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Rutherford and McCheyne (McLennan) Bundle

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Samuel Rutherford (ca.1600–1661) was an accomplished man—university scholar, defender of the Reformed faith, prolific author, astute political theorist, formidable defender of Presbyterian church government, Scottish commissioner at the Westminster Assembly from 1643 to 1647. However, Bruce McLennan introduces us to the life and times of Rutherford with a particular view to his pastoral labors. While Rutherford was highly regarded by contemporaries for his contribution to various aspects of Scottish church life, Rutherford made it abundantly clear that his first love, and that to which he believed he was clearly called, was preaching the gospel and shepherding the Lord’s people.


Table of Contents:


1. Church and Crown in conflict in the late 16th and early 17th century
2. Two somewhat contrasting parts of Scotland in the early 17th century
3. A brief survey of the life of Samuel Rutherford
4. The growth of a soul: the “banished minister” in Aberdeen


5. Key Emphases in Rutherford’s Writings
6. Pastoral Advice to his Flock at Anwoth
7. Reasoning with souls – making salvation sure
8. Pressing the need for Sanctification and Mortification
9. Counselling some who had doubts about their standing with God
10. Rutherford’s Pastoral Concern for children and youth
11. Counsel to the bereaved
12. Counselling the dying
13. Conclusion

Appendix 1: The source of early Protestant teachings in Aberdeen

Appendix 2: How the Reformers coped with the shortage of ministers in the early years




Bruce McLennan holds degrees from Edinburgh University, the University of Guelph, Ontario, the University of Aberdeen and Dundee University. As a church history, Bruce’s interests range from the Scottish Reformation to Scottish missionary’s of the nineteenth century. He is the author of McCheyne’s DundeeMary Slessor: A Life on the Altar for God, and Pioneering the Beloved Strip 1881–1931.



“Rutherford’s primarily calling and concern was that of a pastor. He excelled in speaking to people of all ages and social backgrounds about their souls. His letters and sermons are not only a rich devotional treasury but also a model for pastoral engagement. In this practical and accessible volume Bruce Maclennan shows us the value of Rutherford’s method in counseling those with all kinds of spiritual and natural troubles.” —Matthew Vogan




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 Bebbington, Professor 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. McMullen, Professor of Church History, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary