In this page I have begun to collect some of the more famous and pointed quotations from the writings of Robert Murray M'Cheyne. They are not arranged in any particular order. Perhaps at some future occasion I will be more systematic and locate all the various source references. I hope that this page will be an ogoing work, not one which can ever claim to be complete. I will be grateful to receive by email suggestions for further M'Cheyne quotes to be included. -David Haslam.
- "A man is what he is on his
knees before God, and nothing more."
- "For every look at self,
take ten looks at Christ."
- "The Christian is a person
who makes it easy for others to believe in 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 the 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. Luther spent his best three hours
- "I ought to pray before
seeing any one. Often when I sleep long, or meet with others early, it
is eleven or twelve o'clock before I begin secret prayer. This is a
wretched system. It is unscriptural. Christ arose before day and went
into a solitary place. David says: 'Early will I seek thee'; 'Thou
shalt early hear my voice.' Family prayer loses much of its power and
sweetness, and I can do no good to those who come to seek from me. The
conscience feels guilty, the soul unfed, the lamp not trimmed. Then
when in secret prayer the soul is often out of tune, I feel it is far
better to begin with God—to see his face first, to get my
soul near him before it is near another."
- "Rose early to seek God and
found Him whom my soul loveth. Who would not rise early to meet such
- "Most of God's people are
contented to be saved from the hell that is without; they are not so
anxious to be saved from the hell that is within."
- "It is a sure mark of grace
to desire more."
- "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."
- "No one ever came to Christ
because they knew themselves to be of the elect. It is quite true that
God has of his mere good pleasure elected some to everlasting life, but
they never knew it until they came to Christ. Christ nowhere invites
the elect to come to Him. The question for you is not, Am I one of the
elect? But, Am I one of the human race?"
- "Depend upon it, it is God's
Word, not our comment upon God's Word, that saves souls."
- "Get your texts from
God—your thoughts, your words, from God. In great measure,
according to the purity and perfection's of the instrument, will be
success. 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. A word spoken by you when your conscience is clear, and
your heart full of God's Spirit, is worth ten thousands words spoken in
unbelief and sin."
- "Live near to God, and all
things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities."
- "A great part of my time is
spent in getting my heart in tune for prayer. It is the link that
connects earth with heaven."
- "Lord make me as holy as a
pardoned sinner can be."
- "Just so take Christ away,
and the whole arch of truth becomes a heap of rubbish. The very same
truths may be there; but they are all fallen without coherence, without
order, without end."
- "Oh how sweet to work for
God all day, and then lie down at night beneath His smile."
- "The greatest need of my
people is my personal holiness."
- "Unfathomable oceans of
grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again, you will never come
to the bottom of these depths. How many millions of dazzling pearls and
gems are at this moment hid in the deep recesses of he ocean caves."
- "Take heed to thyself. Your
own soul is your first and greatest care. You know a sound body alone
can work with power; much more a healthy soul. Keep a clear conscience
through the blood of the Lamb. Keep up close communion with God. Study
likeness to Him in all things. Read the Bible for your own growth
first, then for your people. Expound much; it is through the truth that
souls are to be sanctified, not through essays upon the truth. Be easy
of access, apt to teach, and the Lord teach you and bless you in all
you do and say. You will not find many companions. Be the more with
God. My dear people are anxiously waiting for you. The prayerful are
praying for you. Be of good courage; there remaineth much of the land
to be possessed. Be not dismayed, for Christ shall be with thee to
deliver thee. Study Isa vi, and Jer i, and the sending of Moses, and Ps
li 12, 13, and John xv 26, 27 and the connection in Luke 1. 15,16. . .
. . " [letter
dated March 22, 1839, to Rev W.C. Burns]
- "A man who loves you the
most is the man who tells you the most truth about yourself."
- "Our soul should be a mirror
of Christ; we should reflect every feature: for every grace in Christ
there should be a counterpart in us." [Letter:
26 February 1840]
- "Every wise workman takes
his tools away from the work from time to time that they may be ground
and sharpened; so does the only-wise Jehovah take his ministers
oftentimes away into darkness and loneliness and trouble, that he may
sharpen and prepare them for harder work in his service."
- "You will be incomplete
Christians if you do not look for the coming again of the Lord Jesus"
- " 'If I knew I were one of
God's elect, I would come to Christ; but I fear I am not.' To
you I answer: nobody ever came to Christ because he knew himself to be
one of the elect. It is quite true that God has of His mere good
pleasure elected some to everlasting life, but they never knew it until
they believed in Christ. Christ nowhere commands the elect to come to
him. He commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel.
The question for you is not, 'Am I one of the elect?' but 'Am I a
sinner?' Christ came to save sinners."
- "I know well that when
Christ is nearest, Satan also is busiest."
- "One gem from that ocean is
worth all the pebbles from earthly streams." [speaking
of the Scriptures]
- "Joy is increased by
spreading it to others."
- "It is not the tempest, nor
the earthquake, nor the fire, but the still small voice of the Spirit
that carries on the glorious work of saving souls."
- "You will never find Jesus
so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness. Then he
is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation, a rock rising
above the storm." [Letter:
9 March 1843]
- "I am tempted to think that
I am now an established Christian,—that I have overcome this
or that lust so long,—that I have got into the habit of the
opposite grace,—so that there is no fear; I may venture very
near the temptation—nearer than other men. This is a lie of
Satan. One might as well speak of gunpowder getting by habit of
resisting fire, so as not to catch spark. As long as powder is wet, it
resists the spark; but when it becomes dry, it is ready to explode at
the first touch. As long as the Spirit dwells in my heart, He deadens
me to sin, so that, if lawfully called through temptation, I may reckon
upon God carrying me through. But when the Spirit leaves me, I am like
dry gunpowder. Oh for a sense of this!"
- "Even in the wildest storms
the sky is not all dark; and so in the darkest dealings of God with His
children, there are always some bright tokens for good." [Letter:
6 February 1839]
- "O for true unfeigned
humility," cried M'Cheyne. "I do not know half of my pride." So
M'Cheyne commented of one particular Sunday—"a day of much
danger from flattery and pride."
- "Set NOT your hearts on the flowers of this world. They shall fade and die. Prize the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. He changes not! Live nearer to Christ than to any person on this earth; so that when they are taken, you may have Him to love and lean upon."