Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Rutherford Revised (198)

198. To the Laird of Cally    From Aberdeen 1637

(John Lennox was the Lord of Cally near Girthon which adjoined Anwoth. He dies before the end on January 1647)

Much honours sir, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to hear how your soul prospers. I am confident that your soul thinks of Christ and salvation. I beg you in the Lord to make more effort and care to reach heaven than the ordinary sort of lazy professors who think their own faith and their own godliness is best because it is their own, and content themselves with a heartless tradition and way, with a resolution to spend the summer and winter in that sort of profession which the crowd and the times prefer; and are still shaping and clipping and carving their faith according to what best suits their summer sun and intact skin; and so breathe hot and cold in God's things according to the way of the times. By this their compass they sail towards heaven instead of by a better one.
   Worthy and dear sir, separate yourself from such people, and exert yourself to your utmost strength and breath to run fast for salvation; and use violence to take Christ's kingdom. It cost Christ and His followers sharp showers and hot sweats before they reached the top of the mountain; but still our soft nature would have heaven coming to our bedside while we sleep, and lying down with us so we can go to heaven in warm clothes. But all who came there found wet feet on the road, and sharp storms that took the skin from their faces and found tos and fros and ups and downs and many enemies on the road.
   It is impossible for a man to take his lusts to heaven with him; such goods as these will not be welcome there. Oh, how reluctant we are to let go of our packs and loads which prevent us patiently running our race! It is no little thing to displease and anger nature in order to please God. Oh, if it is hard to win one foot or half an inch by our own will, by our own wit, by our own leisure and worldly lusts (and so to deny ourselves and say,'It is not I but Christ, not I but grace, not I but God's glory, not I but God's love controlling me, not I but the Lord's word, not I but Christ's commanding power as King in me!'), oh, how painful and what a death it is to nature, to turn me, myself, my lust, my leisure, my credit, over into, 'My Lord, and Saviour, my King and my God' my Lord's will, my Lord's grace!' But alas, that idol. that fornicating creature, myself, is the master idol before which we all bow. What made Eve go wrong? What hurried her headlong to the forbidden fruit, except that wretched thing, herself. What drew that brother murderer to kill Abel? That wild himself. What drove the old world on to their corrupt ways? Who but themselves and their own pleasure. What was the cause of Solomon falling into idolatry and marrying many foreign wives? What except himself whom he would rather please than God? What was the hook that took David and caught him first in adultery, except his self lust? And than in murder except his self credit and self honour? What led Peter to deny his Lord? Was it not a piece of himself and self love for an uninjured body? What made Judas sell his Master for thirty pieces of silver, except a piece of self love idolising his greedy self? What made Demas stray from the path of the Gospel, to embrace the present world? It was self love and love of profit for himself. Everyone blames the devil for his sin; but the great devil, the house devil of every man, the house devil that eats and lives in every man is that idol that kills everyone, himself. Oh, blessed are those who can deny themselves and put Christ in their place! Oh, would to the Lord that I had Christ and not myself; nor my lust but Christ; not  my leisure but Christ; nor a my honour but Christ! O sweet word! '  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.(Gal 2:20) Oh, if everyone would put himself away, his own self, his own leisure, his own pleasure, his own credit and his own twenty things, his own hundred things, which he sets up as idols above Christ! Dear sir, I know that you will be looking back to your old self, and to your self lust, and you self idol, which you set up above Christ in the lusts of youth.
   Worthy sir, pardon this my freedom in love, God is my witness, that it is from a sincere desire for your soul's eternal welfare that I speak so freely. Your sun I know is lower in your evening sky and sunset is nearer that when I last saw you: make the effort to end your talk before night, and to make Christ yourself, and to make your love and your heart familiar with the Lord. Stand now by Christ and His truth, when so many fall badly, and deny Him. I hope that you love Him and His truth: give me power to confirm you in Him. I think more of my Lord's sweet cross than of a crown of gold, and a free kingdom with it.
   Sir , I remember you in my prayers to the Lord, as I promised. Help me with your prayers, that our Lord would be pleased to bring me among you again with the Gospel of Christ.
   Grace, grace be with you.
      Yours, in his sweetest Lord and Master,  S.R.

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