Category Archives: Robert Murray M'Cheyne

“For eternity” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Like many others I owe an incalculable debt to William Still for the way in which he invested himself in me from my earliest encounter with him in my teenage years until his death in 1997. Particular conversations with him return to the front of my memory as I think of him now—and with respect to the work of the pastor none more clearly than the occasion on which he said to me, quietly:

‘I never preach now without believing that something will be done that will last for eternity.’

With some sense of the extent to which his ministry had that kind of effect on my own life, I recall thinking ‘That is the measure of faith I too need to have.’ The words have lingered with me now for four decades and been a constant reminder to me of Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s wise comment that it is not ‘many words’ but ‘words spoken in faith’ that God blesses.”

–Sinclair Ferguson, “Foreword,” in William Still, The Work of the Pastor (Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire, IV20 1TW, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1984/2010), 9.

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“A calm look into the eternal world” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“There is nothing like a calm look into the eternal world to teach us the emptiness of human praise, the sinfulness of self-seeking and vainglory, to teach us the preciousness of Christ.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 85.

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“Hourly communion” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“An hour should never pass without our looking up to God for forgiveness and peace. This is the noblest science: to know how to live in hourly communion with God in Christ.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1894), 146.

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“Live much in the smiles of God” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“Learn much of your own heart; and when you have learned all you can, remember you have seen but a few yards into a pit that is unfathomable.

‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’ Jeremiah 17:9.

Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely. Such infinite majesty, and yet such meekness and grace, and all for sinners, even the chief!

Live much in the smiles of God. Bask in His beams. Feel His all-seeing eye settled on you in love, and repose in His almighty arms.

Cry after divine knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding. Seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasure, according to the word in Proverbs 2:4.

See that Proverbs 2:10 be fulfilled in you. Let wisdom enter into your hearts, and knowledge be pleasant to thy soul; so you will be delivered from the snares mentioned in the following verses.

Let your soul be filled with a heart-ravishing sense of the sweetness and excellency of Christ and all that is in Him.

Let the Holy Spirit fill every chamber of your heart; and so there will be no room for folly, or the world, or Satan, or the flesh.

I must now commend you all to God and the word of His grace. My dear people are just assembled for worship.

Alas! I cannot preach to them tonight. I can only carry them and you on my heart to the throne of grace. Write me soon.

Ever yours,

Robert Murray M’Cheyne”

–Robert Murray McCheyne, “Letter to Mr. George Shaw of Belfast (9/16/1840)” in Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1894), 252.


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“Two keys are committed to us by Christ” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“It should have been remarked ere now, that during all his ministry McCheyne was careful to use not only the direct means appointed for the conversion of souls, but those also that appear more indirect, such as the key of discipline…

Once from the pulpit, at an ordination of elders, he gave the following testimony upon this head:

‘When I first entered upon the work of the ministry among you, I was exceedingly ignorant of the vast importance of church discipline. I thought that my great and almost only work was to pray and preach.

I saw your souls to be so precious, and the time so short, that I devoted all my time, and care, and strength, to labour in word and doctrine. When cases of discipline were brought before me and the elders, I regarded them with something like abhorrence.

It was a duty I shrank from; and I may truly say it nearly drove me from the work of the ministry among you altogether.

But it pleased God, who teaches His servants in another way than man teaches, to bless some of the cases of discipline to the manifest and undeniable conversion of the souls of those under our care; and from that hour a new light broke in upon my mind, and I saw that if preaching be an ordinance of Christ, so is church discipline.

I now feel very deeply persuaded that both are of God,—that two keys are committed to us by Christ: the one the key of doctrine, by means of which we unlock the treasures of the Bible; the other the key of discipline, by which we open or shut the way to the sealing ordinances of the faith.

Both are Christ’s gift, and neither is to be resigned without sin.'”

–Robert Murray McCheyne and Andrew A. Bonar, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1894), 79–81.

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“From the cradle to the cross” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“Christ is offered to you as your Saviour. There is perfect obedience in Christ. When He came to this world He came not only to suffer but to do — not only to be a dying Saviour but also a doing Saviour — not only to suffer the curse which the first Adam had brought upon the world but to render the obedience which the first Adam had left undone. From the cradle to the cross He obeyed the will of God from the heart.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, The Sermons of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (London: Banner of Truth, 1961), 102-103.

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“Tell Him all your sorrows” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“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.

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