Dundee, September 1842
From Robert Murray McCheyne to a friend
I was glad indeed to see, by the line you sent me, that though your mind is dark and troubled, you have not gone back to the world. Ah, it is a false, deceiving world! It smiles only to betray. I want to lead you to taste the peace that passeth understanding, and that it is only to be found in Jesus You are quite wrong in thinking that I do not understand your misery. I know it well. It is true Jesus does give me peace. He washes me from sin in His own blood. I often feel Him standing by my side and looking down upon me saying “Thou art mine.” Yet still I have known more misery than you. I have sinned more deeply than you. I have sinned against more light and more love , and yet I have found more mercy; why may not you? Remember what James Covey said: “Tell poor sailors that none of them need to despair, since poor blaspheming Covey found mercy.” I was not interrupted just while writing this, by a very young little girl coming to ask, “What must I do to be saved?” Poor thing, she has been weeping till I thought her heart would break. She lives several miles off; but a companion was awakened and told her, and ever since she had been seeking Christ with all her heart. I was telling her that sweet verse : “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief” (1 Tim. !:15). It will answer you also, dear friend. Christ Jesus was God’s dear Son. He made all things, —-sun, moon, and stars, men, and angels. He was from all eternity in the bosom of the Father, and yet He came into the world. He did not say, “I will keep my throne and my happiness, and leave sinners to die and perish in their sins.” No; “He came into the world.” He became a babe, and was laid in a manger, for there was not room in the inn. The inn was like your heart; it was filled with other lodgers, and had no room for Jesus. He became “ a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He bore our sins upon His own body on the tree. While we were sinners “Christ died for us.” Why did He do all this? Ah! it was to save sinners. Not to save good people–not to save angels—-but sinners. Perhaps you will say, “But I am too bad a sinner;” but Paul says , “of whom I am the chief.” Paul was the chief of sinners, and yet he was saved by Christ. So Christ is willing and able to save you, though you were the chief sinner on the face of the earth. If Christ came into this world and died to save such as you, will it not be a fearful thing if you die without being saved by Him? Surely you have lived long enough without Christ. You have despised Jesus long enough. What has the world done for you, that you love it so much? Did the world die for you? Will the world blot out your sins or change your heart? Will the world carry you to heaven? No, No! You may go back to the world if you please but it can only destroy your poor soul. ’She that lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.’ (1 Tim. 5:6) Read these words in your Bible, and mark them; and if you go back, that mark will be a witness against you before the great white throne when the books are opened. Have you not lived long enough in pleasure? Come and try the pleasures of Christ – forgiveness and a new heart. I have not been at a dance or any worldly amusement for many years, and yet I believe I have had more pleasure in a single day than you have had all your life. In what? You will say. In feeling that God loves me – that Christ has washed me – and in feeling that I shall be in heaven when the wicked are cast into hell. ’A day in thy courts is better than a thousand.’
I do not know what is to be the result of your anxieties. I do not know whether you will be drawn to Christ, or driven back into the whirlpool of a perishing world; but I know that all will be settled for eternity. I was in a very wicked family today where a child died. I opened my Bible, and explained this verse to them over the coffin of their little one: ’It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this face judgment.’ (Heb. 9:27) Solemn words! We have only to die once, and the day is fixed. If you die wrong the first time, you cannot come back to die better a second time. If you die without Christ, you cannot come back to be converted and die a believer. You have but once to die. Oh, pray that you may find Christ before death finds you! ’After this the judgment.’ Not after this purgatory. No further opportunity to be saved, ’after this the judgment.’ As death leaves you, so judgment finds you. If you die unsaved, you will be so in the judgment. May I never see you at the left hand. If I do, you will remember how I warned you and prayed for you, and besought you to come to the Lord Jesus.
Come to Jesus, He will in nowise cast you out.
Your affectionate friend,
Robert Murray McCheyne