“My dear friend,
I fear I may not be able to see you for a little time, and therefore think of sending you a few lines to minister a little of the peace and grace of the Lord Jesus to you. I hear that you are worse in health than when I saw you; still I have no doubt you can say, ‘It is well,’ ‘He doeth all things well.’
You remember Jacob said, when they wanted to take Benjamin away from him, ‘All these things are against me,’ (Gen. 42:36). But in a little while he saw that ‘all these things were working together for good to him.’ In a little while all his lost children were restored to him, and he and his seed preserved from famine.
So will it be with you. If at any time unbelief steals over your heart—if you lose sight of Jesus, our Passover sacrificed for us—if you forget the hand of the all-tender gracious Father of Jesus and of your soul—you will be crying out, ‘All these things are against me.’
But ah! How soon you will find that everything in your history, except sin, has been for you. Every wave of trouble has been wafting you to the sunny shores of a sinless eternity. Only believe. Give unlimited credit to our God.
Think on Jesus when your mind wanders in search of peace; think where He came from—from the bosom of His Father. He was from the beginning. He is the life—the life of all that truly live. He is that eternal life which was with the Father. Let the beams of the divinity of Jesus shine in upon your soul.
Think how He was manifested—God manifest in the flesh—to be a Surety for sinners. Made sin for us, although He knew no sin,—made a curse for us. Oh, if I could declare Him unto you, you might have fellowship with apostles, and with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things will we write unto you, that your joy may be full.
Other joys do not fill the heart. But to know the Lord Jesus as our Surety, satisfies the soul; it brings the soul unto rest under the eye of our pardoning God. I met the other day with a thought which has filled my heart often since. It is intended to explain that wonderful verse, John 14:18, ‘I will not leave you orphans—I will come to you.’
Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, is yet present with all His younger brethren and sisters in this vale of weeping. His human nature is at the right hand of God upon the throne—a lamb as it had been slain. But His divine nature is unlimited, fills all worlds, and is present in every dwelling of every disciple in this world.
His divine nature thus brings in continual information to His human heart of everything that is going on in the heart and history of His people; so that His human heart beats towards us just as if He were sitting by our side. Hence He cried to Saul, ‘Why persecutest thou Me?’
Dear friend, do you feel that Jesus is your Surety and Elder Brother? Then remember that, by reason of His real divinity, He is now by your bedside, afflicted in all your afflictions, touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and able to save you to the utter most. He is as really beside you as He was beside Mary when she sat at His feet.
Tell Him all your sorrows, all your doubts and anxieties. He has a willing ear. Oh, what a friend is Jesus, the sinner’s friend! What an open ear He has for all the wants, doubts, difficulties of His people! He has an especial care for His sick, weakly, and dying disciples.
You know how it is with a kind mother, even though a worldly person. In a time of danger she clasps her children to her breast. In a time of health she may often let them wander out of her sight, but in hours of sickness she will watch beside their bed. Much more will Jesus watch over you.
I trust you feel real desire after complete holiness. This is the truest mark of being born again. It is a mark that He has made us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. So may you be made meet for glory. The farmer does not cut down his corn till it is ripe. So does the Lord Jesus: He first ripens the soul, then gathers it into his barn.
It is far better to be with Christ than to be in Christ. For you to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Nevertheless, I trust God will keep you a little longer for our sake, that you may pray for us, and encourage us to work on in the service of Jesus till our change come.
I began this letter about two weeks ago, and now send it away to you. I was called very suddenly to Edinburgh, and then sent to the north, and am just returned again, so that I did not get it sent away. I will try and see you this week, if it be the will of God. However, you must not be disappointed if I am prevented.
I pray for you, that according as your day is, so your strength may be. Keep your eye upon Jesus and the unsearchable riches that are in Him; and may the gentle Comforter fill your soul, and give you a sweet foretaste of the glory that is to follow.
May He leave His deep eternal impress upon your soul, not healing you and going away, but abiding within you, keeping the image of Christ in your heart, ever fresh and full,—Christ in you the hope of glory. The Comforter is able to fill you with calmness in the stormiest hour.
May He fill your whole soul and transform you into a child of light. Goodbye till we meet, if it be the Lord’s will. If not in this world, at least before the throne, casting our crowns at His feet.
Ever yours in the gospel,
Robert Murray M’Cheyne”
–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, “To Miss A. S. L.: August 16, 1840,” in Robert Murray M’Cheyne and Andrew A. Bonar, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1894), 245-247.