Friday, March 15, 2019

Rutherford revised (79)

79. To Margaret Ballantine From Aberdeen 1637

Mistress, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I should have written to you before; but it is good to write now, if I can help your soul to mend your pace, and to go more swiftly to your heavenly country. For truly you need to make all speed, because the measure of your day that remains will quickly slip away; for whether we sleep aor wake, our time goes. The tide waits for no man. Beware of being led astray in the matter of your salvation. Woe, woe for evermore, to those that lose that prize. For what is left, when the soul is lost, except that sinners warm their bits of clay houses at a fire of their own making, for a day or two (which suffocates them with its smoke rather than warm them); and at the end they lie down in sorrow, and are clothed with everlasting shame! To begin with, I would seek no further measure of faith than to believe really and steadfastly in the doctrine of God's justice, His all consuming wrath, and the everlasting burning, where sinners are burnt, soul and body, in a river and  great lake of fire and brimstone. Then they would wish for something more than the thousandth part of a cold fountain to pull their tongues. They would then buy death by enduring pain and torment for as many years as God has created drops of rain since the creation. But there is no market for buying or selling life or death there. O, alas! The greatest part of this world runs to the place of that torment rejoicing and dancing, eating drinking and sleeping. My advice to you is, that you start early to be after Christ; for if you go quickly, Christ is not far in front of you; you will overtake him. O Lord God, what is needed so much is this, 'Salvation, salvation!' I give no respect to this condemned and foolish world, that would give so little for salvation! Oh, if there were a free market for salvation proclaimed in that day when the trumpet of God will wake the dead, how many buyers would there then be! God send me no more happiness than that salvation which the blind world , to their eternal woe, lets slip through their fingers. Therefore, see if you can give out your money (as Isaiah says) (55:2) for bread, and put Christ and his blood as a pledge for heaven. It is a dry and hungry child's part of the inheritance that Esaus are hunting for here. I see thousands following the hunt, and in pursuing such things, they lose the blessing; and, when all is done, they have caught nothing to roast for supper, but lie down hungry. And besides, they go to bed, without a candle when they die; for God says to them, ' This you have from my handyou shall lie down in torment.'(Is 50:11). And truly this is as badly made a bed to lie on as one could wish; for he cannot sleep soundly, nor rest sweetly, who has sorrow for his pillow. Therefore, rouse, rouse up your soul, and ask how Christ and your soul met together. I am sure that they never got Christ, who were not once sick. Too, too many whole souls think that they have met with Christ, who had never a weary night lacking Him: but alas! Men think they are richer because they are dreamt last night that they had hopes of meeting Him. When love letters do not go between us He will be the messenger Himself. But it needs patience on our part, until the summer fruit in heaven is ripe for us. It is in the bud; but there are many things to be done before our harvest comes. And we are unhappy with it, and we can hardly endure to face one of Christ's storms, and to go to heaven with a wet feet, and pain and sorrow. We love to carry a heaven to heaven with us, and would have two summers in one year, and is no less than two heavens. But this will not do for us: one (and such a one!) is sufficient for us well enough.  The man Christ got only one, and shall we have two?
   Remember my love in Christ to your father; and help me with your prayers.  If you would be a deep Christian, I recommend sanctification to you. Fear Him and He will reveal His covenant to you. Grace be with you.
   Yours is sweet Lord Jesus,         S.R.

No comments: