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The contents of this book were published in June 1927. The original Chinese title was, literally translated, The Details of Spiritual Cultivation. The present English title was provided by the author himself on the title page of that book. The original book was composed partly of messages translated from English by Brother Watchman Nee and partly of messages written by him in the years prior to 1927. Some of the chapters first appeared in the early issues of The Present Testimony magazine in 1923. The following is an announcement that appeared in the March 1927 issue (No. 15) of The Christian magazine. It states the nature of the book:
A clear book on guiding man to a pathway of spiritual edification; a required reading for all those who desire to overcome sin, the world, and the devil. The whole book is divided into eighteen chapters, with three hundred pages and over a hundred thousand words. From its beginning to its end, it has the cross of the Lord Jesus as the center. This book pays special attention to the teaching of Romans 6. It details the way to differentiate the spiritual part from the self in our life. There are also clear teachings concerning the way to pray, to overcome the devil, and to engage in spiritual works. This book should not only be read but also studied by all God's children. All those who buy this book will continue to receive fresh light, even if they read it once every month.
The book was published by the Bible Truth Depot, P.O. Box 323, Shanghai (also known as the Shanghai Gospel Bookroom) and sold for forty-five cents paperbound and seventy-five cents clothbound. The following is the table of contents of the original book's nineteen chapters together with the author of each chapter.
(1) Back to the Cross!—Charles H. Usher(2) The Distinction between the Spirit, the Soul, and the Body—Watchman Nee(3) The Flesh—Watchman Nee(4) The Soul-life—Watchman Nee(5) How to Walk by the Spirit—Jessie Penn-Lewis(6) Fact, Faith, and Experience—Watchman Nee(7) Living by Faith—Anonymous(8) How to Seek After God's Will—Watchman Nee(9) Walking in the Will of God—Jessie Penn-Lewis(10) More than Conquerors—Jessie Penn-Lewis(11) Liberty through the Cross --Gordon Watts(12) The Cross Destroying the Serpent—Jessie Penn-Lewis(13) Translated out of the Power of Darkness—Jessie Penn-Lewis(14) The Prayer That Opposes Satan—Watchman Nee(15) Prayer A Divine Necessity—Evan Roberts(16) The Chief Purpose of Prayer—S.D. Gordon(17) The Tempter and the Tempted—Watchman Nee(18) How to Bind the Strong Man—Jessie Penn-Lewis(19) Four Planes of Spiritual Life—Jessie Penn-Lewis
Some of the topics covered in the book were repeated again in The Spiritual Man. As such, this book may be considered the predecessor of The Spiritual Man.
In this volume we have included in the text the chapters that were written by Watchman Nee, i.e., chapters two, three, four, six, eight, fourteen, and seventeen. We have also included chapter seven by an anonymous writer and chapter eleven, which is attributed to Gordon Watts but is significantly different from Rev. Watt's article. These chapters occupied over sixty percent of the original book. We have rearranged the original chapter numbers to the order of the present volume. In the Appendices, we have provided the original English articles which Watchman Nee translated and excerpted from.

Throughout church history, there has never been a time when messages on the cross are as needed as today. For the present-day Christians, who, being Christians, are obviously redeemed by the blood, the most important thing is to know and to experience the deeper aspects of the fundamental truths of the cross. It is, of course, a glorious thing to know about the substitutional death of the cross, but this will not afford the believers much growth. All the things that Christ has accomplished for us on the cross must be experienced by us one by one before we can mature in life and can become a vessel of God.
We realize that we are already at the end of this age. The activities of Satan have become more fierce than before. God's children have been greatly persecuted, harassed, and beguiled by him, but his most serious work is his deception. Hence, now is truly the time for the saints to rise up and to learn to oppose and attack the enemy with the victory at the cross. This warfare is fierce. How can the saints overcome without putting on the armor? Arise God's saints, and stand on the victory of Golgotha, declaring the victory of Christ! Your King is near! The time for the total defeat of the enemy is also near!
This book contains many articles that have been published before in The Present Testimony magazine, but due to awkwardness in expression and mistakes in proofreading, many teachings were buried. Now with the strength and time afforded by God, we are able to revise these articles and add to them a few new ones to make up this book. There are quite a number of translated articles in this book. We have included the names of these writers in the table of contents. We thank God that though the writers may differ in nationality, race, and background, the message we preach is the same. The reader will find this book to be consistent in its theme.
I lift up my heart to thank God for the grace given to me that this book can be published. I also thank a few brothers and sisters for their help in translation and proofreading. If it pleases the Father, may He lead every reader into the abundant life that He has prepared for them in the Lord Jesus.
Watchman Nee


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