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The Life of Andrew Murray of South Africa
Chapter XXI. Andrew Murray as an Author

A noble man with the gift of utterance, one who is true to the soul of things and in inspired accord with it, and armed with its holy sympathies, and filled with its resistless persuasions, can put himself into the mind of a thousand.—Phillips Brooks.

IN previous chapters of this biography occasional reference has been made to the beginnings of Andrew Murray’s activities as a writer. His earliest literary work was no mere parergon, inspired by the desire to influence a wider audience. It stood in close and vital connexion with his pastoral labours, and aimed at rendering practical daily aid to members of his congregation, most of whom, spending their days on lonely farms fifty or a hundred miles away from Bloemfontein, were able to attend the ministrations of grace at rare intervals only. His first published books dealt with the urgent question of the training of children. Nothing can have impressed the young minister on his journeys among the voortrekkers as deeply as the large numbers of infants presented for baptism. The Boers are a healthy and prolific race. Families of a dozen or more are common, and mothers are occasionally met with who have borne twenty or twenty-four children. The task of Christian mothers, upon whom devolves the duty of inculcating the first principles of morality and teaching the simplest truths of religion, is assuredly no easy one. Mr. Murray’s first book was designed to assist the mothers of his flock in the performance of this duty by providing a Life of Christ in language adapted to the comprehension of the child. It appeared in 1858 as an illustrated quarto volume under the title Jezus de Kindervriend. Many months must have elapsed, in those days of imperfect communication, between the despatch of the manuscript to Europe and the arrival of the printed book. “I am disappointed,” writes Mr. Murray, “that it is not more simple. It is to myself intensely interesting as containing the expression of what filled my mind some time ago. There are passages that I hardly believed that I myself had written.” Jezus de Kindervriend supplied a felt need and was eagerly welcomed, but it remains one of the few books of Andrew Murray which were never translated into English, in which language there exist, happily, many excellent Lives of Christ for children.

The second work which flowed from Mr. Murray's pen was Wat zal toch dit Kindeke wezen? (What manner of Child shall this be ?) It was printed in Cape Town and published in 1863 as a little duodecimo volume with red cardboard cover, and consisted, as the sub-title indicated, of “ meditations for believing parents on the birth and baptism of their children.” In this booklet the author first adopted the method, which he adhered to in most of his subsequent works, of dividing his matter into thirty-one short pieces to correspond with the days of the month. In an interesting preface to a new edition of this work in 1911, Mr. Murray tells us that the first issue occurred while he was minister of Worcester. Several editions of the booklet were then published in Holland, after which it went out of print for many years, having been largely superseded by its English counterpart, The Children for Christ. in which the number of chapters was increased to fifty-two, to form a year’s Sunday reading. The meditations contained in Wat zal toch dit Kindeke wezen? were the gist of baptismal addresses which the author had delivered during his journey-ings through the country while yet minister of Bloemfontein.

When I was still the only minister of the Free State (he writes), I frequently had to baptize forty or fifty children each Sunday on my visits to the various congregations. In the course of my first journey to the Transvaal in 1849 I christened six hundred infants in six weeks’ time, and in the following year he same number received the ordinance.

My father had taught me to act as he did when he paid a pastoral visit to a congregation. To parents who applied for the administration of baptism to their children he always addressed a few words on the meaning, the sacredness, and the implications of the baptismal ceremony. When travelling in the Transvaal I had to keep the register of baptisms myself. We often had nothing more than a tent or a tiny room, which could not contain more than the parents of four or five infants. Yet I endeavoured to speak a few earnest words to each couple. This led me to the practice of preaching a baptismal sermon at each administration of the sacrament, in order to arouse parents to the solemnity of their promises and the need of fervent prayer if they would count on a blessing both for themselves and for their children.

The next booklet to appear from the press was another duodecimo volume, Blijf in Jezus. It saw the light in 1864, and eighteen years later formed Andrew Murray’s introduction to a host of English readers whose number is still increasing, under the title Abide in Christ. When Mr. Murray was on a visit to Worcester in 1898, on the occasion of a Christian Endeavour Conference, he stood in the study of the old Dutch parsonage and said, “ This is the room in which I wrote Blijf in Jezus more than thirty years ago.” The chief object of this manual was to foster and guide the Christian life of the numerous converts who had been gathered in as a blessed result of the revival of i860 and subsequent years. It was followed by a devotional manual for seekers, which first appeared in De Kerkbode as a series of meditations on the fifty-first psalm, and was afterwards issued in book form as Zijt mij genadig (Be merciful unto me). Several other books in Dutch followed during the ensuing years, many of which were reprints of devotional articles contributed to De Kerk bode, though some were composed during the spare moments^ few at best, of his evangelistic journeys.

Abide in Christ, his first English venture, was published by Messrs. Nisbet in 1882, and Mr. Murray very modestly introduced himself to the Christian public as "A. M.” To his brother he wrote, “I feel a little nervous about my debut in English.” The secret of authorship was soon divulged. “This excellent work,” said a prominent Presbyterian journal, “is by a well-known and esteemed minister at the Cape.”

Andrew Murray found his audience almost immediately. Within four years more than forty thousand copies of Abide in Christ had been sold. The companion volume and sequel, Like Christ, an English reproduction of the Dutch booklet Gelijk Jezus, was issued in 1884, and two years later it had already reached its nineteenth thousand. In 1886 appeared With Christ in the School of Prayer—a. book which has enjoyed a wide circulation, especially in America. When the Dutch original was published, a brother-minister of Andrew Murray wrote : “Oh, why did not the author give us this book twenty-five years ago? Would that I might have read a quarter of a century back what I only now read ! The School of Prayer is a perfect treasury, and had the honoured writer published nothing else, our country would have owed him a great debt of gratitude.” Mr. Murray was now finally embarked upon his career as a devotional writer. His name was widely known, and new books from his pen were awaited with great eagerness. The next book in English was The Children for Christ, to which reference has been made already. In the years 1887 and 1888 he wrote Holy in Christ and The Spirit of Christ,—books which give evidence of close theological study as well as of warm evangelical fervour. An important addition to Mr. Murray’s published works was made in 1895 by the issue of The Holiest of All, an exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which drew the following commendatory notice from Professor James Denney :—

The interest in the Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the religious signs of the times. Commentaries upon it multiply, severely truthful, like Dr. Davidson's, verbally precise, like Dr. Vaughan’s; theological, like Dr. Edwards'; not to mention Westcott, Rendall, and many more. But this exposition of Mr. Murray’s distinctly fills a place of its own. It is a true exposition, not a piece of arbitrary moralizing on a sacred text. But it is also a true book of devotion. The writer is as devoid of any interest in the Epistle, but the practical religious interest, as one could imagine any writer to be. He believes there are numbers in the Christain Church to-day “whose experience corresponds exactly with that which the Epistle pictures and seeks to meet," and he writes for them. In one sense this is impossible, for history does not repeat itself; but let anyone who doubts its substantial truth read fifty pages of Mr. Murray’s book, and he will see cause to qualify his opinion. ... It is characteristic of his practical interest in religion that he everywhere lays stress on the living Saviour. The knowledge of Jesus in His heavenly glory and His saving power (the italics are the author’s)—it is this, he says, our Churches need. And he shows the space this filled in the Christian mind of the first days by printing in red, in his interesting analysis of the Epistle, all the texts referring to the heavenly place and work of our Lord. The circulation of a book like this can do nothing but good.

With regard to the genesis of the most of Andrew Murray’s books, it is exceedingly interesting to note the unpremeditated manner in which they were conceived and produced. The School of Prayer was the outcome of a ministerial conference at George on the subject of prayer, where the thought took so mighty a hold on Mr. Murray that he prepared the volume while travelling from town to town for special services. In the same manner was written Het Nieuwe Leven, subsequently translated into English by the Rev. J. P. Lilley under the title of The New Life. To another conference held at Somerset East in 1891 was due the inception of The Holiest of All. The lessons of the Epistle to the Hebrews formed the subject of study at that gathering, and the truths which opened out were so profound and illuminating that the first chapters of a new work, Ziende op Jezus (Looking unto Jesus), were composed in the quiet intervals of the ensuing evangelistic tour. At Wellington, where Mr. Murray’s home was surrounded on every side by smiling vineyards, he derived the most precious lessons on the believer’s union with Christ from an old vine stump, which lay upon his study table during the summer of 1898. Out of the contemplation of this shapeless brown stump grew The Mystery of the True Vine, which was dedicated to the members of the Society for Christian Endeavour throughout the world; while rich gleanings were collected in a supplementary volume, The Fruit of the Vine. Another booklet, Be Perfect, was commenced at the Murrays’ favourite watering-place, Kalk Bay, on the last day of their annual vacation. Preparations for departure were in full swing, while Mr. Murray, undisturbed by the bustle and confusion, sat contentedly at the window overlooking the sea, commencing the first chapter of a fresh message which he had been commissioned to deliver.

After his retirement from the active pastorate in 1906, Mr. Murray gave himself much more continuously to the writing of books and pamphlets. His alert mind would be repeatedly stimulated, by something he had read or experienced, to set forth in print some new aspect of divine truth. One Good Friday morning, as they returned from church, he said to his daughter Annie, who during the latter years of his life acted as his amanuensis, “I must begin a new book”; and immediately dictated the titles of twenty chapters for a booklet on De Lie/de (Love). Occasionally the chapters would be written first, and the title supplied afterwards; but usually the headings were ready before pen touched paper. Two or three years before his death he attended “ one-day conferences ” held at the villages of Caledon and Villiersdorp, and after a week of considerable strain reached home on the Thursday afternoon. On the following morning he said to his daughter, almost apologetically: “I am sorry, but as a result of my visit to Caledon I must commence a new work”; and two chapters and eight chapter-headings were completed the same forenoon. Some days later he observed at breakfast : "I did not sleep very well, so during my waking hours I composed three chapters for a little volume on Christus ons Leven” (Christ our Life); and the three chapters were committed to paper without delay. He used to say, in his humorous manner, that he was like a hen about to lay an egg : he was restless and unhappy until he had got the burden of his message off his mind. When a book was finished, he liked to have it forwarded at once to the printer. Before the copy was made up and despatched he often said to his daughter: “Now just a word of humble thanksgiving first.” Then heads were bowed over the study table, while he prayed: "Lord, we have been endeavouring to instruct others; may we ourselves learn the truths Thou seekest to impart; and do Thou richly bless this book to all its readers. Amen.”

One day in September, 1912, Mr. Murray received a visit from his nephew, Rev. A. A. Louw, when the latter drew from his pocket a tiny volume entitled Uwe Zon (Thy Sun), and remarked how convenient it was to have such a diminutive book to carry about and read at odd moments—on the cart, in the train, at the railway station, anywhere and everywhere. The idea struck Mr. Murray as an excellent one, and, allowing no paralysing interval to elapse between conception and execution, he began at once to compose the first of a series of booklets for the vest pocket.1 During the following five years, until a serious illness intervened in 1916, twelve of these zakboekjes (pocket manuals) were written and printed, five translated into English, forming the "Pocket Companion” series, and several others commenced but left uncompleted at his death. Mr. Murray has conferred no greater boon upon the Christian public than the issue of these manuals of devotion. They are delightfully small and portable, the daily meditations are brief and to the point,, they contain the cream of his mystical teaching, and they are written out of the rich fullness of his unrivalled experience concerning the spiritual needs of God’s people.

A word or two is necessary on Andrew Murray’s style, which, it must be confessed, is a poor one, both in English and Dutch. English readers have ascribed his bad English to the fact that he wrote in Dutch; Dutch readers have ascribed his bad Dutch to the fact that he thought in English. In truth, his defects of style were equally apparent in both Dutch and English ; and the absence of all charm of expression betrayed itself in translations into other languages as well. A letter is extant from a cultured reader of a French version of one of his works, regretting that the language was such as to repel rather than attract readers. Mr. Murray was perfectly aware of his linguistic shortcomings. One of his earliest letters, dating from the Bloemfontein period, contains a lament over “my miserable deficiency in composition”; and to his daughter and amanuensis he would say, in later years: “My child, I have no style, or only a very bad style." On one occasion, when he had just completed some expository work, he observed: ‘‘I am deeply grateful that I have managed to finish these two articles on Ephesians in three days. But I shall have to write it all over again. My style is not what it should be—far too prolix.” On his daughter’s remonstrating, he rejoined: “Well, you just read Charles Fox on The Spiritual Grasp of the Epistles, and you will see the difference. With him, every word means something.”

But while Mr. Murray was by no means insensible to beauty of style in others, he seems to have made no sustained effort to perfect his own. The intensity with which he felt the burden laid upon his heart, and the urgency with which he sought to deliver his message and fulfil his solemn trust, made him in a sense indifferent to the form which that message assumed. At one time he set himself deliberately, it would almost appear, to resist the temptation to clothe his thoughts in fine language. “ I feel it very difficult not to preach myself,” he writes to his parents in 1848, “ by attending too much to beauty of thought and language, and feeling too little that God alone can teach me to preach.” This attitude was probably a natural reaction from the tendency which he observed in Holland, on the part of men who had surrendered the essentials of Christian truth, to deliver from the pulpit moral essays in language of great sweetness and purity, and thus to set before their flock husks for wheat and stones for bread.

On the other hand, his style possesses the strength and eloquence which are born of deep earnestness, and of a sense of the solemnity of the issues presented to men’s minds and consciences. An intensity of purpose and appeal, such as almost every page of Mr. Murray’s writings reveals, can never fail of that true eloquence which stirs men to their very depths. In the possession of a style of writing which moves the emotions, searches the conscience, and winnows sins and shortcomings, Andrew Murray is surely without compeer in this generation. Let us take, by way of illustration, his comments on the word To-day in The Holiest of All:—

To-day!—it is a word of wonderful promise. It tells that To-day, this very moment, the wondrous love of God is for thee—is even now waiting to be poured out into thy heart; that To-day all that Christ has done, and is even now doing in heaven, and is able to do within thee, is within thy reach. To-day the Holy Ghost, in whom there is the power to know and claim and enjoy all that the Father and the Son are waiting to bestow, is within thee—sufficient for every need, equal to every emergency. With every call we find in our Bible to full and entire surrender; with every promise we read of grace for the supply of temporal and spiritual need; with every prayer we breathe, and every longing that rules in our heart, there is the Spirit of promise whispering. To-day. Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day.

To-day !—it is a word of solemn command. It is not here a question of some higher privilege which you are free to accept or reject. It is not left to your choice, O believer, whether you will receive the fullness of blessing the Holy Spirit offers. That To-day of the Holy Ghost brings you under the most solemn obligation to respond to God’s call and to say, Yes, to-day. Lord, complete and immediate submission to all Thy will, and a perfect trust in all Thy grace.

To-day!—a word too of earnest warning. There is nothing so hardening as delay. When God speaks to us He asks for a tender heart, open to the whispers of His voice of love. The believer who answers the To-day of the Holy Ghost with the To-morrow of some more convenient season, knows not how he is hardening his heart. The delay, instead of making the surrender, in obedience and faith, easy, makes it more difficult. It closes the heart for to-day against the Comforter, and cuts off all hope and power of growth. O believer, even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, so when you hear His voice open the heart in great tenderness to listen and obey. Obedience to the Spirit’s To-day is your only certainty of power and blessing.

His methods of work during the latter years of his life are thus described by his daughter : “He sits up very straight in his study chair, and dictates in a loud, clear voice, as though he were actually addressing his audience. His hours of work are usually from 9 or 10 till 11 in the forenoon, during which time two or three chapters of a book are completed. He is very particular about punctuation, and always says: "New paragraph,” pointing with long, slender finger to the exact spot on the paper where the new line must commence, "full-stop,” “comma,” "colon,” “semi-colon,” as the sense may require. Should his secretary perpetrate some mistake or other in spelling, he would make some playful remark like: "You will have to go back to the kindergarten, you know.” At n o’clock he would say: "Now give me ten minutes’ rest; or no, let us write some letters for a change.” Then half a dozen letters would be quickly dictated, in reply to requests for prayer for healing, for the conversion of unconverted relations, for the deliverance of friends addicted to drink, or, it might be, business letters. Occasionally a letter would be dictated for the Kerkbode on the state of the Church, or for the public Press on some matter affecting the country. The manuscript of a new book was often kept inside the pages of an illustrated annual. " Now bring me Father Christmas,” he would say, and the manuscript pages of one of the Pocket Companion series would be produced from the covers of the journal which had shielded them from harm. When recovering from an illness, he often wrote in bed. He always dictated in a tone of great earnestness, and was specially anxious to get a great deal into a page. "Write closer, closer,” he often repeated. When near the end of the foolscap page, he said: “Now the last four lines for a prayer”; and then he would fold his hands, close his eyes, and actually pray the prayer which ended the written meditation.

Whether Andrew Murray's literary career can be divided into distinct periods is open to doubt. It cannot be truthfully said that he passed through clearly defined stages of spiritual growth, which can be traced in his published writings. The reader of his earliest volumes is impressed by the maturity of thought and experience which they reveal. All the teachings of his later lifetime are present, though he does not as yet bring out their full implication with the force and intensity that characterize his more recent works. This intensity is noticeable in the way in which he emphasizes and underscores and prints in black type words and sentences which he counts important. No one who compares a page of Abide in Christ or Holy in Christ with a page of The Holiest of All or The Key to the Missionary Problem can fail to be struck with this marked difference. Thus, though all the truths which Mr. Murray proclaimed so persuasively were present from the very outset, the emphasis which he placed upon them varied in the course of time. His first writings had chiefly in view the edification of believers—their building-up in faith and love and prayer. To this class belong Abide in Christ, Like Christ, The New Life, and many others. During the next period, commencing with the publication in 1888 of Holy in Christ, he dwells with greater persistency bn the subject of sanctification. This period may be subdivided into two by the year 1894—the stage when he was not yet acquainted with Law’s writings, and the stage when he had fallen under the influence of that great mystic. The final period, characterized by the stress which he lays on the weighty subject of intercessory prayer, we may regard as ushered in by the appearance in 1911 of The State of the Church—a Plea for more Prayer. It must be observed, however, that the dividing lines are vague and blurred. Books on prayer were published during the " Sanctification ” period, and books on both sanctification and prayer during the first or " Edification ” period. But, speaking generally, if we regard the subjects which chiefly engrossed the author’s attention, the classification stands as suggested above.

To a greater extent than almost any other religious writer of our age Mr. Murray possessed the insight and the authority of one of the prophets of olden time. At critical moments in the history of the Church he never failed to raise his voice and to direct attention to the real issues. Those who are intimate with his career in South Africa will agree that there was no man who could rise to a great occasion like Andrew Murray. He possessed the gift of speaking, at the right season, the right and just word, of opening up the larger view and kindling the nobler emotions. This gift he exercised in his writings also. In 1896 a leading article in the British Weekly originated an interesting discussion on the Dearth of Conversions. This was a subject which made instant appeal to earnest soul-seekers like D. L. Moody and Andrew Murray. The latter contributed to the Life of Faith four papers on the question that had been raised. He deals first of all with the alleged reasons for the grievous state of affairs—the influence of the Higher Criticism, the prevalent literary culture, the lack of evangelical sermons, and so forth ; and then, with his usual point and force, he indicates the real cause : “ the dearth of conversions can be owing to nothing but the lack of the power of the Holy Spirit.” There is no one who/ reads Mr. Murray’s papers—which were published in pamphlet form by Messrs. Marshall—but feels instinctively that his intervention raised the discussion to a higher level, and that his diagnosis of the evil went behind superficial symptoms and reached ultimate causes.

When The Key to the Missionary Problem and The State of the Church appeared in 1901 and 1911 respectively, leaders of the Christian Church recognized that these books were more than mere publications : their issue constituted events in the history of the Church of our days. Of the former book and the impression which it produced we have already spoken in the chapter on Andrew Murray as a Missionary Statesman. The State of the Church was an outcome of the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference. When the nine volumes containing the reports of that great gathering were published, no one scanned them with more eager interest than Mr. Murray. "To which volume, do you think, did I turn first?” he once asked the present writer. “To the volume on Carrying the Gospel, I suppose,” was the reply. “Not at all,” said Mr. Murray; "what interested me first and foremost was The Home Base.” It was the perusal of this sixth volume of “Edinburgh 1910” that inspired The State of the Church, with its trumpet-call to “ seven times more prayer.” “Sevenfold is the sign of the burning furnace seven times heated. It is in the new intensity of the prayer of those who already pray that our hope lies.”

In South Africa the message of The State of the Church laid powerful hold upon the most earnest minds in the Dutch Reformed Church. Professor de Vos, of the Stellenbosch Theological Seminary, addressed an open letter to his fellow-ministers, acknowledging and deploring the Church's lack of spiritual power, and suggesting that they should meet together and in God’s presence seek to trace this weakness to its source. A conference, attended by more than two hundred ministers, missionaries, and theological students, was held in April, 1912. Mr. Murray, who of course was present, tells us that:—

The Lord graciously so ordered it that we were gradually led to the sin of prayerlessness, as one of the deepest roots of the evil. No one could plead himself free from this. Nothing so reveals the defective spiritual life in minister and congregation as the lack of believing and unceasing prayer. When once the spirit of confession began to prevail, the question arose as to whether it would be indeed possible to expect to gain the victory over all that had in the past hindered our prayer-life. Such confessions gradually led to the great truth that the only power for a new prayer-life is to be found in an entirely new relation to our blessed Saviour. Before we parted many were able to testify that they were returning with new light and new hope, to find in Jesus Christ strength for a new prayer-life.

Through his writings Mr. Murray has reached a world-wide audience. His books have been translated into most European and not a few Eastern languages. Thus they have circulated not only in the languages in which they originally saw the light—Dutch and English—but also in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Russian, Yiddish, Arabic, Armenian, Telugu, Malayalam, Japanese, and Chinese. As to the influence which they have exercised in China, the Rev. Donald McGillivray, of the Christian Literature Society for China, writes :—

A good many years ago I was travelling in the interior, and came to a missionary’s home. She very soon informed me that she had made a discovery. She said that for some years she had had some of Andrew Murray’s books on her bookshelf, but had not read them. Lately, however, she was moved to take one down, and it revealed to her the blessedness of being filled with the Spirit. From that time I also began to read his books. The Spirit of Christ in particular brought great blessing to myself and to the Chinese, to whom I passed on its message. Some years afterwards I was called to Shanghai to do literary work in connextion with the Christian Literature Society. One of the first books which I translated was Andrew Murray’s Spirit of Christ. The book passed through many editions, and we often heard of the good it was doing. In one city a revival broke out through the book: in another case a' pastor preached on it Sunday by Sunday, taking a chapter each Sunday as subject.

The Ministry of Intercession also was a blessing to China. The Prayer-cycle at the end was adapted and translated for use in China, especially in the mission of the Canadian Presbyterian Church. With Christ in the School of Prayer has lately been issued by our Society, and there may be other works of his which have also been translated into Chinese. I have no doubt Dr. Murray’s books have been rendered into many languages, but I thought that his influence upon China should be mentioned in his Life.

Mr. Murray’s works frequently appeared in other languages without his knowledge or previous permission, and he derived, of course, no pecuniary benefit from them. Indeed, the cases were wholly exceptional where translations brought him any gain. Leave to render any of his writings into another language, when asked, was freely and gladly given. Of the works which appeared in German dress the majority were published by Ernst Rottger, at Kassel. When in Switzerland in 1903 Mr. Murray got into touch with this gentleman, and stayed for some days with his family, who were earnest Christian people. Herr Rottger gave a most interesting account of how Mr. Murray had influenced his life. As a young man he read The Children for Christ, and from that book he obtained a conception of what a Christian home might be and ought to be. He then sought in marriage the hand of a young Christian maiden with whom he was acquainted, and who had spent some time in England. She agreed to become his wife; they were married; “and in this way,” so he concluded, "Mr. Murray helped me to find a life-partner and found a Christian home.”

Of the' blessing which Mr. Murray's writings have brought to the thousands, the tens of thousands, and the hundreds of thousands who have purchased and presumably read them, it is impossible to speak. Scores of letters have been preserved, from correspondents all over the world, expressing the deep gratitude of the writers for spiritual benefit derived from the study of Mr. Murray’s volumes. The author of these lines has personally examined some one hundred and fifty such letters, and their perusal has produced an overwhelming impression of the blessed ministry which Andrew Murray exercised by the use of his fertile and tireless pen. Unknown persons in every quarter of the globe hail him as their spiritual father, and ascribe whatever growth their Christian life has undergone to the influence of his priceless devotional works. “What I owe to you eternity alone will reveal,” is the language of a lady in New South Wales ; and her testimony can be paralleled by that of correspondents from the United States and Canada, Great Britain and the Continent, Holland and South Africa, India, China, and Australasia. Many of the letters contain not merely the expression of gratitude but prefer requests of various nature. There are first of all numerous requests for intercession : prayer is asked for the conversion of beloved children, for the healing of sick relatives, for the rescue of friends from doubt or from drink, for congregational and mission work, for philanthropic and literary undertakings. There are the inevitable requests for autographs. Some letters beg for a donation towards some Christian enterprise or other. One letter from an Armenian asks for a subsidy in order to publish a translation of one of Mr. Murray’s works. But all the- letters testify to the love and esteem which a great reading constituency, scattered over the whole earth, bear towards the saintly man who has endeavoured to lead them into paths of righteousness and true holiness.

Only a small selection, taken almost at random, is here given from letters which have escaped destruction:—

A gentleman in India writes:—

I am now seventy years of age. It is more than thirty years since I first read Abide in Christ; and after that The Spirit of Christ gave me a vision which made everything in life different.

A lady in America, a worker among the negroes in the Southern States, says :—

I just want humbly and with all my heart to thank you for all you have done for me, and also to ask you to take to God in your prayer-hour the enclosed card, bearing my name and place of service.

A minister in Canada testifies:—

The State of the Church has so helped me that I cannot refrain from sending you a word of heartfelt thanks. If that book only does for other ministers what it has done for me, then you have not written in vain.

A young Dutch lady writes:—

When I was seventeen years of age you delivered some addresses here in Haarlem (Holland), which made a deep impression. I was subsequently converted by reading your booklet Not my Will.

A girl from the South of France sends the following message :

I hope you will excuse me for the liberty I take to write to you in my bad English. Gratefulness is my only motive. I possess since last year your dear book of Abide in Christ, translated in French. I cannot tell you how many times I have read it over and how much good it has done me.

A lady in England, expressing thanks for the blessing derived from With Christ in the School of Prayer, prefaces her letter of appreciation by quoting some words from a paper entitled The Blessing of a Book, viz.: “He had to live deeply in order to write helpfully. Some recognition of the help we have gotten from him is due to him.”

A gentleman in Ireland says :—

I have read all, or nearly all, your books, some of them twelve times. Next to the Bible, they have been more helpful to me than any books I have ever read. Humility and Waiting on God are the two that have helped me most.

A native of Basutoland, South Africa, affirms, in sentences which will raise a smile, that he has learnt the following lessons from Mr. Murray’s works :—

A native Christian in South India commences his letter thus:—

Most venerable and dear Sir,—I have been for the last one year studying your book Abide in Christ with great interest and earnestness. The book has been really a blessing to me. I came to understand what abiding in Christ actually was only after coming across your valuable work.

A gentleman from Somersetshire, into whose hands The Key to the Missionary Problem had fallen, writes:—

I have been greatly profited by reading your book on Missions, and I cannot help thinking that some effort should be made to bring it to the notice of every member of the various Churches. I respectfully suggest the issue of a million copies (to start with) at one penny each !

The wife of an Australian minister relates the following :—

Now, as for so many years past, your books, beloved Father in God, are next to God's Word my very greatest spiritual help. Only lately a lady, living two hundred miles from Sydney, sent down for a copy of your book Absolute Surrender. I had two copies, brought from England, and immediately posted her one. I have since heard how the book is lent from house to house, direct spiritual blessing following in many cases. I have now made arrangements with a bookseller to get me everything you write as it comes out.

A pastor in the United States writes:—

I have long wished to write to you to express, however feebly, my sense of gratitude for good received, under God, from your books. While we have not met in the flesh, yet I somehow feel that I know you from frequent meetings at a common mercy-seat, and from becoming so familiar with your mind and spirit through years of study given to your various books.

A gentleman writing from New Jersey, U.S.A., says:—

Some time ago I got a copy of your book entitled Waiting on God. It interested me very much, and I have been over it once or twice with great profit. It has been my habit for the past few years, at the end of^the year, to send to a number of my friends in the Foreign Field and in England a book as a Christmas greeting. It occurred to me that you would be interested to know that I distributed something like fifty copies of Waiting on God, and asked my friends to begin on ist January to read it with me. I sent the book to Madeira, England, Scotland, North Africa, East Africa, Syria, India, China, Japan, and also to friends in this country. I want to take this opportunity of thanking you for what you have done for me and allowed me to do for my friends.

" Nowhere can I recall such a fine bit of Christian philosophy as is concentrated in this card, under the heading In Time of Trouble say," so writes an enthusiastic American correspondent, and his words invite the story of how the card originated. When Mr. Murray visited England in 1895, as described in the previous chapter, he was suffering from a weak back, the result of an accident in Natal some years previously, when he was thrown violently out of a capsizing cart. He was due to speak one evening at Exeter Hall, and it seemed as though he would be unable to fulfil his engagement. Some expressions he had employed, too, had given offence and provoked hostile criticism, so that mental suffering was superinduced on physical. When his sympathetic hostess, Mrs. Head, brought him his breakfast, she informed him that a lady had called in sore trouble, and anxious for a word of advice. “ Well, just give her this, that I have been writing down for myself,” said Mr. Murray ; “ it may be that she will find it helpful.” And he handed Mrs. Head a sheet of paper containing these fines :—

First : He brought me here; it is by His will I am in this strait place : in that I will rest.

Next: He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.

Then : He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the giace He means to bestow.

Last : In His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows. ,

SAY : I am here—

1. By God’s appointment. 3. Under His training.

2. In His keeping. 4. For His time.

Psalm 1. 15. Andrew Murray.

This message for the day of adversity seemed to be so timely, that interested friends had it printed on a coloured card, and distributed in large numbers. They had the satisfaction of knowing that it carried a rich blessing to many hearts and homes.

The following letter, addressed to Mr. Murray in the early days by one who occupies such an honourable position in the Church of Christ as Dr. Whyte of Free St. George’s, must find a place among these extracts:—

Bonskeid, Pitlochrie, N.B.

Sabbath afternoon.

Dear Mr. Murray,—

I have been spending a New Year week out of Edinburgh and up in this beautiful spot, sanctified for me by generations of praying progenitors. I have read a good deal during last week; but nothing half so good as your With Christ. I have read in criticism and in theology; but your book goes to the joints and the marrow of things. You are a much honoured man : how much only the day will declare. The other books I have been reading are all able and good in their way ; but they are spent on the surface of things. Happy man ! you have been chosen and ordained of God to go to the heart of things. I have been sorely rebuked, but also much directed and encouraged by your With Christ. Thank you devoutly and warmly this Sabbath afternoon. I am to send your book to some of my friends on my return to Town to-morrow.

With high and warm regard,

Alexander Whyte.

Though there have been significant exceptions, the writers of books have also been, in most cases, diligent readers' of books. This was certainly the case with Andrew Murray. When asked to mention the authors who influenced him in his earliest years, he used to say that hey was too busy, at Aberdeen and Utrecht, in studying English, Dutch, and German, to do much general reading. In his uncle’s Scotch home he found himself, fortunately, in a reading atmosphere, for the manse was well supplied with Church magazines, missionary periodicals, theological and devotional books, and works of general literature. Of missionary biographies he could remember the lives of John Williams and Robert Moffat,1 and the pleasure and inspiration which their perusal imparted.

The strenuous years at Bloemfontein left small leisure for the study of books, which were then both scarce and dear, but his correspondence shows that periodicals like the North British Review and the Evangelische Kirchenzeitung were keeping him in touch with the life and thought of Europe. In his letter to John Murray, quoted at the commencement of Chapter VIII, he expresses the hope of being able to “do more in the way of reading than heretofore”; and the works he mentions evince a distinct and happy inclination towards those most stimulating of all books—biographies. “Novels,” says his daughter, “he could not and would not read, but biographies were his delight.” His bookshelves were crowded with many Lives, beginning with those of Mary Lyon and Fidelia Fiske, which greatly moulded all his educational work. The Life and Letters of Edward Thring and Skrine’s Pastor Agnorum, as well as the life of that remarkable and eccentric man, Almond of Loretto, were given, loaned, or recommended to scores of teachers. In later years he acquired and studied the lives#of Hannah Pipe and Dorothea Beale. Other favourite biographies were those of George Fox, David Brainerd, John Wesley, William Burns, Andrew Bonar, George Muller, D. L. Moody, and Hudson Taylor. To the lives of the educationalists mentioned above must be added the works of Comenius, Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Herbert Spencer,—writers who all assisted in greater or less degree in shaping his views on the principles and practice of education.

In enumerating Andrew Murray's book friends during the last twenty years of his life, there is one writer who occupies a place of pre-eminence—William Law. “ The more I read his writings,” says Mr. Murray, “ the more I am impressed by his insight, range, and power. I marvel how it is that he has not been assigned a far higher place than he actually holds. For fine observation of the human heart there is surely no one like him among English writers.” Mr. Murray possessed the Works of William Law in the nine-volume edition published in London in 1762. The tracts to which he was specially drawn were An Address to the Clergy, The Spirit of Christ, The Spirit of Love, A Serious Call, and Christian Perfection. These were read, re-read, and underscored, in token of his appreciation of the inestimable worth of their teachings. This deep appreciation was even more strikingly proved by the fact that he edited no less than six volumes of selections from Law’s writings, viz. : Wholly for God, The Power of the Spirit, The Divine Indwelling, Dying to Self, and two little booklets in the “ Pocket Companion ” series, one in English (The Secret of Inspiration) and one in Dutch {God inons). Dr. Alexander Whyte’s volume, William Law, Non-juror and Mystic, found its way to the bookshelf at Clairvaux as soon as it was published, and Mr. Murray acknowledged the service which it had rendered him in the following words: “With many others I owe Dr. Whyte a debt of gratitude for this introduction to one of the most powerful and suggestive writers on the Christian life it has been my privilege to become acquainted with.”

When asked on one occasion how he came to be interested in mysticism, Mr. Murray replied that his attention was directed to it by the writings of the German theologian J. T. Beck, from which he was led on to study the works of other mystics. He greatly prized the Theologia Germanica, with its unknown voice from the past and its preface by Luther. A fresh copy of this work was ordered from England in 1916, and it was one of the last books that he read and pencil-marked. Ruysbroeck and Madame Guyon, as well as Dora Greenwell of the moderns, were among his chief friends. He greatly admired Catherine of Siena and Santa Teresa, of whom he possessed several Lives. Vaughan’s Hours with the Mystics was in the Wellington home for many years, until it was finally despatched to Nyasaland to be added to the missionaries’ library at Mvera. He greatly valued also The Quiet in the Land and Three Friends of God by Frances Bevan, with whom he carried on some correspondence. All that Dr. Whyte wrote or edited was welcome—The Apostle Paul, and the appreciations of Lancelot Andrewes, Santa Teresa, Sir Thomas Browne, Jacob Behmen, Bishop Butler, Father John, Samuel Rutherford,,, and H. Newman. Among more recent books he was an admirer of Amiel's Journal Intime, and delighted also in the writings of Charles Wagner and Pastor Stockmaier; P. T. Forsyth, A. E. Garvie, and W. M. Clow; Bishop Handley Moule and Dr. J. R. Mott; and the German professors Harnack and Eucken.

Books on prayer accumulated rapidly during the last years. He was very full of this subject, and when he discovered any work which brought him spiritual benefit, he wanted others to share in the privilege and profit. Such was the case with Cornaby’s Prayer and, the Human Problem, of which he despatched numerous copies, specially marked, to various friends. With this writer, a missionary in China, he had considerable correspondence on the question of prayer and the establishment of prayer-circles. Bounds’ Power through Prayer was another book which impressed him, and for Granger Fleming’s The Dynamic of All-Prayer he wrote a recommendatory preface.

Mr. Murray left several projected works incomplete at his death. He was greatly interested, in connexion with the missionary problem, in Zinzendorf and the Moravian Brethren, and wished to publish in Dutch a life of Zinzendorf for the benefit of his readers in South Africa. For this purpose he collected, in addition to Hamilton’s History of the Moravian Church and Hutton’s briefer work, quite a number of lives of Zinzendorf in German, which language he read with ease and pleasure. But the book was never completed; and this too was the lot which befell an elementary treatise on education, also planned in Dutch. Better fortune has attended a work on The Inner Life of St. Paul, for which he bought and borrowed many studies of the great apostle. A work on St. Paul, by a man of Andrew Murray’s spiritual insight, should prove to be no small boon for the Christian Church; and happily it was nearly completed when he died, and will probably see the light in due course.

New books and periodicals from England were constantly arriving at Clairvaux. Mr. Murray would read aloud at meal-times passages which had struck him as memorable. In this way the members of the family heard many of Tersteegen’s poems, such as Ambassadors for Christ, Bands of Love, and a poem on Acts xxvi. 16, commencing:—

Mine the mighty ordination Of the pierced hands,—verses which were associated with the ordination, in 1894, of his nephew, Rev. W. H. Murray, as missionary to Nyasaland. When the books of Charles Wagner were being generally read and discussed, he quoted from The Simple Life—

I love life and humanity under all their wholesome, sincere forms, in all their griefs and their hopes, and even in all the tempest of thought and deed. Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.

The thought expressed by Wagner on the beautiful and mellowing influence of an old person on the inmates of a home greatly impressed him :—

Mercifully there is Grandmother’s room. Through many toils and much suffering she has come to meet things with the calm assurance which life brings to men and women of high thinking and large heart.

From Pastor Agnorum he quoted:—

I shall relate, not of what I have done, but of what I have failed to do; the duty discerned, not achieved.

Mr. Murray had a way of writing quotations and moral axioms on little cards for future use. Here is one which was inscribed on a shop-ticket taken from a dressing-gown, and hung for years from the study mantelpiece :—

Live in that which should be, and you will transform that which is.

After reading Herrmann’s Communion of the Christian with God, he repeated the following sentence from that work: “ A heavenly life is not incompatible with our earthly work.” At the breakfast-table he discoursed on German theology, and on the attitude of the school of Ritschl, to which Herrmann belongs. Dogma or doctrine is of no account; the centre of Christianity is the historical Christ, in His life and practice. When conducting the morning devotions he prayed " that we may realize the love of Christ, more tender, infinite, deep, and true than any earthly love, however tender.” Mr. Murray’s admiration of the gifts bestowed on other men, and his enthusiasm for what he found admirable in their life or work, were unbounded. On receiving a copy of Coil-lard of the Zambesi, he sent a few lines of thanks to the authoress, Miss Mackintosh, saying among other things: “Though I had long known and loved and honoured Mr. Coillard, whom we more than once were privileged in having as our guest, the first chapter on his ancestry, his up-bringing, his call to mission work, and his devotedness to his life-task, made me feel as if I had entertained an angel unawares ... It is wonderful how the written page can give back the spirit of a man with all its heroic influences.”

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