Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Rutherford revised (96)

96. To the Noble and Christian Lady, the Viscountess of Kenmure        From Aberdeen 1637

Madam,- Though the bearer is in great haste, I want to bless your Ladyship with a letter, wishing, that since Christ is envious of the world having more love of you than Him, you should give yourself for Christ, and for no other. Only Christ is worthy of you.
   Madam, I am either suffering for Christ, and this is the sure and good way; or I have done with heaven, and will never see God's face, which, I bless Him, cannot be the case.
   I write my blessing to that sweet child, that you have borrowed from God. He is not an inheritance to you, but a loan; love him like people love borrowed things. My heart is heavy for you.
   They say that the church of Christ has neither son nor heir, and therefore her enemies will take her. But I know that she is not so without friends; her Husband is her heir, and she is His inheritance.
   If my Lord pleases, I would want that some people be dealt with, so I may return to Anwoth. But if that never happens, I thank God that Anwoth is not heaven; preaching is not Christ. I hope to keep on waiting.
   Let me hear how your child is, and your Ladyship's thoughts and hopes about him; for would ease my heart to know that he is well.
   I am in good relations with Christ; but oh, my guiltiness! But he brings is no arguments between him and me into the open and before the sun.
   Grace, race for evermore be with your Ladyship,
   Your Ladyship's, at all obedience in Christ,  S.R. 

Rutherford revised (95)

95. To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, the Viscountess of Kenmure  From Aberdeen 1637

Madam,-  Grace, mercy and peace be to your Ladyship. I will not fail to write a line with this Christian bearer; one, who like your Ladyship, was in and by her troubles, driven near to Christ. I wish my friends in Galloway would not forget to me. Whatever happens, Christ is so good, I will have no other teacher, though I could have opportunity and choice of ten thousand others. I now think  to have five hundred heavy hearts for Him would be too little. I wish that Christ, who is now weeping, suffering and condemned by men, was more dear and desirable too many souls than He is. I am sure that if the saints wanted Christ's cross, which is so profitable and so sweet, they might for the gain and glory of it, wish it was lawful either to buy or borrow His cross. But it is a mercy that the saints have it given into their hands for nothing; for I know no sweeter way to heaven than through free grace and hard trials together; and one of these cannot be separated from the other.
   O that time would go faster, and speed our looked for communion with that fairest, fairest among the sons of men! O that the day would favour us and come, and put Christ and us into each other's arms! I am sure that a few years will be enough for us, and the soldier's time will soon run out. Madam, look to your lamp, and look for your Lords Coming, and let your heart live away from that sweet child. Christ's jealousy will not allow two equal loves in your Ladyship's heart. He must have one, and that be the greatest; a little one for creature may and must be sufficient for a soul married to Him. 'For your Maker is your husband' (Is 54:5). I would wish you well, and my obligations in these many years past, speak to me no less; but I can neither wish, nor desire, nor pray more for your Ladyship, then Christ chose out from all created good things, though Christ was wet with His own blood, and wearing a crown of thorns. I am sure that the saints, even at their best, are only strangers to the weight and worth of the incomparable sweetness of Christ. He is so new, so fresh every day in excellency of newness, turn those that search for more and more in Him, as if heaven could supply us with as many new Christs (if I may say so) as there are days between us and Him; and yet He is one and the same. Oh, we have an unknown lover when we love Christ!
   Let me hear all about the child. The prayers of a prisoner of Christ be on him. Grace for evermore be with your Ladyship until glory perfects it.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Rutherford revised (94)

94. To the Noble and Christian Lady, the Viscountess of Kenmure           From Aberdeen 1637

Madam,- Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I would the not miss this opportunity to write to your Ladyship with the bearer. I am glad that the child is well. May God's favour, even in the eyes of men, be seen on him!
   I hope your Ladyship is thinking about these sad and miserable days in which we now live, when our Lord, in his righteous judgement, is sending the church to Rome's brothel house  to find a lover of her own, seeing she has given up on Christ her Husband. Oh, what sweet comfort, what rich salvation, is stored up for those who would rather wash and roll their clothes in their own blood, than break off from Christ by apostasy! Keep yourself in the love of Christ, and stand far back from the pollutions of the world. Do not take the side of these times, and keep away from coming near the signs of a conspiracy with those who have now come out against Christ, so you may be kept for Christ only. I know that your Ladyship thinks about this, and how you may be humbled for yourself and this backsliding land; for I am sure wrath from the Lord has gone out against Scotland. Yes, I think the longer the better concerning my royal and worthy Master. He has become a new Well beloved to me now in renewed comforts by the presence of the Spirit of grace and glory. Christ's clothes smell of the merchant's powder, when He comes out of His ivory rooms. Oh. His perfumed face, His fair face, His lovely and kind kisses, have made me, at poor prisoner, see that there is more from Christ in this life that I believed! We think is but a little promise, a short time, a small tasting, that we have or is to be had, in this life (which is true compared with the inheritance); but yet I know it is more: it is the kingdom of God within us. Woe, woe is me, that I have not ten loves for that one Lord Jesus; and that love fails, and dries up in loving Him; and I find no way to spend my desires of love, and the centre of my heart on that fairest and dearest One. My narrow heart is far behind. Oh, how low a soul I have to take in Christ's love! For if worlds be multiplied, according to angels, understanding, in millions, while they weary themselves, these worlds would not contain this thousanth  part of his love. Oh, could get in among the crowd of angels, and seraphim, and glorified saints, and could raise a new love song about Christ, before all the world! I am taken up wondering at newly opened treasures in Christ. If every finger, member, bone and joint, was is a torch burning in the hottest fire of hell, I wish they could all send out love praises, high songs of praise for evermore, to that Plant of Renown, to that royal and high Prince, Jesus my Lord. But alas! His love swells up in me, and finds no escape. Alas, what can a dumb prisoner do or say for Him! Oh for a press to write about Christ and His love! No I am left by him bound and chained with His love. I cannot find a soul loosed enough to lift up His praises, and give them out to others. But oh my daylight has thick clouds; I cannot shine in his praises. I am often like a ship going about to seek the wind; my sailing is leisurely, and cannot be blown upon that loveliest Lord. Oh, if I could turn my sail to Christ's compass point, and that I had my heart's fill of His love! But I only spoil His praises: no, I know of no comparison of what Christ is and what His is worth is. All the angels, and all the glorified, praise him not half enough. Who can promote Him, or speak all His praises? I lack nothing; strangers are good to me; enemies must speak good about the truth; my Master's cause is promoted.
   My hopes of freedom appear poor. My faith can only rest on God's almighty power. The goodwill of the Lord and His sweetest presence be with you and that child. Grace and peace be yours.
   Your  Ladyship's in all duty in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S. R.

Get on with Brexit!

So the referendum was not binding on parliament. But surely it has moral force and MPs should implement it. It was about whether to leave the EU or stay in. The question was not about how one viewed the economic prospects either way. So if the terms of leaving were not put to the people so why are MPs not implementing the Brexit vote and being bogged down in asking terms and deals? We the people voted Brexit, no ifs, no buts, no conditions. We were taken into the Common Market with lies about it being a merely economic affair not political. I voted to leave because the EU is political. Leave : then discuss the economy. Principle before money. Unrealistic? Idealistic? Principled - the word lost from the vocabulary of pragmatist politicians. Our history shows our survival was because we were an island nation state. Let us get back to being an independent United Kingdom. First Brexit. Then trade deals. Then consider reuniting a recently devolved kingdom.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Rutherford revised (93)

93.To the Honourable and truly Noble Lady the Viscountess of Kenmure  From Aberdeen 13 Feb 1637

Madam, - Grace, mercy, and peace be to your Ladyship, - I long to hear from you.
   I'm here waiting to see if a long awaited good wind will at last blow into Christ's sails in this land. But I wonder if Jesus is content to suffer yet more in His members and cause and in the beauty of His house rather than to be avenged on this land. I hear that many worthy men who see more in the Lord's dealings that I can see with my sight, think differently and believe that the Lord is coming home again to his house in Scotland.
   I hope He is on His journey that way; yet I see He will feed this land with their own blood, before He establishes His throne among us.
   I know that you arenot looking to things here and now. You have no great reason to think that your investment and wealth is under the roof of these visible skies; I hope that you would think that you are tricked and deceived if it was so. I would be very sorry to advise your Ladyship to make an agreement with time and this life; and to keep your distance from this badly based heaven that is on this side of the water. It says something when our Lord blows the bloom off our foolish hopes in this life, and chops off, near the root, the branches of our worldly joys, so they should not thrive. Lord, remove my fool's heaven in this life, so I may be saved for ever. For a saint to lose part of the centre of this is brief laughing worldly happiness is not as much a real evil as our blinded eyes see.
   For a long time now I have being thinking of some better deliverance than before. But I know it is a mistake. It is possible that I have not yet come to the limit all the trial which the Lord looks for in His work. If my friends in Galloway would succeed in my deliverance, I would be very glad; but I only know that the Lord has a way by which he will be the only want to reap praises.
   Let me know via the carrier how the child is. The Lord be his father and teacher and your only comforter. Where I am there is nothing but obscenity tea and atheism. Grace, grace be with your Ladyship.
   Your Ladyship's, at all all obliged obedience, in Christ, S.R.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Rutherford revised (92)

92.  To Robert Gordon of Knockbreck  From Aberdeen 9 Feb 1637

My very worthy and dear friend,- Grace, mercy and peace be to you. Though all Galloway may have forgotten me, I would have expected a letter from you before now; but I do not think that you have forgotten me.
   Now my dear brother, I cannot show you how things are between Christ in me. I find my Lord coming and going seven times a day. His visits are short but they are both frequent and sweet. I dare not for my life think of challenging my Lord. I hear bad stories and hard news of Christ from the Tempter and from my flesh; but love believes no evil. I may swear that there are liars and that fearfulness tells lies of Christ's honest and unalterable love to me. I do not say that I am dry tree, or that I have no room at all in the vineyard; but I often think that the sparrows are blessed who may go to house of God in Anwoth from which I am banished.
   Temptations that I thought had been struck dead and laid flat on their back, rise again and revive in me; yes, I see that while I live temptations will not die. The devil seems to brag and boast as much as if he had more say with Christ then I have; as if he had charmed and blasted my work so that I will do no more good in public. But his wind does not harm the corn. I will not believe that Christ would have made such a move to have me to Himself, and have taken so many pains with me as he has done, and then easily let possession slip and lose the glory of what He has done. No, since I came to Aberdeen I have been taken up to see the new land, the fair palace of the Lamb, and will Christ let me see heaven and break my heart in never giving it to me? I will not think that my Lord Jesus gives a false guarantee or puts his seals on blank paper, or intends to put me off with fair and false promises. I see you now that which I never saw well before. (1). I see that in a fair day the necessity of faith is never properly known; but now I miss nothing as much as faith. My hunger leads to fair and sweet promises; but when I come I am like a hungry man lacking teeth, or a weak stomach which has as sharp appetite but is filled by the very sight of meat, or like one paralysed by cold under the water, is that wants to come to reach land but cannot grip anything thrown to him. I can let Christ grip me but I cannot grip Him. I love to be kissed and to sit on Christ's knee, but I cannot put my feet on the ground because troubles cramp my faith. All I want to do is to hold out at lame faith to Christ, like a beggar holding out a stump instead of an arm or leg, and cry, 'Lord Jesus work a miracle!' Oh, what would I give to have hands and arms to grip strongly and heartily fold around Christ's neck and to have my claim made good with a real possession! I think that my love to Christ has plenty of feet and runs quickly to be with him, but lacks hands and fingers to take him. I think I would give Christ my blessing every morning, to have as much faith as I have love and hunger; at least I miss faith. more than love or hunger.
   (2.) I see that putting to death and to be crucified to the world is not as highly thought of by us as it should be. Oh how heavenly thing it is to be dead and dumb and deaf to this world's sweet music! I confess it has pleased His Majesty to make me laugh at the children who are wooing this world for their match. I see men lying around the world like nobles around a kings court; and I wonder what they are all doing there. As I am at present, despising courting such an irresponsible and insignificant princess or buying this world's kindness by bending my knee. I know hardly anything to hear or see that  this world offers me; I know that there is little which it can take from me and little that it can give me. Above anything I recommend putting sin to death in you; for alas, we merely chase feathers flying in the air and tire our spirits for the froth and gilded over clay of a dying life. One sight of what my Lord has let me see in this short time is worth a world of worlds.
   (3.) I thought I might easily take courage in a time of trouble for Christ's sake. I thought that merely remembering the honesty of the cause would be enough. But I was a fool to  think this. It takes much effort now to win one smile. But I see that my joy grows up in heaven and beyond the reach of our short arm. Christ will be manager and dispenser Himself and no one else but Him; so now I think much of one little measure of spiritual joy. One smile of Christ's face is now like a kingdom to me; and yet he is not stingy in comforting me. Truly I have no reason to say I am restricted by, poverty, or  that Christ's comforts are dried up: for I admire how he has poured down rivers upon a dry desert like me; and when I faint He holds up my head and strengthens me with cups of wine and comforts me apples. My house and bed are covered with kisses of love. Praise, praise with me.Oh, if you and I between us could lift up Christ on His throne, though all Scotland should throw Him down to the ground!
   My brother's case touches me closely. I heard you will be kind to him and give him your best advice.
   Remember my love to your brother, to your wife, and G.M. Ask him to be faithful and repent from his hypocrisy; and say I wrote so to you. I wish salvation. Write to me your thoughts concerning C.E. and C.Y., and their wives, and I.G., are any others in my parish. I hear that I am forgotten by them, but I cannot forget them.
  The prisoner's prayers and blessings come on you. replace Grace, grace be with you.
   Your brother in the Lord Jesus,   S.R.

Rutherford revised (91)

91  To Mr Ephraim Melvin   From Aberdeen 1637

Reverend and dear brother, - and with all my heart I am happy that our friendship in the Lord continues.
   I am fighting to be able to climb the mountain with Christ's cross: my Second is kind and able to help.
   Various distractions and many letters have a meant I have not had the time to answer your questions. I will tell you what I have been answering to these questions. So bear with me a little because the Service Book would take along time. But I think, bowing down to an image or even to bread and wine, is in itself an outward act of and idolatry, as far as the action is concerned, although the intention of the action may be directed to God as the Great First Cause,- so kneeling before a piece of bread, seeing the whole man inward and outward should be taking part in the signs, is an act of worship and an adoration of the bread itself. The reason is an intention to worship a material thing is not of the essence of external worship as seen in bowing down. So kneeling before the image in Babylon was an outward act of worship even though the three young men only intended to worship the true God, similarly those too from fear or the hope of reward or praise, knelt to Jeroboam's golden calf (which the text clearly shows was done by the King himself from no religious motive but merely from desire to rule), do indeed worship the calf by the external action although no doubt thinking the calf a mere created object and not worthy of honour, - because the act of bowing whether we mean it or not from the rule of God and nature it is a symbol of worship; therefore as the bread represents the body of Christ (even though the mind might not be thinking it) similarly kneeling when used in religious service is the outward worship of that bread in the presence of which we bow as before God's representative whatever we intend.
   So recommending you to God's tender mercy I want you to remember me to God. Sanctification will best settle you in the truth.
   Grace be with you, Brother in Christ Jesus,  S.R.

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

(Wife of John Fergushill)

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

( Lord Craighall was Sir John Hope, born about 1605, was the eldest son of Scotland's Lord Advocate in the reign of Jams VI and Charles I. From 1632 Sir John was a Lord of Session (a judge) becoming president of the court and in 1645 a Privy Councillor. He was a member of the General Assemblies, 1645 -49. In May 1652 Craighall was appointed one of Cromwell's committee, consisting of five English and three Scottish judges, for the administration of justice.Hope died at Edinburgh on 28 April 1654.)

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.