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McCheyne's Dundee (McLennan)

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Reformation Heritage Books
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In the mid-nineteenth century, Dundee was gradually establishing itself as Scotland’s third-largest city, with a rapidly expanding economy. What most attracted observers’ attention, however, was the religious revival that began in the Fall of 1839 under the leadership of two relatively young and inexperienced ministers, Robert Murray McCheyne (1813–1843) and William Chalmers Burns (1815–1868).

In McCheyne’s Dundee, historian Bruce McLennan ably traces the story of revival in this industrial Scottish seaport. After looking at the social and economic conditions of the city, as well as the significant religious issues of the day, he then considers McCheyne and Burns—their backgrounds, their brief ministries in Dundee, and their impact as God’s instruments of great spiritual blessing to the people of that city. McLennan concludes with an analysis of the reactions to the revival—both approbation and opposition— and the awakening’s long-term effects, which could still be seen a generation later.

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Table of Contents:

1. Dundee in the 1830s and 1840s

2. Two Background Religious Issues of the Times

3. Breaking Up the Fallow Ground: McCheyne’s Early Years in Dundee, Preparing for Revival

4. “That Memorable Field”: Burns’s Seven Months in Dundee

5. McCheyne’s Last Years in Dundee: Continuing Evidence of Revival

6. McCheyne and the Lambs

7. Responses to the Revival: Opposition and Approbation

8. Aftermath



Bruce McLennan has spent his career teaching history. His original specialty was Scottish Reformation studies, moving in more recent years to the nineteenth century. Previous publications have included Mary Slessor: A Life on the Altar for God.



“Robert Murray McCheyne was one of the most celebrated ministers of the Church of Scotland during the nineteenth century, not because of a long ministry (he died young) but because of his dedicated spirituality. As minister of St Peter’s Church, Dundee (1836–1843), he raised the religious expectations of his flock, and during his absence on a visit to Palestine his congregation broke out in revival under the ministry of McCheyne’s friend W. C. Burns. Here is a carefully researched account that places the event in its setting and gives due weight to the testimony of the revival converts.”- David BebbingtonProfessor of History, University of Stirling

“Dr. McLennan’s use of manuscript and primary sources in this volume is impressive, but do not be misled—this is no dull history. This fresh analysis of the ministries of McCheyne and Burns is a timely reminder of what real revival consists of and how these young men selflessly gave their all to reach the lost, the poor, the sick, the dying, and especially the young, that God alone would be glorified. Expect to be convicted and challenged afresh, as one is reminded of the centrality of holiness and prayer in seeing another move of God, something so desperately needed in our generation.” - Michael D. McMullenProfessor of Church History, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary