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The Life of Andrew Murray of South Africa
By J Du Plessis


SOME years before his death Dr. Andrew Murray is understood to have indicated the Rev. Professor Marais, of the Stellenbosch Theological Seminary, and the present writer, as persons to whom the preparation of his biography might be entrusted. After his decease, early in 1917, his executors definitely requested these gentlemen to undertake the duty. Professor Marais, however, while continuing to display the greatest interest in the progress of the biography, found his physical strength unequal to the task of collaboration; and it was left to the undersigned to carry through the work. That he has been able to complete it, in both the English and Dutch languages, is a matter for which he desires to give abundant thanks to God.

At the same time he is gravely conscious of many shortcomings. To portray the life and character of such an one as Andrew Murray, who lived uninterruptedly in a region so remote from our common unspiritual life, is a task which might well appal. And yet the trust could not well be declined ; and the writer has therefore endeavoured, though with many qualms and misgivings, to fulfil it to the best of his small ability. It has seemed to him that he could do no better than let Andrew Murray speak himself ; and a large portion of this volume will be found to consist of unpublished letters, or of articles that have been retrieved from the pages of religious journals and fugitive tracts.

Sincere acknowledgments for invaluable assistance are due to the Misses Murray, daughters of the subject of this Life, and especially to Miss Annie Murray, for placing at the author's disposal a mass of correspondence and other material, without which this Biography must have been very much more imperfect than it is. Similar acknowledgments must be made to Miss Charlotte Murray and Miss Ella Neethling, nieces of Dr. Murray, for the loan of letters and photographs in the possession of the families of the late Professor John Murray and the late Rev. J. H. Neethling respectively. And finally, heartfelt thanks are tendered to Mr. Charles Murray, M.A., late acting Superintendent-General of Education, Cape Province, for kindly reading through the bulk of the manuscript, and serving the author with most valuable criticisms and suggestions ; and to the Rev. D. S. B. Joubert, B.D., Secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Cape Town, for the very elaborate Bibliography which enriches this work.

May the blessing of God Almighty attend the perusal of this Life, and may it send thousands to a fresh study of Andrew Murray’s writings, where they may learn the open secret of that faith-life in which God is all in all.

25th July, 1919.


Physical configuration of South Africa—First colonization by the Dutch—Gradual increase of population and extension eastwards— Surrender of the Colony to the English—Substitution of English for Dutch as official language—Position of the Dutch Reformed Church—The three factors in the situation—The two white races of South Africa—Andrew Murray’s relation to both—Historical events during Andrew Murray’s lifetime—His sympathy with his people—General condition of South Africa in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Chapter I. Ancestry, Parentage and Birth
Paternal ancestry—Andrew Murray of Clatt—John Murray of Aberdeen—Family connexions in Scotland and Canada—Andrew Murray, the father—Letter of Dr. George Thom on ministers for South Africa—Appointment of Andrew Murray Sr.—His diary of the voyage to South Africa—Departure—Fellow-travellers—On the rocks at the Cape Verde Islands—Prolonged voyage—Arrival in Table Bay—Andrew Murray Sr. appointed minister of Graafi-Reinet—Description of the place—The parsonage—Andrew Murray’s marriage to Maria Susanna Stegmann—His attachment to the land and people of his adoption—His pastoral activity—Vis its of missionaries—Home life—The father's deep spirituality—The founding of new congregations—Reminiscences of the mother— Journeys to Cape Town—Birth of Andrew—His character as a child.

Chapter II. Seven Years in Scotland
Backward state of education at the Cape in the thirties—The Bible and School Commission—Departure of John and Andrew Murray for Scotland—The old Grammar School of Aberdeen—Letters of Andrew Murray Sr. to his sons—William C. Bums and the Scottish revivals—Bums’ preaching and its results—His labours at Aberdeen—Impression made upon Andrew Murray—Letter of Bums to John Murray—Events leading up to the Disruption of the Church of Scotland—Andrew Murray Sr. to his sons—Andrew Murray to his parents and sister—His decision to become a minister—His graduation at Marischal College—Andrew Murray Sr. to his sous on life in Holland.

Chapter III. Three Years of Preparation in Holland
Departure of John and Andrew Murray for Holland—Description of first meeting between them and N. H. de Graaf—Religious condition of Holland—The RSveil—Sechor Dabar—Eltheto—Comparison with the Methodists—The theological professors—Influence of C. W. Opzoomer—Andrew Murray’s conversion—Letter to his parents—Friends in Holland—Letter suggesting further study in Germany—John Murray on conditions in Holland—Arrival of Neethling, Hofmeyr and Faure from South Africa—Ordination of John and Andrew Murray at The Hague—Farewell meeting with the members of Seckor Dabar—Benefits of the sojourn in Holland —Arrival in Cape Town—Letter to his parents—Reunion with the family circle—Appointment to Bloemfontein.

Chapter IV. Early Days at Bloemfontein
The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa—Its dependence upon Holland—The Church Order of 1803—The Church’s Magna Charta—Dearth of ministers—The Great Trek—Fortunes of the emigrants—Proclamation of the Orange River Sovereignty—Battle of Boomplaats—Andrew Murray’s settlement in the charge of Bloemfontein—Visit to Mekuatling mission station—Induction of John Murray at Burgersdorp—Circumstances and nature of the work at Bloemfontein—Description of Bloemfontein in 1849— Unsatisfactory relations of farmers and natives—Andrew Murray’s labours and travels—First meeting of Legislative Council— Unrest on the frontier—Communion services—Foundation-stone of Riet River church laid—Murray’s extensive parish.

Chapter V. Across the Vaal
Importance of Murray’s first pastoral tour among the Transvaal emigrants—Visit to Mooi River—The “ Jerusalem Pilgrims ”— The Magaliesberg—A letter of invitation from Commandant Potgieter—Meeting with Andries Pretorius—Serious indisposition —Journey to Ohrigstad—Return to the Magaliesberg—Sitting of the Volksraad—Large attendances at services—Praying for the authorities—Return journey to Bloemfontein—Death of Deacon Coetzer—Continued unrest on the Basuto border—Arrival of teachers from Holland—Correspondence—Visitors—Narrow escape at Kaffir River—Visit to Graafl-Reinet and return—Preparations for a second journey to the Transvaal—Departure— Arrival at Mooi River—Visit to Suikerbosch Rand and Lydenburg —Great fatigue—Visit to the Warm Bath—Reach the Magaliesberg —Continued fatigue—Zwarte Ruggens—Morikwa—Andrew Murray put on trial—Schoonspruit—Arrival of Rev. D. van Velden, and induction at Winburg—Andrew Murray called to the Transvaal— The call declined.

Chapter VI. Further Visits to the Emigrants
Third visit to the Transvaal—Native unrest—Disastrous battle at Viervoet—Andries Pretorius invited to restore order—Andrew Murray on the situation—His visit to Pretorius—Commissioners Hogge and Owen—The Sand River Convention—Fourth Transvaal visit—Neethling’s description of a service—Method of travel —Respect paid to the ministers—The Zoutpansberg emigrants—Services there—Commandant Hendrik Potgieter—Manifold labours—Visit to a farmer under sentence of death—Arrival in the Transvaal of Rev. D. van der HofE—His doings—His letter to Andrew Murray —Secession of Transvaal congregations from the Cape Church— Missive addressed to Rev. van Velden—His letter of rebuke and warning—Reasons for the Secession—Later history of the Transvaal congregations.

Chapter VII. The Abandonment of the Sovereignty and the first European Visit.
The Synod of 1852—Events in the Sovereignty—Battle of Berea— Decision of the British Government to abandon the Sovereignty— Meeting of people’s delegates at Bloemfontein—Account of J. M. Orpen—Resolutions passed—Dr. Frazer and Andrew Murray delegated to England—Further events in the Sovereignty—Convention of Bloemfontein signed and Orange Free State established— Proceedings of Messrs. Frazer and Murray in England—Preaching engagements of Andrew Murray—His visit to Holland—Meeting of the Ernst-en- Vrede party at Amsterdam—Visit to Scotland—Feeble health—Visits to water-cure establishments—Second visit to Holland. and visit to the Rhineland—Return to South Africa.

Chapter VIII. Last Years at Bloemfontein
Calls to Colesberg and Ladysmith—Regarding books and congregational questions—Founding of the Grey College—Marriage The Rutherfoord family—Quiet work at Bloemfontein—War between the Free State and the Basutos—Letter to H. E. Rutherfoord— Birth of a daughter—The Synod of 1857—The question of a theological seminary—Missionary expansion—Arrival in South Africa and doings of Rev. D. Postma—Murray’s first published book— Grey College questions—The Separatist movement in the Transvaal and at Bloemfontein—Murray’s attitude—Disapproval of the Presbytery—Calls to various congregations declined—Call from the congregation of Worcester accepted—Preparations for departure—Farewell to Bloemfontein.

Chapter IX. The Worcester Pastorate and the Great Revival
Situation of Worcester—Its spiritual condition—The Worcester Conference—Andrew Murray on the proposed Conference—Dangers of the Church—Proceedings of the Conference—Resolutions passed —Murray’s speech in moving resolutions—The need of ministers and teachers—Dr. Robertson deputed to Europe—His letter from Holland—Success of his mission—Induction of Murray at Worcester—Commencement of a revival—Character of the movement— Description by Rev. J. C. de Vries—Extraordinary scenes—Professor Hofmeyr on the results of the revival—Emotional element— Moral changes effected—Extent of the movement—New zeal engendered—Testimony of Rev. C. Rabie—Spread of the revival— Home life at Worcester—Missionary journey to the Transvaal— Letters to wife and children—Stay at Paul Kruger’s—Spiritual experiences there—Commencement of Zoutpansberg and Rusten-burg missions—Literary labours.

Chapter X. The Struggle with the Civil Courts and the Extrusion of Liberalism.
The "Liberal” movement in Holland and at the Cape The “Church Order” and the “Ordinance”—Synod of 1862 Wreck of the Waldensian—Description of the Synod by Rev. F. L. Cachet —Andrew Murray, moderator—Other leading members Elder Loedolff's objection—Orthodox and Liberal parties—Supreme Court judgment—Disruption of D. R. Church—Withdrawal of members affected by judgment—Rev. J. J. Kotz6 of Darling on the Catechism—A second Supreme Court case—Favourable judgment—Resolution to suspend Kotz6—Events in the Darling congregation—Meeting of Synodical Committee—Kotzb versus Murray_ Speech of the defendant—Murray complimented by Justice Bell— Adverse judgment—Principles on which it was based—Apparent victory of Liberalism—Case of Rev. T. F. Burgers—Burgers suspended—Burgers versus Murray—Judgment—Proceedings in the presbyteries—Continued litigation—Appeal to Privy Council— Murray deputed to England—Appeal fails—The Synod of 1867 and its immediate adjournment—Reasons for decline of Liberalism— Establishment by Rev. D. P. Faure of the " Free Protestant Church ”—His sermon in the Cape Town church—Gatherings in the Mutual Hall—Synod of 1870—Resolution adopted by the moderate party—Protest of the minority—Suppression of Liberalism in the D. R. Church.

Chapter XI. The Cape Town Pastorate
Visit of Dr. Duff to South Africa—Andrew Murray to his father —Call and removal to Cape Town—Andrew Murray Sr. refused leave to preach by the consistory of Hanover—Murray's colleagues at Cape Town—Death of Andrew Murray, the father—Letter of Andrew Murray to his mother—Stay in Europe—Birth of a son—
Call to Marylebone Presbyterian Church—British sympathizers with the Liberal movement—D. P. Faure’s lectures—Murray’s discourses on “ Modern Unbelief ”—His lecture in the Commercial Exchange—Rev. G. W. Stegmann Jr. elected as Murray’s colleague —Secessions from the D. R. Church—Murray’s sermon—Strictures by D. P. Faure—Murray’s controversy with Kotz6 on the Canons of Dort—Home life in Cape Town—Children of the family—Sojourners under the Murrays' roof—Extent and need of the Cape Town congregation—Murray’s interest in young men—Y.M.C.A. founded—Proposals for union between the Anglican and D. R. Churches—-Bishop Gray’s views—Remarks thereon by Messrs. Murray, Faure and Robertson—Gray’s reply in Union of Churches —Failure of negotiations—Zahspiegeltjes—Literary work—The call to the pastorate of Wellington.

Chapter XII. The Wellington Pastorate and the Huguenot Seminary
The Wagonmaker’s Valley—-Situation of Wellington—Problems of the new sphere of work—The Voluntary Question—Mission work— Departure of the two eldest daughters for Holland—Letters to the daughters at Zeist—Journey to Swellendam—On the study of Dutch—On Home Mission work—Death of two younger children—Birth of a son—Arrival of lady teachers from America—-Articles on Our Children—Appeal for girls to be trained as teachers—Study of Mary Lyon’s life—Papers on the subject—Huguenot Seminary founded—Circular on the school—Generosity of the Wellington congregation—Purchase of a site—Opening ceremony, 25 October, 1873—Formal commencement of classes, January, 1874—Mr. Murray’s tour of collection—His welcome home—Building extensions—Report on progress made—R. M. Ballantyne on the Huguenot Seminary.

Chapter XIII. Educational Undertakings and Visit to Europe and America
Popular education at the Cape—The task of the Dutch Reformed Church—Mr. Murray’s influence—A second collecting tour—Urgent letter on the need of more workers, as ministers, catechists and teachers—Moderator for the second time—Opening of the Mission Training Institute, October, 1877—Its objects described—Delegate to the first Pan-Presbyterian Council in Edinburgh—Aims of journey outlined—Visit to America—Lady teachers secured—Rev. George Ferguson and Mr. J. R. Whitton—Impressions of the Pan-Presbyterian Council—Professor Flint’s sermon—Public reception —Dr. Schafi on the Confessions—Professors Godet and Krafit—Drs. Cairns and Hodge—Paper by Dr. Duff on Missions—Conference on life and work—Sunday services—Drs. Patton and McCosh on Unbelief—The Spiritual Life—Closing meetings—Value of the Council—Conference at Inverness—Letter to his wife—Brief trip to Holland and Germany—Return to South Africa—Letter of a lady teacher on Mr. Murray’s tour—His welcome back to Wellington —Commencement of classes at the Training Institute—Paper on aims and needs of the institution—Training Institute versus Normal College—Growth of the Institute.

Chapter XIV. Conferences and Revivals
Intellectual dependence of South Africa upon Europe—Its religious dependence—Andrew Murray’s position and influence—Influence of the Holiness Movement—Mr. Murray on spiritual intercourse —The Colesberg Conference of 1879—-Criticism evoked—Reply of Mr. Murray—Strictures on his teaching in letter by “V.D.M.”—Mr. Murray’s defence—Influence on South Africa of the work of Moody and Sankey—Committee for special Gospel-preaching—Mr. Murray’s observations on the religious needs of the rural population —His paper on Special Services—Two months’ tour through the Midland districts—Glen Lynden and Adelaide—Spiritual results.

Chapter XV. Two Years of Silence and the Question of Faith Healing
Mr. Murray suffers from a relaxed throat—Rest in the Karroo— Sojourn at Murraysburg—The Transvaal War of Independence—The feeling of nationality—Movements of his daughter Emmie Return to Wellington—Literary projects—Abide in Christ—Prof. John Murray in Europe, and his return to South Africa—Set-back in the condition of Mr. Murray's throat—Departure for England— Wm. Hazenberg on Faith Healing—Pastor Stockmaier on the same subject—At Bethshan Institute of Healing—Instruction by Stockmaier—Discussion with Boardman—And with Stockmaier— Cures effected by faith—Jezus de Geneesheer der Kranken— The principles of Faith Healing expounded—Later attitude of Mr. Murray—The case of Rev. P. F. Hugo—And of Rev. P. Stofberg— Cure of Miss McGill—Final remarks.

Chapter XVI. Andrew Murray as a Church Leader
Mr. Murray six times Moderator of Synod—His view of his task— His special qualifications—Powers of work—Ability and tact as chairman—Gifts of leadership—Interest in Sunday-school work— The aims of the Sunday-school defined—Establishment of the Bible and Prayer Union—The subject of prayer—The Andrew Murray Prayer Union—Controversy on the total abstinence question— Professor Hofmeyr’s attitude—Antagonism of the wine-farmers— The question in the Synod—Review of Rev. S. J. du Toit’s book, De Vrucht des Wijnstoks—End of the controversy—The union of the Dutch Reformed Churches—Mr. Murray’s share in the movement towards union—The Council of the Churches—Proposals for union—Parliamentary legislation—Rejection of the union proposals—Ministerial jubilee, 1898—Address presented—Mr. Murray’s reply.

Chapter XVII. Andrew Murray as a Missionary Statesman
Mr. Murray’s early interest in missions—His influence as missionary leader—Establishment of the Ministers’ Mission Union—Question of a new field of work—Letter of the executive—Commencement of work in Nyasaland by A. C. Murray and T. C. B. Vlok—The crisis of 1899 and call to prayer—The Anglo-Boer war and its influence —Transference of the Nyasa field to the Synod—The deficit of 1908, and the mission congresses—Mr. Murray on deputation work—Mr. Murray’s connexion with the Cape General Mission—Spencer Walton’s first visit to South Africa—Services in the Exhibition Building —Appreciation of Walton's work—Cape General Mission founded— Its objects—Holiness conventions—Inauguration of the South African Keswick—The new departure in Swaziland—Enlargement of the C.G.M. to the South Africa General Mission—New fields— Estimate of Mr. Murray’s influence hy A. A. Head—Mr. Murray’s writings on missionary subjects—The Key to the Missionary Problem —The four principles enunciated—Impression produced by the book—Results of the week of prayer for missions in South Africa— The Kingdom of God in South Africa—Prayer in missions.

Chapter XVIII. Andrew Murray as an Educationalist
Early Interest in education—Baptismal Sunday—Founding of Grey College—Dr. Brill’s appreciation—Educational undertakings in the Western Province—Mary Lyon’s influence—The Huguenot Seminary and other girls’ schools—Teachers’ conference at Worcester—Institutions affiliated to the Huguenot Seminary—Good-now Hall—Address of Mr. Murray on education—Training Institute —Popular education for the rural districts—Circuit schools—Poor whites—Address at Fraternal Conference—Present position of "poor whites” question—The teaching of Dutch—Report of Committee on the question—The “ Taal Bond ”—Influence on Mr. Murray’s educational views of Thring’s Life—And of Spencer’s Sociology—Letter to his daughter—Degree of D.D. from Aberdeen University—And of Litt.D. from the University of the Cape of Good Hope—Dr. Walker on the graduation ceremony.

Chapter XIX. Andrew Murray as a South African Patriot
Andrew Murray’s love for his native land—His devotion to his'flock in the Free State and the Transvaal—Paper in the Catholic Presbyterian on The Church of the Transvaal—Chari Cilliers—Religious attitude of the Transvaal Boers—Their attitude towards the natives—Their spiritual life—History of the Transvaal—The Annexation of 1877—The Boers appeal to arms—Independence secured—Growth of the feeling of nationality in South Africa— Dangers of the situation—Kruger and Rhodes—The Jameson Raid —Embittered feelings—Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr—Commencement of hostilities—Mr. Murray’s papers in the South African News— His Appeal to the British People—His support of the Boer cause— Intercourse with Christian brethren uninterrupted—Views on the feeling of nationality—The Women’s Monument at Bloemfontein —Description of the ceremony of unveiling—Mr. Murray’s address on the occasion—Letter to Dr. D. F. Malan—Mr. Murray’s endeavours to heal ecclesiastical dissensions—Letter on the "national sentiment.”

Chapter XX. Andrew Murray as a Spiritual Force
Impossibility of measuring Mr. Murray’s influence—His evangelistic labours—Preparation for meetings—Letters written on his tours —Conference at Somerset East—Visits to Dordrecht, Barkly East Lady Grey and Maraisburg—Overseas evangelists in South Africa' —Dr F. B Meyer’s appreciation—The Ten Days of Prayer observed by the D.R. Church—Andrew Murray’s influence as a writer —Visit to Europe and America in 1895—Appreciation by Rev. H. V. Taylor—Welcome at Exeter Hall—Addresses at Keswick—Rev. Evan H. Hopkins on bis message—[Visit to America—North- -field—Chicago—^Evangelistic services in Holland—Closing meetings in London—Description in The British Weekly—Mr. Murray’s account of bis spiritual growth—The influence of William Law—Law’s career and published works—Mysticism—Bernard of Clair-vaux—Meister Eckhart—The " Friends of God ”—Jacob Bohme— fObj ections to mysticism—Andrew Murray’s avoidance of the errors of mysticism—His estimate of Law’s weakness and strength— Wesley’s dispute with Law—Andrew Murray the reconciler of the views of both—Dr. Whyte on Andrew Murray's spiritual autobiography.

Chapter XXI. Andrew Murray as an Author
Early literary efforts, how occasioned—Books written at Worcester —Blijf in Jezus—Abide in Christ—The School of Prayer—Professor James Denney on The Holiest of All—How the books were written—The books of later years dictated—How the “ Pocket Companion ” series originated—Andrew Murray’s style—The eloquence of intense earnestness—Illustration from The Holiest of All— Methods of work—Periods of literary production—Messages delivered at critical junctures—The State of the Church and its influence—Translations into other tongues—Influence of bis books in China—The publisher of the German editions—Letters of correspondents on blessing received—Extracts from the letters—In Time of Trouble, say—Letter from Dr. Alexander Whyte—Mr. Murray’s reading—Influence of William Law—Mr. Murray’s interest in mysticism—Books on prayer—Projected writings—Quotations from books—Remarks on books read.

Chapter XXII. Andrew Murray’s Home Life
Life at Wellington—The Parsonage—Clairvaux—Mrs. Murray—Her activities and influence—The children—Death of Haldane Murray—The family hymn—Circular letter—A family re-union at Kalk Bay—Addresses on the beach and in the church—One-day conferences—Mr. Murray in the pulpit—A typical day described—A journey in his old age—Reminiscences at Graaff-Reinet, Bur-gersdorp and Bloemfontein—Cart journey to Rhodes—Goings and doings a year before the end—Details of Mr. Murray’s personal life —His sense of smell and colour—His love for children—Praying in his sleep—Outlined reply to Berlin professors—Sense of humour —Gift of illustration—"Sweet reasonableness”—Advice in difliculties—Pertinent sayings—Ability to speak the fitting word— Services in connexion with the death of Rev. William Murray.

Chapter XXIII. Death, Funeral and Tributes
Last months—Last sick-bed—The end—Funeral ceremony—Tributes to the deceased—From Hon. J. X. Merriman—From the Cape Times—From Dr. F. C. Kolbe—From De Kerkbode on traits which characterized him—From Professor Marais on his wide in-ence, his writings, his philoiimia—The “ man of prayer ” and the “ man of affairs ”—His influence in South Africa—His influence v in the Christian world.

Appendix A. Chronological Outline of the Life of Andrew Murray. 519

Appendix B. Bibliography of Andrew Murray’s published works chronologically arranged by D. S. B. Joubet.

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