Monday, September 23, 2019

Rutherford Revised (337)

337. To  a Minister of Glasgow.

[Probably to one of the ministers of Glasgow, who probably was deposed by the Resolutionists, or at least a sufferer for the protestation,Mr. MWard perhaps, or Mr. Patrick Gillespie.” The letter bears internal evidence of having been written to a minister of Glasgow who had been censured by the General Assembly which met at Dundee in 1651, for his opposition to the public resolutions. By that Assembly three ministers, Mr. James Guthrie of Stirling, Mr. Patrick Gillespie of Glasgow, and Mr. James Simpson of Airth, were deposed, and one, Mr. James Nasmith of Hamilton, suspended, on the ground of their having protested against the lawfulness of that Assembly. (Life of Robert Blair,” p. 278.) There seems, then, little doubt that Mr. Patrick Gillespieis the person to whom this letter was addressed. It could not have been Mr. Robert MWard, for he was licensed only in 1655, and did not become a minister of Glasgow till 1656, when he succeeded Mr. Andrew Gray in the Outer High Kirk; nor, though he enlisted himself on the side of the Protesters, does he appear to have suffered on that account. Mr. Patrick Gillespie was the son of Mr. John Gillespie (second minister of the collegiate charge of Kirkcaldy), and brother of the celebrated George Gillespie. He was born at Kirkcaldy in 1617, and was for some time minister of that parish, previous to his translation to Glasgow. After the death of Charles I. he favoured the Commonwealth, and was appointed by Cromwell Principal of the University of Glasgow, into which office he was installed after encountering much opposition. At the Restoration he was ejected from the Principalship, in which he was succeeded by the celebrated Robert Baillie. He was also imprisoned suc- cessively in the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling; and upon the sitting of the Parliament in 1661, was impeached of high treason, on the alleged ground of his having compiledThe Western Remonstrance,” approved the pamphlet entitled The Causes of Gods Wrath,” and kept correspondence with Cromwell. But, having made concessions, he was shortly after liberated, and confined to Ormiston and six miles around it. His works speak for him,” says Wodrow, and evidence him a person of great learning, solidity, and piety, particularly his excellent treatises upon The Covenants of Grace and Redemption.’”]

Sir,I long to see you, since you gave a public testimony for your Master, and have become a sufferer for Him. Until I shall be able to see you, I thought it my duty to write to you that I remember you as I am able. Your zeal and faithfulness for our Master and your mother church have made your name honourable and precious among many here; yes, have exceedingly refreshed the emotions of the saints. Upon my word, Sir, I say the truth, you have their hearts and their approval of what you have done; and that you are approved by God, I do not doubt: the seal of which, I hope, will be in your heart, to feast your conscience with peace, and to cause your face shine in innocency. What you have done with your fellow- witnesses, companions in trouble, will turn to you for a testimony. Sir, when this General Assembly is gathered together to their fathers, and you wearing your crown up at the throne, and following the Lamb, your name will be precious and have a sense of life among the saints. You will have your mothers blessing, I mean the Church of Scotland, when you are dead and rotten. Though now you seem to be a man of strife and contention, yet you are no otherways for strife and contention than your Master before you, who came to send not peace, but rather division and contention (Luke 12:51) with the evil party. Union in judgment, with men not tender about our Lords interest, is a conjunction and union I hope you shall never think desirable. Sectarian separation, I am confident, you never loved; though men, who are become transgressors in destroying what they have formerly been building, give it out so. Woes me, Sir, that amongst so many hundred ministers in the Church of Scotland, so few are like to be found willing to give or approve of your and othersfaithful testimony. I think that, besides the evil of blindness that is in the mind of some, and the idolizing of mans interest by others, an uncrucified world and over-loved stipends shall hinder many from coming your length. We are debtors to you, and to our Lord Jesus Christ, that has given to you to care for Zion, whom no man seeks after” (Jer. 30: 17); not caring for your own things, but the things of God. Well done you that has quit all things to follow Him. To you, and to others that will continue with Christ, in this hour of trouble, is appointed a kingdom. Sir, you had more credit and worldly greatness to lose than many honest ministers; and thanks be to God that you have so learned Christ [as] to be made a man for Christ of no reputation, for Him. Your despised Master, who made Himself while He was amongst us a man of no reputation, is now exalted in glory. There is none now to mock Him by bowing the knee, none now to spit in His face, none now to bring Him under mocking of the purple robe, none to put on His head a crown of thorns. And as you now partake of His sufferings, so will you after of His glory. You shall sit honourably on thrones; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you shall receive the crown. I am convinced that it is for conscience toward God that you suffer. The bottom of your testimony and suffering is not so narrow as some think, who study more to decline the cross than to be tender for every truth. School-heads talk of fundamentals and non-fundamentals; and, say they,
The present controversy is not about fundamentals: ministers may keep their places, peace, and stipends, and make less noise.” But are non-fundamentals nothing? I would choose rather not be brought up at school, than to grow so subtle and wily by school distinctions, [as] to decline the cross. Sir, you do not divide  from others for nothing; you contend not for nothing; you suffer not for nothing. They that will be unfaithful in little will be unfaithful in much. Mistake me not, as if I thought the ground of your testimony a little thing and a trifle. I think you, and all that be faithful to God, are bound to follow it to imprisonment and to blood. That Christ ought to be a King in Scotland, and the people ought to employ the liberty that Christ has bought to them with His blood, is among fundamentals with me; and whether the way man gives and allows to men that have fought against the truth be not naturally, and by interpretation, against this, judge. Sir, your Master did put you in His vineyard. You have a testimony from many of a faithful and diligent labourer. I hear that you are now violently thrust out. I think the Spirit of Christ would teach men sobriety and for- bearance. I wish (and know you will join with me) that mens violent dealing with you provoke not the Lord, to make this the last General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Always, I acknowledge you one of the stars which the Lord has in His hand, one of the angels of the Church of Scotland, a faithful minister of the Gospel at Glasgow. You have given a testimony for your Master; you shall get a meeting when He comes in the clouds. And though there should not be a General Assembly in future in the Church of Scotland, judicially to acknowledge you His minister, yet, in the General Assembly of angels and men, that your Master in the latter day shall call in the clouds, you shall get a testimony of a minister of the Gospel; and from the Shepherd and the Lord, the righteous Judge, you shall receive the crown. I think there is a necessity laid on you to preach the Gospel, and to call people to the covenant of grace, wherever you can safely do it. I know there are many that will yet receive you as an angel of God, and yet will be followers of you and of Christ, receiving the word in much affliction, with joy in the Holy Ghost.” The Lord give you in all things to approve yourself as the minister of God, in much patience and affliction, in necessities, distresses, in stripes, in imprisonment, in labour, and watching, and fasting,by honour and dishonour, in good report and ill report” (2 Cor. 6:46). For, now we live if you stand fast in the Lord. And the God of all peace, who has called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered awhile, make you perfect, establish,
 strengthen, and settle you. Remember me to those that are your compan-ions in trouble, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, and to your wife, that will be a faithful helper to you in this time of your trouble.
   Because I am not able to see you yet, and fearing that when I come to Glasgow I shall not find you there, I thought good to write.page698image3538978304

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