Monday, March 18, 2019

Rutherford revised (82)

82  To John Gordon of Cardoness, Elder   From Aberdeen 1637

(Not much is known of John Gordon  but he was resident at Cardoness Castle in the parish of Anwoth and was an old man when Rutherford wrote. His was the first signature on an unsuccessful petition from the Anwoth elders and parishioners to the 1638 General Assembly to have Rutherford continue as their minister.)

Much honoured sir, - Grace, mercy and peaceably to you. I have longed to hear from you, and to know the state of your soul and the state of the people with you. 
   I ask you Sir, by the salvation of your precious soul, and the mercies of God, to make good and sure  work of your salvation, and test on what foundation you have built. Worthy and dear Sir, if you are an sinking sand, a storm of death, or blast of wind, will lose Christ and you, and wash you off the rock. Oh, for the Lord's sake, look carefully to the work!
   Read over your life, with the light of God's daylight and sun; for salvation is not put down at every man's door. It is good to look at your compass, and all you need, before you take ship, for no wind can blow you back again. Remember, when the race ends, and it is won lost, and you are in the outer circle and the border of time, and you will put your foot in the border of eternity, and all your good things of this short night dream will seem to you like the ashes of a blaze of thorns or straw, and your poor soul will be crying, 'Lodging, lodging for God's sake!' Then you're so all will be more Conrad of one of your Lord's lovely and homely smiles, then if you had the rights to three worlds for all eternity. Let pleasures and gain, will and desires of this world, be put into God's hands, as confiscated and guarded goods that you cannot interfere with. Now, when you are drinking the dregs of your cup, and you are on the far end of the last link of time, and old age, like death's long shadow, is casting a covering over your days, it is no time to court this vain life, and to set your love and heart on it. It is nearly after supper; take rest and ease for your soul, in God through Christ.
   Believe me, I find it hard wrestling to play fair with Christ, and to keep in good relations with Him, and to love Him with integrity and life, and keep constant, sound and solid daily communion with Christ. Temptations daily break my thread, and it is not easy to loose a knot again, and many knots make bad work. Oh, how well have many ships been sailing before the wind, then in one hour, has been lying on the sea bottom! How many Christians show a golden gleam, as if they were a pure gold, and yet our under that skin and covering, only base and reprobate metal1 and how many breathe well for many miles of their race, and yet fall short of the prize and the wreath! Dear sir, my soul would secretly mourn for you, if I knew your relation with God was a false work. Loving to have you anchored on Christ makes me fear your wobbling and slips. False underwater, and not seen by an enlightened conscience, is dangerous; and so is often falling, and sinning against light. Know this, the those who never had sick days or nights with conscience for sin, cannot have such at peace with God as will get under and break the flesh again, and end in a sad war death at death. Oh, how many thousands are led astray with false skin, grown over old sins, as if the soul cured and healed! 
   Dear Sir, I always saw a nature mighty, lofty, heady and strong in you; and it was harder for you put sin to death and be dead to the world, than it is for other common men. It will take a low tide, and a deep cut, and a long lance, to get to the bottom of your wounds in saving humiliation, to make you prey won for Christ. Be humbled; walk softly. Down, down with your topsail, for God's sake my dear and worthy brother. Stoop, stoop! there is a low entry to get in at heaven's gate. There is infinite justice from the one with whom you have to do; it is His nature not to acquit the guilty and the sinner. The law of God will not be short of one penny from the sinner. God does not forget the security nor the sinner; and every man must pay, either in his own person (oh, Lord save you from that payment!), or in his security Christ. It is hard with a sinful nature for a man to be holy, to lie under Christ's feet, to leave his own will pleasures world-renowned personally how and the heart reaching after this painted and two gilded world, and be content that Christ tramples over it all. Come in, come in to Christ, and see what you want and find it in Him. He is the shortcut (as we used to say), and the nearest way for an escape from all your burdens. I can testify that you will be dearly welcomed by Him all: my soul will be glad to have part of the joy you will have in Him. I dare say that angels' pens, angels' tongues, no, as many worlds of angels as there are drops of water in all the the seas and fountains and rivers of the earth, cannot portray Him to you. Since I have been a prisoner I think His sweetness has swelled on me to the greatness of two heavens. Oh for soul as wide as the outer circle of the highest heaven that contains all, to contain His love! And yet I can hold a little of it. Oh world's wonder! Oh, if my soul could only lie within the smell of His love, suppose I could get no more but the smell of it! Oh, but it is a long time to that day when I will have a free world of Christ's love. Oh, what a sight to be up in heaven, in that fair orchard of the new paradise and to see and smell and touch and kiss that fair field flower that evergreen Tree of life! His a mere shadow would be enough for me; a sight of Him would be a taste of heaven to me. Foolish people that we are having love lying in rusty beside us or, which is worse, wasted on some loathsome objects; and Christ is left alone. Woe, woe is me that sin has made so many madmen seek the fool's paradise, fire under ice,  and some good and desirable things that are outside and apart from Christ. Christ, Christ, nothing but Christ can cool our love's burning desire. O thirsty love! Will you are not put Christ the well of life, to your lips and drink your fill ? Drink and do not stop; drink love and be drunk with Christ ! No, alas the distance between us and Christ is death. Oh if we were clasped in another's arms! We would never separate again unless heaven separated and parted us; and that cannot be.
   I want your children to seek this Lord. Ask them from me to be asked for Christ's sake to be blessed and happy and to come and take Christ and all things with Him. Let them beware of deceitful and slippery youth,  of foolish young ideas, of worldly lusts and of deceitful gain, of wicked company, of cursing, lying, blaspheming and foolish talk. Let then be filled with the Spirit; acquaint themselves with daily prayer and with the storehouse of wisdom and comfort, the good word of God. Help the souls of the poor people. O that my Lord would you bring me again among them, that I might tell them great and strange things of Christ. Do not tolerate a stranger preaching any other doctrine to them. 
   Pray for me His prisoner of hope. I continualy pray for you. My blessing is eanest prayers, the love of God and the sweet presence of Christ, to you and yours and them.  Grace, grace, grace be with you.
    Your lawful and loving pastor,    S.R.

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