Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don't Waste Your Bereavement (Robert Murray M'Cheyne)

Another to one bereaved. Betake yourself to Him that is ever the same.

March 9, 1843

My Dear -----,

----- I did not think I would have been so long in answering you in your time of sorrow, but I have been more than occupied. I earnestly trust that this sad bereavement may be greatly blessed by God to you. Pray that you may not lose this precious opportunity to giving your hand and heart for ever away to the Lord Jesus. May Hosea 2:14 be fulfilled in you all: “Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her;” and that clear promise: “I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant” (Ezek 20:35-37). This solemn event shows you what I always used to tell you, how short your life is, ----- what a vapour, ----- how soon the joys that depend on the creatures may be dried up; that “one thin is needful,” and that Mary was wise in choosing the good part that cannot be taken away from her. You remember the first night you were in St. Peter’s I showed you this preaching from Psalm 41:6: “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, and I have a goodly heritage.” I am indeed more than ever anxious about you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain. It is the furnace that tries the metal, and it is affliction that tries the soul whether it be Christ’s or not. I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, lest the furnace should show you to be reprobate silver. Do let me hear how your soul truly is, ----- whether you can see the hand of a Father in this bereavement, ----- and whether you are more than ever determined, through grace, to be the Lord’s. How sweet that Jesus ever liveth! He is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. 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. The Bible, too, is more full of meaning. Have you ever prayed over that verse: “He doth not afflict willingly” ? (Lam 3:33). Oh, precious book, that conveys such a message to the mourner’s dwelling! And does not trial bring more meaning out of that verse: “We know that all things work together for the good of them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose?” (Rom 8:28). The Bible is like the leaves of the lemon-tree – the more you bruise and wring them, the sweeter the fragrance they throw around. “Is any afflicted? let him pray.” Do you not find that prayer is sweeter now? The soul finds vent for its feelings toward God. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” When I had my fever abroad, Mr. Bonar whispered that verse into my ear. I had nearly lost all my faculties, ----- I could remember nothing except that I was far from home; but that verse kept sounding in my ears when I was nearly insensible: “I called, and He delivered me.”

Are you preparing to go to the Lord’s table next Lord’s day? May you indeed have the wedding garment, -----righteousness without works, ----- and see the King in His beauty, ----- and give yourself away to Him, saying, “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine!” It should be a solemn sacrament to you. I can add no more. Write me soon, dear G-----, and tell me all that is in your heart, and whether the voice of the Comforter does not say, Be still! when death has left so deep a silence in your family. ----- Believe me ever your friend in Jesus, etc.

[M’Cheyne, Robert Murray Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne Ed. Andrew Bonar (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 331-2.]

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