All the original manuscripts of M'Cheyne's sermons and other articles are kept at the library of New College in Edinburgh.
Academic research theses
Founded in 1843 as the Library of the Free Church College, New College Library serves as the Faculty of Divinity Library. It is one of the largest theology libraries in the UK, and its 242,500 printed and microform items and 70,300 manuscripts support the teaching and research of the Faculty and other members of the University.
There have been two research theses written on M'Cheyne.
- "Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843): A Study of an early Nineteenth Century Scottish Evangelical".
David V. Yeaworth wrote this
in 1957 as his PhD thesis for the University of Edinburgh.
It is the only major assessment of the life of
M'Cheyne. Yeaworth made extensive use of the primary sources which
include 300 letters, 400 MS sermons and some 16 notebooks and
|Name of Candidate||David Victor Yeaworth|
|Degree||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Title of Thesis||Robert
Murray McCheyne (1813-1843):
A Study of an early Nineteenth Century Scottish Evangelical
The purpose of this thesis is to show how Robert Murray McCheyne exemplified the Evangelical ministry of the Church of Scotland during the time just prior to the Disruption of 1843. Whereas the prevailing notion about McCheyne has centered largely around his devotional and spiritual activities, the many other virtually overlooked aspects of his character and ministry are also considered here. Because of his short life (he died at the age of twenty-nine), and an abundance of his personal manuscript writings, it was possible to be specific and detailed about these phases of his life, which witnessed the Evangelical ascendancy, the "Ten Years' Conflict," the rise of missionary activity, and the Disruption.
Chapter One attempts to lay the foundation for the remainder of the thesis by describing McCheyne's well-integrated and popular boyhood. From his professional-class background and extremely happy youth, however, he was to emerge as one of unusual zeal in and devotion to the cause of Jesus Christ. The background of this change and the initial effects of it are described in Chapter Two, which includes his conversion, ministerial training and probation. At this time he was inspired by the great leaders of the Church to dedicate himself to the work of an evangelical ministry.
The driving force of McCheyne's whole life, and therefore his ministry, was his personal devotional life, as is seen in Chapter Three. His hunger for divine and Christian fellowship was almost insatiable, and many of his spiritual insights and assiduous procedures are drawn from his writings. With this chapter a chronological order is given over to a topical arrangement, since the succeeding sections all deal with McCheyne's seven-year ministry at St. Peter's, Dundee.
Chapters Four and Five relate to McCheyne's work as a pastor and preacher, in both of which activities he was regarded to have been singularly successful - ministering to a throbbing industrial parish of more than three thousand souls and preaching weekly to eleven hundred hearers. Here, his methods and the content of his pastoral and pulpit ministry are considered, with illustrations drawn from his writings as well as those of his close friends and contemporaries.
In Chapters Six and Seven, McCheyne's activities in the inauguration of the Church of Scotland's Mission to the Jews and in the Awakening of 1839 are detailed. These movements not only typified the rise of the Evangelical mood in Scotland, but were also instrumental in preparing the way among the people for the Disruption and the Free Church. Chapter Eight is devoted to McCheyne's active participation in the controversial and the ecclesiastical affairs which faced the Church during the "Ten Years' Conflict."
At the conclusion of this study, it was seen that McCheyne was not only typical of Scottish Evangelicals, but was rather a leader in a way unusual for one so young. He had won the respect of Evangelical and non-intrusion leaders, and was frequently in the vanguard of those who were attacked by Moderates and intrusionists. An attempt was made to place McCheyne in history, describing the part he played in the affairs of his time, and the influence exerted upon his own life by his teachers, friends, and opponents. Against this background, his evangelical zeal and thought were seen to have differed not in kind, although perhaps in degree of intensity, from that of his associates. The Free Church (of which he would surely have been a prominent leader) was the continuation of that kind of ministry which he and his friends had demonstrated.
Tabulations of McCheyne's
extant sermons and letters are included in the Appendix and
for further details. There is a copy in the New College Library.
- "Approaches to the spiritual problem of young people as found in a study of the life and works of Robert Murray McCheyne".
Virginia Robinson Cheney wrote this in 1954, as her Master of Religious Education (M.R.E.) thesis for the Biblical Seminary in New York
Recorded talks about M'Cheyne
In November 1842, R. M. M'Cheyne was preaching at a communion in the Scot's Church, Regent Square, London and met up with a group of men from English non-conformist churches. They set up the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews. The first minute records the presence of M'Cheyne, that he opened the meeting in prayer and that one of the aims of the society was to work in fellowship with the Jewish mission of the Church of Scotland. As far as we know there is no reference to this meeting in any extant published correspondence of M'Cheyne, certainly not in the Memoir and Remains, which mention only his assisting Mr Hamilton at the Regent Square communion. The above Ph.D thesis on M'Cheyne contains no reference to the meeting or the society. I have not yet researched the M'Cheyne papers in New College, Edinburgh. As he died the following March, we shall never know if he intended to maintain his link with the BJS.
Source: E-mail received 1998-06-29 from John Ross of Christian Witness to Israel, personal correspondence copied with minor alterations.
A quote by M'Cheyne is included in a compilation entitled "What The Great Christian Thinkers Thought About The Jewish People".
There are quotes from C. H. Spurgeon, John Owen, Cotton Matter, John Pinkney, John Calvin, Walter Tait, R. M. M'Cheyne, John Murray, John "Rabbi" Duncan, Increase Mather, Richard Cameron, Thomas Goodwin, Jonathan Edwards, John Braidwood, Charles Hodge, Matthew Henry, Charles Simeon, Elnathan Parr, Samuel Rutherford, Thomas Boston and James Robe. It appears on the web-site of the Messianic Hebrew-Christian Fellowship in Central Pennsylvania.
"The significance of Robert Murray M'Cheyne" by Richard Chester. Reference: 78CFC12. This was an address given at the 1978 Carey Family Conference. The content is very good, though the recording quality was poor in this instance.
These two recordings are available from Carey Conference Cassettes, Caring For Life Limited, Crag House Farm, Smithy Lane, Cookridge, Leeds, LS16 7NH. Tel. +44 (0)113) 261 2131. Fax. +44 (0)113 230 0415.
"McCheyne, McGonagall and the West End of Dundee (June 2010)" David Robertson takes a look at the influence of Christianity in general and St Peter's in particular on the West End of Dundee. The The audio recording of this talk is now available online here
Sermons about McCheyne at SermonAudio.com
"The Life of Robert Murray M'Cheyne" by the late Rev Innes MacRae. This address was given at a meeting of The Scottish Reformation Society (Inverness Branch) held on Monday 26th October, 1998. Highly recommended. The speaker was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland in Tain - his funeral took place in Dingwall during March 2000. This cassette (reference SRS 111) is available from The Scottish Reformation Society, The Magdalen Chapel, 41 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JR
"The Life of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843)" by Pastor David Martin (Kirriemuir Free Baptist Church). This address was given at a meeting of The Scottish Reformation Society (Aberdeen Branch) held on Friday 27th April, 2001. This cassette (reference 00/01-05) may be ordered from the branch chairman: Mr A. Horne, Bromstone, Auquorthies Road, Stonehaven, AB39 3QB. Cost is £1.50 (incl. p&p).
"Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843)" by David F. Haslam. This lecture was given at the meeting of the Summer School at St Mary's Church, Cheadle, Cheshire, UK held on Wednesday 13th August, 2003. An audio recording was made, copies of which may be obtained by writing to St Mary's Tape Library. For contact details, please visit the web-site for Cheadle Parish Church. The full paper in PDF format can be downloaded here
At the time of looking, there were four sermons based on Robert Murray McCheyne at the SermonAudio.com web-site.
Two of the preachers are Reformed Baptist and two are Free Presbyterian.
- McCheyne on the Lord's Day by Jim Savastio
- Robert Murray McCheyne - Saintly Pastor of Dundee by Rev Stephen Hamilton
- Robert Murray McCheyne by Rev Thomas Martin
- Grace to the Wretched Outcast by Ron Shinkle
The following item was transcribed from The Christian Treasury 1856.
A short sermon based on Malachi 1:6, "If I be a father, where is mine honour ?"
The following two items are transcribed from penny tracts of the same titles (Edinburgh, c.1854). It seems likely that M'Cheyne wrote these tracts after reading Samuel Wilberforce's Journal and Letters of the Rev. Henry Martyn, London : R. B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1839. My acknowledgements to Michael D McMullen for his assistance in scanning these items. The original spellings of proper nouns are retained in these transcripts.
Being an account of Shekh Salih, a former Muslim in India, who became a follower of Jesus Christ through spending time with Henry Martyn in Kanpur. Martyn refused to baptize him, and left him in the care of the Rev. David Brown, one of the chaplains of the British East India Company. After five months' delay, being thoroughly satisfied of the conversion of Shekh Salih, Brown baptized him on Whit Sunday 1811, giving him the name of Abdool Messee — “Servant of Christ.” The conversion of so true and well born a Muslim as Abdool created an universal sensation.
Being an account of two former Muslims in Asia, one of whom (Abdallah) was martyred as a Christian in Bukhara, and the other (Sabat) who had betrayed him, subsequently professed Christ in India after coming into contact with Christian missionaries, but who (as it seemed at the time) finally apostasized from being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Though most of the tract focuses on the career of Sabat, it starts with a remarkable description of how his friend Abdallah became a Christian in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, through reading a copy of the Bible.