Mccheyne, Robert Murray

Mccheyne, Robert Murray a celebrated Scotch preacher and evangelist, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, May 21, 1813. At five years of age he was quite proficient in English. When eight years old he entered the high-school, where for six years he maintained high rank in his classes. In November, 1827, he entered Edinburgh University, and during his college course gained prizes in various departments of study. He studied modern languages privately; was proficient in gymnastic exercises, and in music and drawing. This last acquisition was advantageous to him afterwards in sketching scenes in the Holy Land. The death of his eldest brother, David, led to his conversion, or was the beginning of the great change in his life, and brought him to study for the ministry. In 1831 he entered upon his studies in theology and Church history in Divinity Hall, under Dr. Chalmers and Dr. Welsh. In 1835 he removed to the Presbytery of Annan, and was licensed to preach July 1. November 7 he began his labors at Larbert, a parish containing six thousand people, to whom he was a devoted pastor. He was also an intense student of the Bible, reading it in both the Hebrew and the Greek. In 1836 he was called to St. Peter's Church, Dundee, and was ordained there Nov. 24. This charge was large, and his labors were so constant that his health failed, and he was obliged to retire for a season of rest. During this vacation he went, with three other ministers, to Palestine, on a "mission of inquiry to the Jews." His health improved by his travels, and on his return he resumed his work at St. Peter's, where he remained until 1842, when his health again failed. He now undertook a preaching tour, with other ministers, through the north of England, preaching in the open air and in churches of different denominations. Returning from England, he was obliged by failing health to have an assistant in his labors at Dundee. In February, 1843, he went on his last tour as an evangelist; on his return from which he was attacked by a fever, and died March 25. 1843. His death was a loss not to his own congregation or denomination only, but to the whole Christian world. Mr. McCheyne was one of the most beautiful examples of the true Gospel minister. Whether among his own congregation, or in Palestine, or traveling as an evangelist, he was always preaching by his words and holy life. He was pre-eminent as a preacher, as a pastor, and as a Christian. and did a great work not merely by the great number of conversions which took place directly or indirectly through his instrumentality, but by the zealous spirit which he infused into every department of Christian work. He had also fine talents for literary and scholastic pursuits. He wrote a number of pieces showing a taste for poetry, one of which — Greece, but living Greece no more — was written at the age of fourteen. His letters from Palestine, his lectures, sermons, and letters, show an ability for composition rarely surpassed; but he consecrated all his talents and powers to the service of Christ, and lived only for the salvation of men. His name will long be fragrant in the Church as a model preacher of the Gospel. See Life and Remains of Letters, Lectures, and Poems of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, by Rev. Andrew A. Bonar (New York, 1857). (H. A. B.)

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