Friday, April 17, 2009

letter from Mcheyne pt2

Here is a gem of a letter from my favorite of men I have read of, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, it is an incredibly humble and convicting letter to his congregation. This is second half that concerns, the faults of the congregation, the first half dealt with himself. Once again if you have not read the life of Robert Murray M'Cheyne then drop whatever bio you are currently reading and pick this up, C.H. Spurgeon described it as the best ministerial biography ever written!

Robert Murray McCheyne, originally compiled by Andrew A. Bonar. First published in 1844
Eighth Pastoral Letter
Warnings to the Unsaved—Causes Why So Many Among Us are Unsaved.
Edinburgh, March 20, 1839.

I turn now to the causes in you, dear children of God. You also have hindered in great measure God’s work in the parish. First, by your want of holiness. “Ye are the light of the world.” I have often told you that a work of revival in any place almost always begins with the children of God. God pours water first on “him that is thirsty,” and then on the dry ground. But how little has “the word of the Lord sounded out from you!” I do not mean that you should have been loud talkers about religious things. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, and the talk of the lips leadeth to penury.” But you should have been “living epistles, known and read of all men.”
You know that a lighted lamp is a very small thing, and it burns calmly and without noise; yet “it giveth light to all that are within the house.” So, if you had day by day the blood of Christ upon your conscience, walking a forgiven and adopted child of God, having a calm peace in your bosom and a heavenly hope in your eye, having the Holy Spirit filling you with a sweet, tender, chaste, compassionate, forgiving love to all the world—oh! had you shone thus for two years back, how many of your friends and neighbors that are going down to hell might have been saying this day, “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God!” Think, my beloved friends, that every act of unholiness, of conformity to the world, of selfishness, of whispering and backbiting, is hindering the work of God in the parish and ruining souls eternally.
And what shall I say to those of you who, instead of emitting the sweet winning light of holiness, have given out only rays of darkness? “I have this against thee, that thou hast left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
Second, you have hindered God’s work by your want of prayer. When God gives grace to souls, it is in answer to the prayers of His children. You will see this on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2); Ezekiel 37:9 shows, that in answer to the prayer of a single child of God, God will give grace to a whole valley full of dry and prayerless bones. Where God puts it into the heart of His children to pray, it is certain that He is going to pour down His Spirit in abundance. Now, where have been your prayers, O children of God? The salvation of those around you depends on your asking, and yet “hitherto ye have asked nothing in Christ’s name.” Ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers, keep not silence, and give Him no rest. Alas! you have given God much rest—you have allowed His hand to remain unplucked out of His bosom.
It is said of John Welsh, minister of Ayr, that he used always to sleep with a plaid upon his bed, that he might wrap it around him when he arose in the night to pray. He used to spend whole nights in wrestling with God for Zion, and for the purity of the Church of Scotland; and he wondered how Christians could lie all night in bed without rising to pray. Oh! we have few Welshes now; therefore our church is so dim, and our land a barren wilderness. Dear Christians, I often think it strange that ever we should be in heaven, and so many in hell through our soul–destroying carelessness. The good Lord pardon the past, and stir you up for the future. I learn that you are more stirred up to pray since I left, both in secret and unitedly. God grant it be so. Continue in it, dear children. Do not let it slip again. Plead and wrestle with God, showing Him that the cause is His own, and that it is all for His own glory to arise and have mercy upon Zion.
Last of all, think of the causes in yourselves, O unconverted souls! Be sure of this, that you will only have yourselves to blame if ye awake in hell. You will not be able to plead God’s secret decrees, nor the sins of your minister, nor the carelessness of your godly neighbors—you will be speechless. If you die, it is because you will die; and if you will die, then you must die.
Think, first, on your carelessness about ordinances. They are the channels through which God pours His Spirit. The Bible, prayer, the house of God—these are the golden pipes through which the golden oil is poured. How many of you utterly neglect the Bible! You know not the blessedness of the man spoken of in the First Psalm. How many of you restrain prayer before God! How many of you have dead, useless prayers, learned by rote! And oh, how you despise the house of God! Alas, that church shall rise against you in judgment. It was a door of the ark brought near to you. Two years and more, its gates have been wide open to you, and yet how you have slighted it! Already I seem to hear your loud wailing when you mourn at the last, and say, “How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof, and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers!”
Think, second, how you have been mockers. It has been too common for you to make a mock of eternal things and of godly people. When there have been anxious souls seeking the way to be saved, and they could not conceal their tears, you have called them hypocrites! When some have got a new heart and have changed their way of life, you have spoken scoffingly of them, and tried to bring them into contempt. Alas! poor soul, look within. You have hardened your hearts into an adamant stone. Look at Proverbs 17:5: “He that mocketh the poor reproacheth his maker.” And again (Isaiah 28:22): “Now, therefore, be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong.”
To sum up all. The great cause that I leave you hardened s that you “despise the Son of God.” You see no beauty in Him that you should desire Him. You lightly esteem the Rock of your salvation. You have not had a soul–piercing look at a pierced Savior! You have not seen the infinite load of sins that weighed down His blessed head. You have not seen how open His arms are to receive, how often He would have gathered you. You have not heard that sweet word whispered of the Spirit, “Behold me, behold me,” which, when a man once hears, he leaves all and follows. You have trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God. Farewell, dear, dear souls. God knows that my whole heart prays that you may be saved.
Perhaps there are some of you that never would bend under my ministry, that will melt like wax before the fire under the word of the dear young minister who is to speak to you in my absence. May the Lord give him hundreds for my tens! I will often pray for you, and sometimes write to you, when I am far away. If I reach Immanuel’s land, I will say, “The Lord bless you out of Zion.” And if you will not turn, remember I take God for a record that I am pure from the blood of you all.
Dear children of God, I now cast you on Him who cast you on me when I was ordained over you. He said to me, “Feed my sheep. . . feed my lambs. . . feed my sheep.” Now, when He sends me away, I would humbly return His own words to Him, saying, “O Shepherd of Israel, feed my sheep, feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” Little children, love one another. Keep yourselves from idols. Bear me ever on your hearts. Pray that when I have preached to others, I may not be a castaway. Pray that I may save some.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
My next, if God will, may be from England.


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