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could do no better than let Andrew Murray speak himself; and a large portion of this volume will be found to consist of unpublished letters, or of articles that have been retrieved from the pages of religious journals and fugitive tracts.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.
J. DU PLESSIS
25th July, 1919