Sunday, September 22, 2019

Rutherford Revised (332)

332. To the worthy and much honoured Colonel Gilbert Ker From St. Andrews 7 Jan 1651 

(On the 1st of December 1650, being Sabbath, the west country forces of the Covenanters were scattered at Hamilton by a party of English, under the conduct of Lambert. Several of them were killed, and Colonel Ker was wounded and taken. (LamontDiary,p. 24.))

Much Honoured and Worthy Sir,Your chains now shine as much for Christ (the cause being His) as your sword was made famous in acting for that cause; and blessed are such as can willingly give to Christ both action and blood, doing and suffering. Resisting unto blood is little for that precious and never-enough exalted Redeemer, who, when you were buying, gave blood somewhat dearer than you gave for Him, even the blood of God (Acts 20. 28). I know a man, who, on the receipt of a letter that you were killed and the people of God destroyed, wished that he might be quickly under the wall of the higher palace from under the force of the storm, and who longed to have the weather-beaten and crazy ship safely landed in that harbour of eternal quietness.
   What further service Christ has for you, I do not know ; it is enough that in your captivity you offer your service to Christ. But if I see anything, it looks like a merciful defeat. I see the nobles and the state falling off from Christ, and the night coming on the prophets; which we should pray to prevent, because it is a rare thing to see a fallen star ever win up again to the sky to shine. And what if this be the thick darkness going before the break of day? Sure, Sir, the sun will rise upon Scotland; but if I will see it, or how near is it to that day, I leave that to Him, even to Jehovah, who creates upon every dwelling-place in Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and a smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night.” But, Sir, the wilderness will rejoice and blossom as a rose:” and happy he who has a bone, or an arm, to put the crown upon the head of our highest King, whose chariot is coated with love. Were there ten thousand millions of heavens created above these highest heavens, and again as many above them, and as many above them till angels were weary with counting, it were but too low a seat to fix the princely throne of that Lord Jesus (whose ye are) above them all. Created heavens are too low a seat of majesty for Him. Since, then, there is none equal to your Master and Prince who has chosen out for you (among many sufferings for sin) that only cross which comes nearest in likeness to His own cross, watered with consolation, take courage, and comfort yourself in Him who has chosen you to glory hereafter and to conformity with Him here. We fools would have a cross of our own choosing, and would have our biterness and wormwood sugared, our fire cold, and our death and grave warmed with heat of life; but He who has brought many children to glory, and lost none, is our best Teacher. I wish that, when I am sick, He may be keeper and comforter. I judge it a blessed Fall that we are forfeited heirs, broken and out of credit, and that Christ is become a Teacher in the place of free-will, and that we are no more our own. I am broken and wasted with the wrath that is on the land, and have been much tempted with a design to have a pass from Christ; which, if I had, I would not stay to be a witness of our defection for any mans begging  But I know it is my softness and weakness, who would ever be ashore when a fit of sea-sickness comes on; though I know I shall come soon enough to that desirable country, and shall not be displaced: no-one shall take my lodging.
   Sir, many eyes are on you, and the godly are exceedingly refreshed that you do not listen to the ways of many about you, who with fair words make merchandise of souls. Sir, if the way you are in is not the way of Christ, then wo to me, for I am eternally lost. But truly, the Lord Christs dealings with Colonel Gilbert Ker has proven to me, that the New Testament and the covenant of grace is a piece that a solemn meeting and assembly of all created angels (join all their minds together) could not have devised. Since, Sir, you paid nothing for the change that Christ made, and you will take that debt of free grace to heaven with you (for what was Christ Jesus indebted to you, more than to all your kindred and name!), therefore, since you are made His own, follow no other way. What is my salvation, though I should lay it in pawn (it is but a poor pledge), that this, this only is the way! But Christ is surety Himself that it is the way. The Forerunner went before you, and He is safely landed: and there is a fair company before you of such as have come out of great tribulation, and have washed their clothes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” to whom these promises are now performed: He that overcomes will eat of the tree of life, that is in the midst of the paradise of God;” and, God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain”—“He that sitts on the throne will live among them; they will hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither will the sun light on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne will feed them, and will lead them to living fountains of waters.
   I may, Sir, possibly keep you from better work. The God of peace, that brought again from the dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant, make you perfect.
   Yours, in Jesus Christ,   S. R.   

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