Friday, September 13, 2019

Rutherford Revised (293)

293.  To Mr. James Wilson  From St. Andrews 8 Jan 1640

Dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be multiplied upon  you. - I bless our rich and only wise Lord, who so cares for His new creation that He is going over it again, and trying every piece in you, and blowing away the specks of His new work in you. Alas! I am not as fit a doctor as your disease needs. Sweet, sweet, lovely Jesus be your doctor, where His under surgeons cannot do anything to put in order the wheels,  paces and goings of a soul out of order. I have little time; but yet the Lord has me concern myself with your condition, so I am not able, I dare not be altogether silent.
   First: you doubt from 2 Cor 13:5 whether you are in Christ or not and if whether you are a reprobate or not? I answer three things to the doubt.-
 1.You owe love to all men, but most of all to lovely and loving Jesus, and some also to yourself; especially to your renewed self, because your new self is not yours, but another Lord's, even the work of His own Spirit. So to slander His work is to wrong Him. Love thinks no evil: if you love grace, do not think badly of grace in yourself. And you think badly of grace in yourself when you make it only bastard and a work of nature; for a holy fear you are not Christ's, and a care and desire to be His, and not your own, is not, no cannot be bastard nature. The great Advocae pleads hard for you; be on the Advocate's side, O poor fearful client of Christ! Stay and be on the side of such a Lord who pleads for no other man's goods than His own; for He (if I may say so) scorns to be enriched by unjust conquest. And yet He pleads for you, of which your letter (though too full of jealousy) is a proof. For if you were not His, your thoughts (which I hope are only suggestions of His Spirit, that only brings the matter into debate to make it sure to you) would not be such, nor be so serious as to say, 'Am I his?' or 'Whose am I?'
 2. Dare you dispute your Owner, and say in cold blood,'I am not His'? I do not regard what nature or corruption sometimes says in you. Your thoughts about yourself, when sin and guiltiness speak in your ear, and when you see what you deserve, are Apocrypha and not Scripture. Hear what our Lord says of you: 'He will speak peace.' If your Master says,'I leave you,' I will then tell you to eat ashes for bread, and drink bitter waters and wormwood. But, however, Christ from his own mouth should seem to say, 'I do not come for you,' as he did Mat 15:24; yet let me say that, Jesus, when He puts us to trial, are not to be stretched like Scripture beyond His intention, seeing His intention in speaking them is to strengthen, not to deceive. And therefore, faith may here contradict what Christ seems at first to say, and so may you. I charge you by the mercies of God, do not be so cruel to grace and the new birth as to pour water on your fire by unbelief. If you must die (as I know you will not), it would be foolishness to kill yourself.
 3. I hope you love the new birth and a claim to Christ, though you do not make it sure; and if you were in hell, and saw the heavenly face of lovely, ten thousand times lovely Jesus, that has God's colour,  and God's fair fair and comely red and white, with which it is beautified beyond comparison and imagination, you could not fail to say, 'Oh, if I could only blow a kiss from my sinful mouth from hell up to heaven, on His cheeks that are a bed of spices, as sweet as flowers! (Son 5:13). I hope you dare say, 'O fairest sight of heaven! O boundless mass of crucified and killed love for me, give me permission to love You! O Flower and Bloom of heaven and earth's love! O angels' Wonder! O you the Father's eternal sealed love! And O You God's old delight! Give me permission to stand beside your love, and look in and wonder; and give me permission to love you, if I can do no more.'
 4. We being born in atheism, and children of the house from which we come, it is no new thing, my dear brother, for us to be under jealousies and mistakes about the love of God. What do you think about this, that the man Christ, was tempted to believe there were only two persons in the blessed Godhead, and the Son of God, the substantial and co-eternal Son, was not the lawful Son of God? Did not Satan say,'If you are the Son of God?'
   Secondly: You say you do not know what to do. Your Head once said the same word or not far from it. ' Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say?'(Joh 12:27). And faith answered Christ's,'What shall I say?' with these words:'O tempted Savior, you ask,"What shall I say?" Say,"Pray Father, save Me from his hour"' What course can you take except to pray and postpone Christ His own comforts? He is no debtor; take His word. 'Oh' you say.'I cannot pray?' Answer - Honest sighing is faith breathing and whispering in His ear. Life has not left faith where there is sighing, looking up wih the eyes and breathing towards God. ' Do not close
your ear to my cry for help'(Lam 3:56). "But what will I do in spiritual exercises?' you say. Answer-
 1. If you knew particularly what to do it would not be a spiritual exercise.
 2. In my weak judgement you should first say,'I would glorify God in believing David's salvation, and the Bride's marriage with the Lamb, and love the church's killed Husband, though for the present I cannot believe my own salvation.'
 3. Say,'I will not pass from my claim: suppose Christ would pass from His claim to me, it will not go back on my side. Though my love to Him is not worth a drink of water, yet Christ will have it such as it is.'
 4. Say,'I would rather spoil twenty prayers than not pray at all. Let my broken words go up to heaven,: when they come up into the Great Angel's golden censer, that compassionate Advocate will put together, my broken prayers and perfume them.' Words are only the incidental accompaniments of prayer. 
   'Oh,' you say,'I am killed with hardness of heart, and confused with troubled and melancholy thoughts.' Answer - My dear brother, why would you conclude this? Do you do not well know what you aught to do? I agree:'Oh, my heart is hard! Oh, my thoughts  of faithless sorrow! I do not know who directs me', would be good logic in heaven among angels and the glorified; but down in Christ's hospital, where sick and disturbed souls are in for cure, it is not worth a straw. Give Christ time to end His work in your heart. Hold on if feeling and regretting your hardness; for that is softness to feel hardness.
 2. I want you to make psalms of Christ's praises for his started work of grace. Make Christ your music and your song; for complaining and feeling of want often swallows up your praises. What do you think of those who go to hell never troubled with such thoughts? If your exercises are the way to hell, God help me! I have a cold fire to blow at, and a blank paper for heaven. I give you Christ as surety, and heaven surety for your salvation. Lend Christ your melancholy, Satan has no right to make a room in your melancholy. Borrow joy and comfort from the Comforter. Bid the Spirit do His office in you; and remember that faith is one thing, and the feeling and notice of faith is another. God forbid that feeling proves faith to all the saints; and this was good reasoning,"No feeling, no faith.' I am sure you were not always these twenty years past, actually knowing you live!Yet all this time you are living. So it is with the life of faith. 
   But alas! It is easy for me to speak words and syllables of peace; but Isaiah tells you, 'I create peace' (Is 57:19). You know there is only one Creator. Oh that you would get a letter of peace sent to you from heaven!
   Pray for me, and for grace to be faithful, and for gifts to be able, with tongue and pen to glorify God. I do not forget you.
   Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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