One of the best biographical works in Christian literature is Andrew Bonar’s work, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. Bonar’s work is a wonderful biography and sampling of God-filled sermons and poetry. Here is an excerpt that describes M’Cheyne’s preaching. It’s an example that would serve us well today.
‘anxious to give them on the Sabbath what had cost him somewhat, he never, without an urgent reason, went before them without much previous meditation and
‘in truth, he never preached without careful attention bestowed on his subject . . . He spoke from the pulpit as one earnestly occupied with the souls before him. He made them feel sympathy with what he spoke, for his own eye and heart were on them’.
‘And in the same spirit he carefully avoided the too common mode of accomodating texts,- fastening a doctrine on the words, not drawing it from the obvious connection of the passage. He endeavoured at all times to preach the mind of the Spirit in a passage; for he feared that to do otherwise would be to grieve the Spirit who had written it. Interpretation was thus a solemn matter to him’
‘His manner was first to ascertain the primary sense and application, and so proceed to handle it for present use’.
‘His exhortations flowed from his doctrine, and thus had both variety and power. He was systematic in this; for he observed: “Appeals to the careless, etc., come with power on the back of some massy truth”‘