Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Rutherford Revised (285)

285. To Robert Gordon of Knockbreck   From Aberdeen 11 Jun 1638

(See letters 65,66,76,92)

My very dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. - I wanted to answer your two letters now, though I cannot write all I want to. Your seasonable word, 'not to delight in the cross, but in Him who sweetness it,' came to me in due time. I find the consolation and remnants that follow the cross of Chris so sweet I almost forget myself. My desire and purpose is, when Christ's honeycombs drop, neither to refuse to receive and feed on His comforts, nor yet to make joy my bastard god, or my new found heaven. But what shall I say? In His sweet comfort Christ often comes uncalled for, and it would be sin to close he door to Him. It is not wrong to love and delight in Christ's apples, when I am not dotingly wooing nor eagerly begging kisses; but when they come clean from the tree (like kindness itself which comes by its own will), then I can only laugh at Him who laughs at me. If joy and comforts come singly and alone, without Christ Himself, I think I would send them back again the way they came, and not make them welcome; but when he King's train comes, and the King in the middle of the company, oh how I am overjoyed with floods of love, I do not fear the too great floods of love wash away the growing corn, and loose my plans at the roots. Christ does no harm when joy comes; but certainly I would wish such spiritual wisdom, as to love the Bridegroom better than His gifts or drink money. I would be further in on Christ than at His joys. They only stand in the outer side of Christ; I would wish to be in, as a seal on His heart, in where His love and mercy stay, beside His heart. My Well-beloved has ravished me; but it is done with the consent of both parties, and is allowable enough. But me dear brother, before I leave this subject, I must tell you (so you may lift up my King in praises with me), for fourteen years Christ has been keeping something for me, that I have now received in my heavy days that I am in for His name's sake, even an opened box of perfumed comforts, and fresh joys, coming new, and green and powerful from the fairest face of Christ my Lord. Let the sour law, let crosses, let hell be cried down; love, love has shamed me from my old ways. Whether I have a race to run or some work to do, I do not see; but I think Christ seems to have heaven (to say so), and His court, and come down to laugh and play and sport with a silly child. 
  I am no so plain with many who I write. It is possible I be misunderstood and thought to seek a name. But my witness above knows I seek to have a good name raised on Christ. I observe it to be our folly to seek little from Christ, because our tea time may not be our supper, nor our gift sent by the Bridegroom be our dowry, nor our down payment our principal sum. But I think that few of us know how much may be had of Christ at tea time, and a gift and a down payment. We are like the young heir who does not know the whole bounds of his lordship. Certainly it is more my part to say,  'O sweetest Lord Jesus, what is I was split into five thousand shreds or bits of clay, if every shred had a heart to love You, and every one with as many tongues as there are in heaven to sing praises to You, before men and angels for evermore!' Therefore if my sufferings cry goodness and praise, and honour to Christ, my wages are well paid. Each one does not know what life is Christ's love. Do not be frightened at suffering for Christ; for Christ has a chair, and a cushion, and sweet peace for a sufferer. Christ's place from the first serving of the high table is for a sinful witness.Oh, brother, who but Christ! Be silent about lovers where He comes out. O all flesh. O dust and ashes, O angels, O glorified spirit, O all the shields of the world, be silent before Him! Come here and see our Bridegroom; stand sill and wonder at Him for evermore! Why do we cease to love and wonder, to hiss and adore Him? It is a hard thing that time lies between Him and me and holds us apart. Oh, how long, how long! Oh how many miles to my Bridegroom's house! It is a pain to postpone Christ's love any longer. But a drunken man may lose his footing and miss a step.You write to me, 'Half benches are slippery.' I do not think my favourite world will always last, and feasts be my ordinary food. I would have humility, patience and faith to put down both my feet, when I come to the north side of he cold and thorny hill. It is bad if I am reluctant to work for Christ, and to take the wind on my face for Him. Lord, let me never be a false witness, to deny I saw Christ take the pen in His hand, and sign my documents.
   My dear brother, you complain you cannot see me. If I was a footman I would go at leisure; but sometimes my King takes me into His coach, and pulls me and hen I to run myself. Bur alas, I am still a sad sinner. Oh how unthankful! I will not put you off your sense of darkness; bu let me say this, 'Who paid you a fee to speak for the law, which can seek for itself better than you can do!' I do not want you to bring your accusation to Christ. Let the 'old man' and the 'new man' be summoned before Christ's white throne, and let them be confronted before Christ, and let each of the speak for themselves. I hope though, the new man complains of his lying among pots, which make he believer look black, yet he can also say, 'I am beautiful as the tents of Kedar.' You will not have my advice not to complain of your deadness but I find by some experience (which you knew before I knew Christ), it does not suit a ransomed man bought by Christ, to go and ask for the sour law, our old divorced husband; for we are not now under the law (as a covenant) but under grace. You are indebted to no-one except Christ. I know he sorrows over you more than you do yourself. I say this for I am tired of complaining. I though it humility to imagine Christ angry with me, not because of my dumb Sabbaths, and my hard heart; but now I only feel aching wounds. My grief, whether I want it to or not, swells in me. But let us die in grace's half floor pleading before Christ. I deny nothing with which the Mediator will challenge me; but I turn it all back on Himself. If He is angry, let Him look to His own old accounts; for He will get no more from me. When Christ says, 'I want repentance,' I meet Him with this: ' True Lord, bu you are made a King and a Prince to give me repentance' (Ac 5:34). When Christ binds a challenge on us, we must bind a promise back on Him. Be sorrowful and lay yourself in the dust before God (which is suitable). but let Christ take the payment in His own hand, and pay Himself from the first end of His own merits; or else He will come behind for anything we can do. I am every way, in your case, as hard heard and dead as any man; bu ye I speak to Chris through my sleep. Let us then proclaim a free market for Christ, and swear ourselves bare, and dry to Him to come without money and buy us, and take us home to our Ransom payer's fireside, and let us be Chris's free boarders. Because we are not able to pay the old, we may not refuse to take on Chris's new debt of mercy; let us do our best, Christ will still not have go from us all he claims, and many terms will run together. For my part, let me stand for evermore in His book as a prodigal debtor. I must want to be so far indebted to Him anew, as to kiss His feet. I do not know how to win to a hearty fill and feast of Christ's love; for I am not able to buy, nor beg, nor borrow and yet I cannot lack it. I am not able to lack it! Oh if It could praise Him! Yes, I would restt content with a heart submissive and dying of love for Him. And although I never personally enter theaven, oh would to God I could send in my praises to my incomparable Well-beloved, or throw my love songs about that matchless Lord Jesus, over the walls, that they might land in His lap before men and angels.
   Now, grace, grace be with you. Remember my love to your wife and daughter and brother John.
   Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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