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The Life of Andrew Murray of South Africa
Chapter XIX. Andrew Murray as a South African Patriot

The two races that are being mingled and have to be united in this country, are not learning, as fast as one might wish, to understand, and to bear with and honour one another. And yet they have been bound together for better or worse. Every institution that helps in the slow, silent work of welding together the apparently uncongenial elements of our society, is doing good service to the country.—Andrew Murray.

IF, as Lord Acton says, “exile is the nursery of nationality,” it is not difficult to understand how Andrew Murray, after an absence in Europe which lasted from his eleventh until his twenty-first year, returned to South Africa with an intensified, and not with an enfeebled, love for his native land. He must have welcomed the great opportunity afforded him of ministering to the needs of his fellow-countrymen in the far north, and we know that he exerted himself to utilize it to the full, and that he seriously injured his constitution in the effort. To the congregations in the Free State and the Transvaal, whose pastor he was for eleven years, he was united by the closest bonds of affection and interest. The letters which date from that period breathe a spirit of whole-hearted devotion to the souls committed to his charge. When the congregations of the Transvaal presented him with a unanimous and urgent call to throw in his lot with them, he declared, in refusing the invitation—

Do not think that I consider the difficulties, the self-sacrifice or the self-denial to be too great a demand upon me : I trust that I am ready to do and suffer anything for the name of Christ. No, brethren, these considerations have not moved me to decline your call, but only the consciousness that I dare not leave my own flock without the prospect of their finding another minister. ... It has been no easy task, brethren, to arrive at this decision, for my heart is still very closely united to you in love, and the tears and prayers with which so many of you have sought to move and encourage me to come over to you, are frequently in my thoughts. Be assured that you will continually have a place in my feeble prayers before the throne, while I trust that the Lord Himself will yet point out the way by which provision may be made for your most urgent necessities.

The warm interest which Mr. Murray felt towards the inhabitants of the republics of the north continued even after he had ceased to be their minister. He rejoiced at every opportunity for casting more light upon the past history and present conditions of the oft-maligned Transvaal Boers, and was always ready to set pen to paper in their defence. In the Catholic Presbyterian for November, 1879, there appeared an article on The Church of the Transvaal, by a Cape Minister, which is beyond question Andrew Murray’s work. A few paragraphs from this paper, written when the difficulties between the Transvaal people and the British Government were coming to a head, will show the manner in which he proceeded to enlighten the prevalent ignorance concerning the Boers—

The interest excited by the annexation of the Transvaal will, perhaps, secure for its Church history an attention which it otherwise could hardly have expected. And a glimpse at the religious side of the Boer’s character may possibly be something new to those who have only heard of him as the enemy of the Englishman and the native, while it cannot fail to gratify all who are large-hearted enough to believe and rejoice that, in every nation, God hath those who fear Him and work righteousness and are accepted with Him. . . .

Among the thousands who left the Colony [in the Great Trek] there were not a few who were earnestly religious men, and the most carried with them some respect for religion. According to the custom of the .Dutch Church, almost all who had reached the age of sixteen or eighteen had been admitted members of the Church. The preparation for admission to membership had been the great means of keeping alive, in a scattered population in the Colony, the desire to be able to understand the Bible and attain the needful religious knowledge. Many had been living, at that time, fifty and eighty miles from a church, and could barely attend a religious service more than once or twice a year. Among the thousands of waggons that crossed the Orange River, there were but few that did not carry the Bible and hymn-book. In very many of their encampments, as they moved along, the Sabbath was observed and religious services held. And in not a few of the tents the daily voice of praise could be heard at morning and evening worship.

But there were among them some who would have been marked men anywhere, whose religious character was only deepened by the difficulties they had to contend with, and who felt how much depended on them if religion was not to be lost among the thousands who were moving out into the wilderness without a shepherd. One of these men I knew well, Chari Cilliers. When at a meeting of Synod in Cape Town, in 1862, he took his seat as an elder from the Free State, he and two or three of the old emigrant farmers from Natal made their weight felt at once. Well do I remember how, as I rode with him on my first visit to the Transvaal, he told me the terrible story of their first encounter with the Zulus, and especially of that memorable Sunday when there appeared to be no help with man, and they cried to God for deliverance. On the morning of that holy day, as they saw the thousands of Zulus gather round them, he stood up on the front of his waggon, Bible in hand ; and, calling those who were preparing for battle around, he asked them whether, if God were that day to save them, they would indeed serve Him and be His people, and vow ever to observe that day in remembrance of God’s mercy. And then, standing there with uncovered head, he led the people in prayer, and covenanted with God that, if He would save them from the hands of the heathen, the Lord should be their God. For more than thirty years afterwards that day was never forgotten by him, but spent as a day of prayer, confessing the sins of the people and asking for the blessing of the Spirit.1 And often he would gather others around him, long after he had left Natal for the Free State, to remind them that they were a covenant people whom God had delivered from the heathen no less truly than Israel of old.

In one respect the Christianity [of these men] could not, perhaps, have passed muster. Calvinistic Presbyterianism has always been specially fond of the Old Testament. It finds there, in the distinct manifestations of the sovereignty and the righteousness of God, the everlasting foundations on which New Testament grace can alone securely rest. Its theology has perhaps not yet fully apprehended and expressed the real difference between the Life of the new dispensation of the Spirit and the Shadow of the time of preparation. And its piety has often had more in it of the Old Testament type, with its bondage and its darkness, than of the New. It will be no wonder, then, if we find these comparatively illiterate though God-fearing men not able to distinguish very clearly between the relation of Israel to the heathen in

Canaan, and their own to the savages by whom they saw themselves surrounded. It will not appear strange that they thought that, in going forth to conquer them and possess their land, they were extending Christianity.

And yet many of them were most willing to have the heathen taught. The difficulties which have more than once arisen with missionaries have not always had their origin in the refusal to allow the black man to be taught, but in the political interest from which it is impossible to separate mission work. There have always been among missionaries, as well as among Europeans generally, two policies with regard to the black man. The one makes liberty and equality its watchword, and seeks, politically and religiously, to put him on a level with the white man. With the other party subjection and discipline are the ruling idea : the native races are like children who have not yet attained their majority, for whom there must be a special legislation and training before they are fit to take the place of free men. Generally speaking, the tendency of English missionaries has been towards the former policy, while their German brethren have been much more the supporters of authority. It will be easily understood that the Boer sides with the latter, and that unpleasant collisions with missionaries (as in the case of Livingstone himself) are to be attributed, not to simple hatred of the missionary and his work, but to questions of nationality and of policy with which they have been identified, especially in the minds of men not accustomed to discriminate carefully. Not long after the difficulties in the Transvaal with Livingstone, and the expulsion from there of the two missionaries Edwards and Inglis, the Boer Government gave every encouragement to German missionaries, and their relation to them has been almost entirely free from difficulty. . . .

What of the Divine life in the Churches [of the Transvaal] ? I fear that the account cannot be called very favourable. Ministers and earnest Christian men unite in saying that the unrest and excitement which the want of quiet rule has caused, and which through the events of the last few years has grown into discontent and bitterness, have left their mark on the people. There are some districts in which the prevailing tone of religion is higher than in most. One of these, regarded as having been the most neglected, has been the scene of a very powerful revival during the last two years, through the labours of a missionary to the natives in connexion with the Dutch Reformed Church, himself brought up among the farmers of the Colony, and understanding how to reach them. One result of his work has been this, that three young sons of the Transvaal have offered themselves for mission work. Amid the disturbances of a land like this the Scripture command to pray for rulers, that we may have a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness,” acquires a new meaning. . . . Visitors have often expressed their surprise that in the midst of his wanderings and troubles the African farmer has not retrograded more rapidly. His natural conservatism, and the tenacity with which his religious traditions are maintained, encourage us to trust that, when present political troubles are over and the hoped for time of restored peace has come, it will be found that a time of blessing will come for the people too.

Thus I have introduced the Presbyterian Boers of the Transvaal to their brethren throughout the world. There have been witnesses enough to bring up a report of the evil there is in the land ; it has been my privilege to tell of the good there is, and the good we hope for. Let every Christian give tl^m a cordial welcome to their place in the Church Catholic, and, amid the present troubles, a large share of sympathy and prayer. God is able to raise them up, and even from among them to take pioneers in the work of winning Africa for Christ.

The reference in the above paper to the annexation of the Transvaal renders necessary a brief recapitulation of the historical and political situation. In 1877, after five-and-twenty years of republican government, the Transvaal was annexed to the British Crown, and British troops occupied Pretoria. The alleged reason for this action, which was in clear opposition to the wishes of the vast majority of the population,2 was that the Boers were unable to defend themselves against the menace of the native tribes within their borders, and that this weakness jeopardized the supremacy of the white race in the whole of South Africa. The Dutchspeaking section of the Republic, who formed at least nine-tenths of the whole, adopted immediately an attitude of passive resistance. Two deputations, of each of which Mr. Paul Kruger, the future President of the Transvaal, was a member, laid the grievances of the burghers before the English Government, demanding that the annexation should be cancelled and the Sand River Convention3 upheld. But the Government, misinformed by its representatives in South Africa, refused to believe that the deputations interpreted the views of the majority. The Boers therefore adopted measures which none could misinterpret. At a great meeting held at Paardekraal, near Krugersdorp, in 1880, they solemnly resolved to maintain their cause by an appeal to arms. The flag of the Republic was hoisted on Dingaan’s Day (16th December), and Messrs. Kruger, Pretorius and Joubert were appointed a triumvirate for the conduct of affairs. The issue of the brief conflict is well known. The British forces suffered a series of disasters, which culminated in the defeat on Majuba Mountain, where the commander-in-chief, General Sir George Colley, fell. Less than three months after the outbreak of hostilities an armistice was arranged. Peace was concluded shortly afterwards, on the 21st March, 1881, and in the following August was signed the Convention of Pretoria, which restored to the Boers their cherished independence, subject to certain restrictions, implying the suzerainty of the British Sovereign.1

The troubles through which the Transvaal people were passing, and their unwearied efforts after independence, were followed with sympathetic interest by their kindred in the Cape Colony. A Memorial was extensively signed, humbly entreating the Queen to withdraw the obnoxious proclamation by which the Transvaal was deprived of its independence —“the prospects of a cordial union between the several states of South Africa having been greatly interfered with by a measure tenaing to alienate from Your Majesty’s Government the minds both of the inhabitants of the Republics and of a large number of Cape Colonists.” It is not certain that Mr. Murray put his signature to the above or any similar memorial: he was naturally averse from participation in any course of action which had the semblance of party politics. But his contribution to the Catholic Presbyterian is sufficient evidence that his sympathies were strongly on the side of the Boers. In this connexion the letters which he wrote

This suzerainty was reduced, to a minimum, if not wholly renounced, by the Convention of London in 1884, by which (in the words of the Earl of Derby the then Secretary of State for the Colonies) the Transvaal administration “was left free to govern the country without interference, and to conduct its diplomatic correspondence and shape its foreign policy, subject only to the requirement that any treaty with a foreign State should not have effect without the approval of the Queen.’'

Specially interesting is the letter dated 26th March, 1881, in which he realizes “how strongly the feeling of nationality is asserting itself and mingling with the religious sentiment of the people.” Of this feeling he declares that “ there are in it elements of good which must be nourished: a more strongly developed national life in our half-slumbering Dutch population will afford a more vigorous stock for the Christian life to be grafted on.”

The “feeling of nationality” to which Mr. Murray makes reference was to assert itself much more powerfully in subsequent years, and its rapid growth was due to a series of events by which the ideals of the Dutch-speaking and English-speaking sections of the population were thrown into sharp antagonism. The discovery in the Transvaal of rich gold-bearing reefs, situated within fifty miles of Pretoria, effected a complete change in the economic and political outlook of that republic of primitive farmers. From being one of the poorest of states it suddenly awoke to find itself wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of avarice. A new population was drawn to the country. Johannesburg, the golden city, sprang up as if by magic. The prices of commodities rose to unknown figures, and the agricultural community grew rich at one bound. The State reaped huge profits from the sale of public lands, from the imposition of new taxes, and from the grant of monopolies and concessions. In 1877 the Transvaal was on the verge of bankruptcy; fifteen years later it was rolling in wealth.

This sudden access of prosperity was viewed by thoughtful minds with the gravest concern. It brought face to face in the same state two sections of people who were in almost every respect the antipodes of each other. The one section consisted of the old burghers—animated by beliefs and instincts belonging to the seventeenth rather than the nineteenth century, conservative in religion and social habits, N suspicious of foreigners, and jealous to a degree of their independence and their Apolitical power. The other section was composed of the men whose enterprise had brought to light the hidden riches of the country and developed its unsuspected resources, whose contributions in rates and taxes had beautified cities, built railroads and subsidized public works, and to whose energy was due the transformation of a simple pastoral people into an organized modern state, but who nevertheless found themselves excluded from a share in the government, and denied representation in the legislature of the land. The situation was pregnant with difficulty and danger.

The men who at this time controlled the destinies of South Africa were also exact opposites. In the Transvaal the chief political power was vested in Paul Kruger, four times President of the Republic, one of the most notable and typical of South African statesmen—shrewd, unlettered, suspicious, humorous, religious and reactionary. The hope of the party of reform was centred in Cecil Rhodes, Premier of the Cape Colony, who had succeeded in uniting the Dutch and the English parties in the colony, and who stood at the head of a ministry which was apparently as stable as any that ever held office in South Africa. Kruger was slow, cautious, dour, and in many respects intractable. Rhodes was genial, optimistic, ambitious : he had amalgamated the Kimberley mines, established the Chartered Company, created a new world in Central Africa which bore the name of Rhodesia in his honour, reconciled divergent colonial interests; and now he was Prime Minister of the Cape. Surely he could manage to conciliate the “old man” of the Transvaal! But Rhodes had not sufficient patience to play the waiting game. He made a false move which sealed his fate, and, as Sir Hercules Robinson1 said, “ threw back the cause of civilization in South Africa twenty-five years.” That false move was the Jameson Raid.

On the 29th December, 1895, Dr. Jameson, administrator of Rhodesia, crossed the western Transvaal border at the head of five hundred troopers, with the purpose of effecting a junction with insurgents at Johannesburg, and by a coup d’etat subverting the government. At the news of this invasion of their country by a band of raiders the Boers sprang to arms. On the 2nd January, 1896, the invaders were surrounded near Krugersdorp and compelled to surrender. The incipient rebellion in Johannesburg was speedily quelled. The members of the “ Reform Committee ” who had engineered the insurrection were arraigned for high treason, and sentenced to terms of imprisonment and heavy pecuniary penalties. Dr. Jameson and his officers were handed over for punishment to the British Government; but the easy sentences which were imposed, and the glorification of their indefensible and insensate action by a portion of the English and colonial Press, fomented the suspicions of the Transvaal people that their independence would sooner or later be again assailed, and that duty to their country called them to prepare for the inevitable conflict. In the Cape Colony Mr. Rhodes, whose connivance at the acts of his subordinate could not be gainsaid, lost at one stroke the confidence and support of the Dutch, and was compelled to resign. Far from showing signs of repentance, he boasted that his career was only beginning; but the logic of events and the nemesis of history belied his boast, and after the Jameson Raid he was no longer the leader of a people, but only the leader of a party.

These regrettable events tended, as may be imagined, to accentuate the cleavage between English and Dutch. Among Dutch-speaking South Africans, whether they lived under a republican or under the imperial flag, the feeling of a common nationality grew with the rapidity of Jonah’s gourd. Cape Colonists who in former years had not been backward in voicing their grievances against President Kruger’s illiberal franchise, his unjust tariffs, his iniquitous monopolies, and his maladministration generally, now ceased their grumbling and closed their ranks, saying, “Blood is thicker than water.”

The record of the three years which stretch between the Jameson Raid and the Anglo-Boer War is a sad one. It was a time of profound and growing suspicion, which even the wisest statesmanship could not allay. It was a period during which racial antipathies were aggravated and party passions systematically inflamed. Politically, it was a time of mistakes and misunderstandings, of reproaches and mutual recriminations, of dogged obstinacy on the one hand and lofty contempt on the other, which made the attempt to compose existing differences an almost hopeless task.

No man did more in those troublous days than Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr1 to bring about a better understanding. Now he urged upon Sir Afred Milner,4 as representing Her Majesty’s Government, the necessity of a friendly conference. Again, he warned Mr. Kruger to adopt a more conciliatory tone, employing a metaphor which to the President’s mind would carry more weight than an argument: “ When you make a salad, be sparing with pepper and vinegar, but liberal with oil.” He was valiantly seconded by the Free State Government, which brought its powerful influence to bear upon Kruger to induce him to grant the reforms which were demanded. But all efforts at reconciliation were vain because of the mutual distrust with which each party had for the other. Inveterate suspicion on the one and imperious diplomacy on the other were the chief factors of the situation. And so, during the latter half of 1899, the country drifted steadily towards the final catastrophe. British troops were massed on the Transvaal borders, and when the republican Government asked the reason, Sir Alfred Milner replied that they were there “for all eventualities.” Without waiting to be attacked, the Transvaal Government on the 11th October, 1899, declared war, and thus a conflagration was kindled which for two and a half years devasted South Africa, and laid the two Boer republics in ruins.

The situation just before the outbreak of hostilities was so critical, that Mr. Murray, in the vain hope of yet averting the supreme calamity, broke the silence which he habitually observed on political questions in a series of articles which were published in the South African News. The articles were intended to be six in number, but only three had appeared when the final rupture occurred, after which it was considered inadvisable and useless to continue publishing what was so diametrically opposed to the policy of the Imperial Government. The papers which saw the light dealt with “Transvaal Independence”—a review of the steps by which the Boer Republic had asserted its right to self-government; “The Jameson Raid”—an exposure of the “duplicity and treachery” which led to that attack upon Transvaal liberties; and “Uitlander Grievances,”—with respect to which Mr. Murray maintained that “England has no right to say whether the franchise shall be a five or a seven years’ one.” A few days before the declaration of war he also wrote an impassioned appeal for peace, which is here taken over in full because of its value as the expression of the sentiments of Dutch-speaking South Africa—

As the oldest minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, as one known, and sometimes even misjudged by my own people, for my loyalty to British interests, as one not unknown in England as a teacher and a worker in the service of God and humanity, I venture, at the urgent request of many in this country, to make this appeal for peace.

I implore the rulers and people of the greatest Christian nation in the world not to make war on the youngest and smallest of its free States.

What is it that makes war necessary?

Not the suzerainty of the Queen. The Transvaal maintain that the suzerainty of the Convention of 1881 was set aside by that of 1884. English lawyers of note are of the same opinion. The Transvaal has asked for the settlement of the question, but never said that it makes it a matter of war. Apart from this, even if the suzerainty exists, its meaning is too vague to need bloodshed for its maintenance.

British supremacy and paramountcy in South Africa are not the cause of the war. These were not sacrificed when the independence of the Republic was granted, and have not been denied.

The franchise is not the cause of the war. A seven years’ franchise has been given. A five years’ franchise was being arranged for, when, owing to new demands, it was withdrawn.

The one cause of the war is the independence of the Republic. It refuses to be dictated to in internal affairs. It is willing to allow discussion and friendly counsel, has proved itself ready to act on it, and consented to a joint commission of enquiry. The one object of the originators of the agitation which has led to the war is to destroy the independence of the Republic, either by gradually giving Uitlanders a preponderating influence, or making it a British Colony.

England’s desire to be just and generous in South Africa has frequently been defeated by a lack of the power to understand the Dutch Boer, the strength of his love of liberty, or the need of sympathy with his aspirations to realize his difficulties and win his confidence. It was owing to this that the annexation so utterly failed, and led to such disaster. It was in the same spirit that the Raid was undertaken, leading to greater disaster in the bitterness and hostility that has been so intensified. It is to the same disposition that this war owes its origin ; it can lead to nothing but still more terrible disaster and ruin, both to South Africa and the Empire.

More than one serious mistake has already been made. We have reason to know that the English Government was led to believe that President Kruger would yield, and that there would be no war; that the Orange Free State would keep out of the war; and that it would be possible to secure the co-operation of the Dutch inhabitants of the Colony. And so the Government adopted a threatening tone, and spoke of an ultimatum before it was ready, and so gave the Republic cause and opportunity to begin the war, while Natal, Mafeking and Kimberley are insufficiently defended. Any day may bring the tidings that war has broken out. If disaster comes at the opening of the campaign, there is no reason to think that such disaster will be the last or the worst.

On behalf of a hundred thousand of the Dutch-speaking people of our Church in this Colony, I implore the British people to pause and adopt af-different policy. I ask whether the nation which in the whole world makes the loudest boast of its liberty, and what it has done for liberty, ought not to consider the liberty of the Republic as sacred and inviolable as its own, and to make this the basis of all its negotiations? Give the Republic the generous assurance of this. Do not meet it with dictation or threats, which have so signally failed. The Boer mind, which resists intimidation, can be reached by reason and conciliation,

(1) Let the threatening of war be withdrawn, and proposals be made to return to a peace footing. (2) Let the suzerainty of the Queen and the independence of the Republic be left as settled by the Conventions. (3) Let a Joint Commission enquire into the Uitlander grievances, and take time—months, if need be—to find a way out of the difficulties with which the whole relationship of the two races is beset. (4) Let England and the Republic offer each other the hand of friendship, and the assurance that they desire to meet and act in the spirit of conciliation and mutual confidence.

I make bold to undertake that the decision of such a Joint Commission would receive the support of every South African who now condemns the war as needless and unrighteous.

The horrors of war are too terrible ; the sin and shame of war are too great; the folly of war is too monstrous; the penalty of war is altogether too awful for England to inflict it on this country.

I believe with my whole heart that in many respects Britain is the noblest, the most Christian nation in the world, its greatest power for good or evil. I cannot believe that the English Cabinet, if it had not been misled by one-sided and false representations as to the necessity, the duration, the results of the war, would ever have threatened it. I cannot believe that the British people will give its sanction to a war that, even if England conquers, can end in nothing but the extinction of two free Republics, in the extermination of tens of thousands of men who are determined to die for their liberty, in the alienation of our whole people, and the perpetuation of race-hatred for generations to come.

Once again I beseech the Christian people of Great Britain to rouse themselves, and to say, “This war shall not be.” Let every lover of peace make his voice heard. And let every one who knows how to make his voice heard in Heaven above, join us in one unceasing supplication to God that peace may be restored. There are thousands of God-fearing people in this land praying without ceasing for peace. I call upon all God’s children: Kneel down beside us, present yourselves as one with us, and see if our God may not even yet send deliverance. As the British Parliament assembles next week, we will join with you in the fervent supplication that He in whose hands all hearts are may guide them to know and do His will.

Among the Chauvinists Mr. Murray’s attitude towards the war policy provoked the greatest resentment and anger. The more violent section of the English colonial Press heaped abuse upon his head, and flung at him many opprobrious epithets, of which “PecksnifAan humbug ” and "lying priest” may be taken as extreme examples. In Great Britain, except among the staunch little circle of “pro-Boers,” his appeal fell upon deaf ears; but in America, where his three papers on the situation were issued in pamphlet form,5 his words won a large measure of sympathy for the Boer cause. That cause had Mr. Murray’s ardent support to its very last gasp. In the later stages of the war, when British troops held possession of all the railways and almost all the towns, and the Boers were only able to continue the unequal contest by engaging in guerilla warfare, he still held them justified in fighting to the bitter end. More than one deputation was despatched to the Boer leaders in order to persuade them to lay down their arms, but the effort was vain. A journal of the day contains the following plaintive paragraph: "The report of the Peace Envoys shows that the mission was an entire failure. The Rev. Dr. Murray was immovable in declining to do anything unless the British Government acknowledged the independence of the Republics. The other Dutch ministers, the report says, simply piped after Dr. Murray.”

It need hardly be said that Mr. Murray’s intercourse with like-minded Christian brethren, even when their views differed from his own, remained undisturbed during the sad years when war was raging. In 1900 he issued, in conjunction with ministers of the Anglican and other denominations, a call to prayer, in which Christians were invited to unite in asking— peacemakers, and that a spirit of gentleness, forbearance and brotherly love may be shed abroad in all hearts by the Holy Ghost.

If the “feeling of nationality" had been fostered by the events of former years, it was fanned to a bright flame by the losses and sufferings of the three years’ war. In the fire of that great ordeal Dutch-speaking South Africa was welded together as it had never been before. Independence was gone, but the instinct of nationality sought expression in the determination to secure for the Dutch language perfect equality with the English, in a new devotion—perhaps more formal than vital—to the Dutch Reformed Church, and in a settled endeavour to strengthen the national feeling by diligent research into the past, the encouragement of literary efforts in Cape Dutch, and closer union for social ends and political purposes. There were some South Africans who feared that the movement was going too far in cutting itself loose from English influences and the study of English institutions and literature. Mr. Murray’s views on this subject are briefly stated in a letter, dated 25th November, 1907—

To one of his Daughters.

I was interested in your letter, telling of your philanthropic plans to help cure our people of any wrong thoughts in regard to their future. I fear that you will find that your efforts will be unavailing. Let me give you my reasons for saying this.

The love of language and country is an instinct implanted by nature and of almost inconceivable strength. When the Dutch movement began twenty-five years ago, I thought it was an attempt to attain the impossible. Time has cured me of this. If one sees clearly that the thing is a sentiment, a thing of the heart, inbred and vital, one will understand that you can't overcome it by argument. Your arguments may satisfy yourself, but will not convince the others.

I can quite understand that they think that it is just the cultivation of this national spirit that will help to give backbone and a sense of independence. As long as our people were accustomed to regard themselves as of an inferior stamp, their great aim was to rise by becoming as English as possible. If our grown-up people feel that their right to their language and nationality is just as sacred as that of the English, the consciousness will be awakened in them that they are on a level, in that respect, with any other nation.

Anyone who really wants to work for them must respect this feeling and try to help them to cultivate the highest possible standard of national character. The instinct of self-preservation will have two effects. The one is to maintain the national character ; the other to maintain their place in the march of progress. This will teach them the indispensable need of English in business and politics.

These are a few loose thoughts. Let me hear what impression they make on you. Let us ask God to use us for the welfare of the people who belong to us.

The chief memorial which Africander1 sentiment has raised to the victims of the war is the Women's Monument at Bloemfontein. For it was, alas ! the women and children upon whom the brunt of the war fell. During the latter stages of the conflict, the British commander-in-chief directed that the women and children should be removed from the farms and smaller townships, and be brought together in so-called “concentration camps,” where (it was affirmed) they could be properly cared for, and yet be prevented from holding communication with the Boers who still kept the field. The intention may have been good, but it was carried out in a hopelessly incompetent manner. Sickly women and children of tender years were housed in canvas tents, and exposed to heat and blinding dust by day and to biting cold at nights. Rationing was irregular and often insufficient ; overcrowding was the rule ; sanitary arrangements were sadly defective: of comfort and decency there was little to be seen. When sickness broke out, it was discovered that there were few doctors or none at all, and no trained nurses, no medicines and comforts, no hospital accommodation. Measles and other infectious diseases laid hold upon the crowded camps and carried off thousands. Enteric claimed its victims by the hundreds. Day after day funeral corteges wended their tearful way to the little cemetery—a space railed off in a corner of the camp by barbed-wire fencing. • Before the concentration camps were broken up, more than twenty-five thousand women and children had died, while the total of men who fell, by wounds or by disease, did not even reach four thousand.

In memory of the mothers and the children who thus gave their lives for their country there was erected at Bloemfontein, chiefly through the untiring efforts of ex-President Steyn, a monument in the form of an obelisk, one hundred and twenty feet in height, with bronze reliefs at the foot, representing the privations and sufferings endured by the women of the Republics. This monument was unveiled in December 1913, and the ceremony drew prominent men from all parts of the Union. Of the actual scene we have the following description by an eye-witness :—

While the procession approached, minute guns were fired. At the site was visible a dense mass of living humanity, seated upon the surrounding kopjes : there were present, according to the best estimates, some twenty thousand people. After General Botha, General Hertzog, Senator Reitz, and several ministers and other personages had seated themselves at the foot of the monument, President Steyn was led in, accompanied by his wife. How the heart of the assemblage was touched to see him enter with such feeble step ! Immediately after him came Dr. Andrew Murray, leaning on the arm of Mr. Gordon Fraser. Shall we say what feelings stirred within us as we looked upon these two figures? We cannot. This only let us set down—our two great men, each the first in his own sphere ! . . .

During the proceedings the heavens were pleasantly overclouded, but later on the sun began to shoot down its burning rays upon the mighty gathering. Dr. Murray looked on silently, while every now and again the Rev. J. M. Louw handed him a scrap of paper from which he learnt what was being said.3 It was General deWet, no other, who extended an umbrella over the head of the revered octogenarian. "Who is the good friend who is so kindly holding the umbrella above me?” "General de Wet,” was the reply. On Dr. Murray's expressing his hearty thanks for the friendly service, "it is an honour worth paying for,” said de Wet.

Mr. Murray’s contribution to the proceedings consisted in a brief address in the church of the congregation as whose first minister he had been installed sixty-four years previously. The informant whom we have already quoted describes his appearance and message in these terms—

His voice, stronger even in the speaker’s old age than that of most preachers—how it reminds us of the days when it made us tremble as he spoke of death and eternity !—still possesses the power of penetrating to the very depths of the soul. But the power it now wields is of a different nature, as [anyone will understand when we set down the opening words of his address : “We are assembled here to celebraee the festival of love—suffering, intercessory, benedictory, all-conquering love. The monument which is to be unveiled to-day is the monument of love.” He then spoke of the sufferings endured in the camps, and asked what could have been the Divine purpose of it all. God’s object was to lead souls through suffering to love. And that suffering brought them also to their knees. Many persons entered those camps not knowing what prayer was, and there learnt the secret. . . . The speaker also pointed to the danger which at present existed of dissension and schism among our people. What could prevent that? Only love. “Let us go to the monument,” he said, “with the words, I yield myself to God, in the desire to seek not mine own. Let us go under the banner of God’s love—suffering, praying, blessing, overcoming.”

The dissensions against which Mr. Murray raised his voice in warning came to a head not many months later, and Dutch South Africa was split up into two antagonistic sections. A Dutch Reformed minister, Dr. D. F. Malan, resigned his charge in order to devote himself to a political career. In a speech on one occasion he made use of language which called forth an immediate protest on the part of Mr. Murray. "If the dissensions which divide our people are not healed,” said Dr. Malan, "I cannot see how our Church can in the long run remain united. There is a tendency in members of the same Church to unite, not merely in confession and belief, but also in political views.” The attitude expressed by these words was rebuked by Mr. Murray in a forcible letter, of which the following sentences give the gist— within it two parties with different political convictions. The Church surely is a spiritual body, specially created by the Lord with the purpose of uniting, in the power of a supernatural love which derives its strength from Christ through the Holy Spirit, all His members, drawn even from nations which may have hated and despised one another. Paul gave expression more than once to the thought: “In the new man there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision. Barbarian and Scythian, bondman and freeman; but Christ is all and in all."

Differences of opinion are not in themselves sinful. They are the result of differences of temperament, of education, of environment. In every nation there is found the distinction between Conservatives and Liberals, between the men who seek safety in the retention of what is old and approved, and the men who look for salvation in what is new. Such differences of insight are indispensable for the well-being of a people. Friction helps to sharpen the mind, so that each party contributes its own share towards the ultimate issue of the conflict. It is not the difference of viewpoint, but the sin of self-will and lovelessness that yields the bitter fruit in which dissension and hatred are revealed.

Our Church has, I think, acted wisely in always seeking to emphasize that it was not her calling, nor yet that of her ministers as such, to engage in politics. One may ask then, But ought not religion to exercise influence upon politics, and so upon everything that can be of service to society and to humanity ? Undoubtedly ; but in a quite different manner. It is the calling of the Church to educate her members to take their due share as burghers of the State. She does this by teaching them to walk in the fear of God, by assisting them to shape a character that above all things is steadfast in its obedience to God’s will, and in that love which lives not for itself but for its fellow-men. There is a wide gulf between the conception that the Church must directly teach her members which political views are the right ones, and the thought that she must assist them to apply to practical life the great principles of the Word of God. [As regards present dissensions] the Church must allow the voice of God to be heard above all the roaring of the waters : “ Love one another, forbearing one another in love ; as Christ hath forgiven you, even so do ye likewise.” If the Church is faithful to this duty it will be impossible that there should be any thought of disruption because of political differences.

In conclusion, we shall find an answer to many questions in the word of our Lord, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. Render to the King, to the Government, to national feeling, to politics, the things that are theirs. And render to God what is due to Him—dominion over His Church, the unity and love of His children, and the consecration of the Church and her ministers in the endeavour to know aright and duly to fulfil His will.

In private as well as in public Mr. Murray’s influence was always enlisted in the interests of peace and concord. When approached for advice by those who were passing through circumstances of strife and disunion, he was unwearied in recommending the more excellent way of composing differences—by the exercise of forbearance and brotherly love. A few years since the consistory of a certain Dutch Reformed congregation in the south-west of the Cape Province resolved upon discontinuing a series of services which had been conducted in the English language for half a century. This resolution evoked the most strenuous opposition on the part of the English-speaking members of the congregation, and of all who were in sympathy with English ideals. The consistory maintained that the need for English services was less urgent than in former years, and that the necessity of providing a double series of services, two Sabbath-schools, and a twofold administration, of Holy Communion, cast too heavy a burden upon the ministers. The aggrieved parties replied that the real reason was merely the recent growth of Dutch sentiment, and that the interests of God’s Kingdom were being subordinated to the interests of language and nationality.

One of those who belonged to the protesting section, an ex-elder of unimpeachable character, addressed a communication to Mr. Murray on the question, and elicited the following reply— me have failed. In the struggle we have done our utmost, but without success. What shall we do now? Persevere and fight on? Allow the separation between us and the other party to continue and perhaps grow worse? Go on, and allow the two parties in the congregation to be cold and distant to each other, and so encourage the spirit of partisanship and mutual distrust?

Or, shall we not honestly say—We did our best to assert our rights, and to gain what we thought would be a blessing to the congregation. The other party has been stronger and more successful: we have suffered a defeat. Would it not be best for us to say,—we have done our utmost, we have prayed for help, we have failed. Had we not better accept our disappointment as something God has allowed, and in regard to which there is no likelihood of a change?

To the spirit of the world it is a great humiliation to acknowledge a defeat, but not to the child of God. Our first object is that love may be restored. We are going to say to our brethren—We have no wish to dispute about the matter any more ; we give you the assurance of our hearty love ; we are anxious that the breach should be healed, and that we should all work together in carrying out the wishes of the kerheraad and the ministers in caring for the souls. A kerkeraad has its authority from God, even though the men who constitute it may not be perfect. Let us forget our differences. Let us spend the time we have given to prayer about this trouble in the great work of praying for the spirit of unity and love among God’s children, and the power of the Spirit on the congregation. The meek and lowly Christ will accept of our desire to be meek and lowly too. And who knows but that in answer to a union of love and united prayer God may give a rich blessing.

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