Monday, 18 August 2014


Robert Murray McCheyne
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree
 Jehovah Tsidkenu meant nothing to me
(Robert Murray McCheyne)

We sang this hymn yesterday morning in church. We started off with two short Psalms (133 and 134) which have but 5 verses between them, so we run them into one another and sang them to the same tune. We then sang, after the scripture reading, McCheyne's testimony hymn and then, after the message, finished off with the hymn "Jesus my Saviour is precious to me." I preached on John 7:37-39 on the Lord's great invitation on the last day of the feast for all the thirsty ones to come and drink. I did not preach it evangelistically (although I introduced it as such) because I wanted to preach the gospel at night (from John 5:40). So, I concentrated on what we have when we come to Christ with a view of encouraging and teaching the Christians present.  For those interested in outlines, I pointed out that when we come to Christ, we have:

1) The reality and not the shadow (i.e. no longer the type i.e. the Feast/Tabernacles but the thing typified i.e. Christ who tabernacled among us)
2) The satisfaction and not the thirst (obvious from text)
3) The fullness and not the limitation - we now have the Holy Spirit given more fully than before (v38-39).

I enjoyed better liberty at night, but nevertheless the folk seemed to enjoy the morning message. 

I chose McCheyne's hymn because he mentions "I drank at the fountain, life giving and free" which obviously tied in with the text. However, as you will observe, this is not the quote I head this blog post with. The words above actually came with more sweetness to my soul. Friends had obviously witnessed to McCheyne when he was yet unsaved. His older brother, David, who passed away early (as indeed Robert did) had a great impact upon him. But they not only witnessed to him about Christ crucfied ("Christ on the tree") but they did so (in McCheyne's words) "with rapture."  It was not mechancial, nor out of a mere sense of duty. Their souls were enraptured with Christ, much like the church in the Song of Solomon. Fittingly, Song of Solomon was McCheyne's favourite book of the Bible. 

Maybe you have never heard of McCheyne. I was asked a while ago as to which book I had read and would recommend. I chose McCheyne's biography by his close friend Andrew Bonar for its sheer spirituality. Books have gone and gone in my library but this one ever will remain. It formed part of my life when as a young believer, I rushed home from my work to devour more of its pages in the summer of 1979. 

Centenary Message of his birth (Banner of Truth)  

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