Robert Murray Mc'Cheyne

by A.A.Bonar

Publisher's Preface

The telling of the deeply spiritual life story of the young minister of the gospel of St. Peter's Church, Dundee, Scotland, Robert Murray McCheyne, 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 McCheyne, were republished in the Wycliffe 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.

Robert Murray McCheyne

The biography of Robert Murray McCheyne, written by his lifelong friend, A.A. Bonar, has become a classic of devotional literature. McCheyne would have been pleased, but embarrassed, that a biography would be written about his life and works. That his very life would be food for devotion would never have occurred to him, overwhelmed by a sense of all conquering grace as he was. He always felt that something more could be done, yet another soul to be reached, or still higher goals set and attempted. So, that he should become an example by life and word would have been a slight embarrassment to him, pleasing as it was that God should use him thus, long since departed to "Immanuel's Land."

McCheyne was born in 1813, educated at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), and ordained as a minister in the Church of Scotland. His first pastorate, begun in 1839, was St. Peter's in Dundee. His health was never very good, but he maintained a vigorous program of church visitation, Bible study, prayer, meditation, and writing. He became a member of the so-called Non-Intrusion movement that ultimately led to the "Disruption," the withdrawal of 474 ministers from the Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland in 1843. The cause for the split was over purity of doctrine, church polity, and state interference in church affairs.

McCheyne became vitally interested in missions, especially the mission to the Jews in 1839, and made a long trip to Europe and Palestine to see the situation first hand. His reflections are recorded in Bonar's biography, where, like the apostle Paul in Athens who saw a city given to superstition rather than filled with works of art, McCheyne lamented the worldliness and paganism of the great cities he visited.

McCheyne died in 1843 at 30 years of age, to the great sorrow of his friends, who wondered that such a glorious light should burn so brightly for so short a time. McCheyne would have vigorously disclaimed any second guessing of God's providence. "Not lost but gone before" would have been his words, as he earlier wrote concerning the death of a friend.

Andrew Alexander Bonar, McCheyne's biographer, was himself a man of no mean accomplishment. He, like McCheyne, was an ordained Church of Scotland minister, a member of the Non-Intrusion movement, took part in the Disruption, traveled to Palestine as a member of the "Mission of Inquiry" with McCheyne, and lived out his days as a Free Church minister in Finnieston, Glasgow. He was the editor of Samuel Rutherford's Letters, which, along with his own Diary, and the biography of McCheyne, have become devotional classics.

Walter Elwell

Wheaton College Wheaton, Illinois

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