A glance at the pages of this little work will show that it is more elementary than the other writings of its honoured author. The reason is that is specially designed for young disciples who have but recently chosen the better part, and consequently need nothing so much as just to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word. Every minister of a congregation in which young people have been brought to the Lord, will remember the keen feeling of anxiety that swept over his heart as he contemplated their entrance on the duties and responsibilities of a public Christian confession. The supreme question at such a time is: How shall these young converts be built up in the knowledge of the truth? How shall they be best taught the real nature of the new life they have received, the dangers by which it is beset, and the directions in which its energy may safely go forth? The desire to give a fitting answer to these questions has given rise to many excellent manuals.
In connection with every time of revival, especially, new books for this circle of readers always make their appearance. As Mr. Murray indicates in the Preface, it was in the midst of such a happy period that the following chapters were written. The volume came under my notice whilst I was recently traveling in Holland. A brief inspection showed me that it was one of the most simple, comprehensive, and suggestive of its class. It is now translated into English from the latest Dutch edition, that the many thousands who have profited by Mr. Murray's other admirable works may have a suitable book to give or recommend to those who are setting their faces towards an earnest and fruitful Christian life. That it will be very helpful to this end I cannot doubt: especially if the directions the author himself has given are faithfully adhered to. It will be noticed that the chapters are comparatively short; but every one of them has a considerable number of Biblical references. Let no reader be content to read what is written here without turning up and examining the texts marked This practice, if persistently carried out, cannot fail to yield much recompense. (Additional WStS Note: We have included the full Scripture text at the points where you would have had to look them up, thus making it easier for you to benefit from them.)
There are just as many chapters in the book as Sabbaths in the year. What an additional blessing it would bring, if the members of a family who have had access to the book during the week, were to hear a chapter read aloud every Sabbath evening, and were encouraged to quote the texts in each that my have struck them most. I have only to add that the volume is now translated and issued with Mr. Murray's cordial sanction. It has been to me a very pleasant task to put it into an English dress for my younger brethren throughout the country. Beyond this point, of course, my responsibility does not go. Should the book prove useful in guiding the feet of those who have come to the Lord yet further into the way of peace and holiness, it will be, both for author and translator, the answer to many a fervent prayer.
Abbroath, September 1891
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In intercourse with young converts, I have very frequently longed for a suitable book in which the most important truths that they have need of for the New Life should be briefly and simply set forth. I could not find anything that entirely corresponded to what I desired. During the services in which, since Whitsuntide 1884, I have been permitted to take part, and in which I have been enabled to speak with so many who professed to have found the Lord, and who were, nevertheless, still very weak in knowledge and faith, this want was felt by me still more keenly. In the course of my journey, I felt myself pressed to take the pen in hand. Under a vivid impression of the infirmities and the perverted thoughts concerning the New Life, with which, as was manifest to me from conversations I had with them, almost all young Christians have to wrestle, I wished, in some words of instruction and encouragement, to let them see what a glorious life of power and joy is prepared for them in their Lord Jesus, and how simple the way is to enjoy all this blessing.
I have confined myself in these reflections to some of the most important topics. The first is the Word of God as the glorious and sure guide, even for the simplest souls that will only surrender themselves to it. Then, as the chief element in the word, there is the Son, the gift of the Father, to do all for us. Thereupon follows what the Scriptures teach concerning Sin, as the only thing that we have to bring to Jesus, as that which we must give to Him, and from which He will set us free. Further, there is Faith, the great word in which is expressed our inability to bring or to do anything, and that teaches us that all our salvation must be received every day of our life as a gift from above. With the Holy Spirit also must the young Christian make acquaintance, as the Person through whom the word and Jesus, with all His work, and faith in Him, can become power and truth. Then there is the Holy Life of obedience and of fruitfulness, in which the Spirit teaches us to walk. It is to these six leading thoughts of the New Life that I have confined myself, with the ceaseless prayer that God may use what I have written to make His young children understand what a glorious and mighty life it is that they have received from their Father. It was often very unwillingly that I took leave of the young converts who had to go back to lonely places, where they could have little counsel or help, and seldom mingle in the preaching of the word. It is my sure and confident expectation that what the Lord has given me to write shall prove a blessing to many of these young confessors.
[I have, in some instances, attached the names of the places where the different portions of this manual were written; in others, the names of the towns where the substance of them was spoken, as a remembrance to the friends with whom I had intercourse.]
While writing this book I have had a second wish abiding with me. I have thought what I could possibly do to secure that my little book should not draw away attention from the word of God, but rather help to make the word more precious. I resolved to furnish the work with marginal references, so that, on every point that was treated of, the reader might be stirred up still to listen to the Word itself, to GOD HIMSELF. I am hopeful that this arrangement will yield a double benefit. Many a one does not know, and had nobody to teach him, how to examine the Scriptures properly. This book may help him in his loneliness. If he will only meditate on one and another point, and then look up the texts that are quoted, he will get into the way of consulting God's word itself on that which he wishes to understand. But it may just as readily be of service in prayer meetings or social gatherings for the study of the word. Let each one read the portion fixed on at home and review those texts that seem to him the most important. Let the president of the meeting read the portion aloud once. Let him then request that each one who pleases should announce one and another text on that point which has struck him most. We have found in my congregation that the benefit of such meetings for bringing and reading aloud texts on a point previously announced, is very great. This practice leads to the searching of God's word, as even preaching does not. It stirs up the members of the congregation, especially the young people, to independent dealing with the word. It leads to a more living fellowship amongst the members of Christ's body, and helps also their upbuilding in love. It prepares the way for a social recognition of the word as the living communication of the thoughts of God, which with Divine power shall work in us what is pleasing to God. I am persuaded that there is many a believing man and woman that asks what they can accomplish for the Lord, who along this pathway could become the channels of great blessing. Let them once a week bring together some of their neighbours or friends (sometimes two or three household live on one farm) to hear read out texts for which all have been previously searching: the Lord shall certainly give His blessing there.
With respect to the use of this book in retirement, I would fain request one thing more. I hope that no one will think it strange. Let every portion be read over at least three times. The great bane of all our converse with Divine things is superficiality. When we read anything and understand it somewhat, we think that this is enough. No: we must give time, that it may make an impression and wield its own influence upon us. Read every portion the first time with consideration, to understand the good that is in it, and then see if you receive benefit from the thoughts that are there expressed. Read it the second time to see if it is really in accordance with God's word: take some, if not all, of the texts that are adduced on each point, and ponder them in order to come under the full force of what God has said on the point. Let your God, through His word, teach you what you must think and believe concerning Him and His will. Read it then the third time to find out the corresponding places, not in the Bible, but in your own life, in order to know if your life has been in harmony with the New Life, and to direct your life for the future entirely according to God's word. I am fully persuaded that the time and pains spent on such converse with the word of God under the teaching of this or some book that helps you in dealing with it, will be rewarded tenfold. I conclude with a cordial brotherly greeting to all with whom I have been permitted to mingle during the past year, in speaking about the precious Saviour and His glorious salvation: also to all in other congregations, who in this last season have learned to know the beloved Lord Jesus as their Redeemer. With a heart full of peace and love, I think of you all, and I pray that the Lord may confirm His work in you. I have not become weary of crying to you: the blessedness and the power of the New Life that is in you are greater than you know, are wonderfully great: only learn to know aright and trust in Jesus, the gift of God and the Scriptures, the word of God. Only give Him time to hold converse with you and to work in you, and your heart shall overflow with the blessedness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do more than exceedingly above all that we can ask or think,
to Him be glory in the Church to all eternity.
ANDREW MURRAY. Wellington, 12th August 1885
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I. The New Life
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
"For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Christ is our life."
"We declare unto you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father,
and was manifested unto us. God gave unto us eternal life; and this life is in His
Son. He that hath the Son hath the life." - I John 1:2,11,12
How glorious, then, is the blessing which every one receives that believes in
the Lord Jesus. Not only does there come a change in his disposition and manner of
life; he also receives from God out of heaven an entirely new life. He is born anew,
born of God: he has passed from death into life. (John 1:12-13; 3:5,7; 5:24; I John
- John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons
of God, even to them that believe on his name:
- John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of God.
- John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born
of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
- John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
- John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth
on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation;
but is passed from death unto life.
- I John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the
brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
- I John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every
one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
This new life is nothing less than Eternal Life. (John 3:15-16,36; 6:40,51; 6:25-26;
Romans 6:11,23; 8:2; I John 5:12,13)
- John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth
not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
- John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth
the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up
at the last day.
- John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of
this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which
I will give for the life of the world.
- John 6:25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said
unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
- John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek
me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were
- Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from
the law of sin and death.
- I John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God
hath not life.
- I John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the
Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on
the name of the Son of God.
This does not mean, as many suppose, that our life shall now no more die, but
shall endure into eternity. No: eternity life is nothing else than the very life
of God, the life that He has had in Himself from eternity, and that has been visibly
revealed in Christ. This life is now the portion of every child of God. (I John 1:3;
- I John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may
have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his
Son Jesus Christ.
- I John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we
should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it
knew him not.
- I John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and
this life is in his Son.
This life is a life of inconceivable power. Whenever God gives life to a young
plant or animal, that life has in itself the power of growth, whereby the plant or
animal as of itself becomes large. Life is power. In the new life, that is, in your
heart, there is the power of eternity. (John 5:10,28; Hebrews 7:16,28; II Corinthians 7:9; 8:4;
Colossians 3:3-4; Philippians 4:13)
- John 5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day:
it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
- John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are
in the graves shall hear his voice,
- Hebrews 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the
power of an endless life.
- Hebrews 7:28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word
of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
- II Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance:
for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in
- II Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take
upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
- Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
- Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory.
- Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
More certain than the healthful growth of any tree or animal is the growth and
increase of the child of God, who in reality surrenders himself to the working of
the new life.
What hinders this power and the reception of the new spiritual life is chiefly two
things. The one is ignorance of its nature, its laws and workings. Man, even the
Christian, has of himself not the least conception of the new life that comes from
God: it surpasses all his thoughts. His own perverted thoughts of the way to serve
and to please God, namely, by what he does and is, are so deeply rooted in him, that,
although he thinks that he understands and receives God's word, he yet thinks humanly...
and carnally [WStS: when in sin] on Divine things. (Joshua 3:4; Matthew 16:23)
- Joshua 3:4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits
by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go:
for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
- Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou
art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those
that be of men.
Not only must God give salvation and life; He must also give the Spirit to make
us know what He gives. Not only must He point out the land of Canaan, and the way
thither; we must also, like the blind, be led every day by Himself. The young Christian
must try to cherish a deep conviction of his ignorance concerning the new life, and
of his inability to form right thoughts about it. This will bring him to the meekness
and to the childlike spirit of docility, to which the Lord shall make His secret
known. (Psalms 25:5,8-9; 143:8; Isaiah 42:16; 64:4; Matthew 11:25; I Corinthians 1:18-19; 2:7,10,12;
- Psalms 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation;
on thee do I wait all the day.
- Psalms 25:8 Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the
- Psalms 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
- Psalms 143:8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I
trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto
- Isaiah 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead
them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and
crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
- Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived
by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared
for him that waiteth for him.
- Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of
heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and
hast revealed them unto babes.
- I Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but
unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
- I Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring
to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
- I Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom,
which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
- I Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth
all things, yea, the deep things of God.
- I Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which
is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
- Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he
should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither
There is a second hindrance in the way of faith. In the life of every plant and
every animal and every child there lies sufficient power by which it can become big.
In the new life, God has made the most glorious provision of a sufficient power whereby
His child can grow and become all that he must be. Christ Himself is his life and
his power of life. (Psalms 18:2; 27:1; 38:3; 34:8; John 14:19; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3,4)
- Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength,
in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
- Psalms 27:1 <<A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
- Psalms 38:3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is
there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
- Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth
- John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me:
because I live, ye shall live also.
- Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ
liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the
Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
- Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
- Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory.
Yet, because this mighty life is not visible or cannot be felt, but works in the
midst of human weakness, the young Christian often becomes of doubtful mind. He then
fails to believe that he shall grow with Divine power and certainty. He does not
understand that the believing life is a life of faith whereby he reckons on the life
that is in Christ for him, although he neither sees, feels, nor experiences anything.
(Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 6:27; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38)
- Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just
shall live by his faith.
- Matthew 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
- Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
- Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident:
for, The just shall live by faith.
- Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul
shall have no pleasure in him.
Let every one then that has received this new life, cultivate this great conviction:
it is eternal life that works in me: it works with Divine power: I can and shall
become what God will have me be: Christ Himself is my life: I have to receive Him
every day as my life given by God to me, and He shall be my life in full power.
O my Father, who hast given me Thy Son that I may have life in Him, I thank Thee
for the glorious new life that is now in me. I pray Thee, teach me to know aright
this new life. I will acknowledge my ignorance and the perverted thoughts which are
in me, concerning Thy service. I will believe in the heavenly power of the new life
that is in me: I will believe that my Lord Jesus, who Himself is my life, will by
His Spirit teach me to know how I can walk in that life. Amen.
Try now to apprehend and appropriate the following lessons in your heart;
1. It is eternal life, the very life of God, that you have now received through faith.
2. This new life is in Christ, and the Holy Spirit is in you to bring over to you
all that is in Christ. Christ lives in you through the Holy Spirit.
3. This life is a life of wonderful power. However weak you may feel, you must believe
in the Divine power of the life that is in you.
4. This life has need of time to grow in you and to take possession of you. Give
it time: it shall surely increase.
5. Forget not that all the laws and rules of this new life are in conflict with all
human thoughts of the way to please God. Be very much in dread of your thoughts,
and let Christ, who is your life and also your wisdom, teach you all things.