Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Rutherford Revised - (15)

15. For Marion M'Naught  From Anwoth 2 Jun 1631

Well beloved sister, - my love in Christ remembered. I have received a letter from Edinburgh, informing me for certain that the English service, and the organs, and King James' Psalms, are to be imposed upon our church; and that the bishops are calling for a General Assembly. A R has also confirmed the news, and says he spoke with Sir William Alexander, who has come down with his prince's warrant for it. I am asked in the latter to acquaint those most affected around me concerning that storm; therefore, I ask you and beg you in the Lord's name, pray; but do not tell this to anyone until I see you. My heart is broken remembering it, it was my fear, and answers my last letter but one,  which I wrote to you. Dearly beloved, do not be cast down, but let us, as our Lord's doves, take to our wings (for we have no other armour) and fly into the hole in the rock. A R says it is true that the best men in England have been banished, and silenced, about sixteen or seventeen choice gospel preachers, and persecution has started. Though I do not write this to you with a dry face, yet I am confident in the Lord's strength, Christ and His side will triumph; and you will be sure; the church would not be a church if it were not so. And our dear Husband, in courting His church, received many black blows, so His bride, in courting Him, gets many blows, and in this courting there are blows on both sides. Let it be so. The devil will not make this marriage go back, neither can he tear up the contract; it will end in mercy. Despite all of this, we have no command of God to stop all lawful work. I have been writing to you of the plans and plots of men against the church, but they do not know, as Micah says, the plans of Jehovah. The great men of the world may prepare the fiery furnace for the church; but do you think they can make the fire burn? No. I trust that He who made the fire, will not say amen to their judgements. I trust in my Lord that he has not agreed to their law, and their plans have not received our great King's seal. So, if you think it good, address yourself first to the Lord, and then to A R, concerning the business that you know.
   The presbytery lacked kindness to me; and (as if I was a stranger, and not a member with a seat there, to judge with them)I was summoned by them as a witness against B A. But they have gained no advantage in that regard.  You will, God willing, hear other details when we meet.
   Concerning the matter between you and I E. I remember it before God. I ask you in the Lord, to submit to His will; for the higher their pride climbs, the nearer they are to a fall. The Lord will show up that man more and more. Let your husband, in all judgements, take Christ's side, for the defence of the poor and needy, and the oppressed to maintain fairness and justice in the town. Do not be afraid. He will take your side, and then you will be strong enough. Though you receive insults for your Lord's sake, let it be so. When he will put His holy hand to your face in heaven, and dry your face, and wipe the tears from your eyes, will you not have reason then to rejoice? Concerning other matters, if you want to speak with me, any of the first three days next week in Carletoun, (a town near Anwoth) when Carltoun is at home, you can tell me your wishes. Remember me before God, and my best wishes to your husband; and for the church's sake do not keep silent. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and your husband and children.
   Yours in the Lord,   S.R.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Rutherford Revised - (14)

14. For Marion M'Naught From Anwoth  17 May 1631

Well beloved in the Lord, - You know our Communion day. I ask you, therefore for the help of your prayers, for that great work, which is one of our feast days, in which our well beloved Jesus rejoices, and is merry with his friends. 
   We have good reason to wonder at His love, since to day of His death was such a sad day to Him, even the day when His mother, the church, crowned Him with thorns, and He had many against Him, and presented His case alone in the field against them all; yet he delights with us to remember that day. Let us love Him and be glad and rejoice in His salvation. I am confident that you shall see the Son of God that day, and I dare, in His name, to invite you to His banquet. Many times you have been well entertained in His house; and with his friends he does not change, nor rebukes them for too great kindness. But I do not say this to make you stop praying for me, who have nothing in myself, except what I daily receive from Him, who is made by His Father an overflowing fountain, at which I and others may come thirstily, and fill our jars.This well has long stood open for us. Lord Jesus, do not lock it up against us. I am sorry for our lonely church; yet I can only trust, so long as God has any lost money here, he will not blow out the candle. May the Lord make good candlesticks in His house, and remove the dead lights.
   I have been thinking a lot about the conversion of the Jews. Pray for them. When they were in their Lord's house, at their Father's elbow, they were longing for the coming in of their little sister, the church of the Gentiles,. They said to their Lord, 'We have a little sisterand she has no breasts.What shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for?' (Song 8:8). Let us meet with them. What shall we do for our elder sister, the Jews? Lord Jesus, give them breasts. It would be a glad day to see both us and them sit down at one table, and Christ at the head of the table. Then would our Lord come soon with his fair guard to hold His great court.
   Dear sister, for the Lord's sake be patient, under the wrongs you suffer from the wicked.Your Lord will make you see your desire concerning your enemies. Some of them will be cut off; 'He will shake off his unripe grape like the vineand cast off his blossom like the olive tree. (Job 15:33): God will make them like unripe sour grapes, shaken off the tree by the blast of God's wrath; and therefore pity them and pray for them. Others of them must remain to exercise you. God has said of them, Let the weeds grow until harvest (Mat 13:30).  It proves you are the Lord's wheat. Be patient:  Christ went to heaven with many a wrong. His face and expression were marred more than the sons of men. You may not be above your master; innocent Jesus received many a black blow, and he received no amends, but referred them all to the great court day, when all things will be put right. I want to hear from you in a day or two, if Mr Robert still wants to come and help us. God will give you joy from all your children. I bless you from our Lord, your husband and children too. Grace, grace and mercy be multiplied to you.
  Yiyrs in the Lord for ever,     S.R.

Rutherford Revised - (13)

13. For Marion M'Naught From Anwoth 7 May 1631

Well beloved sister, - since I left you, I have been thinking to the pride and malice of your opponents; and (since you have had the book of Psalms so often) you should take heart from this; for David's enemies sniffed at him, and through pride of heart said, You (God) will not call to account”(Ps 10:13).  I ask you, therefore, for Jesus sake, keep in sight the patience of your forerunner Jesus, who, 'When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly' (1 Pet 2:23). And since your Lord and redeemer, with patience took many a black beating on His glorious back, and many a blow from the unbelieving world, and says of Himself, 'I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.'( Is 50:6 ); follow Him, and think it not hard that you receive a blow with your Lord. Take part with Jesus in His sufferings, and glory in the marks of Christ. If this storm was over, you must prepare yourself for a new would; for, five thousand years ago, our Lord proclaimed deadly war between the Seed of the Woman and the seed of the Serpent. And do not be surprised if one town cannot keep the children of God and the children of the devil, for one belly could not keep Jacob and Esau (Gen 25:22); one house could not keep in peace together Isaac , the son of the promise, and Ishmael the son of the handmaid (Gen 21:10). You be on Christ's side of it and do not care what man can do. Keep tight by your Saviour, and those who follow Him, however you be troubled. In a little while the wicked will be no more. ' We are afflicted inevery waybut not crushedperplexedbut not driven to despair; persecutedbut not forsakenstruck downbut not destroyed;' (2 Cor 4:8-9). If you can patiently keep your soul, their day is coming. Worthy and dear sister, know how to keep yourself in trouble; and when you are hated and criticised, the Lord shows you - ' All this has come upon usthough we have not forgotten youand we have not been false to your covenant.'(Ps 44:17). 'If your law had not been my delightI would have perished in my affliction.' (Ps 119:92). Keep God's covenant in your trials. Hold to His word and do not sin. Keep from anger, wrath, grumbling, envy and worry. Forgive your fellow servant a few pence for the Lord has forgiven you ten thousand talents. For I assure you that your enemies will get no advantage over you, unless you sin and offend the Lord in your sufferings. But the way to overcome is by patience, forgiving and praying for your enemies, for by so doing you heap coals of fire, on their heads; and the Lord will open a door for you out of your troubles. Wait for him as the night watchman waits for the morning. He will not delay. Go to your look out tower, and do not come down but by prayer, faith and hope, keep watching. When the tide is full, it will ebb again; and so as soon as the wicked are at the top of their pride, and grown high and mighty, then their change is near. They who believe do not hurry.

   Remember the church, do not forget her, for her enemies are many; for the nations are gathered together against her. 'But they do not know the thoughts of the LORDthey do not understand his plan,that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floorArise and threshO daughter of Zion,' (Mic  4:12-13). Look, God has gathered his enemies together, like sheaves for threshing. Now again, I trust in our Lord you will by faith  keep yourself, and comfort yourself in your Lord, and be strong in His power; for you are in the well trodden way to heaven when you are under our Lord's crosses. You have reason to rejoice in it, more than a crown of gold; and rejoice and be glad to bear Christ's reproaches. I rest, commending you and yours, forever to the grace and mercy of God.
   Yours in Christ,   S.R.

Rutherford Revised - (12)

12. For Marion M'Naught from Anwoth 21 Jul 1630

Well beloved and dear sister, - My love in the Lord Jesus remembered. I understand you continue to be visited by the Lord with business from your enemies which s God's doing. For there is no deliverance until He take his Children out of the fire; but after God's highest and fullest tide of the sea of troubles has gone over the souls of His children, then comes the gracious long hoped for ebbing and drying up of the waters. Dear sister, do not fail; the wicked may hold the bitter cup to your lips, but God mixes it and there is no poison in it,  They beat, but God moves the rod; Shimei cursed, but it is because the Lord told him to. I tell you, and I have it from Him before whom I stand for God's people, that there is a command given out, in the great court of the highest heavens,, that your present troubles will be dispersed like the morning mist, and God will bring out your righteousness, as the light of the noon day sun. Let me beg you, in Christ's name, the keep good conscience in that business, and beware of yourself: yourself is a more dangerous enemy than me, or any outside you. Innocence and an upright cause is a good pleader before God., and shall speak for you and win your case. Esteem highly your Master's approval and His smile. He is now like the king that has gone to a far country. God seems to be away from home (if I may say so), yet He sees the bad servants, who say, 'Our Master puts off His coming', and so beat their fellow servants. But patience, my beloved; Christ the King is coming home; the evening is near, and he will ask for accounts from his servants. Make a fair, clear account to Him.So behave that at night you may say, Master I have wronged no-one; look you have what is yours with interest. O! your soul with then think highly of one of God's kisses and hugs, with the witness of a good conscience. The wicked, with many evil thoughts, bitter words, and sinful works in secret, are writing their own accounts, and doing nothing all their life but collecting items against themselves; for God is angry with the wicked every day.And I hope your present events will one day be seen by Him, who knows your just cause; and the bloody tongues, crafty foxes, dyed in the wool hypocrites, shall appear before His majesty, when he will remove the mask from their faces. And O, your soul will be three times happy then, when God finds you covered with only the white robe of the saint's innocence, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
   But you have recently been in the King's wine cellar, where you were welcomed by the Lord innkeeper, providing you walk in love. Put on love , and brotherly kindness, and patience; wait for the conversion of your enemies as Christ waited for you, and as dear Jesus stood at your soul's door, with hair wet from the dew, through the long cold night. Be angry, but do not sin. I am persuaded, that holy influence in you, which teaches you all things, is also saying, 'Overcome evil with good'. If that had not spoken to you when you saw the tears of your old pastor, you would not have agreed and forgiven his foolish son who wronged you; but the Master told me to tell you, God's blessing will be on you for it; and from him I say, Grace, grace and everlasting peace be on you . My prayer for you is that your way of life will fit and commend the Gospel of that Lord who has been gracious to you. I heard your husband was also sick, but I ask you for Jesus's sake, welcome every rod of God, for I find no greater sign of a child of God, than to fall down and kiss the feet of an angry God. And when He seems to part you from Him, and loose your hands that grip Him, to look up in faith and say, 'I shall not, I will not, be put away from You. However though Your Majesty move to free Yourself from me, allow me to hold and stick to Yourself'.I pray that your husband may return in peace. Your situation comes from heaven; look up there. for (says Solomon) many seek the face of the ruler, but every man's judgement comes from the Lord. Be glad that it is so, for Christ looks after your ways, and will see that all is right; and I am persuaded myself that He is saying, 'Those servants of mine are wronged; for My blood's sake, Father give them justice.' Do you not think, dear sister, that our High Priest, our Jesus, the Master of requests, presents all our complaints to the great Lord Justice? Yet I believe it, since he is our Advocate, and Daniel calls Him the Spokesman, whose hand presents everything to the Father.
   As to other matters, I will say nothing until the Lord lets us meet. I am reliably informed that many from England, especially good preachers, and silenced preachers of London, have gone to New England; and I know of one educated and holy preacher who has written against the Arminians, who has gone there. Our Blessed Lord Jesus who cannot get opportunity to sleep with His spouse in this land, is going to look for an inn where he will be better entertained. How amazing! This Jesus, after He had travelled from Geneva, by the ministry of worthy Mr Knox, and was laid in His bed, and reformation begun, and the curtains drawn, had not got his dear eyes shut, when irreverent bishops came in, and with the din and noise of ceremonies, holy days and other Roman corruptions, awakened our Beloved. Others came to his bedside, and drew the curtains, and laid hands on His servants, banished, deprived and confined them; and instead of the pulpit they got a stool and a cold fire in Blackness Castle; and the gentry threw the covering off Him, and have made Him a poor naked Christ, robbing his servants of the tithes and church rents. And now there is such a sound of crying sins in the land, in the lack of knowledge of God, mercy and truth; such swearing, immorality and bloodshed; that Christ is putting on His clothes, making him like a badly treated stranger so going to other lands. Ask Him, sister, to lie down again with His beloved.
   Remember my dearest love to John Gordon. I will write when I am strong, and to John Brown, Grissel, Samuel and William; grace to them. As you love Christ, keep Christ's favour, and do not wake Him from sleep before He pleases. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.
   Your brother in Christ,    S.R.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Diary w/e 16 Feb 2019

Sun 10th
Phil H adult SS on contextualisation. PL on Mat 12. I preached 1Tim 2:1-2at Harmondsworth with the forthcoming Nigerian elections in mind. New detainees from there, Ghana and Viet Nam.

Mon 11th
I visited Hazel where the Dementia Concern psychologist said her dementia has not changed in the last six months. Heating engineer serviced the boiler and tried to sort out why the heating comes on at strange times.

Tue 12th
ELT with Ian Hamilton on Mk 2:1 ff.

Wed 13th
Our central heating is gas radiators upstairs and underfloor downstairs. It has been coming on and off at strange times. We had an engineer in having failed to find the installers who worked for the previous owner. He serviced the boiler and said all was fine with the system except probably the pairing of the four wireless room thermostats to the system. So today I spent forty minutes on the phone with the system manufacturers, but it seems our bedroom is still not heating. Ian Hamilton  spoke at our mid-week meeting. Ian gave a masterful talk on lessons from the life of John Calvin.

Thu 14th
Paid my U3A sub for the year at a talk from a former prison officer on life inside. Warmest day so far, 13C.

Fri 15th
Ian Hamilton gave his testimony before starting our church weekend with his talks on the gospel shaped life. Tonight we were on communion with God with much from John Owen who incidentally lived and died in Ealing. 

Sat 16th
Coffee and croissants then Ian Hamilton on the gospel shaped life is defined by obedience. Geoff Thanas spoke on Brownlow North.Lunch together then afternoon session IH on living a mission shaped life. After dinner we had a quiz for all ages.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Index to Rutherford's letters

1. For Marion M'Naught             From Anwoth   June 6, 1627
2. To a Christian woman             From Anworth April 23 1628
3. To the Viscountess Kenmore. From Anwoth   27 July 1628
4. To Lady Kenmore                   From Anwoth  15 Jan 1629
.5.To Lady Kenmore                   From Anwoth. Sep 14 1629
6. For Marion M'Naught             From  Anwoth 1 Feb 1630
7. To my Lady Kenmore             From  Anwoth 1 Feb 1630
8. For Marion M'Naught             From  Anwoth  Undated.
9. For Marion M'Naught             From  Anwoth. Undated.
10. For Marion M'Naught.          From Anwoth.  Undated
11. To my Lady Kenmore           From Anwoth   26 Jun 1630
12. For Marion M'Naught           From Anwoth   21 Jul 1630
13. For Marion M'Naught           From Anwoth   7 May 1631
14. For Marion M'Naught           From Anwoth  17 May 1631
15. For Marion M'Naught           From Anwoth  2 Jun 1631

Rutherford Revised - (11)

11.  To my Lady Kenmore Anwoth 26 Jun 1630

Madam, grace, mercy and peace be multiplied to you. I received your Ladyship's letter, by which I see your situation in this world smells of fellowship and communion with the Son of God in His sufferings. You cannot, you must not, have a more pleasant to easy time here, than He had, who, was made,'perfect through suffering.'(Heb 2:10) We may indeed think cannot God bring us to heaven with ease and prosperity. Who doubts that He can? But his infinite wisdom thinks and plans differently cannot see a reason for it, yer he has a most fitting reason. We never with our own eyes saw our soul, yet we have a soul. We see many rivers but do not know their first spring or original fountain; yet they have a beginning. Madam, when you come to the other side of the water, and have set your foot on the shore of glorious eternity, and look back to the waters and your tiring journey, and you will see, in that clear glass of endless glory, nearer the bottom of God's wisdom, you will then be forced to say, 'If God had done other than he has done with me, I would never have come to enjoying this crown of glory.'  It is your turn now to believe, and suffer, and hope, and keep waiting, for I say, in the presence of that all seeing eye, who knows what I write and what I think, that I would not lack for the sweet experience of Gods' consolations of in all the bitterness of afflictions. No, whether God comes to His children with a rod or a crown, if he comes Himself with it, it is good. Welcome, welcome Jesus, whatever way You come, if we can get to see You. And I am sure it is better to be sick, providing Christ comes to the bedside, and draws the curtains, and says,'Take courage. I am your salvation,' than to enjoy health well and strong, but never visited by God.
Worthy and dear lady, in the strength of Christ, fight and be victorious. You are now alone yourself, but you may have for the asking, always three with you, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I trust they are near you. You are now deprived of the comfort of a lively ministry; so was Israel in their captivity; yet hear God's promise to them,'Therefore say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.'" (Eze 11:16.See a sanctuary! for a sanctuary God Himself in place of the temple in Jerusalem! I trust in God, that carrying this temple around with you, you shall see Jehovah's beauty in His house.
We have great fear of a great and fearful trial to come upon the church of God;for those, who would build their houses and nests on the ashes of a morning Jerusalem, have persuaded our king on hard and dangerous conclusions against such people as are called Puritans, in order to root them out. Our bishops (may the Lord take the keys of his house from these illegitimate gate keepers!) assure us that, for those who will not conform, there is nothing but imprisonment and loss of livelihood.The spouse of Jesus will always be in the fire; but I trust in my God that she will not be consumed, because of the good will of Him who lives in the bush; for he lives in it with goodwill. All sorts of crying sins without constraint abound in our land.The glory of the Lord is leaving Israel, and the Lord is looking back over his shoulder, to see if anyone will say,'Lord , wait,' and no-one asks Him to stay. Corrupt and false doctrine is openly preached by the idol-shepherds of the land.For myself, I have daily sadness for the disobedience to , and contempt of the word of God. I was called before the High Commission by an irresponsible person in this parish who has been convicted of incest. In this Mr Alexander Colville was my great friend, and wrote a most kind letter to me. The Lord give him mercy in that day. On the day of my appearance in court, the sea and wind stopped the Bishop of St Andrews from coming. I ask you Ladyship, to thank Alexander Colville by letter.
  My wife has now left this life after a year and a month of long illness and pain. The Lord has done it; blessed be His name. I have had malarial fever for thirteen weeks, and am still ill. I preach only once with great difficulty on the Sabbath. I am not able to either visit or examine the congregation. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.
   Your Ladyship's in all obedience,   S.R.

Rutherford Revised - (10)

10. For Marion M'Naught.  Anwoth,  undated

Well loved and dear sister in Christ,  I could not until now write an answer to you letter concerning my wife's illness; and she is still in much pain. I hope that all will end in God's mercy. I know the suffering life looks very like the way that leads to the Kingdom, for the Apostle has drawn the path and the King's way to market, 'through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.' (Act 14:22; 1Th 3:4). may the Lord give us the whole armour of God.
   You write to me about your people's condition, how their hearts are towards the man you know, and who you desire most strongly yourself. He would most gladly have the Lord's call for transplanting; for he knows that all God's plants, set by His own hand, do well; and if the work be God's, He can make the devil himself to be a stepping so stone for the work to go forward.I would advise you to ask God a submissive hear. Your reward will be with the Lord, although the people are not gathered (as the prophet says);and even though the work does not advance, God will see you as 'a repairer of the gaps'. Christ says you will not lose your reward. Hold tight. If you knew that the glorified in heaven think heaven easily obtained, when they have it after sixty of eighty years of struggling with God. When you come there you will think,'All I did to get my rich reward, which I enjoy by free grace, was but too little. Now then, for the love of the Prince of your salvation, who stands at the end of your path, holding up in this hand the prize and laurels for the race runners, forward, forward; do not weary. Take as many with you to heaven as you are able to attract. The more you attract, the more welcome you will be yourself.. Do not be stingy of sparing of the grace of God; and make every effort to establish an honest ministry in your town, now when you have few to speak well of you. I have many suffering in my work. I would be distressed if I had no access to the King's presence room, to show Him all the work. The devil is mad to see the water drawn away from his own mill; but would to God we could be the Lord's instruments to build the Son of God's house. 
   Pray for me. If the Lord does not provide new timber from Lebanon to build the house, the work will stop. I look to Him who has begun well with me. I have his handwriting that he will not change. Your daughter is well and longs for a Bible. The Lord establish you in peace. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit. 
   Yours at all power in Christ,      S.R.

Rutherford Revised - (9)

9. For Marion M'Naught recommending she love a friend.  Anwoth.  Undated.

Mistress, my love to you in Christ. At the request of this messenger whom I love I ask if you can help his wife with your advice, for she is in a most dangerous lie death condition. I had thought her state was changed, and hoped God would have brought her home, and now it looks like she will leave this life with a number of children left behind. If I can ask you to help her it will be a work of mercy. My own wife is still in great pain, night and day. Pray for us for life was never so weary for me. God had filled me with what is bitter, but this I believe holds my head up above the water, 'It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.'(Lam 3:27) 
   I do remember you. I pray you be humble and believe, and I ask you in Christ Jesus, pray for John Stuart and his wife, and ask your husband to do the same. Remember me heartily to Jean Brown. Ask her to pray for me and my wife: I do remember her. Do not forget the church. Grace, grace on them, and peace to those who pray for the church. She is the ship we sail in to Canaan. If she is wrecked on a rock, we will be thrown overboard to swim to land for death or life. The grace of Jesus be with your husband and children.
   Yours in Christ,   S.R.

Rutherford Revised - (8)

8. For Marion M'Naught when Rutherford's wife was ill - Anwoth , not dated.

Mistress, remembering my love to you in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to my Lord, I am well, but my wife's illness worsens daily, with constant pain. She has not been in God's house since communion, nor out of her bed. I have sent someone to Edinburgh for help from Doctor Jeally and apothecary John Hamilton.  I do not think this is a run of the mill illness , for her life is bitter; she does not sleep, but cries like a woman in labour. Only He who has the keys to the grave knows what will happen. Many times since I saw you, I have prayed the Lord to free her from the body, and take her to her rest. I believe the Lord's tide of suffering will go out again, I struggle with God, fearing nothing more than that the  Lord has freed the tempter in my family. May God rebuke him and his ways. Satan is only cast out by fasting and prayer, I ask you to remember our situation before the Lord asking for good Christian whom you know, especially your pastor, to do so too. It is fitting for us to knock at the Lord's door, and to stay there until we die knocking. If he will not open, that goes beyond what He has said in His word. I do not expect to get through life without injuries and blood. Welcome, welcome cross of Christ, if Christ is with it.  I am daily chastised so do not have a calm spirit in my calling; yet God has not put out my candel as he does to the wicked. Grace, grace be with you and all yours,
   Yours in the Lord,    S.R.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rutherford Revised - (7)

7. To my Lady Kenmore,  Anwoth 1 Feb 1630

Madam, I have very much longed to hear of your life, and health, and growth in the grace of God. I lacked a letter bearer, and the last possible one left unexpectedly, by whom I might have greeted your Ladyship, and therefore I could not write earlier. I beg you Madam, to let me know a brief note as to how you are. I know you grieve and are downcast; and if it were not so, you might be afraid, because then your way would not be like that (our Lord says) which leads to the New Jerusalem. I am sure, that if you knew what was before you, or if you saw some glimpses of it, you would gladly swim through the present floods of sorrow, spreading out your arms through desire to be on land. If God has given you the Guarantee of the Spirit, as part payment of God's principal sum, you have to rejoice; for our Lord will not lose his down payment, nor will he go back nor repent of the bargain. If you find at some time a longing to see God, rejoice in the assurance of that sight, even if that feast be like the passover, that only comes once a year. A peaceful conscience, freedom in prayer, and a clear sight of Himself looking out, and saying, to the soul, with a smiling face, 'Welcome to Me, troubled soul'; this is the down payment he sometimes gives, and which gladdens the heart, and is evidence that the bargain holds firm. But in order to get this down payment, is is good to often talk with God, both in prayer and hearing of the word. For this is the house of wine where you meet with your Well Beloved. Here it is where he kisses you with the kisses of his mouth, and you smell his clothes, and they have indeed a most fragrant and glorious smell. You must, I say, wait for him, and often be in communion with him, whose lips are lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh; and by His words he will stay your grief, for the Christ who saves you is a speaking Christ; the church knows Him by His voice (Song 2:8), and you can tell His voice among a thousand. I say this so you should not love those dumb masks of anti christian ceremonies, that the church where you are for a while, has thrown over Christ whom your soul loves. They show you a dumb Christ. But when our Lord comes, he speaks to the heart in the simple Gospel.
   I cannot speak to you or write to you of the happiness of those that are in Christ. When you have sold all that you have, and bought the field where this pearl is, you will think it not a bad bargain, for if you are in Him, as His is yours, and you are in Him, therefore, 'Because live, you also will live' (Joh 14:19). O sweet communion, when Christ and we are one with another, and are no longer two. 'FatherI desire that they alsowhom you have given memay be with me  where I am,  to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me' (Joh 17:24). Amen dear Jesus. let it be according to that word. I doubt that your heart should ever be cast down, if you believe this truth.I and they are not worthy of Jesus Chris, who will not suffer forty years' trouble for Him, having such glorious promises. But we fools believe these promises, like the man who read Plato's writings about the immortality of the souls long as the book was in his hand, he believed that all was true, and his soul could not die; but as soon as he put the book down, he began to imagine the soul was only smoke or vapour, that goes away like a breath. So we start believing the sweet and precious promises; but laying aside God's book, we begin to question everything. It is true faith to believe without a pledge, and to be constant; and when we doubt, to run to the Law and to the Testimony, and stay there. Madam, hold to here,: here is your Father's will, - read it; here He has left you forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. f all you have here are crosses and troubles, depressions, desertions and departures of the Lord, who is courting you in marriage, courage! He who woos you and is your suitor, should not live with you until you and he come up to His Father's house together. His purpose is to do you good in the end (Deut 8:16), and to give you rest from the days of trouble (Ps 94:13) 'It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.' (Lam 3:27).  'Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;' (Zec 9:12).  'For still the vision awaits its appointed timeit hastens to the endit will not lieIf it seems slow, wait for itit will surely come; it will not delay.' (Has 2:3). Hear Him saying, 'Come, my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind youhide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.' (Isa 26:20). Believe then, believe and be saved; think not badly if you do not get your way or pleasure in this life; God will have you to rejoice in nothing but Himself. God forbid that you rejoice in anything except the cross of Christ (Gal 6:14).
   Our church Madam, is decaying - she is like Epfraim's cake, 'gray hairs are sprinkled upon himand he knows it not.' (Has 7:9). She is old and gray haired, near the grave and no-one cares. Her wine is sour and spoilt. Now if Phineas's wife lived she may labour to give birth and die, seeing the ark of God taken, and the glory depart from our Israel. The power and life of religion are gone.  'Woe to us, for the day declines,for the shadows of evening lengthen!' (Jer 6:4). Madam, the church is the ship which carries you to Canaan; if she is shipwrecked, you will be thrown overboard for death or life, to swim to land on broken planks. It is time for us, by prayer, to take on our master pilot, Jesus, and to cry, 'Master save us; we die.' Grace, grace be with you. We would think it a blessing to our church to see you here; but our sins keep good things from us. The great messenger of the Covenant keep you in body and spirit. 
   Yours in the Lord,   S.R.