Robert Murray M’Cheyne

To the Rev. D. Camfbell of Lawers

Advice to a brother in sickness.

MY DEAR BROTHER,-Like yourself, I have been laid aside from the word of the ministry for two Sabbaths, but am now recovering.

I am truly afflicted to hear of your troubles; and yet I pray it may turn out to the furtherance of the gospel. The time of my absence from my flock in 1839 was more blessed to my people than even my presence had been. Our God can work through means or above them. He then puts the treasure into earthen vessels, often allows the vessels to be chipped and broken, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. Fear not for your flock. The Chief Shepherd who sent you to them is faithful, and His name is the Mighty God. He can feed them with or without you. And none that are His can perish.  

Use all prudent means for your recovery. Commit yourself entirely to God, and He will turn the shadow of death into the morning. I have been often brought very low, but it has been always good for me. In this way God educates His ministers, both for His temple below, and for being pillars in the temple above.  

I do not think Broughty-Ferry a safe place for you, if your lungs are at all effected. The air is damp, and east wind cold. If it is only your stomach that ails, then it will do well; but if you have any chest complaint, do not think of the east coast. Blairgowrie would be much more suitable; when you would have the kind care of a good Christian doctrine, and the ministry of dear R. M.

I fear my illness will prevent me leaving home this summer; but I do not know. Your absence will make me us pray more that your flock may not be forgotten.

Do not be afraid at leaving home. His compassions are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. He doth not afflict willingly. All grace be with you from the fountain of living waters.-Ever yours, etc.

On the death of his brother, the little boy to whom the preceding letter was written.  

MY DEAR A.,-I did not think I was to have answered your kind letter in the time of bitter grief. But so it pleases Jehovah, whose will must be our will, if we would be happy. It is good for you to bear the yoke in your youth. This is the way God trains His saints, and especially His ministers. I saw you dear little brother twice on his dying bed, and indeed I could not believe he was dying except that his calm eye was directed to the hills of immortality, and he seemed already to breathe some of the atmosphere of the world of sinless joy. I do trust and believe that he was a saved boy. You know I am rather slow of coming to this conviction and not fond of speaking when I have not good evidence; but here, I think, God has not left us in doubt.  

At Blairgowrie he used several times to speak to me about divine things, and the tear would gather in his eye when he said that he feared he had never been brought to Jesus. Once, when he had a sore throat, he told me he was not ready to die. But now he was quite different. The veil seemed to be lifted away from his heart, and he saw divine things simply and fully.

Over and over he told me that he was not afraid to die, for Christ had died. “How kind it was in God to send Jesus to die for sinners.” He seemed tranquil and happy, even when the pain came on his head and made him knit his brows. You have reason to mingle praise with your tears. Do not sorrow as one who has no hope. Only seek a right improvement of this bereavement. He is not lost, but gone before, and we shall soon put off this clay cottage also. And soon we and he, made new, body and soul, shall meet the Lord in the air, and so be for ever with the Lords. I was at your house on Sabbath night, and saw them all,-sorrowful, yet rejoicing. Your dear little brother lies like a marble statute in the peaceful sleep of death, till Jesus’ voice shall waken him. Happy boy! He shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on him, nor any heat. The days of his mourning are ended, and his eternity of love and holy joy is begun.

Improve this sharp wind, dear A., for you will soon lose the benefit, if not carefully sought after. Search out the Achan in your heart at such an hour. Let affliction strike heavy blows at your corruptions, your idolatries, and self-pleasing and worldly schemes. Learn much of Christ at such an hour. Study Him at the grave of Lazarus (John xi.); and at the gate of Nain (Luke viii. 11); and also within the veil (Rev. i. 18). Do not be ashamed to grieve deeply; but let sadness find relief in the bosom that was pierced with the spear.

“Is any afflicted? Let him pray.” Strange, Satan often tempts us to restrain prayer at such a time. Be very gentle towards the souls of your kindred now.

Remember D- and H- at the throne of grace, if God had taken them, where would they have been? Learn also that ministers must care for lambs. “Preach the gospel to every creature.” Pray for me, also that I may do so,-that I may be made a better man and a more faithful pastor of old and young. –Ever yours, till we meet in glory, etc.    

A Young Boy Anxious about his soul

MY DEAR BOY,-I was very glad to receive your kind note, and am glad to send you a short line in return, although my time is much taken up. You are very dear to me, because your soul is precious; and if you are ever brought to Jesus, washed and justified, you will praise Him more sweetly than an angel of light. I was riding among the snow to-day, where no foot had trodden, and it was pure, pure white; and I thought again and again of that verse: “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” That is a sweet prayer,-make it your own. Often go alone and look up to Jesus, who died to wash us from our sins, and say, “Wash me.” Amelia Gweddie was one day dressed in a new white frock, with red ribbons in her bonnet, and some one said to her, “No doubt you will think yourself very trim and clean?” “Ah, no! she said; “I will never think that until I have the fine white robe of my Redeemer’s righteousness put upon me.” I am glad my dear boy, you think that God is afflicting you to bring you to Himself. It is really for this that He smites you. His heart, His hand, His rod, are all inscribed with love. But then, see that He does bring you to Himself. Do not delay. The lake of fire and brimstone stretches beneath every soul that lives in sin. “There is no peace, saith my God to the wicked.” If the Lord Jesus would but draw the curtain and let you see His own fair face, and His wounded side, and how there is room for the guiltiest sinner in Him, you would be drawn to Jesus with cords of love. I was preaching in Perth last Sabbath. When I came out, a little girl came up to me, I think about three or four year old. She wanted to hear of the way to be saved. Her mother said she had been crying the whole night before about her soul, and would take no comfort till she should find Jesus. Oh, pray that the same spirit may waken you! Remember, Johnnie, you once wept for your soul too, and prayed and sought Jesus. Have you found Him? or have you looked back, like Lot’s wife, and become a hard, cold pillar of salt? Awake again, and call upon the name of the Lord. Your time may be short, God only knows. The longest lifetime is short enough. It is all that is given you to be converted in. They are the happiest who are brought soonest to the bosom of Jesus. Write me again. At present I must draw to a close. Give my kindest remembrances to your mamma, and to A. when you write. Tell him to write to me. May you al meet at the table of Jesus above; and may I be there too, a sinner saved by grace. Ever yours, etc. To J.T.

A sight of corruption drives to Christ

DEAR FRIEND,-I send you a hurried line, and may the Spirit accompany it with His divine power to your heart! It is a good thing to be shown much of the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of your heart, provided it leads you to the Lord Jesus, that He may pardon and subdue it. Slightness and carnal ease are much more to be dreaded than discoveries of our leprosy.

The groans and triumphal song of a believer are not far separted, as you may see in Paul (Rom. vii. 24, 25): “O wretched man,” and “I thank God,” all in one breath! David felt the same (see Ps. Lxxiii.).  At one verse he feels himself a fool and a beast in the sight of a holy God, and in the very next verses he is cleaving to Christ with a smog of unspeakable joy (vs. 22-24). Ah! there is a sweet mystery here-bitter herbs along with our Passover Lamb. It is sweet to see ourselves infinitely vile, that we may look to Jehovah our Righteousness, as all our way to the Father. The sweet Psalmist of Israel felt this on his dying bed: “Although my house be not so with God, yet hath He made with me,” etc. (2 Sam. xxiii. 5). His house had been the scene of many a black sin; and now, when dying, he could not but confess that it was not right with God. Not a day he had lived appeared clean-not a moment. So may you say, in the house where you live, and looking at the pollutions of your own heart: “Although my house be not so with God”-although my heart and life be not so, “yet hath He made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.”

God makes that covenant with you, when He brings you to lay hold on Jesus as your Surety-your curse-bearing, law-fulfilling Surety. Then you are brought into the bond of the everlasting covenant, and all its blessings are yours-pardon, righteousness, consolation, grace upon grace, life, love, the spirit of supplications-all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ’s is God’s.

Pray to be made like Caleb, who had another spirit, and followed the Lord fully. Follow Christ all the day. He is the continual burnt-offering in whom you may have peace. He is the rock that follows you, from whom you may have constant and infinite supplies. Give yourself wholly away to Him. You are safe in no other keeping but in the everlasting arms of Jehovah Jesus.

Keep yourself from other men’s sins. Do not go to the end of the string, that is, going as far as you can in dallying with temptation without committing open sin. Remember that it is our happiness to be under grace, and every sin will be bitterness in the end, and will take something out of your eternal portion of glory.

Grace be with your dear and much honoured minister, and with all that love Christ in sincerity. Never cease to pray for the parish, and for all parishes, that God would pour down His life-giving Spirit, to the conversion of the perishing sinners and the glory of His own great name. I will remember you on the 12th of June. May the Lord remember us. Ever truly, etc.    

To E. R., Asking counsel

Trying Dispensations.

DEAR FRIEND,-I have heard from J.S. of your brother’s death, and I write a line to comfort you. There is no true comfort to be found but in Christ, He is a fountain of living waters, and you must go with your thirsty soul to Him and drink (John vii. 37; Ps. lxiii.). If your brother died in the Lord, then he is far better that if he were here (Phil. i: 23). If he died out of the Lord, you must be like Aaron when “he held his peace” (Lev. x: 3). Be not moved by these afflictions, knowing that you were appointed thereunto. Seek more and more abiding peace in Christ. He is not only a Savour, but a sympathising elder brother.

Read John xi. And Lam. iii., and you will see what a compassionate bosom Christ has. Lean your head more, and you will find rest. “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord.” Inquire what change He would have wrought in you and in your friends. Are there any need to be awakened? Let them listen to this warning. Are there any need to be brought off from love of the world? Let them hear the voice of God from your brother’s grave saying, “What shall it profit a man though he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Your brother, though dead, still speaketh. To you he says, “Lean on the Beloved as you come up out of the wilderness. The Lord is at hand.” Keep your eye fixed on Jesus. Pray much for His Spirit and likeness; and be ready for His coming.

Our communion is on Sabbath next. Your friend J. thought you would perhaps love to be here. Farewell for the present. May the Lord Jesus be very near to you, to comfort and sanctify and bless you-Ever yours, etc.

Dundee Feb. 28, 18412

To the members of a prayer-meeting

Parable of the Sower

MY DEAR FRIENDS,-It has been a matter of great joy to me to hear that you meet together from time to time to read the word of God and pray-to pray for a blessing on yourselves and families, that you may be brought to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray for ministers, that they may be filled with Holy Spirit, and made insatiable greedy for the salvation of souls, and that the word of God preached on the Sabbath may rise and be glorified till the whole world bow the knee at the name of Jesus.

Oh, you that have had your eyes opened to see your lost condition by nature and by wicked works,-you that have been drawn by the Father to believe in Jesus, to wash in the blood of the Lamb, and to put on the righteousness of God,-oh, pray with all your heart that your dear friends may be brought to take the peace you feel,-that your enemies may be brought to the same Saviour, and that all the world may be brought to know Him, whom to know is life eternal!

If you look at Matt. xiii.3-9, you will see how much of our preaching is in vain, and what need there is to pray that God would open the hearts we speak to.

Many among you, I fear, are like the hard wayside, so that, when the seed falls, it cannot get into your hearts, and the devil plucks it all away (verses 3, 4). Is it not true that some of your hearts are like the footpath, trodden all the week by wicked thoughts? “Free passage this way” is written over your hearts-common, worldly thoughts-busy, covetous desires of money-malicious thoughts-impure, abominable thoughts. Oh who can tell what a constant thoroughfare of wicked imaginations is passing night and day through every uncovered mind! Oh, look at Gen. vi. 5, and weep over the Bible description of your own hard hearts. Now, when you come to the church on Sabbath, your heart is like a footpath; the seed cannot fall in, it lies upon the surface. You do not understand the minister. Perhaps he preaches of the desperate wickedness of the heart, and the danger you are in of going to hell if you be not born again. You feel it to be a dry subject, and turn your head away. Perhaps he is preaching of the love of Jesus, in tasting death for every man; and that He will in no wise cast the vilest sinner out. Still you feel no interest, and perhaps you fall asleep during the sermon. Oh, you are the wayside hearers,-the devil plucks all the seed away. When you turn your back on the church, you turn your back on divine things; and before you have got half-way home, the devil has carried off every word of the sermon. Yea, often, I far, before you have got a sight of your own cottage, or the tress before the door, the devil has filled your hearts with abominable worldly thoughts, and your tongue with evil talk, unworthy of the Sabbath. O Satan, Satan! What a cunning fiend thou art! Even when the hard hearts will not receive the word, thou wilt not suffer it to remain; lest it should come back in a time of sickness or danger, thou carriest all away.

Dear believers, pray that it be not so with you, nor with your friends; pray for a soft heart and a retentive memory; and often speak together of the sermons you hear, and get them harrowed into your hearts, that Satan may be cheated, and your soul saved.

Many, I fear, among you, are receiving the seed into stony PLACES (Matt. xiii.6)-receiving the word for a while, but soon withering away in time of persecution. I fear there may be some among you who are charmed with something about the gospel, instead of cleaving in heart to Christ. I can imagine that some of the wounded Israelites, that were bitten by the serpent, were much taken with Moses, as he held up the brazen serpent, instead of looking at the serpent itself. Many are fond of ministers who are not fond of Christ. Read over Ezekiel xxxiii. 30-32, and pray that this be not your case.

Now, I will give you two marks, by which you may know whether you are one of these unfruitful hearers. First, The rocky heart will remain the same. If you find that your liking to the gospel is from the surface, from curiosity or fancy, or love to a minister-if you find that your rocky heart has never been broken by conviction of sin, has never melted to flow towards Jesus-then you are an empty professor; you have a name to live, while you are spiritually dead.

Second, You will endure for a while. A really converted soul is like a branch. “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” It will cleave to it summer and winter. But if you have only a mock conversion, you will wither away when persecution comes. God knows how soon days of trial may come in Scotland. Be ye therefore ready. He that endureth to the end shall be saved. I fear, dear friends, that many of you receive the seed among thorns (Matt. xiii.7). Look into your heart and see, when you read your Bible in the morning, how many cares and anxieties are dancing before your eyes, so that you can hardly see the page you are reading. How often you come to the house of God, and you see the minister preaching of eternal things with all his might; but your heart is stuffed full of cares, and plans, and pleasures. Alas, alas! The world has got the first hold of your heart, and so you can think of nothing else. What will it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul?

One thing is plain, that thorns and wheat cannot grow on the same spot of ground; so that, if you will keep to your thorns, you must burn with them. Oh, dear souls, if you get but a glimpse of the beauty of Jesus, you would leave all and follow Him! If you got but a taste of the sweetness of forgiveness, you would count everything else but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ. See how Matthew did (Matt. ix. 9). He was once as worldly as yourselves, and as greedy of money as any one of you; and yet a word from the sweet mouth of Christ made him leave all. Read that sweet command of Christ (Matt. x. 37, 38). Oh, pray to be made willing to leave all for Christ! He is kinder than father or mother-more precious than son or daughter. Take up your cross, then, and follow Him.

Last of all, I trust there are some among you like the good ground (Matt, xiii. 8), who receive the word into a heart broken up by the Spirit of God,-watered by prayer,-and who bear fruit unto life eternal. HAVE YOU HAD YOUR HEARTS BROKEN, dear friends? Has God ploughed up your hard, unbelieving hearts? Have you had real concern for your perishing soul? Have you been driven to your knees? Have you ever wept in secret for your sins? Have you been made to tremble under your load of guilt? Do you come thus to the house of the Lord,-your heart like an open furrow waiting for the seed? Inquire earnestly whether the fallow-ground of your heart have ever been broken up (Jer. iv. 3). A broken heart alone can receive a crucified Christ.

HAVE YOU UNDERSTOOD THE GOSPEL? Have you believed the record that God has given concerning His Son? Do you feel that it is true that God is love? That Christ has died, the just for the unjust?-that He is beckoning you to come to Him? Do you believe on the Son of God? He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark xvi. 16).

DO YOU BEAR FRUIT? Without holy fruit all evidences are vain. How vain would it be to prove to a farmer that his fields were good and productive, if they produced no corn! You might say to him, “Neighbour, your land is goo; the soil is dry and well trenched.” “Oh, but,” he would say, “Where is the yellow grain-where are the full ears falling from the sickle of the reaper?” Dear friends, you have awakenings, enlightenings, experiences, a full heart in prayer, and many due signs; but if you want holiness you will never see the Lord. If you are a drinker, a swearer, a liar, a lascivious talker, a wanton, a slanderer, you are in the broad way that leads to destruction. Read Matt. vii.21-23, and pray that you may not deceiving your own souls. Dear believers, pray that you may bear fruit an hundredfold. Do not be content with bearing thirtyfold or sixtyfold; pray to be sanctified wholly (1 Thess. v. 23). Pray that the whole lump may be leavened (Matt. xiii. 33). Pray that, day or night, in company or alone, Sabbath and week-day, you may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. I often pray for you all; and desire that in secret, and in your families, you will not forget me,-Your friend and souls well-wisher, etc.    

Go up Leaning on Jesus

Dear Friend,-I send you another line to tell you of Him who is altogether lovely. I have a very dear boy in my parish who is dying just now. He said to me the other day, “I have just been feeding for some days upon the words you gave me: “His legs are like pillars of marble set upon sockets of find gold’ (Song v. 15); for (said he) am sure He is able to carry me and all my sins.” You may say the same, if your eyes have been opened to see the beauty, faithfulness, freeness, and compassion of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the hand of God can open your eyes to see your lost condition as it truly is. Flesh and blood cannot reveal Him to you, but my Father. Oh, call upon Him to do this for you! A spiritual discovery of yourself and of Jesus is better than a million of worlds to you, and to me also. Remember, you cannot be fair in yourself before God. Song i. 6 must be all your prayer: “Look not upon me.” Take yourself at your best moments, you are a vile worm in Jehovah’s sight, and so am I. Remember you may be “perfect in Christ Jesus.” Allow yourself to be found in Christ. Oh, what will come of you if you are found in yourself? Where will you appear? You will shrink back, and call on rocks and mountains to fall upon you and cover you. But if you are hiding in Jesus-if your eye and heart are fixed upon His wounds made by our sins-if you are willing to be righteous in His righteousness, to lie down under the stream of His blood, and to be clothed upon with the snowy fleece of the Lamb of God-then God will love you with His whole soul exceedingly. The pure, full love of God streams through the blood and obedience of Jesus to every soul that is lying under them, however vile and wretched in themselves. Have you tried-have you tasted the holy love of a holy God? Thy love is better than wine. It is better than all creature love or creature enjoyments. Oh, do not live-oh, do not die, out of this sweet, sweet, sin-pardoning, soul-comforting love of God! Remember, Jesus is quite willing to gather you under His wings (Matt. xxiii. 37). Put that beyond all doubt. Remember, also, the present is your only time to be saved (Eccles. ix. 10). There is no believing, no repenting, no conversion in the grave.-No minister will speak to you there. This is the time of conversion. We must either gain you now, or lose you for ever. Oh, that you would use this little time! Every moment of it is worth a world. Your soul is very dear to me-dearer far to Jesus. Look to Him and you will be saved.-Ever yours, etc.    December 8, 1841

Be Found in Christ

Dear Friend,-I send you another line to tell you of Him who is altogether lovely. I have a very dear boy in my parish who is dying just now. He said to me the other day, “I have just been feeding for some days upon the words you gave me: “His legs are like pillars of marble set upon sockets of find gold’ (Song v. 15); for (said he) am sure He is able to carry me and all my sins.” You may say the same, if your eyes have been opened to see the beauty, faithfulness, freeness, and compassion of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the hand of God can open your eyes to see your lost condition as it truly is. Flesh and blood cannot reveal Him to you, but my Father. Oh, call upon Him to do this for you! A spiritual discovery of yourself and of Jesus is better than a million of worlds to you, and to me also. Remember, you cannot be fair in yourself before God. Song i. 6 must be all your prayer: “Look not upon me.” Take yourself at your best moments, you are a vile worm in Jehovah’s sight, and so am I. Remember you may be “perfect in Christ Jesus.” Allow yourself to be found in Christ. Oh, what will come of you if you are found in yourself? Where will you appear? You will shrink back, and call on rocks and mountains to fall upon you and cover you. But if you are hiding in Jesus-if your eye and heart are fixed upon His wounds made by our sins-if you are willing to be righteous in His righteousness, to lie down under the stream of His blood, and to be clothed upon with the snowy fleece of the Lamb of God-then God will love you with His whole soul exceedingly. The pure, full love of God streams through the blood and obedience of Jesus to every soul that is lying under them, however vile and wretched in themselves. Have you tried-have you tasted the holy love of a holy God? Thy love is better than wine. It is better than all creature love or creature enjoyments. Oh, do not live-oh, do not die, out of this sweet, sweet, sin-pardoning, soul-comforting love of God! Remember, Jesus is quite willing to gather you under His wings (Matt. xxiii. 37). Put that beyond all doubt. Remember, also, the present is your only time to be saved (Eccles. ix. 10). There is no believing, no repenting, no conversion in the grave.-No minister will speak to you there. This is the time of conversion. We must either gain you now, or lose you for ever. Oh, that you would use this little time! Every moment of it is worth a world. Your soul is very dear to me-dearer far to Jesus. Look to Him and you will be saved.-Ever yours, etc.    December 8, 1841

Taste that Christ is precious

DEAR FRIEND, – It is written, “Unto you who believe He is precious;” and if you are a child of God, you will know and feel what the words mean (1 Peter ii.7). At one time Christ was “like a tender plant” to you and like “a root out of a dry ground.” You saw “no form nor comeliness in Him, no beauty that you should desire Him”.  At that time you were at ease in Zion-you had no concern for your soul. Do you remember that time? Is it otherwise with you now? Have you been pricked in your heart by the Holy Spirit? Have you been made to see how impossible it is for man to be just with God? And has the Spirit drawn away the evil from the fair face of Immanuel, and given you an unfeigned glance at the brow that was crowned with the thorns, and the cheek from which they plucked off the hair? Has the Spirit opened a window into the heart of Jesus, and let you see the fountain-head of that love that “passeth knowledge”? Then you will be able to say, “To me He is precious.” If you see plainly that all your standing before God is in Him, that He is your foundation-stone, your fountain, your wedding garment, then you will feel Him to be precious. Most people refuse to come to Christ. Read Luke xiv. 16-24-“They all with one consent began to make excuse.” Why is this? Just because they do not see and feel that He is precious. But oh, if you, my dear friend, feel that He is your only righteousness your only fountain of living water-your High Priest-your Shepherd-your Advocate, then you will say, “He is precious!”  You will never say, “Have me excused.” I carry to you the sweet invitation, “Come, for all things are now ready.” Jesus is ready to wash and clothe you in His own blood and righteousness. The Holy Spirit is ready to come into your heart and make it new. The Father is ready to put His arms round your neck, and kiss you (Luke xv. 20). The angels are ready to give thanks for you, and to love you as a sister for eternity. Now will you come, for all things are ready? Are you now saying in your heart, “I cannot but believe I am the chief of sinners, and Jesus offers to be my refuge, my Mediator, my all in all; I feel He is precious”? Oh dear friend, I trust you do. This only will make you happy in liying, and blessed in dying. This is a poor dying world. Man that is born is of few days and full of trouble. There is no part here that death cannot take from us. But if you have Christ, you have the only imperishable portion! Oh, may the Holy Spirit give you a firm hold of Jesus! Then we shall meet in that sweet place, where there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. The Lord, deal kindly and gently with you, both soul and body.
Farewell, dear friend.-Ever yours, etc. Dec. 1841.

I Love the Lord’s Day

“The Sabbath was made for man.”

DEAR FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN, – As a servant of God in this dark and cloudy day, I feel constrained to life up my voice in behalf of the entire sanctification of the Lord’s day. The daring attack that is now made by some of the directions of the Edinburgh and Glasgow on the law of God and the peace of our Scottish Sabbath-the blasphemous motion which they mean to propose to the shareholders in February next-and the wicked pamphlets which are now being circulated in thousands, full of all manner of lies and impieties-call loudly for the clam, deliberate testimony of all faithful ministers and private Christians in behalf of God’s holy day. In the name of all God’s people in this town and in this land, I commend to your dispassionate consideration the following


(1) Because it is the Lord’s day.- “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice, and be glad in it” (Ps. cxviii. 24) “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev. i. 10). It is His, by example. It is the day on which He rested from His amazing work of redemption. Just as God rested on the seventh day from all His works, wherefore God blessed the Sabbath day, and hollowed it; so the Lord Jesus rested on this day from all His agony, and pain, and humiliation. “There remaineth therefore the keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God” (Heb. iv. 9). The Lord’s day is His property, just as the Lord’s supper is the supper belonging to Christ. It is His table. He is the bread. He is the wine. He invites the guests. He fills them with joy and with the Holy Ghost. So it is with the Lord’s day. All days of the year are Christ’s, but He hath marked out on in seven as peculiarly His own. “He hath made it,” or marked it out. Just as He planted a garden in Eden, so He hath fenced about this day and made it His own. This is the reason why we love it, and would keep it entire. We love everything that is Christ’s. We love His word. It is better to us than thousands of gold and silver. “O how we love His law! it is our study all the day.” We love His house. It is our trysting-place with Christ, where He meets with us and communes with us from the mercy-seat. We love His table. It is His banqueting-house, where His banner over us is love-where He looses our bonds, and anoints our eyes, and makes our hearts burn with holy joy. We love His people, because they are His, members of His body, washed in His blood, filled with His Spirit, our brothers and sisters for eternity. And we love the Lord’s day, because it is His. Every hour of it is dear to us-sweeter than honey, more precious than gold. It is the day He rose for our justification. It reminds us of His love, and His finished work, and His rest. And we may boldly say that that man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ who does not love the entire Lord’s Day.


“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before  the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,”- Jude 24

There is no end to a pastor’s anxieties. Our first care is to get you into Christ; and next, to keep you from falling. I have a good hope, dearly beloved, that a goodly number of you have this day joined yourselves to the Lord. But now a new anxiety begins, to get you to walk in Christ,-to walk after the Spirit. Here we are to tell you of what God our Saviour is able to do for you: First, To keep you from falling all the way; Second, To present you faultless at the end.

I. To keep you from falling.
(1) We are not able to keep you from falling.-Those that lean on ministers lean on a reed shaken with the wind. When a soul has received saving good through a minister, he often thinks that he will be kept from falling by the same means. He thinks. “Oh, if I had this friend always beside me to warn me, to advise me!” No; ministers are not always by, nor godly friends. Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets do they live for ever? We may soon be taken from you, and there are may come a famine of the bread. And, besides, our words will not always tell. When temptation and passions are strong, you would not give heed to us.

(2) You are not able to keep yourselves from falling.-At present you know little of the weakness or wickedness of you own heart. There is nothing more deceitful then your estimate of your own strength. Oh, if you saw your soul in all its infirmity; if you saw how every sin has its fountain in your heart; if you saw what a mere reed you are, you would cry, “Lord, hold up my goings.” You may be at present strong; but stop till an inviting company occur; stop till a secret opportunity. Oh, how many have fallen then! At present you feel strong,-your feet like hinds’ feet. So did Peter at the Lord’s table. But stop till this burst of feeling has passed away; stop till you are asked to join in some unholy game; stop till some secret opportunity of sinning all unseen,-till some bitter provocation rouses your anger,-and you will find that you are weak as water, and that there is no sin that you may not fall into.

(3) Our Saviour-God is able-Christ deals with us as you do with your children. They cannot go alone; you hold them: so does Christ by His Spirit. “I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms” (Hos. xi. 3). Breathe this prayer: “Lord, take me by the arms.” John Newton says, When a mother is teaching her child to walk on a soft carpet, she will sometimes let it go, and it will fall, to teach it its weakness; but not so on the brink of a precipice. So the Lord will sometimes let us fall, like Peter on the waters, though not o your injury. The shepherd layeth the sheep on his shoulder; it matters not how great the distance be; it matters not how high the mountains, how rough the path: our Saviour-God is an almighty Shepherd. Some of you have mountains in your way to heaven,-some of you have mountains of lust in your hearts, and some of you have mountains of opposition: it matters not, only lie on the shoulder. He is able to keep you; even in the dark valley He will not stumble.

II.To present you faultless.
(1) Faultless in righteousness.-As long as you live in your mortal body, you will be faulty in yourself. It is a soul-running error to believe anything else. Oh, if ye would be wise, be often looking beneath the robe of the Redeemer’s righteousness to see your own deformity!  It will make you keep faster hold of His robe, and keep you washing in the fountain. Now, when Christ brings you before the throne of God, He will clothe you with His own fine linen, and present you faultless. Oh, it is sweet to me to think how soon you shall be the righteousness of God in Him. What a glorious righteousness that can stand the light of God’s face! Sometimes a garment appears white in dim light: when you bring it into the sunshine, you see the spots. Oh, prize, then, this divine righteousness, which is your covering.

(2) Faultless in holiness.-My heart sometimes sickens when I think upon the defects of believers; when I  think of one Christian being found of company, another vain, another given to evil speaking. Oh, aim to be holy Christians!-bright, shining Christians. The heaven is more adorned by the large bright constellations than by many insignificant starts; so God may be more glorified by one bright Christian than by many indifferent ones. Aim at being that one.

Soon we shall be faultless. He that begun will perform it. We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. When you lay down this body, you may say, Farewell, lust, for ever,-farewell, my hateful pride,-farewell, hateful selfishness,-farewell, strife and evening,-farewell, being ashamed of Christ. Oh, this makes death sweet indeed! Oh, long to depart and to be with Christ!

III. To Him be glory.
(1) Oh, if anything has been done for your soul, give Him the glory!  Give no praise to others; give all the praise to Him.
(2) And give Him the dominion too. Yield yourselves unto Him, soul and body.

Sermon VIII

Sermon VIII.1
“Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee. Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.”- Song 8:5-7

We are introduced to the great Redeemer and a believing soul, and made to overhear their converse.

I.The posture of the Church,
(1) From the wilderness,-To a child of God this world is a wilderness. First, Because everything is fading here. Here is nothing abiding; money takes wings and flees away; friends die. All are like grass; and if some are more beautiful or more engaging than others, still they are only like the flower of the grass,-a little more ornamented, but withering often sooner. Sometimes a worldly comfort is like Jonah’s gourd,-it came up over his head to be a shadow to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm, when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. So our worldly comfort sometimes grows up over our head like a shadow, and we are exceeding glad of our gourd; but God prepares a worm, we faint, and are ready to die. Here we have no continuing city; but we seek one to come. This is a wilderness: “Arise, depart, this is not thy rest, for it is polluted.” An experienced Christian looks upon everything here as not abiding; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal. Second, Because everything is stained with sin here. Even the natural scenery of this world is stained with sin. The thorns and thistles tell of a cursed earth. Above all, when you look at the floods of ungodly men.-“We are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness,” The world does not know a Christian, and does not love him. Though you love them, and would lay down your body that they might pass over to glory, yet they will not hear. Above all, the sin in our heart makes us bend down under our burden, and feel this to be a valley of weeping. Ah! wretched man, if we had no body of sin, what a sweet glory would appear in everything; we would sing like the birds in spring.

(2) Coming out of it.­-Unconverted souls are going down into the wilderness to perish there.  All Christians are coming up out of it. Sabbath-days are like milestones, marking our way; or rather they are like the wells we used to come to sat evening. Every real Christian is making progress. If the sheep is on the shoulder of the shepherd, it is always getting nearer the fold. With some the shepherd takes long steps. Dear Christians, you should be advancing, getting higher, nearer to Canaan, riper for glory. In the south of Russia, the country is of vast plains, rising by steppes. Dear friends, you should get on to a higher place; up another step every Sabbath-day. In travelling, you never think of making a house in the wilderness. So, dear friends, do not take up your rest here, we are journeying. Let all your endeavours be to get on in your journey.

(3) Leaning upon her beloved.-It is very observable that there is none here but the bride and her beloved in a vast wilderness. She is not leaning upon Him with one arm, and upon somebody else with the other; but she is leaning upon Him alone. So it is with the soul taught of God; it feels alone with Christ in this world; it leans as entirely upon Christ as if there were no other being in the universe. She leans all her weight upon her husband. When a person has been saved from drowning, they lean all their weight upon their deliverer. When the lost sheep was found, He took it upon His shoulder. You must be content then to lean all your weight upon Christ. Cast the burden of temporal things upon Him. Cast the care of your soul upon Him. If God be for us, who can be against us? They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. The eagle sores so directly upward, that poets have fancied it was aiming at the sun. So does the soul that waits on Christ.

II Christ’s word to the leaning soul.

(1) “I raised thee up,” etc.-He reminds the believer of his natural state. Every soul now in Christ was once like an exposed infant (Ezek. xvi.), cast out into the open field. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity.” Do not forget what you were. If ever you come to forget what you were, then you may be sure you are not right with God. Observe when the contrition comes. When you are leaning on Christ, then He tells you of your sin and misery (Ezek. xxxvi. 31).

(2) “I raised thee up,” etc.-­He reminds you of His love: “I raised thee up.” He Himself is the apple-tree, open sides, affording shadow and fruit. I raised thee.  Christ not only shelters, but draws into the shelter. “To Him be glory.” Are there not some who feel like an infant-cast out? Turn your eye to Christ, He only can raise up your soul under the apple-tree.

III. The leaning soul cries for continued grace.
Set me as a seal.-
It is a sure mark of grace to desire more. The High Priest had a beautiful breastplate over his breast, adorned with jewels,-make me one of these. He had also a jewel on each shoulder,-make me one of these. These were bound with chains of gold, but the believer with chains of love. This is a true mark of grace. If you be contented to remain where you are, without any more nearness to God, or any more holiness, this is a clear mark you have gone. Hide me deeper, bind me closer, and carry me more completely. Dundee 1840

(1) The love of Christ is strong as death.-Death is awfully strong. When he comes upon a stout young man, he brings him down. So is the love of Christ.

(2) Cruel, or stubborn, as the grace.-The grave will not give up its dead, nor will Christ give up His own. Oh! Pray that this love may embrace you. Vehement as hell,-unquenchable fire. You have your choice, dear friends, of two eternal fires. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ,” etc.” (Rom. viii.) Floods cannot drown it,-afflictions cannot.

(3) It cannot be bought.-“If a man would give all the substance,” etc. You must expect it free or not at all.

1This is all that exists of this sermon, which was memorable to many. It is little more than a sketch.


DEAR BRETHREN,-I trust that this is to be the beginning of many happy days to you in this place. Gifts in answer to prayer are always to sweetest. I believe your dear pastor has been given you in answer to prayer, for I do not think your wonderful unanimity can be accounted for in any other way.

(1) Love your pastor.-So far as I know him, he is worthy of your love. I believe he is one to whom the lord has been very merciful, that God has already owned his labours, and I trust will a thousand times more. Esteem him very highly in love for his work’s sake. You little know the anxieties, temptations, pains, and wrestlings, he will be called to bear for you. Few people know the deep wells of anxiety in the bosom of a faithful pastor. Love and reverence him much. Do not make an idol of him; that will destroy his usefulness. It was said of the Erskines, that men could not see Christ over their heads. Remember, look beyond him and above him. Those that would have worshipped Paul were the people who stoned him. Do not stumble at his infirmities. There are spots upon the sun, and infirmities in the best of men. Cover them-do not stumble at them. Would you refuse gold because it was brought you in a ragged purse? Would you refuse pure water because it came in a chipped bowl. The treasure is in an earthen vessel.

(2) Make use of your pastor.-He has come with good news from a far country. Come and hear.

First, Wait patiently on his ministry.-He does not come in his own name. The Lord is with him. If you refuse him, you will refuse Christ; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts.

Second, Welcome him into your houses.-He is coming, like his Master, to seek that which was lost, and to bind up that which was broken; to strengthen that which was sick, and to bring again that which was driven away. You have all need of him, whether converted or not. Remember there is an awful curse against those who receive not gospel messages. He will shake the dust of his feet against you, and that dust will rise against you in judgment.

Third, Do not trouble him about worldly matters.-His grand concern is to get your soul saved. He is not a man of business, but a man of prayer. He has given himself to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

Fourth, Go freely to him about your souls.-“The minister’s house was more thronged that ever the tavern had wont to be.” These were happy days. There is no trade I would like to see broken in this place but that of the taverners. It is a soul destroying trade. I would like to see the taverns emptied, and the minister’s house thronged. Do not hesitate to go to him. It is your duty and your privilege. It is your duty. It will encourage him, and show him how to preach to your souls. It is your privilege. I have known many get ore light from a short conversation that from many sermons.

Fifth, Tell your case, hear his word and be gone. Remember his body is weak, and his time precious. You are stealing his time from others or from God. I cannot tell you what a blessing it will be if you will be very short in your calls. The talk of the lips tendeth to penury.

(3) God’s children, pray for him. – Pray for his body, that he may be kept strong, and spared for many years. Pray for his soul, that he may be kept humble and holy,-a burning and a shining light,-that he may grow. Pray for his ministry, that it may be abundantly blessed,-that he may be anointed to preach good tidings. Let there be no secret prayer without naming him before your God, no family prayer without carrying your pastor in your hearts to God. Hold up his hands, so Israel will prevail against Amalek. (4) Unconverted soul, prize this opportunity. – I look on this ordination as a smile of Heaven upon you. God might have taken away ministers from this town instead of giving us more. I believe the Lord Jesus is saying, I have much people in this city.” The door is begun to open this day. The Spirit is beginning to shine. Oh that you would know the day of your visitation! This is the market-day of grace beginning in this end of town, and you should all come to buy. Oh that you knew the day of your visitation! Some, I fear, will be worse of this ministry, and not the better. The election will be saved, and the rest be blinded. Some will yet wish they had died before this church was opened.  Be sure, dear souls, that you either be saved, or more lost, by this ministry. Your pastor comes with the silver trumpet of mercy. Why will ye turn it into the trumpet of judgement? He come with glad tidings of great joy. Why should you turn them into sad tidings of endless woe? He comes to preach the acceptable day of the Lord. Why will ye turn it into the day of vengeance of our God? 16th Dec. 1840(Memoir&Remains of Robert M’Cheyne Sermons pp.407-409)


“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1).

COULD WE LOOK into the secret history of believers, what woeful declensions might be pointed out. How many, who began the conflict well, have fallen under the blows of Apollyon. How many are there of whom God complains: “What iniquity have ye found in me that ye are gone far from me” (Jeremiah 2:5). How many of whom Jesus complains, “I have this against thee, that thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:4). The spring of all these sad declensions is to be found in “letting slip the things which we have heard”.

  1. Meditate on the times when Christians are in danger of letting the gospel slip.

(i) A time of worldly prosperity. An old divine says, “Quails often make a lean soul”. “He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls.” When a man is under conviction of sin, divine things often absorb every other anxiety. That text is ever before him, “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”. He becomes careless of his person, for he feels that he would be decking a body condemned to the burning. He becomes careless of his business, for the matter of his forgiveness is unsettled. He walks among the things of time, looking through them into the things of eternity. What a vain shadow is this world to an awakened soul. O! how that soul sickens at the vain companies of an unbelieving world; how he loathes their dances and wanton songs. But when that soul has found true rest in Christ, sometimes the world begins to smile again. He begin to launch out into business, or a more lucrative situation is offered to him. His attention is a little diverted from eternal things; he becomes more keen about the things of time. He begins to lose his fresh hold of Christ. He is letting slip the things which he heard. So it was with Lot. When he first came from Haran he left all for God. He followed Abraham, a simple shepherd lad with staff in hand. But when he got flocks, and herds, and tents, and when he saw the plain of Sodom well watered everywhere, he went and pitched his tent toward Sodom, Genesis 13. So it was with Demas. At one time he seemed to leave all for Christ. He became the companion of self-denying Paul. But soon his eye was caught with the glitter of gold. He lets slip the things which he heard. He bids farewell to the believer’s joys and trials: “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4: 10). O my soul, “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”.

(ii) A time of persecution. “For every ten bodies which persecution has killed, it has slain a thousand souls.” We are told of the seed that sprung up so quickly in stony places, that “when the sun was up it withered away”, and Jesus explains this of those who, “when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by they are offended” (Matthew 13:21). Some people are brought to Christ with little or no persecution. They attain “to joy and peace in believing”, no man forbidding them. They begin to think that the offence of the cross has ceased, and that the solemn warnings of tribulation to the believer were intended for a bye-gone generation. Suddenly their sky is overcast. They begin to be hated, and buffeted, and opposed for their attachment to Christ. An awful prospect is before them. Either they must breast the tide of scorn and reproach that is now flowing in upon them, perhaps from their dearest friends, or else they must let slip the things which they have heard. Ah! how often, in such an hour, the soul shrinks back from an open confession of Christ before men, refuses to bear the cross, and falls into unholy compromise with an unbelieving world. Storms try the vessel, and persecution tries the believer. When Peter was in peace he could say, “Though all men forsake thee, yet will not I”. But when the hour of trial came, he said with oaths and curses, “I know not the man”

I. Meditate on the remedy. “We ought to give the more earnest heed,” etc.

(i) Increase thy diligence in the means of grace. If you have truly found the Lord Jesus, be often at the spot where you have met with Him. Every true disciple should often resort to Gethsemane, John 18:2. If you have found Him in the Word, be faithful and diligent in meeting Him there. If you begin to let your Bible slip, you are beginning to Jet Jesus slip. If you found Him in secret prayer, give the more earnest heed to meet Him often there. It is a sweet trysting-place with Jesus, “within the vail”. If you let slip the throne of grace, you let Him slip who sits thereon. Have you found Jesus in the sanctuary, then “love the habitation of his house, and the place where his honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8). Has He revealed Himself to you in the breaking of bread, then “continue stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer” (Acts 2:42).

(ii) Feed on Christ in the ordinances. Many love the ordinances who love not Christ. Many are occupied about the shell who never taste the kernel of the gospel. These are Sardians who “have a name to live while they are dead”. These are talkers about the gospel and its ministers; but “the talk of their lips tendeth to perjury”. If you have found Christ in ordinances, give earnest heed to love Him more and more. Penetrate through every vail to the living Saviour, and the living God. Do not rest in a form of prayer if you find not Christ. “Bodily service profiteth little”. O my soul, abhor the cloak of formality. It is an abomination to God and man. “It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.” But O how sweet are ordinances when we can say, He brought me into his banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. (iii) Watch against occasions of letting slip. If you knew the deceitfulness, the desperate and unsearchable wickedness of your own heart, and if you knew the adversary who accuses you day and night, you would be sober and vigilant. Watch your own heart, its infirmities and tendencies; “Keep thy heart above all keeping, for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Watch the roaring lion; be not ignorant of his devices, 1 Peter 5:8. Watch the world, for you are in an enemy’s country, “The whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). Above all, keep your eye on Jesus. You cannot hold Him if He does not hold you. “Cast all your care upon him, for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5)

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11

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