Monday, January 31, 2011

Remembering Robert Murray M'Cheyne

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith (Heb 13:7).

We believe in Christian heroes, not to idolize men, but because God has exemplified His faithfulness to His promises through men of faith (cf. Heb 6:12). We look to men (and women!) so as to behold their God and rejoice that the same Lord reigns still over His Church (the point of vv. 7-8, in Heb 13).

And how much do we still need to consider Christians of past eras, in a day when "DIY" applies not just to home-improvement, but to pastoral ministry as well (see this previous post)? I for one love to look to heroes, especially ones like Robert Murray M'Cheyne.

M'Cheyne was a Scottish pastor in the 19th century - a compatriot of other Scottish luminaries like Horatius and Andrew Bonar, John Milne, amongst others - and a leader in the great Scottish revivals of that era. A prolific writer, poet, preacher, and evangelist, M'Cheyne died at the young age of 29. Though I have already outlived him by more than 3 years, I believe it would be presumptuous to expect to see more accomplished through my life and ministry than his.

On the occasion of my recent ordination to Gospel ministry, my brother and sister-in-law gifted me a copy of Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M'Cheyne.

As I have read his Memoirs (a collection of biography, diary, letters, sermons, poems, and tracts), I have been simultaneously encouraged, admonished, rebuked, and burdened to know the Lord and minister His Word as did our dear brother who has gone ahead of us. At times, I have even needed to set down his Memoirs, just for the sake of relieving the conviction!

So, you can imagine my anticipation when I first heard that John Piper will be doing a biographical message on M'Cheyne at this week's Desiring God Pastors Conference! Tomorrow at about 12 noon (PST), Piper will deliver his message, and since they are typically live-streamed it could make for a great lunch break. (Update: Live-stream for main sessions will be available here).

If God's work through Robert Murray M'Cheyne is unknown to you, my friend, that needs to be rectified! Maybe Piper's message will be just the introduction you need.

Please note the many resources currently available to us:
  • Website on M'Cheyne maintained by David Haslam. (I have briefly corresponded with Mr. Haslam and he seems to be a fine chap. I am grateful for his work on this site).
To see how John Piper develops his biographical sketches, watch this brief video:

For the rest of the week, we will be posting some favorite excerpts of M'Cheyne thus far in our reading of his Memoirs.


  1. .....M'Cheyne's sermons have the aroma of eternity in them.

    What a great visual. I'm definitely intrigued by his introduction.

  2. Before you embed a Youtube video, you might want to choose smaller dimensions next time.

  3. Yeah, I know... I can't seem to ever get that right, I thought I did. I am inept in this area, obviously.