Holy Harvests: Annual Revivals at Whitsuntide Through Pentecost Feasts

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Rev. Professor Dr. Willie Van der Merwe writes:189 "The work of the revival was followed up by conferences, circulation of religious literature, and by conducting special evangelistic tours.  In 1876, the Synod appointed a 'Committee for Special Gospel Preaching.'   It consisted of Mr. Andrew Murray [Rev. Dr. A. Murray Jr.] and [Rev. Professor] Dr. S. Hofmeyr.   In his evangelistic services, Mr. Murray began to put increasing emphasis on a higher spiritual life.

"After the revival of 1860, the prayer life of the Reformed Church [of South Africa] had been remarkably quickened.   At the suggestion of the Rev. Mr. Van der Lingen of Paarl, the time between the Ascension and Pentecost was observed as ten days of prayer.   The custom has proved to be a great source of blessing.   Through the mediation of Rev. Andrew Murray, a society for more systematic prayer and Bible study was formed….   Books for guidance in prayer and Bible study were published — like The School of Prayer, A Wonderful Book, and others."

The Annual South African Harvest Feasts from 1877 to 1913

Early in 1876, Rev. Dr. Andrew Murray was appointed by the Synodical Committee of his own denomination as its official delegate to the [inaugural] first meeting of the International Council of Presbyterian Churches — in Scotland, at Edinburgh, in 1877.   Especially in his remarks about this meeting of that Pan-Presbyterian Council, we see his commitment to the Reformed Faith.  Compare our monograph Rev. Dr. Andrew Murray was he a Calvinist, or Pentecostalist?190

Murray much appreciated and warmly commended the high standard of the scholarly theological papers read at that Conference — by Godet, Schaff, Hodge, and others.   Their sound apologetic thrust could achieve only good, in confronting unbelievers with the intellectual defensibility and rational attractiveness of the orthodox Christian viewpoint.

Murray then solemnly reported191 to his denomination's weekly newspaper — "there is another kind of labour for which God has lately raised up chosen instruments.   It consists not in the endeavour to bring in those who are outside the fold, but in the endeavour to lead those who are within to a deeper comprehension of Christian truth and privilege.

"The more we study as Christians the state of the Church of Christ on Earth — the more is the conviction strengthened that it does not answer to its holy calling.   Hence the powerlessness of the Church against unbelief and semi-belief and superstition, against worldliness and sin and heathenism.   The power of faith; the power of prayer; the power of the Holy Spirit — are all too greatly lacking.   God's children in the first place require a revival…by the Holy Spirit of what is the hope of their calling — of what God does indeed expect from them, and of the life of power and consecration [and] of joy and fruitfulness which God has prepared for them in Christ."

Rev. Dr. Andrew Murray then returned from Britain to South Africa — just after Pentecost

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Sunday in 1877.  Much later, Murray wrote: "In our [Presbyterian and Reformed South African] Church, it is customary to have daily prayer meetings during the ten days between Ascension and Whit Sunday [Acts 1 & 2].   In my absence, they had been held [in 1877] as usual….  At the first prayer meeting after Whit Sunday, the question was asked: 'We have prayed; why have we not received?'   The answer was given: 'If we persevere, we shall receive!'  They resolved to begin again.  The next week, I arrived at home and joined them.  We continued prayer for a week….. The after-meetings during the next five weeks proved such a blessing that the fruit remains till this day."192

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