Friday, February 22, 2019

Rutherford Revised - (21)

21. To my Lady Kenmore            from Anwoth  14 Jan 1632

Madam, - Understanding (a short time after I last wrote of the travel of this messenger, I would not miss the opportunity of remembering your Ladyship, still playing that tune, which all our life is never too often played (nor is our lesson well enough learned), that there is a need to advance in the way to the kingdom of God, of the contempt of the world, of denying ourself and bearing our Lord's cross, which we need no less than daily food. And among many signs that we are on this journey, and sailing towards heaven, this is one: that when the love of God so fills our hearts, that we forget to love, and care not much for having , or wanting other things; as one extreme heat consumes another. By this Madam, you know that you have engaged your soul in marriage to Christ, when you care little for other suitors or lovers; and when you can (having little in hand but much in hope), living as a young heir during the time of his youth and minority, being content to be hardly touched and to be treated like a servant, because his hope is on his inheritance. For this reason God's children bear the loss of their goods, knowing that in themselves they have in heaven a better and enduring possession (Heb 10:34). That day that the earth and all in it will be burned with fire (2 Pet 3:10), your hidden hope and your life will appear. And therefore, since you do not have many years until your endless eternity, and do not know how soon the sky above your head will part, and the Son of man will be seen in the clouds of heaven, what better and wiser way can you take, that to think your one foot is here, and your other foot is in the life to come, and to leave off loving, or desiring, or grieving, for the things that will be made up when your Lord and you meet, and you will that day give in your list of all your wants here. If your losses will not be made up, you have reason to challenge the Almighty; but it will not be so. You will then rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and no-one will take your joy from you (1 Pet 1:8; Joh 16:22). It is enough that the Lord has promised you great things, but let the time of receiving them be in the Lord's hands. It is not for us to set a period for the Creator of time. Since He and we differ only in the conditions of payment, since He has promised to pay, and we believe it, it is not important. We will leave that to His own will, as a buyer who comes close to what the seller wants, and decides not to go his own way and does not insist on it. Madam, do not insist on your own way with your kind-hearted and gracious Lord, concerning the time that your joy will be full. It will happen; God has said it; wait for His harvest, His payment day. His day is better than your day; he does not harvest  the corn until it is ripe with full ears. The great Angel of the covenant keep you company, until the trumpet shall sound, and the voice of the Archangel will wake the dead. You will find it your only happiness, whatever disturbs the peace of your mind, in this life, to love nothing for itself, but only God for Himself. It is the twisted love of some prostitutes, that they love bracelets, ear rings and rings more than the lover who sends them. God will not be loved like this; for that would be to behave like a prostitute, and not as the pure spouse, lessening in our love when these things are removed. Our love to him should begin on earth, as it will be in heaven; for the bride does not delight in her wedding dress for one thousandth part of her delight in her bridegroom; so we, in the life to come, though clothed with glory as a robe, will not be as affected by the glory around us, as with the bridegrooms joyful face and presence. Madam, if you can get this victory here, the battle has been won; and you mind, whatever you want, or anything the Lord can take from you, will be calmed and quiet. Get Himself as security, and keep Him, until your dear Lord comes, or lose the security, and regret He give you again all he took from you, even a thousand talents for a penny. It is not wrong for God to willingly lend, who otherwise may choose to take from you against your will. It is good to play the banker with Him, and charge instead of ten from the hundred, a hundred from ten and often a hundred from one.
   Madam, not wishing to be tedious, I stop here, commending you (as I trust I will do as long as I live), your person, ways, burdens and all your concerns, to that Almighty who is able to carry you and all your burdens. I still remember you to Him, who will one day make you laugh. I expect that whatever you can do by word or deed for the Lord's friendless church, you will do it. She is your mother; do not forget her; for the Lord intends to melt and try this land. and it is high time we were all on our feet and active to see what claim we have on Christ. It is as if the bridegroom will be taken from us, and then we will mourn. Dear Jesus, do not go away, or else take us with You. Grace, grace be with you forever.
   Your Ladyship's in all dutiful obedience, S.R.

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