Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rutherford revised (89)

89. To  my Well-beloved and Reverend Brother, Mr Robert Blair       From Aberdeen 7 Feb 1637

Reverend and dearly beloved brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. 
   My dear brother it is no great surprise that you are sad for a time and that God's will should move you (frustrating your aim and desire to live among a people whose God is the Lord). I do not doubt that you have reason to enquire what His providence in this says to you; but God's directing and commanding will cannot by good logic be found from events of providence. The Lord sent Paul on many errands for the spreading of His Gospel where he found lions in his way. A promise of the Holy Land was made to His people and yet many nations were in the way fighting against them and ready to kill those who had the promise or to keep them from possessing that land which the Lord their God has given them. I know that you have much to do with submission of spirit; but I am persuaded that you have learnt in every condition you are placed to be content and to say, 'Good is the will of the Lord; let it be done'. I believe the Lord often tacks His ship to find the wind and if He purposes to bring mercy from your sufferings and silence (which I know from my own experience) is grievous to you. Seeing He knows our mind is willing to serve Him, our wages and pay is to the fore with God even as some sick soldiers get their pay when they are bedridden and are not able to go to the field with others, 'That Israel might be gathered to himfor I am honoured in the eyes of the LORDand my God has become my strength'(Is 49:5). And we are to believe it is to be so even before all is finished 'The violence done to me and to my kinsmen be upon Babylon, (and great prostitute's lovers). Let the inhabitant of Zion say.My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
let Jerusalem say.'  Beholdam about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoplesThe siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoplesAll who lift it will surely hurt themselvesAnd all the nations of the earth will gather against it.'When they have eaten and swallowed up they will be sick and vomit us up as living men again; the devil's stomach cannot digest the Church of God. Suffering is the other half of our ministry, the hardest for we would be content for our King Jesus to make an open proclamation and discount crosses and promote joy and gladness, ease, honour and peace. But it must not be so; through many trials we must enter into the kingdom of God. Not only by them but through them we must go and strategies will not take as past the cross. It is foolishness to think that we can steal to heaven unharmed.
   For myself I am here a prisoner confined in Aberdeen threatened with removal to Caithness because I want to edify people in this town, and in my hearing I am openly preached against in the pulpits and tested with debates by the doctors, especially by Dr Robert Baron. I would not exchange my weeping with the painted laughter of the fourteen bishops. When I first came here I took the sulks at Christ and would charge him with unkindness. I argued with my Lord and wondered whether he loved me on not; and once again disputed all that He had done to me, because His a word was a fire shut up in my belly, and I was tired of waiting saying I was thrown out of the Lord's inheritance. But now I see that I was a fool. My Lord ignored it all and bore my foolish jealousies and ignored that I ever wronged His love. And now He has come again with mercy under His wings. I leave my foolish challenge: He is God  I see and I am man. Now he is pleased to renew his love to my soul and to pet His poor prisoner. Therefore dear brother, help me to praise and with you show the Lord's people what he is done from my soul that they may pray and praise. And I charge you in the name of Christ not to neglect it. For this reason I write to you my sufferings may glorify my royal King and edify His church in Ireland. He knows how one of Christ's love coals has burned my soul with a desire to preach His glory whose cross I now bear. Is God forgive you if you do not do it; but I hope the Lord will move you to witness on my behalf this sweetness, excellency and glory of my royal King. It is only our soft flesh that has made us slander the cross of Christ: I see now the white side of it; my Lord's chains are gilded over. Oh, if Scotland and Ireland shared my feast! But I only get my meat through many blows. There is no-one here to whom I can speak; I live in Kedar's tents. Cheer me with a letter from you. Few know what is between Christ and me.
   Dear brother, upon my salvation, this is His truth for which we suffer. Christ would not leave us without promises. Courage, courage! Joy, joy for evermore! Oh joy unspeakable and glorious! Oh for help to put my crowned King on high! O for love for Him who is altogether lovely, - that love which many waters cannot quench nor can the floods drown.!
   I remember you and carry your name on my breast to Christ. In I beg you; do not forget His afflicted prisoner. Grace, mercy and peace be with you. Greet in the Lord from me Mr Cunningham, Mr Livingstone, Mr Ridge, Mr Cornwall etc 
   Your brother and fellow prisoner,  S. R.

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