Monday, September 09, 2019

Rutheford Revised (288)

288. To the persecuted church in Ireland    From Anwoth  1639

( When Scotland signed he National Covenant, the Crown , in May 1639, imposed on Ireland the Back Oath. All Scots in Ireland, male and female, over sixteen were to swear allegiance to King Charles and to renounce the Covenant. Those Presbyterians not conforming suffered severe persecution.)

Much honoured, reverend and dearly beloved in our Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you all. - I know there are many in this nation more able than I to speak to he sufferers for, and witnesses of, Jesus Christ; you pardon me to speak a little to you, who are questioned for the Gospel once committed to you.

   I hope you are not ignorant that, as peace was left to you in Chris's will, so the other half of the will was the legacy of Christ's sufferings. 'I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.In the world you will have tribulation.'(Joh 16:33). Because then, you are beneficiaries and heirs to a life rent from Christ's cross, do not be surprised by that fiery trial, for the Lord Jesus will not be loser by purging out the dross and tin from His church in Ireland. His wine press is only squeezing out the dregs, he scum, the froth, and rubbish of the church. I once had the sweet smell, and the honest and honourable peace, of that slandered thing, he cross of our Lord Jesus. But though alas, these golden days I then had are in a great part gone, yet I dare say the issue and outcome of your sufferings will be the advantage, the golden reign and dominion of the Gospel, and the high gory of the never enough praised Prince of the kings of he earth; and the changing of the brass of the Lord's temple among you into gold, and the iron into silver, and he wood into brass. I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. (Is 60:17,18). Your old fallen walls will get a new name, and the gates of your Jerusalem will get a new style.They will call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. I know he Lord Lieutenant, bishops, Papists, temporising lords and proud mockers of our Lord, crucifiers of Christ for His coat, and all your enemies, have neither fingers nor weapons of war to pick out one stone from your wall; for each stone of your wall is 'Salvation'. I dare give you my royal and princely Master's word for it, Ireland will be a fair bride to Jesus, and Christ will build on her a palace of silver (Son 8:9). Therefore do not weep as if there was no hope; fear not, put on strength, put on your beautiful clothes (Is 52:1). Your foundation will be sapphires, your windows and ages precious stones (Is 54:11,12). Look over the water, looks and see who is on the dry land waiting for your landing. Your deliverance is finished, subscribed and sealed in heaven. Your goods hat have been taken from you for Christ and His truth's sake, are only kept safe and not taken away. There is much laid up for you in His storehouses, who has the earth and is fulness. Your clothes have been  spun, and your flocks are feeding in the fields, your bread is laid up for you, your drink has been brewed, your gold and silver are the bank, and the interest goes on and grows; and yet I hear your taskmasers do rob and spoil you and fine you. My brothers, your prisons have two keys. The Lord Lieutenant, bishops and officers keep only the iron keys of he prison where they put you; but he who has created the blacksmith, has other keys in heaven; so you will not die in the prison. Other men's loughs are working for your bread,; your enemies are gathering in your rents. He who is kissing His bride on his side of the sea, in Scotland, is beating her beyond he sea in Ireland, and feeding her with he bread of adversity, and the water of affliction,; and yet He is he same Lord to both.
   Alas! I fear that Scotland is undone and killed with this great mercy of reformation, because there is not here that life of religion, answerable to the high greatness of the work that dazzles our eyes. For the Lord is rejoicing over us in this land, as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride; and the Lord has changed the name of Scotland. They now no longer call us "Forsaken' nor 'Desolae;' but our land is called 'Hephzibah' and 'Beulah' (Is 62:4). For he Lord delights in us, and this land is married to Him. There is now a road made through our Zion, and it is called the 'Way of holiness;' the unclean will not pass over it; the wayfaring men, though fools, will not do wrong in it. The desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose, 'And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;' Is 35:10); The Canaanite is thrown out of our Lord's house: there is not an animal left that can hurt (at leat it seems) in all the holy mountain od the Lord. Our Lord has fallen to wrestle with His enemies, and has brought us out of Egypt; we have 'the horns of the wild ox' (Nu 23:22). The Lord has eaten up he sons of Babel; He has broken their bones, and has pierced them through with His arrows. We take them captives whose captives we were, and rule over our oppressors  (Is 4:2). It is not brick, nor clay, nor Babel's cursed wood and stones, that is in our second temple; but our princely King Jesus is building His house all palace work and carved stones. It is the house of the Lord   .
   W     We welcome Ireland and England to our Well-beloved. We invite you, O daughters of Jerusalem, to come down to our Lord's garden, and seek our Well-beloved with us; for His love is enough both for you and us. We send you love letters over the sea, to ask you to come and marry our King, and to take par of our bed. And we trust our Lord is fetching a blow on the Beast, and scarlet coloured Whore, so he may bring in His ancient widowed wife, our dear sister, the church of he Jews. Oh, what a heavenly heaven it would be to see them come in this way, and suck the breasts of their little sister, and renew their old love with their first Husband, Christ our Lord! They are booked in God's word as a bride contacted to Jesus.! Oh for a sight in his flesh of mine of prophesied marriage between Christ and them! The kings of Tarshish, and of the isles, must bring presents to our Lord Jesus (Ps 82:10). And Britain is one of the chief isles; why then we may believe our kings of this island will come in and bring their glory to the New Jerusalem, in which Christ will live in the latter days? It is our part to pray, "That the kingdoms of the earth may become Christ's.'
   Now I encourage you in the Lord Jesus, not to be dismayed nor afraid for he two tails of these smoking firebrands, the fierce anger of he Lord Lieutenant with civil power, and of the bastard bishops with the power of the Beast; for they will be cut off.They may well eat you and drink you, but they will be forced to vomit you out again. If two things were firmly believed, sufferings will have no weight. If the fellowship of Christ's sufferings were well known, who would not gladly take part with Jesus? For Christ and we go halves and are joint owners of one and the same cross: and therefore, he who knew well what sufferings were, as he reckoned all things loss for Christ, and judged them only excrement, so he did also judge them, 'may share his sufferings' (Phil 3:10). Oh, how sweet a sight it is, to see a cross between Christ and us, and to hear our Redeener say, at every sigh and every blow, and every loss of a believer, 'Half mine!' So they are called ' Christ's afflictions' and 'the reproach of Christ'  (Col 1:24 and Heb 11:26). As when two are parters and owners of a ship, the half of he gain and half of the loss belongs to each of he two; so Christ in our sufferings is half gainer and half loser with us. Yes, the heaviest end of the black tree of the cross lies on your Lord: it falls first on Him, and it only rebounds off Him onto you.' The reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.'(Ps 69:9). Your sufferings are your treasure, and are greater riches than the measures of Egypt Heb 11:26). And if your cross comes through Christ's fingers before it comes to you, it receives a fair shine from Him; it gets a taste and relish of the King's ointment, and of heaven's perfume. And the half of the gain, when Christ's shipful of gold comes home, will be yours. It is a supplementing of your treasure to be rich in suffering. ' with far greater labours ...with countless beatings, andfoften near death (2 Cor 11:23);and to have he sufferings of Christ abounding in you (2 Cor 1:5) is a part of heaven's stock.Your goods they plucked from you are not lost; for your Lord keeps them; they have merely been arrested and seized. he arrest will fail.You will be fed with he inheritance of Jacob, your father; for the mouth of the Lord has said it (Is 58:14). Until I will be on the hall floor of the highest palace, and get a drink of glory from Christ's hand, above and beyond time and beyond death, I shall never (it is likely) see fairer days than I saw under that blessed tree of my Lord's cross. His kisses then were king's kisses. Those kisses were sweet and soul reviving; one of them, at the time, was worth two and a halt (if I may say so) of Christ's weekday kisses. Oh, sweet, sweet, for evermore, to see a rose of heaven growing in such bad ground as hell! And to see Christ's love, his hugs, His dinners and suppers of joy, peace, faith, goodness, long-suffering, and patience, growing and springing, like the flowers of God's garden, out of such stony and cursed ground as the hatred of the bishops,  and the malice of their High Commission, and he Antichrist's bloody hand and heart! Is not here cleverness and wisdom? Is not here heaven mixed in hell (if I may say so) like a jewel set with skill in a ring with the enamel of Christ's cross? The ruby and riches of glory, that grow up out of the cross, are beyond telling. Now, the blackest and hottest wrath, and most fiery anger of he Judge of men and angels, will come on those who deny our sweet Lord Jesus, and put their hand to the oath of wickedness now promoted. The Lord's fire at their heart will burn them up, root and branch. The estates of great men who have dome so, if they do not repent, will be consumed away, and the ravens will live in their houses, and their glory will be shame. Oh, for the Lord's sake, stick close Christ, and do not fear man who will wither and die like the grass. The Lord Lieutenant's blossom will fall, and the bishop's flowers will drop, and he east wind of the Lord, of 'the Lord, strong and mighty,' will blast and break them; so do not fear them. They are only an idol that can do neither evil nor good. Do not walk in the way of these people who slander the footsteps of our royal and princely anointed King Jesus, now riding on His white horse in Scotland. Let Jehovah be your fear. That decree of Zion's deliverance, passed and sealed up before the throne, is now ripe and will give birth to a child, even the ruin and fall of the bishop's black kingdom, and the Antichrist's throne, in these kingdoms. The Lord has begun and He will finish. Who ever heard the like of this? Before Scotland was in labour, she gave birth; and before her pain came, she was delivered of a boy child (Is 66:7'8). 
   And when all is done, suppose there was no sweetness in our Lord's cross, yet it is sweet for His sake, for that lovely One, Jesus Christ, whose crown and royal supremacy is the question this day in Great Britain, between us and our enemies.  And who would not think him worthy of suffering for? What is burning alive, what is drinking of our own heart's blood, and what is a drink of molten lead, for His glory? Less than a drink of cold water to a thirsty man, if the right price and due value were put on that worthy Prince, Jesus! Oh, who can weigh Him! Ten thousand thousand heavens would not be the scale, or half the scale, of the balance to put Him in. O black angels compared to Him! O dim, and dark and sightless sun, in regard to that fair Son of righteousness! O useless and worthless heaven of heavens, when they stand beside my worthy and lofty, and high and excellent Well-beloved! O weak and infirm clay kings! O soft and feeble mountains of brass, and weak created strength, in regard to our mighty and strong Lord of armies! O foolish wisdom of men and angels, when it is put in he scales beside that spotless, substantial Wisdom of the Father! If heaven and earth, and ten thousand heavens even (round about these heavens that now are), were all in one garden of paradise, decked with all the fairest roses, flowers, and trees that can come out of the art of the Almighty Himself; yet set only our one Flower that grows out of the root of Jesse beside that orchard of pleasure, one look of Him, one view, one taste, one smell of His sweet Godhead would infinitely exceed and go beyond the smell, colour, beauty, and loveliness of that paradise. Oh to be pregnant with His love!  And to be suffocated (if that could be) with the smell of His sweetness would be a sweet fill and lovely pain. O worthy, worthy loveliness! Oh, less of the creature and more of You! Oh, open the passage of the well of love and glory on us, dry pits and withered trees! On, that Jewel and Flower of heaven! If our Beloved was not misunderstood by us, and unknown to us, He would have no scarcity of lovers and suitors. He would make both heaven and earth see they cannot quench His love, for His love is a sea. Oh to be a thousand fathoms deep in this sea of love! 
   I seriously want to recommend this love to you, so his love may cause you to keep His commandments, and to keep clean fingers, and make clean feet, so you may walk as the redeemed of the Lord. Wo, wo to those who put on His name, and shame this love of Christ, with a loose and profane life! Their feet , tongue and hands and eyes, give a shameless lie to he holy Gospel, which they profess. I beg you in the Lord, to keep Christ and walk with Him: do not let His fairness be stained by godless living Oh, who can find in their heart to sin against love? And such a love as the glorified in heaven will delight to dive into, and drink of forever? For they are for evermore drinking in love, and the cup is still at their lips; and yet without loathing, for they drink, and still desire to drink for ever and ever. Is this not a long lasting supper?
   Now if any of our country people, professing Christ Jesus, have brought themselves under the blows and wrath of the Almighty, by yielding to Antichrist in a hairsbreadth, but especially by swearing and subscribing to that blasphemous oath (which is the Church of Ireland's black hour of temptation), I would beg them, by the mercies of God at their last summons, to repent, and openly confess before the world to the glory the Lord their denial of Christ. Or otherwise, if either a man or woman will stand and stay by the oath, then, in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus, I let them see they forfeit their part of heaven! And let them look for no less than a load of he pure, unmixed wrath of God, and the plague of apostates and deniers of our Lord Jesus.
   Do not let me, a stranger to you, who never saw your face, be thought bold in writing to you: for the hope I have of a glorious church in the land, and the love of Christ controls me. I know that the worthy servants of Christ, who once worked among you, do also no stop writing to you; and I want to be excused for joining them.
   Pray for your sister church in Scotland; and let me beg you for the help of your prayers for myself and flock and ministry and my fear of a transfer from this place in the Lord's vineyard. Now the very God of peace, sanctify you throughout.
   Your brother and companion in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,  S.R.

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