Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rutherford Revised (171)

171. To the Laird of Moncrieff  From Aberdeen 14 May 1637

(Sir John Moncrieff was a zealous Covenanter and ruling elder in his parish of Carnbee. He attended the General Assembly's Commission for public affairs n 1646 and 1648 being a member of the Presbytery of St Andrews. Lady Leyes in this letter was his third sister.) 

Much honoured sir, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. Though we are not acquainted, I am bold to write to you at the prompting of your worthy sister, the Lady Leys, and hearing the report of your kindness to Christ and His oppressed truth, for I sincerely want you to join with us (as many as in these parts profess Christ), to wrestle with God one day of the week, especially Wednesdays, for mercy to this fallen and decayed church, and for those who suffer for Christ's name; and for your own needs, and the needs of others who have covenanted together in that business. For you know we have no other armour but prayer in these evil times, now when wrath from the Lord has gone out against this backsliding land. For you know we can have no true public fasts, neither are the true causes of our humiliation ever laid before the people.
   Now, very worthy Sir, I am glad in the Lord, that the Lord reserves any from your rank, or any notables, in this time of apostasy, to come out in public to carry Christ's name before men, when the great men think Christ is a difficult neighbour, that religion carries dangers, trials and persecutions with it. I persuade myself that it is your glory and crown, and will be your joy in the day of Christ, and the standing of your family and descendants to inherit the earth, that you truly and sincerely profess Christ. Neither is our King, whom the Father has crowned in Mount Zion, so weak that he cannot prevail for Himself and His own cause. I truly believe that they are blessed who can hold the crown upon His head, and carry up the train of His royal robe, and that He will be victorious, and triumph in this land. It is our part to support our royal King, even though there are not six in all the land following Him. It is our wisdom now to to see and discern the devil and the antichrist coming out in their white clothes, and the apostasy and idolatry of this land washed with foul waters. I confess it is an art to wash the devil until his skin is white.  
   For myself, Sir, I have brought an argument against Christ, since I came here, judging that my princely Master was angry at me, because I was thrown out of the vineyard as a withered tree, my dumb Sabbaths making me very sad. But I see now that sadness has not eyes to read love written on the cross of Christ; and therefore I leave my foolish argument. Woe, woe is me that I took into my soul a slander against Christs love! And for all this, my Lord Jesus has forgiven all, not willing to be heard disputing with such a fool; and is content to be, as it were, confined with me and put up with my company. And now I write with my own hand, worthy Sir, that I think well and honourably of this cross of Christ. I an amazed that He will take any glory from the likes of me. I find that when he sends His hearty commendations to me, and only blows a kiss from far off, I am confused wondering what the supper of the Lamb will be like, in our Father's dining place of glory, since that foretaste in this dismal desert, and (when in prisons and in our sad days), a kiss from Christ is so comfortable. Oh, how sweet and glorious will be our situation when that Fairest of the sons of men will put His fair face next to our sinful faces and wipe away all tears from our eyes! O time, time, run quickly and speed this day! O sweet Lord Jesus come flying like a young deer ! Alas that we blind fools have fallen in love with moonlight and shadows. How sweet is the wind that blows form the direction where Christ is! Every day we may see some new thing in Christ; His love has neither top nor bottom. Oh, if I had help to praise Him.! He knows that if my sufferings glorify His name, and encourage others to stand firm for the honour of our supreme Lawgiver, Christ, my wages are fully paid. Sir, help me to love that never enough praised Lord. I find now that the faith of the saints suffering for Christ, is fair before the wind, and with full sails carried up to Christ. And I hope to lose nothing in this fire except dross; for Christ can triumph in a weaker man than I am, if there be any such person. And when all is done, his love gives me pain, and leaves me under such a debt to Christ that I can pay neither capital nor interest. Oh, if he would seize me, and if I was sold to Him as a slave, and that he would take me home to His house and fireside; for I have nothing to pay to Him! Then, after me let no-one think Christ's sweet cross to be hard; for I would not exchange my sighs for all the gaudy laughter of my enemies. I want grace and patience to wait and to lie at the edge until the water fills and flows. I know He is coming soon.
   Sit, you will excuse my boldness: and, until God is pleased that I see you, you have the prayers of a prisoner of Christ; to whom I recommend you, and in whom I rest.
   Yours, at all obedience in Christ,  S.R.

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