Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Rutherford revised (72)

72. To William Gordon of Roberton  From Aberdeen 1636

(William Gordon from the parish of Borgue near Knockbrex died age 72 in 1662 before his son William died fighting for the Covenanters at Pentland in 1666.)

Dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be you. Often when I think about our situation, in our soldier's nightwatch, and of our fighting lives in the fields, while we are here, I am forced to say as prisoners in a dungeon, condemned by a judge to lack the light of the sun and the moon and candle until their dying day, are not to be pitied as much as we are. For they are weary of their life, and we will all find no better life than this; they hate their prison, but we accept our prison, where we see little, but to drink ourselves drunk with the night pleasures of our weak dreams; and we long for no better life than this. But at the sound of the last trumpet, and the shout of the archangel; when God will take down the shepherd's tent of this fading world; we shall not have so much as a drink of water of all the dreams that we now build on. Alas! That there are sharp and bitter blasts on face and sides which we meet in this life, have not taught us death to sin and made is dead to this world.! We buy our own sorrow and we pay dearly when we spend our love, our joy, our desires, our confidence, on a handful of snow and ice, that time will melt away to nothing, and we go thirsty out of the drunken inn when all is done. Alas! we do not enquire for the clear fountain, but are so foolish as to drink, foul, muddy and rotten waters even until our bedtime. And then in the Resurrection, when we will be awakened, our last nights sour drink and swinish dregs will rise up in us, and sick, sick will be many soul then. 
   I only know of one wholesome fountain. I know nothing worth buying except heaven; and my own thought is; if comparison is made between Christ and heaven; I would sell heaven with my blessing and buy Christ. O, if I could raise the market for Christ, and raise the price pounds for a penny, and cry up Christ in men's estimation ten thousand times more than men think of him!  But they are cheapening him and crying him down,  and valuing him at their unworthy halfpenny or else exchanging and bartering Christ with their miserable old fallen house of this vain world. Or then they lend at interest and play the usury with Christ and say before men that Christ that is their treasure and stock and in the meantime praise men and a name and the ease and the summer sun of the Gospel, is the usury they would be at. To when the trial comes they leave the capital for the interest and lose everything. Happy are they who can keep Christ himself alone and keep him clean and whole until God comes and reckons with them. I know that in your hard and heavy trials long since, you thought well and highly of Christ; but truly no cross should be old to us. We should not forget them because years have come between us and them and throw them away as we do old clothes. We may make a cross old in time, new in use, and as fruitful as in the beginning of it. God is where and what he was seven years ago however we may change. I do not speak this as if I thought you had forgotten what God did to have your love long since, but that you may awaken yourself in this sleepy age and remember fruitfully Christ's first wooing and suiting of your love, both with fire and water,  and try if He got His answer or if you are yet to give it to Him. For I find in myself that water does not run faster through a sieve then our warnings slip from us; I have lost and thrown away many summons the Lord sent to me; and therefore the Lord has given me double instruction; that I trust in God that he will not tear me. I bless His great name, who is not stingy but uses many rods to save me from this perishing world. How God makes plentiful use of these means is is reckoned by many as one of his unkind mercies; but Christ's cross is neither a cruel nor an unkind mercy, but the love-token of a father. I am sure a lover chasing us for our good and to have our love, should not be run away from or fled. God send me no worse mercy than what the sanctified cause of Christ means, and I am sure I should be happy and blessed. 
   Pray for me that I may find a house-room in the Lord's house to speak in His name. Remember my dearest love in Christ to your wife. Grace, grace be unto you.
    Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

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