By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Biography of Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Author: Bonar, Andrew A., 1810-1892
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Biography of Robert Murray M'Cheyne" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

               The Biography of

             Robert Murray M'Cheyne

[Illustration: Robert Murray M'Cheyne with Signature]

       *       *       *       *       *

               The Biography of

             Robert Murray M'Cheyne


               ANDREW A. BONAR


       *       *       *       *       *


The telling of the deeply spiritual life story of the young minister
of the Gospel of St. Peters Church, Dundee, Scotland, Robert Murray
M'Cheyne, has been used of God to bring challenge, blessing and
inspiration to hundreds of thousands down through the years since his
death in 1843 at the early age of 30. Few men have lived a life filled
with such power and blessing in such a short span of years.

Dr. Andrew A. Bonar's biography of this stalwart young man of God has
been the standard recognized work on the life of this prince among
men. This biography is from the larger _Memoirs and Remains of the Rev.
Robert Murray M'Cheyne_ with just the memoirs--or biography--reprinted.
The "remains," letters and sermons of M'Cheyne have been recently
republished in the Wyckliffe Series issued by the Moody Press, but we
are presenting in the pages of this volume Bonar's soul-stirring
biography of this young man who was so completely and wholly
surrendered to the will of God. Dr. Wilbur M. Smith, in his
"Profitable Bible Study," says, "Every minister, of whatever
denomination, should have this marvelous work."

The publishers of this unabridged edition send it forth once again
with the earnest prayer that God will continue to use it to the
inspiration and challenge of young and old alike to realize what can
be done with a life completely and absolutely dedicated to Him.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *



   "_Many shall rejoice at his birth; for he shall be great in the
   sight of the Lord_"--Luke 1:14.

In the midst of the restless activity of such a day as ours, it will
be felt by ministers of Christ to be useful in no common degree, to
trace the steps of one who but lately left us, and who, during the
last years of his short life, walked calmly in almost unbroken
fellowship with the FATHER and the SON.

The date of his birth was May 21, 1813. About that time, as is now
evident to us who can look back on the past, the Great Head had a
purpose of blessing for the Church of Scotland. Eminent men of God
appeared to plead the cause of Christ. The Cross was lifted up boldly
in the midst of Church Courts which had long been ashamed of the
gospel of Christ. More spirituality and deeper seriousness began a few
years onward to prevail among the youth of our divinity halls. In the
midst of such events, whereby the Lord was secretly preparing a rich
blessing for souls in all our Borders, the subject of this Memoir was
born. "Many were to rejoice at his birth;" for he was one of the
blessings which were beginning to be dropped down upon Scotland,
though none then knew that one was born whom hundreds would look up to
as their spiritual father.

The place of his birth was Edinburgh, where his parents resided. He
was the youngest child of the family, and was called ROBERT MURRAY,
after the name of some of his kindred.

From his infancy his sweet and affectionate temper was remarked by all
who knew him. His mind was quick in its attainments; he was easily
taught the common lessons of youth, and some of his peculiar
endowments began early to appear. At the age of four, while recovering
from some illness, he selected as his recreation the study of the
Greek alphabet, and was able to name all the letters, and write them
in a rude way upon a slate. A year after, he made rapid progress in
the English class, and at an early period became somewhat eminent
among his schoolfellows for his melodious voice and powers of
recitation. There were at that time catechetical exercises held in the
Tron Church, in the interval between sermons; and some friends
remember the interest often excited in the hearers by his correct and
sweet recitation of the Psalms and passages of Scripture. But as yet
he knew not the Lord, he lived to himself, "having no hope, and
without God in the world." Eph. 2:12.

In October 1821 he entered the High School, where he continued his
literary studies during the usual period of six years. He maintained a
high place in his classes, and in the Rector's class distinguished
himself by eminence in geography and recitation. It was during the
last year of his attendance at the High School that he first ventured
on poetical composition, the subject being "Greece, but living Greece
no more." The lines are characterized chiefly by enthusiasm for
liberty and Grecian heroism, for in these days his soul had never
soared to a higher region. His companions speak of him as one who had
even then peculiarities that drew attention: of a light, tall
form--full of elasticity and vigor--ambitious, yet noble in his
dispositions, disdaining everything like meanness or deceit. Some
would have been apt to regard him as exhibiting many traits of a
Christian character; but his susceptible mind had not, at that time, a
relish for any higher joy than the refined gaieties of society, and
for such pleasures as the song and the dance could yield. He himself
regarded these as days of ungodliness--days wherein he cherished a
pure morality, but lived in heart a Pharisee. I have heard him say
that there was a correctness and propriety in his demeanor at times of
devotion, and in public worship, which some, who knew not his heart,
were ready to put to the account of real feeling. And this experience
of his own heart made him look with jealousy on the mere outward signs
of devotion in dealing with souls. He had learnt in his own case how
much a soul, unawakened to a sense of guilt, may have satisfaction in
performing from the proud consciousness of integrity towards man, and
a sentimental devotedness of mind that chastens the feelings without
changing the heart.

He had great delight in rural scenery. Most of his summer vacations
used to be spent in Dumfriesshire, and his friends in the parish of
Ruthwell and its vicinity retain a vivid remembrance of his youthful
days. His poetic temperament led him to visit whatever scenes were
fitted to stir the soul. At all periods of his life, also, he had a
love of enterprise. During the summer months he occasionally made
excursions with his brother, or some intimate friend, to visit the
lakes and hills of our Highlands, cherishing thereby, unawares, a
fondness for travel, that was most useful to him in after days. In one
of these excursions, a somewhat romantic occurrence befell the
travellers, such as we might rather have expected to meet with in the
records of his Eastern journey. He and his friends had set out on foot
to explore, at their leisure, Dunkeld, and the highlands in its
vicinity. They spent a day at Dunkeld, and about sunset set out again
with the view of crossing the hills to Strathardle. A dense mist
spread over the hills soon after they began to climb. They pressed on,
but lost the track that might have guided them safely to the glen.
They knew not how to direct their steps to any dwelling. Night came
on, and they had no resource but to couch among the heath, with no
other covering than the clothes they wore. They felt hungry and cold;
and, awaking at midnight, the awful stillness of the lonely mountains
spread a strange fear over them. But, drawing close together, they
again lay down to rest, and slept soundly till the cry of some wild
birds and the morning dawn aroused them.

Entering the Edinburgh University in November 1827, he gained some
prize in all the various classes he attended. In private he studied
the modern languages; and gymnastic exercises at that time gave him
unbounded delight. He used his pencil with much success, and then it
was that his hand was prepared for sketching the scenes of the Holy
Land. He had a very considerable knowledge of music, and himself sang
correctly and beautifully. This, too, was a gift which was used to the
glory of the Lord in after days,--wonderfully enlivening his secret
devotions, and enabling him to lead the song of praise in the
congregation wherever occasion required. Poetry also was a
never-failing recreation; and his taste in this department drew the
attention of Professor Wilson, who adjudged him the prize in the Moral
Philosophy class for a poem, "On the Covenanters."

In the winter of 1831 he commenced his studies in the Divinity Hall
under Dr. Chalmers, and the study of Church History under Dr. Welsh.
It may be naturally asked, What led him to wish to preach salvation to
his fellow-sinners? Could he say, like Robert Bruce, "_I was first
called to my grace, before I obeyed my calling to the ministry?_" Few
questions are more interesting than this; and our answer to it will
open up some of the wonderful ways of Him "whose path is in the great
waters, and whose footsteps are not known," Psalm 77:19; for the same
event that awakened his soul to a true sense of sin and misery, led
him to the ministry.

During his attendance at the literary and philosophical classes he
felt occasional impressions, none of them perhaps of much depth. There
can be no doubt that he himself looked upon the death of his eldest
brother, David, as the event which awoke him from the sleep of nature,
and brought the first beam of divine light into his soul. By that
providence the Lord was calling one soul to enjoy the treasures of
grace, while He took the other into the possession of glory.

In this brother, who was his senior by eight or nine years, the light
of divine grace shone before men with rare and solemn loveliness. His
classical attainments were very high; and, after the usual preliminary
studies, he had been admitted Writer to the Signet. One distinguishing
quality of his character was his sensitive truthfulness. In a moment
would the shadow flit across his brow, if any incident were related
wherein there was the slightest exaggeration; or even when nothing but
truth was spoken, if only the deliverer seemed to take up a false or
exaggerated view. He must not merely speak the whole truth himself,
but he must have the hearer also to apprehend the whole truth. He
spent much of his leisure hours in attending to the younger members of
the family. Tender and affectionate, his grieved look when they vexed
him by resisting his counsels, had (it is said) something in it so
persuasive that it never failed in the end to prevail on those with
whom his words had not succeeded. His youngest brother, at a time when
he lived according to the course of this world, was the subject of
many of his fervent prayers. But a deep melancholy, in a great degree
the effect of bodily ailments, settled down on David's soul. Many
weary months did he spend in awful gloom, till the trouble of his soul
wasted away his body: but the light broke in before his death; joy
from the face of a fully reconciled Father above lighted up his face;
and the peace of his last days was the sweet consolation left to his
afflicted friends, when, 8th July 1851, he fell asleep in Jesus.

The death of this brother, with all its circumstances, was used by the
Holy Spirit to produce a deep impression on Robert's soul. In many
respects--even in the gifts of a poetic mind--there had been a
congeniality between him and David. The vivacity of Robert's ever
active and lively mind was the chief point of difference. This
vivacity admirably fitted him for public life; it needed only to be
chastened and solemnized, and the event that had now occurred wrought
this effect. A few months before, the happy family circle had been
broken up by the departure of the second brother for India, in the
Bengal Medical Service; but when, in the course of the summer, David
was removed from them forever, there were impressions left such as
could never be effaced, at least from the mind of Robert. Naturally of
an intensely affectionate disposition, this stroke moved his whole
soul. His quiet hours seem to have been often spent in thoughts of him
who was now gone to glory. There are some lines remaining in which his
poetic mind has most touchingly, and with uncommon vigor, painted him
whom he had lost,--lines all the more interesting, because the
delineation of character and form which they contain cannot fail to
call up to those who knew him the image of the author himself. Some
time after his brother's death he had tried to preserve the features
of his well-remembered form, by attempting a portrait from memory; but
throwing aside the pencil in despair, he took up the pen, and poured
out the fulness of his heart.


      ALAS! not perfect yet--another touch,
      And still another, and another still,
      Till those dull lips breathe life, and yonder eye
      Lose its lack lustre hue, and be lit up
      With the warm glance of living feeling. No--
      It never can be! Ah, poor, powerless art!
      Most vaunting, yet most impotent, thou seek'st
      To trace the thousand, thousand shades and lights
      That glowed conspicuous on the blessed face
      Of him thou fain wouldst imitate--to bind
      Down to the fragile canvas the wild play
      Of thought and mild affection, which were wont
      To dwell in the serious eye, and play around
      The placid mouth. Thou seek'st to give again
      That which the burning soul, inhabiting
      Its clay-built tenement, alone can give--
      To leave on cold dead matter the impress
      Of living mind--to bid a line, a shade,
      Speak forth, not words, but the soft intercourse
      Which the immortal spirit, while on earth
      It tabernacles, breathes from every pore--
      Thoughts not converted into words, and hopes,
      And fears, and hidden joys, and griefs, unborn
      Into the world of sound, but beaming forth
      In that expression which no words, or work
      Of cunning artist, can express. In vain,
      Alas! in vain!
                    Come hither, Painter; come,
      Take up once more thine instruments--thy brush
      And palette--if thy haughty art be, as thou say'st,
      Omnipotent, and if thy hand can dare
      To wield creative power. Renew thy toil,
      And let my memory, vivified by love,
      Which Death's cold separation has but warmed
      And rendered sacred dictate to thy skill,
      And guide thy pencil. From the jetty hair
      Take off that gaudy lustre that but mocks
      The true original; and let the dry,
      Soft, gentle-turning locks, appear instead.
      What though to fashion's garish eye they seem
      Untutored and ungainly? still to me,
      Than folly's foppish head-gear, lovelier far
      Are they, because bespeaking mental toil,
      Labor assiduous, through the golden days
      (Golden if so improved) of guileless youth,
      Unwearied mining in the precious stores
      Of classic lore--and better, nobler still,
      In God's own holy writ. And scatter here
      And there a thread of grey, to mark the grief
      That prematurely checked the bounding flow
      Of the warm current in his veins, and shed
      An early twilight o'er so bright a dawn.
      No wrinkle sits upon that brow!--and thus
      It ever was. The angry strife and cares
      Of avaricious miser did not leave
      Their base memorial on so fair a page.
      The eyebrows next draw closer down, and throw
      A softening shade o'er the mild orbs below.
      Let the full eyelid, drooping, half conceal
      The back-retiring eye; and point to earth
      The long brown lashes that bespeak a soul
      Like his who said, "I am not worthy, Lord!"
      From underneath these lowly turning lids,
      Let not shine forth the gaily sparkling light
      Which dazzles oft, and oft deceives; nor yet
      The dull unmeaning lustre that can gaze
      Alike on all the world. But paint an eye
      In whose half-hidden, steady light I read
      A truth-inquiring mind; a fancy, too,
      That could array in sweet poetic garb
      The truth he found; while on his artless harp
      He touched the gentlest feelings, which the blaze
      Of winter's hearth warms in the homely heart.
      And oh! recall the look of faith sincere,
      With which that eye would scrutinize the page
      That tells us of offended God appeased
      By awful sacrifice upon the cross
      Of Calvary--that bids us leave a world
      Immersed in darkness and in death, and seek
      A better country. Ah! how oft that eye
      Would turn on me, with pity's tenderest look,
      And, only half-upbraiding, bid me flee
      From the vain idols of my boyish heart!

It was about the same time, while still feeling the sadness of this
bereavement, that he wrote the fragment entitled


      A grave I know
      Where earthly show
      Is not--a mound
      Whose gentle round
      Sustains the load
      Of a fresh sod.
      Its shape is rude,
      And weeds intrude
      Their yellow flowers--
      In gayer bowers
      Unknown. The grass,
      A tufted mass,
      Is rank and strong,
      Unsmoothed and long.
      No rosebud there
      Embalms the air;
      No lily chaste
      Adorns the waste,
      Nor daisy's head
      Bedecks the bed.
      No myrtles wave
      Above that grave;
      Unknown in life,
      And far from strife,
      He lived:--and though
      The magic flow
      Of genius played
      Around his head,
      And he could weave
      "The song at eve,"
      And touch the heart,
      With gentlest art;
      Or care beguile,
      And draw the smile
      Of peace from those
      Who wept their woes
      Yet when the love
      Of Christ above
      To guilty men
      Was shown him--then
      He left the joys
      Of worldly noise,
      And humbly laid
      His drooping head
      Nor heather-bell
      Is there to tell
      Of gentle friend
      Who sought to lend
      A sweeter sleep
      To him who deep
      Beneath the ground
      Repose has found.
      No stone of woe
      Is there to show
      The name, or tell
      How passing well
      He loved his God,
      And how he trod
      The humble road
      That leads through sorrow
      To a bright morrow
      He sought the breath:
      But which can give
      The power to live--
      Whose word alone
      Can melt the stone,
      Bid tumult cease,
      And all be peace!
      He sought not now
      To wreathe his brow
      With laurel bough.
      He sought no more
      To gather store
      Of earthly lore,
      Nor vainly strove
      To share the love
      Of heaven above,
      With aught below
      That earth can show
      The smile forsook
      His cheek--his look
      Was cold and sad;
      And even the glad
      Return of morn,
      When the ripe corn
      Waves o'er the plains,
      And simple swains
      With joy prepare
      The toil to share
      Of harvest, brought
      No lively thought
      To him.

      And spring adorns
      The sunny morns
      With opening flowers;
      Upon the cross;
      And thought the loss
      Of all that earth
      Contained--of mirth,
      Of loves, and fame,
      And pleasures' name--
      No sacrifice
      To win the prize,
      Which Christ secured,
      When He endured
      For us the load--
      The wrath of God!
      With many a tear,
      And many a fear,
      With many a sigh
      And heart-wrung cry
      Of timid faith,
      Where intervenes
      No darkening cloud
      Of sin to shroud
      The gazer's view.
      Thus sadly flew
      The merry spring;
      And gaily sing
      The birds their loves
      In summer groves.
      But not for him
      Their notes they trim.
      His ear is cold--
      His tale is told.
      Above his grave
      The grass may wave--

      The crowd pass by
      Without a sigh
      Above the spot.
      They knew him not--
      They could not know;
      And even though,
      Why should they shed
      Above the dead
      Who slumbers here
      A single tear?
      I cannot weep,
      Though in my sleep
      I sometimes clasp
      With love's fond grasp
      His gentle hand,
      And see him stand
      Beside my bed,
      And lean his head
      Upon my breast,
      O'er lawn and mead;
      Its virgin head
      The snowdrop steeps
      In dew, and peeps
      The crocus forth,
      Nor dreads the north.
      But even the spring
      No smile can bring
      To him, whose eye
      Sought in the sky
      For brighter scenes.

      And bid me rest
      Nor night nor day
      Till I can say
      That I have found
      The holy ground
      In which there lies
      The Pearl of Price--
      Till all the ties
      The soul that bind,
      And all the lies
      The soul that blind,

Nothing could more fully prove the deep impression which the event
made than these verses. But it was not a transient regret, nor was it
the "sorrow of the world." He was in his eighteenth year when his
brother died; and if this was not the year of his new birth, at least
it was the year when the first streaks of dawn appeared in his soul.
From that day forward his friends observed a change. His poetry was
pervaded with serious thought, and all his pursuits began to be
followed out in another spirit. He engaged in the labors of a Sabbath
school, and began to seek God to his soul, in the diligent reading of
the word, and attendance on a faithful ministry.

How important this period of his life appeared in his own view, may be
gathered from his allusions to it in later days. A year after, he
writes in his diary: "On this morning last year came the first
overwhelming blow to my worldliness; how blessed to me, Thou, O God,
only knowest, who hast made it so." Every year he marked this day as
one to be remembered, and occasionally its recollections seem to have
come in like a flood. In a letter to a friend (8th July 1842), upon a
matter entirely local, he concludes by a postscript: "This day eleven
years ago, my holy brother David entered into his rest, aged 26." And
on that same day, writing a note to one of his flock in Dundee (who
had asked him to furnish a preface to a work printed 1740, _Letters on
Spiritual Subjects_), he commends the book, and adds: "Pray for me,
that I may be made holier and wiser--less like myself, and more like
my heavenly Master; that I may not regard my life, if so be I may
finish my course with joy. This day eleven years ago, I lost my loved
and loving brother, and began to seek a Brother who cannot die."

It was to companions who could sympathize in his feelings that he
unbosomed himself. At that period it was not common for inquiring
souls to carry their case to their pastor. A conventional reserve upon
theses subjects prevailed even among lively believers. It almost
seemed as if they were ashamed of the Son of man. This reserve
appeared to him very sinful; and he felt it to be so great an evil,
that in after days he was careful to encourage anxious souls to
converse with him freely. The nature of his experience, however, we
have some means of knowing. On one occasion, a few of us who had
studied together were reviewing the Lord's dealings with our souls,
and how He had brought us to himself all very nearly at the same time,
though without any special instrumentality. He stated that there was
nothing sudden in his case, and that he was led to Christ through deep
and ever-abiding, but not awful or distracting, convictions. In this
we see the Lord's sovereignty. In bringing a soul to the Saviour, the
Holy Spirit invariably leads it to very deep consciousness of sin; but
then He causes this consciousness of sin to be more distressing and
intolerable to some than to others. But in one point does the
experience of all believing sinners agree in this matter, viz. their
soul presented to their view nothing but an abyss of sin, when the
grace of God that bringeth salvation appeared.

The Holy Spirit carried on his work in the subject of this Memoir, by
continuing to deepen in him the conviction of his ungodliness, and the
pollution of his whole nature. And all his life long, he viewed
_original sin_, not as an excuse for his actual sins, but as an
aggravation of them all. In this view he was of the mind of David,
taught by the unerring Spirit of Truth. See Psalm 51:4, 5.

At first light dawned slowly; so slowly, that for a considerable time
he still relished an occasional plunge into scenes of gaiety. Even
after entering the Divinity Hall, he could be persuaded to indulge in
lighter pursuits, at least during the two first years of his
attendance; but it was with growing alarm. When hurried away by such
worldly joys, I find him writing thus:--"_Sept. 14._--May there be few
such records as this in my biography." Then, "_Dec. 9._--A thorn in my
side--much torment." As the unholiness of his pleasures became more
apparent, he writes:--"_March 10, 1832._--I hope never to play cards
again." "_March 25._--Never visit on a Sunday evening again." "_April
10._--Absented myself from the dance; upbraidings ill to bear. But I
must try to bear the cross." It seems to be in reference to the
receding tide, which thus for a season repeatedly drew him back to the
world, that on July 8, 1836, he records: "This morning five years ago,
my dear brother David died, and my heart for the first time knew true
bereavement. Truly it was all well. Let me be dumb, for Thou didst it:
and it was good for me that I was afflicted. I know not that any
providence was ever more abused by man than that was by me; and yet,
Lord, what mountains Thou comest over! none was ever more blessed to
me." To us who can look at the results, it appears probable that the
Lord permitted him thus to try many broken cisterns, and to taste the
wormwood of many earthly streams, in order that in after days, by the
side of the fountain of living waters, he might point to the world he
had forever left, and testify the surpassing preciousness of what he
had now found.

Mr. Alexander Somerville (afterwards minister of Anderston Church,
Glasgow) was his familiar friend and companion in the gay scenes of
his youth. And he, too, about this time, having been brought to taste
the powers of the world to come, they united their efforts for each
other's welfare. They met together for the study of the Bible, and
used to exercise themselves in the Septuagint Greek and the Hebrew
original. But oftener still they met for prayer and solemn converse;
and carrying on all their studies in the same spirit, watched each
other's steps in the narrow way.

He thought himself much profited, at this period, by investigating the
subject of Election and the Free Grace of God. But it was the reading
of _The Sum of Saving Knowledge_, generally appended to our Confession
of Faith, that brought him to a clear understanding of the way of
acceptance with God. Those who are acquainted with its admirable
statements of truth, will see how well fitted it was to direct an
inquiring soul. I find him some years afterwards recording:--"_March
11, 1834._--Read in the _Sum of Saving Knowledge_, the work which I
think first of all wrought a saving change in me. How gladly would I
renew the reading of it, if that change might be carried on to
perfection!" It will be observed that he never reckoned his soul
saved, notwithstanding all his convictions and views of sins, until
he really went into the Holiest of all on the warrant of the
Redeemer's work; for assuredly a sinner is still under wrath, until he
has actually availed himself of the way to the Father opened up by
Jesus. All his knowledge of his sinfulness, and all his sad feeling of
his own need and danger, cannot place him one step farther off from
the lake of fire. It is "he that comes to Christ" that is saved.

Before this period he had received a bias towards the ministry from
his brother David, who used to speak of the ministry as the most
blessed work on earth, and often expressed the greatest delight in the
hope that his younger brother might one day become a minister of
Christ. And now, with altered views,--with an eye that could gaze on
heaven and hell, and a heart that felt the love of a reconciled
God,--he sought to become a herald of salvation.

He had begun to keep a register of his studies, and the manner in
which his time slipped away, some months before his brother's death.
For a considerable time this register contains almost nothing but the
bare incidents of the diary, and on Sabbaths the texts of the sermons
he had heard. There is one gleam of serious thought--but it is the
only one--during that period. On occasion of Dr. Andrew Thomson's
funeral, he records the deep and universal grief that pervaded the
town, and then subjoins: "Pleasing to see so much public feeling
excited on the decease of so worthy a man. How much are the times
changed within these eighteen centuries, since the time when Joseph
besought _the body_ in secret, and when he and Nicodemus were the only
ones found to bear the body to the tomb!"

It is in the end of the year that evidences of a change appear. From
that period and ever onward his dry register of every-day incidents is
varied with such passages as the following:--

"_Nov. 12._--Reading H. Martyn's Memoirs. Would I could imitate him,
giving up father, mother, country, house, health, life, all--for
Christ. And yet, what hinders? Lord, purify me, and give me strength
to dedicate myself, my all, to Thee!"

"_Dec. 4._--Reading Legh Richmond's Life. Poetentia profunda, non
sine lacrymis. Nunquam me ipsum, tam vilem, tam inutilem, tam
pauperim, et præcipue tam ingratum, adhuc vidi. Sint lacrymæ
dedicationis meæ pignora!'" ["Deep penitence, not unmixed with
tears. I never before saw myself so vile, so useless, so poor, and,
above all, so ungrateful. May these tears be the pledges of my
self-dedication!"] There is frequently at this period a sentence in
Latin occurring like the above in the midst of other matter,
apparently with the view of giving freer expression to his feelings
regarding himself.

"_Dec. 9._--Heard a street-preacher: foreign voice. Seems really in
earnest. He quoted the striking passage, 'The Spirit and the bride
say, Come, _and let him that heareth say, Come!'_ From this he seems
to derive his authority. Let me learn from this man to be in earnest
for the truth, and to despise the scoffing of the world."

_Dec. 18._--After spending an evening too lightly, he writes: "My
heart must break off from all these things. What right have I to steal
and abuse my Master's time? 'Redeem it,' He is crying to me."

"_Dec. 25._--My mind not yet calmly fixed on the Rock of Ages."

"_Jan._ 12, 1832.--Cor non pacem habet. Quare? Peccatum apud fores
manet." ["My heart has not peace. Why? Sin lieth at my door."]

"_Jan. 25._--A lovely day. Eighty-four cases of cholera at
Musselburgh, How it creeps nearer and nearer like a snake! Who will be
the first victim here? Let thine everlasting arms be around us, and we
shall be safe."

"_Jan. 29_, Sabbath.--Afternoon heard Mr. Bruce (then minister of the
New North Church, Edinburgh) on Malachi 1:1-6. It constitutes the very
gravamen of the charge against the unrenewed man, that he has
affection for his earthly parent, and reverence for his earthly
master, but none for God! Most noble discourse."

"_Feb. 2_.--Not a trait worth remembering! And yet these
four-and-twenty hours must be accounted for."

_Feb. 5_, Sabbath.--In the afternoon, having heard the late Mr. Martin
of St. George's,[1] he writes, on returning home: "O quam humilem, sed
quam diligentissimum; quam dejectum, sed quam vigilem, quam die
noctuque precantem, decet me esse quum tales viros aspicio. Juva,
Pater, Fili, et Spiritus!" ["Oh! how humble, yet how diligent, how
lowly, yet how watchful, how prayerful night and day it becomes me to
be, when I see such men. Help, Father, Son, and Spirit!"]

     [1] He says of him on another occasion, _June 8, 1834_: "A man
     greatly beloved of whom the world was not worthy." "An apostolic
     man." His own calm deep holiness, resembled in many respects Mr.
     Martin's daily walk.

From this date he seems to have sat, along with his friend Mr.
Somerville, almost entirely under Mr. Bruce's ministry. He took
copious notes of his lectures and sermons, which still remain among
his papers.

"_Feb. 28._--Sober conversation. Fain would I turn to the most
interesting of all subjects. Cowardly backwardness: 'For whosoever is
ashamed of me and my words,'" etc.

At this time, hearing, concerning a friend of the family, that she had
said, "_That she was determined to keep by the world,_" he penned the
following lines on her melancholy decision:--

      She has chosen the world,
        And its paltry crowd;
      She has chosen the world,
        And an endless shroud!
      She has chosen the world
        With its misnamed pleasures;
      She has chosen the world,
        Before heaven's own treasures.

      She hath launched her boat
        On life's giddy sea,
      And her all is afloat
        For eternity.
      But Bethlehem's star
      Is not in her view;
      And her aim is far
        From the harbor true.

      When the storm descends
        From an angry sky,
      Ah! where from the winds
        Shall the vessel fly?
      [Away, then--oh, fly
        From the joys of earth!
      Her smile is a lie--
        There's a sting in her mirth.]*

      When stars are concealed,
        And rudder gone,
      And heaven is sealed
        To the wandering one

      The whirlpool opes
        For the gallant prize;
      And, with all her hopes,
        To the deep she hies!
      But who may tell
        Of the place of woe,
      Where the wicked dwell,
        Where the worldlings go?

      For the human heart
        Can ne'er conceive
      What joys are the part
        Of them who believe;
      Nor can justly think
        Of the cup of death,
      Which all must drink
        Who despise the faith.

      *Come, leave the dreams
        Of this transient night,
      And bask in the beams
        Of an endless light.

    *TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: In the original "Memoirs and Remains of
     the Reverend Robert Murray McCheyne", the passage in brackets
     was the first half of the last, eight-line stanza, and the
     following quartet was part of the eight-line stanza beginning
     "When the storm descends".

"_March 6._--Wild wind and rain all day long. Hebrew class--Psalms.
New beauty in the original every time I read. Dr. Welsh--lecture on
Pliny's letter about the Christians of Bithynia. Professor Jameson on
quartz. Dr. Chalmers grappling with Hume's arguments. Evening--Notes,
and little else. Mind and body dull." This is a specimen of his
register of daily study.

_March 20._--After a few sentences in Latin, concluding with "In meam
animam veni, Domine Deus omnipotens," he writes, "Leaning on a staff
of my own devising, it betrayed me, and broke under me. It was not thy
staff. Resolving to be a god, Thou showedst me that I was but a man.
But my own staff being broken, why may I not lay hold of thine?--Read
part of the Life of Jonathan Edwards. How feeble does my spark of
Christianity appear beside such a sun! But even his was a borrowed
light, and the same source is still open to enlighten me."

"_April 8._--Have found much rest in Him who bore all our burdens for

"April 26.--To-night I ventured to break the ice of unchristian
silence. Why should not selfishness be buried beneath the Atlantic in
matters so sacred?"

_May 6_, Saturday evening.--This was the evening previous to the
Communion; and in prospect of again declaring himself the Lord's at
his table, he enters into a brief review of his state. He had partaken
of the ordinance in May of the year before for the first time; but he
was then living at ease, and saw not the solemn nature of the step he
took. He now sits down and reviews the past:--

"What a mass of corruption have I been! How great a portion of my life
have I spent wholly without God in the world, given up to sense and
the perishing things around me! Naturally of a feeling and sentimental
disposition, how much of my religion has been, and to this day is,
tinged with these colors of earth! Restrained from open vice by
educational views and the fear of man, how much ungodliness has
reigned within me! How often has it broken through all restraints, and
come out in the shape of lust and anger, mad ambitions, and unhallowed
words! Though my vice was always refined, yet how subtile and how
awfully prevalent it was! How complete a test was the Sabbath--spent
in weariness, as much of it as was given to God's service! How I
polluted it by my hypocrisies, my self-conceits, my worldly thoughts,
and worldly friends! How formally and unheedingly the Bible was
read,--how little was read,--so little that even now I have not read
it all! How unboundedly was the wild impulse of the heart obeyed! How
much more was the creature loved than the Creator!--O great God, that
didst suffer me to live whilst I so dishonored Thee, Thou knowest the
whole; and it was thy hand alone that could awaken me from the death
in which I was, and was contented to be. Gladly would I have escaped
from the Shepherd that sought me as I strayed; but He took me up in
his arms and carried me back; and yet He took me not for anything that
was in me. I was no more fit for his service than the Australian, and
no more worthy to be called and chosen. Yet why should I doubt? not
that God is unwilling, not that He is unable--of both I am assured.
But perhaps my old sins are too fearful, and my unbelief too glaring?
Nay; I come to Christ, not _although_ I am a sinner, but just
_because_ I am a sinner, even the chief." He then adds, "And though
sentiment and constitutional enthusiasm may have a great effect on
me, still I believe that my soul is in sincerity desirous and earnest
about having all its concerns at rest with God and Christ,--that his
kingdom occupies the most part of all my thoughts, and even of my
long-polluted affections. Not unto me, not unto me, be the shadow of
praise or of merit ascribed, but let all glory be given to thy most
holy name! As surely as Thou didst make the mouth with which I pray,
so surely dost Thou prompt every prayer of faith which I utter. Thou
hast made me all that I am, and given me all that I have."

Next day, after communicating, he writes: "I well remember when I was
an enemy, and especially abhorred this ordinance as binding me down;
but if I be bound to Christ in heart, I shall not dread any bands that
can draw me close to Him." Evening--"Much peace. Look back, my soul,
and view the mind that belonged to thee but twelve months ago. My
soul, thy place is in the dust!"

"_May 19._--Thought with more comfort than usual of being a witness
for Jesus in a foreign land."

"June 4.--Walking with A. Somerville by Craigleith. Conversing on
missions. If I am to go to the heathen to speak of the unsearchable
riches of Christ, this one thing must be given me, to be out of the
reach of the baneful influence of esteem or contempt. If worldly
motives go with me, I shall never convert a soul, and shall lose my
own in the labor."

"_June 22._--Variety of studies. Septuagint translation of Exodus and
Vulgate. Bought Edwards' works. Drawing--Truly there was nothing in me
that should have induced Him to choose me. I was but as the other
brands upon whom the fire is already kindled, which shall burn for
evermore! And as soon could the billet leap from the hearth and become
a green tree, as my soul could have sprung to newness of life."

_June 25._--In reference to the office of the holy ministry; "How apt
are we to lose our hours in the vainest babblings, as do the world!
How can this be with those chosen for the mighty office?
fellow-workers with God? heralds of His Son? evangelists? men set
apart to the work, chosen out of the chosen, as it were the very pick
of the flocks, who are to shine as the stars forever and ever? Alas,
alas! my soul, where shall thou appear? O Lord God, I am a little
child! But Thou wilt send an angel with a live coal from off the
altar, and touch my unclean lips, and put a tongue within my dry
mouth, so that I shall say with Isaiah, 'Here am I, send me.'" Then,
after reading a little of Edwards' works: "Oh that heart and
understanding may grow together, like brother and sister, leaning on
one another!"

"_June 27._--Life of David Brainerd. Most wonderful man! What
conflicts, what depressions, desertions, strength, advancement,
victories, within thy torn bosom! I cannot express what I think when I
think of thee. To-night, more set upon missionary enterprise than

"_June 28._--Oh for Brainerd's humility and sin-loathing

"_June 30._--Much carelessness, sin, and sorrow. 'Oh wretched man than
I am, who shall deliver me from this body of sin and death?' Enter
thou, my soul, into the rock, and hide thee in the dust for fear of
the Lord and the glory of his majesty." And then he writes a few
verses, of which the following are some stanzas:--

      I will arise and seek my God,
       And, bowed down beneath my load,
      Lay all my sins before Him;
       Then He will wash my soul from sin,
      And put a new heart me within,
       And teach me to adore Him.

      O ye that fain would find the joy--
      The only one that wants alloy--
        Which never is deceiving;
      Come to the Well of Life with me,
      And drink, as it is proffered, free,
        The gospel draught receiving.

      I come to Christ, because I know
      The very worst are called to go;
        And when in faith I find Him,
      I'll walk in Him, and lean on Him,
      Because I cannot move a limb
        Until He say, "Unbind him."

"_July 3._--This last bitter root of worldliness that has so often
betrayed me has this night so grossly, that I cannot but regard it as
God's chosen way to make me loathe and forsake it forever. I would
vow; but it is much more like a weakly worm to pray. Sit in the dust,
O my soul!" I believe he was enabled to keep his resolution. Once
only, in the end of this year, was he again led back to gaiety; but it
was the last time.

"_July 7_, Saturday.--After finishing my usual studies, tried to fast
a little, with much prayer and earnest seeking of God's face,
remembering what occurred this night last year." (Alluding to his
brother's death.)

"_July 22._--Had this evening a more complete understanding of that
self-emptying and abasement with which it is necessary to come to
Christ,--a denying of self, trampling it under foot,--a recognizing of
the complete righteousness and justice of God, that could do nothing
else with us but condemn us utterly, and thrust us down to lowest
hell,--a feeling that, even in hell, we _should_ rejoice in his
sovereignty, and say that all was rightly done."

"_Aug. 15._--Little done, and as little suffered. Awfully important
question, Am I redeeming the time?"

"_Aug. 18._--Heard of the death of James Somerville[2] by fever,
induced by cholera. O God, thy ways and thoughts are not as ours! He
had preached his first sermon. I saw him last on Friday, 27th July, at
the College gate; shook hands, and little thought I was to see him no
more on earth."

     [2] Son of the minister of Drumelzier,--very promising and very

"_Sept. 2_, Sabbath evening.--Reading. Too much engrossed, and too
little devotional. Preparation for a fall. Warning. We may be too
engrossed with the shell even of heavenly things."

"_Sept. 9._--Oh for true, unfeigned humility! I know I have cause to
be humble; and yet I do not know one-half of that cause. I know I am
proud; and yet I do not know the half of that pride."

"_Sept. 30._--Somewhat straitened by loose Sabbath observance. Best
way is to be explicit and manly."

"_Nov. 1._--More abundant longings for the work of the ministry. Oh
that Christ would but count me faithful, that a dispensation of the
gospel might be committed to me!" And then he adds, "Much peace.
_Peaceful, because believing_."

_Dec. 2._--Hitherto he used to spend much of the Sabbath evening in
extending his notes of Mr. Bruce's sermons, but now, "Determined to be
brief with these, for the sake of a more practical, meditative,
resting, sabbatical evening."

"_Dec. 11._--Mind quite unfitted for devotion. Prayerless prayer."

"_Dec. 31._--God has in this past year introduced me to the
preparation of the ministry,--I bless Him for that. He has helped me
to give up much of my shame to name his name, and be on his side,
especially before particular friends,--I bless Him for that. He has
taken conclusively away friends that might have been a snare,--must
have been a stumbling-block,--I bless Him for that. He has introduced
me to one Christian friend, and sealed more and more my amity with
another,--I bless Him for that."

_Jan. 27_, 1833.--On this day it had been the custom of his brother
David to write a "Carmen Natale" on their father's birth-day. Robert
took up the domestic song this year; and in doing so, makes some
beautiful and tender allusions.

      Ah! where is the harp that was strung to thy praise,
      So oft and so sweetly in happier days?
      When the tears that we shed were the tears of our joy,
      And the pleasures of home were unmixed with alloy?
      The harp is now mute--its last breathings are spoken--
      And the cord, though 'twas threefold, is now, alas, broken!
      Yet why should we murmur, short-sighted and vain,
      Since death to that loved one was undying gain?
      Ah, fools! shall we grieve that he left this poor scene,
      To dwell in the realms that are ever serene?
      Through he sparkled the gem in our circle of love,
      He is even more prized in the circles above.
      And though sweetly he sung of his father on earth,
      When this day would inspire him with tenderest mirth,
      Yet a holier tone to his harp is now given,
      _As he sings to his unborn Father in heaven_.

Feb. 3.--Writing to a medical friend of his brother William's, he
says, "I remember long ago a remark you once made to William, which
has somehow or other stuck in my head, viz. that medical men ought to
make a distinct study of the Bible, purely for the sake of
administering conviction and consolation to their patients. I think
you also said that you had actually begun with that view. Such a
determination, though formed in youth, is one which I trust riper
years will not make you blush to own."

"_Feb. 11._--Somewhat overcome. Let me see: there is a creeping defect
here. Humble purpose-like reading of the word omitted. What plant can
be unwatered and not wither?"

"_Feb. 16._--Walk to Corstorphine Hill. Exquisite clear view,--blue
water, and brown fields, and green firs. Many thoughts on the follies
of my youth. How many, O Lord, may they be? Summed up in

"_Feb. 21._--Am I as willing as ever to preach to the lost heathen?"

"_March 8._--Biblical criticism. This must not supersede heart-work.
How apt it is!"

"_March 12._--Oh for activity, activity, activity!"

"_March 29._--To-day my second session (at the Divinity Hall) ends. I
am now in the middle of my career. God hold me on with a steady pace!"

"_March 31._--The bull tosses in the net! How should the Christian
imitate the anxieties of the worldling!"

_April 17._--He heard of the death of one whom many friends had
esteemed much and lamented deeply. This led him to touch the strings
of his harp again, in a measure somewhat irregular, yet sad and sweet.


      SHE LIVED--

          So dying-like and frail,
          That every bitter gale
        Of winter seemed to blow
          Only to lay her low!
          She lived to show how He,
          Who stills the stormy sea,
        Can overrule the winter's power,
        And keep alive the tiniest flower--
          Can bear the young lamb in his arms
          And shelter it from death's alarms.

      SHE DIED--

        When spring, with brightest flowers,
        Was fresh'ning all the bowers.
        The linnet sung her choicest lay,
        When her sweet voice was hush'd for aye
        The snowdrop rose above the ground
        When she beneath her pillow found,
          Both cold, and white, and fair,--
          She, fairest of the fair,
          She died to teach us all
          The loveliest must fall.
        A curse is written on the brow
        Of beauty; and the lover's vow
        Cannot retain the flitting breath,
        Nor save from all-devouring death.

      SHE LIVES--

          The spirit left the earth;
          And he who gave her birth
        Has called her to his dread abode,
        To meet her Saviour and her God.
          She lives, to tell how blest
          Is the everlasting rest
        Of those who, in the Lamb's blood laved,
        Are chosen, sanctified, and saved!
          How fearful is their doom
          Who drop into the tomb
        Without a covert from the ire
        Of Him who is consuming fire!


          The grave shall yield his prize,
          When, from the rending skies,
        Christ shall with shouting angels come
        To wake the slumberers of the tomb.
          And many more shall rise
          Before our longing eyes.
        Oh! may we all together meet,
        Embracing the Redeemer's feet!

"_May 20._--General Assembly. The motion regarding Chapels of Ease
lost by 106 to 103. Every shock of the ram is heavier and stronger,
till all shall give way."

"_June 4._--Evening almost lost. Music will not sanctify, though it
make feminine the heart."

"_June 22._--Omissions make way for commissions. Could I but take
effective warning! A world's wealth would not make up for that saying,
'If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father.' But how shall
we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?"

"_June 30._--Self-examination. Why is a missionary life so often an
object of my thoughts? Is it simply for the love I bear to souls?
Then, why do I not show it more where I am? Souls are as precious here
as in Burmah. Does the romance of the business not weigh anything with
me?--the interest and esteem I would carry with me?--the nice journals
and letters I should write and receive? Why would I so much rather go
to the East than to the West Indies? Am I wholly deceiving my own
heart? and have I not a spark of true missionary zeal? Lord, give me
to understand and imitate the spirit of those unearthly words of thy
dear Son: 'It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and
the servant as his Lord.' 'He that loveth father or mother more than
me, is not worthy of me.' _Gloria in excelsis Deo!_

"_Aug. 13._--Clear conviction of sin is the only true origin of
dependence on another's righteousness, and therefore (strange to say!)
of the Christian's peace of mind and cheerfulness."

"_Sept. 8._--Reading _Adams' Private Thoughts_. Oh for his
heart-searching humility! Ah me! on what mountains of pride must I be
wandering, when all I do is tinctured with the very sins this man so
deplores; yet where are my wailings, where my tears, over my love of

"_Nov. 14._--Composition--a pleasant kind of labor. I fear the love of
applause or effect goes a great way. May God keep me from preaching
myself instead of Christ crucified."

"_Jan. 15_, 1834.--Heard of the death of J.S., off the Cape of Good
Hope. O God! how Thou breakest into families! Must not the disease be
dangerous, when a tender-hearted surgeon cuts deep into the flesh? How
much more when God is the operator, 'who afflicteth not _from his
heart_ [[Hebrew: meilivo]], nor grieveth the children of men!' Lam.

"_Feb. 23_, Sabbath.--Rose early to seek God, and found Him whom my
soul loveth. Who would not rise early to meet such company? The rains
are over and gone. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."

_Feb. 24._--He writes a letter to one who, he feared, was only
sentimental, and not really under a sense of sin. "Is it possible,
think you, for a person to be conceited of his miseries? May there not
be a deep leaven of pride in telling how desolate and how unfeeling we
are?--in brooding over our unearthly pains?--in our being excluded
from the unsympathetic world?--in our being the invalids of Christ's
hospital?" He had himself been taught by the Spirit that it is more
humbling for us to _take what grace offers_, than to bewail our wants
and worthlessness.

Two days after, he records, with thankful astonishment, that for the
first time in his life he had been blest to awaken a soul. All who
find Christ for themselves are impelled, by the holy necessity of
constraining love, to seek the salvation of others. Andrew findeth his
brother Peter, and Philip findeth his friend Nathanael. So was it in
the case before us. He no sooner knew Christ's righteousness as his
own covering, than he longed to see others clothed in the same
spotless robe. And it is peculiarly interesting to read the feelings
of one who was yet to be blest in plucking so many brands from the
fire, when, for the first time, he saw the Lord graciously employing
him in this more than angelic work. We have his own testimony. "_Feb.
26._--After sermon. The precious tidings that a soul has been melted
down by the grace of the Saviour. How blessed an answer to prayer, if
it be really so! 'Can these dry bones live? Lord, Thou knowest.' What
a blessed thing it is to see the first grievings of the awakened
spirit, when it cries, 'I cannot see myself a sinner; I cannot pray,
for my vile heart wanders!' It has refreshed me more than a thousand
sermons. I know not how to thank and admire God sufficiently for this
incipient work. Lord, perfect that which Thou hast begun!" A few days
after: "Lord, I thank Thee that Thou hast shown me this marvellous
working, though I was but an adoring spectator rather than an

It is scarcely less interesting, in the case of one so gifted for the
work of visiting the careless, and so singularly skilled in
ministering the word by the bedside of the dying, to find a record of
the occasion when the Lord led him forth to take his first survey of
this field of labor. There existed at that time, among some of the
students attending the Divinity Hall, a society, the sole object of
which was to stir up each other to set apart an hour or two every week
for visiting the careless and needy in the most neglected portions of
the town. Our rule was, not to subtract anything from our times of
study, but to devote to this work an occasional hour in the intervals
between different classes, or an hour that might otherwise have been
given to recreation. All of us felt the work to be trying to the flesh
at the outset; but none ever repented of persevering in it. One
Saturday forenoon, at the close of the usual prayer-meeting, which met
in Dr. Chalmers' vestry, we went up together to a district in the
Castle Hill. It was Robert's first near view of the heathenism of his
native city, and the effect was enduring.

"_March 3._--Accompanied A.B. in one of his rounds through some of the
most miserable habitations I ever beheld. Such scenes I never before
dreamed of. Ah! why am I such a stranger to the poor of my native
town? I have passed their doors thousands of times; I have admired the
huge black piles of building, with their lofty chimneys breaking the
sun's rays,--why have I never ventured within? How dwelleth the love
of God in me? How cordial is the welcome even of the poorest and most
loathsome to the voice of Christian sympathy! What imbedded masses of
human beings are huddled together, unvisited by friend or minister!
'No man careth for our souls' is written over every forehead. Awake,
my soul! Why should I give hours and days any longer to the vain
world, when there is such a world of misery at my very door? Lord, put
thine own strength in me; confirm every good resolution; forgive my
past long life of uselessness and folly."

He forthwith became one of the society's most steady members,
cultivating a district in the Canongate, teaching a Sabbath school,
and distributing the Monthly Visitor, along with Mr. Somerville. His
experience there was fitted to give him insight into the sinner's
depravity in all its forms. His first visit in his district is thus
noticed: "_March 24._--Visited two families with tolerable success.
God grant a blessing may go with us! Began in fear and weakness, and
in much trembling. May the power be of God." Soon after, he narrates
the following scene:--"Entered the house of ----. Heard her swearing
as I came up the stair. Found her storming at three little
grandchildren, whom her daughter had left with her. She is a seared,
hard-hearted wretch. Read Ezekiel 33. Interrupted by the entrance of
her second daughter, furiously demanding her marriage lines. Became
more discreet. Promised to come back--never came. Her father-in-law
entered, a hideous spectacle of an aged drunkard, demanding money.
Left the house with warnings." Another case he particularly mentions
of a sick woman, who, though careless before, suddenly seemed to float
into a sea of joy, without being able to give any scriptural account
of the change. She continued, I believe, to her death in this state;
but he feared it was a subtile delusion of Satan as an angel of light.
One soul, however, was, to all appearance, brought truly to the Rock
of Ages during his and his friend's prayerful visitations. These were

He continues his diary, though often considerable intervals occur in
the register of his spiritual state.

"_May 9._--How kindly has God thwarted me in every instance where I
sought to en lave myself! I will learn at least to glory in

"_May 10._--At the Communion. Felt less use for the minister than
ever. Let the Master of the feast alone speak to my heart." He felt at
such times, as many of the Lord's people have always done, that it is
not the addresses of the ministers in serving the table, but the
_Supper itself_, that ought to "satiate their souls with fatness."

_May 21._--It is affecting to us to read the following entry:--"This
day I attained my twenty-first year. Oh! how long and how worthlessly
I have lived, Thou only knowest. _Neff_ died in his thirty-first year;
when shall I?"[3]

     [3] It is worthy of notice how often the Lord has done much work
     by a few years of holy labor. In our Church, G. Gillespie and J.
     Durham died at thirty-six; Hugh Binning at twenty-six; Andrew
     Gray when scarcely at twenty-two. Of our witnesses, Patrick
     Hamilton was cut off at twenty-four, and Hugh M'Kail at
     twenty-six. In other churches we might mention many, such as John
     Janeway at twenty-three, David Brainerd at thirty, and Henry
     Martyn at thirty-two. Theirs was a short life, filled up with
     usefulness, and crowned with glory. Oh to be as they!

_May 29._--He this day wrote very faithfully, yet very kindly, to one
who seemed to him not a believer, and who nevertheless appropriated to
herself the _promises_ of God. "If you are wholly unassured of your
being a believer, is it not a contradiction in terms to say, that you
are sure the believers' promises belong to you? Are you _an assured
believer_? If so, rejoice in your heirship; and yet rejoice with
trembling; for that is the very character of God's heirs. But are you
_unassured_--nay, _wholly unassured_? then what mad presumption to say
to your soul, that these promises, being in the Bible, must belong
indiscriminately to all! It is too gross a contradiction for you to
compass, except in word." He then shows that _Christ's free offer_
must be accepted by the sinner, and so the _promises_ become his.
"This sinner complies with the call or offer, 'Come unto me;' and
thereafter, but not before, can claim the annexed _promise_ as his: 'I
will give thee rest.'"

"_Aug. 14._--Partial fast, and seeking God's face by prayer. This day
thirty years, my late dear brother was born. Oh for more love, and
then will come more peace!" That same evening he wrote the hymn, "_The
Barren Fig-tree_."

"_Oct. 17._--Private meditation exchanged for conversation. Here is
the root of the evil,--forsake God, and He forsakes us."

Some evening this month he had been reading _Baxter's Call to the
Unconverted_. Deeply impressed with the affectionate and awfully
solemn urgency of the man of God, he wrote--

      Though Baxter's lips have long in silence hung,
      And death long hush'd that sinner-wakening tongue,
      Yet still, though dead, he speaks aloud to all,
      And from the grave still issues forth his "Call:"
      Like some loud angel-voice from Zion hill,
      The mighty echo rolls and rumbles still.
      Oh grant that we, when sleeping in the dust,
      May thus speak forth the wisdom of the just!

Mr. M'Cheyne was peculiarly subject to attacks of fever, and by one of
these was he laid down on a sick-bed on November 15th. However, this
attack was of short duration. On the 21st he writes: "Bless the Lord,
O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Learned more and more of
the value of _Jehovah Tzidkenu_." He had, three days before, written
his well-known hymn, "_I once was a stranger_," etc., entitled
_Jehovah Tzidkenu, the Watchword of the Reformers_. It was the fruit
of a slight illness which had tried his soul, by setting it more
immediately in view of the judgment-seat of Christ; and the hymn which
he so sweetly sung reveals the sure and solid confidence of his soul.
In reference to that same illness, he seems to have penned the
following lines. November 24th:--

      He tenderly binds up the broken in heart,
        The soul bowed down He will raise:
      For mourning, the ointment of joy will impart:
        For heaviness, garments of praise.

      Ah, come, then, and sing to the praise of our God,
        Who giveth and taketh away;
      Who first by his kindness, and then by his rod,
        Would teach us, poor sinners, to pray.

      For in the assembly of Jesus' first-born,
        Who anthems of gratitude raise,
      Each heart has by great tribulation been torn,
        Each voice turned from wailing to praise.

"_Nov. 9._--Heard of Edward Irving's death. I look back upon him with
awe, as on the saints and martyrs of old. A holy man in spite of all
his delusions and errors. He is now with his God and Saviour, whom he
wronged so much, yet, I am persuaded, loved so sincerely. How should
we lean for wisdom, not on ourselves, but on the God of all grace!"

"_Nov. 21._--If nothing else will do to sever me from my sins, Lord
send me such sore and trying calamities as shall awake me from earthly
slumbers. It must always be best to be alive to Thee, whatever be the
quickening instrument. I tremble as I write, for oh! on every hand do
I see too likely occasions for sore afflictions."

"_Feb._ 15, 1835.--To-morrow I undergo my trials before the
Presbytery. May God give me courage in the hour of need. What should I
fear? If God see meet to put me into the ministry, who shall keep me
back? If I be not meet, why should I be thrust forward? To thy service
I desire to dedicate myself over and over again."

"_March 1._--Bodily service. What change is there in the heart! Wild,
earthly affections there are here; strong, coarse passions; bands both
of iron and silk. But I thank Thee, O my God, that they make me cry,
'Oh wretched man!' Bodily weakness, too, depresses me."

"_March 29._--College finished on Friday last. My last appearance
there. Life itself is vanishing fast. Make haste for eternity."

In such records as these, we read God's dealings with his soul up to
the time when he was licensed to preach the gospel. His preparatory
discipline, both of heart and of intellect, had been directed by the
Great Head of the Church in a way that remarkably qualified him for
the work he was to perform in the vineyard.

His soul was prepared for the awful work of the ministry by much
prayer, and much study of the word of God; by affliction in his
person; by inward trials and sore temptations; by experience of the
depth of corruption in his own heart, and by discoveries of the
Saviour's fulness of grace. He learned experimentally to ask, "Who is
he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the
Son of God!" I John 5:5. During the four years that followed his
awakening, he was oftentimes under the many waters, but was ever
raised again by the same divine hand that had drawn him out at the
first; till at length, though still often violently tossed, the vessel
was able steadily to keep the summit of the wave. It appears that he
learned the way of salvation experimentally, ere he knew it accurately
by theory and system; and thus no doubt it was that his whole ministry
was little else than a giving out of his own inward life.

The Visiting Society noticed above was much blessed to the culture of
his soul, and not less so the Missionary Association and the Prayer
Meeting connected with it. None were more regular at the hour of
prayer than he, and none more frequently led up our praises to the
throne. He was for some time Secretary to the Association, and
interested himself deeply in details of missionary labors. Indeed, to
the last day of his life, his thoughts often turned to foreign lands;
and one of the last notes he wrote was to the Secretary of the
Association in Edinburgh, expressing his unabated interest in their

During the first years of his college course, his studies did not
absorb his whole attention; but no sooner was the change on his soul
begun, than his studies shared in the results. A deeper sense of
responsibility led him to occupy his talents for the service of Him
who bestowed them. There have been few who, along with a devotedness
of spirit that sought to be ever directly engaged in the Lord's work,
have nevertheless retained such continued and undecaying esteem for
the advantages of study. While attending the usual literary and
philosophical classes, he found time to turn his attention to Geology
and Natural History. And often in his days of most successful
preaching, when, next to his own soul, his parish and his flock were
his only care, he has been known to express a regret that he had not
laid up in former days more stores of all useful knowledge; for he
found himself able to use the jewels of the Egyptians in the service
of Christ. His previous studies would sometimes flash into his mind
some happy illustration of divine truth, at the very moment when he
was most solemnly applying the glorious gospel to the most ignorant
and vile.

His own words will best show his estimate of study, and at the same
time the prayerful manner in which he felt it should be carried on.
"Do get on with your studies," he wrote to a young student in 1840.
"Remember you are now forming the character of your future ministry in
great measure, if God spare you. If you acquire slovenly or sleepy
habits of study now, you will never get the better of it. Do
everything in its own time. Do everything in earnest; if it is worth
doing, then do it with all your might. Above all, keep much in the
presence of God. Never see the face of man till you have seen his face
who is our life, our all. Pray for others; pray for your teachers,
fellow-students," etc. To another he wrote: "Beware of the atmosphere
of the classics. It is pernicious indeed; and you need much of the
south wind breathing over the Scriptures to counteract it. True, we
ought to know them; but only as chemists handle poisons--to discover
their qualities, not to infect their blood with them." And again:
"Pray that the Holy Spirit would not only make you a believing and
holy lad, but make you wise in your studies also. A ray of divine
light in the soul sometimes clears up a mathematical problem
wonderfully. The smile of God calms the spirit, and the left hand of
Jesus holds up the fainting head, and his Holy Spirit quickens the
affection, so that even natural studies go on a million times more
easily and comfortably."

Before entering the Divinity Hall, he had attended a private class for
the study of Hebrew; and having afterwards attended the two sessions
of Dr. Brunton's college class, he made much progress in that
language. He could consult the Hebrew original of the Old Testament
with as much ease as most of our ministers are able to consult the
Greek of the New.

It was about the time of his first year's attendance at the Hall that
I began to know him as an intimate friend. During the summer
vacations,--that we might redeem the time,--some of us who remained in
town, when most of our fellow-students were gone to the country, used
to meet once every week in the forenoon, for the purpose of
investigating some point of _Systematic Divinity_, and stating to each
other the amount and result of our private reading. At another time we
met in a similar way, till we had overtaken the chief points of the
_Popish controversy_. Advancement in our acquaintance with the Greek
and Hebrew Scriptures also brought us together; and one summer the
study of _Unfulfilled Prophecy_ assembled a few of us once a week, at
an early morning hour, when, though our views differed much on
particular points, we never failed to get food to our souls in the
Scriptures we explored. But no society of this kind was more useful
and pleasant to us than one which, from its object, received the name
of _Exegetical_. It met during the session of the Theological classes
every Saturday morning at half-past six. The study of Biblical
criticism, and whatever might cast light on the word of God, was our
aim; and these meetings were kept up regularly during four sessions.
Mr. M'Cheyne spoke of himself as indebted to this society for much of
that discipline of mind on Jewish literature and Scripture geography
which was found to be so useful in the Mission of Inquiry to the Jews
in after days.[4]

     [4] The members of this Society were--Rev. _William Laughton_,
     now Minister of St Thomas's, Greenock, in connection with the
     Free Church; _Thomas Brown,_ Free Church, Kinneff; _William
     Wilson_, Free Church, Carmyllie; _Horatius Bonar_, Free Church,
     Kelso; _Andrew A. Bonar_, Free Church, Collace; _Robert M.
     M'Cheyne; Alexander Somerville_, Free Church, Anderston, Glasgow;
     _John Thomson_, Mariners' Free Church, Leith; _Robert K.
     Hamilton_, Madras; _John Burne_, for some time at Madeira;
     _Patrick Borrowman_, Free Church, Glencairn; _Walter Wood_, Free
     Church, Westruther; _Henry Moncrieff_, Free Church, Kilbride;
     _James Cochrane_, Established Church, Cupar; _John Miller_,
     Secretary to Free Church Special Commission; _G. Smeaton_, Free
     Church, Auchterarder; _Robert Kinnear_, Free Church, Moffat; and
     _W.B. Clarke_, Free Church, Half-Morton. Every meeting was opened
     and closed with prayer. Minutes of the discussions were kept; and
     the essays read were preserved in volumes. A very characteristic
     essay of Mr. M'Cheyne's is "Lebanon and its Scenery" (inserted in
     the _Remains_), wherein he adduces the evidence of travellers for
     facts and customs which he himself was afterwards to see. Often,
     in 1839, pleasant remembrances of these days of youthful study
     were suggested by what we actually witnessed; and in the essay
     referred to I find an interesting coincidence. He writes: "What a
     refreshing sight to his eye, yet undimmed with age, after resting
     forty years on the monotonous scenery of the desert, now to rest
     on Zion's olive-clad hills, and Lebanon, with its vine-clad base
     and overhanging forests, and towering peaks of snow!" This was
     the very impression on our minds when we ourselves came up from
     the wilderness as expressed in the _Narrative_, chap. 2--"May 29.
     Next morning we saw at a distance a range of hills, running north
     and south, called by the Arabs _Djebel Khalie_. After wandering
     so many days in the wilderness, with its vast monotonous plains
     of level sand, the sight of these distant mountains was a
     pleasant relief to the eye; and we thought we could understand a
     little of the feeling with which Moses, after being forty years
     in the desert, would pray, 'I pray Thee let me go over,'" Deut.

But these helps in study were all the while no more than
supplementary. The regular systematic studies of the Hall furnished
the main provision for his mental culture. Under Dr. Chalmers for
Divinity, and under Dr. Welsh for Church History, a course of four
years afforded no ordinary advantages for enlarging the understanding.
New fields of thought were daily opened up. His notes and his diary
testify that he endeavored to retain what he heard, and that he used
to read as much of the books recommended by the professors as his time
enabled him to overtake. Many years after, he thankfully called to
mind lessons that had been taught in these classes. Riding one day
with Mr. Hamilton (now of Regent Square, London) from Abernyte to
Dundee, they were led to speak of the best mode of dividing a sermon.
"I used," said he, "to despise Dr. Welsh's rules at the time I heard
him; but now I feel I _must use_ them, for nothing is more needful for
making a sermon memorable and impressive than a logical arrangement."

His intellectual powers were of a high order: clear and distinct
apprehension of his subject, and felicitous illustration,
characterized him among all his companions. To an eager desire for
wide acquaintance with truth in all its departments, and a memory
strong and accurate in retaining what he found, there was added a
remarkable candor in examining what claimed to be the truth. He had
also an ingenious and enterprising mind--a mind that could carry out
what was suggested, when it did not strike out new light for itself.
He possessed great powers of analysis; often his judgment discovered
singular discrimination. His imagination seldom sought out object of
grandeur; for, as a friend has truly said of him, "he had a kind and
quiet eye, which found out the living and beautiful in nature, rather
than the majestic and sublime."

He might have risen to high eminence in the circles of taste and
literature, but denied himself all such hopes, that he might win
souls. With such peculiar talents as he possessed, his ministry might
have, in any circumstances, attracted many; but these attractions were
all made subsidiary to the single desire of awakening the dead in
trespasses and sins. Nor would he have expected to be blessed to the
salvation of souls unless he had himself been a monument of sovereign
grace. In his esteem, "_to be in Christ before being in the ministry_"
was a thing indispensable. He often pointed to those solemn words of
Jeremiah (23:21): "_I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I
have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in
my counsel, and caused my people to hear my words, then they should
have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their

It was with faith already in his heart that he went forward to the
holy office of the ministry, receiving from his Lord the rod by which
he was to do signs, and which, when it had opened rocks and made
waters gush out, he never failed to replace upon the ark whence it was
taken, giving glory to God! He knew not the way by which God was
leading him; but even then he was under the guidance of the
pillar-cloud. At this very period he wrote that hymn, _They sing the
song of Moses_. His course was then about to begin; but now that it
has ended, we can look back and plainly see that the faith he therein
expressed was not in vain.



   "_He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall
   doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with
   him._"--Ps. 126:6.

While he was still only undergoing a student's usual examinations
before the Presbytery, in the spring and summer of 1835, several
applications were made to him by ministers in the Church, who desired
to secure his services for their part of the vineyard. He was
especially urged to consider the field of labor at Larbert and
Dunipace, near Stirling, under Mr. John Bonar, the pastor of these
united parishes. This circumstance led him (as is often done in such
cases) to ask the Presbytery of Edinburgh, under whose superintendence
he had hitherto carried on his studies, to transfer the remainder of
his public trials to another Presbytery, where there would be less
press of business to occasion delay. This request being readily
granted, his connection with Dumfriesshire led him to the Presbytery
of Annan, who licensed him to preach the gospel on 1st July 1835. His
feelings at the moment appear from a record of his own in the evening
of the day: "Preached three probationary discourses in Annan Church,
and, after an examination in Hebrew, was solemnly licensed to preach
the gospel by Mr. Monylaws, the moderator. 'Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, be stirred up to praise and magnify his
holy name!' What I have so long desired as the highest honor of man,
Thou at length givest me--me who dare scarcely use the words of Paul:
'Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given,
that I should preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.' Felt somewhat
solemnized, though unable to feel my unworthiness as I ought. Be
clothed with humility."

An event occurred the week before which cast a solemnizing influence
on him, and on his after fellow-traveller and brother in the gospel,
who was licensed by another Presbytery that same day. This event was
the lamented death of the Rev. John Brown Patterson of Falkirk--one
whom the Lord had gifted with preeminent eloquence and learning, and
who was using all for his Lord, when cut off by fever. He had spoken
much before his death of the awfulness of a pastor's charge, and his
early death sent home the lesson to many, with the warning that the
pastor's account of souls might be suddenly required of him.

On the following Sabbath, Mr. M'Cheyne preached for the first time in
Ruthwell Church, near Dumfries, on "the Pool of Bethesda;" and in the
afternoon on "the Strait Gate." He writes that evening in his diary:
"Found it a more awfully solemn thing than I had imagined to announce
Christ authoritatively; yet a glorious privilege!" The week after
(Saturday, July 11): "Lord, put me into thy service when and where
Thou pleasest. In thy hand all my qualities will be put to their
appropriate end. Let me, then, have no anxieties." Next day, also,
after preaching in St. John's Church, Leith: "Remembered, before going
into the pulpit, the confession which says,[5] 'We have been more
anxious about the messenger than the message.'" In preaching that day,
he states, "It came across me in the pulpit, that if spared to be a
minster, I might enjoy sweet flashes of communion with God in that
situation. The mind is entirely wrought up to speak for God. It is
possible, then, that more vivid acts of faith may be gone through
then, than in quieter and sleepier moments."

     [5] He here refers to the _Full and Candid Acknowledgment of
     Sin_, for Students and Ministers, drawn up by the Commission of
     Assembly in 1651, and often reprinted since.

It was not till the 7th of November that he began his labors at
Larbert. In the interval he preached in various places, and many began
to perceive the peculiar sweetness of the word in his lips. In
accepting the invitation to labor in the sphere proposed, he wrote:
"It has always been my aim, and it is my prayer, to have _no plans_
with regard to myself, well assured as I am, that the place where the
Saviour sees meet to place me must ever be the best place for me."

The parish to which he had come was very large, containing six
thousand souls. The parish church is at Larbert; but through the
exertions of Mr. Bonar, many years ago, a second church was erected
for the people of Dunipace. Mr. Hanna, afterwards minister of
Skirling, had preceded M'Cheyne in the duties of assistant in his
field of labor; and Mr. M'Cheyne now entered on it with a fully
devoted and zealous heart, although in a weak state of health. As
assistant, it was his part to preach every alternate Sabbath at
Larbert and Dunipace, and during the week to visit among the
population of both these districts, according as he felt himself
enabled in body and soul. There was a marked difference between the
two districts in their general features of character; but equal labor
was bestowed on both by the minister and his assistant; and often did
their prayer ascend that the windows of heaven might be opened over
the two sanctuaries. Souls have been saved there. Often, however, did
the faithful pastor mingle his tears with those of his younger
fellow-soldier, complaining, "Lord, who hath believed our report?"
There was much sowing in faith; nor was this sowing abandoned even
when the returns seemed most inadequate.

Mr. M'Cheyne had great delight in remembering that Larbert was one of
the places where, in other days, that holy man of God, Robert Bruce,
had labored and prayed. Writing at an after period from the Holy Land,
he expressed the wish, "May the Spirit be poured upon Larbert as in
Bruce's days." But more than all associations, the souls of the
people, whose salvation he longed for, were ever present to his mind.
A letter to Mr. Bonar, in 1837, from Dundee, shows us his yearnings
over them. "What an interest I feel in Larbert and Dunipace! It is
like the land of my birth. Will the Sun of Righteousness ever rise
upon it, making its hills and valleys bright with the light of the
knowledge of Jesus?"

No sooner was he settled in his chamber here, than he commenced his
work. With him, the commencement of all labor invariably consisted in
the preparation of his own soul. The forerunner of each day's
visitations was a calm season of private devotion during morning
hours. The walls of his chamber were witnesses of his prayerfulness,--I
believe of his tears as well as of his cries. The pleasant sound of
psalms often issued from his room at an early hour. Then followed the
reading of the word for his own sanctification; and few have so fully
realized the blessing of the first Psalm. His leaf did not wither, for
his roots were in the waters. It was here, too, that he began to study
so closely the works of Jonathan Edwards,--reckoning them a mine to be
wrought, and if wrought, sure to repay the toil. Along with this
author, the _Letters of Samuel Rutherford_ were often in his hand.
Books of general knowledge he occasionally perused; but now it was
done with the steady purpose of finding in them some illustration of
spiritual truth. He rose from reading _Insect Architecture_, with the
observation, "God reigns in a community of ants and ichneumons, as
visibly as among living men or mighty seraphim!"

His desire to grow in acquaintance with Scripture was very intense;
and both Old and New Testament were his regular study. He loved to
range over the wide revelation of God. "He would be a sorry student of
this world," said he to a friend, "who should forever confine his gaze
to the fruitful fields and well-watered gardens of this cultivated
earth. He could have no true idea of what the world was, unless he had
stood upon the rocks of our mountains, and seen the bleak muirs and
mosses of our barren land; unless he had paced the quarter-deck when
the vessel was out of sight of land, and seen the waste of waters
without any shore upon the horizon. Just so, he would be a sorry
student of the Bible who would not know all that God has inspired; who
would not examine into the most barren chapters to collect the good
for which they were intended; who would not strive to understand all
the bloody battles which are chronicled, that he might find 'bread out
of the eater, and honey out of the lion.'"--(June 1836.)

His anxiety to have every possible help to holiness led him to notice
what are the disadvantages of those who are not daily stirred up by
the fellowship of more advanced believers. "I have found, by some
experience, that in the country here my watch does not go so well as
it used to do in town. By small and gradual changes I find it either
gains or loses, and I am surprised to find myself different in time
from all the world, and, what is worse, from the sun. The simple
explanation is, that in town I met with a steeple in every street, and
a good-going clock upon it; and so any aberrations in my watch were
soon noticed and easily corrected. And just so I sometimes think it
may be with that inner watch, whose hands point not to time but to
eternity. By gradual and slow changes the wheels of my soul lag
behind, or the springs of passions become too powerful; and I have no
living timepiece with which I may compare, and by which I may amend my
going. You will say that I may always have the sun: And so it should
be; but we have many clouds which obscure the sun from our weak
eyes."--(_Letter to Rev. H. Bonar, Kelso._)

From the first he fed others by what he himself was feeding upon. His
preaching was in a manner the development of his soul's experience. It
was a giving out of the inward life. He loved to come up from the
pastures wherein the Chief Shepherd had met him--to lead the flock
entrusted to his care to the spots where he found nourishment.

In the field of his labor he found enough of work to overwhelm his
spirit. The several collieries and the Carron Ironworks furnish a
population who are, for the most part, either sunk in deep
indifference to the truth, or are opposed to it in the spirit of
infidelity. Mr. M'Cheyne at once saw that the pastor whom he had come
to aid, whatever was the measure of his health, and zeal, and
perseverance, had duties laid on him which were altogether beyond the
power of man to overtake. When he made a few weeks' trial, the field
appeared more boundless, and the mass of souls more impenetrable, than
he had ever conceived.

It was probably, in some degree, his experience at this time that gave
him such deep sympathy with the Church Extension Scheme, as a truly
noble and Christian effort for bringing the glad tidings to the doors
of a population who must otherwise remain neglected, and were
themselves willing so to live and die. He conveyed his impressions on
this subject to a friend abroad, in the following terms: "There is a
soul-destroying cruelty in the cold-hearted opposition which is made
to the multiplication of ministers in such neglected and overgrown
districts as these. If one of our Royal Commissioners would but
consent to undergo the bodily fatigue that a minister ought to undergo
in visiting merely the sick and dying of Larbert (let alone the
visitation of the whole, and preparation for the pulpit), and that for
one month, I would engage that if he be able to rise out of his bed by
the end of it, he would change his voice and manner at the Commission

A few busy weeks passed over, occupied from morning to night in such
cares and toils, when another part of the discipline he was to undergo
was sent. In the end of December, strong oppression of the heart and
an irritating cough caused some of his friends to fear that his lungs
were affected; and for some weeks he was laid aside from public duty.
On examination, it was found that though there was a dulness in the
right lung, yet the material of the lungs was not affected. For a
time, however, the air-vessels were so clogged and irritated, that if
he had continued to preach, disease would have quickly ensued. But
this also was soon removed, and, under cautious management, he resumed
his work.

This temporary illness served to call forth this extreme sensitiveness
of his soul to the responsibilities of his office. At its
commencement--having gone to Edinburgh "in so sweet a sunshine morning
that God seemed to have chosen it for him"--he wrote to Mr. Bonar: "If
I am not recovered before the third Sabbath, I fear I shall not be
able to bear upon my conscience the responsibility of leaving you any
longer to labor alone, bearing unaided the burden of 6,000 souls. No,
my dear sir, I must read the will of God aright in his providence, and
give way, when He bids me, to fresh and abler workmen. I hope and pray
that it may be his will to restore me again to you and your parish,
with a heart tutored by sickness, to speak more and more as dying to
dying." Then, mentioning two of the sick: "Poor A.D. and C.H., I often
think of them. I can do no more for their good, except pray for them.
Tell them that I do this without ceasing."

The days when a holy pastor, who knows the blood-sprinkled way to the
Father, is laid aside, are probably as much a proof of the kindness of
God to his flock as days of health and activity. He is occupied,
during this season of retirement, in discovering the plagues of his
heart, and in going in, like Moses, to plead with God face to face for
his flock, and for his own soul. Mr. M'Cheyne believed that God had
this end in view with him; and that the Lord should thus deal with him
at his entrance into the vineyard made him ponder these dealings the
more. "Paul asked," says he, "'What wilt Thou have me _to do_?' and it
was answered, 'I will show him what great things he must _suffer_ for
my name's sake.' Thus it may be with me. I have been too anxious to do
great things. The lust of praise has ever been my besetting sin; and
what more befitting school could be found for me than that of
suffering alone, away from the eye and ear of man?" Writing again to
Mr. Bonar, he tells him: "I feel distinctly that the whole of my labor
during this season of sickness and pain should be in the way of prayer
and _intercession_. And yet, so strongly does Satan work in our
deceitful hearts, I scarcely remember a season wherein I have been
more averse to these duties. I try to build myself up in my most holy
faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keeping myself in the love of God,
and looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus unto eternal life.' That
text of Jude has peculiar beauties for me at this season. If it be
good to come under the love of God once, surely it is good to keep
ourselves there. And yet how reluctant we are! I cannot doubt that
boldness is offered me to enter into the holiest of all; I cannot
doubt my right and title to enter continually by the new and bloody
way; I cannot doubt that when I do enter in, I stand not only
forgiven, but accepted in the Beloved; I cannot doubt that when I do
enter in, the Spirit is willing and ready to descend like a dove, to
dwell in my bosom as a Spirit of prayer and peace, enabling me to
'pray in the Holy Ghost;' and that Jesus is ready to rise up as my
intercessor with the Father, praying for me though not for the world;
and that the prayer-hearing God is ready to bend his ear to requests
which He delights to hear and answer. I cannot doubt that thus to
dwell in God is the true blessedness of my nature; and yet, strange
unaccountable creature! I am too often unwilling to enter in. I go
about and about the sanctuary, and I sometimes press in through the
rent veil, and see the blessedness of dwelling there to be far better
than that of the tents of wickedness; yet it is certain that I do not
dwell within."--"My prayers follow you, especially to the sick-beds of
A.D. and C.H. I hope they still survive, and that Christ may yet be
glorified in them."

On resuming his labors, he found a residence in Carronvale. From this
pleasant spot he used to ride out to his work. But pleasant as the
spot was, yet being only partially recovered, he was not satisfied; he
lamented that he was unable to overtake what a stronger laborer would
have accomplished. He often cast a regretful look at the collieries;
and remembering them still at a later period, he reproached himself
with neglect, though most unjustly. "The places which I left utterly
unbroken in upon are Kinnaird and Milton. Both of these rise up
against my conscience, particularly the last, through which I have
ridden so often." It was not the comfort, but the positive usefulness
of the ministry, that he envied; and he judged of places by their
fitness to promote this great end. He said of a neighboring parish,
which he had occasion to visit: "The manse is altogether too sweet;
other men could hardly live there without saying, 'This is my rest.' I
don't think ministers' manses should ever be so beautiful."

A simple incident was overruled to promote the ease and fluency of his
pulpit ministrations. From the very beginning of his ministry he
reprobated the custom of reading sermons, believing that to do so does
exceedingly weaken the freedom and natural fervor of the messenger in
delivering his message. Neither did he recite what he had written. But
his custom was to impress on his memory the substance of what he had
beforehand carefully written, and then to speak as he found liberty.
One morning, as he rode rapidly along to Dunipace, his written sermons
were dropped on the wayside. This accident prevented him having the
opportunity of preparing in his usual manner; but he was enabled to
preach with more than usual freedom. For the first time in his life,
he discovered that he possessed the gift of extemporaneous
composition, and learned, to his own surprise, that he had more
composedness of mind and command of language than he had believed.
This discovery, however, did not in the least degree diminish his
diligent preparation. Indeed, the only use that he made of the
incident at the time it occurred was, to draw a lesson of dependence
on God's own immediate blessing rather than on the satisfactory
preparation made. "One thing always fills the cup of my consolation,
that God may work by the meanest and poorest words, as well as by the
most polished and ornate,--yea, perhaps more readily, that the glory
may be all his own."

His hands were again full, distributing the bread of life in
fellowship with Mr. Bonar. The progress of his own soul, meanwhile,
may be traced in some of the few entries that occur in his diary
during this period:--

"_Feb. 21, 1836_, Sabbath.--Blessed be the Lord for another day of the
Son of man. Resumed my diary, long broken off; not because I do not
feel the disadvantages of it,--making you assume feelings and express
rather what you wish to be than what you are,--but because the
advantages seem greater. It ensures sober reflection on the events of
the day as seen in God's eye. Preached twice in Larbert, on the
righteousness of God, Rom. 1:16. In the morning was more engaged in
preparing the head than the heart. This has been frequently my error,
and I have always felt the evil of it, especially in prayer. Reform
it, then, O Lord."

"_Feb. 27._--Preached in Dunipace with more heart than ever I remember
to have done, on Rom. 5:10, owing to the gospel nature of the subject
and prayerful preparation. Audience smaller than usual! How happy and
strange is the feeling when God gives the soul composure to stand and
plead for Him! Oh that it were altogether for Him I plead, not for

"_March 5._--Preached in Larbert with very much comfort, owing chiefly
to my remedying the error of 21st Feb. Therefore the heart and the
mouth were full. 'Enlarge my heart, and I shall run,' said David.
'Enlarge my heart, and I shall preach.'"

In this last remark we see the germ of his remarkably solemn ministry.
His heart was filled, and his lips then spoke what he felt within his
heart. He gave out not merely living water, but living water drawn at
the springs that he had himself drank of; and is not this a true
gospel ministry? Some venture to try what they consider a more
_intellectual_ method of addressing the conscience; but ere a minister
attempts this mode, he ought to see that he is one who is able to
afford more deep and anxious preparation of heart than other men.
Since the intellectual part of the discourse is not that which is most
likely to be an arrow in the conscience, those pastors who are
intellectual men must bestow tenfold more prayerfulness on their work,
if they would have either their own or their people's souls affected
under their word. If we are ever to preach with compassion for the
perishing, we must ourselves be moved by those same views of sin and
righteousness which moved the human soul of Jesus. (See Psalm 38 and

About this time he occasionally contributed papers to the _Christian
Herald_: one of these was _On sudden Conversions_, showing that
Scripture led us to expect such. During this month he seems to have
written the _Lines on Mungo Park_, one of the pieces which attracted
the notice of Professor Wilson. But whatever he engaged in, his aim
was to honor his Master. I find him, after hearing sermon by another,
remarking (_April 3_), "Some things powerful; but I thirst to hear
more of Christ."

On Sabbath 16, he writes: "Preached with some tenderness of heart. Oh,
why should I not weep, as Jesus did over Jerusalem? Evening--Instructing
two delightful Sabbath schools. Much bodily weariness. Gracious
kindness of God in giving rest to the weary."

"_April 13._--Went to Stirling to hear Dr. Duff once more upon his
system. With greater warmth and energy than ever. He kindles as he
goes. Felt almost constrained to go the whole length of his system
with him. If it were only to raise up an audience, it would be
defensible; but when it is to raise up teachers, it is more than
defensible. I am now made willing, if God shall open the way, to go to
India. Here am I; send me!"

The missionary feeling in his soul continued all his life. The Lord
had really made him willing; and this preparedness to go anywhere
completed his preparation for unselfish, self-denied work at home.
Must there not be somewhat of this missionary tendency in all true
ministers? Is any one truly the Lord's messenger who is not quite
willing to go when and where the Lord calls? Is it justifiable in any
to put aside a call from the north, on the ground that he _wishes_ one
from the south? We must be found in the position of Isaiah, if we are
to be really sent of God.

"_April 24._--Oh that this day's labor may be blessed! and not mine
alone, but all thy faithful servants all over the world, till _thy
Sabbath_ come."

"_April 26._--Visiting in Carron-shore. Well received everywhere.
Truly a pleasant labor. Cheered me much. Preached to them afterwards
from Proverbs 1."

"_May 8._--Communion in Larbert. Served as an elder and help to the
faithful. Partook with some glimpses of faith and joy. Served by a
faithful old minister (Mr. Dempster of Denny), one taught of God.
This morning stood by the dying--evening, stood by the dead, poor J.F.
having died last night. I laid my hand on her cold forehead, and tried
to shut her eyes. Lord, give me strength for living to Thee!--strength
also for a dying hour."

"_May 15._--This day an annular eclipse of the sun. Kept both the
services together in order to be in time. Truly a beautiful sight to
see the shining edge of the sun all round the dark disc of the moon.
Lord, one day thy hand shall put out those candles; for there shall be
no need of the sun to lighten the happy land: the Lamb is the light
thereof; a sun that cannot be eclipsed--that cannot go down."

"_May 17._--Visited thirteen families, and addressed them all in the
evening in the school, on Jeremiah 1:4, 'Going and weeping.'
Experienced some enlargement of soul; said some plain things; and had
some desire for their salvation, that God might be praised."

"_May 21._--Preparation for the Sabbath. My birth-day. I have lived
twenty-three years. Blessed be my Rock. Though I am a child in
knowledge of my Bible and of Thee, yet use me for what a child can do,
or a child can suffer. How few sufferings I have had in the year that
is past, except in my own body. Oh that as my day is my strength may
be! Give me strength for a suffering and for a dying hour!"

"_May 22._--O Lord, when Thou workest, all discouragements vanish;
when Thou art away, anything is a discouragement. Blessed be God for
such a day--one of a thousand! Oh! why not always this? Watch and

Being in Edinburgh this month, during the sitting of the General
Assembly, he used the opportunity of revisiting some of his former
charge in the Canongate. "J.S., a far-off inquirer, but surely God is
leading. His hand draws out these tears. Interesting visits to L.,
near death, and still in the same mind. I cannot but hope that some
faith is here. Saw Mrs. M.; many tears: felt much, though I am still
doubtful, and in the dark. Thou knowest, Lord!"

"_June 11._--Yesterday up in Dunipace. It would seem as if I were
afraid to name the name of Christ. Saw many worldly people greatly
needing a word in season, yet could not get up my heart to speak.
What I did failed almost completely. I am not worthy, Lord! To-day
sought to prepare my heart for the coming Sabbath. After the example
of Boston, whose life I have been reading, examined my heart with
prayer and fasting. 1. Does my heart really close with the offer of
salvation by Jesus? Is it my choice to be saved in the way which gives
Him all the praise, and me none? Do I not only see it to be the Bible
way of salvation, but does it cordially approve itself to my heart as
delightful? Lord search me and try me, for I cannot but answer, Yes,
yes. 2. Is it the desire of my heart to be made altogether holy? Is
there any sin I wish to retain? Is sin a grief to me, the sudden
risings and overcomings thereof especially? Lord, Thou knowest all
things--Thou knowest that I hate all sin, and desire to be made
altogether _like Thee_. It is the sweetest word in the Bible: 'Sin
_shall not_ have dominion over you.' Oh, then, that I might lie low in
the dust,--the lower the better,--that Jesus' righteousness and Jesus'
strength alone be admired! Felt much deadness, and much grief that I
cannot grieve for this deadness. Towards evening revived. Got a calm
spirit through psalmody and prayer."

"_June 12_, Sabbath.--To-day a sinner preached Jesus, the same Jesus
who has done all things for him and that so lately! A day of much
help, of some earnest looking-up of the heart to that alone quickening
power, of much temptation to flattery and pride. Oh for breathing
gales of spiritual life! Evening--Somewhat helped to lay Jesus before
little children in his beauty and excellency. Much fatigue, yet some
peace. Surely a day in thy courts is better than a thousand."

"_June 15._--Day of visiting (rather a happy one) in Carron-shore.
Large meeting in the evening. Felt very happy after it, though
mourning for _bitter speaking of the gospel_. Surely it is a gentle
message, and should be spoken with angelic tenderness, especially by
such a needy sinner."

Of this bitterness in preaching, he had little indeed in after days;
yet so sensible was he of its being quite natural to all of us, that
oftentimes he made it the subject of conversation, and used to grieve
over himself if he had spoken with anything less than solemn
compassion. I remember on one occasion, when we met, he asked what my
last Sabbath's subject had been. It had been, "The wicked shall be
turned into hell." On hearing this awful test, he asked, "Were you
able to preach it _with tenderness_?" Certain it is that the tone of
reproach and upbraiding is widely different from the voice of solemn
warning. It is not saying hard things that pierces the consciences of
our people; it is the voice of divine love heard amid the thunder. The
sharpest point of the two-edged sword is not _death_, but _life_; and
against self-righteous souls this latter ought to be more used than
the former. For such souls can hear us tell of the open gates of hell
and the unquenchable fire far more unconcernedly than of the gates of
heaven wide open for their immediate return. When we preach that the
glad tidings _were intended to impart immediate assurance of eternal
life to every sinner that believes them_, we strike deeper upon the
proud enmity of the world to God, then when we show the eternal curse
and the second death.

"_June 19_, Sabbath.--Wet morning. Preached at Dunipace to a small
audience, on Parable of the Tares. I thank God for that blessed
parable.--In both discourses I can look back on many hateful thoughts
of pride, and self-admiration, and love of praise, stealing the heart
out of the service."

"_June 22._--Carron-shore. My last. Some tears; yet I fear some like
the messenger, not the message; and I fear I am so vain as to love
that love. Lord, let it not be so. Perish _my_ honor, but let _thine_
be exalted forever."

"_June 26._--True Sabbath-day. Golden sky. Full church, and more
liveliness than sometimes. Shall I call the liveliness of this day a
gale of the Spirit, or was all natural? I know that all was not of
grace; the self-admiration, the vanity, the desire of honor, the
bitterness--these were all breaths of earth or hell. But was there no
grace? Lord, Thou knowest. I dare not wrong Thee by saying--No!
Larbert Sabbath school with the same liveliness and joy. Domestic work
with the same. Praised be God! Oh that the savor of it may last
through the week! By this may I test if it be all of nature, or much
of grace. Alas! how I tremble for my Monday mornings--those seasons of
lifelessness. Lord, bless the seeds sown this day in the hearts of my
friends, by the hand of my friends, and all over the world--hasten the

"July 3.--After a week of working and hurried preparation, a Sabbath
of mingled peace and pain. Called, morning before preaching, to see
Mrs. E., dying. Preached on the Jailor--discomposedly--with some
glimpses of the genuine truth as it is in Jesus. Felt there was much
mingling of experience. At times the congregation was lightened up
from their dull flatness, and then they sunk again into lethargy. O
Lord, make me hang on Thee to open their hearts, Thou opener of
Lydia's heart. I fear Thou wilt not bless my preaching, until I am
brought thus to hang on Thee. Oh keep not back a blessing for my sin!
Afternoon--On the Highway of the Redeemed, with more ease and comfort.
Felt the truth sometimes boiling up from my heart into my words. Some
glimpses of tenderness, yet much less of that spirit than the last two
Sabbaths. Again saw the dying woman. Oh when will I plead, with my
tears and inward yearnings, over sinners! Oh, compassionate Lord, give
me to know what manner of spirit I am of! give me thy gentle Spirit,
that neither strives nor cries. Much weariness, want of prayerfulness,
and want of cleaving to Christ." Tuesday the 5th being the anniversary
of his licence to preach the gospel, he writes: "Eventful week; one
year I have preached _Jesus_, have I? or myself? I have often preached
myself also, but Jesus I have preached."

About this time he again felt the hand of affliction, though it did
not continue long. Yet it was plain to him now that personal trouble
was to be one of the ingredients of that experience which helped to
give a peculiar tone to his ministry.

"_July 8._--Since Tuesday have been laid up with illness. Set by once
more for a season to feel my unprofitableness and cure my pride. When
shall this self-choosing temper be healed? 'Lord, I will preach, run,
visit, wrestle,' said I. 'No, thou shalt lie in thy bed and suffer,'
said the Lord. To-day missed some fine opportunities of speaking a
word for Christ. The Lord saw I would have spoken as much for my own
honor as his, and therefore shut my mouth. _I see a man cannot be a
faithful minister, until he preaches Christ for Christ's sake_--until
he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and seeks only to
attract them to Christ. Lord, give me this! To-night some glimpses of
humbling, and therefore some wrestling in social prayer. But my
prayers are scarcely to be called prayer." Then, in the evening: "This
day my brother has been five years absent from the body and present
with the Lord, and knows more and loves more than all earthly saints
together. Till the day break and the shadows flee away, turn, my

"_July 10._--I fear I am growing more earthly in some things. To-day I
felt a difficulty in bringing in spiritual conversation immediately
after preaching, when my bosom should be burning. Excused myself from
dining out from other than the grand reason; though checked and
corrected myself. Evening--Insensibly slid into worldly conversation.
Let these things be corrected in me, O Lord, by the heart being more
filled with love to Jesus, and more ejaculatory prayer."

"_July 17_, Sabbath.--Oh that I may remember my own word this day:
that the hour of communion is the hour for the foxes--the little
foxes--to spoil the wine. Two things that defile this day in looking
back, are love of praise running through all, and consenting to listen
to worldly talk at all. Oh that these may keep me humble and be my
burden, leading me to the cross. Then, Satan, thou wilt be outwitted!"

"_July 19._--Died, this day, W. M'Cheyne, my cousin-german, Relief
minister, Kelso. Oh how I repent of our vain controversies on
Establishments when we last met, and that we spoke so little of Jesus!
Oh that we had spoken more one to another! Lord, teach me to be always
speaking as dying to dying."

"_July 24._--Dunipace Communion--Heard Mr. Purves of Jedburgh preach,
'Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of
salvation.' The only way to come to ordinances, and to draw from the
well, is to come with the matter of acceptance settled, believing
God's anger to be turned away. Truly a precious view of the freeness
of the gospel very refreshing. My soul needs to be roused much to
apprehend this truth."

Above (_July 3_) he spoke of "mingling experience with the genuine
truth as it is in Jesus." It is to this that he refers again in the
last paragraph. His deep acquaintance with the human heart and
passions often lead him to dwell at greater length, not only on those
topics whereby the sinner might be brought to discover his guilt, but
also on marks that would evidence a change, that on "the glad
tidings." And yet he ever felt that these blessed tidings, addressed
to souls in the very gall of bitterness, were the true theme of the
minister of Christ; and never did he preach other than a full
salvation ready for the chief of sinners. From the very first, also,
he carefully avoided the error of those who rather speculate or
doctrinize about the gospel, than preach the gospel itself. Is not the
true idea of preaching that of one, like Ahimaaz, coming with
all-important tidings, and intent on making these tidings known?
Occupied with the facts he has to tell, he has no heart to speculate
on mere abstractions; nay, he is apt to forget what language he
employs, excepting so far as the very grandeur of the tidings gives a
glow of eloquence to his words. The glorious fact, "_By this man is
preached unto you the forgiveness of sins_," is the burden of every
sermon. The crier is sent to the openings of the gate by his Lord, to
herald forth this one infinitely important truth through the whole
creation under heaven.

He seems invariably to have applied for his personal benefit what he
gave out to his people. We have already noticed how he used to feed on
the word, not in order to prepare himself for his people, but for
personal edification. To do so was a fundamental rule with him; and
all pastors will feel that, if they are to prosper in their own souls,
they must so use the word,--sternly refusing to admit the idea of
feeding others, until satiated themselves. And for similar ends it is
needful that we let the truth we hear preached sink down into our own
souls. We, as well as our people, must drink in the falling shower.
Mr. M'Cheyne did so. It is common to find him speaking thus: "_July
31_, Sabbath.--Afternoon, on Judas betraying Christ; much more
tenderness than ever I felt before. Oh that I might abide in the bosom
of Him who washed Judas' feet, and dipped his hand in the same dish
with him, and warned him, and grieved over him--that I might catch the
infection of his love, of his tenderness, so wonderful, so

Coming home on a Sabbath evening (Aug. 7th) from Torwood Sabbath
school, a person met him who suggested an opportunity of usefulness.
There were two families of gypsies encamped at Torwood, within his
reach. He was weary with a long day's labor; but instantly, as was his
custom on such a call, set off to find them. By the side of their
wood-fire, he opened out the parable of the Lost Sheep, and pressed
it on their souls in simple terms. He then knelt down in prayer for
them, and left them somewhat impressed, and very grateful.

At this time a youthful parishioner, for whose soul he felt much
anxiety, left his father's roof. Ever watchful for souls, he seized
this opportunity of laying before him more fully the things belonging
to his peace.

                                     "Larbert, _August 8, 1836_

   "MY DEAR G.----. You will be surprised to hear from me. I have
   often wished to be better acquainted with you; but in these sad
   parishes we cannot manage to know and be intimate with every one
   we would desire. And now you have left your father's roof and
   our charge; still my desires go after you, as well as the kind
   thoughts of many others; and since I cannot now speak to you, I
   take this way of expressing my thoughts to you. I do not know in
   what light you look upon me, whether as a grave and morose
   minister, or as one who might be a companion and friend; but
   really, it is so short a while since I was just like you, when I
   enjoyed the games which you now enjoy, and read the books which
   you now read, that I never can think of myself as anything more
   than a boy. This is one great reason why I write to you. The
   same youthful blood flows in my veins that flows in yours, the
   same fancies and buoyant passions dance in my bosom as in yours;
   so that when I would persuade you to come with me to the same
   Saviour, and to walk the rest of your life 'led by the Spirit of
   God,' I am not persuading you to anything beyond your years. I
   am not like a grey-headed grandfather,--then you might answer
   all I say by telling me that you are a boy. No; I am almost as
   much a boy as you are; as fond of happiness and of life as you
   are; as fond of scampering over the hills, and seeing all that
   is to be seen, as you are.

   "Another thing that persuades me to write you, my dear boy, is,
   that I have felt in my own experience the want of having a
   friend to direct and counsel me. I had a kind brother as you
   have, who taught me many things. He gave me a Bible, and
   persuaded me to read it; he tried to train me as a gardener
   trains the apple-tree upon the wall; but all in vain. I thought
   myself far wiser than he, and would always take my own way; and
   many a time, I well remember, I have seen him reading his
   Bible, or shutting his closet door to pray, when I have been
   dressing to go to some frolic, or some dance of folly. Well,
   this dear friend and brother died; and though his death made a
   greater impression upon me than ever his life had done, still I
   found the misery of being _friendless_. I do not mean that I had
   no relations and worldly friends, for I had many; but I had no
   friend _who cared for my soul_. I had none to direct me to the
   Saviour--none to awaken my slumbering conscience--none to tell
   me about the blood of Jesus washing away all sin--none to tell
   me of the Spirit who is so willing to change the heart, and give
   the victory over passions. I had no minister to take me by the
   hand, and say, 'Come with me, and we will do thee good.' Yes, I
   had one friend and minister, but that was Jesus himself, and He
   led me in a way that makes me give Him, and Him only, all the
   praise. Now, though Jesus may do this again, yet the more common
   way with Him is to use earthly guides. Now, if I could supply
   the place of such a guide to you, I should be happy. To be a
   finger-post is all that I want to be--pointing out the way. This
   is what I so much wanted myself; this is what you need not want,
   unless you wish.

   "Tell me, dear G., would you work less pleasantly through the
   day--would you walk the streets with a more doleful step--would
   you eat your meat with less gladness of heart--would you sleep
   less tranquilly at night--if you had _the forgiveness of sins_,
   that is, if all your wicked thoughts and deeds--lies, thefts,
   and Sabbath-breakings--were all blotted out of God's book of
   remembrance? Would this make you less happy, do you think? You
   dare not say it would. But would the forgiveness of sins not
   make you more happy than you are? Perhaps you will tell me that
   you are very happy as you are. I quite believe you. I know that
   I was very happy when I was unforgiven. I know that I had great
   pleasure in many sins--in Sabbath-breaking, for instance. Many a
   delightful walk I have had,--speaking my own words, thinking my
   own thoughts, and seeking my own pleasure on God's holy day. I
   fancy few boys were ever happier in an unconverted state than I
   was. No sorrow clouded my brow--no tears filled my eyes, unless
   over some nice story-book; so that I know that you say quite
   true, when you say that you are happy as you are. But ah! is not
   this just the saddest thing of all, that you should be happy
   whilst you are a child of wrath,--that you should smile, and
   eat, and drink, and be merry, and sleep sound, when this very
   night you may be in _hell_? Happy while unforgiven!--a terrible
   happiness. It is like the Hindoo widow who sits upon the funeral
   pile with her dead husband, and sings songs of joy when they are
   setting fire to the wood with which she is to be burned. Yes,
   you may be quite happy in this way, till you die, my boy; but
   when you look back from hell, you will say, it was a miserable
   kind of happiness. Now, do you think it would not give you more
   happiness to be forgiven,--to be able to put on Jesus, and say,
   'God's anger is turned away?' Would not you be happier at work,
   and happier in the house, and happier in your bed? I can assure
   you from all that ever I have felt of it, the pleasures of being
   forgiven are as superior to the pleasures of an unforgiven man,
   as heaven is higher than hell. The peace of being forgiven
   reminds me of the calm, blue sky, which no earthly clamors can
   disturb. It lightens all labor, sweetens every morsel of bread,
   and makes a sick-bed all soft and downy; yea, it takes away the
   scowl of death. Now, forgiveness may be yours _now_. It is not
   given to those who are good. It is not given to any because they
   are less wicked than others. It is given _only_ to those who,
   feeling that their sins have brought a curse on them which they
   cannot lift off, 'look unto Jesus,' as bearing all away.

   "Now, my dear boy, I have no wish to weary you. If you are
   anything like what I was, you will have yawned many a time
   already over this letter. However, if the Lord deal graciously
   with you, and touch your young heart, as I pray He may, with a
   desire to be forgiven, and to be made a child of God, perhaps
   you will not take ill what I have written to you in much haste.
   As this is the first time you have been away from home, perhaps
   you have not learned to write letters yet; but if you have, I
   would like to hear from you, how you come on--what convictions
   you feel, if you feel any--what difficulties, what parts of the
   Bible puzzle you, and then I would do my best to unravel them.
   You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and
   understand it, and still more, to _feel it_. Read more parts
   than one at a time. For example, if you are reading Genesis,
   read a psalm also; or, if you are reading Matthew, read a small
   bit of an epistle also. _Turn the Bible into prayer._ Thus, if
   you were reading the 1st Psalm, spread the Bible on the chair
   before you, and kneel, and pray, 'O Lord, give me the
   blessedness of the man,' etc. 'Let me not stand in the counsel
   of the ungodly,' etc. This is the best way of knowing the
   meaning of the Bible, and of learning to pray. In prayer confess
   your sins by name--going over those of the past day, one by one.
   Pray for your friends by name--father, mother, etc. etc. If you
   love them, surely you will pray for their souls. I know well
   that there are prayers constantly ascending for you from your
   own house; and will you not pray for them back again? Do this
   regularly. If you pray sincerely for others, it will make you
   pray for yourself.

   "But I must be done. Good-bye, dear G. Remember me to your
   brother kindly, and believe me your sincere friend,


It is the shepherd's duty (Ezek. 34:4), in visiting his flock, to
discriminate; "strengthening the diseased, healing that which was
sick, binding up that which was broken, bringing again that which was
driven away, seeking that which was lost." This Mr. M'Cheyne tried to
do. In an after-letter to Mr. Somerville of Anderston, in reference to
the people of these parishes, whom he had had means of knowing, he
wrote, "Take more heed to the saints than ever I did. Speak a word in
season to S.M. S.H. will drink in simple truth, but tell him to be
humble-minded. Cause L.H. to learn in silence; speak not of _religion_
to her, but speak to her case always. Teach A.M. to look simply at
Jesus. J.A. warn and teach. Get worldliness from the B.'s, if you can.
Mrs. G. awake or keep awake. Speak faithfully to the B.'s. Tell me of
M.C., if she is really a believer, and grows. A.K., has the light
visited her? M.T. I have had some doubts of. M.G. lies sore upon my
conscience; I did no good to that woman: she always managed to speak
of _things about the truth_. Speak boldly. What matter in eternity the
slight awkwardnesses of time!"

It was about this time that the managers and congregation of the new
church, St. Peter's, Dundee, invited him to preach as one of the
candidates; and, in the end of August, chose him to be their pastor,
with one accord. He accepted the call under an awful sense of the
work that lay before him. He would rather, he said, have made choice
for himself of such a rural parish as Dunipace; but the Lord seemed to
desire it otherwise. "His ways are in the sea." More than once, at a
later period, he would say, "We might have thought that God would have
sent a strong man to such a parish as mine, and not a feeble reed."

The first day he preached in St. Peter's as a candidate (August 14th)
is thus recorded: "Forenoon--Mind not altogether in a preaching frame;
on the Sower. Afternoon--With more encouragement and help of the
Spirit; on the voice of the Beloved, in Cant. 2:8-17.[6] In the
Evening--With all my heart; on _Ruth_. Lord, keep me humble."
Returning from St. Peter's the second time, he observed in his class
of girls at Dunipace more than usual anxiety. One of them seemed to be
thoroughly awakened that evening. "Thanks be to Thee, Lord, for
anything," he writes that evening; for as yet he had sown without
seeing fruit. It seems to have been part of the Lord's dealing with
him, thus to teach him to persevere in duty and in faith, even where
there was no obvious success. The arrow that was yet to wound hundreds
was then receiving its point; but it lay in the quiver for a time. The
Lord seemed to be touching his own heart, and melting it by what he
spoke to others, rather than touching or melting the hearts of those
he spoke to. But from the day of his preaching in St. Peter's, tokens
of success began. His first day there, especially the evening sermon
on Ruth, was blessed to two souls in Dundee; and now he sees souls
begin to melt under his last words in the parish where he thought he
had hitherto spent his strength in vain.

     [6] See this characteristic sermon in the Remains.

As he was now to leave this sphere, he sought out, with deep anxiety,
a laborer who would help their overburdened pastor, in true love to
the people's souls. He believed he had found such a laborer in Mr.
Somerville, his friend who had shared his every thought and feeling in
former days, and who, with a sharp sickle in his hand, was now
advancing toward the harvest field. "I see plainly," he wrote to Mr.
Bonar, "that my poor attempts at labor in your clear parish will soon
be eclipsed. But if at length the iron front of unbelief give way, if
the hard faces become furrowed with the tears of anxiety and of
faith, under whatever ministry, you will rejoice, and I will rejoice,
and the angels, and the Father and God of angels, will rejoice." It
was in this spirit that he closed his short ten months of labor in
this region.

His last sermons to the people of Larbert and Dunipace were on Hosea
14:1, "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God;" and Jeremiah 8:20,
"Harvest is past." In the evening he writes, "Lord, I feel bowed down
because of the little I have done for them which Thou mightest have
blessed! My bowels yearn over them, and all the more that I have done
so little. Indeed, I might have done ten times as much as I have done.
I might have been in every house; I might have spoken always as a
minister. Lord, canst Thou bless partial, unequal efforts?"

I believe it was about this time that some of us first of all began
our custom of praying specially for each other on Saturday evening,
with a reference to our engagements in the ministry next day. This
concert for prayer we have never since seen cause to discontinue. It
has from time to time been widened in its circle; and as yet his has
been the only voice that has been silenced of all that thus began to
go in on each other's behalf before the Lord. Mr. M'Cheyne never
failed to remember this time of prayer: "Larbert and Dunipace are
always on my heart, especially on the Saturday evenings, when I pray
for a glorious Sabbath!" On one occasion, in Dundee, he was asked if
the accumulation of business in his parish never led him to neglect
the season of prayer on a busy Saturday. His reply was, that he was
not aware that it ever did. "What would my people do if I were not to

So steady was he in Sabbath preparations, from the first day to the
last time he was with them, that though at prayer-meetings, or similar
occasions, he did not think it needful to have much laid up before
coming to address his people; yet, anxious to give them on the Sabbath
what had cost him somewhat, he never, without an urgent reason, went
before them without much previous meditation and prayer. His principle
on this subject was embodied in a remark he made to some of us who
were conversing on the matter. Being asked his view of diligent
preparation for the pulpit, he reminded us of Exodus 27:20: "_Beaten
oil--beaten oil for the lamps of the sanctuary_" And yet his
prayerfulness was greater still. Indeed, he could not neglect
fellowship with God before entering the congregation. He needed to be
bathed in the love of God. His ministry was so much a bringing out of
views that had first sanctified his own soul, that the healthiness of
his soul was absolutely needful to the vigor and power of his

During these ten months the Lord had done much for him, but it was
chiefly in the way of discipline for a future ministry. He had been
taught a minister's heart; he had been tried in the furnace; he had
tasted deep personal sorrow, little of which has been recorded; he had
felt the fiery darts of temptation; he had been exercised in
self-examination and in much prayer; he had proved how flinty is the
rock, and had learned that in lifting the rod by which it was to be
smitten, success lay in Him alone who enabled him to lift it up. And
thus prepared of God for the peculiar work that awaited him, he had
turned his face towards Dundee, and took up his abode in the spot
where the Lord was so marvelously to visit him in his ministry.



   "_Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what
   manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord
   with all humility of mind, and with many tears and
   temptations_"--Acts 20:18, 19.

The day on which he was ordained pastor of a flock, was a day of much
anxiety to his soul. He had journeyed by Perth to spend the night
preceding under the roof of his kind friend Mr. Grierson, in the manse
of Errol. Next morning, ere he left the manse, three passages of
Scripture occupied his mind. 1. "_Thou shall keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee_."--Isaiah
26:3. This verse was seasonable; for, as he sat meditating on the
solemn duties of the day, his heart trembled. 2. "_Give thyself wholly
to these things"_--I Tim. 4:15. May that word (he prayed) sink deep
into my heart. 3. "_Here am I, send me_"--Isaiah 6:8. "To go, or to
stay,--to be here till death, or to visit foreign shores, whatsoever,
wheresoever, whensoever Thou pleasest." He rose from his knees with
the prayer, "Lord, may thy grace come with the laying on of the hands
of the Presbytery."

He was ordained on November 24, 1836. The service was conducted by Mr.
Roxburgh of St. John's, through whose exertions the new church had
been erected, and who ever afterwards cherished the most cordial
friendship towards him. On the Sabbath following he was introduced to
his flock by Mr. John Bonar of Larbert, with whom he had labored as a
son in the gospel. Himself preached in the afternoon upon Isaiah
61:1-3, "_The Spirit of the Lord is upon me_" etc.; of which he
writes, "May it be prophetic of the object of my coming here!" And
truly it was so. That very sermon--the first preached by him as a
pastor--was the means of awakening souls, as he afterwards learned;
and ever onward the impressions left by his words seemed to spread
and deepen among his people. To keep up the remembrance of this solemn
day, he used in all the subsequent years of his ministry to preach
from this same text on the anniversary of his ordination.[7] In the
evening of that day, Mr. Bonar again preached on "_These times of
refreshing._" "A noble sermon, showing the marks of such times. Ah!
when shall we have them here? Lord bless this word, to help their
coming! Put thy blessing upon this day! Felt given over to God, as one
bought with a price."

     [7] The _Acceptable Year of the Lord_ was one of these
     Anniversary Sermons, preached November 1840.

There was a rapid growth in his soul, perceptible to all who knew him
well, from this time. Even his pulpit preparations, he used to say,
became easier from this date. He had earnestly sought that the day of
his ordination might be a time of new grace; he expected it would be
so; and there was a peculiar work to be done by his hands, for which
the Holy Spirit did speedily prepare him.

His diary does not contain much of his feelings during his residence
in Dundee. His incessant labors left him little time, except what he
scrupulously spent in the direct exercises of devotion. But what we
have seen of his manner of study and self-examination at Larbert, is
sufficient to show in what a constant state of cultivation his soul
was kept; and his habits in these respects continued with him to the
last. Jeremy Taylor recommends: "If thou meanest to enlarge thy
religion, do it rather by enlarging thine ordinary devotions than thy
extraordinary." This advice describes very accurately the plan of
spiritual life on which Mr. M'Cheyne acted. He did occasionally set
apart seasons for special prayer and fasting, occupying the time so
set apart exclusively in devotion. But the real secret of his soul's
prosperity lay in the daily enlargement of his heart in fellowship
with his God. And the river deepened as it flowed on to eternity; so
that he at least reached the feature of a holy pastor which Paul
pointed out to Timothy (4:15): "His profiting did appear to all."

In his own house everything was fitted to make you feel that the
service of God was a cheerful service, while he sought that every
arrangement of the family should bear upon eternity. His morning
hours were set apart for the nourishment of his own soul; not,
however, with the view of laying up a stock of grace for the rest of
the day,--for manna will corrupt if laid by,--but rather with the view
of "giving the eye the habit of looking upward all the day, and
drawing down gleams from the reconciled countenance." He was sparing
in the hours devoted to sleep, and resolutely secured time for
devotion before breakfast, although often wearied and exhausted when
he laid himself to rest. "A soldier of the cross," was his remark,
"must endure hardness." Often he sang a psalm of praise, as soon as he
arose, to stir up his soul. Three chapters of the word was his usual
morning portion. This he thought little enough, for he delighted
exceedingly in the Scriptures: they were better to him than thousands of
gold or silver. "When you write," said he to a friend, "tell me the
meaning of Scriptures." To another, in expressing his value for the
word, he said, "One gem from that ocean is worth all the pebbles of
earthly streams."

His chief season of relaxation seemed to be breakfast-time. He would
come down with a happy countenance and a full soul; and after the
sweet season of family prayer, forthwith commence forming plans for
the day. When he was well, nothing seemed to afford him such true
delight as to have his hands full of work. Indeed, it was often
remarked that in him you found--what you rarely meet with--a man of
high poetic imagination and deep devotion, who nevertheless was
engaged unceasingly in the busiest and most laborious activities of
his office.

His friends could observe how much his soul was engrossed during his
times of study of devotion. If interrupted on such occasions, though
he never seemed ruffled, yet there was a kind of gravity and silence
that implied--"I wish to be alone." But he further aimed at enjoying
God _all the day_. And referring on one occasion to those blank hours
which so often are a believer's burden,--hours during which the soul
is dry and barren,--he observed, "They are proofs of how little we are
_filled_ with the presence of God, how little we are _branchlike_[8]
in our faith."

     [8] Compare Zechariah 4:12 with John 15:5.

This careful attention to the frame of his spirit did not hinder his
preparation for his people; on the contrary, it kept alive his deep
conscientiousness, and kept his warm compassion ever yearning. When
asked to observe a Saturday as a day of fasting and prayer, along with
some others who had a special object in view, he replied, "Saturday is
an awkward day for ministers; for though I love to seek help from on
high, I love also diligently to set my thoughts in order for the
Sabbath. I sometimes fear that you fail in this latter duty."

During his first years in Dundee, he often rode out in an afternoon to
the ruined church of Invergowrie, to enjoy an hour's perfect solitude;
for he felt meditation and prayer to be the very sinews of his work.
Such notices, also, as the following, show his systematic pursuit of
personal holiness:--

"_April 9, 1837_, Evening.--A very pleasant quietness. Study of the
Epistle to the Hebrews. Came to a more intelligent view of the first
six chapters than ever before. Much refreshed by John Newton;
instructed by Edwards. Help and freedom in prayer. Lord, what a happy
season is a Sabbath evening! What will heaven be!"

"_April 16_, Sabbath evening.--Much prayer and peace. Reading the
Bible only."

"_June 2._--Much peace and rest to-night. Much broken under a sense of
my exceeding wickedness, which no eye can see but thine. Much
persuasion of the sufficiency of Christ, and of the constancy of his
love. Oh how sweet to work all day for God, and then to lie down at
night under his smiles!"

"_June 17, 1838._--At Dumbarney communion. Much sin and coldness two
days before. Lay low at his feet; found peace only in Jesus."

"_Sept. 25._--Spent last week at Blairgowrie; I hope not in vain. Much
sin, weakness, and uselessness; much delight in the word also, while
opening it up at family prayer. May God make the word fire. Opened I
Thessalonians, the whole; enriching to my own mind. How true is Psalm
1! yet observed in my heart a strange proneness to be entangled with
the affairs of this life; not strange because I am good, but because I
have been so often taught that bitterness is the end of it."

"_Sept. 27._--Devoted chief part of Friday to fasting. Humbled and

"Sept. 30, Sabbath.--Very happy in my work. Too little prayer in the
morning. Must try to get early to bed on Saturday, that I may 'rise a
great while before day.'" These early hours of prayer on Sabbath he
endeavored to have all his life; not for study, but for prayer. He
never labored at his sermons on a Sabbath. That day he kept for its
original end, the _refreshment of his soul_. (Exodus 31:17.)

The parish of St. Peter's, to which he had come, was large and very
destitute. It is situated at the west end of the town, and included
some part of the adjacent country. The church was built in connection
with the Church Extension Scheme. The parish was a _quoard sacra_
parish, detached from St. John's. It contains a population of 4,000
souls, very many of whom never crossed the threshold of any sanctuary.
His congregation amounted at the very outset, to about 1,100 hearers,
one-third of whom came from distant parts of the town.

Here was a wide field for parochial labor. It was also a very dead
region--few, even of those who were living Christians, breathing their
life on others; for the surrounding mass of impenetrate heathenism had
cast its sad influence even over them. His first impressions of Dundee
were severe. "A city given to idolatry and hardness of heart. I fear
there is much of what Isaiah speaks of: 'The prophets prophesy lies,
and the people love to have it so.'"

His first months of labor were very trying. He was not strong in
bodily health, and that winter a fatal influenza prevailed for two or
three months, so that most of his time in his parish was spent in
visiting the sick and dying. In such cases he was always ready. "Did I
tell you of the boy I was asked to see on Sabbath evening, just when I
got myself comfortably seated at home? I went, and was speaking to him
of the freeness and fulness of Jesus, when he gasped a little and

In one of his first visits to the sick, the narrative of the Lord's
singular dealings with one of his parishioners greatly encouraged him
to carry the glad tidings to the distressed under every disadvantage.
Four years before, a young woman had been seized with cholera, and was
deprived of the use of speech for a whole year. The Bible was read to
her, and men of God used to speak and pray with her. At the end of the
year her tongue was loosed, and the first words heard from her lips
were praise and thanksgiving for what the Lord had done for her soul.
It was in her chamber he was now standing, hearing from her own lips
what the Lord had wrought.

On another occasion during the first year of his ministry, he
witnessed the death-bed conversion of a man who, till within a few
days of his end, almost denied that there was a God. This solid
conversion, as he believed it to be, stirred him up to speak with all
hopefulness, as well as earnestness, to the dying.

But it was, above all, to the children of God that his visitations
seemed blessed. His voice, and his very eye, spoke tenderness; for
personal affliction had taught him to feel sympathy with the
sorrowing. Though the following be an extract from a letter, yet it
will be recognised by many as exhibiting his mode of dealing with
God's afflicted ones in his visitations: "There is a sweet word in
Exodus (3:7), which was pointed out to me the other day by a poor
bereaved child of God: 'I know their sorrows.' Study that; it fills
the soul. Another word like it is in Psalm 103:14: 'He knoweth our
frame.' May your own soul, and that of your dear friends, be fed by
these things. A dark hour makes Jesus bright. Another sweet word:
'They knew not that it was Jesus.'"

I find some specimens of his sick visits among his papers, noted down
at a time when his work had not grown upon his hands. "_January 25,
1837_--Visited Mt. M'Bain, a young woman of twenty-four, long ill of
decline. Better or worse these ten years past. Spoke of '_The one
thing needful_' plainly. She sat quiet. _February 14_--Had heard she
was better--found her near dying. Spoke plainly and tenderly to her,
commending Christ. Used many texts. She put out her hand kindly on
leaving. 15th--Still dying like; spoke as yesterday. She never opened
her eyes. 16th--Showed her the dreadfulness of wrath; freeness of
Christ; the majesty, justice, truth of God. Poor M. is fast going the
way whence she shall not return. Many neighbors also always gather in.
17th--Read Psalm 22; showed the sufferings of Christ; how sufficient
an atonement; how feeling a High Priest. She breathed loud, and
groaned through pain. Died this evening at seven. I hardly ever heard
her speak anything; and I will hope that thou art with Christ in
glory, till I go and see. 20th--Prayed at her funeral. Saw her laid in
St. Peter's churchyard, _the first laid there_, by her own desire, in
the fresh mould where never man was laid. May it be a token that she
is with Him who was laid in a new tomb."

He records another case: "_January 4, 1837_--Sent for to Mrs. S----.
Very ill; asthmatic. Spoke on '_No condemnation to them that are in
Christ_.' She said, 'But am I in Christ?' seemingly very anxious. Said
she had often been so, and had let it go by. 5th--Still living; spoke
to her of Christ, and of full salvation. (Myself confined in the house
till the 16th.)--Much worse. Not anxious to hear, yet far from rest.
Dark, uneasy eye. Asked me, 'What is it to believe?' Spoke to her on
'_God, who made light shine out of darkness._' She seemed to take up
nothing. Lord, help! 17th--Still worse; wearing away. No smile; no
sign of inward peace. Spoke of '_Remember me._' Went over the whole
gospel in the form of personal address. She drowsy. 18th--Quieter.
'_My Lord and my God_.' She spoke at intervals. More cheerful; anxious
that I should not go without prayer. Has much knowledge; complete
command of the Bible. 19th--Spoke on '_Convincing of sin and
righteousness._' Rather more heart to hear. 20th--Psalm 51. Her look
and her words were lightsome. 23d--Faintish and restless; no sign of
peace. '_I am the way_,' and Psalm 25. 24th--Still silent and little
sign of anything. 26th--Psalm 40, '_The fearful pit._' Very plain.
Could not get anything out of her. February 1--Died at twelve noon; no
visible mark of light, or comfort, or hope. The day shall declare it."

One other case: "_February 5, 1839._--Called suddenly in the evening.
Found him near death. Careless family. Many round him. Spoke of the
freeness and sufficiency of Jesus. '_Come unto me_,' etc., and '_The
wrath of God revealed from heaven_.' Told him he was going where he
would see Christ! asked him if He would be his Saviour? He seemed to
answer; his father said, 'He is saying, Yes.' But it was the throe of
death. One or two indescribable gasps, and he died! I sat silent, and
let God preach. 7th--Spoke of the '_Widow of Nain_,' and '_Behold I
stand at the door._'"

Attendance at funerals was often to him a season of much exercise.
Should it not be to all ministers a time for solemn inquiry? Was I
faithful with this soul? Could this soul have learned salvation from
me every time I saw him? And did I pray as fervently as I spoke? And
if we have tender pity for souls, we will sometimes feel as Mr.
M'Cheyne records: "_September 24._--Buried A.M. Felt bitterly the
word, 'If any man draw back.' etc. Never had more bitter feelings at
any funeral."

All who make any pretension to the office of shepherds visit their
flocks;[9] yet there is a wide difference in the kind of visits which
shepherds give. One does it formally, to discharge his duty and to
quiet conscience; another makes it his delight. And of those who make
it their delight, one goes forth on the regular plan of addressing all
in somewhat of the same style; while another speaks freely, according
as the wounds of his sheep come to view. On all occasions, this
difficult and trying work must be gone about with a full heart, if it
is to be gone about successfully at all. There is little in it to
excite, for there is not the presence of numbers, and the few you see
at a time are in their calmest, every-day mood. Hence there is need of
being full of grace, and need of feeling as though God did visit every
hearer by your means. Our object is not to get duty done, but to get
souls saved. II Cor. 13:7. Mr. M'Cheyne used to go forth in this
spirit, and often after visiting from house to house for several
hours, he would return to some room in the place in the evening, and
preach to the gathered families. "_September 26, 1838._--Good
visiting-day. Twelve families; many of them go nowhere. It is a great
thing to be well furnished by meditation and prayer before setting
out; it makes you a far more full and faithful witness. Preached in
A.F.'s house on Job, '_I know that my Redeemer liveth._' Very sweet
and precious to myself."

     [9] Baxter (_Reformed Pastor_) says, "I dare prognosticate from
     knowledge of the nature of true grace, that all godly ministers
     will make conscience of this duty, and address themselves to it,
     unless they be, by some extraordinary accident, disabled."

Partly from his state of health, and partly from the vast accumulation
of other labors, and the calls made on him for evangelizing elsewhere,
he was never able to overtake the visitation of the whole district
assigned him. He was blessed to attract and reclaim very many of the
most degraded; and by Sabbath schools and a regular eldership, to take
superintendence of the population to a great extent. Still he himself
often said that his parish had never fully shared in the advantages
that attend an aggressive system of parochial labor. Once when
spending a day in the rural parish of Collace, as we went in the
afternoon from door to door, and spoke to the children whom we met on
the road-side, he smiled and said, "Well, how I envy a country
minister; for he can get acquainted with all his people, and have some
insight into their real character." Many of us thought that he
afterwards erred, in the abundant frequency of his evangelistic labors
at a time when he was still bound to a particular flock.

He had an evening class every week for the young people of his
congregation. The Catechism and the Bible were his text-books, while
he freely introduced all manner of useful illustrations. He thought
himself bound to prepare diligently for his classes, that he might
give accurate and simple explanations, and unite what was interesting
with the most solemn and awakening views. But it was his class for
young communicants that engaged his deepest care, and wherein he saw
most success. He began a class of this kind previous to his first
Communion, and continued to form it again some weeks before every
similar occasion. His tract, published in 1840, _This do in
remembrance of Me_, may be considered as exhibiting the substance of
his solemn examination on these occasions.

He usually noted down his first impressions of his communicants, and
compared these notes with what he afterwards saw in them. Thus: "M.K.,
sprightly and lightsome, yet sensible; she saw plainly that the
converted alone should come to the Table, but stumbled at the
question, If she were converted? Yet she claimed being awakened and
brought to Christ." Another: "Very staid, intelligent-like person,
with a steady kind of anxiety, but, I fear, no feeling of
helplessness. Thought that sorrow and prayer would obtain forgiveness.
Told her plainly what I thought of her case." Another: "Knows she was
once Christless; now she reads, and prays, and is anxious. I doubt not
there is some anxiety, yet I fear it may be only a self-reformation to
recommend herself to God and to man. Told her plainly." "A.M., I fear
much for him. Gave him a token with much anxiety; warned him very
much." "C.P. does not seem to have any work of anxiety. He reads
prayer-books, etc. Does not pray in secret. Seems not very

He sought to encourage Sabbath schools in all the districts of his
parish. The hymn, _Oil for the Lamp_, was written to impress the
parable on a class of Sabbath scholars in 1841. Some of his sweet,
simple tracts were written for these schools. _Reasons why Children
should fly to Christ_ was the first, written at the New Year 1839; and
_The Lambs of the Flock_ was another at a later period. His heart felt
for the young. One evening, after visiting some of his Sabbath
schools, he writes: "Had considerable joy in teaching the children. Oh
for real heart-work among them!" He could accommodate himself to their
capacities; and he did not reckon it vain to use his talents in order
to attract their attention, for he regarded the soul of a child as
infinitely precious. Ever watchful for opportunities, on the blank
leaf of a book which he had sent to a little boy of his congregation,
he wrote these simple lines:--

      Peace be to thee, gentle boy!
      Many years of health and joy!
      Love your Bible more than play,
      Grow in wisdom every day.
      Like the lark on hovering wing,
      Early rise, and mount and sing;
      Like the dove that found no rest
      Till it flew to Noah's breast,
      Rest not in this world of sin,
      Till the Saviour take thee in.

He had a high standard in his mind as to the moral qualifications of
those who should teach the young. When a female teacher was sought for
to conduct an evening school in his parish for the sake of the
mill-girls, he wrote to one interested in the cause: "The
qualifications she should possess for sewing and knitting you will
understand far better than I. She should be able to keep up in her
scholars the fluency of reading, and the knowledge of the Bible and
Catechism which they may have already acquired. She should be able to
teach them to sing the praises of God with feeling and melody. But,
far above all, she should be a Christian woman, not in name only but
in deed and in truth,--one whose heart has been touched by the Spirit
of God, and who can love the souls of little children. Any teacher who
wanted this last qualification, I would look upon as a curse rather
than a blessing,--a centre of blasting and coldness and death, instead
of a centre from which life and warmth and heavenly influence might

It was very soon after his ordination that he began his weekly
prayer-meeting in the church. He had heard how meetings of this kind
had been blessed in other places, and never had he any cause to regret
having set apart the Thursday evening for this holy purpose. One of
its first effects was to quicken those who had already believed; they
were often refreshed upon these occasions even more than on the
Sabbath. Some of the most solemn seasons of his ministry were at those
meetings. At their commencement, he wrote to me an account of his
manner of conducting them: "I give my people a Scripture to be hidden
in the heart--generally a promise of the Spirit or the wonderful
effects of his outpouring.[10] I give them the heads of a sermon upon
it for about twenty minutes. Prayer goes before and follows. Then I
read some history of Revivals, and comment in passing. I think the
people are very much interested in it: a number of people come from
all parts of the town. But, oh! I need much the living Spirit to my
own soul; I want my life to be hid with Christ in God. At present
there is too much hurry, and bustle, and outward working, to allow the
calm working of the Spirit on the heart. I seldom get time to
meditate, like Isaac, at evening-tide, except when I am tired; but the
dew comes down when all nature is at rest--when every leaf is still."

     [10] The first text he gave to be thus hidden in the heart was
     Isaiah 34:15; "Until the Spirit be poured out from on high."

A specimen of the happy freedom and familiar illustrations which his
people felt to be peculiar to these meetings, may be found in the
notes taken by one of his hearers, of _Expositions of the Epistles to
the Seven Churches_, given during the year 1838. He had himself great
delight in the Thursday evening meetings. "They will doubtless be
remembered in eternity with songs of praise," said he, on one
occasion; and at another time, observing the tender frame of a soul
which was often manifested at these seasons, he said, "There is a
stillness to the last word,--not as on Sabbaths, a rushing down at the
end of the prayer, as if glad to get out of God's presence." So many
believing and so many inquiring souls used to attend, and so few of
the worldlings, that you seemed to breathe the atmosphere of heaven.

But it was his Sabbath-day's services that brought multitudes
together, and were soon felt throughout the town. He was ever so ready
to assist his brethren so much engaged in every good work, and
latterly so often interrupted by inquiries, that it might be thought
he had no time for careful preparation, and might be excused for the
absence of it. But, in truth, he never preached without careful
attention bestowed on his subject. He might, indeed, have little
time--often the hours of a Saturday was all the time he could
obtain,--but his daily study of the Scriptures stored his mind, and
formed a continual preparation. Much of his Sabbath services was a
drawing out of what he had carried in during busy days of the week.

His voice was remarkably clear,--his manner attractive by its mild
dignity. His form itself drew the eye.[11] He spoke from the pulpit as
one earnestly occupied with the souls before him. He made them feel
sympathy with what he spoke, for his own eye and heart were on them.
He was, at the same time, able to bring out illustrations at once
simple and felicitous, often with poetic skill and elegance. He wished
to use Saxon words, for the sake of being understood by the most
illiterate in his audience. And while his style was singularly clear,
this clearness itself was so much the consequence of his being able
thoroughly to analyse and explain his subject, that all his hearers
alike reaped the benefit.

     [11] "Gration est pulchro veniens e corpore virtus."

He went about his public work with awful reverence. So evident was
this, that I remember a countryman in my parish observed to me:
"Before he opened his lips, as he came along the passage, there was
something about him that sorely affected me." In the vestry there was
never any idle conversation; all was preparation of heart in
approaching God; and a short prayer preceded his entering the pulpit.
Surely in going forth to speak for God, a man may well be overawed!
Surely in putting forth his hand to sow the seed of the kingdom, a man
may even tremble! And surely we should aim at nothing less than to
pour forth the truth upon our people through the channel of our own
living and deeply affected souls.

After announcing the subject of his discourse, he used generally to
show the position it occupied in the context, and then proceed to
bring out the doctrines of the text, in the manner of our old divines.
This done, he divided his subject; and herein he was eminently
skilful. "The heads of his sermons," said a friend, "were not the
mile-stones that tell you how near you are to your journey's end, but
they were nails which fixed and fastened all he said. Divisions are
often dry; but not so _his_ divisions,--they were so textual and so
feeling, and they brought out the spirit of a passage so

It was his wish to arrive nearer at the primitive mode of expounding
Scripture in his sermons. Hence when one asked him, If he was never
afraid of running short of sermons some day? he replied, "No; I am
just an interpreter of Scripture in my sermons; and when the Bible
runs dry, then I shall." And in the same spirit he carefully avoided
the too common mode of accommodating texts,--fastening a doctrine on
the words, not drawing it from the obvious connection of the passage.
He endeavored at all times to _preach the mind of the Spirit in a
passage_; for he feared that to do otherwise would be to grieve the
Spirit who had written it. Interpretation was thus a solemn matter to
him. And yet, adhering scrupulously to this sure principle, he felt
himself in no way restrained from using, for every day's necessities,
all parts of the Old Testament as much as the New. His manner was
first to ascertain the primary sense and application, and so proceed
to handle it for present use. Thus, on Isaiah 26:16-19, he began:
"This passage, I believe, refers _literally_ to the conversion of
God's ancient people." He regarded the _prophecies_ as _history yet to
be_, and drew lessons from them accordingly as he would have done from
the past. Every spiritual gift being in the hands of Jesus, if he
found Moses or Paul in the possession of precious things, he forthwith
was led to follow them into the presence of that same Lord who gave
them all their grace.

There is a wide difference between preaching _doctrine_ and preaching
_Christ_. Mr. M'Cheyne preached all the doctrines of Scripture as
understood by our Confession of Faith, dwelling upon ruin by the Fall,
and recovery by the Mediator. "The things of the human heart, and the
things of the Divine Mind," were in substance his constant theme. From
personal experience of deep temptation, he could lay open the secrets
of the heart, so that he once said, "He supposed the reason why some
of the worst sinners in Dundee had come to hear him was, because his
heart exhibited so much likeness to theirs." Still it was not
_doctrine_ alone that he preached; it was _Christ_, from whom all
doctrine shoots forth as rays from a centre. He sought to hang every
vessel and flagon upon Him. "It is strange," he wrote after preaching
on Revelation 1:15: "It is strange how sweet and precious it is to
preach directly about Christ, compared with all other subjects of
preaching." And he often expressed a dislike of the phrase "_giving
attention to religion_," because it seemed to substitute doctrine, and
a devout way of thinking, for _Christ himself_.

It is difficult to convey to those who never knew him a correct idea
of the sweetness and holy unction of his preaching. Some of his
sermons, printed from his own MSS. (although almost all are first
copies), may convey a correct idea of his style and mode of preaching
doctrine. But there are no notes that give any true idea of his
affectionate appeals to the heart and searching applications. These he
seldom wrote; they were poured forth at the moment when his heart
filled with his subject; for his rule was to set before his hearers a
body of truth first,--and there always was a vast amount of Bible
truth in his discourses,--and then urge home the application. His
exhortations flowed from his doctrine, and thus had both variety and
power. He was systematic in this; for he observed: "Appeals to the
careless, etc., come with power on the back of some massy truth. See
how Paul does (Acts 13:40), 'Beware, _therefore_, lest,' etc., and
(Hebrews 2:1), '_Therefore_ we should,'" etc.

He was sometimes a little unguarded in his statements, when his heart
was deeply moved and his feelings stirred, and sometimes he was too
long in his addresses; but this also arose from the fulness of his
soul. "Another word," he thought, "may be blessed, though the last has
made no impression."

Many will remember forever the blessed Communion Sabbaths that were
enjoyed in St. Peter's. From the very first these Communion seasons
were remarkably owned of God. The awe of his presence used to be upon
his people, and the house filled with the odor of the ointment, when
his name was poured forth (Song 1:3). But on common Sabbaths also many
soon began to journey long distances to attend St. Peter's,--many from
country parishes, who would return home with their hearts burning, as
they talked of what they had heard that day.

Mr. M'Cheyne knew the snare of popularity, and naturally was one that
would have been fascinated by it; but the Lord kept him.

He was sometimes extraordinarily helped in his preaching; but at other
times, though not perceived by his hearers, his soul felt as if left
to its own resources. The cry of Rowland Hill was constantly on his
lips, "Master, help!" and often is it written at the close of his
sermon. Much affliction, also, was a thorn in the flesh to him. He
described himself as often "strong as a giant when in the church, but
like a willow-wand when all was over." But certainly, above all, his
abiding sense of the divine favor was his safeguard. He began his
ministry in Dundee with this sunshine on his way. "As yet I have been
kept not only in the light of his reconciled countenance, but very
much under the guiding eye of our providing God. Indeed, as I remember
good old Swartz used to say, 'I could not have imagined that He could
have been so gracious to us.'" I believe that while he had some sorer
conflicts, he had also far deeper joy after his return from Palestine
than in the early part of his ministry, though from the very
commencement of it he enjoyed that sense of the love of God which
"keeps the heart and mind." (Phil. 4:7.) This was the true secret of
his holy walk, and of his calm humility. But for this, his ambition
would have become the only principle of many an action; but now the
sweeter love of God constrained him, and the natural ambition of his
spirit could be discerned only as suggesting to him the idea of making
attempts which others would have declined.

What monotony there is in the ministry of many! Duty presses on the
heels of duty in an endless circle. But it is not so when the Spirit
is quickening both the pastor and his flock. Then there is all the
variety of life. It was so here. The Lord began to work by his means
almost from the first day he came. There was ever one and another
stricken, and going apart to weep alone.

The flocking of souls to his ministry, and the deep interest excited,
drew the attention of many, and raised the wish in some quarters to
have him as their pastor. He had not been many months engaged in his
laborious work when he was solicited to remove to the parish of
Skirling, near Biggar. It was an offer that presented great advantages
above his own field of labor as to worldly gain, and in respect of the
prospect it held out of comparative ease and comfort; for the parish
was small and the emolument great. But as it is required of a bishop,
that he be "not greedy of filthy lucre," nay, that he be "one who has
no love of money" ([Greek: aphilarguros] 1 Tim. 3:3) at all, so was it
true that in him these qualifications eminently shone. His remarks in
a letter to his father contain the honest expression of his feelings:
"I am set down among nearly 4000 people; 1100 people have taken seats
in my church. I bring my message, such as it is, within the reach of
that great company every Sabbath-day. I dare not leave 3000 or 4000,
for 300 people. Had this been offered me before, I would have seen it
a direct intimation from God, and would heartily have embraced it. How
I should have delighted to feed so precious a little flock,--to watch
over every family,--to know every heart,--'to allure to brighter
worlds and lead the way!' But God has not so ordered it. He has set me
down among the noisy mechanics and political weavers of this godless
town. He will make the money sufficient. He that paid his taxes from a
fish's mouth, will supply all my need." He had already expressed the
hope, "Perhaps the Lord will make his wilderness of chimney-tops to be
green and beautiful as the garden of the Lord, a field which the Lord
hath blessed!"

His health was delicate; and the harassing care and endless fatigue
incident to his position, in a town like Dundee, seemed unsuitable to
his spirit. This belief led to another attempt to remove him to a
country sphere. In the summer of this same year (1837) he was strongly
urged to preach as a candidate for the vacant parish of St. Martin's,
near Perth, and assured of the appointment if he would only come
forward. But he declined again: "My Master has placed me here with his
own hand; and I never will, directly or indirectly, seek to be

There were circumstances in this latter case that made the call on him
appear urgent in several points of view. In coming to a resolution, he
mentions one interesting element in the decision, in a letter to me,
dated August 8th. "I was much troubled about being asked to go to a
neighboring parish at present vacant, and made it a matter of prayer;
and I mention it now because of the wonderful answer to prayer which I
think I received from God. I prayed that in order to settle my own
mind completely about staying, He would awaken some of my people. I
agreed that that should be a sign He would wish me to stay. The next
morning I think, or at least the second morning, there came to me two
young persons I had never seen before, in great distress. What brought
this to my mind was, that they came to me yesterday, and their
distress is greatly increased. Indeed I never saw any people in such
anguish about their soul. I cannot but regard this as a real answer to
prayer. I have also several other persons in deep distress, and I feel
that I am quite helpless in comforting them. I would fain be like
Noah, who put out his hand and took in the weary dove; but God makes
me stand by and feel that I am a child. Will God never cast the scenes
of our labor near each other? We are in his hand; let Him do as
seemeth Him good. Pray for me, for my people, for my own soul, that I
be not a cast away."

Few godly pastors can be willing to change the scene of their labors,
unless it be plain that the Cloudy Pillar is pointing them away. It is
perilous for men to choose for themselves; and too often has it
happened that the minister who, on slight grounds, moved away from his
former watch-tower, has had reason to mourn over the disappointment of
his hopes in his larger and wider sphere. But while this is admitted,
probably it may appear unwarrantable in Mr. M'Cheyne to have prayed
for a sign of the Lord's will. It is to be observed, however, that he
decided the point of duty on other grounds; and it was only with the
view of obtaining an additional confirmation by the occurrences of
providence, that he prayed in this manner, in submission to the will
of the Lord. He never held it right to decide the path of duty by any
such signs or tokens; he believed that the written word supplied
sufficient data for guiding the believing soul; and such providential
occurrences as happened in this case he regarded as important only as
far as they might be answers to prayer. Indeed, he himself has left us
a glance of his views on this point in a fragment, which (for it is
not dated) may have been written about this time. He had been thinking
on _Gideon's Fleece_.

      When God called Gideon forth to fight--
      "Go, save thou Israel in thy might,"--
      The faithful warrior sought a sign
      That God would on his labors shine.
        The man who, at thy dread command,
        Lifted the shield and deadly brand.
        To do thy strange and fearful work--
        Thy work of blood and vengeance, Lord!--
        Might need assurance doubly tried,
        To prove Thou wouldst his steps betide.
      But when the message which we bring
      Is one to make the dumb man sing;
      To bid the blind man wash and see,
      The lame to leap with ecstasy;
      To raise the soul that's bowed down,
      To wipe away the tears and frown
      To sprinkle all the heart within
        From the accusing voice of sin--
        Then, such a sign my call to prove,
        To preach my Saviour's dying love,
        I cannot, dare not, hope to find.

In the close of the same year 1837, he agreed to become Secretary to
the Association for Church Extension in the country of Forfar. The
Church Extension Scheme, though much misrepresented and much
misunderstood, had in view as its genuine, sincere endeavor, to bring
to overgrown parishes the advantage of a faithful minister, placed
over such a number of souls as he could really visit. Mr. M'Cheyne
cheerfully and diligently forwarded these objects to the utmost of his
power. "It is the cause of God," said he, "and therefore I am willing
to spend and be spent for it." It compelled him to ride much from
place to place; but riding was an exercise of which he was fond, and
which was favorable to his health. As a specimen--"_Dec. 4, 1838._
Travelled to Montrose. Spoke along with Mr. Guthrie at a Church
Extension meeting; eight or nine hundred present. Tried to do
something in the Saviour's cause, both directly and indirectly. Next
day at Forfar. Spoke in the same cause."

How heartily he entered into this scheme may be seen from the
following extract. In a letter of an after date to Mr. Roxburgh, he
says: "Every day I live, I feel more and more persuaded that it is the
cause of God and of his kingdom in Scotland in our day. Many a time,
when I thought myself a dying man, the souls of the perishing
thousands in my own parish, who never enter any house of God, have
lain heavy on my heart. Many a time have I prayed that the eyes of our
enemies might be opened, and that God would open the hearts of our
rulers, to feel that their highest duty and greatest glory is to
support the ministers of Christ, and to send these to every perishing
soul in Scotland." He felt that their misery was all the greater, and
their need the deeper, that such neglected souls had no wish for help,
and would never ask for it themselves. Nor was it that he imagined
that, if churches were built and ministers endowed, this would of
itself be sufficient to reclaim the multitudes of perishing men. But
he sought and expected that the Lord would send faithful men into his
vineyard. These new churches were to be like cisterns--ready to catch
the shower when it should fall, just as his own did in the day of the
Lord's power.

His views on this subject were summed up in the following lines,
written one day as he sat in company with some of his zealous brethren
who were deeply engaged in the scheme:

      Give me a man of God the truth to preach,
      A house of prayer within convenient reach,
      Seat-rents the poorest of the poor can pay,
      A spot so small one pastor can survey:
      Give these--and give the Spirit's genial shower,
      Scotland shall be a garden all in flower!

Another public duty to which, during all the years of his ministry, he
gave constant attention, was attendance at the meetings of presbytery.
His candor, and uprightness, and Christian generosity, were felt by
all his brethren; and his opinion, though the opinion of so young a
man, was regarded with more than common respect. In regard to the
great public questions that were then shaking the Church of Scotland,
his views were decided and unhesitating. No policy, in his view, could
be more ruinous to true Christianity, or more fitted to blight vital
godliness, than that of Moderatism. He wrote once to a friend in
Ireland: "You don't know what Moderatism is. It is a plant that our
heavenly Father never planted, and I trust it is now to be rooted up."
The great question of the Church's independence of the Civil Power in
all matters spiritual, and the right of the Christian people to judge
if the pastor appointed over them had the Shepherd's voice, he
invariably held to be part of Scripture truth, which, therefore, must
be preached and carried into practice, at all hazards. In like manner
he rejoiced exceedingly in the settlements of faithful ministers. The
appointments of Mr. Baxter to Hilltown, Mr. Lewis to St. David's, and
Mr. Miller to Wallacetown at a later period, are all noticed by him
with expressions of thankfulness and joy; and it occasioned the same
feelings if he heard of the destitution of any parish in any part of
the country supplied. He writes, _Sept. 20, 1838_: "Present at A.B.'s
ordination at Collace with great joy. Blessed be God for the gift of
this pastor. Give testimony to the word of thy grace."

Busy at home, he nevertheless always had a keenly evangelistic spirit.
He might have written much and have gained a name by his writings; but
he laid everything aside when put in comparison with preaching the
everlasting gospel. He scarcely ever refused an invitation to preach
on a week-day; and travelling from place to place did not interrupt
his fellowship with God. His occasional visits during these years were
much blessed. At Blairgowrie and Collace his visits were longed for as
times of special refreshment; nor was it less so at Kirriemuir, when
he visited Mr. Cormick, or at Abernyte in the days when Mr. Hamilton
(now of Regent Square, London), and afterwards Mr. Manson, were
laboring in that vineyard. It would be difficult even to enumerate the
places which he watered at Communion seasons; and in some of these it
was testified of him, that not the words he spoke, but the _holy
manner_ in which he spoke, was the chief means of arresting souls.

Occasionally two or three of us, whose lot was cast within convenient
distance, and whose souls panted for the same water-brooks, used to
meet together to spend a whole day in confession of ministerial and
personal sins, with prayer for grace, guiding ourselves by the reading
of the word. At such times we used to meet in the evening with the
flock of the pastor in whose house the meeting had been held through
the day, and there unitedly pray for the Holy Spirit being poured down
upon the people. The first time we held such a meeting, there were
tokens of blessing observed by several of us; and the week after he
wrote: "Has there been any fruit of the happy day we spent with you? I
thought I saw some the Sabbath after, here. In due season we shall
reap if we faint not; only be thou strong, and of a good courage." The
incident that encouraged him is recorded in his diary. An elderly
person came to tell him how the river of joy and peace in believing
had that Sabbath most singularly flowed through her soul, so that she
blessed God that she ever came to St. Peter's. He adds "_N.B._--This
seems a fruit of our prayer-meeting, begun last Wednesday at
Collace,--one drop of the shower."

It should have been remarked ere now, that during all his ministry he
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. In regard to the Lord's Supper, his little
tract explains his views. He believed that to keep back those whose
profession was a credible profession, even while the pastor might have
strong doubts as to their fitness in his own mind, was not the rule
laid down for us in the New Testament. At the same time, he as
steadily maintained that no unconverted person _ought to come_ to the
Lord's Table; and on this point "they should judge themselves if they
would not be judged."

When communicants came to be admitted for the first time, or when
parents that had been communicants before came for baptism to their
children, it was his custom to ask them solemnly if their souls were
saved. His dealing was blessed to the conversion of not a few young
persons who were coming carelessly forward to the Communion; and
himself records the blessing that attended his faithful Healing with a
parent coming to speak with him about the baptism of his child. The
man said that he had been taking a thought, and believed himself in
the right way--that he felt his disposition better, for he could
forgive injuries. Mr. M'Cheyne showed him that nevertheless he was
ignorant of God's righteousness. The man laid it to heart; and when
Mr. M'Cheyne said that he thought it would be better to defer the
baptism, at once offered to come again and speak on the matter. On a
subsequent visit, he seemed really to have seen his error, and to have
cast away his own righteousness. When his child was baptized, it was
joy to the pastor's heart to have the good hope that the man had
received salvation.

In connection with the superstitious feeling of the most depraved as
to baptism, he related an affecting occurrence. A careless parent one
evening entered his house, and asked him to come with him to baptize a
dying child. He knew that neither this man nor his wife ever entered
the door of a church; but he rose and went with him to the miserable
dwelling. There an infant lay, apparently dying; and many of the
female neighbors, equally depraved with the parents, stood round. He
came forward to where the child was, and spoke to the parents of their
ungodly state and fearful guilt before God, and concluded by showing
them that, in such circumstances, he would consider it sinful in him
to administer baptism to their infant. They said, "He might at least
do it for the sake of the poor child." He told them that it was not
baptism that saved a soul, and that out of true concern for themselves
he must not do as they wished. The friends around the bed then joined
the parents in upbraiding him as having no pity on the poor infant's
soul! He stood among them still, and showed them that it was they who
had been thus cruel to their child; and then lifted up his voice in
solemn warning, and left the house amid their ignorant reproaches.

Nor did he make light of the kirk-session's power to rebuke and deal
with an offender. 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 labor 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."

There was still another means of enforcing what he preached, in the
use of which he has excelled all his brethren, namely, the holy
consistency of his daily walk. Aware that one idle word, one needless
contention, one covetous act, may destroy in our people the effect of
many a solemn expostulation and earnest warning, he was peculiarly
circumspect in his every-day walk. He wished to be always in the
presence of God. If he travelled, he labored to enjoy God by the way,
as well as to do good to others by dropping a word in season. In
riding or walking, he seized opportunities of giving a useful tract;
and, on principle, he preferred giving it to the person directly,
rather than casting it on the road. The former way, he said, was more
open--there was no stealth in it; and we ought to be as clear as
crystal in speaking or acting for Jesus. In writing a note, however
short, he sought to season it with salt. If he passed a night in a
strange place, he tried to bear the place specially on his soul at the
mercy-seat; and if compelled to take some rest from his too exhausting
toils, his recreations were little else than a change of occupation,
from one mode of glorifying God to another.[12] His beautiful hymn, _I
am a debtor_, was written in May 1837, at a leisure hour.

     [12] Baxter's words are not less than the truth: "Recreation to a
     minister must be as whetting is with the mower, that is, only to
     be used so far as is necessary for his work. May a physician in
     the plague-time take any more relaxation or recreation than is
     necessary for his life, when so many are expecting his help in a
     case of life and death?" "Will you stand by and see sinners
     grasping under the pangs of death, and say, God doth not require
     me to make myself a drudge to save them? Is this the voice of
     ministerial or Christian compassion, or rather of _sensual
     laziness and diabolical cruelty_?"--_Ref. Past_. 6:6

Whatever be said in the pulpit, men will not much regard, though they
may feel it at the time, if the minister does not say the same in
private with equal earnestness, in speaking with his people face to
face; and it must be in our moments of most familiar intercourse with
them, that we are thus to put the seal to all we say in public.
Familiar moments are the times when the things that are most closely
twined round the heart are brought out to view; and shall we forbear,
by tacit consent, to introduce the Lord that bought us into such happy
hours? We must not only speak faithfully to our people in our sermons,
but live faithfully for them too. Perhaps it may be found, that the
reason why many who preach the gospel fully and in all earnestness are
not owned of God in the conversion of souls, is to be found in their
defective exhibition of grace in these easy moments of life. "Them
that honor me, I will honor," I Samuel 2:30. It was noticed long ago
that men will give you leave to _preach against_ their sins as much as
you will, if so be you will but be easy with them when you have done,
and talk as they do, and live as they live. How much otherwise it was
with Mr. M'Cheyne, all who knew him are witnesses.

His visits to friends were times when he sought to do good to their
souls; and never was he satisfied unless he could guide the
conversation to bear upon the things of eternity. When he could not do
so, he generally remained silent. And yet his demeanor was easy and
pleasant to all, exhibiting at once meekness of faith and delicacy of
feeling. There was in his character a high refinement that came out in
poetry and true politeness; and there was something in his graces that
reminded one of his own remark, when explaining _the spices_ of Song
4:16, when he said that "some believers were a garden that had
fruit-trees, and so were useful; but we ought also to have _spices_,
and so be attractive." Wishing to convey his grateful feelings to a
fellow-laborer in Dundee, he sent him a Hebrew Bible, with these few
lines prefixed:--

      Anoint mine eyes,
        O holy dove!
      That I may prize
        This book of love.

      Unstop mine ear,
        Made deaf by sin,
      That I may hear
        Thy voice within.

      Break my hard heart,
        Jesus, my Lord;
      In the inmost part
        Hide thy sweet word.

It was on a similar occasion, in 1838, that he wrote the lines, _Thy
word is a lamp unto my feet_. At another time, sitting under a shady
tree, and casting his eye on the hospitable dwelling in which he found
a pleasant retreat, his grateful feelings flowed out to his kind
friend in the lines that follow:--


      Long may peace within this dwelling
        Have its resting-place;
      Angel shields all harm repelling,--
        God, their God of grace.

      May the dove-like Spirit guide them
         To the upright land!
      May the Saviour-shepherd fed them
         From his gentle hand!

Never was there one more beloved as a friend, and seldom any whose
death could cause so many to feel as if no other friend could ever
occupy his room. Some, too, can say that so much did they learn from
his holy walk, "that it is probable a day never passes wherein they
have not some advantage from his friendship."[13]

     [13] [Greek: Egô men dê katanoôn tou andros tên te sophian kai
     tên gennaiotêta oute mê memnêsthai dynamai autou, oute memnêmenos
     mê ouk epainein. Ei de tis tôn aretês ephiemenôn ôphelimôterô
     tini Sôkratous synegeneto ekeinon egô ton andra
     axiomakariototaton nomizô.]

I find written on the leaf of one of his note-books, a short
memorandum: "_Rules worth remembering._--When visiting in a family,
whether ministerially or otherwise, speak particularly to _the
strangers_ about eternal things. Perhaps God has brought you together
just to save that soul." And then he refers to some instances which
occurred to himself, in which God seemed to honor a word spoken in
this incidental way.

In this spirit he was enabled for nearly three years to give his
strength to his Master's service. Sickness sometimes laid him aside,
and taught him what he had to suffer; but he rose from it to go forth
again to his joyful labors. Often, after a toilsome day, there were
inquirers waiting for him, so that he had to begin work afresh in a
new form. But this was his delight; it was a kind of interruption
which he allowed even on a Saturday, in the midst of his studies. He
was led to resolve not to postpone any inquirers till a future time,
by finding that having done so on one occasion at a pressing moment,
the individuals never returned; and so alive was he to the
responsibilities of his office, that he ever after feared to lose such
an opportunity of speaking with souls at a time when they were aroused
to concern. Busy one evening with some extra-parochial work, he was
asked if any person should be admitted to see him that night.
"Surely--what do we live for?" was his immediate reply. It was his
manner, too, on a Saturday afternoon, to visit one or two of his sick
who seemed near the point of death, with the view of being thus
stirred up to a more direct application of the truth to his flock on
the morrow, as dying men on the edge of eternity.

We have already observed that in his doctrine there was nothing that
differed from the views of truth laid down in the standards of our
church. He saw no inconsistency in preaching an electing God, who
"calleth whom He will," and a salvation free to "whosoever will;" nor
in declaring the absolute sovereignty of God, and yet the unimpaired
responsibility of man. He preached Christ as a gift laid down by the
Father for every sinner freely to take. In the beginning of his
ministry, as he preached the fulness of the glad tidings, and urged on
his people that there was enough in the glad tidings to bring direct
and immediate assurance to every one who really believed them, some of
his flock were startled. For he ever preached, that, while it is true
that there are believers, like Heman or Asaph, who do not enjoy full
assurance of the love of God, yet certainly no true believer should
remain satisfied in the absence of this blessed peace. Not a few had
hitherto been accustomed to take for granted that they might be
Christians, though they knew of no change, and had never thought of
enjoying the knowledge of the love of God as their present portion.
They heard that others, who were reckoned believers, had doubts; so
they had come to consider fears and doubts as the very marks of a
believing soul. The consequence had been, that in past days many
concluded themselves to be Christians because they seemed to be in the
very state of mind of which those who were reputed to be believers
spoke, viz. doubt and alarm. Alas! in _their_ case there could be
nothing else, for they had only a name to live.

Some one wrote to him, putting several questions concerning
conversion, assurance, and faith, which had been stirred up by his
ministry. The import of the questions may be gathered from his reply,
which was as follows:--

"1. _I doubt if there are many saints who live and die without a
comfortable sense of forgiveness and acceptance with God._ The saints
of whom the Bible speaks seem to have enjoyed it richly both in life
and death. See the murderers of our Lord, Acts 2:41; the Ethiopian,
Acts 8:39; the jailor, Acts 16:35. David also felt it, sinful man
though he was, Romans 4:6. Paul also prayed that the Romans might have
it, Romans 15:13. I fear this objection is generally made by those
who are living in sin, and do not wish to know the dangerous road they
are on.

"2. _A sense of forgiveness does not proceed from marks seen in
yourself, but from a discovery of the beauty, worth, and freeness of
Christ,_ Psalm 34:5. We look _out_ for peace, not _in_. At the same
time, there is also an assurance rising from what we see in ourselves;
the seal of the Spirit, love to the brethren, etc., are the chief

"3. _Feeling a body of sin is a mark that we are like Paul, and that
we are Christ's,_ Rom. 7; Gal. 5:17. Paul was cheerful with a body of
sin; and so ought we to be. So was David, and all the saints.

"4. _I do not think there is any difference between those converted
within these few years and those who were Christians before._ Many of
those converted since I came are, I fear, very unholy. I fear this
more than anything. I fear there is too much talk and too little
reality. Still there are many good figs,--many of whom I am persuaded
better things, and things that accompany salvation. The answer to your
question I fear is this, that many used to be taken for Christians
before, who had only a name to live, and were dead. I think there is
more discrimination now. But take care and be not proud, for that goes
before a fall. Take care of censorious judging of others, as if all
must be converted in the same way.

"God moves in a mysterious way. He hath mercy on whom He will have
mercy. To Him alone be glory."

He thus stated his views on another occasion. Referring to Song 6:3,
"My beloved is mine," following "My beloved is gone down into his
garden," he said, "This is the faith of assurance,--a complete,
unhesitating embracing of Christ as my righteousness and my strength
and my all. A common mistake is, that this clear conviction that
Christ is mine is an attainment far on in the divine life, and that it
springs from evidences seen in my heart. When I see myself a new
creature, Christ on the throne in my heart, love to the brethren,
etc., it is often thought that I may begin then to say, 'My Beloved is
mine.' How different this passage! The moment Jesus comes down into
the garden to the beds of spices,--the moment He reveals himself, the
soul cries out, 'My Beloved is mine!' So saith Thomas, John 20:27, 28.
The moment Jesus came in and revealed his wounds, Thomas cried out,
'My Lord and my God.' He did not look to see if he was believing, or
if the graces of love and humility were reigning; but all he saw and
thought of was Jesus and Him crucified and risen." At a subsequent
period, when preaching on Matt. 11:28, "Come unto me," he said, "I
suppose it is almost impossible to explain what it is to come to
Jesus, it is so simple. If you ask a sick person who had been healed,
what it was to come and be healed, he could hardly tell you. As far as
the Lord has given me light in this matter, and looking at what my own
heart does in like circumstances, I do not feel that there is anything
more in coming to Jesus, than just believing what God says about his
Son to be true. I believe that many people keep themselves in darkness
by expecting something more than this. Some of you will ask, 'Is there
no _appropriating_ of Christ? no _putting out the hand of faith_? no
touching the hem of his garment?' I quite grant, beloved, there is
such a thing, but I do think it is inseparable from believing the
record. If the Lord persuades you of the glory and power of Emmanuel,
I feel persuaded that you cannot but choose Him. It is like opening
the shutters of a dark room; the sun that moment shines in. So, the
eye that is opened to the testimony of God, receives Christ that

In the case of a faithful ministry, success is the rule; want of it
the exception. For it is written: "In doing this thou shalt both save
thyself and them that hear thee," I Tim. 4:16. Mr. M'Cheyne expected
it, and the Lord exceeded all his hopes.

It was not yet common for persons in anxiety to go to their pastor for
advice; but soon it became an almost weekly occurrence. While it was
yet rare, two of his young people wrote a joint note, asking liberty
to come and speak with him, "for we are anxious about our souls."
Among those who came, there were those who had striven against the
truth; persons who used to run out of hearing when the Bible was
read,--throw down a tract if the name of God was in it,--go quickly to
sleep after a Sabbath's pleasure in order to drown the fear of
dropping into hell. There were many whose whole previous life had been
but a threadbare profession. There were some open sinners, too. In
short, the Lord glorified himself by the variety of those whom his
grace subdued, and the variety of means by which his grace reached
its object.

One could tell him that the reading of the chapter in the church, with
a few remarks, had been the time of her awakening. Another had been
struck to the heart by some expression he used in his first prayer
before sermon one Sabbath morning. But most were arrested in the
preaching of the word. An interesting case was that of one who was
aroused to concern during his sermon on _Unto whom coming as unto a
living stone_. As he spoke of the Father taking the gem out of his
bosom, and laying it down for a foundation-stone, she felt in her
soul, "I know nothing of this precious stone; I am surely not
converted." This led her to come and speak with him. She was not under
deep conviction; but before going away, he said, "You are a poor, vile
worm; it is a wonder the earth does not open and swallow you up."
These words were blessed to produce a very awful sense of sin. She
came a second time with the arrows of the Almighty drinking up her
spirit. For three months she remained in this state, till having once
more come to him for counsel, the living voice of Jesus gave life to
her soul while he was speaking of Christ's words, "If thou knewest the
gift of God," etc., and she went away rejoicing. Some awakened souls
told him that since they were brought under concern, very many
sermons, which they had heard from him before and completely
forgotten, had been brought back to mind. He used to remark that this
might show what the resurrection day would awaken in the souls of
gospel hearers.

In dealing with souls he used to speak very plainly. One came to him
who assented to his statements of the gospel, and yet refused to be
comforted, always looking upon _coming to Christ_ as something in
addition to really believing the record God has given of his Son. He
took John 3:16, 17: "For God so loved the world, that," etc. The woman
said that "God did not care for her." Upon this he at once convicted
her of making God a liar; and, as she went away in deep distress, his
prayer was, "Lord, give her light!"

To another person, who spoke of having times of great joy, he showed
that these were times for worshipping God in the spirit. "You would
come to a king when you were full dressed; so come to God, and abide
in his presence as long as you can."

Sometimes he would send away souls, of whom he entertained good hope,
with a text suited to their state. "If ye live after the flesh, ye
shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the
body, ye shall live." Or he would say, "I hear of you that God has
opened your heart; but remember not to trust to man's opinion.
Remember an all-seeing Christ will be the judge at the great day." To
another he said, "I have long hoped you were really under the wings of
the Saviour; if it be so, abide there; do not be like Demas."

To a prayer-meeting, consisting of a few young men that had been
awakened to flee from wrath, he gave this advice: "Guard against all
ambition to excel one another in expression. Remember the most
spiritual prayer is 'a groan which cannot be uttered,' Rom. 8:26; or a
cry of 'Abba, Father,' Gal. 4:6."

There is very little recorded in his diary during these years, but
what does exist will be read with deepest interest.

"_March 28, 1838_, Thursday.--I think of making this more a journal of
my people, and the success or otherwise of my ministry. The first
success among my people was at the time of my first Sacrament: then it
appeared. My first sermon, on Isa. 61:1, was blessed to ---- and some
others. That on Ezek. 22:14, 'Can thine heart endure,' etc., was
blessed to awaken M.L. That on Song 5:2, 'Open to me,' etc., the
Sabbath after the Sacrament, was blessed to another. These were happy
days. M.D. was awakened by coming to the communicants' class. Another
by the action sermon. At the words, 'I know thee, Judas,' she
trembled, and would have risen from the table. These were glad days
when one and another were awakened. The people looked very stirred and
anxious, every day coming to hear the words of eternal life,--some
inquiring in private every week. Now there is little of this. About
fifteen cases came to my knowledge the first Sacrament, and two
awakened who seem to have gone back. About eleven last Sacrament,--four
of these young men. Several Christians seemed quickened to greater
joy, and greater love one to another. Now it appears to me there is
much falling off,--few seem awakened; few weep as they used to do."

"_April 1_, Sacrament day.--Sweet season we have had. Never was more
straitened and unfurnished in myself, and yet much helped. Kept in
perfect peace, my mind being stayed on Thee. Preached on 'My God, my
God,' etc., Psalm 22:1. Not fully prepared, yet found some peace in
it. Fenced the tables from 'Christ's eyes of flame.' Little helped in
serving the tables. Much peace in communion. Happy to be one with
Christ! _I_, a vile worm; _He_, the Lord my righteousness. Mr. Cumming
of Dumbarney served some tables; Mr. Somerville of Anderston served
three, and preached in the evening on 'Thou art all fair, my love.'
Very full and refreshing. All sweet, sweet services. Come, thou north
wind, and blow, thou south, upon this garden! May this time be greatly
blessed! It is my third communion; it may be my last. My Lord may
come, or I may be sitting at another table soon. Moody, Candlish, and
Mellis, were a good preparation for this day; and the sweet word from
Cumming yesterday, 'When the poor and needy seek water,' etc. Lord,
grant some wakening this day,--to some bringing peace--comfort to
mourners,--fulness to believers,--an advance in holiness in me and my
children! III John 4. Lord, wean me from my sins, from my cares, and
from this passing world. May Christ be all in all to me."

"Admitted about twenty-five young communicants; kept two back, and one
or two stayed back. Some of them evidently brought to Christ. May the
Lord be their God, their comforter, their all! May the morrow bring
still richer things to us, that we may say as of to-night, 'Thou hast
kept the good wine until now.'"

Toward the close of this same year some of his notices are as

"_Oct. 7_, Evening.--In the Gaelic Chapel, on 'I know that my Redeemer
liveth,' with more seeming power on the people than for a while. I
never remember of compelling souls to come in to Christ so much as in
that discourse."

"_Oct. 8._--A person of the name of ---- came; I hope really awakened
by last night's work; rather, by _Thee_. I do not know, however,
whether _grace_ is begun or not."

"_Oct. 14._--Preached on 'Forgiving injuries.' Afternoon--on the
Second Coming: 'Let your loins be girded about,' etc. Felt its power
myself more than ever before, how the sudden coming of the Saviour
constrains to a holy walk, separate from sin. Evening--Preached it
over in the Ferry."

"_Oct. 21._--Met young communicants in the evening. Good hope of all
but one."

"_Oct. 22._--A Jew preached in my church, Mr. Frey, to a crowded
house. Felt much moved in hearing an Israelite after the flesh."

"Oct. 23.--Preached to sailors aboard the 'Dr. Carey,' in the docks.
About 200, very attentive and impressed like. On 'I know that my
Redeemer liveth.' May the seed sown on the waters be found after many

"_Nov. 1_, Fast-day.--Afternoon--Mr. C. on 'The thief on the Cross.' A
most awakening and engaging sermon, enough to make sinners fly like a
cloud, and as doves to their windows. The offers of Christ were let
down very low so that those low of stature may take hold."

"_Nov. 5._--Mr. ---- died this morning at seven o'clock. Oh that I may
take warning, lest, after preaching to others, I myself be a castaway!
Love of popularity is said to have been his besetting sin."

"_Dec. 2._--Errol Communion. Heard Mr. Grierson preach on Christ's
entry into Jerusalem. Served two tables. Evening--Preached to a large
congregation, on 'Unto you, O men, I call,' etc. The free invitation
of the Saviour. May some find Him this day!"

In addition to the other blessings which the Lord sent by his means to
the place where he labored, it was obvious to all that the tone of
Christians was raised as much by his holy walk as by his heavenly
ministry. Yet during these pleasant days he had much reproach to bear.
He was the object of supercilious contempt to formal cold-hearted
ministers, and of bitter hatred to many of the ungodly. At this day
there are both ministers and professing Christians of whom Jesus would
say, "The world cannot hate you" (John 7:7), for the world cannot hate
itself; but it was not so with Mr. M'Cheyne. Very deep was the enmity
borne to him by some,--all the deeper, because the only cause of it
was his likeness to his Master. But nothing turned him aside. He was
full of ardor, yet ever gentle, and meek, and generous; full of zeal,
yet never ruffled by his zeal; and not only his strength of "first
love" (Rev. 2:4), but even its warm glow, seemed in him to suffer no

Thus he spent the first years of his ministry in Dundee. The town
began to feel that they had a peculiar man of God in the midst of
them, for he lived as a true son of Levi. "My covenant was with him of
life and peace, and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he
feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his
mouth, and iniquity was not found on his lips; he walked with me in
peace and equity; and did turn many away from iniquity." Mal. 2:5, 6.



  "_Here am I; send me_"--Isaiah 6:8.

Though engaged night and day with his flock in St. Peter's, Mr.
M'Cheyne ever cherished a missionary spirit. "This place hardens me
for a foreign land," was his remark on one occasion. This spirit he
sought to kindle yet more by reading missionary intelligence for his
own use, and often to his people at his weekly prayer-meeting. The
necessities both of his own parish, and of the world at large, lay
heavy on his soul; and when an opportunity of evangelizing occurred,
there was none in Scotland more ready to embrace it. He seemed one who
stood with his loins girt: "Here am I; send me."

Another motive to incessant activity, was the decided impression on
his mind that his career would be short. From the very first days of
his ministry he had a strong feeling of this nature; and his friends
remember how his letters used to be sealed with this seal, "_The night
cometh_" At a time when he was apparently in his usual health, we were
talking together on the subject of the Pre-millennial Advent. We had
begun to speak of the practical influence which the belief of that
doctrine might have. At length he said, "That he saw no force in the
arguments generally urged against it, though he had difficulties of
his own in regard to it. And perhaps (he added) it is well for you,
who enjoy constant health, to be so firmly persuaded that Christ is
thus to come; but my sickly frame makes me feel every day that my time
may be very short."

He was therefore in some measure prepared, when, in the midst of his
laborious duties, he was compelled to stand still and see what the
Lord would do.

In the close of 1838, some symptoms appeared that alarmed his friends.
His constitution, never robust, began to feel the effects of
unremitting labor; for occasionally he would spend six hours in
visiting, and then the same evening preach in some room to all the
families whom he had that day visited. Very generally, too, on
Sabbath, after preaching twice to his own flock, he was engaged in
ministering somewhere else in the evening. But now, after any great
exertion, he was attacked by violent palpitation of heart. It soon
increased, affecting him in his hours of study; and at last it became
almost constant. Upon this, his medical advisers insisted on a total
cessation of his public work; for though as yet there was no organic
change on his lungs, there was every reason to apprehend that that
might be the result. Accordingly, with deep regret, he left Dundee to
seek rest and change of occupation, hoping it would be only for a week
or two.

A few days after leaving Dundee, he writes from Edinburgh, in reply to
the anxious inquiries of his friend Mr. Grierson: "The beating of the
heart is not now so constant as it was before. The pitcher draws more
quietly at the cistern; so that, by the kind providence of our
heavenly Father, I may be spared a little longer before the silver
cord be loosed, and the golden bowl be broken."

It was found that his complaints were such as would be likely to give
way under careful treatment, and a temporary cessation from all
exertion. Under his father's roof, therefore, in Edinburgh, he
resigned himself to the will of his Father in heaven. But deeply did
he feel the trial of being laid aside from his loved employment,
though he learned of Him who was meek and lowly, to make the burden
light in his own way, by saying, "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth
good in thy sight." He wrote to Mr. Grierson again, _January 5, 1839_:
"I hope this affliction will be blessed to me. I always feel much need
of God's afflicting hand. In the whirl of active labor there is so
little time for watching, and for bewailing, and seeking grace to
oppose the sins of our ministry, that I always feel it a blessed thing
when the Saviour takes me aside from the crowd, as He took the blind
man out of the town, and removes the veil, and clears away obscuring
mists, and by his word and Spirit leads to deeper peace and a holier
walk. Ah! 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,
who is called 'The Tried Stone.' I have been able to be twice at
college to hear a lecture from Dr. Chalmers. I have also been
privileged to smooth down the dying pillow of an old school-companion,
leading him to a fuller joy and peace in believing. A poor heavy-laden
soul, too, from Larbert, I have had the joy of leading toward the
Saviour. So that even when absent from my work, and when exiled, as it
were, God allows me to do some little things for his name."

He was led to look more carefully into this trying dispensation, and
began to anticipate blessed results from it to his flock. He was well
aware how easily the flock begin to idolize the shepherd, and how
prone the shepherd is to feel somewhat pleased with this sinful
partiality of his people, and to be uplifted by his success. "I
sometimes think," is his remark in a letter, dated _January 18_, "that
a great blessing may come to my people in my absence. Often God does
not bless us when we are in the midst of our labors, lest we shall
say, 'My hand and my eloquence have done it.' He removes us into
silence, and then pours 'down a blessing so that there is no room to
receive it;' so that all that see it cry out, 'It is the Lord!' This
was the way in the South Sea Islands. May it really be so with my dear
people!" Nor did he err in this view of the dispensation. All these
ends, and more also, were to be accomplished by it.

An anticipation like that which is expressed in this and other
letters, especially in his Pastoral Letter of _March 20_, may justly
be regarded as a proof from experience that the Lord teaches his
people to expect and pray for what He means soon to work. And here the
Lord accomplished his designs in the kindest of all ways; for He
removed his servant for a season from the flock to which he had been
so blessed, lest even his own children should begin to glory in man;
but yet He took that servant to another sphere of labor in the
meantime, and then, when the blessing was safely bestowed, brought him
back to rejoice over it.

He was still hoping for, and submissively asking from the Lord, speedy
restoration to his people in Dundee, and occasionally sending to them
an epistle that breathed the true pastor's soul; when one day, as he
was walking with Dr. Candlish, conversing on the Mission to Israel
which had lately been resolved on, an idea seemed suddenly suggested
to Dr. Candlish. He asked Mr. M'Cheyne what he would think of "being
useful to the Jewish cause, during his cessation from labor, by going
abroad to make personal inquiries into the state of Israel?" The idea
thus suddenly suggested led to all the after results of the Mission of
Inquiry. Mr. M'Cheyne found himself all at once called to carry
salvation to the Jew as he had hitherto done to the Gentile, and his
soul was filled with joy and wonder. His medical friends highly
approved of the proposal, as being likely to conduce very much to the
removal of his complaints,--the calm, steady excitement of such a
journey being likely to restore the tone of his whole constitution.

Dr. Black of Aberdeen readily consented to use his remarkable talents
as a scholar in this cause; and Dr. Keith intimated his expectation of
soon joining the deputation. I also had been chosen to go forth on
this mission of love to Israel; but some difficulties stood in the way
of my leaving my charge at Collace. In these circumstances Mr.
M'Cheyne wrote to me, _March 12_, from Edinburgh.

   "MY DEAR _A._,--I have received so many tokens for good from God
   in this matter, that it were a shame indeed if I did not trust
   Him to perfect all which concerns me. I am glad you have
   determined to trust all in the hands of Israel's God. I am quite
   ready to go this week, or next week, but am deeply anxious to be
   sure that you are sent with me. You know, dear A., I could not
   labor in this cause, nor enjoy it, if you were not to be with me
   in it. Would you be ready to give your Jewish lecture on the
   evening of Sabbath week?... And now, pray for us, that we may be
   sent of God; and, weak as we are, that we may be made
   Boanerges,--that we may be blessed to win some souls, and to stir
   up Christians to love Zion. Much interest is already excited, and
   I do look for a blessing. Speak to your people as on the brink of
   eternity.... As to books, I am quite at a loss. My Hebrew Bible,
   Greek Testament, etc., and perhaps Bridge's _Christian Ministry_
   for general purposes--I mean, for keeping us in mind of our
   ministerial work. I do hope we shall go forth in the Spirit; and
   though straitened in language, may we not be blessed, as Brainerd
   was, through an interpreter? May we not be blessed also to save
   some English, and to stir up missionaries? My health is only
   tolerable; I would be better if we were once away. I am often so
   troubled as to be made willing to go or stay, to die or to live.
   Yet it is encouraging to be used in the Lord's service again, and
   in so interesting a manner. What if we should see the heavenly
   Jerusalem before the earthly? I am taking drawing materials, that
   I may carry away remembrances of the Mount of Olives, Tabor, and
   the Sea of Galilee."

The interest that this proposed journey excited in Scotland was very
great. Nor was it merely the somewhat romantic interest attached to
the land where the Lord had done most of his mighty works; there were
also in it the deeper feelings of a scriptural persuasion that Israel
was still "beloved for the fathers' sake." For some time previous,
Jerusalem had come into mind, and many godly pastors were alarming as
watchmen over its ruined walls (Isa. 62:6), stirring up the Lord's
remembrancers. Mr. M'Cheyne had been one of these. His views of the
importance of the Jews in the eye of God, and therefore of their
importance as a sphere of missionary labor, were very clear and
decided. He agreed in the expectation expressed in one of the Course
of Lectures delivered before the deputation set out, that we might
anticipate an _outpouring of the Spirit when our church should stretch
out its hands to the Jew as well as to the Gentile_. In one letter he
says, "To seek the lost sheep of the house of Israel is an object very
near to my heart, as my people know it has ever been. Such an
enterprise may probably draw down unspeakable blessings on the Church
of Scotland, according to the promise, 'They shall prosper who love
thee.'" In another, "I now see plainly that all our views about the
Jews being the chief object of missionary exertion are plain and sober
truths, according to the Scripture." Again, "I feel convinced that if
we pray that the world may be converted in God's way, we will seek the
good of the Jews; and the more we do so, the happier we will be in our
own soul. You should always keep up a knowledge of the prophecies
regarding Israel." In his preaching he not unfrequently said on this
subject, "We should be like God in his peculiar affections; and the
whole Bible shows that God has ever had, and still has, a peculiar
love to the Jews."

The news of his proposed absence alarmed his flock at Dundee. They
manifested their care for him more than ever; and not a few wrote
expostulatory letters. To one of these well-meant remonstrances he
replied, "I rejoice exceedingly in the interest you take in me, not so
much for my own sake as that I hope it is a sign you know and love the
Lord Jesus. Unless God had himself shut up the door of return to my
people, and opened this new door to me, I never could have consented
to go. I am not at all unwilling to spend and be spent in God's
service, though I have often found that the more abundantly I love
you, the less I am loved. But God has very plainly shown me that I may
perform a deeply important work for his ancient people, and at the
same time be in the best way of seeking a return of health."--"A
minister will make a poor saviour in the day of wrath. It is not
knowing a minister, or loving one, or hearing one, or having a name to
live, that will save. You need to have your hand on the head of the
Lamb for yourselves, Lev. 1:4. You need to have your eye on the brazen
serpent for yourselves, John 3:14, 15. I fear I will need to be a
swift witness against many of my people in the day of the Lord, that
they looked to me, and not to Christ, when I preached to them. I
always feared that some of you loved to hear the word, who do not love
to do it. I always feared there were many of you who loved the Sabbath
meetings, and the class, and the Thursday evenings, who yet were not
careful to walk with God, to be meek, chaste, holy, loving, harmless,
Christ-like, God-like. Now, God wants you to think that the only end
of a gospel ministry is that you may be holy. Believe me, God himself
could not make you happy except you be holy."

At this crisis in his people's history, he sought from the Lord one to
supply his place,--one who would feed the flock and gather in
wanderers during their own pastor's absence. The Lord granted him his
desire by sending Mr. William C. Burns, son of the minister of
Kilsyth. In a letter to him, dated _March 12_, the following
remarkable words occur: "You are given in answer to prayer; and these
gifts are, I believe, always without exception blessed. I hope you may
be a thousand times more blessed among them than ever I was. Perhaps
there are many souls that would never have been saved under my
ministry, who may be touched under yours; and God has taken this
method of bringing you into my place. _His name is Wonderful._"

This done, and being already disengaged from his flock, he set out
for London to make arrangements for the rest of the deputation, who
soon after were all sent forth by the brethren with many prayers. None
had more prayers offered in their behalf than he, and they were not
offered in vain. During all his journeyings the Lord strengthened him,
and saved him out of all distresses.

It was a singular event,--often still it looks like a dream,--that
four ministers should be so suddenly called away from their quiet
labors in the towns and villages of Scotland, and be found in a few
weeks traversing the land of Israel, with their Bibles in their hand,
eye-witnesses of prophecy fulfilled, and spies of the nakedness of
Israel's worship and leanness of soul. The details of that journey
need not be given here. They have been already recorded in the
_Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews from the Church of
Scotland in 1839_. But there are some incidents worthy to be preserved
which could find a place only in such a record of private life and
feelings as we are now engaged in.

When Mr. M'Cheyne was on board the vessel that carried him to London,
he at once discovered an interesting young Jew, who seemed, however,
unwilling to be recognized as belonging to the seed of Abraham. He
made several attempts to draw this young Israelite into close
conversation; and before parting, read with him the 1st Psalm in
Hebrew, and pressed home the duty of meditating on the word of the
Lord. In visiting Bethnal Green, he has noted down that it was very
sweet to hear Jewish children sing a hymn to Jesus, the burden of
which was [Hebrew: tavuach aleinu], "Slain for us!"

The awful profanation of the holy Sabbath which we witnessed on the
streets of Paris, called forth the following appeal, in a letter to
Mr. Macdonald of Blairgowrie. His spirit had been stirred in him when
he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. "Stand in the breach, dear
friend, and lift up your voice like a trumpet, lest Scotland become
another France. You know how many in our own parishes trample on the
holy day. They do not know how sweet it is to walk with God all that
holy day. Isaiah 58:11-14 is a sweet text to preach from. Exodus 31:13
is also very precious, showing that the real sanctifying of the
Sabbath is one of God's signs or marks which He puts upon his people.
It is one of the letters of the new name, which no one knoweth but
they who receive it."

In his brief notes during the first part of the journey, he has
seldom failed to mark our seasons of united prayer, such as those in
the cabin of the vessel on the passage to Genoa; for these were times
of refreshing to his spirit. And his feelings, as he stood in that
city and surveyed its palaces, are expressed in a few lines, which he
sent homeward from the spot. "A foreign land draws us nearer God. He
is the only one whom we know here. We go to Him as to one we know; all
else is strange. Every step I take, and every new country I see, makes
me feel more that there is nothing real, nothing true, but what is
everlasting. The whole world lieth in wickedness! its judgments are
fast hastening. The marble palaces, among which I have been wandering
to-night, shall soon sink like a millstone in the waters of God's
righteous anger; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."

At Valetta, in the island of Malta, he wrote: "My heart beats a little
to-day, but another sail will do me good. One thing I know, that I am
in the hands of my Father in heaven, who is all love to me,--not for
what I am in myself, but for the beauty He sees in Immanuel."

The classic shores of Italy and Greece are invested with a peculiar
interest, such as may raise deep emotions even in a sanctified soul.
"We tried to recollect many of the studies of our boyhood. But what is
classic learning to us now? I count all things but loss for the
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. And yet these
recollections tinged every object, and afforded us a most lawful

During our voyage, it was his delight to search into the Scriptures,
just as at home. And so much did he calculate on an unceasing study of
the word during all our journey, that he took with him some notes I
had written on each chapter of the book of Leviticus, observing it
would be suitable meditation for us while busy with Jewish minds. At
home and abroad he had an insatiable appetite for all the word,--both
for the types of the Old Testament and the plain text of the New. On
one occasion, before leaving home, in studying Numbers 4., he fixed
the different duties assigned to the priests on his memory, by means
of the following lines:--

      The _Kohathites_ upon their shoulder bear
      The holy vessels, covered with all care,
      The _Gershonites_ receive an easier charge,
      Two waggons full of cords and curtains large;
      _Merari's_ sons four ponderous waggons load
      With boards and pillars of the house of God.

He acted on the principle, that whatever God has revealed must deserve
our study and prayerful investigation.

Arrived at Alexandria in Egypt, and thence proceeding onward to
Palestine by the way of the desert, we found ourselves set down on a
new stage of experience. Mr. M'Cheyne observed on the silence of the
desert places: "It is a remarkable feeling to be quite alone in a
desert place; it gives similar feelings to fasting; it brings God
near. Living in tents, and moving among such lonely scenes for many
days, awake many new ideas. It is a strange life we lead in the
wilderness. Round and round there is a complete circle of sand and
wilderness shrubs; above, a blue sky without a cloud, and a scorching
sun which often made the thermometer stand at 96° in our tents. When
evening came, the sun went down as it does in the ocean, and the stars
came riding forth in their glory; and we used to pitch all alone, with
none but our poor ignorant Bedouins, and their camels, and our
all-knowing, all-loving God beside us. When morning began to dawn, our
habitations were taken down. Often we have found ourselves shelterless
before being fully dressed. What a type of the tent of our body! Ah!
how often taken down before the soul is made meet for the inheritance
of the saints in light." To Mr. Bonar of Larbert he writes: "I had no
idea that travelling in the wilderness was so dreadful a thing as it
is. The loneliness I often felt quite solemnized me. The burning sun
overhead,--round and round a circle of barren sand, chequered only by
a few prickly shrubs ('the heat of the wilderness,' of which Jeremiah
speaks), no rain, not a cloud, the wells often like that of Marah, and
far between. I now understand well the murmurings of Israel. I feel
that our journey proved and tried my own heart very much." When we
look back, and remember that he who thus stands on the sandy desert
road between Egypt and Palestine, and looks on its singular scenery,
is one who but lately was to be found busy night and day in dealing
with the souls of men in the densely peopled streets of a town teeming
with population, we are led to wonder at the ways of the Lord. But is
it not a moment which may remind us that the God who sent Elijah to
the brook at Cherith is the same God still? and that the wise,
considerate, loving Master, who said, "Come into a desert place and
rest awhile," is as loving, considerate, and wise as He was then?

At Balteen, a small village in Egypt, I well remember the indignation
that fired his countenance, when our Arab attendants insisted on
travelling forward on the Sabbath-day, rather than continue sitting
under a few palm-trees, breathing a sultry, furnace-like atmosphere,
with nothing more than just such supply of food as sufficed. He could
not bear the thought of being deprived of the Sabbath rest; it was
needful for our souls as much in the wilderness as in the crowded
city; and if few glorify God in that desolate land, so much the more
were we called on to fill these solitudes with our songs of praise. It
was in this light he viewed our position; and when we had prevailed,
and were seated under the palms, he was excited to deep emotion,
though before quite unnerved by the heat, at the sight of a row of
poor wretched Egyptians who gathered round us. "Oh that I could speak
their language, and tell them of salvation!" was his impassioned wish.

An event occurred at that time in which the hand of God afterwards
appeared very plain, though it then seemed very dark to us. Dr. Black
fell from his camel in the midst of the sandy desert, and none of all
our company could conjecture what bearing on the object of our Mission
this sad occurrence could have. Is it a frown on our undertaking? or can
it really be a movement of his kind, guiding hand? We often spoke of it:
in our visit to Galilee we thought that we saw some purposes evolving;
but there was still something unexplained. Now, however, the reason
appears: even that event was of the Lord, in wise and kind design. But
for that fall, our fathers in the deputation would not have sailed up
the Danube on their way to Vienna, and Pesth would not have been
visited. This accident, which mainly disabled Dr. Black from undertaking
the after fatigue of exploring Galilee, was the occasion of directing
the steps of our two fathers to that station, where a severe stroke of
sickness was made the means of detaining Dr. Keith till they had learned
that there was an open door among the Jews. And there, accordingly it
has been that the Lord has poured down his Spirit on the Jews that have
come to our missionaries so remarkably, that no Jewish Mission seems
ever to have been blessed with deeper conversions. There is nothing but
truth in the remark made by one of our number: "Dr. Black's fall from
the camel was the first step towards Pesth." "Whoso is wise, and will
observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of
the Lord," Psalm 107:42. Indeed, whether it was that we were prepared to
expect, and therefore were peculiarly ready to observe, or whether it
was really the case that the watchful eye of our Lord specially guided
us, certain it is that we thought we could perceive the whole course we
took signally marked by Providence. There were many prayers in Scotland
ascending up in our behalf, and the High Priest gave the answer by
shining upon our path. Mr. M'Cheyne has stated: "For much of our safety
I feel indebted to the prayers of my people, I mean the Christians among
them, who do not forget us. If the veil of the world's machinery were
lifted off, how much we would find is done in answer to the prayers of
God's children."

Many things lost somewhat of their importance in our view, when
examined amid the undistracted reflections of the long desert journey,
where for many days we had quiet, like the quiet of death, around us
all night long, and even during the bright day. It is the more
interesting on this very account, to know his feelings there on the
subject of the ministry. As his camel slowly bore him over the soft
sandy soil, much did he ruminate on the happy days when he was
permitted to use all his strength in preaching Jesus to dying men.
"Use your health while you have it, my dear friend and brother. Do not
cast away peculiar opportunities that may never come again. You know
not when your last Sabbath with your people may come. Speak for
eternity. Above all things, cultivate your own spirit. A word spoken
by you when your conscience is clear, and your heart full of God's
Spirit, is worth ten thousand words spoken in unbelief and sin. This
was my great fault in the ministry. Remember it is God, and not man,
that must have the glory. It is not much speaking, but much faith,
that is needed. Do not forget us. Do not forget the Saturday night
meeting, nor the Monday morning thanksgiving." Thus he wrote on his
way to a fellow-laborer in Scotland.

On our first Sabbath in the Holy Land, our tent had been pitched in
the vicinity of a colony of ants. It was in the tribe of Simeon we
were encamped; it was the scenery of the Promised Land we had around
us; and one of the similitudes of the blessed word was illustrated
within our view. He opened his Bible at Prov. 6:6-8, and, as he read,
noted--"I. _Consider her ways._ Most souls are lost for want of
consideration. II. _The ant has no guide, overseer, or ruler_; no
officer, no one to command or encourage her. How differently situated
is the child of God! III. _Provideth her meat in the summer, etc._
Some have thought that this teaches us to heap up money; but quite the
reverse. The ant lays up no store for the future. It is all for
present use. She is always busy summer and winter. The lesson is one
of constant diligence in the Lord's work."

Many a time in these days, when our attendants in the evening were
driving in the stakes of our tent and stretching its cords, he would
lie down on the ground under some tree that sheltered him from the
dew. Completely exhausted by the long day's ride, he would lie almost
speechless for half an hour; and then, when the palpitation of his
heart had a little abated, would propose that we two should pray
together. Often, too, did he say to me, when thus stretched on the
ground,--not impatiently, but very earnestly,--"Shall I ever preach to
my people again?" I was often reproved by his unabated attention to
personal holiness; for this care was never absent from his mind,
whether he was at home in his quiet chamber, or on the sea, or in the
desert. Holiness in him was manifested, not by efforts to perform
duty, but in a way so natural, that you recognized therein the easy
outflowing of the indwelling Spirit. The fountain springing up into
everlasting life (John 4:14) in his soul, welled forth its living
waters alike in the familiar scenes of his native Scotland, and under
the olive-tree of Palestine. Prayer and meditation on the word were
never forgotten; and a peace that the world could not give kept his
heart and mind. When we were detained a day at Gaza, in very
tantalizing circumstances, his remark was, "_Jehovah Jireh_; we are at
that mount again." It was sweet at any time to be with him, for both
nature and grace in him drew the very heart; but there were moments of
enjoyment in these regions of Palestine that drew every cord still
closer, and created unknown sympathies. Such was that evening when we
climbed Samson's Hill together. Sitting there, we read over the
references to the place in the word of God; and then he took out his
pencil and sketched the scene, as the sun was sinking in the west.
This done, we sang some verses of a psalm, appropriate to the spot,
offered up prayer, and, slowly descending, conversed of all we saw,
and of all that was brought to mind by the scenery around us, till we
reached our tent.

In approaching Jerusalem, we came up the Pass of Latroon. He writes:
"The last day's journey to Jerusalem was the finest I ever had in all
my life. For four hours we were ascending the rocky pass upon our
patient camels. It was like the finest of our Highland scenes, only
the trees and flowers, and the voice of the turtle, told us that it
was Immanuel's land." Riding along, he remarked, that to have seen the
plain of Judea and this mountain-pass, was enough to reward us for all
our fatigue; and then began to call up passages of the Old Testament
Scriptures which might seem to refer to such scenery as that before

During our ten days at Jerusalem, there were few objects within reach
that we did not eagerly seek to visit. "We stood at the turning of the
road where Jesus came near and beheld the city and wept over it. And
if we had had more of the mind that was in Jesus, I think we should
have wept also." This was his remark in a letter homeward; and to Mr.
Bonar of Larbert he expressed his feelings in regard to the Mount of
Olives and its vicinity: "I remember the day when I saw you last, you
said that there were other discoveries to be made than those in the
physical world,--that there were sights to be seen in the spiritual
world, and depths to be penetrated of far greater importance. I have
often thought of the truth of your remark. But if there is a place on
earth where physical scenery can help us to discover divine things, I
think it is Mount Olivet. Gethsemane at your feet leads your soul to
meditate on Christ's love and determination to undergo divine wrath
for us. The cup was set before Him there, and there He said. 'Shall I
not drink it?' The spot where He wept makes you think of his divine
compassion, mingling with his human tenderness,--his awful justice,
that would not spare the city,--his superhuman love, that wept over
its coming misery! Turning the other way, and looking to the
south-east, you see Bethany, reminding you of his love to his
own,--that his name is love,--that in all our afflictions He is
afflicted,--that those who are in their graves shall one day come
forth at his command. A little farther down you see the Dead Sea,
stretching far among the mountains its still and sullen waters. This
deepens and solemnizes all, and makes you go away, saying, 'How shall
we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?'"

He wrote to another friend in Scotland, from Mount Zion, where we were
then dwelling:--

                                      Mount Zion, _June 12, 1839._

   "MY DEAR FRIEND,--Now that we are in the most wonderful spot in
   all this world,--where Jesus lived and walked, and prayed and
   died, and will come again,--I doubt not you will be anxious to
   hear how we come on. I am thankful that ever He privileged us to
   come to this land. I heard of my flock yesterday by a letter from
   home,--the first I have received, dated 8th May.... We are living
   in one of the missionaries' houses on Mount Zion. My window looks
   out upon where the Temple was, the beautiful Mount of Olives
   rising behind. The Lord that made heaven and earth, bless thee
   out of Zion.--Yours," etc.

One evening, after our visit to Sychar, he referred to the Bible which
I had dropped into Jacob's Well. We were then resting from our journey
in our tents. Soon after he penned on a leaf of his note-book the
following fragment:--

      My own loved Bible, must I part from thee,
      Companion of my toils by land and sea;
      Man of my counsels, soother of distress,
      Guide of my steps through this world's wilderness
      In darkest nights, a lantern to my feet;
      In gladsome days, as dropping honey sweet.
      When first I parted from my quiet home,
      At thy command, for Israel's good to roam.
      Thy gentle voice said, "For Jerusalem pray,
      So shall Jehovah prosper all thy way."
      When through the lonely wilderness we strayed,
      Sighing in vain for palm-trees' cooling shade,
      Thy words of comfort hushed each rising fear,
      "The shadow of thy mighty Rock is near."
      And when we pitched our tents on Judah's hills,
      Or thoughtful mused beside Siloa's rills;
      Whene'er we climbed Mount Olivet, to gaze
      Upon the sea, where stood in ancient days
      The heaven-struck Sodom--
      Sweet record of the past, to faith's glad eyes,
      Sweet promiser of glories yet to rise![14]

     [14] It is a somewhat curious occurrence, that the remnants of
     this Bible were found and drawn up from the bottom of the well,
     in July 1843, by Dr. Wilson and his fellow-traveller, who
     employed a Samaritan from Sychar to descend and examine the well.

At the foot of Carmel, during the seven days we were in quarantine
under the brow of the hill, we had time to recall many former scenes;
and in these circumstances he wrote the hymn, _The Fountain of

Here, too, he had leisure to write home; and most graphically does he
describe our journey from Alexandria onward.

                                          CARMEL, _June 26, 1839_

   "MY DEAR FATHER, MOTHER, etc.--It is a long time since I have
   been able to write to you,--this being the first time since
   leaving Egypt that any one has appeared to carry letters for us.
   I must therefore begin by telling you that, by the good hand of
   our God upon me, I am in excellent health, and have been ever
   since I wrote you last. Fatigues we have had many, and much
   greater than I anticipated; hardships and dangers we have also
   encountered, but God has brought us all safely through, and in
   fully better condition than when we began. You must not imagine
   that I have altogether lost the palpitation of my heart, for it
   often visits me to humble and prove me; still I believe it is a
   good deal better than it was, and its visits are not nearly so
   frequent. I hope very much, that in a cold bracing climate, and
   with less fatigue, I may perhaps not feel it at all. I was very
   thankful to receive your letter, dated 8th May,--the first since
   leaving home. I was delighted to hear of your health and safety,
   and of the peaceful communion at St. Peter's. The public news was
   alarming and humbling.[15] I suppose I had better begin at the
   beginning, and go over all our journeyings from the land of Egypt
   through the howling wilderness to this sweet land of promise. I
   would have written _journalwise_ (as my mother would say) from
   time to time, so that I might have had an interesting budget of
   news ready; but you must remember it is a more fatiguing thing to
   ride twelve or fourteen hours on a camel's back, in a sandy
   wilderness, than in our home excursions; and I could often do
   nothing more than lie down on my rug and fall asleep.

     [15] He alludes here to the decision of the House of Lords in the
     Auchterarder case.

   "We left Alexandria on 16th May 1839, parting from many kind
   friends in that strange city. We and our baggage were mounted on
   seventeen donkeys, like the sons of Jacob, when they carried corn
   out of Egypt. Our saddle was our bedding, viz. a rug to lie on, a
   pillow for the head, and a quilt to wrap ourselves in. We
   afterwards added a straw mat to put below all. We had procured
   two tents,--one large, and a smaller one which Andrew and I
   occupy. The donkeys are nice nimble little animals, going about
   five miles an hour; a wild Arab accompanies each donkey. We have
   our two Arab servants, to whom I now introduce you,--Ibrahim, a
   handsome small-made Egyptian, and Achmet the cook, a dark
   good-natured fellow, with a white turban and bare black legs.
   Ibrahim speaks a little English and Italian, and Achmet Italian,
   in addition to their native Arabic. I soon made friends with our
   Arab donkey-men, learning Arabic words and phrases; from them,
   which pleased them greatly. We journeyed by the Bay of Aboukir,
   close by the sea, which tempered the air of the desert. At night
   we reached Rosetta, a curious half-inhabited eastern town. We saw
   an eastern marriage, which highly pleased us, illustrating the
   parables. It was by torch-light. We slept in the convent. 17.
   Spent morning in Rosetta; gave the monk a New Testament. Saw some
   of Egyptian misery in the bazaar. Saw the people praying in the
   mosque, Friday being the Moslem's day of devotion. In the evening
   we crossed the Nile in small boats. It is a fine river; and its
   water, when filtered, is sweet and pleasant. We often thought
   upon it in the desert. We slept that night on the sand in our
   tents, by the sea-shore. 18.--In six hours we came to Bourlos
   (you will see it in the map of the Society for Diffusing Useful
   Knowledge): were ferried across. Watched the fishermen casting
   their nets into the sea: hot--hot. In two hours more through a
   palmy wilderness, we came to Balteen,--'the Vale of Figs,' an
   Arab village of mud huts. You little know what an Arab house is.
   In general, in Egypt, it is an exact square box made of mud, with
   a low hole for a door. The furniture is a mat and cooking things;
   an oven made of mud. 19.--Spent our Sabbath unoccupied in midst
   of the village; the poor Arabs have no Sabbath. The thermometer
   84° in tent. The governor called in the evening, and drank a cup
   of tea with great relish. The heat we felt much all day; still it
   was sweet to rest and remember you all in the wilderness. 20.--At
   twelve at night, left Balteen by beautiful moonlight. Proceeding
   through a pleasant African wild of palms and brushwood, we
   reached the sea in two hours, and rode along, its waves washing
   our feet: very sleepy. We got a rest at mid-day, if rest it could
   be called, under that scorching sun, which I never will forget.
   Proceeding onward, at three o'clock we left the sea-shore, and
   perceived the minarets of Damietta. Before us the mirage cheated
   us often when we were very thirsty. We crossed the Nile again, a
   much smaller branch,--the only remaining one,--and soon found
   ourselves comfortably reclining on the divan of the British
   Consul, an Egyptian gentleman of some fortune and manners. He
   entertained us at supper in true Egyptian style; provided a room
   for us, where we spread our mats in peace. We spent the whole of
   the next day here, having sent off a Bedouin to have camels ready
   for us at San. The Consul entertained us in the same Egyptian
   style of hospitality, and sent us away the next day on board of a
   barge upon Lake Menzaleh. 22.--Even E---- would not have been
   afraid to sail upon the lake. It is nowhere more than ten feet
   deep, and in general only four or five. We made an awning with
   our mats, and spent a very happy day. At evening we entered a
   canal among immense reeds. In moonlight the scene was truly
   romantic; we slept moored to the shore all night. Next morning
   (23) we reached San about ten. This evening and next morning we
   spent in exploring the ruins of the ancient Zoan, for this we
   find is the very spot.

   "Wandering alone, we were quite surprised to find great mounds of
   brick, and pottery, and vitrified stones. Andrew at last came
   upon beautiful obelisks. Next morning we examined all carefully,
   and found two sphinxes and many Egyptian obelisks. How wonderful
   to be treading over the ruins of the ancient capital of Egypt!
   Isaiah 19:12. 'Where are the princes of Zoan?' Ezek. 30:14, 'God
   has set fire in Zoan.' This is the very place where Joseph was
   sold as a slave, and where Moses did his wonders, Psalm 78:43.
   This was almost the only place where we have been in danger from
   the inhabitants. They are a wild race; and our Arabs were afraid
   of them. You would have been afraid too, if you had seen, out of
   the door of our tent, our Bedouins keeping watch all night with
   their naked sabres gleaming in the moonlight, firing off their
   guns now and then, and keeping up a low chaunt to keep one
   another awake. No evil happened to us, and we feel that many pray
   for us, and that God is with us. 24.--This day our journeyings on
   camels commenced and continued till we came to Jerusalem. It is a
   strange mode of conveyance. You have seen a camel kneeling; it is
   in this condition that you mount; suddenly it rises first on its
   fore feet, and then on its hind feet. It requires great skill to
   hold yourself on during this operation; one time I was thrown
   fair over its head, but quite unhurt. When you find yourself
   exalted on the hunch of a camel, it is somwhat of the feeling of
   an aeronaut, as if you were bidding farewell to sublunary things;
   but when he begins to move, with solemn pace and slow, you are
   reminded of your terrestrial origin, and that a wrong balance or
   turn to the side will soon bring you down from your giddy height.
   You have no stirrup, and generally only your bed for your saddle;
   you may either sit as on horseback, or as on a sidesaddle,--the
   latter is the pleasanter, though not the safer of the two. The
   camel goes about three miles an hour, and the step is so long
   that the motion is quite peculiar. You bend your head toward your
   knees every step. With a vertical sun above and a burning sand
   below, you may believe it is a very fatiguing mode of journeying.
   However, we thought of Rebecca and Abraham's servant (Gen. 24.),
   and listened with delight to the wild Bedouin's plaintive song.
   That night (24) we slept at Menagie, a Bedouin mud village:
   palm-trees and three wells, and an ocean of sand, formed the only
   objects of interest. 25.--Up by sunrise, and proceeded as before.
   The only event this day was Dr. Black's fall from his camel,
   which greatly alarmed us. He had fallen asleep, which you are
   very apt to do. We encamped and used every restorative, so that
   we were able to proceed the same evening to Gonatre, a miserable
   Arab post, having a governor. Not a tree. 26.--The Sabbath dawned
   sweetly; thermometer 92° in tent; could only lie on the mat and
   read psalms. Evening.--Gathered governor and Bedouins to hear
   some words of eternal life, Ibrahim interpreting. 27.--Two very
   long stages brought us to Katieh; thankful to God for his
   goodness, while we pitched by the date-trees. 28.--Spent the day
   at Katieh; interesting interviews with governor, a kind Arab;
   thermometer 96° in tent. Same evening, proceeded through a
   greener desert, among flocks of goats and sheep, and encamped by
   a well, Bir-el-Abd. 29.--Another hot day in the desert; came in
   sight of the sea, which gave us a refreshing breeze; bathed in
   the salt lake, as hot as a warm bath. Evening.--Encampment at
   Abugilbany. 30.--This was our last day in the Egyptian
   wilderness. We entered on a much more mountainous region. The
   heat very great; we literally panted for a breath of wind. The
   Bedouins begged handkerchiefs to cover their heads, and often
   cast themselves under a bush for shade. Towards sunset, we came
   down on the old ruins of Rhinoculura, now buried in the sand; and
   soon after our camels kneeled down at the gates of El Arish, the
   last town on the Egyptian frontier. 31.--We spent in El Arish,
   being unable to get fresh camels. We bought a sheep for five
   shillings; drank freely of their delightful water,--what a
   blessing after the desert! Found out the river of Egypt, the
   boundary of Judah mentioned in the Bible, quite dry. _June
   1._--Visited the school,--a curiosity: all the children sit
   cross-legged on the floor, rocking to and fro, repeating
   something in Arabic. We had a curious interview with the
   governor, sitting in the gate in the ancient manner. We are quite
   expert now at taking off our shoes and sitting in the Eastern
   mode. Smoking, and coffee in very small cups, are the constant
   accompaniments of these visits. Left the same evening, and did
   not reach Sheikh Juidhe, in the land of the Philistines, till the
   sun was nearly bursting into view. 2.--Spent a happy Sabbath
   here; sung 'In Judah's land God is well known.' Singing praises
   in our tents is very sweet, they are so frail, like our mortal
   bodies; they rise easily into the ears of our present Father. Our
   journey through the land of the Philistines was truly pleasant.
   3.--We went through a fine pasture country; immense straths;
   flocks of sheep and goats, and asses and camels, often came in
   sight. This is the very way up out of Egypt, little changed from
   the day that the Ethiopian went on his way rejoicing, and Joseph
   and Mary carried down the babe from the anger of Herod. Little
   changed, did I say? it is all changed; no more is there one brook
   of water. Every river of Egypt,--Wady Gaza, Eshcol, Sorek,--every
   brook we crossed, was dried up; not a drop of water. The land is
   changed; no more is it the rich land of Philistia. The sand
   struggles with the grass for mastery. The cities are
   changed,--where are they? The people are changed: no more the
   bold Philistines,--no more the children of Simeon,--no more Isaac
   and his herdsmen,--no more David and his horsemen; but miserable
   Arab shepherds,--simple people, without ideas,--poor degraded,
   fearful. Khanounes was the first town we entered: Scripture name
   unknown. The burying-ground outside the town. The well, and
   people coming to draw, were objects of great interest to us. The
   people were highly entertained with us in return. We sat down in
   the bazaar, and were a spectacle to all. How much we longed to
   have the Arabic tongue, that we might preach the unsearchable
   riches of Christ in God's own land! Same evening we heard the cry
   of the wolf, and encamped two miles from Gaza. The plague was
   raging, so we did not enter, but spent a delightful day in
   comparing its condition with God's word concerning it: 'Baldness
   is come upon Gaza.' The old city is buried under sand-hills,
   without a blade of grass, so that it is bald indeed. The herds
   and flocks are innumerable, fulfilling Zeph. 2; Andrew and I
   climbed the hill up which Samson carried the gates. 5.--Passed
   through a fine olive grove for many miles, and entered the vale
   of Eshcol. The people were all in the fields cutting and bringing
   in their barley. They reap with the hook as we do. They seem to
   carry in at the same time upon camels. No vines in Eshcol now, no
   pomegranates, but some green fig-trees. Crossed the brook
   Sorek--dry. Spent the mid-day under the embowering shade of a
   fig-tree; tasted the apricots of the good land. Same evening we
   came to Doulis, which we take to be Eshtaol, where Samson was
   born. 6.--We went due east, and, after a mountain pass, saw the
   hills of Judah,--an immense plain intervening, all studded with
   little towns. From their names, we found out many Bible spots.
   This valley or plain is the very vale Zephatha, of which you read
   in II Chron. 14., 'In the plain of Sephela.' Before night we
   entered among the hills of Judah,--very like our own
   Highlands,--and slept all night among the mountains, at a
   deserted village called Latroon. 7.--One of the most privileged
   days of our life. We broke up our tents by moonlight; soon the
   sun was up; we entered a defile of the most romantic character;
   wild rocks and verdant hills; wild-flowers of every color and
   fragrance scented our path. Sometimes we came upon a clump of
   beautiful olive-trees, then wild again. The turtle's voice was
   heard in the land, and singing birds of sweetest note. Our camels
   carried us up this pass for four hours; and our turbaned Bedouins
   added by their strange figures to the scene. The terracing of all
   the hills is the most remarkable feature of Judean scenery. Every
   foot of the rockiest mountains may in this way be covered with
   vines. We thought of Isaiah wandering here, and David and
   Solomon. Still all was wilderness. The hand of man had been
   actively employed upon every mountain, but where were these
   laborers now? Judah is gone into captivity before the enemy.
   There are few men left in the land; not a vine is there. 'The
   vine languisheth.' We came down upon Garieh, a village embosomed
   in figs and pomegranates. Ascending again, we came down into the
   valley of Elah, where David slew Goliath. Another long and steep
   ascent of a most rugged hill brought us into a strange scene--a
   desert of sunburnt rocks. I had read of this, and knew that
   Jerusalem was near. I left my camel and went before, hurrying
   over the burning rocks. In about half an hour Jerusalem came in
   sight. 'How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people!'
   Is this the perfection of beauty? 'How hath the Lord covered the
   daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger!' It is, indeed, very
   desolate. Read the two first chapters of Lamentations, and you
   have a vivid picture of our first sight of Jerusalem. We lighted
   off our camels within the Jaffa gate. Among those that crowded
   round us, we observed several Jews. I think I had better not
   attempt to tell you about Jerusalem. There is so much to
   describe, and I know not where to begin. The Consul, Mr. Young,
   received us most kindly, provided us a house where we might
   spread our mats, and helped us in every way. Mr. Nicolayson
   called the same evening, and insisted on our occupying one of the
   mission-houses on Mount Zion. The plague is still in Jerusalem,
   so that we must keep ourselves in quarantine. The plague only
   communicates by contact, so that we are not allowed to touch any
   one, or let any one touch us. Every night we heard the mourners
   going about the streets with their dismal wailings for the dead.
   On Sabbath Mr. Nicolayson read the prayers, and Dr. Black
   preached from Isaiah 2:2. Dr. Keith in the evening. Three
   converted Jews were among the hearers. On Monday (10) we visited
   the sepulchre, and a painful sight, where we can find no traces
   of Calvary. Same evening rode up to the Mount of Olives: past
   Gethsemane, a most touching spot. Visited Sir Moses Montefiore, a
   Jew of London, encamped on Mount Olivet; very kind to us.
   11.--Went round the most of the places to be visited near
   Jerusalem,--Rephaim, Gihon, Siloa's brook, 'that flowed fast by
   the oracle of God;' the Pool of Siloam; the place where Jesus
   wept over the city; Bethany,--of all places my favorite; the
   tombs of the kings. Such a day we never spent in this world
   before. The climate is truly delightful,--hot at mid-day, but
   delightful breezes at morn and even. 12.--A business day, getting
   information about Jews. In the evening, walked to Aceldama,--a
   dreadful spot. Zion is ploughed like a field. I gathered some
   barley, and noticed cauliflowers planted in rows. See Micah 3:12.
   Jerusalem is indeed heaps. The quantities of rubbish would amaze
   you,--in one place higher than the walls. 13.--We went to Hebron,
   twenty miles south; Mr. Nicolayson, his son, the Consul and
   ladies accompanying us, all on mules and horses, Judah's cities
   are all waste. Except Bethlehem, we saw none but ruins till we
   reached Hebron. The vines are beautifully cultivated here, and
   make it a paradise; The hills all terraced to the top. We spent a
   delightful evening and all next day. We met the Jews, and had an
   interesting interview with them. We read Genesis 18, and many
   other Bible passages, with great joy. Saw the mosque where the
   tomb of Abraham and Sarah is. 14.--Returned by Bethlehem to
   Jerusalem. Bethlehem is a sweet village, placed on the top of a
   rocky hill,--very white and dazzling. You see it on both sides of
   the hill. At Rachel's sepulchre you see Jerusalem on one hand and
   Bethlehem on the other,--an interesting sight,--six miles apart.
   On Sabbath we enjoyed the Lord's Supper in an upper chamber in
   Jerusalem. It was a time much to be remembered. Andrew preached
   in the evening from John 14:2, 3. 17.--The plague has been
   increasing so that we think it better to depart. Last visit to
   Gethsemane, and Bethany, and Siloam. Evening.--Took farewell of
   all our friends at Jerusalem, with much sorrow you may believe.
   Went due north to Ramah, by Gibeon, and slept at Beer, again in
   our tent, in Benjamin. 19.--Passed Bethel, where Jacob slept.
   Passed through the rich and rocky defile of Ephraim, by Lebonah,
   to Sychar. You cannot believe what a delightsome land it is. We
   sought anxiously for the well where Jesus sat. Andrew alone found
   it, and lost his Bible in it. 20.--Had a most interesting morning
   with the Jews of Sychar. Saw many of them; also the Samaritans in
   their synagogue. Same evening visited Samaria,--a wonderful
   place,--and encamped at Sanor. 21.--Arrived at Carmel, where we
   now are, encamped within two yards of the sea. We have been in
   quarantine here seven days, as there is no plague north of this.
   Several English are encamped here--Lord R., Lord H., etc. We have
   daily conversations sitting on the sand. We are not allowed to
   touch even the rope of a tent. Acre is in sight across the bay.
   We have delightful bathing. To-morrow Lord H. leaves, and kindly
   offers to take this. Carmel's rocky brow is over us. We are all
   well and happy. On Monday we propose leaving for Tiberias and
   Saphet. Soon we shall be in Beyrout, and on our way to Smyrna. Do
   not be anxious for me. Trust us to God, who goes with us where we
   go. I only pray that our mission may be blessed to Israel. Sir
   Moses M. has arrived, and pitched his tent within fifty yards of
   us. Kindest regards to all that inquire after me, not forgetting
   dear W.--Your affectionate son," etc.

When the two elder brethren of the deputation left us for Europe, we
turned southward again from Beyrout, to visit the regions of
Phoenicia and Galilee. Never did Mr. M'Cheyne seem more gladsome
than in gazing on these regions.

At Tyre, he remembered the request of an elder in the parish of
Larbert, who had written to him before his departure, stating what he
considered to be a difficulty in the ordinary expositions of the
prophecies which speak of that renowned city. With great delight he
examined the difficulty on the spot; and it is believed that his
testimony on such points as these, when it reached some men of
sceptical views in that scene of his early labors, was not unblest.

From Saphet he writes: "I sat looking down upon the lake this morning
for about an hour. It was just at our feet,--the very water where
Jesus walked, where He called his disciples, where He rebuked the
storm, where He said, 'Children, have ye any meat?' after He rose from
the dead. Jesus is the same still." To his early and familiar friend,
Mr. Somerville, he thus describes the same view: "Oh what a view of
the Sea of Galilee is before you, at your feet! It is above three
hours' descent to the water's edge, and yet it looks as if you could
run down in as many minutes. The lake is much larger than I had
imagined. It is hemmed in by mountains on every side, sleeping as
calmly and softly as if it had been the sea of glass which John saw in
heaven. We tried in vain to follow the course of the Jordan running
through it. True, there were clear lines, such as you see in the wake
of a vessel, but then these did not go straight through the lake. The
hills of Bashan are very high and steep, where they run into the lake.
At one point, a man pointed out to us where the tombs in the rocks
are, where the demoniacs used to live: and near it the hills were
exactly what the Scriptures describe, 'a steep place,' where the swine
ran down into the sea. On the north-east of the sea, Hermon rises very
grand, intersected with many ravines full of snow."

The day we spent at the lake--at the very water-side--was ever
memorable, it was so peculiarly sweet! We left an indescribable
interest even in lifting a shell from the shore of a sea where Jesus
had so often walked. It was here that two of the beautiful hymns in
_The Songs of Zion_ were suggested to him. The one was, _How pleasant
to me_, etc.; the other, _To yonder side_; but the latter lay beside
him unfinished till a later period.

His complaint was now considerably abated; his strength seemed
returning: and often did he long to be among his people again, though
quieting his soul upon the Lord. Not a few pastors of another church
have from time to time come forth to this land, compelled by disease
to seek for health in foreign regions; but how rarely do we find the
pastor's heart retained,--how rarely do we discover that the shepherd
yearns still over the flock he left! But so deep was Mr. M'Cheyne's
feelings toward the flock over which the Holy Ghost had made him
overseer, that his concern for them became a temptation to his soul.
It was not in the mere desire to preach again that he manifested this
concern; for this desire might have been selfish, as he said: "No
doubt there is pride in this anxiety to preach; a submissive soul
would rejoice only in doing the present will of God." But his prayers
for them went up daily to the throne. We had precious seasons of
united prayer also for that same end,--especially one morning at
sunrise in Gethsemane, and another morning at Carmel, where we joined
in supplication on the silent shore at the foot of the hill as soon as
day dawned, and then again, at evening, on the top, where Elijah

Distance of place of peculiarities of circumstance never altered his
views of duty, nor changed his feelings as a minister of Christ. In
Galilee he meditated upon the aspect of ecclesiastical affairs in our
beloved Scotland; and the principles he had maintained appeared to him
as plainly accordant with the word of God when tried there, apart from
excitement, as they did when he reviewed them in connection with their
effects at home. "I hope," were his words to a brother in the
ministry, "I hope the church has been well guided and blessed; and if
times of difficulty are to come, I do believe there is no position so
proper for her to be in as the attitude of a missionary church, giving
freely to Jew and Gentile, as she has freely received,--so may she be
found when the Lord comes."

At the foot of Lebanon, in the town of Beyrout, he was able to expound
a chapter (Acts 10.) at a prayer-meeting of the American brethren.
This quite rejoiced his heart; for it seemed as if the Lord were
restoring him, and meant again to use him in preaching the glad
tidings. But shortly after, during the oppressive heat of the
afternoon, he felt himself unwell. He had paid a visit to a young man
from Glasgow in the town, who was ill of fever; and it is not unlikely
that this visit, at a time when he was in a state of debility from
previous fatigue, was the immediate occasion of his own illness. He
was very soon prostrated under the fever. But his medical attendant
apprehended no danger, and advised him to proceed to Smyrna, in the
belief that the cool air of the sea would be much more in his favor
than the sultry heat of Beyrout. Accordingly, in company with our
faithful Hebrew friend Erasmus Calman, we embarked; but as we lay off
Cyprus, the fever increased to such a height, that he lost his memory
for some hours, and was racked with excessive pain in his head. When
the vessel sailed, he revived considerably, but during three days no
medical aid could be obtained. He scarcely ever spoke; and only once
did he for a moment, on a Saturday night, lift his languid eye, as he
lay on deck enjoying the breeze, to catch a distant sight of Patmos.
We watched him with agonizing anxiety till we reached Smyrna and the
village of Bouja. Though three miles off, yet, for the sake of medical
aid, he rode to this village upon a mule after sunset, ready to drop
every moment with pain and burning fever. But here the Lord had
prepared for him the best and kindest help. The tender and parental
care of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, in whose house he found a home, was never
mentioned by him but with deepest gratitude; and the sight of the
flowering jessamine, or the mention of the deep-green cypress, would
invariably call up in his mind associations of Bouja and its inmates.
He used to say it was his second birth-place.

During that time, like most of God's people who have been in sickness,
he felt that a single passage of the word of God was more truly food
to his fainting soul than anything besides. One day his spirit
revived, and his eye glistened, when I spoke of the Saviour's
sympathy, adducing as the very words of Jesus, Psalm 41:1: "_Blessed
is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of
trouble,_" etc. It seemed so applicable to his own case, as a minister
of the glad tidings; for often had he "considered the poor," carrying
a cup of cold water to a disciple. Another passage, written for the
children of God in their distress, was spoken to him when he seemed
nearly insensible: "_Call upon me in the day of trouble._" This word
of God was as the drop of honey to Jonathan.

He himself thus spoke of his illness to his friends at home: "I left
the foot of Lebanon when I could hardly see, or hear, or speak, or
remember; I felt my faculties going, one by one, and I had every
reason to expect that I would soon be with my God. It is a sore trial
to be alone and dying in a foreign land, and it has made me feel, in a
way that I never knew before, the necessity of having unfeigned faith
in Jesus and in God. Sentiments, natural feelings, glowing fancies of
divine things, will not support the soul in such an hour. There is
much self-delusion in our estimation of ourselves when we are untried,
and in the midst of Christian friends, whose warm feelings give a
glow to ours, which they do not possess in themselves." Even then he
had his people in his heart. "When I got better, I used to creep out
in the evenings about sunset. I often remembered you all then. I could
not write, as my eyes and head were much affected; I could read but
very little; I could speak very little, for I had hardly any voice;
and so I had all my time to lay my people before God, and pray for a
blessing on them. About the last evening I was there, we all went to
the vintage, and I joined in gathering the grapes." To Mr. Somerville
he wrote: "My mind was very weak when I was at the worst, and
therefore the things of eternity were often dim. _I had no fear to
die, for Christ had died._ Still I prayed for recovery, if it was the
Lord's will. You remember you told me to be humble among your last
advices. You see God is teaching me the same thing. I fear I am not
thoroughly humbled. I feel the pride of my heart, and bewail it." To
his kind medical friend, Dr. Gibson, in Dundee, he wrote: "I really
believed that my Master had called me home, and that I would sleep
beneath the dark-green cypresses of Bouja till the Lord shall come,
and they that sleep in Jesus come with Him; and my most earnest prayer
was for my dear flock, that God would give them a pastor after his own

When we met, after an eight days' separation, on board the vessel at
Constantinople, he mentioned as one of the most interesting incidents
of the week, that one evening, while walking with Mr. Lewis, they met
a young Greek and his wife, both of whom were believed to be really
converted souls. It created a thrill in his bosom to meet with these
almost solitary representatives of the once faithful and much tried
native church of Smyrna.

Meanwhile there were movements at home that proved the Lord to be He
who "alone doeth wondrous things." The cry of his servant in Asia was
not forgotten; the eye of the Lord turned towards his people. It was
during the time of Mr. M'Cheyne's sore sickness that his flock in
Dundee were receiving blessing from the opened windows of heaven.
Their pastor was lying at the gate of death, in utter helplessness.
But the Lord had done this on very purpose; for He meant to show that
He needed not the help of any: He could send forth new laborers, and
work by new instruments, when it pleased Him. We little knew that
during the days when we were waiting at the foot of Lebanon for a
vessel to carry us to Smyrna, the arm of the Lord had begun to be
revealed in Scotland. On the 23d of July the great Revival at Kilsyth
took place.

Mr. W.C. Burns, the same who was supplying Mr. M'Cheyne's place in his
absence, was on that day preaching to his father's flock; and while
pressing upon them immediate acceptance of Christ with deep solemnity,
the whole of the vast assembly were overpowered. The Holy Spirit
seemed to come down as a rushing mighty wind, and to fill the place.
Very many were that day struck to the heart; the sanctuary was filled
with distressed and inquiring souls. All Scotland heard the glad news
that the sky was no longer as brass,--that the rain had begun to fall.
The Spirit in mighty power began to work from that day forward in many
places of the land.

Mr. Burns returned to Mr. M'Cheyne's flock on August 8th,--one of the
days when Mr. M'Cheyne was stretched on his bed, praying for his
people under all his own suffering. The news of the work at Kilsyth
had produced a deep impression in Dundee; and two days after, the
Spirit began to work in St. Peter's, at the time of the prayer-meeting
in the church, in a way similar to Kilsyth. Day after day the people
met for prayer and hearing the word; and the times of the apostles
seemed returned, when "the Lord added to the church daily of such as
should be saved." All this time, Mr. M'Cheyne knew not how gracious
the Lord had been in giving him his heart's desire. It was not till we
were within sight of home that the glad news of these Revivals reached
our ears. But he continued, like Epaphras, "laboring fervently in
prayer," and sought daily to prepare himself for a more efficient
discharge of his office, should the Lord restore him to it again. He
sends home this message to a fellow-laborer: "Do not forget to carry
on the work in hearts brought to a Saviour. I feel this was one of my
faults in the ministry. Nourish babes; comfort downcast believers;
counsel those perplexed; perfect that which is lacking in their faith.
Prepare them for sore trials. I fear most Christians are quite unready
for days of darkness."--(_Mr. Moody Stuart_.)

Our journey led us through Moldavia, Wallachia, and Austria,--lands
of darkness and of the shadow of death. Profound strangers to the
truth as it is in Jesus, the people of these lands, nevertheless,
profess to be Christians. Superstition and its idolatries veil the
glorious object of faith from every eye. In these regions, as well as
in those already traversed. Mr. M'Cheyne's anxiety for souls appeared
in the efforts he made to leave at least a few words of Scripture with
the Jews whom we met, however short the time of our interview. His
spirit was stirred in him; and, with his Hebrew Bible in his hand, he
would walk up thoughtfully and solemnly to the first Jew he could get
access to, and begin by calling the man's attention to some statement
of God's word. In Palestine, if the Jew did not understand Italian, he
would repeat to him such texts in Hebrew as, "In that day there shall
be a fountain opened to the house of David," etc. (Zech. 13:1.) And
one evening, at the well of Doulis, when the Arab population were all
clustered round the water troughs, he looked on very wistfully, and
said, "If only we had Arabic, we might sow beside all waters!"

At Jassy, after a deeply interesting day, spent in conversation with
Jews who came to the inn, he said, "I will remember the faces of those
men at the judgment-seat." When he came among the more educated Jews
of Europe, he rejoiced to find that they could converse with him in
Latin. His heart was bent on doing what he could (Mark 14:8), in
season and out of season. "One thing," he writes, "I am deeply
convinced of, that God can make the simplest statement of the gospel
effectual to save souls. If only it be the true gospel, the good
tidings, the message that God loved the world, and provided a ransom
free to all, then God is able to make it wound the heart, and heal it
too. There is deep meaning in the words of Paul, 'I am not ashamed of
the gospel of Christ.'"

The abominations of Popery witnessed in Austrian Poland, called forth
many a prayer for the destruction of the Man of Sin. "The images and
idols by the wayside are actually frightful, stamping the whole land
as a kingdom of darkness. I do believe that a journey through Austria
would go far to cure some of the Popery-admirers of our beloved land."
He adds: "These are the marks of the beast upon this land." And in
like manner our privileges in Scotland used to appear to him the more
precious, when, as at Brody, we heard of Protestants who were supplied
with sermon only once a year. "I must tell this to my people," said
he, "when I return, to make them prize their many seasons of grace."

He estimated the importance of a town or country by its relation to
the house of Israel; and his yearnings over these lost sheep resembled
his bowels of compassion for his flock at home. At Tarnapol, in
Galicia, he wrote home: "We are in Tarnapol, a very nice clean town,
prettily situated on a winding stream, with wooded hills around. I
suppose you never heard its name before; neither did I till we were
there among Jews. I know not whether it has been the birth-place of
warriors, or poets, or orators; its flowers have hitherto been born to
blush unseen, at least by us barbarians of the north; but if God
revive the dry bones of Israel that are scattered over the world,
there will arise from this place an exceeding great army."

Our friend and brother in the faith, Erasmus Calman, lightened the
tediousness of a long day's journey by repeating to us some Hebrew
poetry. One piece was on Israel's present state of degradation; it

                  tsuri goali
              maheir v'chish p'dut ]

As the vehicle drove along, we translated it line by line, and soon
after Mr. M'Cheyne put it into verse. The following lines are a

        Rock and Refuge of my soul,
        Swiftly let the season roll,
        When thine Israel shall arise
        Lovely in the nations' eyes!

      Lord of glory, Lord of might,
        As our ransomed fathers tell;
      Once more for thy people fight,
        Plead for thy loved Israel.
      Give our spoilers' towers to be
      Waste and desolate as we.

      Hasten, Lord, the joyful year,
        When thy Zion, tempest-tossed,
      Shall the silver trumpet hear:
        Bring glad tidings to the lost!
      Captive, cast thy cords from thee,
      Loose thy neck--be free--be free!

      Why dost Thou behold our sadness?
      See the proud have torn away
      All our years of solemn gladness,
        When thy flock kept holy-day!
      Lord, thy fruitful vine is bare,
      Not one gleaning grape is there!

        Rock and Refuge of my soul,
        Swiftly let the season roll,
        When thine Israel shall be,
        Once again, beloved and free.

In his notes, he has one or two subjects marked for hymns. One of
these is--Isaiah 2:3--"Come ye," etc., _a loving call to the Jews_.
Another is to the same effect--Isaiah 1:15--"Come, let us reason
together." But these he never completed. In Cracow, having heard of
the death of a friend, the wife of an English clergyman, in the midst
of her days and in the full promise of usefulness, he began to pen a
few sweet lines of comfort:

      Oft as she taught the little maids of France
      To leave the garland, castanet, and dance,
      And listen to the words which she would say
      About the crowns that never fade away,
      A new expression kindled in her eye,
      A holy brightness, borrowed from the sky.
      And when returning to her native land,
      She bowed beneath a Father's chast'ning hand,
      When the quick pulse and flush upon the cheek,
      A touching warning to her friends would speak,
      A holy cheerfulness yet filled her eye,
      Willing she was to live, willing to die.
      As the good Shunammite (the Scriptures tell),
      When her son died, said meekly, "It is well,"
      So when Sophia lost her infant boy,
      And felt how dear-bought is a mother's joy,
      When with green turf the little grave she spread,
      "Not lost, but gone before," she meekly said.
      And now they sleep together 'neath the willow
      The same dew drops upon their silent pillow.
      Return, O mourner, from this double grave,
      And praise the God who all her graces gave.
      Follow her faith, and let her mantle be
      A cloak of holy zeal to cover thee.

The danger which he incurred from the shepherds in this region, and
other similar perils to which he was exposed in company with others,
have been recorded in the _Narrative_. Out of them all the Lord
delivered him; and not from these perils only did He save him, but
from many severe trials to his health, to which variety of climate and
discomforts of accommodation subjected him. And now we were
traversing Prussia, drawing nearer our own land. It was about five
months since we had received letters from Scotland, our route having
led us away from places which we had anticipated visiting, and where
communications had been left for us. We pressed homeward somewhat
anxiously, yet wondering often at past mercies. In a letter from
Berlin, Mr. M'Cheyne remarked, "Our heavenly Father has brought us
through so many trials and dangers that I feel persuaded He will yet
carry us to the end. Like John, we shall fulfil our course. 'Are there
not twelve hours in the day?' Are we not all immortal till our work is
done?" His strength was rapidly increasing; the journey had answered
the ends anticipated to a great extent, in his restoration to health.
He was able to preach at Hamburgh to the English congregation of Mr.
Rheder, from whom it was that the first hint of a Revival in Dundee
reached his ears. He heard just so much both of Kilsyth and Dundee as
to make him long to hear more. A few days after, on board the vessel
that conveyed us to England, he thus expressed his feelings:--

                            "Sailing up the Thames, _Nov. 6, 1839._

   "MY DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,--You will be glad to see by the date
   that we are once more in sight of the shores of happy England. I
   only wish I knew how you all are. I have not heard of you since I
   was in Smyrna. In vain did I inquire for letters from you at
   Cracow, Berlin, and Hamburgh. You must have written to Warsaw,
   and the Resident there has not returned them to Berlin, as we
   desired. Andrew and I and Mr. Calman are all quite well, and
   thankful to God, who has brought us through every danger in so
   many countries. I trust our course has not been altogether
   fruitless, and that we may now resign our commission with some
   hope of good issuing from it to the church and to Israel. I
   preached last Sabbath in Hamburgh, for the first time since
   leaving England, and felt nothing the worse of it; so that I do
   hope it is my heavenly Father's will to restore me to usefulness
   again among my beloved flock. We have heard something of a
   reviving work at Kilsyth. We saw it noticed in one of the
   newspapers. I also saw the name of Dundee associated with it; so
   that I earnestly hope good has been doing in our church, and the
   dew from on high watering our parishes, and that the flocks
   whose pastors have been wandering may also have shared in the
   blessing. We are quite ignorant of the facts, and you may believe
   we are anxious to hear.... We are now passing Woolwich, and in an
   hour will be in London. We are anxious to be home, but I suppose
   will not get away till next week. I never thought to have seen
   you again in this world, but now I hope to meet you once more in
   peace.--Believe me, your affectionate son," etc.

The day we arrived on the shores of our own land was indeed a singular
day. We were intensely anxious to hear of events that had occurred at
home a few months before,--the outpouring of the Spirit from on
high,--while our friends were intensely interested in hearing tidings
of the land of Israel and the scattered tribes. The reception of
deputation on their return, and the fruits of their mission, are well
known, and have been elsewhere recorded.

Mr. M'Cheyne listened with deepest interest to the accounts given of
what had taken place in Dundee during the month of August, when he lay
at the gates of death in Bouja. The Lord had indeed fulfilled his
hopes, and answered his prayers. His assistant, Mr. Burns, had been
honored of God to open the floodgate at Dundee as well as at Kilsyth.
For some time before, Mr. Burns had seen symptoms of deeper attention
than usual, and of real anxiety in some that had hitherto been
careless. But it was after his return from Kilsyth that the people
began to melt before the Lord. On Thursday, the second day after his
return, at the close of the usual evening prayer-meeting in St.
Peter's, and when the minds of many were deeply solemnized by the
tidings which had reached them, he spoke a few words about what had
for some days detained him from them, and invited those to remain who
felt the need of an outpouring of the Spirit to convert them. About a
hundred remained; and at the conclusion of a solemn address to these
anxious souls, suddenly the power of God seemed to descend, and all
were bathed in tears. At a similar meeting next evening, in the
church, there was much melting of heart and intense desire after the
Beloved of the Father; and on adjourning to the vestry, the arm of the
Lord was revealed. No sooner was the vestry-door opened to admit those
who might feel anxious to converse, than a vast number pressed in with
awful eagerness. It was like a pent-up flood breaking forth; tears
were streaming from the eyes of many, and some fell on the ground
groaning, and weeping, and crying for mercy. Onward from that evening,
meetings were held every day for many weeks, and the extraordinary
nature of the work justified and called for extraordinary services.
The whole town was moved. Many believers doubted; the ungodly raged;
but the word of God grew mightily and prevailed. Instances occured
where whole families were affected at once, and each could be found
mourning apart, affording a specimen of the times spoken of by
Zechariah (12:12). Mr. Baxter of Hilltown, Mr. Hamilton, then
assistant at Abernyte, and other men of God in the vicinity, hastened
to aid in the work. Mr. Roxburgh of St. John's, and Mr. Lewis of St.
David's, examined the work impartially and judiciously, and testified
it to be of God. Dr. M'Donald of Ferintosh, a man of God well
experienced in Revivals, came to the spot and put to his seal also,
and continued in town, preaching in St. David's Church to the anxious
multitudes, during ten days. How many of those who were thus awfully
awakened were really brought to the truth, it was impossible to
ascertain. When Mr. M'Cheyne arrived, drop after drop was still
failing from the clouds.

Such in substance were the accounts he heard before he reached Dundee.
They were such as made his heart rejoice. He had no envy at another
instrument having been so honored in the place where he himself had
labored with many tears and temptations. In true Christian
magnanimity, he rejoiced that the work of the Lord was done, by
whatever hand. Full of praise and wonder, he set his foot once more on
the shore of Dundee.



   "_They shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the
   water-courses_"--Isaiah 44:4

His people, who had never ceased to pray for him, welcomed his arrival
among them with the greatest joy. He reached Dundee on a Thursday
afternoon; and in the evening of the same day,--being the usual time
for prayer in St. Peter's,--after a short meditation, he hastened to
the church, there to render thanks to the Lord, and to speak once more
to his flock. The appearance of the church that evening, and the
aspect of the people, he never could forget. Many of his brethren were
present to welcome him, and to hear the first words of his opened
lips. There was not a seat in the church unoccupied, the passages were
completely filled, and the stairs up to the pulpit were crowded, on
the one side with the aged, on the other with eagerly-listening
children. Many a face was seen anxiously gazing on their restored
pastor; many were weeping under the unhealed wounds of conviction; all
were still and calm, intensely earnest to hear. He gave out Psalm 66;
and the manner of singing, which had been remarked since the Revival
began, appeared to him peculiarly sweet,--"so tender and affecting, as
if the people felt that they were praising a present God." After
solemn prayer with them, he was able to preach for above an hour. Not
knowing how long he might be permitted to proclaim the glad tidings,
he seized that opportunity, not to tell of his journeyings, but to
show the way of life to sinners. His subject was I Cor. 2. 1-4,--the
matter, the manner, and the accompaniments of Paul's preaching. It was
a night to be remembered.

On coming out of the church, he found the road to his house crowded
with old and young, who were waiting to welcome him back. He had to
shake hands with many at the same time; and before this happy
multitude would disperse, had to speak some words of life to them
again, and pray with them where they stood. "To thy name. O Lord,"
said he that night, when he returned to his home, "To thy name, O
Lord, be all the glory!" A month afterwards, he was visited by one who
had hitherto stood out against all the singular influence of the
Revival, but who that night was deeply awakened under his words, so
that the arrow festered in her soul, till she came crying, "Oh my
hard, hard heart!"

On the Sabbath he preached to his flock in the afternoon. He chose II
Chron. 5:13, 14, as his subject; and in the close, his hearers
remember well how affectionately and solemnly he said: "Dearly beloved
and longed for, I now begin another year of my ministry among you; and
I am resolved, if God give me health and strength, that I will not let
a man, woman, or child among you alone, until you have at least heard
the testimony of God concerning his Son, either to your condemnation
or salvation. And I will pray, as I have done before, that if the Lord
will indeed give us a great outpouring of his Spirit, He will do it in
such a way that it will be evident to the weakest child among you that
it is the Lord's work, and not man's. I think I may say to you, as
Rutherford said to his people, 'Your heaven would be two heavens to
me.' And if the Lord be pleased to give me a crown from among you, I
do here promise in his sight, that I will cast it at his feet, saying,
'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! Blessing, and honor, and glory,
and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb
forever and ever.'"

It was much feared for a time that a jealous spirit would prevail
among the people of St. Peter's, some saying, "I am of Paul; and
others, I of Cephas." Those recently converted were apt to regard
their spiritual father in a light in which they could regard none
besides. But Mr. M'Cheyne had received from the Lord a holy
disinterestedness that suppressed every feeling of envy. Many wondered
at the single-heartedness he was enabled to exhibit. He could
sincerely say, "I have no desire but the salvation of my people, by
whatever instrument."

Never, perhaps, was there one placed in better circumstances for
testing the Revival impartially, and seldom has any Revival been more
fully tested. He came among a people whose previous character he knew;
he found a work wrought among them during his absence, in which he had
not had any direct share; he returned home to go out and in among
them, and to be a close observer of all that had taken place; and
after a faithful and prayerful examination, he did most unhesitatingly
say, that the Lord had wrought great things, whereof he was glad; and
in the case of many of those whose souls were saved in that Revival,
he discovered remarkable answers to the prayers of himself, and of
those who had come to the truth, before he left them. He wrote to me
his impressions of the work, when he had been a few weeks among his

                                              _Dec. 2, 1839._

  "Rev. And. A. Bonar, Collace.

  "My Dear A.,--I begin upon note-paper, because I have no other on
  hand but our thin travelling paper. I have much to tell you, and
  to praise the Lord for. I am grieved to hear that there are no
  marks of the Spirit's work about Collace during your absence; but
  if Satan drive you to your knees, he will soon find cause to
  repent it. Remember how fathers do to their children when they
  ask bread. How much more shall our heavenly Father give ([Greek:
  hagatha]) all good things to them that ask Him. Remember the
  rebuke which I once got from old Mr. Dempster of Denny, after
  preaching to his people: 'I was highly pleased with your
  discourse, but in prayer it struck me that you thought God
  _unwilling to give_.' Remember Daniel: 'At the beginning of thy
  supplications the commandment came forth.' And do not think you
  are forgotten by me as long as I have health and grace to pray.

  "Everything here I have found in a state better than I expected.
  The night I arrived I preached to such a congregation as I never
  saw before. I do not think another person could have got into the
  church, and there was every sign of the deepest and tenderest
  emotion. R. Macdonald was with me, and prayed. Affliction and
  success in the ministry have taught and quickened him. I preached
  on I Cor. 2:1-4, and felt what I have often heard, that it is
  easy to preach where the Spirit of God is. On the Friday night
  Mr. Burns preached. On the Sabbath I preached on that wonderful
  passage, II Chron. 5:13, 14; Mr. Burns preached twice, morning
  and evening. His views of divine truth are clear and commanding.
  There is a great deal of substance in what he preaches, and his
  manner is very powerful,--so much so, that he sometimes made me
  tremble. In private he is deeply prayerful, and seems to feel his
  danger of falling into pride.

  "I have seen many of the awakened, and many of the saved; indeed,
  this is a pleasant place compared with what it was once. Some of
  the awakened are still in the deepest anxiety and distress. Their
  great error is exactly what your brother Horace told me. They
  think that coming to Christ is some strange act of their mind,
  different from believing what God has said of his Son; so much
  so, that they will, tell you with one breath, I believe all that.
  God has said, and yet with the next complain that they cannot
  come to Christ, or close with Christ. It is very hard to deal
  with this delusion.

  "I find some old people deeply shaken; they feel insecure. One
  confirmed drunkard has come to me, and is, I believe, now a saved
  man. Some little children are evidently saved. All that I have
  yet seen are related to converts of my own. One, eleven years
  old, is a singular instance of divine grace. When I asked if she
  desired to be made holy, she said, 'Indeed, I often wish I was
  awa, that I might sin nae mair.' A.L., of fifteen, is a fine
  tender-hearted believer. W.S., ten, is also a happy boy.

  "Many of my own dear children in the Lord are much advanced; much
  more full of joy,--their hearts lifted up in the ways of the
  Lord. I have found many more savingly impressed under my own
  ministry than I knew of. Some have come to tell me. In one case a
  whole family saved. I have hardly met with anything to grieve me.
  Surely the Lord hath dealt bountifully with me. I fear, however,
  that the great Spirit has in some measure passed by,--I hope soon
  to return in greater power than ever. The week meetings are
  thinner now. I will turn two of them into my classes soon, and so
  give solid, regular instruction, of which they stand greatly in
  need. I have not met with one case of extravagance or false fire,
  although doubtless there may be many. At first they used to
  follow in a body to our house, and expected many an address and
  prayer by the road. They have given up this now. I preached last
  Sabbath twice, first on Isaiah 28:14-18, and then on Rev. 12:11,
  'Overcame by the blood of the Lamb.' It was a very solemn day.
  The people willingly sat till it was dark. Many make it a place
  of Bochim. Still there is nothing of the power which has been. I
  have tried to persuade Mr. Burns to stay with us, and I think he
  will remain in Dundee. I feel fully stronger in body than when I
  left you. Instead of exciting me, there is everything to
  solemnize and still my feelings. Eternity sometimes seems very

  "I would like your advice about prayer-meetings; how to
  consolidate them; what rules should be followed, if any; whether
  there should be mere reading of the word and prayer, or free
  converse also on the passage? We began to-day a ministerial
  prayer-meeting, to be held every Monday at eleven, for an hour
  and a half. This is a great comfort, and may be a great blessing.
  Of course we do not invite the colder ministers; that would only
  damp our meeting. Tell me if you think this right.

  "And now, dear A., I must be done, for it is very late. May your
  people share in the quickening that has come over Dundee! I feel
  it a very powerful argument with many: 'Will you be left dry when
  others are getting drops of heavenly dew?' Try this with your

  "I think it probable we shall have another communion again before
  the regular one. It seems very desirable. You will come and help
  us; and perhaps Horace too.

  "I thought of coming back by Collace from Errol, if our Glasgow
  meeting had not come in the way.

  "Will you set agoing your Wednesday meeting again, immediately?

  "Farewell, dear A. 'Oh man, greatly beloved, fear not; peace be
  to thee; be strong; yea, be strong.' Yours ever," etc.

To Mr. Burns he thus expresses himself on _December 19_: "My dear
Brother,--I shall never be able to thank you for all your labors among
the precious souls committed to me; and what is worse, I can never
thank God fully for his kindness and grace, which every day appear to
me more remarkable. He has answered prayer to me in all that has
happened, in a way which I have never told any one." Again, on the
_31st_: "Stay where you are, dear brother, as long as the Lord has any
work for you to do.[16] If I know my own heart, its only desire is
that Christ may be glorified, by souls flocking to Him, and abiding in
Him, and reflecting his image; and whether it be in Perth or Dundee,
should signify little to us. You know I told you my mind plainly, that
I thought the Lord had so blessed you in Dundee, that you were called
to a fuller and deeper work there; but if the Lord accompanies you to
other places, I have nothing to object. The Lord strengthened my body
and soul last Sabbath, and my spirit also was glad. The people were
much alive in the Lord's service. But oh! dear brother, the most are
Christless still. The rich are almost untroubled."

     [16] Mr Burns was at that time in Perth, and there had begun to be
     some movement among the dry bones.

His evidence on this subject is given fully in his answers to the
queries put by a Committee of the Aberdeen Presbytery; and in a note
to a friend, he incidentally mentions a pleasing result of this
wide-spread awakening: "I find many souls saved under my own ministry,
whom I never knew of before. They are not afraid to come out now, it
has become so common a thing to be concerned about the soul." At that
time, also, many came from a distance; one came from the north, who
had been a year in deep distress of soul, to seek Christ in Dundee.

In his brief diary he records, on December 3, that twenty anxious
souls had that night been conversing with him; "many of them very
deeply interesting." He occasionally fixed an evening for the purpose
of meeting with those who were awakened; and in one of his note-books
there are at least _four hundred_ visits recorded, made to him by
inquiring souls, in the course of that and the following years. He
observed, that those who had been believers formerly had got their
hearts enlarged, and were greatly established; and some seemed able to
feed upon the truth in a new manner,--as when one related to him how
there had for some time appeared a glory in the reading of the word in
public, quite different from reading it alone.

At the same time he saw backslidings, both among those whom believers
had considered really converted, and among those who had been deeply
convicted, though never reckoned among the really saved. He notes in
his book: "Called to see ----. Poor lad, he seems to have gone back
from Christ, led away by evil company. And yet I felt sure of him at
one time. What blind creatures ministers are! man looketh at the
outward appearance." One morning he was visited by one of his flock,
proposing "a concert for prayer on the following Monday, in behalf of
those who had fallen back, that God's Spirit might re-awaken
them,"--so observant were the believers as well as their pastor of
declensions. Among those who were awakened, but never truly converted,
he mentions one case. "_Jan. 9, 1840._--Met with the case of one who
had been frightened during the late work, so that her bodily health
was injured. She seems to have no care now about her soul. It has only
filled her mouth with evil-speaking."

That many, who promised fair, drew back and walked no more with Jesus,
is true. Out of about 800 souls who, during the months of the Revival,
conversed with different ministers in apparent anxiety, no wonder
surely if many proved to have been impressed only for a time.
President Edwards considered it likely that, in such cases, the
proportion of real conversions might resemble the proportion of
blossoms in spring, and fruit in autumn. Nor can anything be more
unreasonable than to doubt the truth of all, because of the deceit of
some. The world itself does not so act in judging of its own. The
world reckons upon the possibility of being mistaken in many cases,
and yet does not cease to believe that there is honesty and truth to
be found. One of themselves, a poet of their own, has said with no
less justice than beauty--

      "Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
      And though foul things put on the brows of grace,
      Yet grace must still look so."

But, above all, we have the authority of the word of God, declaring
that such backslidings are the very tests of the true church: "For
there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved
may be made manifest among you," I Cor. 11:19. It is not, however,
meant that any who had really believed went back to perdition. On the
contrary, it is the creed of every sound evangelical church, that
those who do go back to perdition were persons who never really
believed in Jesus. Their eyes may have been opened to see the dread
realities of sin and of the wrath to come; but if they saw not
righteousness for their guilty souls in the Saviour, there is nothing
in all Scripture to make us expect that they will continue awake.
"Awake, them that sleepest, and _Christ will give thee light_," is the
call--inviting sinners to a point far beyond mere conviction. One who,
for a whole year, went back to folly, said: "'Your sermon on the
corruption of the heart made me despair, and so I gave myself up to my
old ways--attending dances, learning songs," etc. A knowledge of our
guilt, and a sense of danger, will not of themselves keep us from
falling; nay, these, if alone, may (as in the above case) thrust us
down the slippery places. We are truly secure only when our eye is on
Jesus, and our hand locked in his hand. So that the history of
backslidings, instead of leading us to doubt the reality of grace in
believers, will only be found to teach us two great lessons, viz. the
vast importance of pressing immediate salvation on awakened souls, and
the reasonableness of standing in doubt of all, however deep their
convictions, who have not truly fled to the hope set before them.

There was another ground of prejudice against the whole work, arising
from the circumstance that the Lord had employed in it young men not
long engaged in the work of the ministry, rather than the fathers in
Israel. But herein it was that sovereign grace shone forth the more
conspicuously. Do such objectors suppose that God ever intends the
honor of man in a work of Revival? Is it not the honor of his own
name that He seeks? Had it been his wish to give the glory to man at
all, then indeed it might have been asked, "Why does He pass by the
older pastors, and call for the inexperienced youth?" But when
sovereign grace was coming to bless a region in the way that would
redound most to the glory of the Lord, can we conceive a wiser plan
than to use the sling of David in bringing down the Philistine? If,
however, there be some whose prejudice is from the root of envy, let
such hear the remonstrance of Richard Baxter to the jealous ministers
of his day. "What! malign Christ in gifts for which He should have the
glory, and all because they seem to hinder our glory! Does not every
man owe thanks to God for his brethren's gifts, not only as having
himself part in them, as the foot has the benefit of the guidance of
the eye, but also because his own ends may be attained by his
brethren's gifts as well as by his own?... A fearful thing that any
man, that hath the least of the fear of God, should so envy at God's
gifts, that he would rather his carnal hearers were unconverted, and
the drowsy not awakened, than that it should be done by another who
may be preferred before them."[17]

     [17] _Reformed Pastor_, 4:2.

The work of the Spirit went on, the stream flowing gently; for the
heavy showers had fallen, and the overflowing of the waters had passed
by. Mr. M'Cheyne became more than ever vigilant and discriminating in
dealing with souls. Observing, also, that some were influenced more by
feelings of strong attachment to their pastor personally, than by the
power of the truths he preached, he became more reserved in his
dealings with them, so that some thought there was a little coldness
or repulsiveness in his manner. If there did appear anything of this
nature to some, certainly it was no indication of diminished
compassion; but, on the contrary, proceeded from a scrupulous anxiety
to guard others against the deceitful feelings of their own souls. A
few notes of his work occur at this period.

"_Nov. 27, 1839._--A pleasant meeting in the Cross Church on Wednesday
last, for the seamen. All that spoke seemed to honor the Saviour. I
had to move thanksgiving to God for his mercies. This has been a real
blessing to Dundee. It should not be forgotten in our prayers and

"_Nov. 28_, Thursday evening.--Much comfort in speaking. There was
often an awful stillness. Spoke on Jer. 6:14: 'They have healed also
the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly.'" etc.

"_Dec. 1._--This evening came a tender Christian, so far as I can see;
an exposition of that text, '_I will go softly_,' or of that other,
'_Thou shall not open thy mouth any more_.' A child of shame made one
of honor. Her sister was awakened under Mr. Baxter's words in St.
Peter's, of whom he asked, 'Would you like to be holy?' She replied,
'Indeed, I often wish I were dead that I might sin no more.'"

"_Dec. 3._--Preached six times within these two days."

"_Dec. 8._--Saw J.T. in fever. She seems really in Christ now; tells
me how deeply my words sank into her soul when I was away. A.M. stayed
to tell me her joy. J.B. walked home with me, telling me what God had
done for his soul, when one day I had stopped at the quarry on
account of a shower of rain, and took shelter with my pony in the
engine-house." He had simply pointed to the fire of the furnace, and
said, "What does that remind you of?" and the words had remained deep
in the man's soul.

"_Dec. 11._--A woman awakened that night I preached in J.D.'s green,
about two years ago, on Ezek. 20:43. For twenty years she had been out
of church privileges, and now, for the first time, came trembling to
ask restoration. Surely Immanuel is in this place, and even old
sinners are flocking to Him. I have got an account of about twenty
prayer-meetings connected with my flock. Many open ones; many
fellowship meetings; only one or two have anything like exhortation
superadded to the word. These, I think, it must be our care to change,
if possible, lest error and pride creep in. The only other difficulty
is this. In two of the female meetings, originally fellowship
meetings, anxious female inquirers have been admitted. They do not
pray, but only hear. In one, M. and J. had felt the rising of pride to
a great degree; in the other, M. could not be persuaded that there was
any danger of pride. This case will require prayerful deliberation. My
mind at present is, that there is great danger from it, the praying
members feeling themselves on a different level from the others, and
anything like female teaching, as a public teacher, seems clearly
condemned in the word of God."

"_Dec. 12._--Felt very feeble all day, and as if I could not do any
more work in the vineyard. Evening.--Felt more of the reality of
Immanuel's intercession. The people also were evidently subdued by
more than a human testimony. One soul waited, sobbing most piteously.
She could give no more account of herself than that she was a sinner,
and did not believe that God would be merciful to her. When I showed
how I found mercy, her only answer was, 'But you were not sic a sinner
as me.'"

"_Dec. 18._--Went to Glasgow along with A.B. Preached in St. George's
to a full audience, in the cause of the Jews. Felt real help in time
of need." This was one of his many journeys from place to place in
behalf of Israel, relating the things seen and heard among the Jews of
Palestine and other lands.

"_Dec. 22._--Preached in Anderston Church, with a good deal of inward
peace and comfort."

"_Dec. 23._--Interesting meeting with the Jewish Committee. In the
evening met a number of God's people. The horror of some good people
in Glasgow at the millenarian views is very great, while at the same
time their objections appear very weak."

"_Dec. 31._--Young communicants. Two have made application to be
admitted under eleven years of age; four that are only fourteen; three
who are fifteen or sixteen."

"_Jan. 1, 1840._--Awoke early by the kind providence of God, and had
uncommon freedom and fervency in keeping the concert for prayer this
morning before light. Very touching interview with M.P., who still
refuses to be comforted. Was enabled to cry after a glorious Immanuel
along with her. How I wish I had her bitter convictions of sin!
Another called this evening, who says she was awakened and brought to
Christ during the sermon on the morning of December 1st, on the
'Covenant with death.' Gave clear answers, but seems too unmoved for
one really changed."

"_Jan. 2._--Visited six families. Was refreshed and solemnized at each
of them. Spoke of the Word made flesh, and of all the paths of the
Lord being mercy and truth. Visited in the evening by some interesting
souls: one a believing little boy; another complaining she cannot come
to Christ for the hardness of her heart; another once awakened under
my ministry, again thoroughly awakened and brought to Christ under
Horace Bonar's sermon at the Communion. She is the only saved one in
her family,--awfully persecuted by father and mother. Lord, stand up
for thine own! Make known, by their constancy under suffering, the
power and beauty of thy grace! Evening.--Mr. Miller preached
delightfully on 'The love of Christ constraineth us.' His account of
the Protestants of France was very interesting: the work of God at
Nismes, where it is said they are no more fishing with line, but
dragging with the nets. Read a letter from Mr. Cumming, describing the
work at Perth, and entreating the prayers of God's children."

This last reference is to the awakening which took place in St.
Leonard's Church, Perth, on the last night of the year, when Mr.
Burns, along with their pastor, Mr. Milne, was preaching. Mr. B. had
intended to return to Dundee for the Sabbath, but was detained by the
plain indications of the Lord's presence. At one meeting the work was
so glorious, that one night about 150 persons at one time seemed bowed
down under a sense of their guilt, and above 200 came next day to the
church in the forenoon to converse about their souls. This awakening
was the commencement of a solid work of grace, both in that town and
its neighborhood, much fruit of which is to be found there at this day
in souls that are walking in the fear of the Lord, and the comfort of
the Holy Ghost. And it was in the spring of this same year that in
Collace, at our weekly prayer-meeting, when two brethren were
ministering, we received a blessed shower from the Lord.

His Journal proceeds:--

"_Jan. 3._--An inquirer came, awakened under my ministry two years and
a half ago."

"_Jan. 5._--Two came; M.B. sorely wounded with the forenoon's

"_Jan. 12._--Intimated a concert for prayer, that unworthy
communicants might be kept back, the Lord's children prepared for the
feast, and ministers furnished from on high."

"_Jan. 13._--Kept concert of prayer this morning with my dear people.
Did not find the same enlargement as usual."

"_March 5._ Thursday evening.--Preached on Zech. 3.--Joshua. Was led
to speak searchingly about making Christ the minister of sin. One
young woman cried aloud very bitterly. M.B. came to tell me that poor
M. is like to have her life taken away by her parents. A young woman
also, who is still concerned and persecuted by her father. A young man
came to tell me that he had found Christ. Roll on, thou river of life!
visit every dwelling! save a multitude of souls. Come, Holy Spirit!
come quickly!"

"March 25.--Last night at Forfar speaking for Israel to a small band
of friends of the Jews. Fearfully wicked place; the cry of it ascends
up before God like that of Sodom."

"_March 31._--Met with young communicants on Wednesday and Friday. On
the latter night especially, very deep feeling, manifested in
sobbings. Visits of several. One clear child nine years old.

"_April 1._--Presbytery day. Passed the constitution of two new
churches,--blessed be God! may He raise up faithful pastors for them
both,--Dudhope and Wallace-Feus. Proposal also for the Mariner's
Church. A fast-day fixed for the present state of the church."

"_April 5_, Sabbath evening.--Spoke to twenty-four young persons, one
by one; almost all affected about their souls."

"_April 6._--Lovely ride and meditation in a retired grove."

"_April 7._--Impressed to-night with the complete necessity of
preaching to my people in their own lanes and closes; in no other way
will God's word ever reach them. To-night spoke in St. Andrew's Church
to a very crowded assembly in behalf of Israel. Was helped to speak
plainly to their own consciences. Lord, bless it! Shake this town!"

"_April 13._--Spoke in private to nearly thirty young communicants,
all in one room, going round each, and advising for the benefit of

"_April 22._--Rode to Collessie (Fife) and Kirkcaldy. Sweet time alone
in Collessie woods."

"_July 30._--One lad came to me in great distress, wishing to know if
he should confess his little dishonesties to his master." About this
time, he has noted down, "I was visiting the other day, and came to a
locked door. What did this mean? 'Torment me not, torment me not!' Ah,
Satan is mighty still!"--referring to Mark 5:7.

A few of his Communion seasons are recorded. We could have desired a
record of them all. The first of which he has detailed any
particulars, is the one he enjoyed soon after returning home.

"_Jan. 19, 1840._--Stormy morning, with gushing torrents of rain, but
cleared up in answer to prayer. Sweet union in prayer with Mr.
Cumming, and afterwards with A. Bonar, Found God in secret. Asked
especially that the very sight of the broken bread and poured-out wine
might be blessed to some souls, then pride will be hidden from man.
Church well filled--many standing. Preached the action sermon on John
17:24, 'Father, I will,' etc. Had considerable nearness to God in
prayer--more than usual,--and also freedom in preaching, although I
was ashamed of such poor views of Christ's glory. The people were in a
very desirable frame of attention--hanging on the word. Felt great
help in fencing the tables from Acts 5:3, 'Lying to the Holy Ghost.'
Came down and served the first table with much more calmness and
collectedness than ever I remember to have enjoyed. Enjoyed a sweet
season while A.B. served the next table. He dwelt chiefly on believing
the words of Christ about his fulness, and the promise of the Father.
There were six tables altogether. The people more and more moved to
the end. At the last table, every head seemed bent like a bulrush
while A.B. spoke of the ascension of Christ. Helped a little in the
address. 'Now to Him who is able to keep you,' etc., and in the
concluding prayer.[18] One little boy, in retiring, said, 'This has
been another bonnie day.' Many of the little ones seemed deeply
attentive. Mr. Cumming and Mr. Burns preached in the school the most
of the day. In the evening Mr. C. preached on the Pillar Cloud on
every dwelling, Isaiah 4:5 some very sweet powerful words. Mr. Burns
preached in the schoolroom. When the church emptied a congregation
formed in the lower school, and began to sing. Sang several psalms
with them, and spoke on 'Behold I stand at the door.' Going home, A.L.
said 'Pray for me; I am quite happy, and so is H.' Altogether a day of
the revelation of Christ,--a sweet day to myself, and, I am persuaded,
to many souls. Lord, make us meet for the table above."

     [18] See the Remains, for some of that day's solemn words.

Another of these Communion seasons recorded, is _April 1840_. "Sabbath
19.--Sweet and precious day. Preached action sermon on Zech. 12:10,
13:1. A good deal assisted. Also in fencing the tables, on Ps. 139.,
'Search me, O God.' Less at serving the tables on 'I will betroth
thee,' and 'To him that overcometh;' though the thanksgiving was
sweet. Communicated with calm joy. Old Mr. Burns served two tables; H.
Bonar five. There was a very melting frame visible among the people.
Helped a good deal in the address on 'My sheep hear my voice.' After
seven before all was over. Met before eight. Old Mr. Burns preached on
'A word in season.' Gave three parting texts, and so concluded this
blessed day. Many were filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory."

"Monday, 20.--Mr. Grierson preached on 'Ye are come to Mount
Zion,'--an instructive word. Pleasant walk with H.B. Evening sermon
from him to the little children on the 'new heart,'--truly
delightful. Prayer-meeting after. I began; then old Mr. Burns, then
Horace, in a very lively manner, on the 'woman of Samaria.' The people
were brought into a very tender frame. After the blessing, a multitude
remained. One (A.N.) was like a person struck through with a dart, she
could neither stand nor go. Many were looking on her with faces of
horror. Others were comforting her in a very kind manner, bidding her
look to Jesus. Mr. Burns went to the desk, and told them of Kilsyth.
Still they would not go away. Spoke a few words more to those around
me, telling them of the loveliness of Christ, and the hardness of
their hearts, that they could be so unmoved when one was so deeply
wounded. The sobbing soon spread, till many heads were bent down, and
the church was filled with sobbing. Many whom I did not know were now
affected. After prayer, we dismissed, near midnight. Many followed us.
One, in great agony, prayed that she might find Christ that very
night. So ends this blessed season."

The prayer-meeting on the Monday evening following the Communion was
generally enjoyed by all the Lord's people, and by the ministers who
assisted, in a peculiar manner. Often all felt the last day of the
feast to be the great day. Souls that had been enjoying the feast were
then, at its conclusion, taking hold on the arm of the Beloved in the
prospect of going up through the wilderness.

The only notice of his last Communion, January 1, 1843, is the
following:--"Sabbath.--A happy communion season. Mr. W. Burns preached
on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings--the first and last very
solemn. Mr. Baxter (of Hilltown Church) on the Friday. A. Bonar on
Saturday, on Rom. 8:--The spirit of adoption. I fainted on the Sabbath
morning, but revived, and got grace and strength to preach on I Tim.
1:16--Paul's conversion a pattern. There were five tables. Many godly
strangers, and a very desirable frame observable in the people. 'While
the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth out the smell
thereof.' Much sin was covered. He restoreth my soul. Monday, 2.--Mr.
Milne (of Perth) preached on 'Hold fast that thou hast;' and in the
evening, to the children, on Josh. 24.--'Choose ye this day whom ye
will serve.' Andrew and I concluded with Rev. 5--'Thou hast redeemed
us,' etc., and I Cor. 15.--'Be stedfast,' etc."

He dispensed the Lord's Supper to his flock every quarter; and though
on this account his calls upon his brethren for help were frequent,
yet never did a brother reckon it anything else than a blessed
privilege to be with him. His first invitation to his friend Mr.
Hamilton (then at Abernyte) will show the nature of the intercourse
that subsisted between him and his brethren who gave their services on
these occasions:--"My dear Friend.--Will you excuse lack of ceremony,
and come down to-morrow and preach to us the unsearchable riches of
Christ? We have the communion on Sabbath. We have no fast-day, but
only a meeting in the evening at a quarter past seven. Come, my dear
sir, if you can, and refresh us with your company. Bring the fragrance
of 'the bundle of myrrh' along with you, and may grace be poured into
your lips. Yours ever." (Jan. 15. 1840.)

Soon after his return from his mission to the Jews, a ministerial
prayer-meeting was formed among some of the brethren in Dundee. Mr.
M'Cheyne took part in it, along with Mr. Lewis of St. David's, Mr.
Baxter of Hilltown, Mr. P.L. Miller, afterwards of Wallacetown, and
others. Feeling deep concern for the salvation of the souls under
their care, they met every Monday forenoon, to pray together for their
flocks and their own souls. The time of the meeting was limited to an
hour and a half, in order that all who attended might form their
pastoral arrangements for the day, without fear of being hindered;
and, in addition to prayer, those present conversed on some selected
topic, vitally connected with their duties as ministers of Christ. Mr.
M'Cheyne was never absent from this prayer-meeting unless through
absolute necessity, and the brethren scarcely remember any occasion on
which some important remark did not drop from his lips. He himself
reaped great profit from it. He notes, _Dec. 8_: "This has been a
deeply interesting week. On Monday our ministerial prayer-meeting was
set agoing in St. David's vestry. The hearts of all seem really in
earnest in it. The Lord answers prayer; may it be a great blessing to
our souls and to our flocks." Another time: "Meeting in St. David's
vestry. The subject of fasting was spoken upon. Felt exceedingly in my
own spirit how little we feel real grief on account of sin before
God, or we would often lose our appetite for food. When parents lose a
child, they often do not taste a bit from morning to night, out of
pure grief. Should we not mourn as for an only child? How little of
the spirit of grace and supplication we have then!" On _Dec. 30_:
"Pleasant meeting of ministers. Many delightful texts on 'Arguments to
be used with God in prayer.' How little I have used these! Should we
not study prayer more?"

Full as he was of affection and Christian kindness to all believers,
he was specially so to the faithful brethren in the gospel of Christ.
Perhaps there never was one who more carefully watched against the
danger of undervaluing precious men, and detracting from a brother's
character. Although naturally ambitious, grace so wrought in him, that
he never sought to bring himself into view; and most cheerfully would
he observe and take notice of the graces and gifts of others. Who is
there of us that should ever feel otherwise? "For the body is not one
member, but many." And "the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no
need of thee; nor, again, the head to the feet, I have no need of

All with whom he was intimate still remember with gratitude how
faithfully and anxiously he used to warn his friends of whatever he
apprehended they were in danger from. To Mr. W.C. Burns he wrote,
_Dec. 31, 1839_: "Now, the Lord be your strength, teacher, and guide.
I charge you, be clothed with humility, or you will yet be a wandering
star, for which is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Let
Christ increase; let man decrease. This is my constant prayer for
myself and you. If you lead sinners to yourself and not to Christ,
Immanuel will cast the star out of his right hand into utter darkness.
Remember what I said of preaching out of the Scriptures: honor the
word both in the matter and manner. Do not cease to pray for me." At
another time (November 3, 1841), he thus wrote to the same friend:
"Now remember Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone. Looking
at our own shining face is the bane of the spiritual life and of the
ministry. Oh for closest communion with God, till soul and body--head,
face, and heart--shine with divine brilliancy! but oh for a holy
ignorance of our shining! Pray for this; for you need it as well as

To another friend in the ministry who had written to him despondingly
about his people and the times, his reply was, "I am sure there never
was a time when the Spirit of God was more present in Scotland, and it
does not become you to murmur in your tents, but rather to give
thanks. Remember, we may grieve the Spirit as truly by not joyfully
acknowledging his wonders as by not praying for Him. There is the
clearest evidence that God is saving souls in Kilsyth, Dundee, Perth,
Collace, Blairgowrie, Strathbogie, Ross-shire, Breadalbane, Kelso,
Jedburgh, Ancrum; and surely it becomes us to say, 'I thank my God
upon every remembrance of you.' Forgive my presumption; but I fear
lest you hurt your own peace and usefulness in not praising God enough
for the operation of his hands." To another: "I have told you that you
needed trial, and now it is come. May you be exercised thereby, and
come to that happy 'afterwards' of which the apostle speaks," To the
same again "Remember the necessity of your own soul, and do not grow
slack or lean in feeding others. 'Mine own vineyard have I not kept.'
Ah, take heed of that!" And in a similar tone of faithfulness at an
after period: "Remember the case of your own soul. 'What will it
profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?' Remember
how often Paul appeals to his holy, just, unblameable life. Oh that we
may be able always to do the same!" "Remember the priming-knife," he
says to another, "and do not let your vine run to wood." And after a
visit to Mr. Thornton of Milnathort, in whose parish there had been an
awakening, he asks a brother, "Mr. Thornton is willing that others be
blessed more than himself; do you think that you have that grace? I
find that I am never so successful as when I can lie at Christ's feet,
willing to be used or not as seemeth good in his sight. Do you
remember David? 'If the Lord say, I have no delight in thee; behold,
here am I; let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him.'"

In his familiar letters, as in his life, there was the manifestation
of a bright, cheerful soul, without the least tendency to levity. When
his medical attendant had, on one occasion, declined any remuneration,
Mr. M'Cheyne peremptorily opposed his purpose; and to overcome his
reluctance, returned the inclosure in a letter, in which he used his
poetical gifts with most pleasant humor.

To many it was a subject of wonder that he found time to write
letters that always breathed the name of Jesus, amid his innumerable
engagements. But the truth was, his letters cost him no expenditure of
time; they were ever the fresh thoughts and feelings of his soul at
the moment he took up the pen; his habitual frame of soul is what
appears in them all; the calm, holy, tenderly affectionate style of
his letters reminds us of Samuel Rutherford, whose works he delighted
to read,--excepting only that his joy never seems to have risen to
ecstasies. The selection of his letters which I have made for
publication, may exhibit somewhat of his holy skill in dropping a word
for his Master on all occasions. But what impressed many yet more, was
his manner of introducing the truth, most naturally and strikingly,
even in the shortest note he penned; and there was something so
elegant, as well as solemn, in his few words at the close of some of
his letters, that these remained deep in the receiver's heart. Writing
to Mr. G.S., on July 28, 1841, he thus draws to a close: "Remember me
to H.T. I pray he may be kept abiding in Christ. Kindest regards to
his mother. Say to her from me, 'Pass the time of your sojourning here
in fear, forasmuch as ye know ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things such as silver and gold' (I Peter 1:17, 18). Keep your own
heart, dear brother, 'in the love of God' (Jude 21)--in his love to
you, and that will draw your love to Him. Kindest remembrances to your
brother. Say to him, 'Be sober and hope to the end' (I Peter 1:13). To
your own dear mother say, 'He doth not afflict willingly.' Write me
soon.--Ever yours, till time shall be no more." In a note to the
members of his own family: "The Tay is before me now like a
resplendent mirror, glistening in the morning sun. May the same sun
shine sweetly on you, and may He that makes it shine, shine into your
hearts to give you the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
Jesus Christ.--In haste, your affectionate son and brother." There
were often such last words as the following: "Oh for drops in the
pastures of the wilderness! The smiles of Jesus be with you, and the
breathings of the Holy Ghost. Ever yours." (To Rev. J. Milne.) "May we
have gales passing from Perth to this, and from here to you, and from
heaven to both. Ever yours." (To the same.) "The time is short;
eternity is near; yea, the coming of Christ the second time is at
hand. Make sure of being one with the Lord Jesus, that you may be glad
when you see Him. Commending you all to our Father in heaven," etc.
(To his own brother.) "I have a host of letters before me, and
therefore can add no more. I give you a parting text, 'Sorrowful, yet
always rejoicing.'" Another: "Farewell! yours till the day dawn." To
the Rev. Hor. Bonar he says, at the close of a letter about some
ministerial arrangements: "I am humbled and cheered by what you say of
good done in Kelso. Roll on, roll on, river of God, that art full of
water! A woman came to me, awakened under your sermon to the children
in the Cross Church, very bitterly convinced of sin. Glory to the
Divine Archer, who bringeth down the people!" He closes a letter to a
student thus: "Grace be with you, and much of the knowledge of
Jesus--much of his likeness. I thirst for the knowledge of the word
but most of all of Jesus himself, the true Word. May He abide in you,
and you in Him! The Fear of Isaac watch over you." In concluding a
letter to Mr. Bonar of Larbert, in February 1843, some weeks before
his last illness, he writes: "My soul often goes out at the throne of
grace in behalf of Larbert and Dunipace. May the disruption be more
blessed to them than days of peace! How sweet to be in the ark when
the deluge comes down! Ever yours in gospel bonds."

The Jewish Mission continued near his heart, "the nearest," said he to
Mr. Edwards, who is now at Jassy, "of all missionary enterprises. Were
it not for my own unfitness, and also the success the Lord has given
me where I am, I would joyfully devote myself to it." In connection
with this cause, he was invited to visit Ireland, and be present at
the meeting of the Synod of our Presbyterian brethren in the summer of
1840. When preparing to set out, he notices the hand of his Master
guiding him:--"_July 2._--Expected to have been in Ireland this day.
Detained by not being able to get supply for Sabbath, in the good
providence of God; for this evening there was a considerable awakening
in the church while I was preaching upon Phil. 3:18, 'Enemies of the
cross of Christ,' When that part was expounded, there was a loud and
bitter weeping,--probably thirty or forty seemed to share in it; the
rest deeply impressed,--many secretly praying." On the Sabbath
following, one person was so overcome as to be carried out of the

He set out for Ireland on the 7th, and on the 10th witnessed at
Belfast the union between the Synod of Ulster and the Secession. He
speaks of it as a most solemn scene--500 ministers and elders present.
During his stay there, he pleaded the cause of the Jews in Mr.
Morgan's church, Mr. Wilson's, and some others; and also visited Mr.
Kirkpatrick at Dublin. He preached the way of salvation to the
Gentiles in all his pleadings for Israel. His visit was blessed to
awaken a deep interest in the cause of the Jews, and his words sank
into the consciences of some. His sermon on Ezek. 34:16 was felt by
some to be indescribably impressive; and when he preached on Rom.
1:16, 17, many ministers, as they came out, were heard saying, "How
was it we never thought of the duty of remembering Israel before?" On
another occasion, the people to whom he had preached entreated their
minister to try and get him again, and if he could not preach to them,
that at least he should pray once more with them.

He was not, however, long absent from home on this occasion. On the
25th I find him recording: "Reached home; entirely unprepared for the
evening. Spoke on Psalm 51:12, 13, 'Restore unto me the joy,' etc.
There seemed much of the presence of God,--first one crying out in
extreme agony, then another. Many were deeply melted, and all
solemnized. Felt a good deal of freedom in speaking of the glory of
Christ's salvation. Coming down, I spoke quietly to some whom I knew
to be under deep concern. They were soon heard together weeping
bitterly; many more joined them. Mr. Cumming spoke to them in a most
touching strain, while I dealt privately with several in the vestry.
Their cries were often very bitter and piercing, bitterest when the
freeness of Christ was pressed upon them, and the lion's nearness.
Several were offended; but I felt no hesitation as to our duty to
declare the simple truth impressively, and leave God to work in their
hearts in his own way. If He save souls in a quiet way, I shall be
happy; if in the midst of cries and tears, still I will bless his
name. One painful thing has occurred: a man who pretends to be a
missionary for Israel, and who brings forward the apocryphal book of
Enoch, has been among my people in my absence, and many have been led
after him. How humbling is this to them and to me! Lord, what is man!
This may be blessed, 1st, to discover chaff which we thought to be
wheat; 2nd, to lead some to greater distrust of themselves, when their
eyes are opened: 3rd, to teach me the need of solidly instructing
those who seem to have grace in their hearts."

The work of God went on, so much so at this time, that he gave it as
his belief, in a letter to Mr. Purves of Jedburgh, that for some
months about this period no minister of Christ had preached in a
lively manner, without being blessed to some soul among his flock.

In other places of Scotland also the Lord was then pouring out his
Spirit. Perth has been already mentioned, and its vicinity. Throughout
Ross-shire, whole congregations were frequently moved as one man, and
the voice of the minister drowned in the cries of anxious souls. At
Kelso, where Mr. Horace Bonar laboured, and at Jedburgh, where Mr.
Purves was pastor, a more silent, but very solid work of conversion
was advancing. At Ancrum (once the scene of John Livingston's
labors), the whole parish, but especially the men of the place, were
awakened to the most solemn concern. On Lochtayside, where Mr. Burns
was for a season laboring, there were marks of the Spirit everywhere;
and the people crossing the lake in hundreds, to listen to the words
of life on the hillside, called to mind the people of Galilee in the
days when the gospel began to be preached. At Lawers, Mr. Campbell,
their pastor (who has now fallen asleep in Jesus), spoke of the
awakening as "like a resurrection." so great and sudden was the change
from deadness to intense concern. On several occasions, the Spirit
seemed to sweep over the congregations like wind over the fields,
which bends the heavy corn to the earth. It was evident to discerning
minds that the Lord was preparing Scotland for some crisis not far

Several districts of Strathbogie had shared to some extent in a
similar blessing. Faithful ministers were now everywhere on the watch
for the shower, and were greatly strengthened to go forward boldly in
seeking to cleanse the sanctuary. It was their fond hope that the
Established Church of Scotland would soon become an example and
pattern to the nations of a pure church of Christ, acknowledged and
upheld by the State without being trammelled in any degree, far less
controlled by civil interference. But Satan was stirring up
adversaries on every side.

The Court of Session had adopted a line of procedure that was at once
arbitrary and unconstitutional. And now that Court interdicted, under
the penalty of fine or imprisonment, all the ministers of the Church
of Scotland from administering ordinances or preaching the word in any
of the seven parishes of Strathbogie, whose former incumbents had been
suspended from office by the General Assembly for ecclesiastical
offences. The church saw it to be her duty to refuse obedience to an
interdict which hindered the preaching of Jesus, and attempted to
crush her constitutional liberties. Accordingly, ministers were sent
to these districts, fearless of the result; and under their preaching
the gross darkness of the region began to give way to the light of

In the month of August, Mr. M'Cheyne was appointed, along with Mr.
Cumming of Dumbarney, to visit Huntly, and dispense the Lord's Supper
there. As he set out, he expressed the hope, that "the dews of the
Spirit there might be turned into the pouring rain." His own visit was
blessed to many. Mr. Cumming preached the action sermon in the open
air at the Meadow Well; but the tables were served within the building
where the congregation usually met. Mr. M'Cheyne preached in the
evening to a vast multitude at the well; and about a hundred waited
after sermon for prayer, many of them in deep anxiety.

He came to Edinburgh on the 11th, to attend the meeting of ministers
and elders who had come together to sign the _Solemn Engagement_ in
defence of the liberties of Christ's church. He hesitated not to put
his hand to the Engagement. He then returned to Dundee; and scarcely
had he returned, when he was laid aside by one of those attacks of
illness with which he was so often tried. In this case, however, it
soon passed away. "My health," he remarked, "has taken a gracious
turn, which should make me look up." But again, on September 6, an
attack of fever laid him down for six days. On this occasion, just
before the sickness came on, three persons had visited him, to tell
him how they were brought to Christ under his ministry some years
before. "Why," he noted in his journal, "Why has God brought these
cases before me _this week_? Surely He is preparing me for some trial
of faith." The result proved that his conjecture was just. And while
his Master prepared him beforehand for these trials, He had ends to
accomplish in his servant by means of them. There were other trials,
also, besides these, which were very heavy to him; but in all we could
discern the Husbandman pruning the branch, that it might bear more
fruit. As he himself said one day in the church of Abernyte, when he
was assisting Mr. Manson, "If we only saw the whole, we should see
that the Father is doing little else in the world but _training his

His preaching became more and more to him a work of faith. Often I
find him writing at the close or beginning of a sermon: "Master,
help!" "Help, Lord, help!" "Send showers;" "Pardon, give the Spirit,
and take the glory;" "May the opening of my lips he right things!" The
piercing effects of the word preached on souls at this season may be
judged of from what one of the awakened, with whom he was conversing,
said to him, "_I think hell would be some relief from an angry God._"

His delight in preaching was very great. He himself used to say that
he could scarcely ever resist an invitation to preach. And this did
not arise from the natural excitement there is in commanding the
attention of thousands; for he was equally ready to proclaim Christ to
small country flocks. Nay, he was ready to travel far to visit and
comfort even one soul. There was an occasion this year on which he
rode far to give a cup of cold water to a disciple, and his remark
was, "I observe how often Jesus went a long way for one soul, as for
example the maniac, and the woman of Canaan."

In February 1841, he visited Kelso and Jedburgh at the Communion
season; and gladly complied with an invitation to Ancrum also, that he
might witness the hand of the Lord. "Sweet are the spots," he wrote,
"where Immanuel has ever shown his glorious power in the conviction
and conversion of sinners. The world loves to muse on the scenes where
battles were fought and victories won. Should not we love the spots
where our great Captain has won his amazing victories? Is not the
conversion of a soul more worthy to be spoken of than the taking of
Acre?" At Kelso, some will long remember his remarks in visiting a
little girl, to whom he said, "Christ gives last knocks. When your
heart becomes hard and careless, then fear lest Christ may have given
a _last knock_." At Jedburgh, the impression left was chiefly that
there had been among them a man of peculiar holiness. Some felt, not
so much his words, as his presence and holy solemnity, as if one spoke
to them who was standing in the presence of God; and to others his
prayers appeared like the breathings of one already within the veil.

I find him proposing to a minister who was going up to the General
Assembly that year, "that the Assembly should draw out a _Confession
of Sin_ for all its ministers." The state, also, of parishes under the
direful influence of Moderatism, lay much upon his spirit. In his
diary he writes: "Have been laying much to heart the absolute
necessity laid upon the church of sending the gospel to our dead
parishes, during the life of the present incumbents. It is confessed
that many of our ministers do not preach the gospel--alas! because
they know it not. Yet they have complete control over their own
pulpits, and may never suffer the truth to be heard there during their
whole incumbency. And yet our church consigns these parishes to their
tender mercies for perhaps fifty years, without a sigh! Should not
certain men be ordained as evangelists, with full power to preach in
every pulpit of their district,--faithful, judicious, lively
preachers, who may go from parish to parish, and thus carry life into
many a dead corner?" This was a subject he often reverted to; and he
eagerly held up the example of the Presbytery of Aberdeen, who made a
proposal to this effect. From some of his later letters, it appears
that he had sometimes seriously weighed the duty of giving up his
fixed charge, if only the church would ordain him as an evangelist. So
deep were his feelings on this matter, that a friend relates of him,
that as they rode together through a parish where the pastor "clothed
himself with the wool, but fed not the flock," he knit his brow and
raised his hand with vehemence as he spoke of the people left to
perish under such a minister.

He was invited to visit Ireland again this year, his former visit
having been much valued by the Presbyterian brethren there. He did so
in July. Many were greatly stirred up by his preaching, and by his
details of God's work in Scotland. His sermon on Song 8:5, 6, is still
spoken of by many. His prayerfulness and consistent holiness left
enduring impressions on not a few; and it was during his visit that a
memorial was presented to the Irish Assembly in behalf of a Jewish
mission. His visit was in a great measure the means of setting that
mission on foot.

Cordially entering into the proposal of the concert for prayer, he
took part, in September of this year, in the preliminary meetings in
which Christians of all denominations joined. "How sweet are the
smallest approximations to unity!" is his remark in his diary. Indeed,
he so much longed for a scriptural unity, that some time after, when
the General Assembly had repealed the statute of 1799, he embraced the
opportunity of showing his sincere desire for unity, by inviting two
dissenting brethren to his pipit, and then writing in defence of his
conduct when attacked. In reference to this matter, he observed, in a
note to a friend: "I have been much delighted with the 25th and 26th
chapters of the _Confession of Faith_. Oh for the grace of the
Westminster divines to be poured out upon this generation of lesser

As it was evident that his Master owned his labor abundantly, by
giving him seals of his apostleship, there were attempts made
occasionally by zealous friends to induce him to remove to other
spheres. In all these cases, he looked simply at the apparent
indications of the Lord's will. Worldly interest seemed scarcely ever
to cross his mind in regard to such a matter, for he truly lived a
disinterested life. His views may be judged of by one instance,--a
letter to Mr. Heriot of Ramornie, in reference to a charge which many
were anxious to offer him:--

                                          "Dundee, _Dec. 24, 1841_

   "DEAR SIR,--I have received a letter from my friend Mr.
   M'Farlane of Collessie, asking what I would do if the people of
   Kettle were to write desiring me to be their minister. He also
   desires me to send an answer to you. I have been asked to leave
   this place again and again, but have never seen my way clear to
   do so. I feel quite at the disposal of my Divine Master. I gave
   myself away to Him when I began my ministry, and He has guided
   me as by the Pillar Cloud from the first day till now. I think I
   would leave this place to-morrow if He were to _bid_ me; but as
   to _seeking removal, I dare not_ and _could not_. If my
   ministry were unsuccessful,--if God frowned upon the place and
   made my message void,--then I would willingly go, for I would
   rather beg my bread than preach without success; but I have
   never wanted success. I do not think I can speak a month in this
   parish without winning some souls. This very week, I think, has
   been a fruitful one,--more so than many for a long time, which
   perhaps was intended graciously to free me from all hesitation
   in declining your kind offer. I mention these things not, I
   trust, boastfully, but only to show you the ground upon which I
   feel it to be my duty not for a moment to entertain the
   proposal. I have 4000 souls here hanging on me. I have as much
   of this world's goods as I care for. I have full liberty to
   preach the gospel night and day; and the Spirit of God is often
   with us. What can I desire more? 'I dwell among mine own
   people.' Hundreds look to me as a father; and I fear I would be
   but a false shepherd if I were to leave them when the clouds of
   adversity are beginning to lower. I know the need of Kettle, and
   its importance; and also the dark prospect of your getting a
   godly minister. Still that is a future event in the hand of God.
   My duty is made plain and simple according to God's word.

   "Praying that the Lord Jesus may send you a star from his own
   right hand, believe me to be," etc.

It was during this year that the Sabbath question began to interest
him so much. His tract, _I Love the Lord's Day_, was published
December 18; but he had already exerted himself much in this cause, as
convener of the Committee of Presbytery on Sabbath Observance, and had
written his well-known letter to one of the chief defenders of the
Sabbath desecration. He continued unceasingly to use every effort in
this holy cause. And is it not worth the prayers and self-denying
efforts of every believing man? Is not that day set apart as a season
wherein the Lord desires the refreshing rest of his own love to be
offered to a fallen world? Is it not designed to be a day on which
every other voice and sound is to be hushed, in order that the silver
trumpets may proclaim atonement for sinners? Nay, it is understood to
be a day wherein God himself stands before the altar and pleads with
sinners to accept the Lamb slain, from morning to evening. Who is
there that does not see the deep design of Satan in seeking to effect
an inroad on this most merciful appointment of God our Saviour?

Mr. M'Cheyne's own conduct was in full accordance with his principles
in regard to strict yet cheerful Sabbath observance. Considering it
the summit of human privilege to be admitted to fellowship with God,
his principle was, that the Lord's day was to be spent wholly in the
enjoyment of that sweetest privilege. A letter, written at a later
period, but bearing on this subject, will show how he felt this day to
be better than a thousand. An individual, near Inverness, had
consulted him on a point of sabbatical casuistry: the question was,
Whether or not it was sinful to spend time in registering
meteorological observations on the Sabbaths? His reply was the
following, marked by a holy wisdom, and discovering the place which
the Lord held in his inmost soul:--

                                              "_Dec. 7, 1842_

  "DEAR FRIEND,--You ask me a hard question. Had you asked me _what
  I would do in the case_, I could easily tell you. I love the
  Lord's day too well to be marking down the height of the
  thermometer and barometer every hour. I have other work to do,
  higher and better, and more like that of angels above. The more
  entirely I can give my Sabbaths to God, and half forget that I am
  not before the throne of the Lamb, with my harp of gold, the
  happier am I, and I feel it my duty to be as happy as I can be,
  and as God intended me to be. The joy of the Lord is my strength.
  But whether another Christian can spend the Sabbath is his
  service, and mark down degrees of heat and atmospherical
  pressure, without letting down the warmth of his affections, or
  losing the atmosphere of heaven, I cannot tell. My conscience is
  not the rule of another man. One thing we may learn from these
  men of science, namely, to be as careful in marking the changes
  and progress of our own spirit, as they are in marking the
  changes of the weather. 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. May you and I know more of this, and thank God that we
  are not among the wise and prudent from whom these things are
  hid!--The grace of the Lord of the Sabbath be with you," etc.

Up till this period, the _Narrative of our Mission to Israel_ had not
been given to the public. Interruptions, arising from multiplicity of
labors and constant calls of duty, had from time to time come in our
way. Mr. M'Cheyne found it exceedingly difficult to spare a day or two
at a time in order to take part. "I find it hard work to carry on the
work of a diligent pastor and that of an author at the same time. How
John Calvin would have smiled at my difficulties!" At length, however,
in the month of March 1842, we resolved to gain time by exchanging
each other's pastoral duties for a month. Accordingly, during four or
five weeks, he remained in Collace, my flock enjoying his Sabbath-day
services and his occasional visits, while he was set free from what
would have been the never-ceasing interruptions of his own town.

Many a pleasant remembrance remains of these days, as sheet after
sheet passed under the eyes of our mutual criticism. Though intent on
accomplishing his work, he kept by his rule, "that he must first see
the face of God before he could undertake any duty." Often would he
wander in the mornings among the pleasant woods of Dunsinnan, till he
had drunk in refreshment to his soul by meditation on the word of God;
and then he took up the pen. And to a brother in the ministry, who had
one day broken in upon his close occupation, he afterwards wrote: "You
know you stole away my day; yet I trust all was not lost. I think I
have had more grace ever since that prayer among the fir-trees. Oh to
be _like_ Jesus, and _with_ him to all eternity!" Occasionally, during
the same period, he wrote some pieces for the _Christian's Daily
Companion_. The _Narrative_ was finished in May, and the Lord has made
it acceptable to the brethren.

When this work was finished, the Lord had other employment ready for
him in his own parish. His diary has this entry: "_May 22._--I have
seen some very evident awakenings of late. J.G. awakened partly
through the word preached, and partly through the faithful warnings of
her fellow-servant. A.R., who has been for about a year in the deepest
distress, seeking rest, but finding none. B.M. converted last winter
at the Tuesday meeting in Annfield. She was brought very rapidly to
peace with God, and to a calm, sedate, prayerful state of mind. I was
surprised at the quickness of the work in this case, and pleased with
the clear tokens of grace; and now I see God's gracious end in it.
She was to be admitted at last communion, but caught fever before the
Sabbath. On Tuesday last, she died in great peace and joy. When she
felt death coming on, she said, 'Oh death, death, come! let us sing!'
Many that knew her have been a good deal moved homeward by this solemn
providence. This evening, I invited those to come who are leaving the
parish at this term. About twenty came, to whom I gave tracts and
words of warning. _I feel persuaded that if I could follow the Lord
more fully myself, my ministry would be used to make a deeper
impression than it has yet done._"



   "_My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish
   his work._"--John 4:34.

During the summer of 1842, he was exposed to several attacks of
illness, experienced some severe personal trials, and felt the
assaults of sore temptation. His own words will best express his
state: "_July 17._--I am myself much tempted, and have no hope, but as
a worm on the arm of Jesus." "Aug. 4.--Often, often, would I have been
glad to depart, and be with Christ. I am now much better in body and
mind, having a little of the presence of my beloved, whose absence is
death to me." The same month: "I have been carried through deep
waters, bodily and spiritual, since last we met." It was his own
persuasion that few had more to struggle with in the inner man. Who
can tell what wars go on within?

During this season of trial, he was invited to form one of a number of
ministers from Scotland, who were to visit the north of England, with
no other purpose than to preach the glad tidings. The scheme was
planned by a Christian gentleman, who has done much for Christ in his
generation. When the invitation reached him, he was in the heat of his
furnace. He mentioned this to the brother who corresponded with him on
the subject, Mr. Purves of Jedburgh, whose reply was balm to his
spirit ... "I have a fellow-feeling with you in your present
infirmity, and you know for your consolation that another has, who is
a brother indeed. In all our afflictions, He is afflicted. He is, we
may say, the common heart of his people, for they are one body; and an
infirmity in the very remotest and meanest member is felt _there_ and
borne _there_. Let us console, solace, yea, satiate ourselves in Him,
as, amid afflictions especially, brother does in brother. It is
blessed to be like Him in everything, even in suffering. There is a
great want about all Christians who have not suffered. Some flowers
must be broken or bruised before they emit any fragrance. All the
wounds of Christ send out sweetness; all the sorrows of Christians do
the same. Commend me to a bruised brother,--a broken reed,--one like
the Son of man. The Man of Sorrows is never far from him. To me there
is something sacred and sweet in all suffering; it is so much akin to
the Man of Sorrows." It was thus he suffered, and thus that he was
comforted. He wrote back, agreeing to go, and added. "Remember me
especially, who am heavy laden oftentimes. My heart is all of sin; but
Jesus lives."

They set out for England. Mr. Purves, Mr. Somerville of Anderston, Mr.
Cumming of Dumbarney, and Mr. Bonar of Kelso, formed the company.
Their chief station was Newcastle, where Mr. Burns had been recently
laboring with some success, and where he had seen "a town giving
itself up to utter ungodliness, a town where Satan's trenches were
deep and wide, his wall strong and high, his garrison great and
fearless, and where all that man could do seemed but as arrows shot
against a tower of brass." But those who went knew that the Spirit of
God was omnipotent, and that He could take the prey from the mighty.

They preached both in the open air, and in the places of worship
belonging to the Presbyterians and to the Wesleyan Methodists. The
defenders of the Sabbath cause were specially prepared to welcome Mr.
M'Cheyne, whose tract on the Lord's Day has been widely circulated and
blessed. Many were attracted to hear; interesting congregations
assembled in the market-place, and there is reason to believe many
were impressed. A person in the town describes Mr. M'Cheyne's last
address as being peculiarly awakening. He preached in the open air, in
a space of ground between the Cloth Market and St. Nicholas' Church.
Above a thousand souls were present, and the service continued till
ten, without one person moving from the ground. The moon shone
brightly, and the sky was spangled with stars. His subject was, "The
Great White Throne" (Rev. 20:11). In concluding his address, he told
them "that they would never meet again till they all met at the
judgment-seat of Christ; but the glorious heavens over their heads,
and the bright moon that shone upon them, and the old venerable
church behind them, were his witnesses that he had set before them
life and death." Some will have cause to remember that night through

     [19] He afterwards preached the same subject with equal
     impressiveness in the Meadows at Dundee. It was in the open air and
     the rain fell heavy, yet the dense crowd stood still to the last.

His preaching at Gilsland also was not without effect; and he had good
cause to bless the Lord for bringing him through Dumfriesshire in his
way homeward. He returned to his people in the beginning of September,
full of peace and joy. "I have returned much stronger, indeed quite
well. I think I have got some precious souls for my hire on my way
home. I earnestly long for more grace and personal holiness, and more

The sunsets during that autumn were peculiarly beautiful. Scarcely a
day passed but he gazed upon the glowing west after dinner; and as he
gazed he would speak of the Sun of Righteousness, or the joy of angels
in his presence, or the blessedness of those whose sun can go no more
down, till his face shone with gladness as he spoke. And during the
winter he was observed to be peculiarly joyful, being strong in body,
and feeling the near presence of Jesus in his soul. He lived in the
blessed consciousness that he was a child of God, humble and meek,
just because he was fully assured that Jehovah was his God and Father.
Many often felt that in prayer the name "Holy Father" was breathed
with peculiar tenderness and solemnity from his lips.

His flock in St. Peter's began to murmur at his absence, when again he
left them for ten days in November, to assist Mr. Hamilton of Regent
Square, London, at his communion. But it was his desire for souls that
thus led him from place to place, combined with a growing feeling that
the Lord was calling him to evangelistic more than to pastoral labors.
This visit was a blessed one; and the growth of his soul in holiness
was visible to many. During the days of his visit to Mr. Hamilton, he
read through the Song of Solomon at the time of family worship,
commenting briefly on it with rare gracefulness and poetic taste, and
yet rarer manifestation of soul-filling love to the Saviour's person.
The sanctified affections of his soul, and his insight into the mind
of Jesus, seemed to have much affected his friends on these

Receiving, while here, an invitation to return by the way of Kelso, he

                                     "London, _Nov. 5, 1842._

  "My dear Horatius,--Our friends here will not let me away till
  the Friday morning, so that it will require all my diligence to
  reach Dundee before the Sabbath. I will thus be disappointed of
  the joy of seeing you, and ministering a word to your dear flock.
  Oh that my soul were new moulded, and I were effectually called a
  second time, and made a vessel full of the Spirit, to tell only
  of Jesus and his love! I fear I shall never be in this world what
  I desire. I have preached three times here; a few tears also have
  been shed. Oh for Whitfield's week in London, when a thousand
  letters came! The same Jesus reigns; the same Spirit is able. Why
  is He restrained? Is the sin ours? Are we the bottle-stoppers of
  these heavenly dews? Ever yours till glory.

  "_P.S._--We shall meet, God willing, at the Convocation."

The memorable Convocation met at Edinburgh on November 17th. There
were five hundred ministers present from all parts of Scotland. The
encroachment of the civil courts upon the prerogatives of Christ, the
only Head acknowledged by our church, and the negligent treatment
hitherto given by the legislature of the country to every remonstrance
on the part of the church, had brought on a crisis. The Church of
Scotland had maintained, from the days of the Reformation, that her
connection with the State was understood to imply no surrender
whatsoever of complete independence in regulating all spiritual
matters; and to have allowed any civil authority to control her in
doctrine, discipline, or any spiritual act, would have been a daring
and flagrant act of treachery to her Lord and King. The deliberations
of the Convocation continued during eight days, and the momentous
results are well known in this land.

Mr. M'Cheyne was never absent from any of the diets of this solemn
assembly. He felt the deepest interest in every matter that came
before them, got great light as to the path of duty in the course of
the consultations, and put his name to all the resolutions, heartily
sympathizing in the decided determination that, as a church of Christ,
we must abandon our connection with the State, if our "Claim of
Rights" were rejected. These eight days were times of remarkable
union and prayerfulness. The proceedings, from time to time, were
suspended till the brethren had again asked counsel of the Lord by
prayer; and none present will forget the affecting solemnity with
which, on one occasion, Mr. M'Cheyne poured out our wants before the

He had a decided abhorrence of Erastianism. When the question was put
to him, "Is it our duty to refuse ordination to any one who holds the
views of Erastianism?" he replied,--"Certainly, whatever be his other
qualifications." He was ever a thorough Presbyterian, and used to
maintain the necessity of abolishing lay patronage, because,--1st, It
was not to be found in the word of God; 2nd, It destroyed the duty of
"trying the spirits;" 3rd, It meddled with the headship of Christ,
coming in between Him and his people, saying, "I will place the
stars." But still more decided was he in regard to the spiritual
independence of the church. This he reckoned a vital question: and in
prospect of the disruption of the Church of Scotland, if it were
denied, he stated at a public meeting,--1st, That it was to be
deplored in some respects, viz., because of the sufferings of God's
faithful servants, the degradation of those who remained behind, the
alienation of the aristocracy, the perdition of the ungodly, and the
sin of the nation. But, 2nd, It was to be hailed for other reasons,
viz., Christ's kingly offices would be better known, the truth would
be spread into desolate parishes, and faithful ministers would be
refined. And when, on March 7th of the following year, the cause of
the church was finally to be pleaded at the bar of the House of
Commons, I find him writing: "Eventful night this in the British
Parliament! Once more King Jesus stands at an earthly tribunal, and
they know Him not!"

An interesting anecdote is related of him by a co-presbyter, who
returned with him to Dundee after the Convocation. This co-presbyter,
Mr. Stewart, was conversing with him as to what it might be their duty
to do in the event of the disruption, and where they might be
scattered. Mr. Stewart said he could preach Gaelic, and might go to
the Highlanders in Canada, if it were needful. Mr. M'Cheyne said, "I
think of going to the many thousand convicts that are transported
beyond seas, for no man careth for their souls."

We have not many records of his public work after this date. Almost
the last note in his diary is dated December 25: "This day ordained
four elders, and admitted a fifth, who will all, I trust, be a
blessing in this place when I am gone. Was graciously awakened a great
while before day, and had two hours alone with God. Preached with much
comfort on I Tim. 5:17, 'Let the elders that rule well,' etc. At the
end of the sermon and prayer, proposed the regular questions; then
made the congregation sing standing; during which time I came down
from the pulpit and stood over the four men, then prayed, and all the
elders gave the right hand of fellowship, during which I returned to
the pulpit, and addressed them and the congregation on their relative
duties. Altogether a solemn scene."

The last recorded cases of awakening, and the last entry in his diary,
is dated January 6, 1843: "Heard of an awakened soul finding
rest--true rest, I trust. Two new cases of awakening; both very deep
and touching. At the very time when I was beginning to give up in
despair, God gives me tokens of his presence returning."

He here speaks of discouragement, when God for a few months or weeks
seemed to be withholding his hand from saving souls. If he was not
right in thus hastily forgetting the past for a little, still this
feature of his ministry is to be well considered. He entertained so
full a persuasion that a faithful minister has every reason to expect
to see souls converted under him, that when this was withheld, he
began to fear that some hidden evil was provoking the Lord and
grieving the Spirit. And ought it not to be so with all of us? Ought
we not to suspect, either that we are not living near to God, or that
our message is not a true transcript of the glad tidings, in both
matter and manner, when we see no souls brought to Jesus? God may
certainly hide from our knowledge much of what He accomplishes by our
means, but as certainly will He bring to our view some seals of our
ministry, in order that our persuasion of being thus sent by Him may
solemnize and overawe us, as well as lead us on to unwearied labor.
Ought it not to be the inscription over the doors of our Assembly and
College halls: "_Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to
triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by
us in every place?_" II Cor. 2:14.

About this time, in one of his MSS., there occurs this sentence: "As I
was walking in the fields, the thought came over me with almost
overwhelming power, that every one of my flock must soon be in heaven
or hell. Oh, how I wished that I had a tongue like thunder, that I
might make all hear; or that I had a frame like iron, that I might
visit every one, and say, 'Escape for thy life!' Ah, sinners! you
little know how I fear that you will lay the blame of your damnation
at my door."

He was never satisfied with his own attainments in holiness; he was
ever ready to learn, and quick to apply, any suggestion that might
tend to his greater usefulness. About this period he used to sing a
psalm or hymn every day after dinner. It was often, "The Lord's my
shepherd," etc.; or, "Oh may we stand before the Lamb!" etc. Sometimes
it was that hymn, _Oh for a closer walk with God!_ and sometimes the
psalm, "Oh that I like a dove had wings!" etc. A friend said of him.
"I have sometimes compared him to the silver and graceful ash, with
its pensile branches, and leaves of gentle green, reflecting gleams of
happy sunshine. The fall of its leaf, too, is like the fall of
his,--it is green to-night and gone to-morrow, it does not sere nor

An experienced servant of God has said, that, while popularity is a
snare that few are not caught by, a more subtle and dangerous snare is
to be _famed for holiness_. The fame of being a godly man is as great
a snare as the fame of being learned or eloquent. It is possible to
attend with scrupulous anxiety even to secret habits of devotion, in
order to get a name for holiness.[20] If any were exposed to this
snare in his day, Mr. M'Cheyne was the person. Yet nothing is more
certain than that, to the very last, he was ever discovering, and
successfully resisting, the deceitful tendencies of his own heart and
a tempting devil. Two things he seems never to have ceased from,--the
cultivation of personal holiness, and the most anxious efforts to save

     [20] How true, yet awful, is the language of Dr Owen (quoted in
     Bridges' _Christian Ministry_, p. 168), "He that would go down to
     the pit in peace, let him obtain a great repute for religion; let
     him preach and labour to make other better than he is himself, and
     in the meantime neglect to humble his heart, to walk with God in
     manifest holiness and usefulness, and he will not fail of his end."

About this time he wrote down, for his own use, an examination into
things that ought to be amended and changed. I subjoin it entire. How
singularly close and impartial are these researches into his soul! How
acute is he in discovering his variations from the holy law of God! Oh
that we all were taught by the same spirit thus to try our reins! It
is only when we are thus thoroughly experiencing our helplessness, and
discovering the thousand forms of indwelling sin, that we really sit
as disciples at Christ's feet, and gladly receive Him as all in all!
And at each such moment we feel in the spirit of Ignatius, "[Greek:
Nyn gar archên echô tou mathêteuesthai]"--"It is only now that I
begin to be a disciple."

Mr. M'Cheyne entitles the examination of his heart and life
_"Reformation"_ and it commences thus:--

   "It is the duty of ministers in this day to begin the
   reformation of religion and manners with themselves, families,
   etc., with confession of past sin, earnest prayer for direction,
   grace, and full purpose of heart. Mal. 3:3--'He shall purify the
   sons of Levi.' Ministers are probably laid aside for a time for
   this very purpose.

                "1. _Personal Reformation._

   "I am persuaded that I shall obtain the highest amount of
   present happiness, I shall do most for God's glory and the good
   of man, and I shall have the fullest reward in eternity, by
   maintaining a conscience always washed in Christ's blood, by
   being filled with the Holy Spirit at all times, and by attaining
   the most entire likeness to Christ in mind, will, and heart,
   that is possible for a redeemed sinner to attain to in this

   "I am persuaded that whenever any one from without, or my own
   heart from within, at any moment, or in any circumstances,
   contradicts this,--if any one shall insinuate that it is not for
   my present and eternal happiness, and for God's glory and my
   usefulness, to maintain a blood-washed conscience, to be
   entirely filled with the Spirit, and to be fully conformed to
   the image of Christ in all things,--that is the voice of the
   devil, God's enemy, the enemy of my soul and of all good--the
   most foolish, wicked, and miserable of all the creatures. See
   Prov. 9:17--'Stolen waters are sweet.'

   "1. _To maintain a conscience void of offence_, I am persuaded
   that I ought to confess my sins more. I think I ought to confess
   sin the moment I see it to be sin; whether I am in company, or
   in study, or even preaching, the soul ought to cast a glance of
   abhorrence at the sin. If I go on with the duty, leaving the sin
   unconfessed, I go on with a burdened conscience, and add sin to
   sin. I think I ought at certain times of the day--my best
   times,--say, after breakfast and after tea,--to confess solemnly
   the sins of the previous hours, and to seek their complete

   "I find that the devil often makes use of the confession of sin
   to stir up again the very sin confessed into new exercise, so
   that I am afraid to dwell upon the confession. I must ask
   experienced Christians about this. For the present, I think I
   should strive against this awful abuse of confession, whereby
   the devil seeks to frighten me away from confessing. I ought to
   take all methods for seeing the vileness of my sins. I ought to
   regard myself as a condemned branch of Adam,--as partaker of a
   nature opposite to God from the womb (Ps. 51.),--as having a
   heart full of all wickedness, which pollutes every thought,
   word, and action, during my whole life, from birth to death. I
   ought to confess often the sins of my youth, like David and
   Paul,--my sins before conversion, my sins since
   conversion,--sins against light and knowledge, against love and
   grace, against each person of the Godhead. I ought to look at my
   sins in the light of the holy law, in the light of God's
   countenance, in the light of the cross, in the light of the
   judgment-seat, in the light of hell, in the light of eternity. I
   ought to examine my dreams--my floating thoughts--my
   predilections--my often recurring actions--my habits of thought,
   feeling, speech, and action--the slanders of my enemies and the
   reproofs, and even banterings, of my friends--to find out traces
   of my prevailing sin, matter for confession. I ought to have a
   stated day of confession, with fasting--say, once a month. I
   ought to have a number of scriptures marked, to bring sin to
   remembrance. I ought to make use of all bodily affliction,
   domestic trial, frowns of providence on myself, house, parish,
   church, or country, as calls from God to confess sin. The sins
   and afflictions of other men should call me to the same. I
   ought, on Sabbath evenings, and on Communion Sabbath evenings,
   to be especially careful to confess the sins of holy things. I
   ought to confess the sins of my confessions,--their imperfections,
   sinful aims, self-righteous tendency, etc.,--and to look to
   Christ as having confessed my sins perfectly over his own

   "I ought to go to Christ for the forgiveness of each sin. In
   washing my body, I go over every spot, and wash it out. Should I
   be less careful in washing my soul? I ought to see the stripe
   that was made on the back of Jesus by each of my sins. I ought
   to see the infinite pang thrill through the soul of Jesus equal
   to an eternity of my hell for my sins, and for all of them. I
   ought to see that in Christ's bloodshedding there is an infinite
   over-payment for all my sins. Although Christ did not suffer
   more than infinite justice demanded, yet He could not suffer at
   all without laying down an infinite ransom.

   "I feel, when I have sinned, an immediate reluctance to go to
   Christ. I am ashamed to go. I feel as if it would do no good to
   go,--as if it were making Christ a minister of sin, to go
   straight from the swine-trough to the best robe,--and a thousand
   other excuses; but I am persuaded they are all lies, direct from
   hell. John argues the opposite way: 'If any man sin, we have an
   advocate with the Father;' Jer. 3:1 and a thousand other
   scriptures are against it. I am sure there is neither peace nor
   safety from deeper sin, but in going directly to the Lord Jesus
   Christ. This is God's way of peace and holiness. It is folly to
   the world and the beclouded heart, but it is _the way_.

   "I must never think a sin too small to need immediate
   application to the blood of Christ. If I put away a good
   conscience, concerning faith I make shipwreck. I must never
   think my sins too great, too aggravated, too presumptuous,--as
   when done on my knees, or in preaching, or by a dying bed, or
   during dangerous illness,--to hinder me from fleeing to Christ.
   The weight of my sins should act like the weight of a clock: the
   heavier it is, it makes it go the faster.

   "I must not only wash in Christ's blood, but clothe me in
   Christ's obedience. For every sin of omission in self, I may
   find a divinely perfect obedience ready for me in Christ. For
   every sin of commission in self, I may find not only a stripe or
   a wound in Christ, but also a perfect rendering of the opposite
   obedience in my place, so that the law is magnified, its curse
   more than carried, its demand more than answered.

   "Often the doctrine of _Christ for me_ appears common, well
   known, having nothing new in it; and I am tempted to pass it by
   and go to some scripture more taking. This is the devil
   again,--a red-hot lie. _Christ for us_ is ever new, ever
   glorious. 'Unsearchable riches of Christ,'--an infinite object,
   and the only one for a guilty soul. I ought to have a number of
   scriptures ready, which lead my blind soul directly to Christ,
   such as Isaiah 45, Rom. 3.

   "2. _To be filled with the Holy Spirit_, I am persuaded that I
   ought to study more my own weakness. I ought to have a number of
   scriptures ready to be meditated on, such as Rom. 7, John 15, to
   convince me that I am a helpless worm.

   "I am tempted to think that I am now an established
   Christian,--that I have overcome this or that lust so
   long,--that I have got into the habit of the opposite grace,--so
   that there is no fear; I may venture very near the
   temptation--nearer than other men. This is a lie of Satan. I
   might as well speak of gunpowder getting by habit a power of
   resisting fire, so as not to catch the spark. As long as powder
   is wet, it resists the spark; but when it becomes dry, it is
   ready to explode at the first touch. As long as the Spirit
   dwells in my heart He deadens me to sin, so that, if lawfully
   called through temptation, I may reckon upon God carrying me
   through. But when the Spirit leaves me, I am like dry gunpowder.
   Oh for a sense of this!

   "I am tempted to think that there are some sins for which I have
   no natural taste, such as strong drink, profane language, etc.,
   so that I need not fear temptation to such sins. This is a
   lie,--a proud, presumptuous lie. The seeds of all sins, are in
   my heart, and perhaps all the more dangerously that I do not see

   "I ought to pray and labor for the deepest sense of my utter
   weakness and helplessness that ever a sinner was brought to
   feel. I am helpless in respect of every lust that ever was, or
   ever will be, in the human heart. I am a worm--a beast--before
   God. I often tremble to think that this is true. I feel as if it
   would not be safe for me to renounce all indwelling strength, as
   if it would be dangerous for me to feel (what is the truth) that
   there is nothing in me keeping me back from the grossest and
   vilest sin. This is a delusion of the devil. My only safety is
   to know, feel, and confess my helplessness, that I may hang upon
   the arm of Omnipotence ... I daily wish that sin had been rooted
   out of my heart. I say, 'Why did God leave the root of
   lasciviousness, pride, anger, etc., in my bosom? He hates sin,
   and I hate it; why did He not take it clean away?' I know many
   answers to this which completely satisfy my judgment, but still
   I do not _feel_ satisfied. This is wrong. It is right to be
   weary of the being of sin, but not right to quarrel with my
   present 'good fight of faith.' ... The falls of professors into
   sin make me tremble. I have been driven away from prayer, and
   burdened in a fearful manner by hearing or seeing their sin.
   This is wrong. It is right to tremble, and to make every sin of
   every professor a lesson of my own helplessness; but it should
   lead me the more to Christ ... If I were more deeply convinced
   of my utter helplessness, I think I would not be so alarmed when
   I hear of the falls of other men ... I should study those sins
   in which I am most helpless, in which passion becomes like a
   whirlwind and I like a straw. No figure of speech can represent
   my utter want of power to resist the torrent of sin ... I ought
   to study Christ's omnipotence more: Heb. 7:25, I Thess. 5:23,
   Rom. 6:14, Rom. 5:9, 10, and such scriptures, should be ever
   before me ... Paul's thorn, II Cor. 12, is the experience of the
   greater part of my life. It should be ever before me ... There
   are many subsidiary methods of seeking deliverance from sins,
   which must not be neglected,--thus, marriage, I Cor. 7:2;
   fleeing, I Tim. 6:11, I Cor. 6:18; watch and pray, Matt. 26:41;
   the word, 'It is written, It is written.' So Christ defended
   himself; Matt. 4. ... But the main defence is casting myself
   into the arms of Christ like a helpless child, and beseeching
   Him to fill me with the Holy Spirit. 'This is the victory that
   overcometh the world, even our faith,' I John 5:4, 5,--a
   wonderful passage.

   "I ought to study Christ as a living Saviour more,--as a
   Shepherd, carrying the sheep He finds,--as a King, reigning in
   and over the souls He has redeemed,--as a Captain, fighting with
   those who fight with me, Ps. 35.,--as one who has engaged to
   bring me through all temptations and trials, however impossible
   to flesh and blood.

   "I am often tempted to say, How can this Man save us? How can
   Christ in heaven deliver me from lusts which I feel raging in
   me, and nets I feel enclosing me? This is the father of lies
   again! 'He is able to save unto the uttermost.'

   "I ought to study Christ as an Intercessor. He prayed most for
   Peter, who was to be most tempted. I am on his breastplate. If I
   could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not
   fear a million of enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference;
   He is praying for me.

   "I ought to study the Comforter more,--his Godhead, his love,
   his almightiness. I have found by experience that nothing
   sanctifies me so much as meditating on the Comforter, as John
   14:16. And yet how seldom I do this! Satan keeps me from it. I
   am often like those men who said, They knew not if there be any
   Holy Ghost ... I ought never to forget that my body is dwelt in
   by the third Person of the Godhead. The very thought of this
   should make me tremble to sin; I Cor. 6 ... I ought never to
   forget that sin grieves the Holy Spirit,--vexes and quenches Him
   ... If I would be filled with the Spirit, I feel I must read the
   Bible more, pray more, and watch more.

   "3. _To gain entire likeness to Christ_, I ought to get a high
   esteem of the happiness of it. I am persuaded that God's
   happiness is inseparably linked in with his holiness. Holiness
   and happiness are like light and heat. God never tasted one of
   the pleasures of sin.

   "Christ had a body such as I have, yet He never tasted one of
   the pleasures of sin. The redeemed, through all eternity, will
   never taste one of the pleasures of sin; yet their happiness is
   complete. It would be my greatest happiness to be from this
   moment entirely like them. Every sin is something away from my
   greatest enjoyment ... The devil strives night and day to make
   me forget this or disbelieve it. He says, Why should you not
   enjoy this pleasure as much as Solomon or David? You may go to
   heaven also. I am persuaded that this is a lie,--that my true
   happiness is to go and sin no more.

   "I ought not to delay parting with sins. Now is God's time. 'I
   made haste and delayed not.' ... I ought not to spare sins
   because I have long allowed them as infirmities, and others
   would think it odd if I were to change all at once. What a
   wretched delusion of Satan that is!

   "Whatever I see to be sin, I ought from this hour to set my
   whole soul against it, using all scriptural methods to mortify
   it, as the Scriptures, special prayer for the Spirit, fasting,

   "I ought to mark strictly the occasions when I have fallen, and
   avoid the occasion as much as the sin itself.

   "Satan often tempts me to go as near to temptations as possible
   without committing the sin. This is fearful,--tempting God and
   grieving the Holy Ghost. It is a deep-laid plot of Satan.

   "I ought to flee all temptation, according to Prov. 4:15--Avoid
   it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.' ... I ought
   constantly to pour out my heart to God, praying for entire
   conformity to Christ--for the whole law to be written on my
   heart ... I ought statedly and solemnly to give my heart to
   God--to surrender my all into his everlasting arms, according to
   the prayer, Ps. 31., 'Into thine hand I commit my
   spirit,'--beseeching Him not to let any iniquity, secret or
   presumptuous, have dominion over me, and to fill me with every
   grace that is in Christ, in the highest degree that it is
   possible for redeemed sinner to receive it, and at all times,
   till death.

   "I ought to meditate often on heaven as a world of
   holiness,--where all are holy, where the joy is holy joy, the
   work holy work; so that, without personal holiness, I never can
   be there ... I ought to avoid the appearance of evil. God
   commands me; and I find that Satan has a singular art in linking
   the appearance and reality together.

   "I find that speaking of some sins defiles my mind and leads me
   into temptation; and I find that God forbids even saints to
   speak of the things that are done of them in secret. I ought to
   avoid this.

   "Eve, Achan, David, all fell through the lust of the eye. I
   should make a covenant with mine, and pray, 'Turn away mine eyes
   from viewing vanity.' ... Satan makes unconverted men like the
   deaf adder to the sound of the gospel. I should pray to be made
   deaf by the Holy Spirit to all that would tempt me to sin.

   "One of my most frequent occasions of being led into temptation
   is this,--I say it is needful to my office that I listen to
   this, or look into this, or speak of this. So far this is true;
   yet I am sure Satan has his part in this argument. I should seek
   divine direction to settle how far it will be good for my
   ministry, and how far evil for my soul, that I may avoid the

   "I am persuaded that nothing is thriving in my soul unless it is
   growing. 'Grow in grace.' 'Lord, increase our faith.'
   'Forgetting the things that are behind.' ... I am persuaded that
   I ought to be inquiring at God and man what grace I want, and
   how I may become more like Christ ... I ought to strive for more
   purity, humility, meekness, patience under suffering, love.
   'Make me Christ-like in all things,' should be my constant
   prayer. 'Fill me with the Holy Spirit.'

              "2. _Reformation in Secret Prayer._

   "I ought not to omit any of the parts of prayer--confession,
   adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.

   "There is a fearful tendency to omit _confession_, proceeding
   from low views of God and his law, slight views of my heart and
   the sins of my past life. This must be resisted. There is a
   constant tendency to omit _adoration_, when I forget to whom I
   am speaking--when I rush heedlessly into the presence of
   Jehovah, without remembering his awful name and character--when
   I have little eyesight for his glory, and little admiration of
   his wonders. 'Where are the wise?' I have the native tendency of
   the heart to omit _giving thanks_. And yet it is specially
   commanded, Phil. 4:6. Often when the heart is selfish, dead to
   the salvation of others, I omit _intercession_. And yet it
   especially is the spirit of the great Advocate, who has the name
   of Israel always on his heart.

   "Perhaps every prayer need not have all these; but surely a day
   should not pass without some space being devoted to each.

   "I ought to pray before seeing any one. Often when I sleep long,
   or meet with others early, and then have family prayer, and
   breakfast, and forenoon callers, often it is eleven or twelve
   o'clock before I begin secret prayer. This is a wretched system.
   It is unscriptural. Christ rose before day, and went into a
   solitary place. David says, 'Early will I seek Thee; Thou shalt
   early hear my voice.' Mary Magdalene came to the sepulchre while
   it was yet dark. Family prayer loses much of its power and
   sweetness; and I can do no good to those who come to seek from
   me. The conscience feels guilty, the soul unfed, the lamp not
   trimmed. Then, when secret prayer comes, the soul is often out
   of tune. I feel it is far better to begin with God--to see his
   face first--to get my soul near Him before it is near another.
   'When I awake I am still with Thee.'

   "If I have slept too long, or am going an early journey, or my
   time is any way shortened, it is best to dress hurriedly, and
   have a few minutes alone with God, than to give it up for lost.

   "But in general, it is best to have at least one hour _alone
   with God_, before engaging in anything else. At the same time, I
   must be careful not to reckon communion with God by minutes or
   hours, or by solitude. I have pored over my Bible, and on my
   knees for hours, with little or no communion; and my times of
   solitude have been often times of greatest temptation.

   "As to _intercession_, I ought daily to intercede for my own
   family, connections, relatives, and friends; also for my
   flock,--the believers, the awakened, the careless; the sick, the
   bereaved; the poor, the rich; my elders, Sabbath-school
   teachers, day-school teachers, children, tract-distributors,
   that all means may be blessed--Sabbath-day preaching and
   teaching; visiting of the sick, visiting from house to house;
   providences, sacraments. I ought daily to intercede briefly for
   the whole town, the Church of Scotland, all faithful ministers;
   for vacant congregations, students of divinity, etc.; for dear
   brethren by name; for missionaries to Jews and Gentiles, and for
   this end I must read missionary intelligence regularly, and get
   acquainted with all that is doing throughout the world. It would
   stir me up to pray with the map before me. I must have a scheme
   of prayer, also the names of missionaries marked on the map. I
   ought to intercede at large for the above on Saturday morning
   and evening from seven to eight. Perhaps also I might take
   different parts for different days; only I ought daily to plead
   for my family and flock. I ought to pray in everything. 'Be
   careful for nothing, but in _everything_ ... by prayer and
   supplication, make your requests known unto God.' Often I
   receive a letter asking to preach, or some such request. I find
   myself answering before having asked counsel of God. Still
   oftener a person calls and asks me something, and I do not ask
   direction. Often I go out to visit a sick person in a hurry,
   without asking his blessing, which alone can make the visit of
   any use. I am persuaded that I ought never to do anything
   without prayer, and, if possible, special, secret prayer.

   "In reading the history of the Church of Scotland, I see how
   much her troubles and trials have been connected with the
   salvation of souls and the glory of Christ. I ought to pray far
   more for our church, for our leading ministers by name, and for
   my own clear guidance in the right way, that I may not be led
   aside, or driven aside, from following Christ. Many difficult
   questions may be forced on us for which I am not fully prepared,
   such as the lawfulness of covenants. I should pray much more in
   peaceful days, that I may be guided rightly when days of trial

   "I ought to spend the best hours of the day in communion with
   God. It is my noblest and most fruitful employment, and is not
   to be thrust into any corner. The morning hours, from six to
   eight, are the most uninterrupted, and should be thus employed,
   if I can prevent drowsiness. A little time after breakfast might
   be given to intercession. After tea is my best hour, and that
   should be solemnly dedicated to God, if possible.

   "I ought not to give up the good old habit of prayer before
   going to bed; but guard must be kept against sleep: planning
   what things I am to ask is the best remedy. When I awake in the
   night, I ought to rise and pray, as David and as John Welsh did.

   "I ought to read three chapters of the Bible in secret every
   day, at least.

   "I ought on Sabbath morning to look over all the chapters read
   through the week, and especially the verses marked. I ought to
   read in three different places; I ought also to read according
   to subjects, lives," etc.

He has evidently left this unfinished, and now he knows even as he is

Toward the end of his ministry, he became peculiarly jealous of
becoming an idol to his people; for he was loved and revered by many
who gave no evidence of love to Christ. This often pained him much. It
is indeed right in a people to regard their pastor with no common love
(II Cor. 9:14), but there is ever a danger ready to arise. He used to
say, "Ministers are but the pole; it is to the brazen serpent you are
to look."

The state of his health would not permit him to be laborious in going
from house to house, whereas preaching and evangelistic work in
general was less exhausting; but of course, while he was thus engaged,
many concerns of the parish would be unattended to; accordingly his
Session offered him a stated assistant to help him in his parochial
duty. With this proposal he at once concurred. Mr. Gatherer, then at
Caraldstone, was chosen, and continued to labor faithfully with him
during the remaining days of his ministry.

In the beginning of the year he published his _Daily Bread_, an
arrangement of Scripture, that the Bible might be read through in the
course of a year. He sought to induce his people to meditate much on the
written word in all its breadth. His last publication was, _Another Lily
Gathered_, or the account of James Laing, a little boy in his flock,
brought to Christ early, and carried soon to glory.

In the middle of January 1843, he visited Collace, and preached on I
Cor. 9:27: "A Castaway"--a sermon so solemn that one said it was like
a blast of the trumpet that would awaken the dead. Next day he rode on
to Lintrathen, where the people were willing to give up their work
at mid-day, if he would come and preach to them. All this month he was
breathing after glory. In his letters there are such expressions as
these: "I often pray, Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can
be made." "Often, often I would like to depart and be with Christ--to
mount to Pisgah-top and take a farewell look of the church below, and
leave my body and be present with the Lord. Ah, it is far better!"
Again: "I do not expect to live long. I expect a sudden call some
day--perhaps soon, and therefore I speak very plainly." But, indeed,
he had long been persuaded that his course would be brief. His hearers
remember well how often he would speak in such language as that with
which he one day closed his sermon: "Changes are coming; every eye
before me shall soon be dim in death. Another pastor shall feed this
flock; another singer lead the psalm; another flock shall fill this

In the beginning of February, by appointment of the Committee of the
Convocation, he accompanied Mr. Alexander of Zirkcaldy to visit the
districts of Deer and Ellon--districts over which he yearned, for
Moderatism had held undisputed sway over them for generations. It was
to be his last evangelistic tour. He exemplified his own remark, "The
oil of the lamp in the temple burnt away in giving light; so should

He set out, says one that saw him leave town, as unclouded and happy
as the sky that was above his head that bright morning. During the
space of three weeks, he preached or spoke at meetings in
four-and-twenty places, sometimes more than once in the same place.
Great impression was made upon the people of the district. One who
tracked his footsteps a month after his death states, that sympathy
with the principles of our suffering church was awakened in many
places; but, above all, a thirst was excited for the pure word of
life. His eminently holy walk and conversation, combined with the deep
solemnity of his preaching, was specially felt. The people loved to
speak of him. In one place, where a meeting had been intimated, the
people assembled, resolving to cast stones at him as soon as he should
begin to speak; but so sooner had he begun, than his manner, his look,
his words, riveted them all, and they listened with intense
earnestness; and before he left the place, the people gathered round
him, entreating him to stay and preach to them. One man, who had cast
mud at him, was afterwards moved to tears on hearing of his death.

He wrote to Mr. Gatherer, February 14, "I had a nice opportunity of
preaching in Aberdeen; and in Peterhead our meeting was truly
successful. The minister of St. Fergus I found to be what you
described. We had a solemn meeting in his church. In Strichen, we had
a meeting in the Independent Meeting-house. On Friday evening, we had
two delightful meetings, in a mill at Crechie, and in the church of
Clola. The people were evidently much impressed, some weeping. On
Saturday evening we met in the Brucklay barn. I preached on Sabbath,
at New Deer in the morning, and at Fraserburgh in the evening--both
interesting meetings. To-night we met in Pitsligo church. To-morrow we
trust to be in Aberdour; and then we leave for the Presbytery of
Ellon. The weather has been delightful till now. To-day the snow is
beginning to drift. But God is with us, and He will carry us to the
very end. I am quite well, though a little fatigued sometimes." On the
24th, he writes to another friend, "To-day is the first we have
rested since leaving home, so that I am almost overcome with fatigue.
Do not be idle; improve in all useful knowledge. You know what an
enemy I am to idleness."

Never was it more felt that God was with him than in this journey. The
Lord seemed to show in him the meaning of the text, "Out of his belly
shall flow rivers of living water," John 7:38. Even when silent, the
near intercourse he held with God left its impression on those around.
His _constant holiness_ touched the conscience of many.

Returning to his beloved flock on March 1st, in good health, but much
exhausted, he related, next evening, at his prayer-meeting, what
things he had seen and heard. During the next twelve days he was to be
found going out and in among his people, filling up, as his manner
was, every inch of time. But he had been much weakened by his
unceasing exertions when in the north, and he was more than ordinarily
exposed to the typhus fever that was then prevailing in his parish,
several cases of which he visited in his enfeebled state.

On Sabbath the 5th, he preached three times; and two days after, I
find him writing to his father: "All domestic matters go on like a
placid stream--I trust not without its fertilizing influence. Nothing
is more improving than the domestic altar, when we come to it for a
daily supply of soul nourishment." To the last we get glances into his
soul's growth. His family devotions were full of life and full of
gladness to the end. Indeed, his very manner in reading the chapter
reminded you of a man poring into the sands for pieces of fine gold,
and from time to time holding up to you what he delighted to have

On Sabbath the 12th, he preached upon Heb. 9:15 in the forenoon, and
Rom. 9:22, 23, in the afternoon, with uncommon solemnity; and it was
observed, both then and on other late occasions, he spoke with
peculiar strength upon the sovereignty of God. These were his last
discourses to his people in St. Peter's. That same evening he went
down to Broughty Ferry, and preached upon Isaiah 60:1, "Arise, shine."
etc. It was the last time he was to be engaged directly in proclaiming
Christ to sinners; and as he began his ministry with souls for his
hire, so it appears that his last discourse had in it saving power to
some, and that rather from the holiness it breathed than from the
wisdom of its words. After his death, a note was found unopened,
which had been sent to him in the course of the following week, when
he lay in the fever. It ran thus: "I hope you will pardon a stranger
for addressing to you a few lines. I heard you preach last Sabbath
evening, and it pleased God to bless that sermon to my soul. It was
not so much what you said, as your manner of speaking that struck me.
I saw in you a beauty in holiness that I never saw before. You also
said something in your prayer that struck me very much. It was, '_Thou
knowest that we love Thee._' Oh, sir, what would I give that I could
say to my blessed Saviour, 'Thou knowest that I love Thee!'"

Next evening he held a meeting in St. Peter's, with the view of
organizing his people for collecting in behalf of the Free Protesting
Church,--the disruption of the Establishment being now inevitable. He
spoke very fervently; and after the meeting felt chilled and unwell.
Next morning he felt that he was ill; but went out in the afternoon to
the marriage of two of his flock. He seemed, however, to anticipate a
serious attack, for, on his way home, he made some arrangements
connected with his ministerial work, and left a message at Dr.
Gibson's house, asking him to come and see him. He believed that he
had taken the fever, and it was so. That night he lay down upon the
bed from which he was never to rise. He spoke little, but intimated
that he apprehended danger.

On Wednesday, he said he thought that he would never have seen the
morning, he felt so sore broken, and had got no sleep; but afterwards
added, "Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we
not receive evil also?" He seemed clouded in spirit, often repeating
such passages as--"My moisture is turned into the drought of
summer;"--"My bones wax old, through my roaring all day long." It was
with difficulty that he was able to speak a few words with his
assistant, Mr. Gatherer. In the forenoon, Mr. Miller of Wallacetown
found him oppressed with extreme pain in his head. Amongst other
things they conversed upon Ps. 126. On coming to the 6th verse, Mr.
M'Cheyne said he would give him a division of it. 1. _What is
sowed_--"Precious seed." 2. _The manner of sowing it_--"Goeth forth
and weepeth." He dwelt upon "_weepeth_" and then said, "Ministers
should go forth at all times." 3. _The fruit_--"Shall doubtless come
again with rejoicing." Mr. Miller pointed to the _certainty_ of it;
Mr. M'Cheyne assented, "Yes--_doubtless_." After praying with him, Mr.
Miller repeated Matt. 11:28, upon which Mr. M'Cheyne clasped his hands
with great earnestness. As he became worse, his medical attendants
forbade him to be visited. Once or twice he asked for me, and was
heard to speak of "_Smyrna_" as if the associations of his illness
there were recalled by his burning fever now. I was not at that time
aware of his danger, even the rumor of it had not reached us.

Next day, he continued sunk in body and mind, till about the time when
his people met for their usual evening prayer-meeting, when he
requested to be left alone for half an hour. When his servant entered
the room again, he exclaimed, with a joyful voice. "My soul is escaped
as a bird out of the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken, and I
am escaped." His countenance, as he said this, bespoke inward peace.
Ever after he was observed to be happy; and at supper-time that
evening, when taking a little refreshment, he gave thanks, "For
strength in the time of weakness--for light in the time of
darkness--for joy in the time of sorrow--for comforting us in all our
tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those that are in any
trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

On Sabbath, when one expressed a wish that he had been able to go
forth as usual to preach, he replied, "My thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord;" and added,
"I am preaching the sermon that God would have me to do."

On Tuesday (the 21st) his sister repeated to him several hymns. The
last words he heard, and the last he seemed to understand, were those
of Cowper's hymn, _Sometimes the light surprises the Christian as he
sings_. And then the delirium came on.

At one time, during the delirium, he said to his attendant, "Mind the
text, I Cor. 15:58--'Be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the
work of the Lord,'" dwelling with much emphasis on the last clause,
"_forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord_."
At another time he seemed to feel himself among his brethren, and
said, "I don't think much of policy in church courts; no, I hate it;
but I'll tell you what I like, faithfulness to God, and a holy walk."
His voice, which had been weak before, became very strong now; and
often was he heard speaking to or praying for his people. "You must
be awakened in time, or you will be awakened in everlasting torment,
to your eternal confusion." "You may soon get me away, but that will
not save your souls." Then he prayed, "This parish, Lord, this people,
this whole place!" At another time, "Do it thyself, Lord, for thy weak
servant." And again, as if praying for the saints, "Holy Father, keep
through thine own name those whom Thou hast given me."

Thus he continued most generally engaged, while the delirium lasted,
either in prayer or in preaching to his people, and always apparently
in happy frame, till the morning of Saturday the 25th. On that
morning, while his kind medical attendant, Dr. Gibson, stood by, he
lifted up his hands as if in the attitude of pronouncing the blessing,
and then sank down. Not a groan or a sigh, but only a quiver of the
lip, and his soul was at rest.

As he was subject to frequent sickness, it was not till within some
days of his death that serious alarm was generally felt, and hence the
stroke came with awful suddenness upon us all. That same afternoon,
while preparing for Sabbath duties, the tidings reached me. I hastened
down, though scarce knowing why I went. His people were that evening
met together in the church, and such a scene of sorrow has not often
been witnessed in Scotland. It was like the weeping for King Josiah.
Hundreds were there; the lower part of the church was full: and none
among them seemed able to contain their sorrow. Every heart seemed
bursting with grief, so that the weeping and the cries could be heard
afar off. The Lord had most severely wounded the people whom He had
before so peculiarly favored; and now, by this awful stroke of his
hand, was fixing deeper in their souls all that his servant had spoken
in the days of his peculiar ministry.

Wherever the news of his departure came, every Christian countenance
was darkened with sadness. Perhaps, never was the death of one, whose
whole occupation had been preaching the everlasting gospel, more felt
by all the saints of God in Scotland. Not a few also of our
Presbyterian brethren in Ireland felt the blow to the very heart. He
himself used to say, "Live so as to be missed;" and none that saw the
tears that were shed over his death would have doubted that his own
life had been what he recommended to others. He had not completed
more than twenty-nine years when God took him.

On the day of his burial, business was quite suspended in the parish.
The streets, and every window, from the house to the grave, were
crowded with those who felt that a prince in Israel had fallen; and
many a careless man felt a secret awe creep over his hardened soul as
he cast his eye on the solemn spectacle.

His tomb may be seen on the pathway at the north-west corner of St.
Peter's burying-ground. He has gone to the "mountain of myrrh and the
hill of frankincense, till the day break and the shadows flee away."
His work was finished! His heavenly Father had not another plant for
him to water, nor another vine for him to train; and the Saviour who
so loved him was waiting to greet him with his own welcome: "Well
done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

But what is the voice to us? Has this been sent as the stroke of
wrath, or the rebuke of love? "His way is in the sea, and his path in
the great waters, and his footsteps are not known." Only this much we
can clearly see, that nothing was more fitted to leave his character
and example impressed on our remembrance forever than his early death.
There might be envy while he lived; there is none now. There might
have been some of the youthful attractiveness of his graces lost had
he lived many years; this cannot be impaired now. It seems as if the
Lord had struck the flower from its stem, ere any of the colors had
lost their bright hue, or any leaf of fragrance.

Well may the flock of St. Peter's lay it to heart. They have had days
of visitation. "Ye have seen the right hand of the Lord plucked out of
his bosom? What shall the unsaved among you do in the day of the
Lord's anger?" "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy
day, the things which belong to thy peace!"

It has been more than once the lot of Scotland (as was said in the
days of Durham) to enjoy so much of the Lord's kindness, as to have
men to lose whose loss has been felt to the very heart--witnesses for
Christ, who saw the King's face and testified of his beauty. We cannot
weep them back; but shall we not call upon Him with whom is the
residue of the Spirit, that ere the Lord come. He would raise up men,
like Enoch, or like Paul, who shall reach nearer the stature of the
perfect man, and bear witness with more power to all nations? Are
there not (as he who has left us used to hope) "better ministers in
store for Scotland than any that have yet arisen?"

Ministers of Christ, does not the Lord call upon us especially? Many
of us are like the angel of the church of Ephesus: we have "works, and
labor, and patience, and cannot bear them that are evil, and we have
borne, and for his name's sake we labor, and have not fainted;" but we
want the fervor of "first love." Oh how seldom now do we hear of fresh
supplies of holiness arriving from the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3)--new
grace appearing among the saints, and in living ministers! We get
contented with our old measure and kind, as if the windows of heaven
were never to be opened. Few among us see the lower depths of the
horrible pit; few ever enter the inner chambers of the house of David.

But there has been one among us who, ere he had reached the age at
which a priest in Israel would have been entering on his course, dwelt
at the Mercy-seat as if it were his home,--preached the certainties of
eternal life with an undoubting mind,--and spent his nights and days
in ceaseless breathings after holiness, and the salvation of sinners.
Hundreds of souls were his reward from the Lord, ere he left us; and
in him have we been taught how much one man may do who will only press
farther into the presence of his God, and handle more skilfully the
unsearchable riches of Christ, and speak more boldly for his God. We
speak much against unfaithful ministers, while we ourselves are
awfully unfaithful! Are we never afraid that the cries of souls whom
we have betrayed to perdition through our want of personal holiness,
and our defective preaching of Christ crucified, may ring in our ears
forever? Our Lord is at the door. In the twinkling of an eye our work
will be done. "Awake, awake, O arm of the Lord, awake as in the
ancient days," till every one of thy pastors be willing to impart to
the flock, over which the Holy Ghost has made him overseer, not the
gospel of God only, but also his own soul. And oh that each one were
able, as he stands in the pastures feeding thy sheep and lambs, to
look up and appeal to Thee: "_Lord, Thou knowest all things! Thou
knowest that I love Thee_!"

_Printed in the United States of America_


Underscores (_text_) indicate text italicised in the original book, as
in the last line of printed book (above).

Footnotes were moved from individual pages to the end of the affected

This e-book is a reproduction of an original that itself is an excerpt
of a larger work, as stated in the Publisher's Preface. There were a
number of spelling and punctuation errors, too numerous to detail,
that were corrected in this version of the book. There are also a
number of stylistic differences between the works including format of
references (e.g. Roman vs. decimal numbers), italics and poetry
indentings. In these instances, this e-book has been made to follow
the excerpted reprint, and not the original, larger work.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Biography of Robert Murray M'Cheyne" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.