Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rutherford Revised - (7)

7. To my Lady Kenmore,  Anwoth 1 Feb 1630

Madam, I have very much longed to hear of your life, and health, and growth in the grace of God. I lacked a letter bearer, and the last possible one left unexpectedly, by whom I might have greeted your Ladyship, and therefore I could not write earlier. I beg you Madam, to let me know a brief note as to how you are. I know you grieve and are downcast; and if it were not so, you might be afraid, because then your way would not be like that (our Lord says) which leads to the New Jerusalem. I am sure, that if you knew what was before you, or if you saw some glimpses of it, you would gladly swim through the present floods of sorrow, spreading out your arms through desire to be on land. If God has given you the Guarantee of the Spirit, as part payment of God's principal sum, you have to rejoice; for our Lord will not lose his down payment, nor will he go back nor repent of the bargain. If you find at some time a longing to see God, rejoice in the assurance of that sight, even if that feast be like the passover, that only comes once a year. A peaceful conscience, freedom in prayer, and a clear sight of Himself looking out, and saying, to the soul, with a smiling face, 'Welcome to Me, troubled soul'; this is the down payment he sometimes gives, and which gladdens the heart, and is evidence that the bargain holds firm. But in order to get this down payment, is is good to often talk with God, both in prayer and hearing of the word. For this is the house of wine where you meet with your Well Beloved. Here it is where he kisses you with the kisses of his mouth, and you smell his clothes, and they have indeed a most fragrant and glorious smell. You must, I say, wait for him, and often be in communion with him, whose lips are lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh; and by His words he will stay your grief, for the Christ who saves you is a speaking Christ; the church knows Him by His voice (Song 2:8), and you can tell His voice among a thousand. I say this so you should not love those dumb masks of anti christian ceremonies, that the church where you are for a while, has thrown over Christ whom your soul loves. They show you a dumb Christ. But when our Lord comes, he speaks to the heart in the simple Gospel.

   I cannot speak to you or write to you of the happiness of those that are in Christ. When you have sold all that you have, and bought the field where this pearl is, you will think it not a bad bargain, for if you are in Him, as His is yours, and you are in Him, therefore, 'Because live, you also will live' (Joh 14:19). O sweet communion, when Christ and we are one with another, and are no longer two. 'FatherI desire that they alsowhom you have given memay be with me  where I am,  to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me' (Joh 17:24). Amen dear Jesus. let it be according to that word. I doubt that your heart should ever be cast down, if you believe this truth.I and they are not worthy of Jesus Chris, who will not suffer forty years' trouble for Him, having such glorious promises. But we fools believe these promises, like the man who read Plato's writings about the immortality of the souls long as the book was in his hand, he believed that all was true, and his soul could not die; but as soon as he put the book down, he began to imagine the soul was only smoke or vapour, that goes away like a breath. So we start believing the sweet and precious promises; but laying aside God's book, we begin to question everything. It is true faith to believe without a pledge, and to be constant; and when we doubt, to run to the Law and to the Testimony, and stay there. Madam, hold to here,: here is your Father's will, - read it; here He has left you forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. f all you have here are crosses and troubles, depressions, desertions and departures of the Lord, who is courting you in marriage, courage! He who woos you and is your suitor, should not live with you until you and he come up to His Father's house together. His purpose is to do you good in the end (Deut 8:16), and to give you rest from the days of trouble (Ps 94:13) 'It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.' (Lam 3:27).  'Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;' (Zec 9:12).  'For still the vision awaits its appointed timeit hastens to the endit will not lieIf it seems slow, wait for itit will surely come; it will not delay.' (Has 2:3). Hear Him saying, 'Come, my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind youhide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.' (Isa 26:20). Believe then, believe and be saved; think not badly if you do not get your way or pleasure in this life; God will have you to rejoice in nothing but Himself. God forbid that you rejoice in anything except the cross of Christ (Gal 6:14).
   Our church Madam, is decaying - she is like Epfraim's cake, 'gray hairs are sprinkled upon himand he knows it not.' (Has 7:9). She is old and gray haired, near the grave and no-one cares. Her wine is sour and spoilt. Now if Phineas's wife lived she may labour to give birth and die, seeing the ark of God taken, and the glory depart from our Israel. The power and life of religion are gone.  'Woe to us, for the day declines,for the shadows of evening lengthen!' (Jer 6:4). Madam, the church is the ship which carries you to Canaan; if she is shipwrecked, you will be thrown overboard for death or life, to swim to land on broken planks. It is time for us, by prayer, to take on our master pilot, Jesus, and to cry, 'Master save us; we die.' Grace, grace be with you. We would think it a blessing to our church to see you here; but our sins keep good things from us. The great messenger of the Covenant keep you in body and spirit. 
   Yours in the Lord,   S.R.

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