Thursday, September 12, 2019

Rutherford Revised (291)

291. To Mr. Henry Stuart, his wife and two daughters, all Prisoners of Christ at Dublin From St. Andrews 1640

(The Stuart family were tried before he Star Chamber 10 Aug 1639 for refusing to swear ecclesiastical obedience to he king. They were fined £16,000 and imprisoned for fifteen months.)

Truly honoured and dearly beloved, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you from Gd our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Do not think it strange, beloved in our Lord Jesus, that Satan can command keys of prisons, and bolts and chains. His is a piece of the Devil's princedom he has over the world. Interpret and understand our Lord well in this. Do not be jealous of His love, though he makes devils and men to be his under servants to rub the rust off your faith, and purge you from your dross. And let me charge you, O prisoners of hope, to open your window, and look out by faith, and see heaven's message, (that speedy and swift salvation of God) that is going to you. It is a broad river that faith will not look over: it is a mighty and broad sea, that they of a lively hope can see its fair bank and other shore. Look over the water, your anchor is fixed in the veil; the one end of he cable is about the prisoners of Christ, and the other is entered in the veil, where the Forerunner has entered for you (Heb 6:19,20). I can go straight through the fire of the flames of the wrath of men, devils, losses, tortures, death and not thread of it be singed of burnt: men and devils have no teeth to bite it in two. Hold tight until He comes. Your cross is the colour of heaven and Christ, and ornamented with the faith and comforts of the Lord's faithful covenant with Scotland: and that dye and colour will withstand foul weather and neither be stained nor lose colour. Yet, it reflects a shade offered like the cross of Christ, whose holy hands, many a day were lifted up to God, praying for sinners, were chained and bound, as if those blessed hands had stolen and shed innocent blood. When your lovely, lovely Jesus had no better than the thief's sentence, it is no wonder your process is lawless and turned upside down; for He was taken, chained, battered, whipped, spat upon, before He was convicted of any fault or sentenced. Oh, such a pair of sufferers and witnesses, as high and royal Jesus and a poor piece of guilty clay, companions together under one yoke! Oh, how lovely is the cross with such a supporter.

   I believe your prison is determined in Gods court not to keep you until your hope breathes out its life and last. Your cross is under law to restore you again safe to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Take heaven's and Christ's promise for a fair back door out of your sufferings. The Saviour is on His journey with salvation and deliverance for Mount Zion: and the sword of the Lord is drunk with blood, and made fat with fatness. His sword is bathed in heaven against Babylon, for it is, 'the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompense for the controversy of Zion:' and persuade yourselves the streams of the river of Babylon will be pitch, and the dust of the land brimstone and burning pitch (Is 34:8.9). And if your deliverance is joined with the deliverance of Zion, it will be two salvations to you.
    It is good to be armed beforehand for death or bodily tortures for Christ; and to think what crown of honour it si, that God has given you pieces of living clay to be tortured witnesses for saving truth and you are so happy, as to have some pints of blood to give out for the crown of that royal Lord, who has caused you to own Him before men. If you can lend fines of three thousand pounds sterling for Christ, let heaven's register and Christ's account book keep the reckoning of your outgoings for Him. It will be engraved and printed in great letters on heaven's throne, what you are willing to give for Him. Christ's papers of that kind cannot be lost of fall by the way.
   Do not be amazed to see clay threaten the great Potter, and to see blinded men threaten the Gospel with death and burial, and to erase truth's name. But where will they make a grave for the Gospel and the Lord's bride? Death and hell will be only a little space for their burial. Lay all the clay and rubbish of this inch of the whole earth above our Lord's Spouse, yet it will not cover her nor hold her down; she will live and not die; she will see the salvation of God. Let your faith postpone God a little, and not be afraid of a smoking firebrand. There is more smoke in Babylon's furnace than there is fire. Until doomsday comes, they will never see he church of Scotland and our Covenant burnt to ashes; or if it should be thrown into the fire, ye it cannot be so burnt or buried as not to have a resurrection. Angry clay's wind will shake none of Christ's corn:He will gather all His wheat in to His barn. Only let your fellowship with Christ be renewed.
   You are related to Christ now when you are imprisoned for Him, more than before; for now the blows laid on you are remembered before our Lord and He can recognise His own wounds. 
   A drink of Christ's love, which is better than wine, is the gift which suffering for His majesty leaves behind it. It is not your sins they perscute in you, but God's grace, and loyalty to King Jesus. They see no treason in you to your prince the King of Britain, though they say so; but it is heaven in you that earth is fighting against. And Christ recognises His own cause. Grace is a part fire will not burn, nor water drown. When they have eaten and drunk you, their stomach will be sick, and they will vomit you out alive. Oh, what glory it is to be lowly people suffering (Ps 35:15) for the Lord's glory and royalty! No, though His servants had a body to burn forever for his Gospel, if the high glory of triumphing and exalted Jesus did rise out of these flames, and out of that burning body, oh wha a sweet fire! Oh what soul refreshing torment would that be! What if the remnants of dust and ashes of the burnt and dissolved body were musicians to sing His praises, and the highness of the never exalted enough Prince of ages? Oh, what love in Him to have such musicians as to tune that psalm of everlasting praise in heaven! Oh, what shining and burning flames of love are these, that Christ will divide His shame of life, of heaven and glory with you! (Luk 22:29,; Joh 17:24; Rev 3:21) A part of his throne, one drink of His wine (His wine of glory and life which comes from under the throne of God and of the Lamb), and one apple of the tree of life, will do more than make up all the expenses and charges of clay, lent out for heaven. Oh! Oh! We only have short and narrow and creeping thoughts of Jesus, and only fashion Christ in our thoughts like some created portrait! O angels, lend in your help to make love books and songs of our fair and white and ruddy Standard bearer among the thousand! O heavens! O heaven of heavens! O glorified tenants and triumphing householders with the Lamb, put in new psalms ad love sonnets of the excellency of our Bridegroom, and help us to set Him on high! Oh indwellers of earth and heaven, sea and air and all you created beings within the centre of the utmost circle of this great world, O come help to set on high the praises of our Lord! O fairness of creatures, blush before His uncreated beauty! O created strength, be amazed to stand before your strong Lord of hosts! O created love, think shame of yourself before the unparallelled love of heaven! O angel wisdom, hide yourself before our Lord, whose understanding is above finding out! O sun in your shining beauty, for shame put a web of darkness and cover yourself before your brightest Maser and Maker! Oh, who can add glory, to the never enough admired and praised Lover, doing or suffering? Oh we can only bring our drop to his sea, and our candle, dim and dark as it is, to his clear and lightsome Sun of heaven and earth! Oh but we have cause to drink ten deaths in one cup dry, to swim through ten seas, to reach that land of praises, where we will see the wonder of wonders, and enjoy the Jewel of heavens jewels! O death, do your utmost against us! O torments, O malice of men and devils, waste your strength on the witnesses of our Lord's Covenant! O devils, bring hell to help you in tormenting the follows of the Lamb! We will defy you to make us happy too soon, and to waft us too soon over the water to the land where the noble Plant, the Plant of Renown, grows. O cruel time, that torments us, and suspends our dearest enjoyments we wait for, when we will be bathed and steeped, soul and body, down in he depths of this Love of Loves O time, I say, go fast! O motions, speed up! O Well-beloved, be like a young deer on the mountains of separation! Run, run and speed our desired and hungered for meeting! Love is sick hearing tell of tomorrow.
   And what then can come wrong to you, O honourable witnesses of His kingly truth? Men have no more of you to work on than some inches and span lengths of sick, coughing and unemotional clay. Your spirit are above their Benches, Courts or High Commissions. Your souls, your love to Christ, your faith, cannot be summoned nor sentenced, nor accused, nor condemned by pope, deputy, bishop, ruler or tyrant. Your faith is a free lord and cannot be a captive. All the malice of hell and earth can only be over the outside of a believer,; and death, at the worst, can only get he security of clay on earth in keeping until you Lord makes he King's keys and open your graves.  So on he chance of winning take your fill of His love, until eternity comes in time's place, and possess you with eternal happiness. Keep your love to Christ, lay up your faith in heaven's keeping, and follow the Chief of the house of the martyrs that witnessed a fair confession before Pontius Pilate. Your cause and His is all one. The opposers of His cause are like drunken judges and transported, who, in their cups would make acts and laws in their drunken courts that the sun should not rise and shine on the earth, and send their officers and followers to charge the sun and moon to give no more light to the world:  and would enact in their court books, that the sea, after once ebbing, should never flow again. But would not the sun, moon and sea break these acts , and keep her Creator's directions? The devil (the great fool and father of these under fools) is older and more malicious than wise, who set the spirits on earth to work to contend and clash with heaven's wisdom, and to give orders and summons to our Sun, to our great Star of heaven, Jesus, not to shine in the beauty of His Gospel to the chosen and bought ones. O you fair and fairest Sun of Righteousness, arise and shine in Your strength, whether earth or hell will or not. O victorious, O royal, O stout, princely Soul conqueror, ride prosperously upon truth; stretch out your sceptre as far as the sun shines, and the moon waxes and wanes. Put on Your glittering crown,  O You Maker of kings, and make only one stride, one step the whole earth, and travel in the greatness of your strength (Is 62:1.2). And let your clothes be red, and all dyed with the blood of your enemies. 
   Laugh at the giddy headed clay pots, and stout brain sick worms, that dare say in all seriousness, 'This man will not reign over us!' as if they were throwing dice for Christ's crown, which of them would have it. I know you believe in the coming of Christ's kingdom; and there is a hole out of your prison, through which you see daylight. Do not let faith be dazzled with temptations from a dying Lord Lieutenant, and from a sick Bishop. Believe under a cloud and wait for Him when there is no moonlight or starlight. Let faith live and breathe, and take hold of the sure salvation of God, when clouds and darkness are around you, and appearance of rotting in the prison is before you. Beware of unbelieving heart, which can father lies on Christ. Beware of ' Are his promises at an end for all time?' (Ps 77:8) For it was a man and not God who said it, and dreamed that a promise of God could fail, fall feint or die. We can make God sick, or His promises weak, when we are pleased to have an argument with Christ. O sweet, O stout word of faith,' Though he slay me, I will hope in him' (Job 13:15). O sweet epitaph written on the gravestone of a dying believer, 'I died hoping, and my dust and ashes believe in life!' Faith's eyes that can see brought millstone, can see through a frown of God, and under it read God's thoughts of love and peace. Hold tight to Christ in the dark; surely you will see the salvation of God. Your enemies are ripe and dry for the fire. Yet in a little while they will go up in a flame; for the breath of the Lord, like a river of brimstone.will catch fire around them (Is 30:33).
   What I write to one I write to you all that are sound hearted in that kingdom, whom, in the mercies of Christ, I beg you not to touch that oath. though the opponents put a fair meaning on it, yet the swearer must swear according to the professed intent and godless practice of the oath makers. which is known to the world. Otherwise I might swear the Creed is false according to this private meaning and sense put on it. Oh, do not let them be led astray to wash perjury and the denial of Christ and the Gospel with ink water, some foul and rotten distinctions. Wash and wash again and again, the devil and the lie, it will be long before their skin is white.
   I profess it would be fitting for more able men than me to write to you. But I love your cause and want to be excused; and must beg for the help of your prayers, in his my weighty work here for the university and the pulpit, and that you would ask your friends also to help me. Grace be with you all. Amen.
   Your brother and companion, in the patience and kingdom of Jesus Christ,  S.R.

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