Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rutherford revised (90)

90. To Mr John Livingstone                   From Aberdeen 7 Feb 1637

My Reverend and dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to hear from you and be refreshed with the comforts of the Bride of our Lord Jesus in Ireland. I suffer grief with you for the setback that your plans to be in New England have received lately; but if our Lord who is skilled in raising His children had not seen it  the best for you, it would not have happened. Keep quiet and rest yourselves on the Holy One of Israel. Listen to what He has said by frustrating your desires; He will speak peace to His people.
   I am here removed from my flock and silenced and imprisoned in Aberdeen for the testimony of Jesus. And I have been restricted in spirit also with desertions and and challenges. I submitted a list of quarrels and complaints of unkindness against Christ who seemed to throw me over the fence of the vineyard like a dry tree and separated me from the Lord's inheritance; but high, high and loud praises be to our royal crowned King in the church; for He has not burnt the dry branch. I will yet live and see His glory.
   Your mother-Church, because of her prostitution, is likely to be thrown off. The children may break  their hearts to see such arguing between the husband and the wife. Our clergy want to reconcile with the Lutherans and the scholars are writing books and drawing up a common confession at the Council.s command. Our Service Book is proclaimed with the sound of the trumpet. Night has come down on the prophets! Scotland's day of visitation has come. It is time for the bride to weep when Christ is saying he will choose another wife. But our sky will clear again the dry branch of our cut down Lebanon will sprout again and be glorious; and they will yet plant vines again on our mountains.
   Now, my dear brother I write to you with purpose that you may help me to praise and seek the help of others with you that God may be glorified in my imprisonment. My Lord Jesus has taken the withered stranger, His heart-broken prisoner into his house of wine. Oh, Oh if you and all Scotland and all our brothers with you knew how I feast! Christ's honeycombs drop comforts. He is with His prisoner and the King's perfume casts a smell. The devil cannot deny that we suffer as the apple of Christ's eye, His royal rights as King and Lawgiver. Let us not fear nor faint. He will have His Gospel once again sold in Scotland and have voices raised to see who will say 'Let Christ be crowned King in Scotland'. Is it true the Antichrist stirs his tail; but I love a rumbling and raging  devil in the church (since the church militant cannot or may not lack a devil to trouble her) rather than a subtle  or sleeping devil. Christ never yet got a bride without sword strokes. It is now near the Bridegroom's entry into his room; let us wake and go in with Him.
   I carry your name to Christ's door; I pray you, dear brother, do not forget me. Let me have a letter from you, and I charge you, do not hide Christ's generosity to me. I write about what I have found from Him in the house of my pilgrimage. Remember my love to all our brothers and sisters there.
   The keeper of the vineyard watch for His besieged city and you.                      Your brother and fellow sufferer,  S.R.

Rutherford revised (89)

89. To  my Well-beloved and Reverend Brother, Mr Robert Blair       From Aberdeen 7 Feb 1637

Reverend and dearly beloved brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. 
   My dear brother it is no great surprise that you are sad for a time and that God's will should move you (frustrating your aim and desire to live among a people whose God is the Lord). I do not doubt that you have reason to enquire what His providence in this says to you; but God's directing and commanding will cannot by good logic be found from events of providence. The Lord sent Paul on many errands for the spreading of His Gospel where he found lions in his way. A promise of the Holy Land was made to His people and yet many nations were in the way fighting against them and ready to kill those who had the promise or to keep them from possessing that land which the Lord their God has given them. I know that you have much to do with submission of spirit; but I am persuaded that you have learnt in every condition you are placed to be content and to say, 'Good is the will of the Lord; let it be done'. I believe the Lord often tacks His ship to find the wind and if He purposes to bring mercy from your sufferings and silence (which I know from my own experience) is grievous to you. Seeing He knows our mind is willing to serve Him, our wages and pay is to the fore with God even as some sick soldiers get their pay when they are bedridden and are not able to go to the field with others, 'That Israel might be gathered to himfor I am honoured in the eyes of the LORDand my God has become my strength'(Is 49:5). And we are to believe it is to be so even before all is finished 'The violence done to me and to my kinsmen be upon Babylon, (and great prostitute's lovers). Let the inhabitant of Zion say.My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
let Jerusalem say.'  Beholdam about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoplesThe siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoplesAll who lift it will surely hurt themselvesAnd all the nations of the earth will gather against it.'When they have eaten and swallowed up they will be sick and vomit us up as living men again; the devil's stomach cannot digest the Church of God. Suffering is the other half of our ministry, the hardest for we would be content for our King Jesus to make an open proclamation and discount crosses and promote joy and gladness, ease, honour and peace. But it must not be so; through many trials we must enter into the kingdom of God. Not only by them but through them we must go and strategies will not take as past the cross. It is foolishness to think that we can steal to heaven unharmed.
   For myself I am here a prisoner confined in Aberdeen threatened with removal to Caithness because I want to edify people in this town, and in my hearing I am openly preached against in the pulpits and tested with debates by the doctors, especially by Dr Robert Baron. I would not exchange my weeping with the painted laughter of the fourteen bishops. When I first came here I took the sulks at Christ and would charge him with unkindness. I argued with my Lord and wondered whether he loved me on not; and once again disputed all that He had done to me, because His a word was a fire shut up in my belly, and I was tired of waiting saying I was thrown out of the Lord's inheritance. But now I see that I was a fool. My Lord ignored it all and bore my foolish jealousies and ignored that I ever wronged His love. And now He has come again with mercy under His wings. I leave my foolish challenge: He is God  I see and I am man. Now he is pleased to renew his love to my soul and to pet His poor prisoner. Therefore dear brother, help me to praise and with you show the Lord's people what he is done from my soul that they may pray and praise. And I charge you in the name of Christ not to neglect it. For this reason I write to you my sufferings may glorify my royal King and edify His church in Ireland. He knows how one of Christ's love coals has burned my soul with a desire to preach His glory whose cross I now bear. Is God forgive you if you do not do it; but I hope the Lord will move you to witness on my behalf this sweetness, excellency and glory of my royal King. It is only our soft flesh that has made us slander the cross of Christ: I see now the white side of it; my Lord's chains are gilded over. Oh, if Scotland and Ireland shared my feast! But I only get my meat through many blows. There is no-one here to whom I can speak; I live in Kedar's tents. Cheer me with a letter from you. Few know what is between Christ and me.
   Dear brother, upon my salvation, this is His truth for which we suffer. Christ would not leave us without promises. Courage, courage! Joy, joy for evermore! Oh joy unspeakable and glorious! Oh for help to put my crowned King on high! O for love for Him who is altogether lovely, - that love which many waters cannot quench nor can the floods drown.!
   I remember you and carry your name on my breast to Christ. In I beg you; do not forget His afflicted prisoner. Grace, mercy and peace be with you. Greet in the Lord from me Mr Cunningham, Mr Livingstone, Mr Ridge, Mr Cornwall etc 
   Your brother and fellow prisoner,  S. R.

Rutherford revised (88)

88.To Janet Kennedy          From Aberdeen 1637

Mistress, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. You are greatly indebted to His rich grace, who has separated you for Himself from this condemned and guilty world, and for the promised inheritance with the saints in light. Hold on to Christ; fight for Him; it is right to go on holding and pulling for Christ; and it is not possible to keep Christ with peace having got him once unless the devil was dead. You must resolve to set your face for salvation against Satan's northern winds and storms. Nature would have heaven come to us while we are asleep in bed. We would all buy Christ at our own price. But Christ is worth more blood and lives that either you or I have to give Him. When we come home and enter the possession of our Brother's fair kingdom, and when our heads feel the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we look back to pains and sufferings; then we shall see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from prison to glory, and that our little inch of time-suffering is not worthy of our first night's welcome-home to heaven. Oh, what will then be the weight of every one of Christ's kisses! Oh how weighty and worthy shall every one of Christ's love-smiles be! Oh, when once He shall rest our weary traveller's head between his blessed breasts, the poor souls will think one kiss from Christ has fully paid forty or fifty years of wet feet and all it sore hearts and like sufferings(Cor 4:17) it had in following after Christ! Oh, three times blinded souls whose hearts are charmed and bewitched with dreams, shadows, trivial things, night-vanities and night-dreams of a miserable life of sin! Shame on as who still sit chained with the love and liking of the loan of a piece of dead clay! Oh, poor fools, deceived by painted things and this world's fair weather and smooth promises and rotten worm-eaten hopes! Will not the devil laugh to see us give ourselves and receive only corrupt and counterfeit pleasures of sin? O for a sight of eternity's glory and a little taste of the marriage supper of the Lamb.! Half a swallow or a drop of the wine of consolation up at our banqueting house, from Christ's own hand, would make our stomachs loathe the brown bread and and sour drink of a miserable life. Oh, how senseless we are to chafe and hunt and run until our souls be out of breath after a condemned happiness of our own making! And do you not sit in your own light and make it a matter of child's play to pour our drink and toast paradise and the heaven that Christ did sweat for, even for a puff of smoke for Esau's morning breakfast. O that we were out of ourselves and dead to this world and this world dead and crucified to us! And when we would be out of love with any painted, masked lover whatsoever, then Christ would win and conquer for Himself a home in the inner part of our hearts. Then Christ will be our song night and morning;  then the very noise and sound of our Well-beloved's feet when he comes with His first knock or rap at the door, will be as news of two heavens to us. O that our eyes and our souls smelling should pursue a blasted and sunburned flower even this plastered, fair on the outside world, and then we have neither eye nor smell for the Flower of Jesse, for that plant of renown, for Christ, the choicest, the fairest, the sweetest rose that God ever planted! Oh, let some of us die to smell the fragrance of Him and let my part of this rotten world be lost and so for ever, providing I may anchor my tottering soul on Christ! I know sometimes I say, 'Lord, what will you have for Christ?' But Lord, can you be bribed or influenced with any gifts for Christ? O Lord can Christ be sold? Rather may not a poor needy sinner have him for nothing? If I can get no more, oh, let me have pain for all eternity longing for Him! The joy of hungering after Christ would you be my heaven for evermore. Alas, that I cannot bring souls and Christ together! But I desire the coming of his kingdom and that Christ, as I certainly hope He will, will come on withered Scotland, like rain upon the newly cut grass.  Oh, let the King come! Oh, let His kingdom come! Oh let their eyes rot in their sockets (Zec 14:12), who will not take Him home again to reign and rule in Scotland. Grace, grace be with you.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R. 

Rutherford revised (87)

87. To Elizabeth Kennedy  From Aberdeen 1637

Mistress,- Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I have for a long time intended to write to you, but have been prevented. I really want you to consider your country and in what direction you are facing; for not all come home at night who think they have set their face towards heaven. It is a sad thing to die and miss heaven and to lose your room with Christ at night: it is an evil journey where travellers are left in the dark in the fields. I myself am persuaded that thousands will be deceived and ashamed in their hopes. Because they drop their anchor in sinking sands; they will lose it. I did not know until now the pain, work or difficulty that there is to win  home: nor did I well understand before this what it means, 'The righteous will barely be saved.' Oh, how many a poor professor's candle is blown out and never lit again! I see that ordinary faith and to be put among the children of God and to have a name among men is now thought good enough to carry professors to heaven. But a name is only a name and will never survive a blast of God's storm. I advise you to give no rest to your soul or to Christ, no sleep to your eyes until you have got something that it will survive the fire and withstand the storm. I am sure if I had one foot in heaven and He then should say, 'Look after yourself. I will hold my grip on you no longer.' I will go no further but fall down into many pieces of a dead nature. 
   They are happy for evermore who are over head and ears in the love of Christ and know no sickness but love-sickness for Christ, and feel no pain but the pain of an absent and hidden Well-beloved. We run our souls out of breath and tire them in chasing and galloping after our night-dreams (such are the ravings of  our miscarrying hearts) to get some created good thing in this life and on this side of death. We would want to stay and spin out that heaven for ourselves on this side of the water; but sorrow, want,  changes,  crosses and sin are  both woof and warp of that badly spun web. Oh, how sweet and dear are those thoughts that are still on the things which are above and how happy are they who are longing to have little time left, to have their thread cut and can cry to Christ. 'Lord Jesus come over; come and fetch the sorrowful passenger'. I wish our thoughts were more frequently upon our country than they are. Oh, but heaven spreads a sweet smell to those who have spiritual smelling! God has made many fair flowers; but the fairest of them all is heaven, and the Flower of all flowers is Christ. Oh why do we not fly up to that lovely One? Alas that love is scarce and there are few lovers of Christ among us all! Shame on those who love fair things, like fair gold, fair houses, fair lands, fair pleasures, fair honours, and fair persons, and do not pine and melt away with love to Christ! Oh would to God I had more love for His sake! Oh for as much as would lie between me and heaven for His sake. O for as much as would go round about the earth, and over the heaven, yes, the heaven of heavens and get ten thousand worlds, that I might give all to that fair, fair only fair Christ! But alas, I have nothing for Him, yet He has much for me. Christ gains nothing when he gets my little, irresponsible span-length and and hand-breadth of love.
   If men had something to do with their hearts and thoughts, that are always bobbing up and down (like men with oars in a boat), going after sinful trivialities, they might find great and is sweet use of their thoughts on Christ. If those frothy, fluctuating and restless hearts of ours would come to Christ, and look into his love, to bottomless love, to the depths of mercy, to the unsearchable riches of His grace, to enquire after and search into the beauty of God in Christ, they would be swallowed up in the depth and height, length and breadth of His goodness. Oh if men would pull back the curtains and look inside the ark and see how the fullness of the Godhead lives in Him bodily! Oh who not say, 'Let me die, let me die  ten times to see a sight of Him?'Ten thousand deaths are not a great price to give for Him. I am sure that weak. fainting love would push up the market and raise the price, doubling it for Him. But alas, is men and angels were offered and sold at the dearest price they would not all of them buy a night's  love or a four and twenty hours sight of Christ! Oh how happy are those who get Christ for nothing! God send me no more for my part of paradise than Christ, and surely I will be rich enough and have as much of heaven as the best of them, if Christ were my heaven.
   I write nothing better to you than to want you, if you ever reckoned Christ, to take Him up and count all over again and weight Him again and again and after that, having no other to court your love and to woo your soul's delight but Christ. He will be found worthy of all your love, though it swell on you from the earth to the uppermost circle of the heaven of heavens. To our Lord Jesus and His love I commend you.
   Yours in his sweet lord Jesus,  S.R.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rutherford revised (86)

86. To my Lord Craighalll  From Aberdeen 24 Jan 1637

My Lord, - I received Mr L's letter together with your Lordship's, and his learned thoughts about ceremonies. I respect the man's learning for I hear he is opposed to Arminian heresies. But with respect to that worthy man, I am amazed to hear such popish-like expressions as he has written in his letter, like ' your Lordship need not doubt when the King and Church have agreed in settling such matters; and the Church's direction in things indifferent and circumstantial (as things indifferent and circumstantial were all the same!) should be the rule of every private Christian'. I could only look at the papers for two hours because the bearer wanted me to finish quickly. I find the worthy man not so prominent in this controversy as some troubled men in our country whom he calls 'refusers of conformity ; and let me say I am more confirmed in nonconformity when I see such a great man with slender arguments. But I will put the blame on the weakness of his cause not the poverty of Mr L's learning. I have been and still am confident that it is a scandal that the British church leaders cannot answer one argument; and I wanted very much to hear Mr L speak about this; and I will say, if some ordinary church leader had answered as Mr L did, then he did not understand the nature of the scandal; but I dare not so abuse that worthy man. I am now busy with some other work. I will (God willing) answer this to the satisfaction of any not prejudiced..   I do not say that everyone knows the reason why I write from God's presence and have a bright shining face suffering for this cause. Aristotle never knew the way of the conclusion; and Christ says few  know it (Rev 2:17). I am sure that conscience standing in awe of the Almighty, and fearing to make it a little hole in the bottom for fear of underwater, is a strong medium to hold off any erroneous conclusion in the least wing or joint of the sweet, sweet truth concerning the royal prerogative of our kingly and highest Lord Jesus. And my witness is in heaven that I saw neither pleasure nor profit nor honour to hook me and catch me entering into prison for Christ except the wind on my face at present. And if I had loved to sleep comfortably with the ease and present delight that I saw on this side of the sun and moon, I would have lived at ease and in good hope of faring as well as others. The Lord knows that I preferred preaching Christ, and still do compared with anything except Christ himself. And the new regulations took my one my only joy from me which was to me like the poor man's one lamb who had no more! And alas! There is little pity or mercy  in their hearts to pluck out a poor man's one eye for a thing indifferent; i.e. knots of straw and things not part of the way to heaven. I do not want my name sent as a pilgrim to Cambridge, fearing lest I come to the attention of authorities. I am sufficiently burnt already. 
   In the meantime, please see if the Bishop of St Andrews and of Glasgow (the deputy of Galloway's) will please cool from the heat of their wrath and let me go to my congregation. Few know the heart of the prisoner; yet I hope that the Lord will carve His own glory out of such and knotty wood as I am. Keep to Christ, my dear and worthy Lord. Arguments that come from the risk of provoking the anger of the mother-Church that can sway and nod and stagger) are not so weighty as peace with the Father and Husband .Let the wife frown; if the husband laughs I do not care
   Remember my service to my Lord your father and mother and lady. Grace be with you.
    Yours at all obedience in Christ,    S.R.

Rutherford revised (85)

85. To John Kennedy,  Bailie (magistrate) of Ayr  From Aberdeen 6 Jan 1637

Worthy and well beloved brother, - Grace, mercy and peace to you. I am still waiting for what our Lord will do for His afflicted church and for my return to my Lords house. O that I could hear the loss of Christ (now thrown out of his inheritance) restored and openly proclaim Christ restored to his freehold and its ownership of land in Scotland; and the courts, opened in the name of the bastard bishops (the magistrates and officers of their godfather the Pope) were suppressed. Oh how sweet a sight it would be to see all the people of the Lord in this land bringing home again our banished King Christ to His own palace, His sanctuary and His throne! I would think it's a mercy to my soul if my faith would watch all this winter night and do not nod or sleep until my Lords summer day dawned upon me. It is no small matter if in this sad night of our heavy testing,  faith and hope escape unharmed, whole and straight. I confess that the origin of unbelief is not reason for unbelief is always an irrational thing,  for it must be when such  eyes as ours  run in a great smoke or that weak head would not be giddy when the water runs deep and strong? But God be thanked that Christ is in his children and can endure stress and storm though soft nature would fall down in pieces. O that I had the confidence to rest on this though he should grind to me into small powder and beat me into dust and scatter the dust to the four winds of heaven, that my Lord will gather up the powder and make me a new vessel again to carry Christ's name to the world! I am sure that love fastened and seated upon the faith of His love to me would desire and enjoy this and would even claim and assert kindliness in Christ's blows and kiss his love frowns and will sense and read salvation in the wounds made by Christ's sweet hands. O that I had a promise made from Christ of his love to me and then though my faith was as fragile as paper I think longing and pining and ripening of sick desires would make it last out the siege until the Lord came to fill the soul with His love. And I also know that in that case faith would ripen and be nourished at the root even in midwinter, and stand against all storms. Whatever happens I know Christ wins heaven despite hell. 
   I 0we as much praise and thanks to free grace as would live between me and the farthest border of the highest heaven if ten thousand heavens were laid one above another.
   But oh! I have nothing that can hire or grow grace; for is grace could be hired, it is in no grace. But all our stability and the strength of our salvation is anchored and fastened upon free grace; and I am sure, by his death and blood, Christ has fastened the knot so well that the fingers of devils and hell full of sins cannot loose it. And that tie is, and never before, nor ever shall be recorded, is surer than heaven or the days of heaven,  as that sweet pillar of the covenant on which we all hang. Christ, with all His little ones underneath His two wings and encircled by His arms,  is so sure, that if He and they are thrown into the sea, He will come up again and not lose one. Not as single one can, nor will be lost in the counting.
  This was always God's plan ever since Christ came into the game between Him and us; to make men dependent creatures and in the work of our salvation,  to put created strength and limbs of clay out of place and out of of service and out of court. And now in our place, God has substituted and accepted His Son, the Mediator for us and all that we can do. If this had not been so, I would have given up and foregone my part of paradise and salvation for a breakfast of dead moth-eaten earth, but now I would not give it nor let it go for more than I can tell. And truly they are silly fools and ignorant of Christ's worth and badly trained and taught, who let Christ and heaven go for two  feathers or two straws of the devil's painted pleasures decorated only on the outside. This is our happiness now is that we cannot tell the extent of our benefits in that night when eternity will come upon us. We shall be such great gainers and so far from being out of pocket (as the poor fools of this world are who give out their money and get only black hunger) now the angels cannot do the counting to add up our advantages and incomes. Who knows how far it is to the depths of our Christ's fullness and to the ground of o all that glory which is in him and kept for us in heaven? Who ever weighed to Christ in scales? Who has seen the thickness and layers and the heights and depths of that glory which is in Him and checked for us? O for such a heaven to stand far off and see and love and long  for Him until time's thread is cut and this great work of creation dissolved at the coming of our Lord.!
   Now I commend you to His grace. I ask you also to pray for me to re-enter the Lord's house, if it be His good will.
    Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,    S.R.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Rutherford revised (84)

84. To  Jean Brown                 From Aberdeen 1637

Mistress, -  Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to hear how your soul prospers. I want you to be going forward to your country. I know you see your time passing away little by little,  and in short time you will be beyond time, for life is a message that does not stand still ,and our joys here come from weeping rather than laughter and they die weeping. Sin, sin, this body of sin and corruption, makes  bitter and poisons all our joys. O I wish I were where I shall sin no more! O to be free from these chains and irons which we carry about with us! Lord, free the sad prisoners! Who of the children of God have no reason to say that they have had their fill all this vain life, and like a full and sick stomach, to wish in the middle of the meal, that the meal was over and the table removed that the sick man might get to bed and enjoy rest? We have a reason to tire in the middle of the meal of the best food that this world can serve up for us, and to cry to God that he would take away the table and put the sin-sick souls to rest with Himself. O for a long day playing with  Christ and our long lasting vacation of rest! Happy are those safely over the ferry, Christ having paid the fare. Happy are they who have completed their hard and weary time of apprenticeship and are now freemen and citizens in that joyful, high city, the New Jerusalem. 
  Alas that we should be glad at and rejoice in our chains and our prison and this precious inn, a life of sin where we are absent from our Lord and so far from our home. O that we could get hold and guarantee our love, that we should not fasten onto dreams of this world, these shadows and foolishness; we should more often look at what they are doing in heaven with our hearts on our sweet treasure above. We smell of this smoke of this low house of earth because our hearts and our thoughts are here. If we could engage with God we would smell of heaven and of our country above and we would look like our country and like strangers; people not born or brought up here. Our crosses would not leave a mark upon us if we were heavenly minded. I do not know of any obligation which the saints have to this world, seeing as we live only on the smoke of it and if there is any smoke in the house it blows in our eyes. Our share of the food is barely a drink of water and when we suffer we hide our grief away between our Lord and us, our content ourselves with stolen sorrow behind our backs. Thank God that we have so many things that rub us up the wrong way that we may pray, 'God preserve our better home; God bless our Father's house and not this smoke that blows us to see our better lodging'. I am sure that this is the best fruit of the cross when we are free from the hard menu of this dear inn and cry all the more that God would send a good wind to bring us to land, hungry and oppressed strangers, at the door of our Fathers house which is now made in Christ, our kind inheritance. Oh let us pull up the stakes and pillars of our tent and put it on our back and go to our best home, for here we have no continuing city. 
   I am here waiting with hope to see what my Lord will do with me. Let him make of me what He will providing He glorifies himself out of me; I am not bothered.
 I hope, yes I am now sure,  I am for Christ and all that I can do all may make is for Him. I am his everlasting debtor and still will be; for I have nothing for Him and He gets only little service from me! Pray for me that our Lord will be pleased to give me room in his house; that I may serve him in the calling to which she has called me.  Grace be with you. 
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,    S.R.

Rutherford revised (83)

83. To the earl of Lothian From Aberdeen 1637

Right Honourable and my very worthy and noble Lord, - from the honourable and good report I hear of your Lordship's goodwill and kindness, in taking to heart the honourable cause of Christ, and His afflicted church and a wronged truth in this land, I am bold enough to write to your Lordship at this distance, which I trust your Lordship will accept. It is to your Lordships honour and credit, to take action, as you do (all honour to God!), for the falling and tottering church of Christ, your mother Church, and to take Christ's wrongs as as your own. O blessed hand, which will wipe and dry the watery eyes of our weeping Lord Jesus, now mourning in  sackcloth in his members, in his spouse, in his truth and in the royal right of His kingly power! He does not need service and help from men, but His wisdom pleases to make the wants and losses, the sores and wounds of His spouse, a field and an office, for his servant's zeal to be exercised. Therefore, my noble and dear Lord, go on, go on in the strength of the Lord, against all opposition to side with the wronged Christ. The defending and warding off of strokes from Christ's bride, the Kings daughter, is like a part of the rest of the way to heaven, knotty, rough, stormy and full of thorns. Many would follow Christ, but with a reservation that, by open proclamation of Christ, they would discount crosses and want fair weather under summer sky and sun until we were all fairly landed in heaven. I know that your Lordship has not learned Christ in this way; you intend to reach heaven, even if your father was standing in your way, and to take it with the wind  even at your face; for both storm and wind were on the fair face of your lovely Forerunner Christ, all His way. It is possible that you will not meet with success in this worthy cause. What then? Duties are ours, but events are the Lord's; and I hope if your Lordship and others with you, will go on down to the depths and bottom of the trickery and deceitful treachery to Christ of all the cursed and wretched bishops,  the Antichrist's firstborn and the first fruits of his foul womb, and will deal with our Sovereign (law going before you) and will deal with the reasonable and impartial hearing of Christ's list of complaints, and set yourselves wholeheartedly to seek the Lord and his face, that your righteousness will break through the clouds which prejudice has drawn over it, and you will in the strength of the Lord, bring our banished and departing Lord Jesus, home again to his sanctuary. But your Lordship should not consult with men about this, but look and in the dark, reach out to Christ and follow him. Let not men's reluctance discourage nor be afraid of men's apparent wisdom, who in this storm make for the nearest land and go to the quiet and calm side of the Gospel, and hide Christ (if ever they had Him) in their boxes; as if they were ashamed of Him, or as if Christ were stolen goods and would fade in sunlight.
   My very dear and the noble Lord, you have gladdened the hearts of many because you have chosen Christ and His Gospel though great temptations stood in your way. But I love your faith the more because it has survived winds. If we knew ourselves well, to lack temptations is the greatest temptation of all. Neither is father no mother no call no honour in this overrated world with all its painting and adorning, nor anything else, when they are put in the balance with Christ. but feathers, shadows, night dreams and straws. Oh, if this world knew the excellency, sweeteners and beauty of that high and lofty one,  the Fairest among the sons of  men, truly they would see that if their love was larger than ten heavens, all in circles one beyond the other, it would be all too little for Christ our Lord! I hope you will not regret your choice when life comes to the twilight between time and eternity and you will see the farthest border of time and will draw the curtain and look into eternity and one day see God to take the heavens in his hands and roll them up together like a holey old garment, and set on fire this clar part of the creation of God, and burn up into smoke and ashes the idol hope of poor fools who think there is not a better country than this low country dying clay. Children cannot make your proper comparison between this life and that it which is to come, and therefore the babies of this world, who see nothing better, mould in their own brains,  heaven of their own making, because they see no further than the nearest side of time. 
   I dare surrender as my hope of heaven,  that this reproached way is the only way of peace.  I find it is the way that the Lord and has sealed with his comforts now in my imprisonment for Christ, and I truly reckon and find chains and fetters for that lovely one, Christ, to be watered with sweet consolation and the love-smiles of that lovely Bridegroom for whose coming we wait. And when he comes the colours of all men will be exposed to the light; then the Lord will decide the quarrel the church has with her enemies. And as fast as time passes (and it neither sits nor stands nor sleeps), so fast our span of this short winter night flies away, and soon the sky will break on our long lasting day.
   Unless your Lordship agrees to speak on my behalf against the tyranny of the bishops, my imprisonment here will be forgotten; for this sentenced to me according to their new lawless regulations, namely that a minister deprived of his living should be utterly silenced, and not preach at all; which is cruelty at variance with their own former practice.
   Now, the only wise God, the very God of peace, confirm, strengthened and establish your Lordship on the stone laid in Zion, and be with you forever.
   Your Lordship's at all respectful obedience in his sweet Lord Jesus,      S.R.


Samuel Rutherford - biography

Samuel Rutherford ( c. 1600 – 29 March 1661) his father was a respectable farmer. He was probably born at Nisbet a village in Roxburghshire, a few miles from Jedburgh where he went to school. Forty years earlier the Scottish Parliament, under the guidance of John Knox, espoused the Reformed Faith as the national religion. When Mary Queen of Scots began to exercise her power as Scotland’s monarch in the following year, 1561, she tried to revive the interests of Romanism, but her immoral conduct alienated the nation from her and led to her abdication six years later. Her infant son was proclaimed James VI of Scotland, but during his childhood the country was governed by regents. After James himself assumed the reins of government in 1578, the Court and Church engaged in a long and hard struggle over the right of the Church to govern her affairs independently of the civil powers. The king’s aim was to eradicate Presbyterian church government and to control the Reformed Church and her General Assemblies by means of bishops.One major response to the king’s absolutist ambitions was the signing of the National Covenant in 1580, by which the Protestant leaders solemnly pledged themselves to support the Reformed doctrine and discipline. Four years later, the Court party being predominant, Parliament took away the independence of the Church by the Black Acts, which decreed that no church assembly was to be held without the King’s consent and that all ministers were to acknowledge the bishops as their ecclesiastical superiors. The tables were turned in 1592 when the Black Acts were repealed and Presbyterianism was re-established. Even the king himself, under the pressure of public opinion, now professed to be a true Presbyterian. He was a Calvinism but in reality he hated Presbyterianism "No bishop: no king" was his dictum.But Stuarts were dissemblers as his grandson proved. When the National Covenant was renewed in 1596, a revival of religion ensued but this proved to be but the sunshine before the storm. James VI, who became also James I of England in 1603, used his increased power to give bishops a place of authority in the Church by the crafty strategy of requiring each Presbytery to have a perpetual Moderator. The existing Bishops were made Moderators of such Presbyteries as usually met at Episcopal seats. This introduction of “Perpetual Moderators” was one of the final steps in the King’s plan to foist complete diocesan Episcopacy on the Church of Scotland. He also manipulated the General Assemblies of the Church, exiled the leading Presbyterians, and sought to make Scottish worship conform to the pattern of the Anglican Church by the notorious Articles of Perth of 1618.
    Nisbet, Rutherford's birthplace was spiritually stagnant – a place where, as Rutherford said later, “Christ was scarce named, as touching any reality or power of godliness”. However, young Rutherford sat under the ministry of the parish minister, David Calderwood, who was one of Scotland’s most ardent Presbyterian polemicists in those early years of the century. When Calderwood was summoned before the King at St Andrews in 1617, he boldly defended Presbyterianism, which so enraged the King that he cried, “Away with him, away with him,” following which Calderwood was deprived of his charge.So Rutherford had the rare experience of hearing a true exponent of Andrew Melville’s theory that the two kingdoms, Scotland and England, had the duty of asserting the independence of the Church from the crown, and the need of eschewing all popish ceremonies”. Undoubtedly it was teaching which profoundly affected Rutherford and permanently shaped his thinking on the burning issues of that era. Rutherford went to school at nearby Jedburgh where his promise was evident.
  • Samuel Rutherford was from 1617, educated at Edinburgh UniversityTwo years after Rutherford graduated as a Master of Arts, he was appointed, at the age of 23, Professor, or Regent, of Humanity, having been recommended by the professors for “his eminent abilities of mind and virtuous disposition”. In this position he had special responsibility for giving tuition in Latin language and literature.However, within two years he resigned in rather perplexing circumstances – a fact that has generated much discussion. Rutherford, entered on the married state [with a Miss Eupham Hamilton], and some indiscretion or irregularity connected with the formation of this union appears to have produced so much irritation and unpleasantness between himself and his colleagues, that from a sense of discomfort, or wounded feeling, or self-displeasure, he demitted his charge. That the offence, whatever it was, could not have been one of much gravity, or fitted to leave a permanent stain upon his character, seems beyond doubt, both from the testimony of continued confidence with which his demission was received, and yet more from the fact that, in the future conflicts of parties in which he afterwards intermingled, when scandals are so often raised from their graves to do the work of faction, no reference appears to have ever been made to this, by his most relentless adversaries.”In 1625 he left but there was no church discipline involved and he led a private life. Rutherford was now led to study for the ministry. He commenced his two-year divinity course in 1625 under Andrew Ramsey, Professor of Divinity in Edinburgh University, a man of Calvinistic principles.That year Charles I became king. In 1627 he was settled as minister of Anwoth in Kirkcudbrightshire, Galloway. Episcopacy was encroaching in Scotland but there was no episcopal involvement in his calling.The next year Laud. became Archbishop of Canterbury It was said of him 'he was always praying, always preaching, always visiting the sick, always catechising, always writing and studying. His first years in Anwoth, though, were touched with sadness. His wife was ill for a year and a month, before she died and two children also died during this period. At first he saw little fruit for his labours. After two years there he wrote, 'I see exceedingly small fruit of my ministry. I would be glad of one soul to be a crown of joy and rejoicing in the day of Christ.' He complains of it being spiritually winter in Anwoth and could not even get funds to repair the church building. But eventually people came from great distances and filled the church. All classes of people at Anworth were the objects of his care. He befriended people of higher rank and seemed remarkably blessed in his ministry to them, but he also cared for ordinary people and young children. He prayed much. At one time he had a fever lasting over three months and when he recovered for a long time though he preached he had to stop visiting and catechising. This was just before his wife's death in 1630. Some years after his mother who moved in with him was dangerously ill. Many people visited including Archbishop Usher who came incognito but when he was recognised Rutherford had him preach'

    1636 Rutherford published a book in Latin, Exercitationes de Gratia, defending the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) against 
    Armininiasm. This put him in conflict with the Church authorities, which were dominated by the English Episcopacy. He was called before the High Court, deprived of his ministerial office, and exiled to Aberdeen. where
     Samuel Rutherford
    Source: Wikipedia 
     'his writing desk' was said to be 'perhaps the most effective and widely resounding pulpit then in Christendom'.On the re-establishment of Presbyterianism in 1638, he escaped Aberdeen, Presbyterianism was re-established, was made Professor of Divinity at St. AndrewsAfter 5 months at St Andrews, having been a widower for nearly 10 years he remarried.  Rutherford in 1443 was chosen as one of the four main Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly of Divines in London taking part in formulating the Westminster Confession of Faith completed in 1647. While he was in London two infant children by his second wife died. She was to bear him five more four of whom predeceased Rutherford. So he was a man acquainted with grief and so well able to counsel the bereaved. I previously revised his Letter 310 in modern English. It appears that the recipient of this letter from London, a mother of three sons,  was unknown to Rutherford but known to Blair his fellow minister who has pastored he son who died young. It is remarkable for the tender comfort given but also for the richness of his metaphors which he is not beyond the odd mixing.H
    is Letters, or at least selections from them, have been issued in at least 100 editions (80 of them in English, 19 in Dutch, four in German, one in French and one in Gaelic). 

Rutherford revised (82)

82  To John Gordon of Cardoness, Elder   From Aberdeen 1637

Much honoured sir, - Grace, mercy and peaceably to you. I have longed to hear from you, and to know the state of your soul and the state of the people with you. 
   I ask you Sir, by the salvation of your precious soul, and the mercies of God, to make good and sure  work of your salvation, and test on what foundation you have built. Worthy and dear Sir, if you are an sinking sand, a storm of death, or blast of wind, will lose Christ and you, and wash you off the rock. Oh, for the Lord's sake, look carefully to the work!
   Read over your life, with the light of God's daylight and sun; for salvation is not put down at every man's door. It is good to look at your compass, and all you need, before you take ship, for no wind can blow you back again. Remember, when the race ends, and it is won lost, and you are in the outer circle and the border of time, and you will put your foot in the border of eternity, and all your good things of this short night dream will seem to you like the ashes of a blaze of thorns or straw, and your poor soul will be crying, 'Lodging, lodging for God's sake!' Then you're so all will be more Conrad of one of your Lord's lovely and homely smiles, then if you had the rights to three worlds for all eternity. Let pleasures and gain, will and desires of this world, be put into God's hands, as confiscated and guarded goods that you cannot interfere with. Now, when you are drinking the dregs of your cup, and you are on the far end of the last link of time, and old age, like death's long shadow, is casting a covering over your days, it is no time to court this vain life, and to set your love and heart on it. It is nearly after supper; take rest and ease for your soul, in God through Christ.
   Believe me, I find it hard wrestling to play fair with Christ, and to keep in good relations with Him, and to love Him with integrity and life, and keep constant, sound and solid daily communion with Christ. Temptations daily break my thread, and it is not easy to loose a knot again, and many knots make bad work. Oh, how well have many ships been sailing before the wind, then in one hour, has been lying on the sea bottom! How many Christians show a golden gleam, as if they were a pure gold, and yet our under that skin and covering, only base and reprobate metal1 and how many breathe well for many miles of their race, and yet fall short of the prize and the wreath! Dear sir, my soul would secretly mourn for you, if I knew your relation with God was a false work. Loving to have you anchored on Christ makes me fear your wobbling and slips. False underwater, and not seen by an enlightened conscience, is dangerous; and so is often falling, and sinning against light. Know this, the those who never had sick days or nights with conscience for sin, cannot have such at peace with God as will get under and break the flesh again, and end in a sad war death at death. Oh, how many thousands are led astray with false skin, grown over old sins, as if the soul cured and healed! 
   Dear Sir, I always saw a nature mighty, lofty, heady and strong in you; and it was harder for you put sin to death and be dead to the world, than it is for other common men. It will take a low tide, and a deep cut, and a long lance, to get to the bottom of your wounds in saving humiliation, to make you prey won for Christ. Be humbled; walk softly. Down, down with your topsail, for God's sake my dear and worthy brother. Stoop, stoop! there is a low entry to get in at heaven's gate. There is infinite justice from the one with whom you have to do; it is His nature not to acquit the guilty and the sinner. The law of God will not be short of one penny from the sinner. God does not forget the security nor the sinner; and every man must pay, either in his own person (oh, Lord save you from that payment!), or in his security Christ. It is hard with a sinful nature for a man to be holy, to lie under Christ's feet, to leave his own will pleasures world-renowned personally how and the heart reaching after this painted and two gilded world, and be content that Christ tramples over it all. Come in, come in to Christ, and see what you want and find it in Him. He is the shortcut (as we used to say), and the nearest way for an escape from all your burdens. I can testify that you will be dearly welcomed by Him all: my soul will be glad to have part of the joy you will have in Him. I dare say that angels' pens, angels' tongues, no, as many worlds of angels as there are drops of water in all the the seas and fountains and rivers of the earth, cannot portray Him to you. Since I have been a prisoner I think His sweetness has swelled on me to the greatness of two heavens. Oh for soul as wide as the outer circle of the highest heaven that contains all, to contain His love! And yet I can hold a little of it. Oh world's wonder! Oh, if my soul could only lie within the smell of His love, suppose I could get no more but the smell of it! Oh, but it is a long time to that day when I will have a free world of Christ's love. Oh, what a sight to be up in heaven, in that fair orchard of the new paradise and to see and smell and touch and kiss that fair field flower that evergreen Tree of life! His a mere shadow would be enough for me; a sight of Him would be a taste of heaven to me. Foolish people that we are having love lying in rusty beside us or, which is worse, wasted on some loathsome objects; and Christ is left alone. Woe, woe is me that sin has made so many madmen seek the fool's paradise, fire under ice,  and some good and desirable things that are outside and apart from Christ. Christ, Christ, nothing but Christ can cool our love's burning desire. O thirsty love! Will you are not put Christ the well of life, to your lips and drink your fill ? Drink and do not stop; drink love and be drunk with Christ ! No, alas the distance between us and Christ is death. Oh if we were clasped in another's arms! We would never separate again unless heaven separated and parted us; and that cannot be.
   I want your children to seek this Lord. Ask them from me to be asked for Christ's sake to be blessed and happy and to come and take Christ and all things with Him. Let them beware of deceitful and slippery youth,  of foolish young ideas, of worldly lusts and of deceitful gain, of wicked company, of cursing, lying, blaspheming and foolish talk. Let then be filled with the Spirit; acquaint themselves with daily prayer and with the storehouse of wisdom and comfort, the good word of God. Help the souls of the poor people. O that my Lord would you bring me again among them, that I might tell them great and strange things of Christ. Do not tolerate a stranger preaching any other doctrine to them. 
   Pray for me His prisoner of hope. I continualy pray for you. My blessing is eanest prayers, the love of God and the sweet presence of Christ, to you and yours and them.  Grace, grace, grace be with you.
    Your lawful and loving pastor,    S.R.