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The Life of Andrew Murray of South Africa
Chapter XIII. Educational Undertakings and Visit to Europe and America

All alike will find in him an example of some of the attributes which in every age of the world distinguish the true teacher from the empiric and the hireling—a deep love of knowledge for its own sake, a faith in its value as one of the most potent instruments of moral culture, insight into the nature and the temptations of boyhood, profound sympathy with every form of childish weakness except sin, belief in the boundless possibilities for good which lie yet undeveloped in even the most unpromising scholar, skill and brightness in communicating knowledge and in attracting the co-operation of learners, and, above all, an abiding sense of the responsibility attaching to an office in which the teacher has it in his power to make or mar the image of God, and to advance or retard the spiritual improvement of the coming race.—Sir Joshua Fitch on Thomas Arnold.

DURING the sixties of the nineteenth century the subject which chiefly absorbed attention was the battle with Liberalism, but in the following decade the most insistent question was that of popular education. Previous to the year 1865 education in the Colony was wholly a Government concern. The duty devolved upon the Superintendent-General of Education and his departmental subordinates to establish, staff and subsidize the public schools of the country. Each school was a Government institution and each teacher a Government official. Pupils in the lower standards received instruction gratis, while for those attending the higher classes the fees amounted to no more than four pounds sterling per annum. Under this arrangement public interest in education languished. There was no link to unite the school and the people : the latter bore no responsibility for the school and exercised no control over it: and a system which thus supplied all wants while requiring no co-operation was little calculated to arrest attention and stimulate interest. In 1865, however, a salutary change was effected in the regulations, by which the system of education was popularized, and the control of the schools was vested in school-committees, elected by popular vote, and entrusted with the duty of appointing teachers and finding the half of their salaries, the other moiety being contributed by Government. Education thus became in the truest sense popular—the concern of the people themselves.

Free institutions, however, imply free and independent minds that can rightly use and apply them. Public opinion, especially in the more distant and neglected parts of the country, was not yet alive to the necessity of popular and universal education. The bulk of the population in the country districts belonged to the D. R. Church, which therefore was charged with the duty of awakening and informing the mind of the people on this vital question. To this task the Church had from the very commencement addressed itself by endeavouring to secure a multiplication of schools and an increase of educational facilities. For every presbytery there was a recognized inspector of schools, whose duty it was to visit and inspect each school in his circuit, and report his findings to the presbytery at its annual meeting. At each successive meeting of the Synod educational questions became more and more prominent. In 1870 the agenda contained but five motions bearing on education, whereas in 1873 there were no less than eighteen; and the difference indicates the new emphasis placed upon scholastic concerns.

But in addition to the official decisions of the Synod a more personal and more persistent force was needed to arouse the Christian public to a sense of its responsibility towards the rising generation. More than in any other single individual this force was personified in Mr. Murray. During the eighth decade of the century he was the moving spirit of a practical endeavour to bring the privileges of education within the reach of the poorest as well as the wealthiest classes of the community. The successful inauguration, in the face of many doubts and difficulties, of so important an undertaking as the Huguenot Seminary demonstrated the feasibility of establishing, in other parts of the country, similar institutions for the education of young women and the training of lady-teachers. Within the next three or four years there arose the following schools, which in most cases were avowedly modelled on the lines of the Wellington institution :—the Bloemhof Seminary at Stellenbosch, the Midland Seminary at Graaff-Reinet, the Ladies’ Seminary at Worcester, the Eunice Girls’ Institute at Bloemfontein, the Girls’ School at Paarl, the Rockland Seminary at Cradock and the Bellevue Seminary at Somerset East.

Early in 1876 Mr. Murray undertook a second tour for the purpose of collecting funds for the Huguenot Seminary. This tour, which lasted only seven weeks, was not so extensive nor so successful financially as that of 1874, but it intensified certain convictions which he had long cherished, and drew from him the following burning words on the urgent need for more labourers in the Lord’s harvest-held—

In my last letter, concerning the need of missionaries, I promised to discuss in a second letter the provision which should be made for the existing need. A collecting-tour of seven weeks’ duration has somewhat delayed the fulfilment of this promise, but what I have seen and experienced in the meantime has strengthened my conviction of the urgency of our necessities, and of our calling to arise in God’s name and endeavour to supply them. In order to attain this object we must, it appears to me, direct our attention to these points:

First, we must give ourselves to a deeper realization of this need, and to laying it upon the heart of our congregations. It is but human nature to rest satisfied with a defect which cannot be immediately remedied, and custom soon makes us oblivious to its existence. We consider that it has always been so and must remain so, and that there is little likelihood of its ever being otherwise. It is, however, the calling of those whom God has appointed watchers on His walls, to enquire earnestly into every need, to make it plain to the congregation, to show how unsatisfactory is the state of affairs, and so to prepare the way for a change. Let me briefly give my impressions of the need as they have been made upon me by my last journey.

I was at Calvinia on the occasion of their last communion. The attendance was not very large. The people there have already accustomed themselves to the thought of one great communion-festival annually, and for many this is the only attendance they put in at church in the course of the year. It can hardly be otherwise. Among the new churchwardens who were inducted when I was there, was an elder whose home was 120 miles distant, and a deacon who lived 180 miles away. Among the young people confirmed was a young girl who was in church last when she was baptized, and she was the daughter of parents who were by no means indifferent to religion.

From Calvinia I went to Carnarvon. There, too, I found a congregation some members of which live 120 miles from the village. At Fraser-burg it was the same : there were cases of members of the congregation who during their whole life had never yet set foot in the village church. In conversations with others on my journey I discovered that it is frequently the case that when families live forty-five or fifty miles away from the township, they seldom think of attending church more than once a quarter, at the communion season. And when we remember the hindrances that arise, owing to drought the one year, and floods the next, as well as occasional sickness, we can understand how seldom the majority have the opportunity of listening to the preaching of the Word. At Sutherland I found that after the congregation had been vacant for three years, and had issued I don’t know how many calls to no purpose, they have recently obtained a minister; but only at the expense of Kroonstad, a congregation counting 2,500 members, which must now also remain vacant for who knows how many months. So much for the need for more ministers.

Nor is it only ministers we need. I am convinced that in those extensive parishes we must employ another class of workers. There are, as we know, workers known as catechists in the Church of England. The time has arrived when we must supply our ministers with “helps," who can preach God’s Word in the distant parts of the congregation, while remaining under the minister’s supervision. To my mind we should have teachers who are at the same time religious instructors or catechists—men who are at home in the Bible, and are able to lead the service at a distant outpost. Let us take a leaf out of the book of the traders, who are far from satisfied -with having a store in the village, but also put up their little shops in the distant wards. Nor does even that satisfy them, but their wares are conveyed by waggon and cart to the very doors of prospective customers, and people are enticed and begged to make their purchases. "The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.”

And what shall I say of my experience with reference to teachers ? This alone, that I have been convinced anew that all our toil for the benefit of the grown-ups will effect little, unless we win the hearts of the children for God's Word ; and that the vast majority of the children of our land is not under the guidance of God-fearing teachers. May God lay this need heavy upon our hearts, and open our eyes to the heart-rending sight of children—whose is the Kingdom, who are beloved of Jesus, and whose hearts are tender and open for Him—confided for years to the influence and the instruction of worldly teachers.

But I must hasten. Granted that we sufficiently realize this need, our first duty then is to pray. When the Son of God saw the multitudes as sheep without a shepherd, and was moved with compassion, He knew of no other course than to implore the disciples, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth labourers into His harvest." It is not a matter which we should just touch upon in our prayers amid a number of other petitions: we must make it a question which we definitely bring before the Lord, and in which we wait for an answer and for speedy relief. It is a sad sight to see an immense harvest, a glorious acreage of ripe wheat, without sufficient labourers to reap it. At times it appears to me that the need of the heathen world is not so great as the need of our Christian population, where we frequently find both old and young not unwilling to be gathered in for the Saviour, but where there can be no ingathering because there are no reapers. O, let us beseech the Lord to prepare and to thrust out labourers by His Holy Spirit!

When our heart realizes the need, our eyes will also be opened to the work that must be done. The open eye will seek and find the children who must be trained for work in this great harvest-field. It cannot be that there are not young people enough in this country for the work of the Lord. There are, and we must see that we find them. The cry for more labourers must be heard from every pulpit, until even the children come to understand that it is the Son of God Himself who is summoning them to labour for Him. When we have the children, we must also find the homes where they can be trained for His service. The boarding-school can yet become a wonderful and glorious means for the training of workers. Hitherto the chief object has been the intellectual development of the child. But when our eyes are open to our real needs we shall understand that what we want is teachers who, in addition to a complete secular education, have also passed through a course in theology and above all in the study of the Scriptures. We must not consider it sufficient if we find a person who is merely pious and desirous to work for Christ. The minister has to be trained in his work as pastor, and the teacher requires instruction as well, if he is to labour in the interests of the Kingdom. For this purpose we need the right sort of principals to stand at the head of such schools, where for four or five years their object will be to train and inspire young people for God’s service.

Men like these are difficult to find ; but I am firmly convinced that if God has implanted the desire, He will not put us to shame when we pray earnestly and believingly for them. And we should make arrangements for receiving the poorest children in these homes, if there be only sufficient desire and ability on their part. The Church must make itself responsible for the education, and if necessary for the support during their time of study, of those committed to its care for training. .

But where is all the money to come from ? My brothers, if this is God’s work, He surely has enough money to dispense. When He has opened heart and mouth and eye, He will not leave the hands closed. One cannot lay to the charge of the congregations of this land that they are unwilling to give. When a matter is made plain to them they give willingly. If our ministers will but meditate deeply on this great need, and on God’s plan for fulfilling it, and if they will but, under the impulse of God’s Spirit and God’s love, show the congregations how to prepare the way that His Word may have free course, then there need really he no fear on the score of money. It is God’s part to care for the money, and ours to discover what the will of the Lord is, and what work we ought to perform for Him, and then in faith to begin it.

There, brothers, you have a brief and feeble statement of what lay heavy on my heart. To find children in great numbers for the Lord’s work, and then to train them and send them forth—that must be a matter of believing prayer and toil, far more than it has hitherto been. May I ask the brethren most earnestly to beseech the Lord to grant us His blessing and His aid in this great undertaking.

It was as a tribute to Mr. Murray’s unwearied efforts in the cause of education, no less than to his gifts of leadership and his supreme spiritual influence, that the Synod of 1876 elected him as Moderator for the second time. One of the most important resolutions of this Synod had in view the establishment of a normal college for the training of teachers. Thanks to the insistence of Mr. Murray and other like-minded ministers, the necessity for such an institution was acknowledged by all, and the resolution was arrived at by a unanimous vote. On the question as to where the new school should be erected there was considerable divergence of opinion, and it was only by a narrow majority that the claims of Cape Town were recognized as preponderant. Mr. Murray was appointed one of the original board of curators, and a member of the board he remained until his retirement from the active service of the ministry in 1906.1

In the meantime Mr. Murray, whose eager mind was generally in advance of official decisions and the cautious movement of synods and Church committees, was already laying his plan for the training of missionaries and missionary teachers. These plans eventually crystallized in the establishment of the Mission Training Institute, which was opened at Wellington in October, 1877. Of the commencement of this undertaking we have the following account, written in February, 1876—

The Lord has laid upon our heart the desire to establish a school for the training of labourers for His Kingdom. After corresponding for more than a year on this matter, we have now the prospect of obtaining the right man to stand at the head of our proposed institute. We made many vain endeavours to find a suitable principal, before the Rev. George Ferguson, brother of Miss Ferguson of the Huguenot Seminary, accepted our invitation to come over to us. We hope to have him in our midst before the middle of next year. According to the testimony of men in America who are able to judge, he appears to be the right man to carry our plans to fruition. Nor is our confidence wholly placed upon their judgment ; for we believe that the God from whom we have asked him in prayer, has guided us to the man whom He Himself has destined for the work.

The objects we aim at in the establishment of this institution are these : there are young men who wish to engage in the work of the Lord, but who have no time, no aptitude or no strong desire to pay much attention to ancient languages or mathematics. For these there should be provided the opportunity to obtain a thorough Biblical and general training, so that they can take their places in the Church and in society both honourably and profitably. While we do not exclude the study of ancient languages, it will be our aim, without entering into competition with existing institutions, to afford young men who are no longer in their early youth the chance of obtaining a good general education through the medium of both English and Dutch. In addition to this it will be our endeavour to have the whole of our home inspired with the one thought of consecration to God and to His service, so that by His blessing this idea may become the chief aim of all the training.

We desire also to establish matters on so reasonable and simple a footing that youths in poor circumstances shall have access to all the privileges of a good boarding-school. We also wish to offer to those who are already engaged in God’s service—as ministers, missionaries or teachers—the opportunity of having their children educated for the same blessed service at the lowest possible price. In order to attain these objects we require a home in which provision can be made for forty or fifty boarders. For the whole project we shall need a sum of £4,000 or £5,000. It is a very large amount, but the conviction that it is the Lord’s will that this institution shall be established is sufficient assurance that He will supply all our needs.

Early in 1876 Mr. Murray was appointed by the Synodical Committee as the official delegate of the D. R. Church to the first Council of Presbyterian Churches, which was to have met in Edinburgh in the course of that year. The meeting was, however, postponed until 1877, and Mr. Murray was accordingly able to attend it in his capacity as Moderator of Synod. He left Cape Town on the 4th of April in the steamship African, while his brother Charles sailed a few days later and joined him in London. In a series of letters to the Kerkbode Mr. Murray has given us a reasonably full account of his doings and experiences on this journey. The objects with which it was undertaken he describes as follows—

There are three matters which will specially engage my attention, and in respect of which I trust the tour will not have been undertaken in vain. These three things are the condition of the Church, education, and the state of the spiritual life in the countries which I am about to visit. The condition of the Church is the first matter into which I have to enquire. So much is clear ; for the real purpose of my visit is to represent our Church at the Pan-Presbyterian Council. [Mr. Murray here enlarged upon the meaning of Presbyterianism and the objects of the Council.]

The second matter with which I shall concern myself is education. On this question I need not enter into details. The educational work of our Church is only in its first beginnings. Hitherto we have been so occupied in merely seeking to find the needful teachers, that great educational questions such as are being discussed in Europe have not yet been under consideration with us. I trust that closer acquaintance with what is being done in the sphere of education in Europe and America will prove fruitful for the work that is being done in our own land. . . . This has reference especially to our Normal College. I hope that, wherever opportunity offers, I shall make use of my eyes and ears, on my own behalf and on behalf of the Church, to take cognizance of what is being done to train teachers for a profession upon which admittedly both Church and society are so greatly dependent.

Then I also mentioned the spiritual life of the Churches. There is nothing for which I so greatly long as the opportunity of coming into contact with some of the men whom God has lately raised up as witnesses to what He is able to do for His children. I hope very much to be enabled to pass some days at a place where Moody and Sankey are labouring. Grey-headed ministers in England and Scotland have acknowledged how much they have learnt from these men. And there are other evangelists, who have not exactly received a ministerial training, but whose enthusiasm and gifts have in many instances been highly instructive to those who are engaged in the regular ministry of the Word.

There is, however, another kind of labour for which God has lately raised up chosen instruments. It consists not in the endeavour to bring in those who are without the fold, but in the endeavour to lead those who are within to a deeper comprehension of Christian truth and privilege. If there is one thing which the Church needs, it is labour directed to this end. The more we study as Christians the state of the Church of Christ on earth, the more is conviction strengthened that it does not answer to its holy calling. Hence the powerlessness of the Church against unbelief and semi-belief and superstition, against worldliness and sin and heathenism. The power of faith, the power of prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, are all too greatly lacking. God's children in the first place require a revival—a new revelation by the Holy Spirit of what is the hope of their calling, of what God does indeed expect from them, and of the life of power and consecration, of joy and fruitfulness, which God has prepared for them in Christ. . . .

My experiences from stage to stage of the journey I hope to describe from time to time. There is not much to be said about the voyage thus far. Hitherto all has been prosperous. We hope to reach Madeira this afternoon. On board I have had complete rest on Sundays. We have as passenger a clergyman of the Church of England. Before the first Sunday he came and informed me that, since almost all the passengers belonged to his Church, he thought it was his duty to take all the services. I replied that if the passengers concurred in this arrangement, I, too, would be satisfied. My continual prayer is that God’s richest blessing may rest upon my congregation and upon the whole Church.

Mr. Murray arrived in London on the last day of April, and proceeded almost immediately to Edinburgh, charged as he was with the duty of finding professors for the Normal College. He found the ministers whom he had come to consult very much preoccupied with the meetings of the Assemblies of the two Scottish Churches, and was obliged to return to London without having accomplished much. Joined in London by his brother Charles, he embarked at Liverpool on the Bothnia on the 12th of May, and after a prosperous voyage reached New York on the 22nd of the month. The chief object of the visit to America was the quest for teachers, and, above all, of lady-teachers for the Huguenot Seminary and its daughter-institutions. There is no need to go into the details of the tour, and Mr. Murray has summed up its results in one of his communications to the Kerkbode—

With reference to our five weeks’ visit to America I send you the following. Though we greatly regretted that our stay in that country was so brief, every day was full of pleasure and utility. The acquaintance which we made with the educational system, with the Sunday-schools, with the religious life, and especially with the revival under Mr. Moody’s labour, and notably with the Dutch Reformed Church of America, have all yielded us much food for thought, and I hope at a later stage to convey to you some of the impressions made.

Our visit to the Mount Holyoke Seminary was far from being a disappointment. What we saw there, and the manner in which intellectual development is combined with absolute consecration of all talents and knowledge to the service of Christ, gave us new cause for gratitude to God that He had led u s to this institution for the principals of our seminaries, and that those whom He had sent over to us were so eminently suitable to transplant the whole system to our shores.

We did not meet with as much success as we hoped in our requests for more ladies from here. Many who applied to be accepted had not yet had so much experience that we were sufficiently assured that they would answer our purpose. And, above all, the number of old students of Mount Holyoke who were able to come was not as large as we had hoped. But it was a great joy to learn on our arrival that one of the teachers who had already seen twelve years of service in that Seminary, and whose work was held in high esteem, had offered to go to Pretoria, in order to accede to the request of Rev. Bosman, and establish a ladies’ seminary there. After what I have seen of her and heard about her, I am convinced that she will be a great acquisition for the Transvaal. Together with other lady-teachers, for Swellendam and Beaufort West, she will meet us in London, and will sail with us from Southampton on the 30th of August.

At the head of the company will be Rev. George Ferguson, who remained in America in order to obtain from myself the last instructions as to the work he is about to undertake. All that I have heard, both in America and in Scotland, concerning the missionary enterprise, has wrought in me a deeper conviction that our Church has been planted by God in South Africa with the purpose of bringing the Gospel to the heathen of the Continent of Africa ; and that, if this work is to be done, we must have an institution where our sons can be trained to fulfil it. . . .

On my return to Edinburgh I was rejoiced to hear that a principal had been found for our Normal College. Professors Blaikie and Calder-wood cherished no doubts but that Mr. Whitton was the right man. He had been trained in a normal college, had had three years’ experience as assistant in a normal college in England, had acted for fifteen months as assistant inspector of schools for a district of Scotland, and was provided with the best testimonials as to the manner in which he had acquitted himself in these various situations. This seems to us to be a sufficient guarantee that he is fully equipped with a wide knowledge of everything pertaining to education. Having in the meantime heard from the curators in South Africa that all arrangements were not yet complete in connexion with the buildings, I agreed with Mr. Whitton that he should only commence his work in January next; and to this he readily assented, as it would enable him to complete his year of service at Melrose.

Mr. Murray gave his impressions of the great meetings of the Presbyterian Council in two long papers, of which we here offer an abbreviated version—

In addressing myself to the task of giving a short account of the Council of Edinburgh, I realize how difficult it is accurately to describe what was really the main thing—the spirit, the tone, the general feeling, and even the enthusiasm which prevailed. I can only attempt a brief review of the proceedings.

The opening meeting was held in St. Giles’ Church—the church in which John Knox used to preach in former days. Professor Flint, of the Established Church of Scotland, delivered a discourse on Christian unity, based upon John xvii. 20, 21. He pointed out that this unity is a spiritual unity, which actually prevails ; that the existence of separate denominations, due to differences of speech and nationality, cannot annul it; and that this virtual unity must be brought into more constant exercise by more frequent inter-communion with each other, and by the spirit of forbearance and love, in which we ought to bear with one another’s differences of opinion.

In the evening a great reception was given to the delegates by the inhabitants of Edinburgh. In the hall of a large museum in connexion with the University—a hall some 300 feet in length and 80 feet high —there were assembled five thousand people. The members of the Council were presented to the Lord Provost, as representative of the city, and where opportunity offered, were also introduced to prominent citizens. After that, as many as could find room attended a meeting in a neighbouring auditorium, where addresses of welcome were delivered, and acknowledgments made by speakers from different countries.

On Wednesday, 4th July, the actual work of the Council commenced. This was the only day which was directly devoted to the discussion of Presbyterian principles. We began at the foundation. In the constitution of the Council it was laid down that the consensus of the confessions of the various Reformed Churches was to be considered the basis upon which the Council was united. The discussion on this question was opened by the well-known Dr. Schaff, a Swiss by birth, a Scot by education, and for more than thirty years a professor in America. He introduced the question in a most excellent paper. He first reminded his hearers how, more than three hundred years ago (in 1562), Cranmer had issued an invitation to Calvin, Melanchthon and other Continental divines, to assemble and draw up a united confession for the Reformed Churches ; and how Calvin had replied that for such a purpose he would be willing to cross not one, but ten seas, and how they should consider no trouble too great to bring about such a union on the basis of truth. Political events, however, prevented the proposed gathering; but the proposal itself proved how greatly the Reformers felt the need of credal union. A general confession or formulary which should unite all Churches he did not think possible under present circumstances. Such confessions cannot be drawn up to order. They must, if they are to have any spark of vitality, be the fruit of deep religious convictions bom in a time of struggle for the faith. Theology cannot produce them. They demand a religious enthusiasm which is equal to any sacrifice and which does not shrink from death itself. They are acts of faith—the result of higher inspiration. In the meantime we have the best kind of unity—the unity of spiritual life, of faith and of love which binds us to Christ and to those who are Christ’s.

Professor Godet, who followed, emphasized the fact that, as in the time of the Reformers the truths of election and salvation through faith had to be confessed and defended against the Church of Rome, so in our day the person and the divinity of Christ have to be confessed and defended against modern error. After this address a paper composed by Professor Krafft of Bonn was read, which gave a representation of reformed doctrine as held by Reformed Churches in all parts of the world. From the discussion which ensued it appeared that both the American and the Scottish delegates were eager to maintain the authority of the confessions. When one of the Scotch professors of somewhat modem tendency rose on a subsequent day, and spoke of the desirability of altering the confessions, the whole meeting instantly gave expression to its disapproval of his utterances.

In the afternoon a paper by the revered Dr. Cairns was read on the Principles of Presbyterianism, in which it was pointed out that Presby-terianism fostered true liberty—the union of the rights of the congregation with the authority of the ministers—and that, standing as it did midway between the episcopal and the congregationalist systems, it was best fitted to unite the advantages of both. Dr. Alexander Hodge, lately appointed as successor to his father, the famous Dr. Charles Hodge of Princeton, discussed Presbyterianism in connexion with the tendencies and needs of the present age. The same force in the Reformed Churches, he said, which in former ages had opposed tyranny in Church and State, must now do battle against the modem enemy— the lawlessness which defied all authority, and exalted man and nature above all things. . . .

As I listened to the various speakers my thoughts went back to what had happened when I visited England ten years previously. When present on one occasion at the laying of the foundation-stone of a Congregational church I listened to one of their professors, Dr. Vaughan,. expounding the scriptural origin of their system of Church government. He spoke with such certainty and conviction, that one almost felt that he was right, and that no flaw could be found in his argument. Shortly afterwards I heard one of the most famous preachers of the Episcopal Church, Dr. Goulburn, maintain that at the time of the Reformation the Church of England alone both established purity of doctrine and remained within the apostolic succession. At the time I said to myself. Now I have still to hear a Presbyterian. I had now enjoyed the opportunity of listening to more than one Presbyterian, and I believe that even in Presbyterian Scotland many must have been both astonished and strengthened at hearing the scriptural principles of Church government expounded and stated in so clear and conclusive a fashion. . . .

The fourth day was devoted to discussions on the subject of Missions. Letters were read from the German professors Dorner of Berlin, Lechler of Leipzig, Riggenbach of Basel, Christlieb of Bonn, Ebrard of Erlangen, and Dr. Herzog, expressing,their concurrence with the objects of the Council and their regret at not being able to attend. After that, a long paper was read from the pen of Dr. Duff, the prince of modern missionaries, who was to have led the discussion, but was prevented by illness. Speaking as one of the prophets of old, he said that he wished to bear witness to one matter especially, namely, that Missions are not one of the activities of the Church, but the only object for which it exists. "I wish,” he said, "to take the highest possible scriptural ground with reference to the sole and supreme duty of the Church of Christ to devote all its strength to this cause. With the exception of the brief apostolic age, there has been no period in the history of the Church when this has been actually done—to the great shame of the Church and the unspeakable loss of this poor world. Holding this conviction—a conviction that has been gathering strength during these forty years—you will not take it amiss in me, standing as I do upon the verge of the eternal world, when I give expression to my immovable assurance that unless and until this supreme duty is more deeply felt, more powerfully realized, and more implicitly obeyed, not only by individual believers but by the Church at large, we are only playing at missions, deceiving our own selves, slighting the command of our blessed King, and expending in all manner of fruitless struggle the powers, the means and the abilities which should be devoted with undivided enthusiasm to the spiritual subjugation of the nations.” . . .

On the Saturday there was no official meeting of the Council. But in the morning a conference on life and work was held for members of the various congregations. After that there was a general communion, conducted by Dr. Herdman of the Established Church, Dr. Moody Stuart of the Free Church and Dr. Ker of the U. P. Church. Both these meetings were a real refreshment to me. My only regret was that just these two meetings, which dealt specially with the spiritual life, were held on a day when few of the regular members of the Council could be present. This gives me occasion to make an observation—and it is my only unfavourable one—with reference to the Council. The same observation has frequently been made on our own Synodical meetings. When a large number of God’s servants meet in order to consult about the interests of His Kingdom, and about the work they have to perform in connexion with it, one would expect that their first felt need would be to place themselves as servants in the presence of their Lord, and while they wait there in worship and faith, to experience the renewal of those spiritual powers upon which everything depends. And yet it so frequently happens that in ecclesiastical and theological gatherings the so-called ordinary business occupies the first place, while hardly any time can be found for spiritual matters. And though we listened with great pleasure to what was said about the exercise of the spirit of love, about faithfulness to the doctrine of the Church, and about the earnestness displayed in the Council, more than one of us felt this great lack. I have no doubt that this lack will make itself felt even more in the future, so that when those who exercise “ the ministry of the Spirit " assemble, the great blessing of their intercourse will be found in a more living confession and exercise of the faith which is their only strength, in union with their Lord, and in the increase of the gifts and graces of His Spirit.

Sunday was a great day for the church-going population of Edinburgh. There was hardly a single pulpit which was not occupied by a stranger, and next morning the daily Press contained a summary of many of the sermons delivered. Arrangements had also been made for ministers of the Established and Free Churches, between which hitherto there had been but little exchange of pulpits, to preach in one another’s churches, and so testify to the desire for closer union.

On Monday the subject on which attention was focused was unbeliej. It was both felt and affirmed, in view of the influence of an unbelieving science and literature, that the Church of Christ must consider it as one of the most momentous problems which demand solution, how so to preach the Gospel as to satisfy the highest needs of thought and knowledge. The first paper was that of Dr. Patton, professor at Chicago—a man who, though previously but little known, at once covered himself with great honour. He showed in striking manner the different forms which unbelief assumes, and the different causes from which it arises, and then pointed out what the Church should do to meet it, and what results might be expected or not expected from the contest. Dr. McCosh of Princeton followed. In answer to the question what attitude the Christian ought to assume towards the science of our age, he spoke very boldly of the impossibility of contradiction between the truth which God revealed in nature and the truth which He revealed in Scripture. Christians could safely leave physical science to go as far as possible in its discoveries, in the assurance that what was really taught by nature (as distinct from the suppositions and deductions of scientists) would ultimately serve to corroborate the Word of God, even if some popular conceptions required modification. This paper, too, was followed with marked attention. A discussion now ensued, in which the speech of Professor Flint was particularly excellent. He showed in how far the Church was responsible for the unbelief of the world, and pointed out the means by which scientific unbelief could be best refuted. Professor Cairns then still emphasized the point that the causes of unbelief were chiefly of a moral and spiritual nature, having their home in man’s heart, and being removable only by the grace of God. ...

The afternoon was devoted to the subject of the Spiritual Life— helps and hindrances. On the first portion an address was delivered by Theodore Monod of Paris. After he had spoken, two further papers were read, on the Sanctification of the Sabbath and on Drunkenness It soon became plain that the time was too short for the satisfactory discussion of so many subjects. Some of the delegates from a distance subsequently gave an account in brief of the condition of their Churches. Among the latter was Rev. C. Fraser of Philippolis (Orange Free State, who was listened to with much interest, especially by the American delegates. During our visit to America we had heard repeated references to the great exhibition in Philadelphia, at which an exhibit from the Free State had attracted particular attention. This was the reason why the delegates from across the Atlantic listened with so much eagerness to communications concerning a country of which they otherwise knew very little.

The closing meeting of the Council was held on the Tuesday evening (ioth July). An address to the Queen was first read and approved. In this address it was stated inter alia that the Council consisted of 333 members, representing 21,443 congregations, with 19,040 ministers. After this matter had been disposed of a resolution was passed giving expression to the Council’s unfeigned gratitude to God for the opportunity of meeting with one another in such a spirit of brotherly concord, and for the new encouragement which had thus been imparted to the Churches to carry out with greater energy than ever the great task committed to them. A series of addresses followed, after which the last words were spoken by Dr. Oswald Dykes of London, who said: "Four hundred years ago the first of the Reformed Churches represented here to-day, I mean the Bohemian Church, emerged from the darkness which had overspread Christendom. And now for the first time in all that long period the Reformed Churches may meet at this place. How far do they extend to-day, and how wide is the area that has been represented here ! And yet this Council, though representing so wide an area, has to my mind been too narrow to be representative of all those bodies in Christendom which are essentially one with us. And what are to be the results that flow from this Council? Friends and foes will wait expectantly to see whether the fruits of our new Alliance will be such as to justify its existence. Our Alliance will not live, and will not deserve to live, unless it leads to worthy activity. We wait to see to what extent this Alliance will assist in strengthening weak Churches, in gently drawing closer the bond of intercourse between brothers who are separated, in contributing to the solution of difficult problems, and in helping all Churches to profit by the experience of some of the more privileged bodies. There can be no real co-operation before we are truly united in friendship and love. And the only way to united action is that we shall become better acquainted with each other, and shall foster a spirit of mutual love and confidence. In this manner the way will be paved, gradually if not all at once, for a more real unity, more hearty co-operation, and such a consolidation of the divided forces of the Church of Christ as shall give abundant proof that our gathering has not been without avail.” The address of Dr. Dykes was listened to with the greatest attention and silence, and formed a worthy close to a historic gathering.

The quotations which I have made from the last address constitute a sufficient answer to the question which is sometimes put me as to the real use of this meeting of the Council. I believe in the communion of saints, and am firmly convinced that such an exercise of Christian fellowship carries rich blessing with it. The power and the courage of the individual soldier depends largely, not merely on the confidence which he places in his general, but upon the power and the faithfulness of the army to which he belongs. Everything that strengthens this conviction in him, increases the qualities which are indispensable in an army that is to overcome—namely, enthusiasm and courage. In the Church of Christ we have not merely “one Spirit” but “one body,” and everything that tends to emphasize the unity of the body brings a blessing with it. The enduring blessing of the Council will be experienced, not in any undertaking in which the Council itself may engage, but in the spirit which the Churches that have been represented on it display towards each other in the work they are accomplishing for God.

Mr. Murray had undertaken to be present and to speak at a Conference at Inverness, which was to be held very shortly after the close of the Pan-Presbyterian Council. Of this Conference we still have the following programme—


Subject: The Christian Life.

First Day—The New Creation—“Ye must be born again." Chairman—Rev. Dr. McCosh ; Opener—Rev. A. Murray, Cape Town.

Second Day—The New Service—“Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Chairman—Rev. Dr. Cairns ; Opener—Rev. Dr. Moore.

Third Day—The New Power—“I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Chairman—Earl of Cavan ; Opener—Rev. Dr. Cairns.

In the afternoon sessions the following subjects were treated : Sabbath Schools and Family Religion, Temperance, and Missions ; and the programme announced that "the following ministers are also expected to take part: Rev. Dr. van Dyke, New York; Rev. Dr. Cunningham, Wheeling; Rev. J. W. Lupton, Tennessee; Rev. Colin Fraser, Orange Free State; Rev. Charles Murray, Cape of Good Hope, etc.

Mr Murray’s own impressions of this Conference are to be found in the following letter—

To his Wife.

My last was from Inverness, just as the Conference was commencing. It was a very good time. The attendance was not as large as I could have wished, but I think the Master was present. The subjects for the mornings, "The New Creation,” "The New Service,” “The New Power,” were quite in the line of the higher life, but the most of the speakers kept to the old elementary truths. Nevertheless the pervading spirit was good. In what I saw and heard and said myself I was much refreshed.

In the house in which I was staying (with an elder of the Free Church), and in intercourse with other laymen I could notice very distinctly the influence of Mr. Moody’s work. There is much more readiness to talk out, and much more warmth. I had noticed it in Edinburgh too, that the whole religious tone of Scotland has been lifted up and brightened most remarkably. I do praise God for it. Then, too, there is much earnest work being done, though I get the impression in many places that the activity and joy of work is regarded too much as the essence of religion. And I see that when I try to speak of the deeper and inner life, many are glad to listen, and confess to a want.

For myself I have learnt this lesson, that it will not do to press too much on the one side of holiness and communion with Jesus, without the other side of work. There is no joy like that over repentant sinners, no communion closer than “ Go into all the world and teach—and lo ! I am with you.” And yet the joy of work and of revival is not enough. God’s children must be led into the secret of the possibility of unbroken communion with Jesus personally. But we may ask and trust Him who has visited Scotland so wonderfully in the one thing to lead His people on in the other. I cannot say how I have been impressed with the need of the union of these two matters, work and communion. Charles says it is what I have spoken on all along at the Cape, and yet it appears to me like something quite new.

One thing that brought it out very clearly was this. On the Wednesday afternoon I drove out to Cromarty, twenty miles away, to see Mr. Russell’s (of Cape Town) mother and brother. I went with an elder of the latter’s, a Mr. Middleton—a farmer, and a most interesting man. We drove through a beautiful country. My companion reminded me in many things of some of our best farmer elders at the Cape. He had been a great worker in Mr. Moody’s time, sending in cartloads of servants twenty miles far to attend the meetings. Shortly afterwards ten of those belonging to his farm were admitted as communicant members of the congregation. He still keeps up a weekly meeting for them. It was most interesting to see how with him work was identified with the Christian life, and as it appeared to me in a most healthy way. And I felt that in high revival times God’s children would get much of the thing itself—entire consecration—without its just being put forward as a theory. Nevertheless I was as deeply impressed as ever with the fact that the Church does need instruction and reviving as to the permanent maintenance of her communion with and her abiding in her Lord.

Before returning to South Africa Mr. Murray found time for a brief trip to Holland and Germany, visiting old acquaintances at Amsterdam and Utrecht, and obtaining some insight, at a Missionsfest at Elberfeld, into German Christianity. He embarked for home, together with his brother and a number of teachers, on the Nyanza, which sailed at the end of August, and reached Wellington on the 24th September— six years to a day from the date of his induction as pastor of the congregation. One of the lady-teachers who came out with him on this voyage tells the following in connexion with the visit to America and the passage out to South Africa—

In 1877 Rev. Andrew Murray and his brother Rev. Charles Murray visited the United States with the special object of arousing interest in the educational work which was being undertaken in South Africa. They addressed the professors and students of various colleges, receiving in every case a very hearty welcome. So many were the invitations that poured in upon them to visit these institutions that they frequently had to separate and proceed each to a different college. I remember that my brother, who was a student in Amherst College, wrote home to tell us that the Rev. Charles Murray had addressed the students there, and that he had won their attention at the outset by his introductory words, "You must please understand that I am not the Mr. Murray; I am the other Mr. Murray.”

During their short stay in America they were successful in obtaining ten1 lady-teachers for girls’ schools in Wellington, Stellenbosch, Worcester, Swellendam, Beaufort West, Graaff-Reinet and Pretoria. The Rev. George Ferguson was also secured in order to take charge of the Mission Institute to be commenced at Wellington. The whole party, who sailed together from England for South Africa, included another minister and his wife, and some other teachers, among whom was Mr. Stucki, the author of Stucki’s Dutch Grammar.

Soon after the voyage began Mr. Murray proposed a daily class for the study of Dutch, with himself and Mr. Stucki as teachers on alternate days. So excellent was the instruction imparted, and so great the enthusiasm aroused, that after the voyage was over two at least of the learners were able to undertake a correspondence in Dutch, and for some time continued to exchange letters in that language.

Mr. Murray used to spend most of his time on the voyage in a quiet comer of the deck, absorbed in a book; but we soon discovered that he was quite ready at any time to put down his book for a helpful chat with anyone who desired it. Some of those little talks will never be forgotten. Mr. Murray continued to manifest his interest in the teachers he had brought out even after they had all been dispersed to their different spheres of work. It was very pleasant to observe the affection that existed between Mr. Murray and his brother, and their evident enjoyment in recalling the experiences of their boyhood, and in discussing, as they walked up and down the deck, their plans for future work.

The consistory and congregation of Wellington accorded their pastor a most hearty welcome on his return from his overseas mission. A large number of vehicles escorted him from the railway-station to the parsonage, where an arch welcome, adorned with flowers and bunting, gave a joyous and festal aspect to the scene. The pupils of the Seminary and the local schools greeted him with song, the consistory presented an address, and the congregation testified to its love and esteem with a well-filled purse. His reply to all these greetings was contained in the sermon which he preached on the following Sunday, and which was based on Romans xv. 29-32, “I am sure that I come in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ; and I beseech you that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” In this discourse he dwelt first upon what the congregation may expect from the minister, and then upon what the minister is entitled to expect from the congregation, encouraging his flock to praise God with him for blessings already experienced, and to continue in intercession on behalf of himself and of each other.

During the first few months after his home-coming Mr. Murray found “ head and hands fully occupied with work." Huguenot Seminary affairs to be discussed, the Training Institute to be started on its career, the new teachers to be apportioned to their several schools, congregational work to be resumed, and the larger activities in connexion with the Church in general to be re-commenced—this was the programme sufficiently heavy to tax the strength of any man. But Mr. Murray was at the height of his powers of body and brain, while his clear and ready mind and quick grasp of guiding principles enabled him to perform with ease duties which would have overwhelmed a smaller main.

The Training Institute was commenced with only ten boarders, of whom two were entered as mission students and one as a normal student. It was the day of small things, and the undertaking was in the truest sense of the words a work of faith. Lack of funds was from the outset the most crippling factor in the situation. The Institute was designed for the instruction and training, as teachers or missionaries, of young men who possessed but little of this world's goods ; and from all parts of the country came applications for admission, accompanied almost always by the candid confession, I have nothing to pay. Mr. Murray put this primary fact clearly before the public in the following statement concerning the aims and needs of the Training Institute—

Those who wish to devote themselves to mission work have not in most cases the means to defray the expenses of their education, and the same is true of prospective teachers. But the Church which finds and sends us the young men required, will surely gladly bear the expense of their education. There are many in our country who utter the prayer, "Thrust forth labourers into Thy harvest.” The ties with which God has united them to home or work prevent them from going personally to the heathen world. Is it not their duty and privilege to supply the funds needed for training and equipping others to go as their substitutes ? When we find poor parents giving their children for the great cause, and poor children giving themselves, it should be a matter of chief concern for us who remain at home, and who are blessed with means, to see to it that gifts for their support are not lacking.

Two years ago I issued a pamphlet called Labourers for the Harvest, in which I mentioned the sum of £3,000 as needful for the buildings which the Training Institute would require. There is room enough for our requirements in the building which we have rented for our Institute, and therefore we shall not think of building for the present. I also spoke of the need of a fund from the interest of which young men could receive their training as teacher or missionary, and I stated that we should join in asking the Lord for £3,000 for this purpose. Shortly afterwards I received a letter from a sister in one of our up-country congregations, proposing that the amount should be raised by 120 subscriptions of £25 each, and offering £23 on those conditions. I mention this suggestion, as there may be others to whom it appeals. I have already received two other subscriptions for the same amount. In this matter of gold and silver I desire to wait upon the Lord, that He may give me wisdom to ask at the right time and in the right manner. His cause has need of money, and at the same time it does not need to become a begging cause. He can teach His servants to ask with glad rejoicing, and He can teach His people to give with glad rejoicing.

Furthermore, this undertaking is urgently commended to the intercession of God’s people. Observation and experience during my recent journey have convinced me more deeply than ever of the need for more abundant prayer in all our labour for the Kingdom. The work is not ours, but God’s. It is His will that we shall unceasingly hand it over to Him, and obtain wisdom and strength to perform it in accordance not with our wishes but with His purposes. Luther said on one occasion :

There is nothing that is right, but it must be kept right by prayer ; and there is nothing wrong that can be set right, but it must be rectified by prayer ; and there is nothing wrong that cannot be rectified, but it must be endured by prayer.” We therefore request all friends of the precious missionary cause to help us with their prayers. Ask God to send us the right young men, to make the teachers a source of great blessing, and abundantly to bless our whole institution with His Spirit. And may He strengthen us all, that our faith fail not!

There were some persons about this time who made it a matter of reproach, or at least of criticism, that Mr. Murray had started a Training Institute of his own at Wellington, which would necessarily enter into competition with the official undertaking of the Church, the Normal College at Cape Town. To these strictures Mr. Murray at once replied in a letter to the Z-uid Afrikaan, in which he laid stress chiefly on two points—that the Wellington Institute was to be looked upon as a feeder of the more advanced Normal College, and that the former institution aimed also at training missionaries, which the Normal College did not.

No student (he writes) is admitted to the Normal College before he has attained the age of at least sixteen or seventeen, and has passed the teachers’ examination, as instituted by the Church or the Government. Our work in the Training School is to prepare students for the entrance examination to the Normal College. Out of seven pupils in our institution who are preparing themselves to go out as teachers, there is not at present a single one who is qualified to enter the Normal College.

Moreover, we are doing work which the Normal College cannot do. The latter institution aims at training teachers for the first-class and second-class schools in our towns and villages, so that we shall not be under the necessity of importing men from abroad. It will be a long time before the College can supply this need. Very few of its students will be available for the needs of the country schools, which require teachers by the hundred. If all our talk about more schools is not to remain mere talk, we require even more institutions, where intending teachers can be assisted to pass the elementary teachers’ examination.

Then, again, our Training School is intended not merely for teachers, but for missionaries. I consider it a matter of great importance that our young South African Christians should be trained as missionaries. It is needful for many reasons. Our Church should have its due share in carrying out the last command of the Master to preach the Gospel to every creature. The children of our country can better understand and maintain the relation between white and coloured in this land than can strangers. There are many young men who feel a spiritual compulsion to engage in this work, but for whom there is no institution at which they can receive the necessary training. These are reasons sufficient for the existence of our Institute.

It is surely time that we should bid farewell to the fear that we shall soon have too many workers for the Lord’s vineyard. A few years ago there were men who asked, What is to become of all the students who issue from our Theological Seminary ? They now realize that it was a foolish question. We need not fewer but more ministers. It was the same with the girls’ schools. Five years ago I was member of the board of managers of the Good Hope Seminary in Cape Town. When we announced the opening of the Huguenot Seminary, one of the ministers of the presbytery gave expression in strong terms to his surprise that a member of the board of the Cape Town institution could endeavour to break down the work which that board was doing, by competing instead of co-operating with the Good Hope School. And what does the outcome prove? I hear that the Good Hope Seminary, with room for thirty-six boarders, is quite full. The Huguenot Seminary, which commenced with accommodation for forty boarders, has now been enlarged to take in eighty. Schools that were established still earlier, such as the Rhenish Institute at Stellenbosch and Mr. de Villiers’ Girls’ School at the Paarl, are fuller than they were before, and other establishments, like the Bloemhof Seminary at Stellenbosch, have also reached their full complement. There is more educational work to be done throughout the country than we think. The more institutions we have like our Training Institute, the better will be the supply of material for the Normal School to fashion into qualified teachers.

The progress of the Training Institute during the next four or five years can be described in few words. The increase in the number of students preparing for the vocation of missionary made it necessary to obtain further assistance as regards instruction in theological subjects, and Mr Ferguson accordingly received a coadjutor in the person of the Rev. J. C. Pauw, pastor of the local mission congregation. The Synod of 1880 gave considerable attention to the pressing question of more labourers for the home and foreign mission fields, and appointed a committee to enquire into the work done at the Wellington Training School—an institution that was wholly the fruit of Mr. Murray’s individual initiative. This committee, whose report was exceedingly favourable, continued to exist as a Committee of Supervision, and became the connecting link which united the Training Institute to the Synod of the D. R. Church.

In the meantime the temporary premises in which the work had been begun had grown too small for the needs of the institution. The question of permanent buildings was again mooted, and the only difficulty was that of finding the necessary funds. This need was met in the following manner. In 1881 Mr. Murray was compelled, because of throat trouble, to intermit his pastoral and preaching labours and to seek for restoration in the drier climate of the Karroo. On his return with improved health to his congregation, a service of thanksgiving was held, both on account of Mr. Murray’s partial restoration and on account of the end of the Transvaal War of Independence and the breaking up of a great drought. In token of the reality of its gratitude the congregation resolved to raise money for a building fund for the Training Institute, and within a few months the sum of £2,000 was collected. Encouraged by this display of practical interest, the Institute trustees drew up plans for a commodious edifice, with lecture rooms and boarding department, which was opened with great acclaim on the 14th of May, 1883. The report of the trustees on that occasion stated that the site had been purchased for £1,000, while the building had cost the sum of £3,500. On the other side of the balance sheet it was shown that the congregation had contributed some £2,700 ; and though that left them with a considerable debt, they cherished a confident hope of being able to reduce the amount still owing from year to year. And as a matter of fact the debt was reduced to £1,500 by the end of the year. The closing words of the report were—

The completion of this undertaking has aroused joy and gratitude. The question remains whether the internal work of the institution will answer to the expectations kindled by its external aspect. Will the dedication of this house to the service of God carry with it the dedication of the large number of youths from all parts of the country who will find a home in it? Will the Institute really become a source of blessing for country and for Church? These questions have driven us to more prayer and greater confidence in God as our only strength. It is the season of Pentecost. The King desires to bestow His Spirit upon us in richest measure. To you is the promise and to your children and to all who are afar off. It is the promise of blessing upon our children, and of blessing upon the training for service of those who will labour among them that are afar ofi. In this hope we take possession of the new edifice and dedicate it to the Lord, for His work and to His glory.

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