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Quotes by Robert Murray McCheyne


There is something inexpressibly pleasing to a justified mind to know that God has all the honor in our salvation, and we have none; to know that God’s honor is not violated, but on the contrary, shines more illustrious; to know that God’s law is not injured, but magnified and made honorable; to know that we are safe, and God has all the glory.


[Affliction] shows the power of Christ’s blood, when it gives peace in an hour of trouble, when it can make happy in sickness, poverty, persecution and death. Do not be surprised if you suffer, but glorify God. 


Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two: your life preaches all week. If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating, he has ruined your ministry. Give yourself to prayer, and get your texts, your thoughts, your words, from God.


It is the voice of Christ that wakens the dead soul. Jesus speaks through the Bible, through ministers, through providences. His voice can reach the dead. He quickeneth whom He will. They that hear, live.


When the voice of Christ speaks through the Word, then you will arise, and leave all, and follow Him.


When Christ delays to help His saints now, you think this is a great mystery, you cannot explain it; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning.  Be still, and know that Christ is God.


Christ frequently gives us the desires of our heart, though not at the peculiar time we desired, but a better time. 


Ah! It is a fearful thing to leave the company of living men, and lie down in the narrow house, with a shroud for our only clothing, a coffin for our couch, and the worm for our companion.  It is humiliating, it is loathsome.


The dust of Lazarus was dear to Jesus; He would not leave it in the rocky tomb. So is the dust of every Lazarus dear in His sight.  He will not lose so much as one of them. Wherever they lie, it matters not – beneath the deep blue sea, or on some distant battlefield, or consumed in flame and smoke – the Lord Jesus will yet collect their scattered dust, sand make them like His own glorious body.


The nearer you take anything to the light, the darker its spots will appear; and the nearer you live to God, the more you will see your own utter vileness.


Some of you seek for faith much in the same way as you would dig for a well. You turn the eye inward upon yourself and search admidst the depths of your polluted heart to find if faith is there; you search admid all your feelings at sermons and sacraments to see if faith is there; and still you find nothing but sin and disappointment… Look full in the face of Jesus… Drink in His Word… Faith comes by hearing the voice of Jesus.


God’s children should not doubt His love when He afflicts. Christ loved Lazarus peculiarly, and yet He afflicted Him very sore. A surgeon never bends his eye so tenderly upon his patient, as when he is putting in the lancet, or probing the wound to the very bottom. And so with Christ – He bends His eye most tenderly over His own at the time He is afflicting them… A goldsmith when he casts gold into the furnace looks after it.


O Christless man!  You too will hear that voice. Your soul will hear it in hell, your body will hear it in the grave; and death and hell will give up the dead which are in them. You will not hear His voice now, but you must hear it then. You will come forth, like Lazarus, and stand before God. Perhaps you would like to lie still in the grave. Oh!  Let the rocks fall on me, and the mountains cover me. Perhaps you will cling to the sides of the grave, and clasp your frail coffin in your arms. Perhaps your soul would wish to lie still in hell. Oh!  Let me alone!  Let the burning wave go over forever, let the worm gnaw and never die. But you must come forth to the resurrection of damnation. You must rise to shame and everlasting contempt.


If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.


A believer longs after God: to come into His presence, to feel His love, to feel near to Him in secret, to feel in the crowd that He is nearer than all the creatures. Ah! dear brethren, have you ever tasted this blessedness? There is greater rest and solace to be found in the presence of God for one hour, than in an eternity of the presence of man.


O believing brethren! What an instrument is this which God hath put into your hands! Prayer moves Him that moves the universe.


My people’s greatest need is my personal holiness.


The purest joy in the world is joy in Christ Jesus. When the Spirit is poured down, His people get very near and clear views of the Lord Jesus. They eat His flesh and drink His blood. They come to a personal cleaving to the Lord. They taste that the Lord is gracious. His blood and righteousness appear infinitely perfect, full and free to their soul. They sit under His shadow with great delight… They lean on the Beloved. They find infinite strength in Him for the use of their soul — grace for grace — all they can need in any hour of trial and suffering to the very end.


If you will bear the cross, it will bear you.


If you do not worship God in your family, you are living in positive sin; you may be quite sure you do not care for the souls of your family. If you neglect to spread a meal for your children to eat, would it not be said that you did not care for their bodies? And if you do not lead your children and servants to the green pastures of God’s Word, and to seek the living water, how plain is it that you do not care for their souls? Do it regularly, morning and evening. It is more needful than your daily food – more needful than your work.


The Christian is a person who makes it easy for others to believe in God.


[Affliction] brings out graces that cannot be seen in a time of health. It is the treading of the grapes that brings out the sweet juices of the vine; so it is affliction that draws forth submission, weanedness from the world, and complete rest in God. Use afflictions while you have them.


I know well that when Christ is nearest, Satan also is busiest.


Learn that urgency in prayer does not so much consist in vehement pleading, as in vehement believing. He that believes most the love and power of Jesus will obtain the most in prayer.


Give yourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.  If you do not pray, God will probably lay you aside from your ministry, as He did me, to teach you to pray.


It is the mark of a hypocrite to be a Christian everywhere but home.


Live near to God, and so all things will appear to you little in comparison with eternal realities.


When God gives a promise, He always tries our faith. Just as the roots of trees take firmer hold when they are contending with the wind, so faith takes a firmer hold when it struggles with adverse appearances.


We do not know the value of Christ, if we will not cleave to Him unto death!


There are many hearing me who now know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart.


It is a sure mark of grace to desire more.


It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.


Your afflictions may only prove that you are more immediately under the Father’s hand. There is no time that the patient is such an object of tender interest to the surgeon, as when he is bleeding beneath his knife. So you may be sure if you are suffering from the hand of a reconciled God, that His eye is all the more bent on you.


The wounds of Christ were the greatest outlets of His glory that ever were. The divine glory shone more out of His wounds than out of all His life before.


Leave your home, your comforts, your bed, your ease, your all, to feed lost souls. The Lord of glory left heaven for this; it is enough for the disciple to be as his Master. It is said of Alleine that “he was infinitely and insatiably greedy for the conversion of souls.”… The Lord give you this heavenly compassion for this people. Do not be satisfied without conversion… Remember that a moral sinner will lie down in the same hell with the vilest.


Some believers are very surprised when they are called to suffer. They thought they would do some great thing for God, but all God permits them to do is to suffer. Just suppose you could speak with those who have gone to be with the Lord; everyone has a different story, yet everyone has a tale of suffering. One was persecuted by family and friends…another was inflicted with pain and disease, neglected by the world…another was bereaved of children…another had all these afflictions. But you will notice that though the water was deep, they all have reached the other side. Not one of them blames God for the road He led them; “Salvation” is their only cry. Are there any of you, dear children, murmuring at your lot? Do not sin against God. This is the way God leads all His redeemed ones.


God will either give you what you ask, or something far better.


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 has 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… 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 this is a lie — that my true happiness is to go and sin no more.


It is not great gifts that God blesses so much as it is great likeness to Christ.


[Affliction is sometimes] sent for the conversion of the soul. Sometimes in health the Word does not touch the heart. The world is all. Its gaieties, its pleasures, its admiration, captivate your mind. God sometimes draws you aside into a sickbed, and shows you the sin of your heart, the vanity of worldly pleasures and drives the soul to seek a sure resting-place for eternity in Christ. O happy sickness that draws the soul to Jesus (Job 33, Psm. 107).


Are we not all immortal till our work is done?