Thursday, April 18, 2019

Rutherford revised (114)

114.  To the much honoured William Rigg, of Athernie, in Fife near Leven  From Aberdeen 9 Mar 1637

Much honoured Sir, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I received your long anticipated short letter. I wish you had written more for I am needy. As you write I find Christ, so the longer the better; and I can only rejoice in His salvation, who has made my chains into wings, and has made me a King over my crosses and my opponents. Glory, glory, glory to His high, high and fly name! On me is not laid an ounce or a grain weight more than He has enabled me to bear; and I am not as tired from suffering as the church's haters are from persecuting. Oh, if I could find a way by any means to try to get even with Christ's love! But that I must give up. Oh, who will help a debtor pay praise to the King of saints, who triumphs in His weak servants!
   I see that if Christ rides on only a worm or a feather, His horse will not stumble nor fall. He makes the worm Jacob into a new sharp threshing tool, with teeth to thresh the mountains and grind them small, and to make the hills as chaff, and to fan them so the wind carries them away and that whirlwind will scatter them (Is 41:14-16). Christ's enemies only break their own heads in pieces, on the Rock laid on Zion; and the stone is not removed out of its place. There is reason for faith to take courage from our very sufferings,; the devil is only a whetstone to sharpen the faith and patience of the saints. I know that all this time he is only cutting and polishing stones for the new Jerusalem.
   But in all this three things have affected me a lot since my Lord has been pleased to turn my moonlight into daylight. First, he has put me to work to wrestle with Christ's love; for which I am sick with longing, pained, fainting and like to die because I cannot get Himself; which seem a strange sort of desertion. For I do not have Himself, whom if I had, would cool my love-sickness, and remove my fever; at least I would know the heat of the fire of complacency, which would cool the scorching heat of the fire of desire. (And yet I know no poverty of His love!). And so I wither and die, but He does not seem to regret having me. I have it in writing that I should have Him, but I cannot get Him; and black hunger is my best food. I bless Him for that feast.
   Secondly, old thought revive now and then and depress. I go limping and sighing, fearing there is something yet to come, heavier than I can deal with. I cannot clearly read my surety's guarantee for me in particular and my discharge; rather faith assures me of what I have but I cannot grip it. Revering my Lord, I could forgive Christ if He gave me as much faith as I have hunger for Him. I hope I am pardoned, but I do not have peace as sure as I want. Yet, I know one thing; there is no other way to heaven than the one He has given me grace to profess and suffer for. 
   Thirdly, Woe, woe is me for the virgin daughter of Scotland, and for the fearful desolation and wrath appointed for this land! And yet everyone is sleeping, eating and drinking, laughing and playing as if all is well. Oh our gold is tarnished! Our pastors are dumb and blind! The sun has set on them, and our nobility tells Christ to look after Himself, if He is Christ. We need to learn in good time the way to our stronghold.
   Sir, though I do not know her, remember my love to your wife. I pray that God establishes you.
    Yours in his sweet Lord, Jesus,   S.R.

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