Thursday, March 14, 2019

Rutherford revised (76)

76. To Robert Gordon of Knockbreck From Aberdeen 1 Jan 1637

My dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be multiplied to you. I am yes tired, wondering why you have not written to me, though I know you have not forgotten me.
   As for me I am well in every way; glory be to God. Before I was arguing with Christ (my idea and unlawful), because His whole providence was not favourable and did not answer my request and because I would believe Christ's outward appearance more than His faithful promise. Yet He has patiently waited until I come to my senses and has not taken advantage of my weak understanding of his goodness. Great and holy is His name! He looks at what I want to be and not at what I am. One thing I have learnt. If I had been in Christ merely stuck on as many branches are, I would have been burnt to ashes, and this world had seen a suffering minister of Christ (like something in an exhibition) turned into tasteless salt. But my Lord Jesus looked so that the tempter should not make foul play and a blow out Christ's candle. He took no regard at all of my moaning, worrying and miserable mood but of His own grace. When he burnt the house He saved His own goods. And I believe that the devil and the persecuting world will get no fruit from me, only burnt ashes: for He will look after His own gold and save it from being consumed by the fire. 
   O what I owe to the file, to the hammer, to the furnace of my Lord Jesus; who has now let me see how good it is that the wheat of Christ goes through the mill and His oven to be made bread for His own table. Grace tested is better than grace, and it is more than grace; it is glory in its infancy. I now see that godliness is more than the external, and this world's adornments and ornaments. Who knows the truth of grace apart from a trial? O how  little Christ gets from us except that which he wins (so to speak) with the much effort and pain! And how soon would faith freeze without a cross! How many silent crosses have been put on my back and never spoke of the sweetness of Christ, as this has. When Christ blesses his own crosses so they speak, they breathe out Christ's love, wisdom, kindness and care for us. Why should I be surprised at my Lord's plough that makes deep furrows on my soul? I know he is no idle farmer. He wants crop. O that this white, withered, sheltered ground was made fertile to bear a  crop for Him by whom it is so painfully prepared and that this fallow ground was broken up! Why was I (a fool) sad that he put his wreath and His roses on my head, the glory and honour of his faithful witnesses? I do not want to argue any more with Christ. Truly I have not made a loss by what I suffer; He owes me nothing; for in my imprisonment the thoughts of Him have you been so sweet and comfortable to me,  and in them I find sufficient payment of reward!
   How blind are my enemies who sent to me to a banqueting house, to a house of wine, to the lovely feasts of my lovely Lord Jesus and not to a prison or a place of exile! Why should I hide my Husband honesty, or sin against his love, or be stingy in giving out to others what I get for nothing? Brother, each with me and give thanks. I charge you before God to speak to others and invite them to help me to pray. O how heavy is my debt of praise and how far run up the debt! O that others would lend me to pay and teach me to praise! O I am drowned debtor! Lord Jesus taken my thoughts as payments. Yet I am in this hot summer sun with tears in my eyes; because (by reason of my silence) sadness, sadness has filled   my harp his hung up on the willow trees because I am in a strange land. I am still tried with envious brothers; my mother has borne me a quarrelling man.
   Write to me your thoughts about YC: I cannot forget him; I do not know what God will do with him;- and your thoughts about my parishioners' behaviour, and there preaching they hear; or if an minister has already been forced in on them, which things I really want to know, and of which I am much afraid. 
   Dear brother, you are in my heart for me to live and die with you. Visit me by letter. Pray for me. Remember my love to your wife. Grace, grace be with you; and God who hears prayers visit you, and let it be to you according to the prayers of 
   Your own brother and Christ's prisoner,  S.R. 

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