Monday, March 18, 2019

Rutherford revised (83)

83. To the earl of Lothian From Aberdeen 1637

Right Honourable and my very worthy and noble Lord, - from the honourable and good report I hear of your Lordship's goodwill and kindness, in taking to heart the honourable cause of Christ, and His afflicted church and a wronged truth in this land, I am bold enough to write to your Lordship at this distance, which I trust your Lordship will accept. It is to your Lordships honour and credit, to take action, as you do (all honour to God!), for the falling and tottering church of Christ, your mother Church, and to take Christ's wrongs as as your own. O blessed hand, which will wipe and dry the watery eyes of our weeping Lord Jesus, now mourning in  sackcloth in his members, in his spouse, in his truth and in the royal right of His kingly power! He does not need service and help from men, but His wisdom pleases to make the wants and losses, the sores and wounds of His spouse, a field and an office, for his servant's zeal to be exercised. Therefore, my noble and dear Lord, go on, go on in the strength of the Lord, against all opposition to side with the wronged Christ. The defending and warding off of strokes from Christ's bride, the Kings daughter, is like a part of the rest of the way to heaven, knotty, rough, stormy and full of thorns. Many would follow Christ, but with a reservation that, by open proclamation of Christ, they would discount crosses and want fair weather under summer sky and sun until we were all fairly landed in heaven. I know that your Lordship has not learned Christ in this way; you intend to reach heaven, even if your father was standing in your way, and to take it with the wind  even at your face; for both storm and wind were on the fair face of your lovely Forerunner Christ, all His way. It is possible that you will not meet with success in this worthy cause. What then? Duties are ours, but events are the Lord's; and I hope if your Lordship and others with you, will go on down to the depths and bottom of the trickery and deceitful treachery to Christ of all the cursed and wretched bishops,  the Antichrist's firstborn and the first fruits of his foul womb, and will deal with our Sovereign (law going before you) and will deal with the reasonable and impartial hearing of Christ's list of complaints, and set yourselves wholeheartedly to seek the Lord and his face, that your righteousness will break through the clouds which prejudice has drawn over it, and you will in the strength of the Lord, bring our banished and departing Lord Jesus, home again to his sanctuary. But your Lordship should not consult with men about this, but look and in the dark, reach out to Christ and follow him. Let not men's reluctance discourage nor be afraid of men's apparent wisdom, who in this storm make for the nearest land and go to the quiet and calm side of the Gospel, and hide Christ (if ever they had Him) in their boxes; as if they were ashamed of Him, or as if Christ were stolen goods and would fade in sunlight.
   My very dear and the noble Lord, you have gladdened the hearts of many because you have chosen Christ and His Gospel though great temptations stood in your way. But I love your faith the more because it has survived winds. If we knew ourselves well, to lack temptations is the greatest temptation of all. Neither is father no mother no call no honour in this overrated world with all its painting and adorning, nor anything else, when they are put in the balance with Christ. but feathers, shadows, night dreams and straws. Oh, if this world knew the excellency, sweeteners and beauty of that high and lofty one,  the Fairest among the sons of  men, truly they would see that if their love was larger than ten heavens, all in circles one beyond the other, it would be all too little for Christ our Lord! I hope you will not regret your choice when life comes to the twilight between time and eternity and you will see the farthest border of time and will draw the curtain and look into eternity and one day see God to take the heavens in his hands and roll them up together like a holey old garment, and set on fire this clar part of the creation of God, and burn up into smoke and ashes the idol hope of poor fools who think there is not a better country than this low country dying clay. Children cannot make your proper comparison between this life and that it which is to come, and therefore the babies of this world, who see nothing better, mould in their own brains,  heaven of their own making, because they see no further than the nearest side of time. 
   I dare surrender as my hope of heaven,  that this reproached way is the only way of peace.  I find it is the way that the Lord and has sealed with his comforts now in my imprisonment for Christ, and I truly reckon and find chains and fetters for that lovely one, Christ, to be watered with sweet consolation and the love-smiles of that lovely Bridegroom for whose coming we wait. And when he comes the colours of all men will be exposed to the light; then the Lord will decide the quarrel the church has with her enemies. And as fast as time passes (and it neither sits nor stands nor sleeps), so fast our span of this short winter night flies away, and soon the sky will break on our long lasting day.
   Unless your Lordship agrees to speak on my behalf against the tyranny of the bishops, my imprisonment here will be forgotten; for this sentenced to me according to their new lawless regulations, namely that a minister deprived of his living should be utterly silenced, and not preach at all; which is cruelty at variance with their own former practice.
   Now, the only wise God, the very God of peace, confirm, strengthened and establish your Lordship on the stone laid in Zion, and be with you forever.
   Your Lordship's at all respectful obedience in his sweet Lord Jesus,      S.R.


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