Friday, March 22, 2019

Rutherford revised (91)

91  To Mr Ephraim Melvin   From Aberdeen 1637

Reverend and dear brother, - and with all my heart I am happy that our friendship in the Lord continues.
   I am fighting to be able to climb the mountain with Christ's cross: my Second is kind and able to help.
   Various distractions and many letters have a meant I have not had the time to answer your questions. I will tell you what I have been answering to these questions. So bear with me a little because the Service Book would take along time. But I think, bowing down to an image or even to bread and wine, is in itself an outward act of and idolatry, as far as the action is concerned, although the intention of the action may be directed to God as the Great First Cause,- so kneeling before a piece of bread, seeing the whole man inward and outward should be taking part in the signs, is an act of worship and an adoration of the bread itself. The reason is an intention to worship a material thing is not of the essence of external worship as seen in bowing down. So kneeling before the image in Babylon was an outward act of worship even though the three young men only intended to worship the true God, similarly those too from fear or the hope of reward or praise, knelt to Jeroboam's golden calf (which the text clearly shows was done by the King himself from no religious motive but merely from desire to rule), do indeed worship the calf by the external action although no doubt thinking the calf a mere created object and not worthy of honour, - because the act of bowing whether we mean it or not from the rule of God and nature it is a symbol of worship; therefore as the bread represents the body of Christ (even though the mind might not be thinking it) similarly kneeling when used in religious service is the outward worship of that bread in the presence of which we bow as before God's representative whatever we intend.
   So recommending you to God's tender mercy I want you to remember me to God. Sanctification will best settle you in the truth.
   Grace be with you, Brother in Christ Jesus,  S.R.

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