Sunday, January 4, 2009

a letter from Robert McCheyne

This is a letter from Robert Murray McCheyne, a Scottish minister known for his holiness, of all biographies I've read his is my favorite and that due to his longing for Christ.
Spurgeon wrote this:Is there anything, after all, like the Word of God when the open books finds open hearts? When I read the lives of such men as Baxter, Brainerd, McCheyne, and many others, why, I feel like one who has bathed himself in some cool brook after having gone a journey through a black country, which left him dusty and depressed; and this result comes of the fact that such men embodied Scripture in their lives and illustrated it in their experience. The washing of water by the Word is what they had, and what we need. We must get it where they found it. To see the effects of the truth of God in the lives of holy men is confirmatory to faith and stimulating to holy aspiration.
In Fact when Robert Murray died a letter was found in his desk "It was nothing that you said at first which made me want to be a Christian--It was the beauty of holiness i saw in your face".
Martyn Lloyd-Jones spoke of how there were times McCheyne entered the pulpit and people would weep before he even started, he carried a deep sense of the presence of God.
To many that might sound too weird, and of course it would to dried up 'so-called' scholars who have a gray and dreary lifeless religion that only involves the intellect be affecting. Robert McCheyne died at the age of 29yrs old (through great sickness he continued to labor for God) and yet affected so many lives and was able to join in a major revival (although he was away when it started). Robert Murray said: "what my people need most is my personal holiness." Truly he lived by this, something that is quite foreign today, too many are satisfied with 'knowledge' about holiness, but the Apostle Paul could write 'follow me', 'you know how blamelessly we lived among you.."
Anyways here is the letter written a couple years before his death to his congregation, this is the beginning part concerning his own self-examination, the part i've cut is where he then turns the attention on what blame the church holds:

Eighth Pastoral Letter
Warnings to the Unsaved—Causes Why So Many Among Us are Unsaved.
Edinburgh, March 20, 1839.
TO all of you my dear flock, who are dearly beloved and I longed for, my joy and crown, your pastor wishes grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
In my last letter I showed you that, in all human probability, there are many of you to whom I have preached the gospel of salvation, to whom I shall never preach it again face to face. I cannot be blind to the many dangers that accompany foreign travel—the diseases and accidents to which we shall be exposed; but if, through your prayers, I be given to you again, how many blanks shall I find in my flock! How many dear children of God gone to be “where the weary are at rest,” where the imperfect “are made perfect!” How many of you that have stood out against all the invitations of Christ, and all the warnings of God, shall I find departed, to give in your account before the throne! It is to these last I wish now to speak.
For two years I have testified to you the gospel of the grace of God. I came to you in “weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling;” and if the case of the children of God and of backsliding souls has often lain heavy at my heart, I can truly say that your dreadful condition—“settled like wine upon her lees,” when you are about to be “turned upside down, as a man turneth a dish and wipeth it”—has been a continued anxiety to me; and sometimes, when I have had glimpses of the reality of eternal things, it has been an insupportable agony to my spirit. I know well that this is a jest to you, that you care not whether ministers go or stay; and if you get a short sermon on the Sabbath day that will soothe and not prick your conscience, that is all you care for. Still, it may be the Lord who opened Manasseh’s heart will open yours, while I go over solemnly, in the sight of God, what appear to be the chief reasons that, after my two years’ ministry among you, there are still so many unconverted, perishing souls.
One cause is to be sought in your minister. In Malachi 2:6 you will find a sweet description of a faithful and successful minister: “The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.” This is what we should have done; but the furnace brings out the dross, and afflictions discover defects unknown before. Oh, that I could say with Paul: “That I have been with you at all seasons serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears!” Ye are witnesses, and God also, “how holily, and justly, and unblameably, we behaved ourselves among you that believe.” I am indeed amazed that the ministry of such a worm as I am should ever have been blessed among you at all; and I do this day bewail before God every sin in my heart and life that has kept back the light from your poor dark souls. Oh, you that can pray, pray that I may come back a holy minister—a shepherd not to lead the flock by the voice only, but to walk before them in the way of life.
Looking back over my pulpit work, alas! I see innumerable deficiencies. I always prayed that I might “not keep back anything that was profitable,” that I might not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, “that I might decrease, and Christ increase.” Still, alas! alas! how dimly I have seen and set before you “the truth as it is in Jesus!” How coldly have I pleaded with you to “save yourselves from this untoward generation!” How many things I have known among you “besides Christ and Him crucified!” How often have I preached myself, and not the Savior How little I have “expounded to you in all the scriptures the things concerning Jesus!”
One error more has been in my private labors among you How much fruitless intercourse have I had with you! I have not been like a shepherd crying after the lost sheep, nor like a physician among dying men, nor like a servant bidding you to the marriage, nor like one plucking brands from the burning! How often have I gone to your houses to try and win your souls, and you have put me off with a little worldly talk and the words of salvation have died upon my lips! I dared not tell you, you were perishing, I dared not to show you plainly of the Savior! How often I have sat at some of your tables and my heart yearned for your souls, yet a false shame kept me silent! How often I have gone home crying bitterly, “Free me from blood–guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation!”


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