Robert Murray McCheyne (pronounced Mac-shane) was a prodigious child, raised by godly and devout parents. Little Robert studied several languages from a very early age. At 4 years of age he could recite the Greek Alphabet and by 8, he was admitted to High School from which he graduated at age 14, and then entered the University of Edinburgh, where he was an award-winning poet. When he was 18, his dearly beloved and eldest brother died suddenly and through this tragedy Robert was driven for consolation to the Word of God. At age 22, he was a licenced Church of Scotland (CoS) preacher and assistant preacher to a congregation of over 1,100 people. But it was not McCheyne’s intelligence which found him placed so. Chief among all McCheyne’s characteristics was his devotion to studying God’s Word and his prayerfulness. Though a top Hebrew scholar, he did not leave behind him many written works as he gave his life to bringing the word of God to hearers both in Dundee, Scotland, where he was based, and in England where he was a guest preacher.
In 1839, McCheyne, was sent along with other CoS ministers, on a fact finding mission to Palestine. The mission was to report back to the CoS on the state of the Jews in Palestine—such was the CoS’ concern even then for the Jewish people. The trip to a warmer climate benefitted the poorly McCheyene, but upon his return he threw himself selflessly in to caring for the flock and preaching for which he suffered much physically and after preaching in London, in 1843, 29 yr. old McCheyne fell ill, and died very suddenly, tragically before he had married his fiancée, Jessie Thain, who herself, then died heartbroken.