost every case worthy of the trust reposed in them, and continued, some for a longer and some for a shorter period, but most of them for many years, to serve with the greatest fidelity and devotion the land and people of their adoption.

The induction of Mr. Murray to the pastorate of Worcester took place on Whitsunday, the 27th May, 1860. The charge was delivered by Professor Murray, who preached from Acts ii. 1, and the installation was conducted by Rev. R. Shand, consulent of the congregation. In the afternoon of the same day Mr. Murray delivered his inaugural sermon, preaching from 2 Corinthians iii. 8, " How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious?” Great congregations attended these diets of worship, and many members of neighbouring parishes evinced their interest by being present. A feeling of deep earnestness prevailed. Great expectations were aroused that the Lord would richly own the ministry of His servant, who had that day assumed the pastor’s staff with solemn vows. Nor were these expectations disappointed; for, as we shall now see, a gracious God was preparing not the Worcester congregation only, but many others throughout the country, for remarkable manifestations of the power and vivifying influence of His Holy Spirit.

It was from the Worcester Conference that the first impulse went out which issued in a wide-spread and most blessed spiritual awakening in the D. R. Church. At that Conference the subject of revivals had been dealt with by Dr. Robertson, who in his paper recalled to mind the many occasions on which God had visited His Church with a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of prayer and supplication, and with a great revival of vital religion. He then put the question whether such a revival was not equally necessary in South Africa, and proceeded to state the conditions upon which alone God could be expected to revive His work in the midst of the years. An earnest discussion followed. The Conference listened with deepening interest to the account given by Dr. Adamson of the rise and progress of the revival which had recently visited America, and of the circumstances which fostered its growth and spread. These addresses made a deep impression on the Conference, and its individual members carried back to their homes a new sense of responsibility towards their neighbours, and of silent expectation that God would mercifully visit His people with fresh outpourings of His grace. .

The revival commenced in quiet fashion, and without the employment of any special agencies for rekindling the flame of spiritual life. The congregations which were most largely represented at the Conference were those in which the awakening of religious fervour was soonest apparent. Prayer-meetings showed increased attendances, and many new prayer-circles were established. The first congregations in which a true arousal became visible were those of Montagu and Worcester. A remarkable feature of the movement was that the awakening was not confined to towns, but showed itself powerfully even on remote farms, where men and women were suddenly seized with emotions to which they had been utter strangers a few weeks or even a few days before. In the Breede River ward of the Worcester congregation, several months previously, a weekly prayer-meeting had been instituted, in which, however, so little interest was displayed that the usual attendance was but three or four. But when the influences of God’s Spirit began to be felt, young and old, parents and children, white and coloured, flocked to the gathering, driven by a common impulse to cast themselves before God and utter their souls in cries of penitence. From Montagu came the following glad report: "On Sunday evening (22nd July) a prayer-meeting was conducted by Revs. Shand and de Smidt, when the spiritual fervour was so great that people complained that the meeting ended an hour too soon. A year ago prayer-meetings were unknown : now they are held daily, and sometimes as frequently as three times a day, and even among children. Some have doubted whether this be the work of God’s Spirit; but we have witnessed cases in which a man has come under strong conviction of sin, and on that account has suffered indescribable anguish, from which nothing was able to deliver him but prayer and simple faith in the expiatory sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The village of Worcester was powerfully affected by the rising tide of blessing, and, for a time at least, strange scenes were witnessed, which an outsider, unacquainted with the workings of the Spirit of God, would have called undiluted fanaticism. An eye-witness. Rev. J. C. de Vries, has left us the following account of what occurred at meetings at which he was present—

On a certain Sunday evening there were gathered in a little hall some sixty young people. I was leader of the meeting, which commenced with a hymn and a lesson from God’s Word, after which I engaged in prayer. After three or four others had (as was customary) given out a verse of a hymn and offered prayer, a coloured girl of about fifteen years of age, in service with a farmer from Hex River, rose at the back of the hall, and asked if she too might propose a hymn. At first I hesitated, not knowing what the meeting would think, but better thoughts prevailed and I replied, Yes. She gave out her hymn-verse and prayed in moving tones. While she was praying we heard as it were a sound in the distance, which came nearer and nearer, until the hall seemed to be shaken, and with one or two exceptions, the whole meeting began to pray, the majority in audible voice, but some in whispers. Nevertheless, the noise made by the concourse was deafening.

A feeling which I cannot describe took possession of me. Even now, forty-three years after these occurrences, the events of that never-to-be-forgotten night pass before my mind’s eye like a soul-stirring panorama. I feel again as I then felt, and I cannot refrain from pushing my chair backwards, and thanking the Lord fervently for His mighty deeds.

At that time Rev. A. Murray was minister of Worcester. He had preached that evening in the English language. When service was over an elder (Mr. Jan Rabie) passed the door of the hall, heard the noise, peeped in, and then hastened to call Mr. Murray, returning presently with him. Mr. Murray came forward to the table where I knelt praying, touched me, and made me understand that he wanted me to rise. He then asked me what had happened. I related everything to him. He then walked down the hall for some distance, and called out, as loudly as he could, People, silence ! But the praying continued. In the meantime I too kneeled down again. It seemed to me that if the Lord was coming to bless us, I should not be upon my feet but on my knees. Mr. Murray then called again aloud, People, I am your minister, sent jrom God, silence ! But there was no stopping the noise. No one heard him, but all continued praying and calling on God for mercy and pardon. Mr. Murray then returned to me, and told me to start the hymn-verse commencing “Help de ziel die raadloos schreit ” (Aid the soul that helpless cries). I did so, but the emotions were not quieted, and the meeting went on praying. Mr. Murray then prepared to depart, saying, “God is a God of order, and here everything is confusion.” With that he left the hall.

After that the prayer-meetings were held every evening. At the commencement there was generally great silence, but after the second or third prayer the whole hall was moved as before, and every one fell to praying. Sometimes the gathering continued till three in the morning. And even then many wished to remain longer, or returning homewards, went singing through the streets. The little hall was soon quite too small, and we were compelled to move to the school-building, which also was presently full to overflowing, as scores and hundreds of countryfolk streamed into the village.

On the first Saturday evening in the larger meeting-house Mr. Murray was the leader. He read a portion of Scripture, made a few observations on it, engaged in prayer, and then gave others the opportunity to prays During the prayer which followed on his I heard again the sound in the distance. It drew nearer and nearer, and on a sudden the whole gathering was praying. That evening a stranger had been standing at the door from the commencement, watching the proceedings. Mr. Murray descended from the platform, and moved up and down among the people, trying to quiet them. The stranger then tiptoed forwards from his position at the door, touched Mr. Murray gently, and said in English: “I think you are the minister of this congregation : be careful what you do, for it is the Spirit of God that is at work here. I have just come from America, and this is precisely what I witnessed there.”

One Saturday evening Hessie Bosman, who was afterwards married to Rev. McKidd, the missionary, came to the village. At that time she had a school in the Boschjesveld, and when she came to town she lodged with my parents. I said to her at once that she must not think of going to the prayer-meeting, as it would be too much for her in her weak state of health. She replied: "No, I must go, even if it should prove my death; for I have prayed so much for these meetings, and longed so much to take part, that I cannot remain away. No, come what may, I am going!” She attended, and was the third to engage in prayer that evening. While she was pouring out her heart the whole meeting broke forth into prayer, while she fell unconscious to the ground. I carried her out to the parsonage, where they were some time in bringing her round. That night she had to remain the guest of the parsonage, and next day she was herself again. Her later history, her marriage to Mr. McKidd, and her death in the mission-field, are well known. She is now rejoicing before the throne above.

The fruits of that revival were seen in the congregation for many years. They consisted, among others, in this, that fifty young men offered themselves for the ministry, and this happened in days when it was a difficult matter to find young men for the work of the ministry. May God in His mercy again visit South Africa as He did in those days.

When the revival had passed the stage of violent emotion and was running a calmer course, Professor Hofmeyr attempted, in an address to the South African Branch of the Evangelical Alliance, to describe the changes it had effected—changes which in many cases were little less than a revolution. Of the town of Montagu he remarked that the indifference with regard to religion, for which the place was formerly noted, had made way for a tone of seriousness which had imparted itself to the whole community. The appearance of the village had undergone a complete transformation. Even those who felt compelled to disapprove of certain features of the revival were obliged to confess that the general improvement in the conduct of the inhabitants within a few months was really wonderful. In the case of Wellington, again—the congregation with which Andrew Murray was to be so inseparably identified in future years—the consistory stated in its report to the presbytery that the parish had made greater moral and spiritual progress in the last few weeks than in the whole course of its history since its establishment. The same story was heard from the village of Calvinia, lying far away in the north-west. The local member of Parliament, writing thence to his wife, affirmed that he could find no words to express his sense of the marvellous change which had come over the inhabitants since his visit in the previous year.

In this revival, as indeed in all revivals, the strong emotional element discernible in the movement attracted many who were only superficially influenced. But that the leaders of the Church were alive to the reality of this danger is shown by the wise words of Professor Hofmeyr—

We cannot conceal our fear that not a few mistake the natural, sympathetic influence of one mind upon another for the immediate action of the Spirit of God. They join themselves to those who are really earnest in their religious aspirations, and imitate their conduct, but such imitation lasts only as long as the impression continues. To such the world will eagerly point, rejoiced to find another pretext for condemning a piety which is really Scriptural. We are greatly grieved at the self-deceit to which emotional people such as these are subject; but in the present state of human nature we can expect no revival which does not stand exposed to this danger.

However this may be, we thank the Lord that we have good reason to affirm that since the revival began many have been added to the Lord’s flock. Some of them lived in open sin : others, again, perhaps the majority, were men of unimpeachable character in the eyes of their fellow-men. In the light cast upon them and their actions by the Spirit of God they discovered the depth of their inward depravity, and the sad estrangement of their souls from God. In some cases the feeling of misery was for a time overwhelming, and this realization of their own uncleanness and of the transcendent holiness of God, was not, as a rule, the direct result of the preaching of God’s Word. There is a farmer whom I have known for years, a man of quiet and retiring disposition, who in company takes but little part in the general conversation. Two or three weeks ago he was suddenly seized with a feeling of terror when he thought of his sins. For a few days he was subject to a most violent inward struggle, which ended in a joyous and promising conversion. Shortly afterwards he was visited by some of his friends who knew nothing of the change of heart which he had undergone. They were greatly moved when this silent man began to speak to them, in deeply earnest manner and with searching look, of the old truths which through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit had become new to him.

The revival was not confined to one section of the community but affected all ranks without distinction of age or colour. A large portion of the blessing fell on the youth of the congregation. Many of them, who formerly were wholly given over to the pursuit of idle pleasures, came to conversion, and immediately engaged in serious labours for the betterment of their surroundings. They were stirred with feelings of intense sympathy towards their still unconverted relatives and friends. In a certain farmhouse a child who had come to conversion was overheard praying most fervently for the spiritual welfare of his parents, with the glad result that both father and mother yielded themselves to God. Of another young girl, whose heart had been won for Christ, her mother wrote that the marvellous change in the disposition and the conduct of her daughter was to her a divine gift of infinitely more value than all her earthly possessions.

Nor was the revival limited to the European section of the population. Numbers of natives living upon lonely farms as day-labourers, and counted very often as the offscourings of society, came under the influence of the vivifying Spirit. A farmer passing across the veld caught one day the sound of loud lamentation, as though some burdened soul were pouring out its griefs before God. He approached the spot from which the sounds issued, and great was his emotion on finding there a young Fingo girl, who was in the employment of his wife, wrestling with God in prayer for the forgiveness of her sins in the name of Jesus Christ. On returning home he inquired if she had previously exhibited any anxiety about the condition of her soul. His wife replied that the girl had asked her only the day before if Christ had died for her as well as for white people, and if she, too, could hope for pardon and peace.

The spiritual zeal engendered by the revival revealed itself most happily in endeavours to aid the extension of the Redeemer’s kingdom. In various congregations immediate steps were taken to establish auxiliary missionary societies. At Worcester a gift of £200 for missions and larger contributions towards the British and Foreign Bible Society, testified to the new spirit which animated the community. In Calvinia a villager gave up his comfortable home and betook himself to a “location” of half-breeds, in order to proclaim to these neglected beings the love of God in Christ; the local Christians making themselves responsible for the maintenance of preacher and family.

As to Mr. Murray’s direct share in promoting and guiding the revival movement, we have the testimony of Rev. C. Rabie, who writes as follows—

Mr. Murray arrived at Worcester just at the right time. The congregation had been faithfully served by old father Sutherland, but the religion of the majority was merely formal. Only one or two of the oldest members used to engage in prayer, nor was it permissible for women to take audible part in the prayer-meeting. No one would venture at that time to affirm that he was converted or regenerated : that was held to be great presumption. Mr. Murray’s share in [the earlier part of] the Conference of i860 was confined to a prayer, but it was a prayer so powerful and so moving that souls were instantly brought under deep conviction of sin, and we may safely say that the revival which ensued dated from that moment.

When Mr. Murray commenced his ministry on the 27th May with his sermon on " the Ministration of the Spirit,” there was a general movement among the dead bones. His preaching was in very deed in the ministration of the Spirit and of power. It was as though one of the prophets of old had risen from the dead. The subjects were conversion and faith : the appeals were couched in terms of deadly earnestness. Let me mention some of his texts. "What meanest thou, O sleeper? Rise and call upon thy God ” (Jonah i. 6). " He that believeth not shall be damned ”(Mark xvi. 16). At a sacramental service: “Friend, how earnest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?” (Matt, xxii. 12). His pulpit manner was very violent, and bookboard and Bible were soundly belaboured.

Mr. Murray was a man of power in his catechizations. I was one of those privileged to be confirmed by him. He carried his catechumens to the Bible, and made them read and explain it. When the class was over, two or three were directed to remain behind, in order that he might speak with them about the condition of their soul. These were moments never to be forgotten. Not a few date their spiritual birth from those talks. His pastoral visitation carried terror to the hearts of his parishioners. If his preaching was like thunderbolts from the summit of Sinai, what would personal rebuke be like ? People felt under the earnestness of his individual dealing that they were being ground to powder. On one occasion, at the close of a prayer-meeting, he proceeded to deal with each individual present. One lady, observing how her pastor drew nearer and nearer to where she sat, became gradually more and more uneasy, until, as Mr. Murray turned to her, she fell upon her knees, ejaculating, "O Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” This, however, I must add, that there is a wide cleft between the stem Mr. Murray of those days and the loving and gentle Mr. Murray whom we knew In later years.

The revival was not confined to the more privileged congregations of the west, but spread during the course of 1861 throughout the Central Karroo and beyond, visiting even congregations that were pastorless. Beaufort West, Murrays-burg, Graaff-Reinet, Lady Grey, Bloemfontein—all shared in greater or less measure in the rich spiritual harvests of this period of grace. Andrew Murray contributed in no small degree to the diffusion of the blessings of the revival. He was invited to be present at Conferences held at such widely-separated centres as Cape Town and Graaff-Reinet, and wherever he spoke the impression was immediate and profound. At the latter place, during the Conference of April, 1861, the closing service was assigned him, when he spoke from 2 Chronicles xv. 12, “They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul.” Of this sermon one who was present wrote :—"We refrain from offering any observations on this most impressive discourse. Much had been told us of the talents of the young preacher, whom we were privileged to hear for the first time, but our tense expectation was far surpassed. We cannot but reiterate the heartfelt conviction, to which one of the daily papers has given utterance, that it would be the greatest of blessings for the D. R. Church of South Africa if she possessed a dozen Andrew Murrays of Graaff-Reinet to give to the Church as many and such-like sons as he has given.”

Of Mr. Murray’s home-life at Worcester, one of his daughters gives the following recollections, which prove that he was not always so stern and unbending as his public utterances and his pastoral work would lead us to suppose—

One of my earliest recollections is of father pointing out, on a map of the Religions of the World which hung upon the wall, the position of the United States of America, where the Civil War was then raging, and saying to us, “They are fighting that the slaves may be free.” On winter evenings father would read to us Moffat's book, Rivers of Water in a dry Place, and at the description of adventures with lions, he would cause us great terror by imitating the roar of these beasts of prey. Frequently our evening would end with a wild romp on Tom Tiddler's ground. We were early taught to forgo our Sunday allowance of sugar, and to place a threepenny bit in the mission-box as the witness to, if not the result of, our act of self-denial.

Many missionaries stayed with us from time to time, whose names I have for the most part forgotten. Dr. Duff, the famous missionary from India, was one ; also Fr6doux, McKidd, Mr. and Mrs. Gonin and others. Of Mr. McKidd father used to tell the story of the first two Dutch words which he learnt, Beetje bidden (a little prayer). He would sometimes become impatient of the frequent interruptions which befell, and remarked to father, “Satan is trying to keep us from praying,” to which the reply was, “These interruptions come by God’s permission, and are intended to perfect Christian character.”

On summer afternoons father and mother would sometimes take us children for an outing up the hills, when we would be regaled on cake and coffee, and father would then set up a bottle, and teach us to throw at and hit it with stones. Occasionally he was absent on long journeys from home, and great were the excitement and the joy when he returned. Right well do I remember the early start, on a foggy morning, of the waggon and horses which took father and the Gonins away to the Transvaal, Mr. McKidd travelling, I believe, in another waggon.

The journey referred to in the previous sentence was undertaken during the months of April, May and June, 1862. As member of the Mission Board specially commissioned to further the interests of the Foreign Mission, Mr. Murray felt it incumbent upon himself to accompany Messrs. McKidd and Gonin to the scene of their labours beyond the Vaal. Matters were not yet in perfect train for the new enterprise. Beyond the general indication “north of the Vaal River, if possible on the confines of the congregation of Lydenburg,” the Synod had left no specific instructions as to the situation of the proposed field of labour. It was therefore necessary to view the country, decide upon the best site, and secure the permission of the Transvaal Government to engage in mission work. But while the Dutch Reformed Church was seeking missionaries among the young probationers of Scotland and Switzerland, another Mission, the Berlin Society, had established itself in the district of Lydenburg, and it was now necessary to seek a sphere of work elsewhere.

It is a far cry from Worcester to Rustenburg, where the search for a mission-held was to commence—nearly a thousand miles—but the journey was prosperous, and the mission party reached the fertile valley in the Magaliesberg towards the middle of May. Mr. Murray then proceeded to Pretoria, in order to confer with the members of the Executive Council resident at the capital. The latter granted the required permission, adding, however, the proviso that the consent of the native chief of a given district must be secured previously to the Mission being established there. Mr. Murray then returned to Rustenburg, and placed himself in communication with Paul Kruger, the famous State-president of after years, whom he describes to his wife as “ Boer Commandant, and great man of influence among the natives.” How the efforts to obtain the favour of the local great chief fell out is told by Mr. Murray in the following letter—

To his Wife

Rustenburg, 30th May.—We got here from Pretoria last Saturday evening, with the permission of the Uitvoerende Rpiad (Executive Council) to go on, and immediately sent off an express to the Commandant Kruger. He appointed Tuesday at the kraal of the chief Magato. When we met him there, the chief must needs see and consult his people first. They are so afraid of losing their many wives—this is almost all they have heard of the Gospel. On Thursday we went again to hear the decision. We were all full of the confident hope that we should witness the triumph of our King (it was Ascension Day) in the opening of the door here. When the large gathering of some forty petty chiefs was asked whether they would have the teacher, they all answered No. It was no slight disappointment to us, but it drove us out to celebrate our festival in faith, and the day with its service in the open veld will not soon be forgotten. We are now all uncertainty, waiting for God’s leading. We may be detained for some time, as the next chief we proposed going to is away hunting. We are thus kept waiting on the Lord—an exercise not easy, but I trust profitable.

In a letter to his children Mr. Murray describes the further experiences of the missionary prospectors—

To his Children.

You know we want to find a place where Mr. McKidd and Mr. Gonin can preach about Jesus, and for this we must ask the permission of the chief. One chief, Magato, had said No. So we went to another, who had such a funny name, Ramkok. We left Rustenburg on the Wednesday morning, and reached a Mr. Kruger on Thursday evening. He is a good, pious man. Perhaps Mamma has told you that some of the white people here do not wish the black people to be taught about Jesus. This is because they do not love Him themselves. But Mr. Kruger says that when God gave him a new heart, it was as if he wanted to tell everyone about Jesus’ love, and as if he wanted the birds and the trees and everything to help him praise his Saviour ; and so he could not bear that there should be any poor black people not knowing and loving the Saviour whom he loved.

When we got to Mr. Kruger's we found the house so very small, that we all stayed outside and lived in the open air beside our little waggon. God was so kind and gave us such nice weather, that we all said it was just as pleasant as living in the house. We had two places, each beside a bush; and we called the one our sitting-room and the other our diningroom. The dining-room was so arranged that the wind could not reach us, and when the sun rose in the morning, it just shone upon it, so that it was nice and warm. When the sun grew too hot, we went to our' sitting-room, a nice little bower, where the overhanging branches spread a pleasant shade. Mr. and Mrs. Gonin slept in the waggon, and all the rest of us in a large bed, which we made of some grass we had cut. It was so pleasant to wake in the morning as day was breaking, and to see the sunlight coming gently over the blue heavens.

On Friday morning Mr. Kruger sent a message to Ramkok to come and have a talk with us. He did not come till Sunday afternoon ; so we had two days to wait. It was just the day of Pentecost, and Papa preached in the morning and the afternoon. When Ramkok came after the afternoon service we hoped that God might make his heart willing to listen to the missionaries. We sat down to talk to him. He is a poor old heathen, with nothing on but an old soldier’s cloak. He did not look at all like a chief. With him were about twelve other chiefs, and we told them what we had come about. But, poor man, he did not want the missionaries. He was afraid he would have to leave his wickedness. We told him the Book would make him happy, but no, he was afraid and would have nothing to do with us.

. . . Papa is longing for his little darlings, but cannot say for certain when he will be able to come—perhaps about the middle of July. He hopes you will be very good indeed to Mamma, and very loving to each other ; and that when he comes each one of you will be able to say a little hymn and a little text. And I will see what Andrew 3 has learnt at school, and whether Emmie can sit still and hem a handkerchief, and how little Mary can thread beads. And even little Katie can learn a very little text, and little Boy must learn to laugh very prettily by the time Papa comes home.

The days spent at Paul Kruger’s farm were momentous for another reason, which Mr. Murray reveals in letters to his wife written on the return journey. Writing from Faure-smith at the end of June, he says—

To his Wife.

The two days of waiting before Whitsunday at Paul Kruger’s were not lost. It was during these days that I felt that which I wish I could retain and impart to you. The thought of the blessing of the indwelling Spirit appears so clear, the prospect of being filled with Him at moments so near, that I could almost feel sure we would yet attain this happiness. The wretchedness of the uncertain life we mostly lead, the certainty that it cannot be the Lord’s pleasure to withhold from His bride the full communion of His love, the glorious prospect of what we could be and do if truly filled with the Spirit of God,—all this combines to force one to be bold with God and say, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.”

I yesterday preached from the words, “Be filled with the Spirit,” and am only strengthened in the conviction that it is our calling just to take God’s Word setting forth what we are to be as it stands, and seek and expect it, even though we cannot exactly comprehend what it means. In all the experience of the blessings of the Gospel, the intellect must follow the heart and the life.

We did not forget on Saturday evening that it was, if I calculate aright, the anniversary of the beginning of the great revival movement. May the Lord now grant us His Spirit, that all who believe may be filled with His grace and become entirely His.

I have forgotten to mention that I am bringing you up another son, a boy of fourteen, from Mooi River, to study for the ministry. He is highly spoken of for talent and religious disposition. His name is Hermanus Bosman, and he is a relative of the Stellenbosch people of that name.

To bring to a conclusion the story of the search for a mission-held, it must suffice to say that the faith of the missionaries was severely trited. A full year passed before Mr. McKidd, who in the meantime had been united in marriage by Mr, Murray to Miss Hessie Bosman, received an invitation to settle in the vicinity of the Zoutpansberg Range. The invitation came from a tribe of natives known as the Buyses, who were the descendants of a notorious outlaw, Coenraad Buys, a man who during the latter years of the eighteenth century had fled to Kaffirland, and married a sister of the great Kaffir chief, Gaika. Here McKidd began his work with truly great devotion and assiduity. The climate, however, was pestilential. His station lay within a few miles of the site of the old Boer settlement where so many of the early voortrekkers, visited by Murray and Neethling in 1852, had been stricken to death. The McKidds arrived at the Zoutpansbergen in May, 1863 ; in May, 1864, Mrs. McKidd was carried off by fever ; in May, 1865, Mr. McKidd followed his wife to the grave. But though God buried His workers, He carried on His work through the instrumentality of Stephanus Hofmeyr, who was spared to labour with great success for a period of forty years. Mr. and Mrs. Gonin, the other two of the pioneer band, remained in the Rustenburg district, patiently waiting in quiet faith until it should please God to open the door. After nearly two years, which they spent in acquiring the native language, the farm of Paul Kruger was purchased by Mr. Gonin and the Bakhatla chief Gamajan jointly, and upon this farm the former commenced a mission which he continued successfully to prosecute until his death in 1911.

It was during the course of his ministry at Worcester that Mr. Murray issued, in the Dutch language, the earliest of those devotional manuals which have since been blessed to so many thousands in all parts of the world. His first published work was an illustrated life of Christ for children entitled Jezus de Kindervriend, which appeared while he was still at Bloemfontein, in August, 1858. The first of the books dating from the Worcester period was Wat zal toch dit kindeken wezen? (What manner of child shall this be?), the original of the English, The Children for Christ. The Dutch version was published in 1863, though the ideas which underlie it had been germinating in his mind for some years previously, as appears from the following letter, dated Boshof, ioth March, 1860—

To his Wife.

Did you ever observe the promise, as applicable to parents when God grants them children, "Whosoever receiveth a little child in my name receiveth ME?" If we only knew how to accept our children in His name, as given by Him, to be educated for Him, and, above all, as bringing a blessing to the home where they are rightly welcomed, how rich the reward would be! There would be not only the thousand lessons which they teach, and the joys they bring, but the reward of receiving Christ. I think constantly of our sweet little darlings What comfort it would bring, amid all regrets about lost opportunities, and defects apparently incurable, if one could leave children behind who have really profited by our experience, not “like their fathers a stiff, rebellious race." Surely this is obtainable, and instead of parental piety being diluted in the children—this is so often spoken of as what we must expect —each succeeding generation of a God-fearing family ought to rise higher and higher. This principle of progression is acknowledged in all worldly matters, and also in religion, so far as concerns its general effects on a nation or a large portion of society ; and surely a true faith in God, as the God of our seed also, should not be afraid to expect this for individual families. This subject of parental and domestic religion may be more closely connected with ministerial success than we think. Paul, at least, thought so, when he spoke of the necessity of a bishop’s knowing how to rule his own house well; and so did our Saviour, since in answer to the disciples' question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He replied, “He that is like a little child," and then, "He that receiveth the little ones in My name." The faith and the simplicity required for training children would perhaps be better training for the ministry than much that we consider makes a man “great.”

In 1864 was published. Blijf in Jezus (Abide in Christ), which appeared anonymously, and was thus reviewed in De Kerkbode: “The writer, a well-known minister of the South African Church, is exemplary as a sower of seed. He scatters beside all waters. Not merely by his earnest sermons on the Lord’s Day, his faithful exhortations to his flock, and his instruction of his catechumens, does he toil in the interests of the Kingdom of God, but also by his edifying writings. This booklet, which contains a meditation for each day of the month, aims at encouraging the friends and followers of Christ to follow steadfastly in the way of holiness, and will, we are convinced, be perused with much blessing by believers.”

The impulse which led to the writing of this booklet must be sought, of course, in the revival. Not only in Mr. Murray’s own congregation, but in many congregations throughout South Africa, there were large numbers of recent converts who needed instruction and guidance. This need was exactly supplied by Blijf in Jezus, which gave simple, pertinent and loving advice to all who were seeking a better experimental knowledge of the Christian life. By his books thus written in response to a personal and local need, Andrew Murray began to reach out to a larger circle of readers, who came with the lapse of years to look more and more confidently to him for inspiration and spiritual guidance.

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