Friday, March 22, 2019

Rutherford revised (92)

92.  To Robert Gordon of Knockbreck  From Aberdeen 9 Feb 1637

My very worthy and dear friend,- Grace, mercy and peace be to you. Though all Galloway may have forgotten me, I would have expected a letter from you before now; but I do not think that you have forgotten me.
   Now my dear brother, I cannot show you how things are between Christ in me. I find my Lord coming and going seven times a day. His visits are short but they are both frequent and sweet. I dare not for my life think of challenging my Lord. I hear bad stories and hard news of Christ from the Tempter and from my flesh; but love believes no evil. I may swear that there are liars and that fearfulness tells lies of Christ's honest and unalterable love to me. I do not say that I am dry tree, or that I have no room at all in the vineyard; but I often think that the sparrows are blessed who may go to house of God in Anwoth from which I am banished.
   Temptations that I thought had been struck dead and laid flat on their back, rise again and revive in me; yes, I see that while I live temptations will not die. The devil seems to brag and boast as much as if he had more say with Christ then I have; as if he had charmed and blasted my work so that I will do no more good in public. But his wind does not harm the corn. I will not believe that Christ would have made such a move to have me to Himself, and have taken so many pains with me as he has done, and then easily let possession slip and lose the glory of what He has done. No, since I came to Aberdeen I have been taken up to see the new land, the fair palace of the Lamb, and will Christ let me see heaven and break my heart in never giving it to me? I will not think that my Lord Jesus gives a false guarantee or puts his seals on blank paper, or intends to put me off with fair and false promises. I see you now that which I never saw well before. (1). I see that in a fair day the necessity of faith is never properly known; but now I miss nothing as much as faith. My hunger leads to fair and sweet promises; but when I come I am like a hungry man lacking teeth, or a weak stomach which has as sharp appetite but is filled by the very sight of meat, or like one paralysed by cold under the water, is that wants to come to reach land but cannot grip anything thrown to him. I can let Christ grip me but I cannot grip Him. I love to be kissed and to sit on Christ's knee, but I cannot put my feet on the ground because troubles cramp my faith. All I want to do is to hold out at lame faith to Christ, like a beggar holding out a stump instead of an arm or leg, and cry, 'Lord Jesus work a miracle!' Oh, what would I give to have hands and arms to grip strongly and heartily fold around Christ's neck and to have my claim made good with a real possession! I think that my love to Christ has plenty of feet and runs quickly to be with him, but lacks hands and fingers to take him. I think I would give Christ my blessing every morning, to have as much faith as I have love and hunger; at least I miss faith. more than love or hunger.
   (2.) I see that putting to death and to be crucified to the world is not as highly thought of by us as it should be. Oh how heavenly thing it is to be dead and dumb and deaf to this world's sweet music! I confess it has pleased His Majesty to make me laugh at the children who are wooing this world for their match. I see men lying around the world like nobles around a kings court; and I wonder what they are all doing there. As I am at present, despising courting such an irresponsible and insignificant princess or buying this world's kindness by bending my knee. I know hardly anything to hear or see that  this world offers me; I know that there is little which it can take from me and little that it can give me. Above anything I recommend putting sin to death in you; for alas, we merely chase feathers flying in the air and tire our spirits for the froth and gilded over clay of a dying life. One sight of what my Lord has let me see in this short time is worth a world of worlds.
   (3.) I thought I might easily take courage in a time of trouble for Christ's sake. I thought that merely remembering the honesty of the cause would be enough. But I was a fool to  think this. It takes much effort now to win one smile. But I see that my joy grows up in heaven and beyond the reach of our short arm. Christ will be manager and dispenser Himself and no one else but Him; so now I think much of one little measure of spiritual joy. One smile of Christ's face is now like a kingdom to me; and yet he is not stingy in comforting me. Truly I have no reason to say I am restricted by, poverty, or  that Christ's comforts are dried up: for I admire how he has poured down rivers upon a dry desert like me; and when I faint He holds up my head and strengthens me with cups of wine and comforts me apples. My house and bed are covered with kisses of love. Praise, praise with me.Oh, if you and I between us could lift up Christ on His throne, though all Scotland should throw Him down to the ground!
   My brother's case touches me closely. I heard you will be kind to him and give him your best advice.
   Remember my love to your brother, to your wife, and G.M. Ask him to be faithful and repent from his hypocrisy; and say I wrote so to you. I wish salvation. Write to me your thoughts concerning C.E. and C.Y., and their wives, and I.G., are any others in my parish. I hear that I am forgotten by them, but I cannot forget them.
  The prisoner's prayers and blessings come on you. replace Grace, grace be with you.
   Your brother in the Lord Jesus,   S.R.

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