By Olea Nel — a novelist who writes on the life and works of Andrew Murray
By 1895, South African church leader Andrew Murray (1828-1917) had become one of the best-known devotional authors in church circles in the English-speaking world.
It was therefore not surprising that he was invited to be one of the principal speakers at the Keswick Convention in England that year. He delivered three sermons on consecutive evenings at this convention as well as his testimony during an afternoon session.
What makes these sermons special, especially the one offered as a free download by clicking this link, is the fact that he did not have time to revise it for publication as he had done with the sermons he had delivered at other conventions that year. The reason was that he was forced to make a speedy departure for America because he was due to speak at the Northfield Convention at the invitation of DL Moody.
Fortunately for us, all three sermons were published in the Keswick Convention Newspaper exactly as the stenographer had written them down. So they are ostensibly word-for-word as he had delivered them.
Over the years, publishers have thought that the three sermons given at Keswick were identical to those bearing the same titles that were given at Northfield. But that is not the case. The content of each of the Keswick sermons is completely different from their Northfield counterparts.
You have a treat in store
I, therefore, invite you—in your mind’s eye—to imagine Andrew Murray preaching this sermon with light and shade and fiery exuberance. But before you do, here is a first-hand description of him that appeared in the British Weekly on 6 December 1894. It was penned by his Wellington colleague Rev HV Taylor of the Presbyterian Church with the view to introducing Murray to the Christian public of Britain prior to his arrival. A few of the more salient paragraphs are quoted below.
“Andrew Murray’s nature is profoundly devotional. He carries with him the atmosphere of prayer. He seems always wrapped about with a mantle of adoration. When preaching or conducting a service, his whole being is thrown into the task, and he glows with a fervency of spirit which seems impossible for human flesh to sustain.
“The staid, venerable minister of the nineteenth century, with the sober, clerical garb and stiff white tie, which is de rigueur among the Dutch clergy, disappears, and an old Hebrew prophet stands before us — another Isaiah with his glowing imagery, a second Hosea with his plaintive, yearning appeals.
“Audiences bend before the sweeping rain of his words like willows before a gale. The heart within the hearer is bowed, and the intellect awed. Andrew Murray’s oratory is of the kind for which men willingly go into captivity.”