Unconverted friends, what dead hearts you must have; all the preaching in the world cannot put life into them. What hard hearts yours must be; the heaviest hammer we can lift cannot break them. We speak the weightiest arguments into your ear, yet all will not move you. We must lift up our voice, and prophesy to the Spirit; we must bring down the Almighty Spirit before we can touch your heart. We try to convince you of sin; we show you how you have broken the law, and that “cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them;” that you must be under that curse, that you will not be able to bear that curse, that it crushed a Saviour to the earth, and will crush you to the lowest hell. You are somewhat impressed, and we hope that your heart is touched; but your impressions are like impressions on the sand when the tide is out, and the very next tide of the world effaces all. We try to convince you of righteousness. We tell you of the love of the Saviour, how it passeth knowledge; how there was an ocean of love in that bosom, which no line could fathom—love to lost sinners like you; how he served in the stead of sinners, obeying the law for us; how he suffered in the stead of sinners, bearing the curse for us. We tell you to believe in him, and be saved; you are melted, and the tear stands on your cheek; but, ah! it is like “the morning cloud and early dew—it quickly passes away.”
Ah! brethren, what hard, iron hearts you must have, when all that man can do will not melt them. Your hearts are too hard for us; and we have to, go back weeping to our Lord, saying: “Who hath believed our report?” In all other things we could persuade you by arguments. If your bodies were sick, we could persuade you to send for the physician; if your estate were entangled, we could persuade you to be diligent for your family—oh! how readily you would obey us; but when we demonstrate that you are the heirs, soul and body, of an eternal hell, you will not awake for it all. Even if we could show you the Lord Jesus Christ himself—the bleeding, beseeching Saviour—your wicked hearts would not cleave to him. You need Him that made your hearts, to break and bend your hearts. Will you not, each of you. go away, then, beating on the breast, and saying: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner?”
Robert Murray McCheyne, The Works of the Late Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, Vol. 2 (New York: Robert Carter, 1847), 380.