Monday, March 11, 2019

Rutherford revised (62)

62. To Lady Culross                    From Edinburgh 30 Jul 1636

Madam, - Your letter came to me at the right time, now that I am a prisoner of Christ, tied up for the Gospel. I am sentence with the loss of my living and imprisonment in the town of Aberdeen. But O my guilt, the foolishness of my youth, the neglect of my calling, esp. in not speaking more for the kingdom, crown and sceptre of my royal and princely King Jesus, stare me in the face, so that I sense anger in that which is a crown of rejoicing to the dear saints of God. Before my three day court appearance, this did trouble me, and more so now; although Christ, and in Him God reconciled, met me with open forms, and met me if precisely at the entrance of the door all the Chancellor's hall, and helped me to answer, so that Christ not they had the advantage. Alas! that is no reason to wonder that I am hit down with challenges; for the world has mistaken me, and no-one knows the guiltiness in me as well as these two, who keep my eyes awake now and my heart heavy, I mean my heart and conscience, and my Lord, who is greater than my heart.

   Show your brother that I want him, while he is on the watchtower, to plead with his mother and with this land, and do not stop crying for my sweet Lord Jesus and His fair crown, which the illegal and forbidden lords are snatching off his Royal head. If I were free from challenges and the High Commission, in my soul I would not bother about going through ten deaths to my Father's house, for the truth and cause of my lovely, lovely one Jesus. But my way is in sadness now. If you love me, and Christ in me, my dear Lady, pray, pray for this alone, that past things between my Lord and me may be past, and that He would go on from the summons of his High Commission, and look for nothing from me, except that which He will do for me and work in me. If your Ladyship knew me as I know myself, you would say, 'Poor soul, no wonder.' It is not my anxiety that makes this cross for me; it is too real, and has sad and certain grounds. But I will not believe that God will take this advantage of me, when my back is to the wall. He who forbids  adding suffering to suffering, will He do that Himself? Why would he pursue a dry leaf and stubble? Ask Him to spare me now. Also the memory of the fair feast days, that Christ and I hand in His banqueting house of wine, and of the scattered flock once entrusted to me, and now taken out of my hand by Himself, because I was not as faithful at the end as I was in the first two years when the sheep left my sight, because my soul was occupied with the care of Christ's lambs,  - even these add sorrow to my sorrow. Now my Lord has only given me this to say, and I write it with my own hand (you be the Lord's servant's witness), welcome, welcome, sweet, sweet cross of Christ; welcome, welcome fair,  lovely royal King with your own cross. Let us all three go to heaven together. I am not bothered a lot to go from the south of Scotland to the north, and to be Christ's prisoner among unfamiliar faces, in a place of this kingdom, which I have little reason to love. I know Christ will make Aberdeen my garden of delights. I am fully persuaded that Scotland will eat Ezekiel's book, which is written inside and out, ' words of lamentation and mourning and woe.'(Eze 2:10). But the saints will get to drink from the well that goes through the streets of the New Jerusalem. So hoping that you will think on the poor prisoner of Christ, I pray grace, grace be with you.
   Your Ladyship's in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

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