Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rutherford revised (86)

86. To my Lord Craighalll  From Aberdeen 24 Jan 1637

( Lord Craighall was Sir John Hope, born about 1605, was the eldest son of Scotland's Lord Advocate in the reign of Jams VI and Charles I. From 1632 Sir John was a Lord of Session (a judge) becoming president of the court and in 1645 a Privy Councillor. He was a member of the General Assemblies, 1645 -49. In May 1652 Craighall was appointed one of Cromwell's committee, consisting of five English and three Scottish judges, for the administration of justice.Hope died at Edinburgh on 28 April 1654.)

My Lord, - I received Mr L's letter together with your Lordship's, and his learned thoughts about ceremonies. I respect the man's learning for I hear he is opposed to Arminian heresies. But with respect to that worthy man, I am amazed to hear such popish-like expressions as he has written in his letter, like ' your Lordship need not doubt when the King and Church have agreed in settling such matters; and the Church's direction in things indifferent and circumstantial (as things indifferent and circumstantial were all the same!) should be the rule of every private Christian'. I could only look at the papers for two hours because the bearer wanted me to finish quickly. I find the worthy man not so prominent in this controversy as some troubled men in our country whom he calls 'refusers of conformity ; and let me say I am more confirmed in nonconformity when I see such a great man with slender arguments. But I will put the blame on the weakness of his cause not the poverty of Mr L's learning. I have been and still am confident that it is a scandal that the British church leaders cannot answer one argument; and I wanted very much to hear Mr L speak about this; and I will say, if some ordinary church leader had answered as Mr L did, then he did not understand the nature of the scandal; but I dare not so abuse that worthy man. I am now busy with some other work. I will (God willing) answer this to the satisfaction of any not prejudiced..   I do not say that everyone knows the reason why I write from God's presence and have a bright shining face suffering for this cause. Aristotle never knew the way of the conclusion; and Christ says few  know it (Rev 2:17). I am sure that conscience standing in awe of the Almighty, and fearing to make it a little hole in the bottom for fear of underwater, is a strong medium to hold off any erroneous conclusion in the least wing or joint of the sweet, sweet truth concerning the royal prerogative of our kingly and highest Lord Jesus. And my witness is in heaven that I saw neither pleasure nor profit nor honour to hook me and catch me entering into prison for Christ except the wind on my face at present. And if I had loved to sleep comfortably with the ease and present delight that I saw on this side of the sun and moon, I would have lived at ease and in good hope of faring as well as others. The Lord knows that I preferred preaching Christ, and still do compared with anything except Christ himself. And the new regulations took my one my only joy from me which was to me like the poor man's one lamb who had no more! And alas! There is little pity or mercy  in their hearts to pluck out a poor man's one eye for a thing indifferent; i.e. knots of straw and things not part of the way to heaven. I do not want my name sent as a pilgrim to Cambridge, fearing lest I come to the attention of authorities. I am sufficiently burnt already. 
   In the meantime, please see if the Bishop of St Andrews and of Glasgow (the deputy of Galloway's) will please cool from the heat of their wrath and let me go to my congregation. Few know the heart of the prisoner; yet I hope that the Lord will carve His own glory out of such and knotty wood as I am. Keep to Christ, my dear and worthy Lord. Arguments that come from the risk of provoking the anger of the mother-Church that can sway and nod and stagger) are not so weighty as peace with the Father and Husband .Let the wife frown; if the husband laughs I do not care
   Remember my service to my Lord your father and mother and lady. Grace be with you.
    Yours at all obedience in Christ,    S.R.

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