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McCheyne was away from his congregation in 1839. He wrote back to a congregant who was not doing well. In this letter, he lays out how a pastor should rightly understand himself.

EDINBURGH, March 14, 1839.

 

But if the trial was needed by my people, it was still more needed by me. None but God knows what an abyss of corruption is in my heart. He knows and covers all in the blood of the Lamb. In faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me.

 

It is perfectly wonderful that ever God could bless such a ministry. And now, when I go over all the faults of it, it appears almost impossible that I can ever preach again. But then I think again, who can preach so well as a sinner—who is forgiven so much, and daily upheld by the Spirit with such a heart within!

 

I can truly say that the fruit of my long exile has been, that I am come nearer to God, and long more for perfect holiness, and for the world where the people shall be all righteous. I do long to be free from self, from pride, and ungodliness; and I know where to go, “for all the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus.”

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