Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Rutherford Revised (175)

175. To John Laurie    From Aberdeen 10 Jun 1637

Dear brother, - I am sorry that you or so many in this kingdom expect so much of me an empty stem. I am truly a worthless and poor body; but if the clashing of the iron chains of my Lord Jesus, on legs and arms could sound the high praises of my royal King, whose prisoner I am, oh how my joy would overflow!  If the Lord would strengthen one soul by my chains, I would be satisfied. But I do not know what I can do for such a princely and beautiful Well-beloved; he has so fully paid me. Little thanks to me, to tell others that His wind blows on me who am only withered and dry bones; but since you want me to write to you, either help me to set Christ on high for His overflowing love, in that the heat of His sweet breath has melted a frozen heart; or I think you do nothing for a prisoner.
   I am fully persuaded that I now suffer for the honour of our Lawgiver. I am not ashamed to give our letters of recommendation of Christ's love to as many as will praise the Lord Jesus and his cross. If I had not started this sea voyage to heaven, but had taken the land route as many do, I should not have known such a measure of Christ's sweetness. But the truth is no-one should thank me, for I did not make Christ's wind blow on me. His love came on a withered creature whether I would want it or not; and yet when it came I welcomed it. A heart of iron or iron doors will not keep out Christ. I give Him permission break iron locks and enter, and that is all I do. And now I do not know whether pain from love for want of possession, or sorrow that I am not able to thank Him, pains me the most; but both work on me. For the first: oh that he would come and satisfy the longing soul; and fill the hungry soul with these good things! I do indeed know that my guiltiness may bar His way; but He is God and ready to forgive. And for the other: woe ,woe is me, that I cannot find a heart to repay again my unworthy little love for His great sea full of love to me! Oh that He would teach me this piece of gratitude! Oh that I could have permission to look in through the hole in the door, to see His face and sing His praises, or could break one of his room's windows, to look in on His delighting beauty, until my Lord sends more! Heaven would be begun if I had any little communion with Him, one of His love looks. I know he is not like a lord, nor is the Bridegroom's love proud though I am black, not lovely and unworthy of Him. I advise you to think highly of Christ, and of free, free grace more than you did before; for I know Christ is not known among us. I think I see more of Christ than ever before; and yet I see little of what may be seen. Oh that He would open the curtains, and that the King would come out of His gallery and His palace, that I might see Him! Christ's love is young glory and young heaven; it would soften hell's pain to be filled with it. I would suffer anything to get a swallow of love as my heart desires! Oh, what price can be given for Him. Oh, His weight, His worth, His sweetness, His exceeding beauty! If men and angels would come and look at that great Princely one, their shallows could never take up His depth, their narrowness could never encompass His breadth, height and length. If ten thousand thousand worlds of angels were created, they might all tire themselves wondering at His beauty, and begin again to wonder at new beauty. On that I could get near to him to kiss His feet, the hear His voice and feel the smell of His perfume.! But oh alas I have little, little of Him. Yet I long for more.
   Remember my chains and help me with your prayers; for I would not barter or exchange my sad hours with the joy of my velvet enemies. Grace be with you.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Rutherford Revised (174)

174. To my Lord Craighall   From Aberdeen 8 Jun 1637

(See letter 86)

My Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I am not only content, but I rejoice greatly, that  find any of the rulers of this land, and especially your Lordship, so hold on to Christ and His truth, so you dare, for His name, to say yes and no to monarchs in their face. I hope that He who has enabled you to do that, will give you more if you show yourself courageous, and (and as His word says), 'a man in the streets,'(Jer 5:1). But I ask that your Lordship allows me to be frank with you, as one who loves both your honour and your soul. I truly believe there was never idolatry at Rome, never idolatry condemned in God's word by the prophets, if religious kneeling before a consecrated creature, standing in the place of Christ in that very act and for the reverence of the elements (as our Act clearly says) is not idolatry. Neither will it help to say your intention is not of the essence of worship; for then, Aaron saying, 'tomorrow will be a feast for Jehovah.' that is for the golden calf, should not have been guilty of idolatry; for he only intended to lessen the lash of the people's fury and not to honour the calf. Your intention. to honour Christ is nothing seeing that by God's institution, religious kneeling means religious and divine adoration. Your intentions are dead and sleeping if you kneel before the sacrament. My Lord, I cannot in my place dispute; but if Cambridge and Oxford and the educated of Britain, will answer this argument and the argument from avoiding scandal which your Lordship seems to rely on, then I will turn myself into a ritualist, and call myself a fool (by doing what I have done) in my suffering for this truth; or give me the reputation of a hypocrite as well as a donkey. I hope you will understand something on that subject (if the Lord permits), that no cleverness in Britain will answer. Courtiers' arguments are for the most part from their own prejudice and not worth a straw to inform your conscience. When you stand before Christ's tribunal, the word of a Marquis or a King will be lighter than the wind. The Lord knows that I love your true honour, and the reputation of your family; but I would not want your honour or family to be built on sand and hay and stubble. 

   But let me, my very dear and worthy Lord, most humbly beg you by the mercies of God, by the comforts of His Spirit, by the dear blood and wounds of your lovely Redeemer, by the salvation of your soul, by your appearance before the awful face of a sin revenging and dreadful Judge, not to compare your soul's peace, with Christ's love and His kingly honour which is now questioned, with your place, honour , family or ease which an inch of time will remove. I truly believe that Christ is now begging a witness from you, and is saying, 'Will you also leave me?' It is possible that the wind will not blow so favourably for you all your life, for coming out and appearing before others to support and promote Christ, the fairest among the sons of men, the Prince of the kings of the earth.  'Fear not the reproach of man,nor be dismayed at their reviling.For the moth will eat them up like a garmentand the worm will eat them like wool,(Is 51:7,8). When the Lord begins, He will finish and cut down His enemies and they will lie before Him like withered hay, and they will lose their bloom. Think how many thousands in this kingdom you will cause to fall and stumble if you go with them; and you will lose the prayers of many who now stand before the Lord for you and your family. And more; when the time comes to render your accounts, and you have one foot in the edge of eternity, and the eyes close, and the face goes pale, and the the poor soul looks of of the windows of the house of clay, longing to be out, and you find yourself appearing before the Judge of the living and the dead to answer concerning your joining with the rest against Christ, for capsizing His ark, and the loosening of the tent pegs of Christ's tabernacle in this land, and will certainly see you stuck in a path of apostasy - then, then a king's favour and your worm eaten honour will be miserable comforters for you! The Lord has enlightened you to know his will; and as the Lord lives, they lead you and others to communion with great Babel, the mother of fornications. God said before, and continues to say the same to you, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her plagues.' Will you then go with them, and put your lip to the prostitute's golden cup, and drink of the wine of the wrath go God Almighty with them? Oh, poor hungry honour! Oh cursed pleasure and oh, damnable ease, bought with the loss of God! How many will pray for you! What a sweet presence of Christ you will find in your sufferings, if you will lay down your honours at the feet of Christ. What a fair recompense of reward! I affirm before the Lord, that I am now showing you a way for the Craighall family to stand on sure pillars. If you set it on rotten pillars you will crueley wrong your posterity. You have the promise of a King for a hundred fold more in this life (if it is good for you), and for everlasting life too. Do not make Christ a liar by not trusting His promises. Kings of clay cannot support you when you stand before Him. They and their hungry heaven are not worth a straw for they are on this side of time. The day long smile of a worm is worthless. Think about those who have gone before you to eternity, and would have given a world for a new opportunity to hold that truth. It is true that say it is of no importance, and those at ease despise us for suffering for it. But morning time is too early to reckon our losses; stay until evening and we will count up with the best of them. 
   Since I was imprisoned, I have found by experience (my witness is above), Christ is confirming this honourable cause with another and a nearer fellowship than I ever knew before; an may God weigh me in the scales in this, if I would exchange the cross of Christ or his truth, with the fourteen bishops, of whatever else a King can give. My dear Lord, risk to take the wind in your face for Christ. I believe that if he were to come from heaven Himself, and seek from you the deeds of Craighall, and a resignation of your place, you would fall down at His feet and say, 'Lord Jesus, it is too little for you.' If anyone thinks it is not a truth to die for, I am against him. I dare go to eternity with it, that this day the honour of our Lawgiver and King, in the government of His own free kingdom (who should pay tribute to no mortal king), is the true matter I question. My Lord, be on Christ's side of it, and take the word of a poor prisoner (no, the Lord Jesus guarantees it), that you have made by far the wisest choice. For my own part, the way I have been in this prison, I would be half ashamed to seek more until I reach the Well. In the world few know how sweet is Christ's breath, the excellency of His love, which has neither top nor bottom. This world has slandered the cross of Christ, because they love to go to heaven on dry land and do not love storms at sea. I write it myself (and I would say more if a reader would not think it hypocrisy), that my debt to Christ for the scent of His clothes, for thirty weeks of his love kisses, is so great, that I would (and I also choose to) suspend my salvation, to have many voices raised to praise Him. Suppose I never personally entered into the gates of the New Jerusalem, yet Christ was set on high, and I had the freedom forever throw my love and praises over the wall to Christ, I would be quiet and content. But oh, He is more than my limited praises! O time, time go quickly, that our communion with Jesus be complete!
   I wish your Lordship would urge Mr L, to consider the ceremonies, and let me see it as soon as possible, and I will give a reply.
   I recommend your Lordship to His rich grace, and will remain,
      Yours at all respectful obedience in Christ,  S,R.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Diary w/e Jun 15th

Sun 9 Jun

Jonno Wilcox on the final adult Sunday School on How to Read the Bible. Paul Levy evangelistic from Mat 16:13ff. Lunch at IPC for the Huis visiting from Los Angeles. Old members, Guthries there too. Very encouraging time at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre. On previous Sundays I had had 0,2 and 0 detainees. Tonight 20 or so from, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Bolivia, Albania, Lithuania and three Iranians. I had real liberty preaching on Pentecost.

Mon 10 Jun

Session business meeting. We are to have two new church workers, Lauren and Joanna.

Tu 11 Jun

U3A world religions on Death customs was poorly attended. Mostly on the histories of burial and cremation

Wed 12 Jun

Only four of us for U3A history but Anne from Germany continued her excellent series on the history of Spain - the time up to the Peninsula War. Well attended church AGM which I chaired.

Thu 13 Jun

Annual MOT with diabetes nurse. All OK.

Fri 14 Jun

Frustrating trip to have an ECHO scan at Hammersmith Hospital. I took a bus towards Hammersmith from White City tube not realising that Hammersmith Hospital is not in the direction of Hammersmith. When I realised and changed buses I was half an hour late and I was refused a scan so wasted the whole afternoon for nothing.

Sat 15 Jun

Six of us for breakfast and Bible study at the cafe before book table in Greenford. Usmani was not at the Muslim book table for the second week running so I phoned him to see if he was ill. He is fine and very pleased we were concerned for his welfare.

Rutherford Revised (173)

173. To Cardoness, the Younger   From Aberdeen 1637

(See letter 123)

Much honoured sir, - I long to hear whether or not your soul is married to Christ. Lose no more of your time: flee the foolishness of youth: think clearly and make ready to meet the Lord. I have often called you, and now I call you again, to appear before your Judge, to give an account of your life. While you have time, look at your record and consider your ways. Oh that you had such a heart in you to think what a bad conscience will be to you when you are at the edge of eternity and one foot is out of time! Oh then, ten thousand thousand floods of tears cannot extinguish these flames, or purchase for you one hour's release from that pain! Oh how sweet a time you have had! But this is a fair day that soon runs fast away. See how you have spent it and consider the necessity of salvation! Tell me in the fear of God if you have made it sure. I am persuaded that you have a conscience that will speak some things to you. Why will you die and destroy yourself? I charge you in Christ's name to stir up your conscience, and begin to sign up and contract with Christ in time, when salvation is offered to you. This is the acceptable time, this is the day of salvation. Play the trader for you cannot expect another market day when this one is done. Therefore, let me again beg you to 'consider in this your day the things that belong to your peace, before they are hidden from your eyes.' Dear brother, complete my joy, and begin to seek the Lord while he may be found. Leave the foolishness of a deceiving and vain youth: lay hold on eternal life. Prostitutes, night drinking, and not keeping the Sabbath, and neglecting prayer in your household, and refusing an offered salvation, will burn up your soul with the terrors of the Almighty, when your awakened conscience flies in your face. Be kind and loving to your wife: conscientiously cherish her and do not be rigidly austere. Sir, I cannot express the glory that is stored up for you in your Father's house, if you preform your deeds and turn your heart to return to the Lord. You know that this world is only a shadow, a short lived creature under the sway of time. When you look back to it within less than fifty years, you will laugh at its vanishing vanities like feathers flying in the air, and as the sandcastles the children of men build on the beach. Give up courting this vain world: do not seek the bastard's possessions, but the son's inheritance in heaven. Make a test of Christ. Look to Him and His love will so change you that you will be taken with Him and never choose to leave Him. I have experienced His sweetness in this my house of pilgrimage here. My Witness, who is above, knows I would not exchange my sighs and tears with the laughter of the Fourteen Bishops. The only thing that will make you a real Christian is a taste of the sweetness of Christ. 'Come and see' will best speak to your soul. I would gladly hope good of you. Do not be discouraged by broken and failed resolutions; but keep on and on again! Court Christ until your soul is engaged to Him as a pure virgin. have your conscience instructed by the means of grace; pray with your family and read the word. Remember how the Lord's day was spent when I was among you. You will be greatly challenged before God if you forget the good that was done in the walls of your house on the Lord's day; and if you turn away following the fashions of the world, and if you do not go to the church at the set times, to participate in the public worship of God, and if you do not stay for all the service. Give God some of your time both morning and evening and afternoon; and doing this you will rejoice the heart of a poor oppressed prisoner. Take pity on your own soul, and from your heart, fear the Lord.
   Now He that brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of His sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, establish your heart with His grace, and present you before His presence with joy.
   Your affectionate and loving pastor,  S.R.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Rutherford Revised (172)

172. To John Clark     From Aberdeen 

(Thought to be an Anwoth parishioner)

Loving brother, - Hold fast to Christ without wavering and contend for the faith for it is not east to get or keep Christ. The lazy professor puts heaven next door and thinks he can fly up to heaven on his bed, and in a dream at night; but truly that is not the easy thing that most men believe. Though Christ was the legitimate heir, He sweated to win the city. It is Christianity, my Heart, to be sincere, straightforwardly honest, and upright in heart before God, and to live and serve God, though there was no-one else in all the world to see you. See that any little grace you have be sound and true.
   You will see the difference between you and a reprobate if you have these marks:-
1. If you prove Christ and His truth so you will sell all and but Him and His truth and suffer for it.
2. If the love of Christ keeps you back from sinning more than the law or fear of hell.
3. If you are humble and deny your own will, wit, credit, ease , honour , the world and the vanity and glory of it,.
4. Your profession must not be barren and without good works.
5. In all things you must aim at God's honour; you must eat, drink, sleep, buy, sell, sit, stand, speak, pray, read and hear the word, with the purpose in your heart that God be honoured.
6. You must show yourself to be an enemy of sin, and rebuke the works of darkness, such as drunkenness, swearing and lying, though others hate you for doing so.
7. Keep in mind the truth of God which you heard me teach, and have nothing to do with the corruptions and new ways which have entered the house of God.
8. Be conscientious in your calling, in covenants, in buying and selling.
9. Be regular in daily prayer; commit all your ways and acts to God, by prayer, petitions and thanksgiving; and disregard mockery, for Christ Jesus was mocked before you.
   Persuade yourself that this is the way of comfort and peace for which I now suffer. I dare to do to death nd eternity with it, though men may possibly see another way. Remember me in your prayers, and the state of this oppressed church. Grace be with you.
   Your soul's well wisher,  S.R

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rutherford Revised (171)

171. To the Laird of Moncrieff  From Aberdeen 14 May 1637

(Sir John Moncrieff was a zealous Covenanter and ruling elder in his parish of Carnbee. He attended the General Assembly's Commission for public affairs n 1646 and 1648 being a member of the Presbytery of St Andrews. Lady Leyes in this letter was his third sister.) 

Much honoured sir, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. Though we are not acquainted, I am bold to write to you at the prompting of your worthy sister, the Lady Leys, and hearing the report of your kindness to Christ and His oppressed truth, for I sincerely want you to join with us (as many as in these parts profess Christ), to wrestle with God one day of the week, especially Wednesdays, for mercy to this fallen and decayed church, and for those who suffer for Christ's name; and for your own needs, and the needs of others who have covenanted together in that business. For you know we have no other armour but prayer in these evil times, now when wrath from the Lord has gone out against this backsliding land. For you know we can have no true public fasts, neither are the true causes of our humiliation ever laid before the people.
   Now, very worthy Sir, I am glad in the Lord, that the Lord reserves any from your rank, or any notables, in this time of apostasy, to come out in public to carry Christ's name before men, when the great men think Christ is a difficult neighbour, that religion carries dangers, trials and persecutions with it. I persuade myself that it is your glory and crown, and will be your joy in the day of Christ, and the standing of your family and descendants to inherit the earth, that you truly and sincerely profess Christ. Neither is our King, whom the Father has crowned in Mount Zion, so weak that he cannot prevail for Himself and His own cause. I truly believe that they are blessed who can hold the crown upon His head, and carry up the train of His royal robe, and that He will be victorious, and triumph in this land. It is our part to support our royal King, even though there are not six in all the land following Him. It is our wisdom now to to see and discern the devil and the antichrist coming out in their white clothes, and the apostasy and idolatry of this land washed with foul waters. I confess it is an art to wash the devil until his skin is white.  
   For myself, Sir, I have brought an argument against Christ, since I came here, judging that my princely Master was angry at me, because I was thrown out of the vineyard as a withered tree, my dumb Sabbaths making me very sad. But I see now that sadness has not eyes to read love written on the cross of Christ; and therefore I leave my foolish argument. Woe, woe is me that I took into my soul a slander against Christs love! And for all this, my Lord Jesus has forgiven all, not willing to be heard disputing with such a fool; and is content to be, as it were, confined with me and put up with my company. And now I write with my own hand, worthy Sir, that I think well and honourably of this cross of Christ. I an amazed that He will take any glory from the likes of me. I find that when he sends His hearty commendations to me, and only blows a kiss from far off, I am confused wondering what the supper of the Lamb will be like, in our Father's dining place of glory, since that foretaste in this dismal desert, and (when in prisons and in our sad days), a kiss from Christ is so comfortable. Oh, how sweet and glorious will be our situation when that Fairest of the sons of men will put His fair face next to our sinful faces and wipe away all tears from our eyes! O time, time, run quickly and speed this day! O sweet Lord Jesus come flying like a young deer ! Alas that we blind fools have fallen in love with moonlight and shadows. How sweet is the wind that blows form the direction where Christ is! Every day we may see some new thing in Christ; His love has neither top nor bottom. Oh, if I had help to praise Him.! He knows that if my sufferings glorify His name, and encourage others to stand firm for the honour of our supreme Lawgiver, Christ, my wages are fully paid. Sir, help me to love that never enough praised Lord. I find now that the faith of the saints suffering for Christ, is fair before the wind, and with full sails carried up to Christ. And I hope to lose nothing in this fire except dross; for Christ can triumph in a weaker man than I am, if there be any such person. And when all is done, his love gives me pain, and leaves me under such a debt to Christ that I can pay neither capital nor interest. Oh, if he would seize me, and if I was sold to Him as a slave, and that he would take me home to His house and fireside; for I have nothing to pay to Him! Then, after me let no-one think Christ's sweet cross to be hard; for I would not exchange my sighs for all the gaudy laughter of my enemies. I want grace and patience to wait and to lie at the edge until the water fills and flows. I know He is coming soon.
   Sit, you will excuse my boldness: and, until God is pleased that I see you, you have the prayers of a prisoner of Christ; to whom I recommend you, and in whom I rest.
   Yours, at all obedience in Christ,  S.R.

Rutherford Revised (170)

170.To Robert Gordon of Knockbrex  From Aberdeen 1637

(See letters 65,66,76 and 92)

Dear brother, - Grace mercy and peace be to you. I received your letter from Edinburgh.
   Until I get to my own heaven, I do not want to see another heaven except a new moon like the light of the sun, and a new sun like the light of seven days shining on my poor soul, and on the Church of the Jews and Gentiles, and on my withered and sun burnt mother, the Church of Scotland, and on her sister churches England and Ireland: and to have this done for the setting n high of our great King! If this happened it would not matter if I was separated from Christ and had the feeling of ten thousand years in hell. O blessed nobility! O glorious renowned gentry! Oh blessed would be the peoples in this land to wipe my Lord Jesus' weeping face, and to take the sackcloth off his waist, and to put on Him His kingly robes! Oh, if the Almighty would let me bet my heaven against having it done! But I fear wrath once to come on Scotland. But I know her day will clear up, and glory will be on top of the mountains, and joy hearing the voice of the married wife again. Oh that our Lord would make us to fight, and plead and wrestle by prayers and tears for our Husband to restore His lost inheritance n Scotland.
   Dear brother, I am at present in a considerable battle between false guiltiness and pining longings and high fevers for my Well-beloved's love.! Alas! I think that Christ's love plays the miser with me, and I know it is not because of scarcity of love. There is enough in Him, but my hunger tells of Christ holding in and being sparing; for I have little of Him and little of His sweetness. It is a sad summer with me; yet there is such joy in the eagerness and working of hunger for Christ, that I am often saying, that if I had no heaven but a continual hunger for Christ, such a heaven of ever working hunger would still be heaven to me. I am sure that Christ's love cannot be cruel; it must be a regretting, a pitying, a melting hearted love; but I think the suspension of that love is half a hell, and the lack of it more than a whole hell. When I consider my guiltiness I see that my salvation is one of our Lord's greatest miracles, either in heaven or on earth. I am sure I can defy any man to show me a greater wonder. But seeing I have no goods, no wages, no money for Christ, He must either take me with want , misery, corruption to them or want me still. Oh , if he would be happy to be compassionate with a pitying heart for my pining fevers of longing for Him; or then give me a real loan to keep, from His own hand, until God sends a meeting between him and me! But as yet I find neither thing. Though He who is absent is neither cruel and unkind, yet His absence is cruel and unkind. His love is like itself; His love is His love; but the covering and the cloud, the veil and the mask of His love is more wise than kind, if I dare speak my fears. I do not now lead a process against the suspension and delay of God's love; with all my heart I would postpone for a day, ten heavens and the sweet manifestations of His love. I certainly think I could trust the word of Christ; but my pleading is for felt and inborn assurance of His love. Oh, if He would convince me that He intends to gratify my heart's desire for His love at all. He may have the day for His payment as He chooses. But I know that raving unbelief speaks as it pleases when it looks on guiltiness and this body of corruption. Oh how loathsome and heavy it is to carry around a dead corpse, the old carrion of corruption! Oh how firm a thing is a Saviour, to make a sinner free of his chains and shackles! 
   I now have a new question, whether Christ is more to be loved for giving Sanctification of for free Justification. Ant I hold that He is more and most to be loved for sanctification. It is in some respects a grater love in Him to sanctify, than to justify; for he makes us most like Himself in His own essential likeness and image, in sanctifying us. Justification only makes us happy, which is only to be like angels. It is not such a misery to lie like a condemned man , and under unforgiven guiltiness, as it is to serve sin and to do the works of the devil; and therefore I think sanctification cannot be bought; it is above any price. God be thanked for ever that Christ was a set price for sanctification. If He makes a sinner truly holy, let him possibly lie in hell for ever; and let him lie there burning with love to God, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, hanging on Christ by faith and hope, - that is heaven in the heart and bottom of hell!
   Alas! I find a very thin harvest here, and few to be saved.
   Grace, grace be with you.
      Yours, in his lovely and longed for Lord Jesus,  S.R.

Rutherford Revised (169)

169.  To the Laird of Carleton    From Aberdeen 10 May 1637

(See letter 157)

Worthy sir, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I received your letter and I am heartily glad that our Lord has begun to work for the apparent delivery of this poor oppressed church. Oh that salvation would come for the church!
   I am at present hanging on in hope, waiting for what my Lord will do with me, and if it will please my Master to send me among you again, and keep a hireling out from my poor people and flock. Until I come home it would be heaven for me to gather some in to Christ. I am still greatly depressed because of my silence, and being forced to stand idle in the market, when there is such a plentiful, thick harvest in the land. But I know that the judgements of Him who has done it are beyond our understanding. I do not know how to reason with the Lord about all His strange ways and passages of deep and unsearchable providences. For the Lord goes before me and I cannot see how to follow Him; He is benind me and following at my heels, and I am not aware of Him; He is above me, but His glory so dazzles my twilight of little understanding, that I cannot look up to Him. He is at my right hand but I do not see Him; He is on my left hand and within me, and comes and goes, and his coming and going are like dreams to me.; He is around me and encompasses all my goings and still I have to seek Him. He is in every way higher and deeper and broader than the shallow hand breadth that my short and dim light can see; and therefore, I wish my heart could be silent, and sit down in educated ignorance wondering at the Lord whom men and angels cannot understand. I know that the highest angels who in the noon time light see Him face to face, do not see the edges of His infinity. They know God is nearby but they cannot understand Him. And therefore, I am happy to look from afar, and to come near behind the Lord, and to light my dark candle form His brightness, and to have permission to sit and be content with a traveller's light, without being able to clearly see and enjoy it. Until I am in my country, I seek nothing more than a little watering and sprinkling on a withered soul, with some half measures of the beams and ravishing smiles of the fairest face of a revealed and believed in Godhead. A little of God would fill my soul.  Oh, that I had a few things dropped by Christ; that he would let the smallest of his love rays and love beams fall from Him so I could gather them and carry them with me! I would not be hard to be pleased by Christ, even obscure visions of Christ; nor would I be fussy seeing and enjoying Him: a kiss blown over Christ's shoulder, the scraps and crumbs that fall under His table in heaven, a shower of His love like thin May mist, would make me grow and be nourished and joyful until the summer sun of eternal glory breaks through (Son 2:17). Oh that I had anything of Christ! Oh that I had a sip or half a drop from the palm of His hand, of the sweetness and excellency of the lovely One! Oh that my Lord Jesus would be sorry for me and give me even the smallest gifts of felt and believed salvation! Oh how small a thing it would be for that infinite sea, that infinite fountain of love and joy, to fill many thousand thousand little vessels (like me) as there are minutes of hours since God's work of creation! I find it true, that a poor soul, finding half a scent of the Godhead of Christ, desires (with heart in pain and wounded with longings to be with Him) that make it sometimes think, 'Would it not be better never to have felt anything of Christ than to be dying twenty deaths under these felt wounds for the lack of Him?' Oh where is he? Oh Fairest, where are you? O never enough admired Godhead, how can mortals win up to you? Oh how painful it is that time and sin should put so many thousand miles between a loved and longed for Lord and a pining and love sick soul, who would rather stay with Christ than with all the world! Oh, let this little bit of love of ours, this inch and half hand width of heavenly longing, meet with Your infinite love! Oh, if the little I have was swallowed up in the infiniteness of the excellency that is in Christ! Oh that we little ones were in with the greatest Lord Jesus! His fullness would soon swallow up our wants.
   Grace, grace be with you.
      Yours, in his sweetest Lord Jesus,  S.R. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Rutherford Revised (166)

168. To his reverend and dear Brother, Mr David Dickson                   From Aberdeen 1 May 1637

(See letters 110 and 119)

My reverend and dear brother, - I am afraid you have never known me well. If you saw my inner self, it is possible you would pity me, but you would hardly give me love or respect: men mistake me all the time. My sins have victory over me and the terrors of their guiltiness too. I often ask whether Christ and I ever shook hands sincerely. I do not mean that my feast days are all gone, but I am made of extremes. I pray to God that you never have the woeful and dreary experience of a closed mouth; for then you may reckon as blessed birds the sparrows that sing on the church at Irvine. But my soul has been refreshed and watered when I hear of your courage and zeal for your never enough praised, praised Master, for you have put the men of God to work who were chased out of Ireland. Oh, if I could encourage you! I dare say in God's presence, that this will never speed your suffering, but David Dickson's feast and speaking joy, that while he had time and opportunity, he put many to work to lift up Jesus, his sweet master, high in the skies. O man of God, go on, go on; be valiant for that Plant of renown, for that Chief among ten thousands, for that Prince of the kings of the earth. I only know little about God; yet I dare write this, that Christ will be glorified in David Dickson, even if Scotland is not gathered.
   I am pained, pained that I do not have more to give my sweet Bridegroom. His comforts to me come from a generous hand; but I want to learn not to idolise comfort, sense, joy and sweet, felt presence. All these are only things, and nothing except the kingly robe and gold ring and the bracelets of the Bridegroom; the Bridegroom Himself is better than all the ornaments accompanying Him. Now I would rather have God Himself than these and be swallowed up in love for Christ. I see that in taking delight in communion with Christ we may make more gods than one. But however, everything was child's play between Chris and me until now. If anyone had sworn it to me I would not have believed what is to be found in Christ. I hope you pity my pain in prison enough, as to help me yourself, and get others to help me, a debtor, a wretched debtor, to pay some of my debts of praise to my great King. Let my God be judge and witness, if my soul would not have sweet rest and comfort, to have many hearts confirmed in Christ, and enlarged with His love, and many tongues set to work to set on high my royal and princely Well-beloved. Oh that my sufferings would pay tribute to such a King! I have given up wondering at his love; for Christ has done a piece of work in me. that I have never told anyone. He has obtained fair and rich employment, and a sweet purchase and good market for His honourable calling of showing mercy to me the chief of sinners , No-one knows as well as I my woefully often broken covenants. My sins against light which was at work even when I was in the act of sinning  have been met with admirable mercy: but alas He will get nothing in return but ingratitude. I am sure that if Christ pities anything in me apart fro my sin, it is the pain f love for a handful nd soulful of Himself, it faith , love and begun fruit baring. My sorrow is that I cannot get Christ lifted up from the dust in Scotland, and set on high above all the skies, and heavern of heavens.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

Riutherford's correspondents (10) - David Dickson

  • David Dickson  was the only son of John Dick or Dickson, a merchant in the Trongate of GlasgowHe was born in Glasgow about 1583, and educated at the university, where he graduated M.A., and was appointed one of the regents or professors of philosophy, a position limited to eight years. On the conclusion of his term of office Dickson was in 1618 ordained minister of the parish of Irvine. In 1620 he was named in a leet of seven to be a minister in Edinburgh, but since he was suspected of nonconformity his nomination was not pressed
Having publicly testified against the Five Articles of Perth, he was at the instance of James Lawarchbishop of Glasgow, summoned to appear before the high court of commission at Edinburgh, 9 January 1622; but having declined the jurisdiction of the court, he was subsequently deprived of his ministry in Irvine, and ordained to proceed to TurriffAberdeenshire, within twenty days. When he was about to proceed on his journey northward, the Archbishop of Glasgow, at the request of the Earl of Eglinton, permitted him to remain in Ayrshire, at Eglinton, where for about two months he preached in the hall and courtyard of the castle. As great crowds went from Irvine to hear him, he was then ordered to set out for Turriff, but about the end of July 1623 was permitted to return to his charge at Irvine, and remained there unmolested till 1637.
Along with Alexander Henderson and Andrew Cant, he attended the private meeting convened in 1637 by Lord Lorne, against the bishops. The same year he prevailed on the presbytery of Irvine for the suspension of the service-book, and he formed one of the deputation of noblemen and influential ministers deputed by the Covenanters to visit Aberdeen to invite ministers and gentry into the covenant. The doctors and professors of Aberdeen were unconvinced, and after various encounters with the Covenanters published General Demandis concerning the lait Covenant, &c. 1638, reprinted 1662 to which Henderson and Dickson drew up a reply entitled Ansueris of sum Bretheren of the Ministrie to the Replyis of the Ministeris and Professoris of Divinity at Abirdein, 1638, reprinted 1663. This was answered by the Aberdeen professors in Duplyes of the Minsteris and Professoris of Abirdein, 1638.
At the assembly which met at Glasgow in 1638 Alexander Henderson was chosen in preference to Dickson to fill the chair, but Dickson delivered a tactful speech when the commissioner threatened to leave the assembly, and in the eleventh session gave a learned discourse on Arminianism. The assembly also named him one of the four inspectors to be set over the university cities, the city to which he was named being Glasgow; but in his case the resolution was not carried out till 1640, when he was appointed to the newly instituted professorship of divinity. In the army of the covenanters, under Alexander Leslie, which encamped at Dunse Law in June 1639, he acted as chaplain of the Ayrshire regiment, commanded by the Earl of Loudoun, and at the general assembly which, after the pacification, met at Edinburgh in August of the same year, was chosen moderator.
In 1643 he was appointed, along with Alexander Henderson and David Calderwood, to draw up a 'Directory for Public Worship,' and he was also joint author with James Durham, who afterwards succeeded him in the professorship in Glasgow, of The Sum of Saving Knowledge, frequently printed along with the Westminster Confession of Faith and catechisms, although it never received the formal sanction of the church. In 1650 he was translated to the divinity chair of the university of Edinburgh, where he delivered an inaugural address in Latin, which was translated by George Sinclair into English, and, under the name of 'Truth's Victory over Error,' was published as Sinclair's own in 1684. The piracy having been detected, it was republished with Dickson's name attached and a Life of Dickson by Robert Wodrow in 1752.
In 1650 he was appointed by the committee of the kirk one of a deputation to congratulate Charles II on his arrival in Scotland. For declining to take the oath of supremacy at the Restoration he was ejected from his chair; he gradually failed in health and died in the beginning of 1663.

Rutherford Revised (167)

167. To my Lady Boyd    From Aberdeen 1 May 1637

(See letters 77,78,107)

Madam, - Grace, mercy and peace from God out Father, and from out Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied to you.
   I have reasoned with your son (Lord Boyd); I rejoice to see him set his face in the right direction, now when the nobles love the sunny side of the Gospel best, and are afraid that Christ lacks soldiers, and will not be able to fend for Himself. 
   Madam, our debts of obligation to Christ aret small; the freedom of grace and of salvation is the wonder of men and angels but our Lord's mercy cannot be bought. You are bound to lift Christ on high, for he has given you eyes to see the devil coming out dressed in white, and the idolatry and apostasy of the time, washed with fair appearance; but the skin is black and the water foul. I confess it would be artful to wash a black devil and make him white.
   I am in strange ups and downs and seven times a day loose ground. I often have to swim; and again my feet are set on the Rock that is higher than me. He has now let me see four things which I never saw before:
1st, That the Supper will be a great feast, that is up in the great hall with the Royal King of glory, when even the slight afternoon meal and the cup given at the door in this hard desert is sweet. When He blows from afar off a kiss to His poor broken hearten mourners in the church, and sends me his hearty approval until we meet, I am amazed with wonder to think how it will be when the Fairest among the sons of men will put a King's soft, sweet cheeks to the sinful cheeks of poor sinners. O time, time go quickly and speed the day! Sweet Lord Jesus, hurry. Come flying like a young deer on the mountains of separation. I think we should carefully watch the time, and often look to see how low is the sun. For love has no 'Hello!', it is in pain until it holds the one beloved. 
2ndly, I find Christ's absence to be love's sickness and love's death. The wind that blows from the direction where my Lord Jesus reigns is sweet smelling, joyful and hearty to a soul burnt with its absence. For a soul sick with love, to fight with absence and delays is a painful battle. Christ's 'Not yet' is a blow to all the joints and ligaments of the soul. A nod of his head when he is hidden would be half a loan. To say,"You fool, what is the matter? He is coming,' would be life to a dead man. In my dumb Sabbaths I often seek an argument with my Lord (God forgive me!), and I am not bothered if there is two or three ounces of black anger in me. 
3rdly, For the third thing, I have seen my abominable vileness; if it was well known, no-one in this kingdom would ask me how I am. Many think my ten is a hundred, but I am a deeper hypocrite and shallower believer than everyone thinks. God knows I am not pretending. But I think of my life written on one page in big letters, and his mercy to such a sad and wretched debtor on the other hand, to be more than a miracle. If I could get my finger tips on a full assurance, I believe I would hold tight; but my cup does not lack bitterness. But for my part, despair might be excused if everyone in this land saw my inner character. But I know I am one who has made a great sale and a free bargain with free grace. But if I could be saved I would be pleased to believe that I am sure I have given Christ's blood, His free grace and His mercy, a large place to work upon; and Christ has shown His work, I dare not say to the limit (for he can if He will forgive all the devils and damned reprobates because of the breadth of His mercy), I say to an admirable extent.
4thly, I am hit by fear of ingratitude. This apostate church has played the prostitute with many lovers. They are spitting in the face of mu lovely King, and mocking Him and I dare not mend it; and they are running away from Christ in crowds, and I dare not mourn and be grieved for it. I think Christ is like a deserted castle, left by the inhabitants; all men run from Him now. Truth, innocent truth, goes mounting , wringing her hands in sackcloth and ashes. Woe, woe, woe is me for the virgin daughter of Scotland! Woe, woe to the people of this land! For they have gone back with perpetual backsliding.
   I am so occupied with these things that a borrowed bed, another man's fireside, the wind in my face (I being driven from my lovers and dear friends and my poor flock), find no place in my sorrow. I have no spare or old sorrow for these; only I think that the sparrows and swallows that build their nests in the church at Anwoth are blessed birds. There is no set back to my faith until it crack, harder than my closed mouth. But let me alone be miserable; God keep my dear brothers from it. But while I breathe; but when my royal and never, never enough praised King returns to His sinful prisoner, I ride on the high places of Jacob. I divide Shechem (Ps 60:6), I triumph in His strength. If this kingdom would glorify the Lord n my behalf! In this matter I want to be weighed in God's scales, if I do not think my wages have been not paid in full. I will want no more work from Christ.
   Madam, pity me in this and help me to praise Him; for though I be the chef of sinners, a devil and a most guilty devil, yet it is as the apple of His eye, I suffer now for the honour and glory as the Head of the Church, and with that I will go to eternity.
   I am greatly in love with Mr. Matthew Mowat (minister of Kilmarnock); I see him stamped with the image of God. I have good hope for your son, my Lord Boyd.
   Your Ladyship and your children have a prisoner's prayers. Grace be with you.
   Your Ladyship's, at all obedience in Christ,  S.R.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Rutherford Revised (166)

166.To Cardoness the Elder  From Aberdeen 1637

(See letters 82 and 124)

Much honoured sir, - I long to hear how your soul prospers. I am surprised that you have not written to me; for the Holy Spirit is my witness that I cannot, I dare not, I must not forget you, nor the souls of those with you, who are redeemed by the blood of the great Shepherd. You are in my heart at night; you are my joy and crown in the day of Christ. O Lord, be my witness if my soul thirsts for anything outside of heaven,  more than for your salvation. Let God put me in the scales and test me about this.
   Love heaven; let your heart be on it. Up, up and view the new Land, the fair City, and the white Throne, and the Lamb, the bride's Husband in His Bridegroom's clothes, sitting on it. It is time that your soul throws itself and all its burdens on Christ. I beg you by the wounds of your Redeemer, and by your appearance before Him, and by the salvation of your souls, to lose no more time; run fast for it is late. God has sworn by Himself who made the world and time, that time will be no more (Rev 10:6). You are now at the very border of the new life. You cannot blame your Lord for not warning you. I have taught you the truth of Christ, and delivered to you the whole counsel of God,; and I have stood before the Lord for you, and I will still yet stand. Awake, awake and do righteousness. Do not think that you can lessen the debts and burdens on your house by oppressing others, or being strict with those under you. Remember how I tried to live before you as an example in this.  'Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before rhis anointed.Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have defrauded? Whom have I oppressed(1Sam 12:3). Who knows how my soul feeds on a good conscience, when I remember how I spent my body feeding the lambs of Christ.
   When I first came here, I admit I felt contrary to my Lord, because he had thrown me over the wall of the vineyard, like a dry tree, and would have no more of my service. My dumb Sabbaths broke my heart, and I would not be comforted. But now He whom my soul loves has come again, and he is pleased to feed me with the kisses of His love.A King eats with me and His perfume gives off a sweet smell. The Lord is my witness above, that I write my heart to you.  In my nine years' preaching, I never knew so much of Christ's love as He has taught me in Aberdeen by six months' imrisonment. I charge you in Christ's name to help me to praise; and to show the lovingkindness of the Lord to my soul to that people and country, so that my sufferings may somehow preach to them when I am silent. He has made me to know now, better than before, what it s to be crucified to the world. Now I would not give a drink of cold water for all the world's kindness. I owe it no service: I am not indebted to the flesh. My Lord Jesus has spoiled His prisoner, and has thoughts of love about me. I would not exchange my sighs for the laughter on enemies. Sir, I write this to tell you, so you may know it is the truth of Christ. for which I now suffer, and he has sealed my suffering with the comforts of His Spirit on my soul; and I know the does not put His seal on blank paper.
   Now, sir, my earthly comfort is to know that I have engaged and will present a bride toChrist in that congregation. The Lord has given you much and therefore will require much from you again. Count your talents and see what you will have to pay back. You cannot be reminded enough about the shortest of your time. I charge you to write to me, and in the fear of God to be straightforward with me, as to whether or not you have made your salvation sure. I am confident and hope for the best; but I know that your reckonings with your Judge are many and deep.Sir, do not be led astray, do not neglect your one thing (Phil 3:13), your one necessary thing (Luk 10:42), the good part that will not be taken from you. Look beyond time: things here are only moonlight. Those who are delighted with shadows and deluded by feathers flying in the air have only children's understanding.
   Desire that your children in the morning of their lives do begin to seek the Lord and remember their creator in the days of their youth (Ecc 12:1),nee cleanse their way by taking thought according to God's word (Ps 119:9). Youth is an age for play. In the time of youth Satan usually finds a swept room,  a furnished lodging fr himself and his followers. Let the Lord have the flower of their age,  He is due the best sacrifice. Teach them that they have a soul, and this life is nothing compared with eternity. They will have great need of God's instruction in the work to guide them past those rocks on which men are wrecked; but need it far more when it comes to the time of death, and their appearance before Christ. Oh, that they had such a heart in them as to fear the name of the great and dreadful God, who has stored up great things for those that love and fear Him! I pray that God may be their portion, Show others of my parishioners that I write to them my best wishes and the blessing of their lawful pastor.                                                                                                                                    Say to them from me that I beg them by Christ to keep in mind the doctrine of our Lord and Savour Jesus Christ, which I taught them; so that they may lay hold on eternal life, working together for the faith of the gospel, and making sure of salvation for themselves. Walk in love and do what is right; seek peace; love one anther. Wait for the coming of our Master and Judge. Do not receive any doctrine contrary to that which I delivered to you. If you fall away and forget it, and that Catechism which I taught you, and so forsake your own mercy, the Lord Judge between you and me. I take seven and earth as witness, that such people will perish eternally.  But if they serve the Lord their reward will be great the when they and I will stand before the Lord our Judge. Set out up the mountain, to meet with God; climb up for your Saviour calls you.God may call you to your rest when I am far from you; but you have my love ad my heart's desire for your soul's welfare. May He that is holy keep you from falling and establish you until His own glorious appearing  
   You affectionate and lawful pastor,   S.R.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Rutherford Revised (165)

165. To Mr Thomas Garven   From Aberdeen 1637

(See letter 152)

Reverend and dear brother, - Grace mercy and peace be to you. I am sorry that writing about my joy and sorrow in love fits during my imprisonment, has made you and many of God's children believe that there is something in a broken reed like me. Apart from the fact that God's grace has given me a sound body, I do not know what anyone can think of me or expect from me. My standing is less (the Lord knows I speak the truth) than many believe. My empty sounds have promised too much. I should be glad to lie under Christ's feet, and catch and receive the crumbs or the old pieces of any grace that fall from His sweet fingers to lonely sinners. I often lie like a stranger looking at the King's windows. Surely I am not worthy of a seat in the King's dining hall, but I often look from afar, afraid and distant from that fairest face, afraid He will tell me to look away from Him. My guiltiness rises up against me and I have no answer for it. I offered my tongue to Christ, and my work in His house: and what does it mean when Christ will not accept my poor gift? When love will not take we understand that it will neither take nor give, borrow nor lend. Yet Christ has another compass by which He sails, than my short and raw thoughts. I leave His part to Him. I dare not interpret His ways as how sorrow and misunderstanding speak to me. I often look to my Lord's cross with blurred and blind eyes; and when I look to the wrong side of his cross, I know I must stumble and slide. Surely I see that my own legs will not carry me to heaven I must borrow strength from Christ to enter heaven's gates. 
   I often think, 'Oh, if only He would give me permission to love Him, and if Christ would only open up His riches, and the folds and twists and corners of His soul pleasing love, and let me see it, front and back; and let me stand beside it, like a hungry man near food, to get my fill of wondering, as something before my fill of enjoyment.!' But truly I think my foul eyes would spoilt His fair love by looking at it. Either my hunger is too humble (if one can say that), or else I do not consider what an honour it is to be permitted to love Christ. Oh, that he would pity a prisoner, and release a flood on the dry ground! To Him, filling the like of me is nothing; one of His looks would do me much good in the world, and not harm Him. I know I have not yet arrived at Chris's love: I am not yet fit for as much as I want of it. My hope sits next to much black hunger; and certainly I can only think that there is more of that love planned for me than I yet understand, and I do not know how large a pension the King will give me. I will be glad if my hungry demand has permission to stay with Christ awaiting an answer. If I got a poor beggar's share of that sweeter love. I would be full and rejoice; but I confidently believe what a bed is ready for Christ and me, and we shall have our fill of love in it. And when my joy is run down and at the lowest ebb, that I would seek nothing more that my rights affirmed with the King's great seal and that I would see Christ's hand holding the pen.
   Do not be downcast if your Lord calls you to suffer; the King will have a new reward for you in time. Christ lays one of His softest pillows under His witnesses head, though often they must tread among thorns. He has brought my poor soul to desire and wish, 'Oh that my ashes and the powder I will be turned into had well tuned tongues to praise Him.!'
   So writing quickly and wanting your prayers and praises, I recommend youth my sweet, sweet master, my honourable Lord, for whom I hold everything. Grace be with you.
   Your own in His sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Rutherford Revised (164)

164. To Ninian Mure, one of the family of Cassincarrie              From Aberdeen 1637 

(An Anwoth parishioner)

Loving friend, - I received your letter. I beg you now, in the morning of your life, to seek the Lord and His face. Beware of the foolishness of youth which is a dangerous and perilous time for your soul. Do not love the world. Keep faith and be true with all men in your covenants and bargaining. Walk with God for He sees you. Do nothing except that which you might and would do when your eyes are closing and your breath growing cold. My dear heart, you heard God's truth from me, follow it and do not forsake it. Prize Christ and salvation above all the world. Living according to the fashion and course of the rest of the world will not bring you to heaven; you cannot see God without faith in Christ and repentance. Take care for salvation; press on towards the mark for the prize of the high calling.You will all behind if you do not watch against the evils that come on you night and day. Beware of lying, swearing,, uncleanness and the rest of the works of the flesh; ,because, 'for these things the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.' Never mind how sweet they seem for the present; the end of these ways is the eternal wrath go God, and utter darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Grace be with you.
   Your loving pastor, S.R.

Rutherford Revised (163)

163.  To John Stuart, Provost of Ayr   From Aberdeen 1637

Worthy and dear beloved in our Lord,- Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I was refreshed and comforted by your letter. I do not remember what I wrote to you for your comfort; I believe that love will prophesy towards home as it would have it. I wish I could help you praise His great and holy name who keeps the standing of His saints and counts all your works. I know that our dearest Lord will pardon and overlook our honest errors and mistakes, when we are concerned for His honour: yet I know that none of you have seen the other half and the hidded side your wonderful  return home to us again. I am confident that you will yet say that God's mercy blew your sails back to Ireland again.
   Worthy and dear Sir, I can only give you an account of my present state, that you may run an errand for me to my royal Master, of whom I boast all day long. I am as proud of His love (no, I bless myself and boast of my present lot) as any poor man can be in an earthly king's court or of a kingdom. First, I am very often seeing both sides of my cross, especially my dumb and silent Sabbaths; not because I want to find a fault or defect in my Lord's love, but because my love is sick with thoughts and fears. I have not yet understood if the Lord has something against my guiltiness. I want to ride well and not kick up dirt (if, I may with reference to Him, use such a word) in the face of my only Well-beloved; but fear of guiltiness carries tales between me and Christ, and still whispers bad reports to my Lord, to weaken my faith. I would rather a cloud from these messages went over my comforts, than that my faith should be hurt; for, if my Lord gets no wrong by me, truly I want grace not to care what becomes of me. I do not want to believe or give credit to my sorrow that can make my best friend, Christ, to be a liar. Woe, woe to everyone who speaks badly of Christ! So these thought wake with me in the morning and go to bed with me at night.Oh, what service can a dumb body give in Christ's house! Oh, I think God's word is imprisoned too! Oh, I am a dry tree! Alas, I can neither plant nor water! Oh, if my Lord would only make manure from me to fatten and fertilise His own corn ridges on Mount Zion! Of, if I could only speak about my worthy master to three or four shepherd boys, I would be satisfied to be the humblest and most obscure of all the pastors in this land, and to live in any place even the lowest of Christ's huts! But he says, 'Sir, I will not send you; I have no work for you there.',My desire to serve Him is sick with jealousy, in case he is unwilling to employ me.
   Secondly, This is followed by another. Oh! all that I have done in Anwoth, the fair work that my Master began there, is like a bird dying in the egg; and what then will I have to show for all my work in the day of my appearance before Him, when the Master of the vineyard calls the workers and pays them their wages?
   Thirdly, But truly when Christ's sweet wind is in the right direction, I resent and ask Christ to take pledges of my quarrelling, unbelieving sadness and sorrow. Lord rebuke those that put evil between a poor servant like me and his good Master. Then I say that whether the black cross wants it or not, I must climb on hands and feet up to my Lord. I am now regretting in my heart that I obeyed the law (my old dead husband) so far as to see anger in my sweet Lord Jesus. I would far prefer to work for the grace of God, for I think I am sworn in debt to Christ; and the truth is (to say about my Lord what I cannot deny) , drowned over my head and ears in many debts to his love and mercy. 
   He has been patient with me for some time so I am ashamed to ask for more, but want to live content (until the marriage supper of the Lamb) with what He has given. But I do not know how greedy and hard to please is love. For either my Lord Jesus has taught me bad manners, not to be content with a place unless my head lies on His chest, and unless I am fed with the riches of His house; or else I have drown impatiently fussy and hard to please, as if Christ was obligated, under the cross, to do nothing else except to carry me in His arms as if I had some claim to merit by my suffering for Him. But I wish He would give me grace to stand on my own feet, and to learn to do without His comforts, and to give thanks and believe when the sun is not in my sky and when my Well-beloved is away from home and gone on another errand. Oh what sweet peace I have when I find Christ holds and I pull; when I climb up and he shuts me down; when I grip and hug Him, and he seems to escape the grip and run away from me. I think there is a sweet joy in faith and contentedness and peace in His very tempting unkindness, because my faith says, "Christ is not serious with me but trying to see if I can be kind to His mask and cloud that covers Him, as well as to His fair face. ' I bless His great name and love His veil which covers His face, until God sends something better; for faith can kiss God's tempting rebukes when he calls a sinner 'A dog not fit to eat with the children'(Mat 7:27,28).  I think it an honour that Christ misnames me and rebukes me. I take that well from Him, though if anyone else was so familiar I would not take it; but because I am His own (I thank God) He may use me as he wills. I must say the saints have a sweet life between them and Christ. There is much sweet comfort between Him and them, when He feeds among the lilies and comes into his garden, and makes a feast from honeycombs, and drinks His wine and His milk, and cries, 'Eat, O friends, and drink well, O well-beloved.' An hour of this work is worth a ship load of this world's drunken and muddy joy; no, even before we come to heaven this is the sunny side of the hill, and the very garden of the world. For the men of this world have their own named and profane crosses; and woe to both them and their cursed crosses; for their evils are salted with God's vengeance, and our bad things are seasoned with our Father's blessing. So those who chose Christ are not fools and they sell everything for Him. It is not a child's market, or a blind sale; we know what we get and what we give. 
   Now, for any plans to go to another kingdom, I cannot say anything. My hopes for improvement are cold, my hopes of re-entry into my master's badly cared for vineyard are even colder. I have no seat for my faith to sit, only the sheer all power and God's holy arm and good favour. I want to stay here and ride at anchor, and winter until God sends fair weather again and is pleased to take home to His house my prostitute mother. Oh, if only her husband would be so kind as to go and fetch her out of the brothel and chase her lovers into the hills! But before it comes to that, there will be sad days. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
   Yours in our Lord Jesus, S.R.  

Diary w/e Jun 8th

Sun Jun 2nd

The sixth in our Adult Sunday school series on How to Read the Bible in our old chapel by Chris Roberts. Levy two first rate sermons on Peter's confession and on the breastplate of righteousness. Barbecue birthday lunch for Katy at the Littles. Adrian the expert cook.

Tues 4th

Four elders interviewing a prospective church worker, a mature theology student at Oak Hill, who has been under the care of our elders this year.

Wed 5th

Lively U3A current affairs meeting on the Tory leadership contest. Pleased to have a new male member joining four ladies present. I did not mind being the only Brexiteer present.

Thu 6th

75th anniversary of D Day. Moving celebrations in France and May's last day before standing down as Tory leader.

Sat 8th

Had a great barbecue at the Littles but where were the planes from the royal flypast? Why did they not follow the A40 this year? Neither Katy nor I felt active in the evening so we did not go to the quiz at Betham School.