The book with the above title was first written in 1970 by Marcus L. Loane and now it has been reprinted by the Banner of Truth.
‘I often pray, Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be made.’ These words of Robert Murray M’Cheyne really summarise the lives of the four pilgrims which Marcus Loane beautifully chronicles in this captivating book. With thoroughly researched details and a wonderful storytelling skill, the author takes the reader to the Red Indian settlements with David Brainerd, Asia with Henry Martin, St Peter’s Church, Dundee, with M’Cheyne and to Aden with Ion Keith-Falconer.
These great men did not live at the same time and they only averaged a lifespan of thirty years; yet they had many things in common. All of them were raised up by God to be His man in that hour, all of them were willing to lay their lives on the altar for God and all of them realised the brevity of this life and the longevity of eternity.
Loane frequently draws out how M’Cheyne was influenced by Martin who in turn was much inspired by Brainerd. Each man appears on the face of it to be ministering to a different generation, experiencing dissimilar trials and witnessing in diverse theatres and it would be possible to feel that the book is four works in one. Yet there is a covert continuity in both style and substance so that by the end of the book the reader will be able to look back and see the connections, which Loane tries to develop throughout.
The experiences of these pilgrims range from the breathtaking to the tragic. The plight of Henry Martin’s difficult romance, which he surrendered for the cause of the gospel, will touch the hardest of hearts. The sacrifices of Brainerd shock and amaze while the holiness of M’Cheyne and the charity of Keith-Falconer will leave an indelible mark upon every reader. Loane traces their physical journeys through this life, but by exploring their memoirs and diaries he also uncovers their walk with God, demonstrating the sincerity of their beliefs and their overwhelming burden for the souls of the lost.
I strongly recommend the testimonies of these four great men which live on in this book, speaking to a new generation, bringing with it an intrinsic challenge for today that should stir up God’s people to realise that they have one life to live and it will soon be passed and only what’s done for Jesus will last.
Reprinted with permission from the British Church Newspaper, 15th September 2006.
They Were Pilgrims (ISBN 085151 9288) retails for $20.00 (US), £15.00 (UK and ROW) and can be purchased from the Banner of Truth book catalogue