Saturday, February 09, 2019

Rutherford Revised - (2)

Letter 2. To a Christian woman on the death of her daughter. From Anworth, April 23 1628.

MistreLady, - My love in Christ remembered to you. I was indeed sad at my leaving you especially since you were so downcast after your daughter's death.  Yet I do persuade myself you know the heaviest end of the cross Christ that is laid on you lies upon your strong Saviour; for Isaiah says,vIn all their affliction he was afflicted" (Isa 63:9). O blessed Supporter who suffers with you! May you be glad to walk to walk in the fiery furnace with one like the Son of Man who is also the Son of God. Courage! Be of good heart. When you tire he will bear both you and your burden (Ps 55:22). In a little  while you will  shall see the salvation of God. Remember how old your daughter was; for just that long you had your lease of her. I do not know if she was 18, 19 or 20 but I'm sure seeing her term was come and your lease  ran out, you can  have no just quarrel with your great Superior for taking his own in his right day, than a poor farmer can complain that his master takes part of his own land for himself when his lease has expired. Good lady, if you would not be happy for Christ to withhold from you the heavenly inheritance that be yours by his death,  will not Christ think bad of you if you refuse to willingly give Him your daughter who is part of his inheritance and conquest? I pray that the Lord  be gracious to you  and give you the  grace of patience to give God what is His. He is a bad debtor who pays what he has borrowed grudgingly. Indeed,  that long loan of such a good daughter, an heir of grace, a member of Christ (as I believe), deserves more thanks at your Creditors hands; rather than you being gloomy and grumbling when He wants to take His own. I believe you would judge your neighbours thankless who would pay you a sum of money like this. But what? Do you think her lost when she is only sleeping in the arms of the Almighty? Do not think her absent when in such a friend's house. Is she lost to you who is found to Christ? If she were with dear friend, though you should never see her again, your care for her would be with small. Oh now, is she not with a dear Friend and gone higher on certain hope that you will, in the resurrection, when to be sure you will see her again and she shall be complete in bodily health. You  would be sorry either to be, or to be thought to be an atheist; and yet not only I, but the Apostle, thinks those to be hopeless atheists, who mourn excessively for the dead (1Th 4:13). But this is not a challenge from me. I only speak this fearing your weakness; for your daughter was a part of yourself; and, therefore, your nature, being as it were cut and halved, will indeed be grieved. But you have to rejoice, that when a part of you is on earth, a great part of you is glorified in heaven. Follow her, but do not envy her, for indeed it is self love in us that makes us  mourn them that die in the Lord. Why? Because we cannot mourn for them for they are never happy until dead; therefore we mourn for our loss. Be careful then, that in showing your affection mourning for your daughter, you should not out of self love, be morning for yourself. Consider what the Lord is doing. Your daughter is plucked out of the fire, and she rests from her labours; and your Lord, in that, is trying you, and casting you in the fire. Go through all fires to your rest; and now remember that the eye of God is upon the bush burning and it is not consumed; and he is gladly content that such a weak woman as you should send Satan away, frustrated in his designs. Now honour God, and shame the strong roaring lion, when you seem weakest. Should such a one as you faint in the day at adversity? Remember the old days. The Lord yet lives. Trust in Him, although He should slay you. Faith is exceedingly charitable and believes  no evil of God . Now the Lord outs in one scale of the balance, your submission to his gracious will, and in the other scale, your affection and love to your daughter. Which of the two will you then choose to satisfy? Be wise then; and as I trust you love Christ better than does a sinful woman; move on from your daughter and kiss the Lord's rod. Men cut the branches off their trees so that they may grow up high and tall. The Lord has this way cut your branch in taking from you many children, so that you should grow upward, like one of the Lord's cedars, setting your heart above, where Christ is, at the right hand of the Father. What is next, except that your Lord cut down the trunk after he has cut down the branches? Prepare yourself; you are nearer your daughter today than you were yesterday. While you prodigally  spend time in the mourning for her, you are quickly following after her. Run your race with patience. Let God have his own; and ask Him for patience, instead of asking for your daughter which he has taken from you; and in patience keep you soul. Lift up your head: you do not know how near your redemption  draws. So I commend you to the Lord, who is able to establish you. I rest your loving and affectionate friend in the Lord Jesus.    S.R.

(If this ( This seems to be without paragraphs breaks and so is the original.)

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