Monday, April 15, 2019

Rutherford revised (112)

112. To Mr John Fergushill    From Aberdeen 7 Mar 1637

( Minister at Ochiltree in Ayrshire. Lady Gaitgirth, letter 187, lived nearby. He succeeded Rober Blair as minister in Ayr in 1639 having been in the Glasgow Assembly of 1638. He died in 1644. ) 

Reverend and well-beloved in the Lord, - I was refreshed by your letter. I am sorry for that prolonged suffering of your wife; but I know you see it as the evidence of being a lawful child, and not a bastard; being under your Father's rod. It will be foul weather until you reach heaven; one shower after another. The lintels and pillars of the New Jerusalem get more blows from God's hammer and tools than do ordinary side-wall stones. And if in God's book twenty crosses are written for you, they will reduce to nineteen, and then at last to one and then to nothing, but your head will for ever lie between Christ's breasts, and His own soft hand will dry your face, and wipe away your tears. As for publicly suffering for his truth, your Master will also see to it. Let us put Him to his own work of comforting and delivering. The dread of Christ's cross is worse than the cross itself.
   I cannot keep up with what he has done to my soul. My dear brother, will I not have help from you to praise, and to lift Christ upon high? I am pained with His love, and he had left a love-arrow in my heart that has made a wound, and swollen up with desires so that I am to be pitied for lacking real possession. Love wants the company of the beloved; and lack of him is my greatest pain, not His joys and comforts, but a close union and communion.
   I am fully persuaded that I now suffer for His truth; for Christ witnesses it by His sweet comforts to my soul; and do I think Him a false witness or speaking to no purpose? I thank His high and awesome name for what he has given. I hope to keep His seal and His pawned goods until He comes and claims them Himself. I defy hell to put me off it. But he is Christ and has met with His prisoner; and I took testimony from His own hand that it was He, not another in His place. When the devil summons an unauthorised court on my Lord's behalf, and gives me a forged summons, I would be ashamed to be taken in, having had a fair, broad seal. And yet Satan and my fears sometimes make Christ a liar as if He hated me. But I dare not believe evil of Christ. I would be rich if he would cool my love-fever for Himself with real presence and possession. but I dare not go wrong and seek more of that though I am not ashamed to beg at Christ's door. I pity my enemies and do not grudge them that my Lord keeps them at their own fireside, and has given me a borrowed fireside: why should I take offence if the Goodman of the house trows a dog a bone? I rejoice that the damaged ship will come to land, and that Christ will welcome the seasick passenger ashore. We have need to be well prepared for this coming great day of trial. Sooner or later, all the chaff or corn in Scotland must pass through God's sieve. Praise, praise and pray for me; for I cannot forget you. I know you will be friendly to my troubled brother who now shares the same cause with me. Let him have your advice and comforts.
    Remember my love in Christ to your wife; she will be well and her salvation is active. You have the prayers and blessing of a prisoner of Christ. Sow fast, distribute plenty of bread. The pantry door will soon seem locked to the children. Grace, grace be with you.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,    S.R.   

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