To one who had met with a bereavement. Sorrow of the world—Incidents
March 8, 1843
My Dear ------,
-----I know you will be wearying to hear from me; but it has scarcely been in my power till now, I have had so many things to do since my return. I trust Jesus is making known to you His power to calm the soul in the deepest trials. “Where is your faith?” He said to the disciples; and He says to you: “All things are possible to him that believeth.”
I was much afflicted for your sakes to read the solemn letter you sent me. Do you remember the words, “He must needs go through Samaria?” We are getting new light upon their meaning.
I was reading to-day about godly sorrow, and the sorrow of the world. Do you know the difference between these two?
Had this blow come upon you in your unconverted state, it would have wrought, perhaps, only the sorrow of the world, ----- carnal sorrow, ----- sorrow that drives us away from God, ----- makes us murmur and complain of His dealings. Like Pharaoh, who turned harder every blow that God struck, ----- even the loss of his first-born only hardened him. But godly sorrow, or, more literally, “sorrow towards God,” ----- grief that brings us to the feet of God, ----- worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of. It is used as an instrument to bring the humbled soul to cleave to Jesus. Oh may it be so with you! Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and He shall exalt you in due season. Improve the season while it lasts. The farmer improves the seed-time, to cast in the seed into the furrows. Now, when God has made long the furrow by the plough of affliction in your heart, oh, see that you let the sower sow the good seed deep in your hearts. I trust H. B----- may be made a great blessing and comfort to you next Sabbath. May you all be enabled to meet with Jesus at His own table, and to tell Him all your sorrows there, and ask grace to keep you in the evil day.
I would like well to be with you; but in body this may not be. In heart I am often with you, because I can say what I was reading to-day: “Ye are in my heart to live and to die with you” (2 Cor 7:3).
I preached twenty-seven times when I was away, in twenty-four different places. I was very, very tired, and my heart has beat too much ever since, but I am wonderfully well. I have “fightings without the fears within” just now. Do pray earnestly for me, ----- as indeed I know you do. I wish you had been with me last night. When I was away, the people agreed to meet twice a week in the lower schoolroom to pray for me; and now that I have come back, we have continued the meetings. The school is quite crammed. Such sweet loud singing of praise I never heard, and many tears.
I stood by a poor socialist in the agonies of death to-day. He was quite well yesterday. He anxiously wished me to come and pray. Oh to be ready when the Bridegroom comes!
Farewell. Peace from above fill your soul, your friend and brother prays, etc.
[M’Cheyne, Robert Murray Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne Ed. Andrew Bonar (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 329-30.]