THE INFLUENCE OF THE INNER LIFE GROUP
One hundred years after Luther’s Reformation, Protestantism became dead, just as in the epistle of the Lord Jesus to the church in Sardis: “You have a name that you are living, and you are dead” (Rev. 3:1). Around that time a group of people in the Catholic church who loved the Lord began to pursue the inner life. They are known in church history as the mystics. The leading ones among them were Fenelon, Thomas Campbell, Madame Guyon, who was most influential, and Brother Lawrence, who was a cook in the army. They had a deep knowledge concerning the inner life to such an extent that their writings could not be practiced by common people. After a period of time, a brother named William Law, who was a scholar from England, edited the books of the mystics. This allowed many people to benefit from them. After this, Andrew Murray further improved the writings of the mystics by using plain words to bring out the deep truth. His book The Spirit of Christ was his masterpiece. Fifty years ago Brother Nee and I had a conversation in which he mentioned this book and told me that he would pay the publishing costs for anyone who would translate it.
In the book The Spirit of Christ, chapter five is the most valuable. In this chapter, which speaks of the Spirit of the glorified Jesus, Andrew Murray pointed out that today the Holy Spirit is different from the Spirit of God in the Old Testament. The Spirit of God in the Old Testament only had God’s element, not the human element. In the New Testament, within the Spirit of the glorified Jesus there is the spirit of man, the element of man. This chapter opened my eyes, and I began to see that today the Spirit in the New Testament is a compound Spirit. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was purely the Spirit of God, having only the divine element. In the New Testament the Spirit is called the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19). He is called not only the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9) but also the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7) and the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9); hence, the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Thus, He is the all-inclusive supply.
Later, I also was helped by the Brethren to know that the holy anointing oil in Exodus 30 was not merely oil but an ointment. There were five elements in this ointment. Olive oil was mingled with four different spices to become a compound ointment. After the compounding, the constitution of the ointment was no longer the same. Based on what the Brethren and Andrew Murray saw, I studied the elements and discovered that the four spices truly signify the human living, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord. Based on this, I boldly say that today the Spirit of God has become the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and that this Spirit is a compound Spirit. By this example we can see that the teaching of the inner life people and of the Brethren have given us much help.
After Andrew Murray there was Jessie Penn-Lewis. She was also of the inner life group. Many portions of The Spiritual Man, which was written by Brother Nee, are translations of her books. After Jessie Penn-Lewis came T. Austin-Sparks. He could also be counted among the inner life group. All the above-mentioned persons could be categorized as Bible scholars. Besides these, in the 1860s there was a couple in England named Smith. Mrs. Smith wrote a book called The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. This couple started a conference in Keswick, which rapidly developed into the best among the Christian conferences in England. The speakers there included many Bible scholars.
(The Full Knowledge of the Word of God, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)