Friday, September 20, 2019

Rutherford revised (315)

315. To a Christian friend on the death of his wife.  From London 1645

Worthy friend,- I want to suffer with you, in the loss of a loving and good wife, now gone before (according to the method and order of Him of whose understanding there is no searching out) where you are to follow. He that made yesterday to go before this day, and the former generation, in birth and life, to have been before this present generation, and has made some flowers to grow and die and wither in the month of May, and others in June, cannot be challenged in the order He has made of things without souls; and some order He must keep also here, that one might bury another. Therefore I hope you will be dumb and silent, because the Lord has done it.
   What creatures or under-causes do, in sinful mistakes, is ordered in wisdom by your Father, at whose feet your own soul and your heaven lies; and so the days of your wife. If the place she had left was any other than a prison of sin, and the home she is gone to any other than where her Head and Saviour is King of the land, your grief would have been more rational. But I trust your faith in the resurrection of the dead in Christ to glory and immortality, will lead you to suspend your longing for her, until the morning and dawning of that day when the archangel will descend with a shout, to gather all the prisoners out of the grave, up to Himself. To believe this is best for you; and to be silent, because He has done it, is your wisdom.
It is much to come out of the Lords school of trial wiser, and more experienced in the ways of God; and it is our happiness, when Christ opens a vein, that He takes nothing but bad blood from His sick ones. Christ has skill to work; and (if our corruption does not spoil it)  the art of mercy in correcting. We cannot of ourselves take away the tin, the lead, and the scum that remains in us; and if Christ is not Master-of-work, and if the furnace goes alone (He not standing near the melting of His own container), the work was lost, and the Founder would melt in vain. God knows some of us have lost much fire, sweating, and pains, to our Lord Jesus; and the container is almost spoiled, the furnace and stick of God spoiled,the daylight  burnt, and the false metal not taken away,” so as some are to answer to the Majesty of God for the abuse of many good crosses, and rich afflictions lost without the quiet fruit of righteousness. It is a sad thing when the stick is cursed, that never fruit will grow on it. And unless Christs dew fall down, and His summer-sun shine, and His grace follow troubles to cause them to bring forth fruit to God, they are so fruitless to us, that our evil ground (foul and fat enough for thorns) throws up a crop of ugly weeds. The stick” (as the prophet saith) blossoms, pride buds forth, violence rises up into a stick of wickedness” (Ezek. vii. 10, 11). And all this has been my case under many sticks since I saw you.
   Grace be with you.
      Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

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