Monday, April 22, 2019

Rutherford revised (116)

116. To the Right Honourable my Lord Loudon  From Aberdeen 9 Mar 1637

My very noble and honourable Lord, - Grace mercy and peace be to you. I am bold to write to your Lordship, so you may know that the honourable cause which you are graced to profess is Christ's own truth. You are in many ways blessed by God, who has taken it upon yourself to come out in public with Christ on your forehead, when many are ashamed of Him, and hide as it were under their coat as if He were a stolen Christ. If this faithless generation, and especially the nobility of this kingdom, did not think Christ dear goods and religion expensive, hazardous and dangerous, they would not desert His cause as they do, and stand looking on with hands behind their backs when louts are running off carrying the spoils of the church, and the boards from the Son of God's house. Law and justice are to be had by any, especially for money and means; but Christ can get no law, cheap or dear. It would be the glory and honour of you who are the nobility in this land, to plead for your wronged Bridegroom and His persecuted bride, as far as zeal and standing laws will go with you. Your logic concerning this' that it will do no good for the cause, and therefore, silence is best until the Lord takes it in hand,'
is not, with respect to your Lordship's learning with a straw. Event's are God's. Let us act and not argue against God's work. Let Him who controls sit in charge. It is not a good idea to complain we cannot get a way to riches when our laziness, cold zeal, temporising and faithless fearfulness spoils a good providence.
   I will be confident of your Lordship going on in the strength of the Lord, and keep Christ, and confess Him, that He will publicly read your name before men and angels. I will beg your Lordship to speak and encourage your noble chief (The Earl of Argyle), to do the same. For I am sad that so many of you find a new wisdom, undeserving of such a name. It would be better if men would see that their wisdom be holy and their holiness wise.
   I will be bold as to ask your Lordship to give me more than your former help (for which your Lordship has a prisoner's blessing and prayers) this, that you would help my brother who now suffers for the same cause; for as he is living near your Lordship; your Lordship's word and meeting may help him.
   So, recommending your Lordship to the saving grace and tender mercy of Christ Jesus our Lord, I remain your Lordship's indebted servant in Christ,   S.R.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Rutherford revised (115)

115. To Mr Alexander Henderson From Aberdeen 9 Mar 1637

My reverend and dear Brother, - I received your letters. To me they are like apples of gold; for with my sweet feasts (and they are high and immeasurably more than such a sinner deserves),I have ballast of sadness, that weighs on me a little. It is only His boundless wisdom which is teaching His stupid child; and he knows that it is not safe for our stomachs to be drunk with comforts. Whatever happens, the sound, noise and frowns of Christ's cross are weightier than the cross itself. My witness is in heaven as I tell you I could wish many pound weights added to my cross, to know that by my sufferings Christ is promoted in His kingly work in this land. Oh what is my skin compared to His glory, or my losses or sad heart, to the apple of the eye of the Lord and his beloved Bride, His precious truth, His royal privileges, the glory of His justice giving His foes a blow, the witness of His faithful servants who glorify Him when He rides upon poor weak worms and triumphs in them! I want you to pray that I may come out of this fire with honesty, and that I may leave Christ's truth no worse than I found it; and that this honourable cause be neither stained nor weakened.
   As for your case, my reverend and dearest brother, you are the talk of north and south; and looked to as if you were made of glass crystal. Your specks and dust would soon be shouted and trumpets blown when you fail. But I know you have sought help from the mighty One. Do not trust in the comfort of men's light and frothy applause, nor your depressions on the words of those who mock and scorn godliness.  'We are treated as impostors, and yet are trueas unknown, and yet well known' (2Cor 6:8,9). God has called you to Christ's side and the wind is now in His pace in this land; and seeing you are with Him; you cannot expect the sheltered or sunny side of the hill. But I know you are determined to take Christ whatever the terms. I hope you will not regret it though your cause is hated, and people prejudiced against it. The powers of this world think our master a heavy load, that he makes too much noise, and that his reins and yokes injuries and deep wounds in their necks. So they kick and say, 'This man will not reign over us.'
   Let us pray for one another. May He who has made you a chosen arrow in His quiver, his you in the palm of his hand!
   I am your, in his sweet Lord Jesus, S.R.

Rutherford revised (114)

114.  To the much honoured William Rigg, of Athernie, in Fife near Leven  From Aberdeen 9 Mar 1637

Much honoured Sir, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I received your long anticipated short letter. I wish you had written more for I am needy. As you write I find Christ, so the longer the better; and I can only rejoice in His salvation, who has made my chains into wings, and has made me a King over my crosses and my opponents. Glory, glory, glory to His high, high and fly name! On me is not laid an ounce or a grain weight more than He has enabled me to bear; and I am not as tired from suffering as the church's haters are from persecuting. Oh, if I could find a way by any means to try to get even with Christ's love! But that I must give up. Oh, who will help a debtor pay praise to the King of saints, who triumphs in His weak servants!
   I see that if Christ rides on only a worm or a feather, His horse will not stumble nor fall. He makes the worm Jacob into a new sharp threshing tool, with teeth to thresh the mountains and grind them small, and to make the hills as chaff, and to fan them so the wind carries them away and that whirlwind will scatter them (Is 41:14-16). Christ's enemies only break their own heads in pieces, on the Rock laid on Zion; and the stone is not removed out of its place. There is reason for faith to take courage from our very sufferings,; the devil is only a whetstone to sharpen the faith and patience of the saints. I know that all this time he is only cutting and polishing stones for the new Jerusalem.
   But in all this three things have affected me a lot since my Lord has been pleased to turn my moonlight into daylight. First, he has put me to work to wrestle with Christ's love; for which I am sick with longing, pained, fainting and like to die because I cannot get Himself; which seem a strange sort of desertion. For I do not have Himself, whom if I had, would cool my love-sickness, and remove my fever; at least I would know the heat of the fire of complacency, which would cool the scorching heat of the fire of desire. (And yet I know no poverty of His love!). And so I wither and die, but He does not seem to regret having me. I have it in writing that I should have Him, but I cannot get Him; and black hunger is my best food. I bless Him for that feast.
   Secondly, old thought revive now and then and depress. I go limping and sighing, fearing there is something yet to come, heavier than I can deal with. I cannot clearly read my surety's guarantee for me in particular and my discharge; rather faith assures me of what I have but I cannot grip it. Revering my Lord, I could forgive Christ if He gave me as much faith as I have hunger for Him. I hope I am pardoned, but I do not have peace as sure as I want. Yet, I know one thing; there is no other way to heaven than the one He has given me grace to profess and suffer for. 
   Thirdly, Woe, woe is me for the virgin daughter of Scotland, and for the fearful desolation and wrath appointed for this land! And yet everyone is sleeping, eating and drinking, laughing and playing as if all is well. Oh our gold is tarnished! Our pastors are dumb and blind! The sun has set on them, and our nobility tells Christ to look after Himself, if He is Christ. We need to learn in good time the way to our stronghold.
   Sir, though I do not know her, remember my love to your wife. I pray that God establishes you.
    Yours in his sweet Lord, Jesus,   S.R.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre Dame on fire

Reaction has been varied. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this is a national icon for the French. I mean they glory in their secularism so to find that a Christian church is their national icon was a pleasant surprise.
   Internet social media had two immediate negative reactions. First it was suspected Muslim terrorism. This seems not to be the case though the desecration of churches in Europe since the advent of widespread Muslim immigration is hardly ever reported.
   Secondly the hard line Protestant reaction at no tears for a shrine of Roman idolatry. Yes it is such a place with regular masses, images etc. To say the most terrible loss is a relic of the true cross is of course Roman folly. The organ is far more important!
   I hold no candle for cathedrals. I am a Presbyterian. Cathedrals are the seats of episcopal bishops, an unwarranted form of church government.
   But this is the epitome of Gothic architecture. A building built to the glory of God and an amazing monument to the dominance of medieval Christian faith and the incredible shills of this architects and masons, carpenters an others. So I mourn with the French the loss of an international treasure which I have never visited.
   I saw Windsor Castle on fire. That was terrible but if it had been Westminster Abbet or St Pail's in flames that would be worse. Ironically the most famous image of St Paul's is of the cathedral surrounds by the flames of the blitz, courtesy of the Luftwaffe. It survived as did the Dom in Cologne when all the city perished in a fire storm from the RAF. I think God loves great buildings done in His name and He keeps them. No I do not believe in holy places. But I treasure special buildings. What Yorkshire man does not boast about t'Minster?
   Perhaps the EU will help them rebuild?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Rutherford revised (113)

13. To the Reverend and dear Brother, Mr Robert Douglas  From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

My very reverend and dear Brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to see your letter. I can only write that this for which I suffer is Christ's truth; because He has been pleased to seal my sufferings with glorious unspeakable joy. I know he will not put His seal on blank paper; His seals are not worthless nor will he be witness to a lie. I beg you my dear brother, to help me to praise and lift Christ up on His throne above the heraldry of the earth. I am astonished and confounded at the greatness of His kindness to such a sinner. I know that Christ and I will never be even; I will die in His debt. He has left an arrow in my heart which pains me for lack of real possession; and hell cannot quench this fire that God has lit. I do not want anyone to slander Christ or His cross because of me; for I have many reasons to speak much good of Him. He has brought me to a place of communion with Himself that I did not know before. The sound and dread of our Lord's cross is more fearful and hard than the cross itself. When His children come to deep water, he takes them in His arms: when they lose their footing and have to swim, His hand is under their chin.
   Help me by your prayers; and remember my love to your kind wife. Grace be with you.
   Your brother, and Christ's prisoner,       S.R.

Rutherford revised (112)

112. To Mr John Fergushill    From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

Reverend and well-beloved in the Lord, - I was refreshed by your letter. I am sorry for that prolonged suffering of your wife; but I know you see it as the evidence of being a lawful child, and not a bastard; being under your Father's rod. It will be foul weather until you reach heaven; one shower after another. The lintels and pillars of the New Jerusalem get more blows from God's hammer and tools than do ordinary side-wall stones. And if in God's book twenty crosses are written for you, they will reduce to nineteen, and then at last to one and then to nothing, but your head will for ever lie between Christ's breasts, and His own soft hand will dry your face, and wipe away your tears. As for publicly suffering for his truth, your Master will also see to it. Let us put Him to his own work of comforting and delivering. The dread of Christ's cross is worse than the cross itself.
   I cannot keep up with what he has done to my soul. My dear brother, will I not have help from you to praise, and to lift Christ upon high? I am pained with His love, and he had left a love-arrow in my heart that has made a wound, and swollen up with desires so that I am to be pitied for lacking real possession. Love wants the company of the beloved; and lack of him is my greatest pain, not His joys and comforts, but a close union and communion.
   I am fully persuaded that I now suffer for His truth; for Christ witnesses it by His sweet comforts to my soul; and do I think Him a false witness or speaking to no purpose? I thank His high and awesome name for what he has given. I hope to keep His seal and His pawned goods until He comes and claims them Himself. I defy hell to put me off it. But he is Christ and has met with His prisoner; and I took testimony from His own hand that it was He, not another in His place. When the devil summons an unauthorised court on my Lord's behalf, and gives me a forged summons, I would be ashamed to be taken in, having had a fair, broad seal. And yet Satan and my fears sometimes make Christ a liar as if He hated me. But I dare not believe evil of Christ. I would be rich if he would cool my love-fever for Himself with real presence and possession. but I dare not go wrong and seek more of that though I am not ashamed to beg at Christ's door. I pity my enemies and do not grudge them that my Lord keeps them at their own fireside, and has given me a borrowed fireside: why should I take offence if the Goodman of the house trows a dog a bone? I rejoice that the damaged ship will come to land, and that Christ will welcome the seasick passenger ashore. We have need to be well prepared for this coming great day of trial. Sooner or later, all the chaff or corn in Scotland must pass through God's sieve. Praise, praise and pray for me; for I cannot forget you. I know you will be friendly to my troubled brother who now shares the same cause with me. Let him have your advice and comforts.
    Remember my love in Christ to your wife; she will be well and her salvation is active. You have the prayers and blessing of a prisoner of Christ. Sow fast, distribute plenty of bread. The pantry door will soon seem locked to the children. Grace, grace be with you.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,    S.R.   

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Diary w/e Apr 13

Sun 7 Apr
Adult Sunday School and morning service with Dariusz Brycko of First Presbyterian Church, Warsaw (ARPC). Excellent exposition of Ps 103. Evening Paul Levy started on Spiritual Warfare from Eph 6 - Taking the whole armour go God. An outstanding sermon

Mon 8 Apr
Did a lot on Ancestry; genealogy of Katy's mother's family, one of whom George Worth served throughout WWI only to die on 4 Nov !918 on the Somme.  His family received the telegram on Armistice day. How cruel!

Tue 9th
Chris Roberts his usual excellent address at Ealing Lunchtime Talks. On Gal.3 - the law keeping that leads to a lack of guilty feelings if you think you have done enough and which leads to real guilt if you do not rely on Christ's obedience.

Wed 10th
This morning a magpie was in the garden, feeding but not flying away. This afternoon we had the patio door open and found the magpie had entered out ground floor bedroom. I called the RSPCA and they asked us to open a window and it managed to fly out. But it merely hopped around outside. Another magpie flew down to it but there was no fighting. It hopped over the road. So if you come across a distressed magpie you may wish to contact the RSPCA. It seemed to have blue colour, not the usual black and white.

Thu 11th
Reverted to typing my Rutherford revised as the Mac dictation program sometimes does not work, then it will double every phase and make silly mistakes. So easier to go back to my two fingered typing.

Fri 12th
Morning coffee and birthday cake at the Littles celebrating Elissa'a 12th birthday. The fashion is for all sort of unicorn things and we gave her s sequinned unicorn cushion.

Sat 13th
Excellent cafe breakfast and Bible study on Gen 17. Visited a member recently discharged from hospital and suffering with parkinsons. Took my 91 year old friend to be assessed for her second cataract operation.

Rutherford revised (111)

111. To Jean Brown  From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

Well-beloved and dear sister, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I received your letter, which I treasure as evidence of your Christian affection for me, and of your love to me honourable Lord and Master. My desire is for your communion with Christ to grow, and your good works stored up with your Lord until you come to the waterside.
   Oh, who knows how sweet are Christs kisses! Who has been more kindly hugged and kissed than I, his banished prisoner? I would not exchange Christ for heaven itself. He has left a dart and arrow of love in my soul, and I am in pain until he comes and removes it. I find the wounds painful for I want possession. I now know that this worm-eaten apple, the plastered, rotten world, which the silly children of this world are beating and hitting and pulling one another's ears for, is a good enough part for bastards, and that is all they have to look for. I am not offended by my enemies staying at home by their own firesides, with greater rent per anuum than I. Should I be angry that the Goodman of this world's house throws a dog a bone to hurt his teeth? He has taught me to be content with a borrowed fireside, and a strange bed; and I think I have lost nothing for the income is so great. Oh, who can tell what is in Christ! Oh , how weighty is my jewel, my crown, my fair dining-room in glory, where I will be above the blows and harm of the bishops. Desire this and let your thoughts dwell on the blessedness that awaits you in the other world. When you see the crown the fair side of the world will be quickly turned to you. I hope you are near your lodging. On, but I would think myself blessed, for my part to get home before the shower comes; for God has a quiver full of arrows to shoot at and shower down on Scotland. 
   You have the prayers of a prisoner of Christ. I want Patrick to give Christ his young love,  yes the flower of it; and to put it before all else. It is good to start soon in the way; and by this he should have the advantage in the evil day. Grace be with you,
   Yours only in his Lord Jesus,   S.R.

Rutherford revised (110)

110. To the Reverend and dear Brother, Mr David Dickson  From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

Reverend and dearest Brother, - I have no other joy this side of heaven, except that my Lord Jesus may be glorified in my imprisonment. Blessed be the Lord's people who help with the praises I owe. Dear brother, help me, a poor debtor, to pay the interest; because I cannot come anywhere close to repaying the capital sum. It is not joking or playing games to write as I do: never before did I come close to that place of communion with Christ to which I have now attained. To confirm this, I have been in private these last two or three Sabbaths, taking documents in the name of God, showing that my Lord Jesus and I have kissed one another in Aberdeen, the house of my pilgrimage. I do not want to play with an apple (He knows whom I serve in the spirit!) but I seek a seal. I only beg a down payment and extend credit for glory until supper time. I know I will not last in this world; my moonlight is like noonday light, and my four hours greater that my feasts when I was a preacher; at that time also I was often embraced in His arms. But who can blame Christ for seating me behind Him (if I may say so) on His white horse, or in His chariot covered with love, going through waters? Will not a father take his little spoiled son in his arms, and carry him over a ditch or a swamp? My short legs could not step over this place or sinking bog; and therefore, my Lord Jesus will carry me through. If a change comes, and a dark day (providing he will keep my faith unblemished and whole), I dare not blame Him, thought I get no more before heaven.But you know it is fitting if the medicine is sweet: my faith had fainted, and did had up a fainting man's head. He knows I would take Christ, sour or sweet, - anyway as long as it is indeed Christ. I do not now depend on prepared apples or sugary sweets, but I do not find fault with His gifts, and I must look and open my mouth wide. Since Christ will not hide away joys, he welcomes those who will not stay away. I look for no other fruit than that He be glorified. He knows I would take a poor diet to have His name set on high.
   I bless you for your advice. I hope to live by faith, and to swim without a load of joyful sensations round my neck; and to risk it though I should be drenched.
   As to my situation: I think the council should be tested with the matter referred to God; - duties are our, and event's are god's.
   I shall take time to go through your writing on the Covenant, and write to you my thoughts on it; and concerning the Arminian view of the contract between the Father and the Son. I beg you to proceed on commentaries on all Scripture. Your work on Hebrews is in great demand from all who want to know Christ's will. God willing I intent to start on Hosea and to try and get it printed here.
    I am so pleased to hear you have been kind to my brother. I hope your advice will benefit him. I commend him to you since i am so far away from him. I am glad that the dying servant of God, the famous and faith full Mr Cunningham, approved your work before he fell asleep.
   Grace, grace be with you.
      Yours in his sweet lord Jesus,   S.R.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Rutherford revised (109)

109  To the Lady Earlston     From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

Mistress, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to hear how your soul prospers. I urge you to go on in your journey; your time is short, and your afternoon sun will soon go down. Make an end of your accounts with your Lord; for death and judgement are tides that wait for no-one. Salvation is supposed to be at the door, and Christianity thought to be easy work; but I find it hard, and the way narrow and tight, if my Guide was not content to serve me and care for a tired traveller. Do not let any known sin hurt your conscience. Let your children be like so many flowers borrowed from God: if the flower dies or withers, thank God for a summer's loan of them, And be a good neighbour to borrow and be on good terms with Him. Set your heart on heaven, and do not trouble your spirit with the passing idol of this world, which is only vanity, and only shines like a rainbow in the air, which comes and goes with a fleeting March shower. Clay is the bastards' idol, not the children's inheritance.
   My Lord has been pleased to make many strangers smile on me, and has made me well contented with a borrowed fireside and bed. I am feasted with the joys of the Holy Spirit, and my royal King honourably carries my burdens. I love the smell of Christ's sweet breath better than the world's gold. I wish I had help to praise Him.
    The great Messenger of the Covenant, the Son of God, establish you on your rock, and keep you until the day of His coming.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

Rutherford revised (108)

108  To Lady Kaskeberry    From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

Madam, - Grace, mercy nd peace be to you. I long to hear how your Ladyship is. I do not know how to repay your Ladyship's kindness; but your love to the saints, Madam, is stored up in heaven. I know it is for the sake of your well-beloved Christ that you make His friends so dear to you, and concern yourself so much for them.
   I am in a good situation in every way in this house of pilgrimage: Christ is most kind and loving to my soul. It pleases Him to feast a stranger and an exiled prisoner with his unseen comforts; and I would not exchange my Lord Jesus for all the comforts this side of heaven. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
   This is His truth for which I now suffer; for he has confirmed it with his blessed presence. I know that Christ will yet win the day and gain the victory in Scotland. Grace be with you.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

Rutherford revised (107)

107. To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, my Lady Boyd   From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

Madam, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
   I can only think your ladyship for your letter which has refreshed my soul. I am in many ways obliged to your Ladyship for your love to my suffering brother who shares with me in this same cause. His Lord has been pleased to put him on the side of truth. I hope that your ladyship will befriend him with your advice and presence in that country where he is a stranger. And your Ladyship can be sure that your kindness to His own will be credited to your account.
   Now Madam, for your Ladyship's situation. I am very glad that the Father of Lights has made you see that there is a place in Christianity which you strive to reach; and that is to lose your right eye and right hand , and to help the Son of God. I hope your desire is to make Him your jewel, and that your eye looks up the mountain, which is only the new creature. Fear not, Christ will not throw water on your smoking fire: who else dare do that which  He forbids? Be sorry for corruption and do not rest secure. That friend lay with you in your mother's womb, and was as early a friend to you as the breath of life itself. And God will have it no other way, for He delights to take up fallen children and soothe their troubled brows. His work is binding up wounds (Is 61:1).
   First, I am glad that Christ will work His calling in you. Many a healed soul is in heaven who used to be sicker than your are. He is content for you to lay broken arms and legs on His knee that He may put them in splints. Secondly, hiding His face is wise love. His love is not naive, uncritical or irrational; giving you any other pillow before you reach the gates of heaven, except to lie between His breasts and lean on His chest. No, His children often must have the frosty cold side of the hill, and put down their bare feet among thorns. His love has eyes and in the meantime looks on. Our pride needs winter weather to rot it. But I know no-one will hear what goes on between you and Christ; you will whisper between yourselves and make up. For the anchor rope stays fast within the veil; the end of it is secure in Christs hands: who dare pull if He holds it?  'For I, the LORD your God.hold your right handit is I who say to you, “Fear notI am the one who helps youFear not, you worm Jacob' (Is 41:13,14). The seasick passenger will come to land; Christ will be the first to meet you on the shore. I hope your Ladyship will keep to the King's highway. Go on (in the strength of the Lord).quickly as it you had not time to speak to the innkeeper on the way. He who long thinks about you, is beyond time on the other side of the water. 
    Madam, I must write a word about my unfaithful self. When I first came here, the devil told many black lies about my Lord Jesus and said the case was changed, He was angry and would dismiss an evil servant before his tome was up. But He gave me grace not to go. I decided to wait and see though it was said, 'What should be done with a withered tree but to throw it over the wall?' But now (I dare not, I do not keep it up!) who is feasted like His poor exiled prisoner? Now I was ashamed of the table place, serving and the King's dining room, and that my black hand should touch such a Ruler's table. But I cannot put it right; Christ must have His way,: only He so pains my soul sometimes with His love, that I have been near to immodestly crying out. He has left a smoking, burning fire in my heart, and gone to the door Himself, and left me and it together. But it is not desertion; I do  not know what it is, but I was never so sick for Him before. I dare not challenge my Lord if I get no greater heaven; it is an affectionate cross. I know he has other things to do than to play with me, and to roll an apple with me, and that this feast will end. O for confirmations in God's name that this is Him and that I may make use of it, when it may be a close friend within me will say, and when it will be said by a challenging devil,
'Where is you God?' As it will not last, I only want to have leftovers. But let no more men slander Christ because of His cross.
   The great Lord of the Covenant, who brought from the dead the great Shepherd of his sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant establish you, and keep you and yours until he appears.
   Your in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.  

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Progress in writing

I am progressing with modernising Rutherford's Letters on my blog. 105 out of 365 done so far. I did this at the encouragement of our pastor who said I should write more. My next project will be to update my quotations pages It is 14 years since I did them and they remain a good resource. Bit I have collected daily since then and may be able to retrieve perhaps 20,000 more quotes to add to my 10,201 on my old pages indexed by subject and author.

Rutherford revised (106)

106. To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, my Lady Kenmure   From Aberdeen 

Madam, - Having the opportunity of this worthy bearer, I could not fail to answer the points in your letter,
   Firstly, I think it is easy for me to write some good things about Christ, (that sealed and holy thing [Luk1:35]), and to feed my soul with raw wishes to be one with Christ; for a wish is only broken half love. But truly to obey this, 'Come and see,' is a harder matter! Oh, I have smoke rather than fire, and questions rather than assurances of Him. I have little or nothing to say about being one who has found favour in His sight; but there is some pining and bad mannered hunger, that makes me mistake and nickname Christ as a changed lord. Alas, it is scolding. I cannot believe without a pledge. I cannot take God's word without a security, as if Christ had lost and sold His credit, and were not in my books as responsible and law abiding. But this is my way, for his way is, 'In him you also, when you heard theword of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit'  (Eph 1:13).
   Secondly, You write 'that I am full of knowledge and do not need any of these warnings.' Certainly my light is dim when it comes to close combat. And how many have full stores but empty bellies! Light, and the saving use of light are very different. Oh, how I need to have the ashes blow away from my dying fire! I may be learned, yet an idiot and stark fool following Christ! Learning will not fool Christ. The Bible fooled the Pharisees, and so I may be led astray. So as night watchmen keep one another awake by speaking to one another, so we need to keep one another in the way: sleep steals any the light when we should watch, the light which condemns sleeping. I do not doubt that many more would reach heaven if they believed that heaven was next door. The world's negativity about holiness - 'no adulterer, no murderer, no thief, no deceiver' - makes men believe they are already glorified saints. But the sixth chapter to the Hebrews mat frighten us all, when we hear that men may taste of the gift of the common graces of the Holy Spirit, and a taste of the power of the life to come, and go to hell with them. Here is false silver which seems to have on it the King's image and writing!
   Thirdly, I find you complain about yourself. And it is fitting for a sinner to do so. I am not against you in that. The sense of death is related to, is kin and blood to life; the more sense, the more life; the more sense of sin, the less sin.I would love my pain and soreness and wounds though they deprive me of a night's sleep, better than  my woulds without pain. Oh, how sweet a thing it is to give Christ His handful of broken arms and legs, and out of joint bones!
   Fourthly, Do not be afraid about little grace. Christ sows His living seed and He will not lose it. If he is guiding my flock and situation, it will not go wrong. The good Farmer works on the ground of our failed works, loses, deadness, coldness, and wretchedness.
   Fifthly, You write, 'that His compassions do not fail despite your service to Christ going wrong.' To which I answer:
   God forbid that there should be buying, selling and blocking between Christ and us; for then free grace might go away and play, and a Saviour sing dumb, and Christ go to sleep. But we go to heaven with light shoulders, with all the family, and the vessels great and small that we have, are fastened on the sure Nail (Is 22:23,24). The only danger is that we give grace more to do than God gives it; that is by turning his grace into license.
   Sixthly, You write that, 'few see your guiltiness and you cannot be open with many as you are with me.' I answer; Blessed be God that our case is not heard before men's courts. It is at home, between Him and us, that matters are settled.
   Grace be with you.
      Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R. 

Rutherford revised (105)

105. To a Gentlewoman, on the death of her husband. From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

Mistress, -  Grace, mercy and peace be to you.
   I can only rejoice and also be sad  at your situation. The Lord has been pleased to remove your husband early to his rest, (my friend and this church's faithful  member); but shall we be sorry that our loss is his gain, seeing his Lord wants his company? Do not be too concerned about his short life; for since he walked his Lord in his life, and wanted Christ to be magnified in him at his death, you should be silent and satisfied. When Christ comes for his own, He runs fast: mercy, mercy to the saints does not come slowly. Love, love in our Redeemer is not slow; and he is tender with you, who comes personally to your house, and deals as a friend with anything that is yours. I think He would be pleased to borrow and lend with you. Now he will meet with the joyful company, the fair flock, the blessed full family of the firstborn, feasting at the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is a mercy that the poor wandering sheep get the shelter of a wall in this stormy day, and a leaking ship gets a safe harbour, and seasick passenger gets as soft bed ashore. Wrath, wrath, wrath from the Lord is coming up on this land that he has left behind him. Know therefore that the wounds of your Lord Jesus are the wounds of a lover,and that he will have compassion on a sad hearted servant; and Christ has said, He will have your husband's place in your heart. He loved you in the time of your first husband, and he still courts you. Give Him your heart, place, house and all. He will not share with another. His love is full of jealousy: He will have all your love; and who but He should get it?I know you will allow Him this. Sweet and satisfying comforts are in store for you:wait patiently. Trust Christ. He is an honest debtor.
   Now as to my own situation.I think some poor person would be glad of a spoiled prisoner's leftovers. I am not short of Christ's love. He has wasted more comforts on His poor banished servant than would have refreshed many souls. My load was once so heavy that an ounce weight would have tipped the scales and broken my back; but Christ said, 'Hold, hold!' to my sorrow, and has wiped a crying face which was foul with tears. I may joyfully go on my Lord's errands, with my wages in hand. Deferred hopes need not make me lazy: my cross is both my cross and reward. O that men would sound His high praise! I love Christ's worst reproaches, His frowns, His cross better than all the world's plastered glory. My heart does not long to return from Christ's country; I am come to a sweet land.  If anyone in the world has reason to speak much good about Him, it is I. To buy Him at the price of hell would be a cheap bargain! Oh, if only all the three kingdoms could witness my pained, pained soul, overcome with Christ's love.!
   I thank you most kindly; my dear sister, for your love to, and tender care of my brother. I shall be obliged to you if you keep on as his friend. He is now more to me than a brother, because he suffers for such an honourable Master and cause. 
   Pray for Christ's prisoner; and grace, grace be with you.
      Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

Same old blog - New Name

I have decided to rename my main blog. I have kept Grumpy Old Chemist but renamed Christian Quoter as Graham's Uncommon Place . From even before the Reformation, Christians kept commonplace books of their spiritual pilgrimages, blessed thoughts, recipes, even jokes I suspect. These are great sources of historic information written by hand, Milton's intellectual development can be charted via entries in his commonplace book (now in the British Library).  but famous people had theirs printed usually posthumously, like "Milton’s Commonplace Book," in John Milton: Complete Prose Works, gen. ed. Don M. Wolfe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953). 

So as I love the historic, I thought I would rename my blog as it is after all the modern electronic equivalent of that ancient custom the commonplace book. But it is not a book but a blog. So an Uncommon Place seems to me an appropriate title linking present to past. The old urls will I hope still be the same.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019



Dear marriage supporter,
Yesterday the Government trumpeted its ‘no-fault’ divorce plan – and kept quiet about the overwhelming opposition in its own consultation.
The plans may be well intentioned. They are loved by lawyers whose workload will be cut, but they are a marriage wreckers’ charter.
Inevitably the number of divorces will rocket. The cost to society will be enormous.
No-fault divorce on demand means spouses will be unable to contest a divorce and the whole process could be speeded up to as little as six months. Philanderers will be delighted.
A husband or wife whose spouse has been unfaithful – will no longer be able to get a divorce on the grounds of adultery. Only ‘no-fault’ divorce will be available to them, and to victims of domestic violence. This is plain wrong.
The Coalition for Marriage is at the forefront of opposition to the plans. Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation. With the publication of responses today we know that 83 per cent of respondents oppose unilateral no-fault divorce.
It’s important to speak out as the plans are talked about. You might want to raise some of the points below in conversation or in a letter to a newspaper or on one of the many radio phone-ins that are taking place.
Here are some talking points:
  • Marriage vows matter. These plans trivialise marriage promises. They also create instability and uncertainty in marriage.
  • Cheating spouses can much more easily walk away from their solemn, lifelong commitment whenever they choose. Aided and abetted by the state.
  • Research overwhelmingly shows that children normally fare better in married households compared to those in broken homes. Easy divorce is not in the interests of children.
  • Divorce proceedings are dropped every year as couples decide to stick together – no-fault divorce makes the chance of reconciliation much harder.
These plans are not yet law. Parliament will have to scrutinise and debate them. Before then, we must speak out. The state should be doing what it can to help married couples stay together, not helping them break up.
Thank you for your support. If you would like to donate to our work, please do so using the button below.
Yours sincerely,
Colin Hart
Colin Hart
Coalition for Marriage (C4M)


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Rutherford revised (104)

104. To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, my Lady Viscountess of Kenmure  From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

Madam, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I am refreshed by your letter. The right hand of Him to whom belong matters of death has been gracious to that sweet child. I dare, I do not forget him and your Ladyship in my prayers.
   Madam, about your own situation. I love careful and doing complaints of lack of activity; for I see many who think it is enough to complain to be holy, and do nothing; as if saying 'I am sick' could cure them. They think complaints charm away guiltiness. I hope that you are wrestling and are struggling on, in this dead time, in which people have lacked tongue, and legs and arms for Christ. I urge upon you Madam, a closer and growing communion with Christ. There are curtains to be drawn open in Christ which we never saw and new depths of love in Him. I despair of ever winning to the far end of that love, there are so many layers in it. So dig deep, sweat and work and make efforts for Him; and keep aside for Him as much time in the day as you can. By work He will be won.
   I, His exiled prisoner looked for Him, and he has pitied me, and groaned for me as he does for his own, and I do not know what to do with Christ. His love surrounds and and overcomes me. I am laden with it but how sweet and lovely is that load! I dare not  keep it within me. I am so in love with His love that if His love was not in heaven I would not want to go there. Oh what weighing and telling is in Christ's love! The only thing I now fear is the loss of Christ's cross and the love showers that come with it. I wonder what he means by putting such a slave at the head of the table by his own elbow. Oh that I should put my black mouth just such a fair, fair, fair, face as Christ's! But I dare not refuse to be loved. There is no reason in me why He should look upon me for he got neither bribe nor work from me. It cost me nothing, it is love at good bargain. Oh, I am sweetly pressed beneath the many pound weights of his love! 
   Now, Madam, I have shown you that most people only play with Christianity; they easily put it aside. I had thought that it was an easy thing to be a Christian, and God could be found nearby; but oh the twists and turns, the ups and downs that he has led me through! And I see it is still a long way to the ford. He speaks to me in the night; and in the morning when I awake I find his love arrows that He shot at me, sticking in my heart. Who will help me to praise? Who will come with me to lift up and set on high His great love? And yet I find a lightning flash will come at mid-summer and question me. But it is only to keep a sinner in order.
   As for friends, I do not think the world would be the world if that will did not dry up. I trust in God to use the world as a shrewd or coming master does with am untrustworthy servant (at least God give me grace to do it!): he does not trust him with any great work nor credit, only trusting him with common tasks in which he cannot be irresponsible. I pray to God that I may not give this world the credit of my joys and comforts and confidence. That would be to put Christ out of his office. No, I advise you Madam from a little experience, to let Christ keep the great seal  and trust him to hang your vessels, great and small, and pin your loads on the nail fastened in David's house (Is 22:23). Let me be sick if they ever get to teaching my comforts. Away, away with the irresponsible tutors who would trick me and then Christ would laugh at me and say, 'Be warned. Look carefully before you trust.' Now shame is with me because of my prostitute mother the Church of Scotland. Oh, who will cry for her!
   Now the presence of the great Angel of the Covenant be with you and that sweet child.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Rutherford revised (103)

103. To the Lady Cardoness , Elder.    From Aberdeen 6 Mar  1637 

Worthy and well-beloved in the Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to hear your news in writing, that I may know how are your soul prospers. My desire and longing is to hear that you walk in the truth, and that you are content to follow the despised but most lovely Son of God.
   I can only recommend Him to you, as your Husband, your Well-beloved, your Portion, your Comfort and your Joy. I  speak this of that lovely one because I praise and commended the ford  (as we used to speak) as I find it. He has watered an oppressed prisoner with His sweet comforts. He was always kind to my soul; but never so kind as now, in my greatest troubles. I eat and drink with Christ. He visits my soul with visits of love in the night.
   I persuade my soul that this is the way to Heaven and I now suffer for his own truth. I encourage you in the name of Christ to continue in the truth which I delivered to you. Make your soul sure of Christ; for your day draws near to an end. Many now slide back who seemed to be Christ's friends, and prove dishonest to him, but  be faithful to death and you will have the crown of life. This lifespan of your days (of which the spirit of God speaks, Ps 39:5) shall in a short time, come to a finger's breadth, and at length to nothing. Oh, how sweet and comfortable will be the feast of a good conscience to you, when your sight will go, your face grow pale, your breath turn cold, and your poor soul comes sighing to the windows of this house of clay which is your dying body, and will long to be out, and to have the jailer open the door, that the prisoner may be set free! You come close to the water's edge: look to your accounts; ask for your Guide to take you to the other side. Do not let the world be your share; what do you have to do with dead clay? You are not bastard, but a lawful child; so set your heart on the inheritance. Go up beforehand and see your lodging. Look through all your father's rooms in heaven: in your Father's house are many places. Men look at lands before they buy them. I know that Christ has already made the bargain; be kind to their house to which you are going and often see it. Set your heart on things that are above, where Christ is at the right hand of God.
   Encourage your husband to look after his own country at home. Advise him to be merciful to the poor people of God who are under him. They are Christ's not his; so I want him to show them mercy and kindness, and to be good to their souls. I want you to write to me. My parish may forget me; but my witness is in heaven that I dare not, I do not forget them. I sigh for them in the night and the weep for them in the day. I think of myself as a husband snatched from the wife of his youth. O Lord, be my Judge: what joy it would be to my soul to hear that my ministry has left the son of God among them, and that they are walking in Christ! Remember my love to your son and daughter. Encourage them from me to seek the Lord in their youth, and to give Him the morning of their days. Let them be familiar with the word of God and prayer.
   Grace be with you. Pray for the prisoner of Christ; in my heart I do not forget you.
   Your lawful and loving pastor, in his only Lord Jesus, S.R.

Rutherford revised (102)

102. To Alexander Gordon of Knockgray  From Aberdeen 23 Feb 1637

Dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to hear how your soul prospers.
   As for myself, I am here well fed with a great King. When I came here I was bold enough to be jealous of Christ's love. I said that I was thrown over the wall of the Lord's vineyard like a dry tree; but I see if I had been a withered branch the fire would have burned me long before now. Blessed be His high name who kept sap in the dry tree. And now, as if Christ was at fault, he has made amends, and has mistaken my ravings; for a man underwater cannot be in his right mind, far less think rightly about his faith and love. Because it was a fever, my Lord Jesus forgave me it and the rest. He knows that in our troubles we can find a fault even in the fairest face that ever was, even in Christ's face. I would never have believed the depression should have made me so mistaken about my old Master; but sometimes we will be sick. Sickness helps both faith and love. But oh, how greatly is a poor spoilt prisoner obliged to sweet Jesus! My tears are sweeter to me than the laughter of the fourteen bishops is to them. The worst of Christ, even his chaff, is better than the world's corn.
   Dear Brother, I beg you, I charge you in the name and authority of the Son of God; to help me to praise His Highness; and I charge you also to tell all your friends so that my Master may get many thanks. Oh, if all my hairs Oh, all my parts and all my bones were well tuned tongues, to sing the high praises of my great and glorious King! Help me to lift Christ up upon His throne and to lift him up above the thrones of earthly kings, the dying sceptre bearers of this world. The prisoner's blessing, the blessing of the one who is separated from his brothers, be on them and on all who will lend me a hand in this work. Show this to the people with you, to whom I used to preach.
   Brother, my Lord has brought to me to this point that I will not flatter the world for a drink of water. I am not in debt to this world; my Lord has made me dead to that. I am now amazed that I was ever so childish, a long time ago, as to beg from such beggars! Shame on us who court such a dark skinned prostitute when we may get such as fair, fair match in heaven! Oh that I could give up this clay idol, this masked, painted, gilded over  dirt, which Adam's sons worship. We make an idol of our will. So many lusts in us, like so many gods, we are all god makers. We are likely to lose Christ, the true God, in the crowd of those new and false gods. Scotland has thrown her crown off her head; the virgin daughter has lost her necklace. Shame, shame on our prostitute mother. Our day is coming; a time when women will wish they had been childless, and fathers will bless miscarrying wombs and dry breasts; many great and fair houses will be ruined. This church will sit on the ground all night, and tears will run down her cheeks. The sun has gone down on her prophets. Blessed are the prisoners of hope, who can run into their stronghold, and hide themselves for a time, until the anger passes.
   Commend me to your wife, to your daughters, your son-in-law and to A.T. Write to me about the state of your church. Grace be with you.
   I am very concerned for my brother. I beg for your kindness and and advice to him.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Rutherford revised (101)

101. For Janet Macculloch  From Aberdeen 20 Feb 1637

Dear sister,- Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to hear how your soul prospers.
   I am as well as a prisoner of Christ can be, feasted and fattened with the comforts of God. Christ's kisses are sweeter to my soul than ever before. I would not exchange my Master for all the kings of clay on the earth. Oh my well beloved is altogether lovely and loving and I care not what man may do may do.
   I am persuaded that I delivered the truth of Christ to you. Do not slip from it because of any boasting of fear of men. If you go against the truth of Christ for which I now suffer I will be a witness against you in the day of Christ.
   Sister, grip Christ fast. Do not follow the ways of the sinful world. Do not let this clay part of the earth take up your soul : it is the part of the bastards when you are a child of God; so seek your Father's inheritance. Lift your heart to see the house and rooms in the New City. Shame, shame on those who cry, 'Up with the world and down with conscience and heaven!' We have childish sense and so we cannot prize Christ rightly. Advise your husband and mother to get ready for eternity. That day is drawing near.
   Pray for me the prisoner of Christ. I cannot forget you.
    Your lawful pastor and brother,   S.R. 

Rutherford revised (100)

100. To the Lady Cardoness  From Aberdeen 20 Feb 1637

My dearly beloved and longed for in the Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace to you. I long to hear how your soul prospers, and how Christ's kingdom grows in you. I encourage and beg you for Christ's sake, do not faint or grow weary. There is a great need for heaven There is a great need for heaven and you must have it. All other things lighthouses All other things like houses, lands, children, husbands, friends, country, credit, health, wealth, honour may be lacking; but heaven is your one thing needed, it is the good part that will not be taken from you. See the you buy the field where the pearl is. Sell everything and buy salvation. Do not think it easy; for it is a steep climb to eternal glory; many lie dead on the roadside who were killed by false security.
   Nine Lord Jesus has led me just such a place in Christianity that I think little about past things. Oh, what I want! I want to so many things I want so many things that I am almost asking if I have anything at all. Every man thinks he is a rich enough in grace until he takes out his purse and counts his money, and then he finds his store is only poor and light in the day of heavy testing. I have found that I had not enough to pay my expenses I have found that I had not enough to pay my expenses, can you start house of everything can you start house of everything and I would have fainted it want and poverty had not chased me to the storehouse of everything.
   I beg you to be conscientious about your path. Be kind and conscientious with your tenants Be kind and conscientious with your tenants. To fill a gap or hole, do not make a greater gap in your conscience. I wish plenty of love to your soul. Let bastards inherit the world Let bastards inherit the world; do not make it yours. After the last trumpet is blown, the world and all its glory will be like an house burnt to ashes and like an old roofless fallen castle. Shame shame on us fools who think ourselves in debt to the world! My Lord has brought me to this; for this world's kindness I would not give a drink of cold water. I am amazed that the men long after love or care for these feathers I am amazed that the men long after, love or care for these feathers. It is almost a remarkable world to me. To think that some men are so mad as to block things up with dead earth! To put out conscience and get in clay again is a strange bargain!

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Diary w/e Apr 6

Sun 31 Mar

Adult SS addressed by Ivan Stoitsev from the Congregational Church, Plovdiv, Bulgaria who told us of the history and present state of Christianity in Bulgaria. Paul Levy preached from Mat 13 on the person of Christ. Mothering Sunday lunch at Littles. Only one Ghanaian detainee at Harmondsworth when I preached on the second and third temptations of Christ.

Mon 1 Apr

Pleased to take my nonagenarian lady to glaucoma clinic for she has consented to her second cataract operation, 8/11 Ealing IPC elders present for our business meeting plus as usual. teaching elders from Liss and Ilford and one Oak Hill student  under the care of our presbytery. A meeting enlivened by an agenda item about a service to bless pets. It was April 1st.

Tue 2 Apr

U3A world religions group I chair discussing religion in Ethiopia. One new member present who hd visited there., the first Christian state before even Armenia, 4th century. Good talk with a local Muslim leader who wants Christians and Muslims to take action together against the lies on sexuality being taught in schools. I have referred him to The Christian Institute, Christian Concern and Christian Voice as I am all for co-belligerency against godless secularism.

Wed 3 Apr

Four ladies to U3A Current Affairs here on Isis brides and treason. One who is Czech manages to have her own minority viewpoint on everything. She would have Shamima Begum back. I asked if she would give her a room. Pastoral visit to Clayponds Hospital and a walk back to the bus through South Ealing Cemetery. 36 at prayer meeting addressed by a brother with a 31 year itinerant ministry among Iranians and Afghans.Very encouraging growth of the church despite persecution.

Th 4 Apr

Moorfields Eye Clinic at Ealing Hospital for my quarterly check up. No change in my troubled left eye or my 20:20 right one. The staff who treated me were from former USSR, Lithuania, Romania, Sudan and Portugal. Those I asked said Brexit was no problem.

Fri 5 Apr

Annual check up of my sleep apnoea at Charing Cross Hospital by a Portuguese physiologist then to Canterbury. Held up bu necessary length of slip road coned off.

Sat 6 Apr

Visited Swalecliffe Cactus Fair and Goodys micro-brewery near Herne.
Back from Canterbury in record time - no delays. The only other time those roads have been so clear was Christmas Day..Home and find our TV has sound but no picture.