Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Rutherford revised (97)

97. To Alexander Gordon of Earlston  From Aberdeen 13 Feb 1637

Much honoured sir, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I received your letter which refreshed me. I am sad that apart from my brother and your son, I have seen a few letters from my friends in that country. But I have the company of a Lord who can teach us all to be kind, and has the right way of it. Though for the present I have seven ups and downs every day, yet I am abundantly comforted and feasted with my King and Well-beloved every day. He is pleased to come and dine with a sad prisoner and a lonely stranger. His perfume gives out is smell. Yet my sweet has some sour mixed with it, in which I must be content; for there is no reason why His comforts should be too cheap, seeing they are delicacies. Why shouldn He not make them so for His own? But now I truly think Christ has led me up to a point in Christianity that I never reached before; I think that everything before was only childhood and child's play. Since I left you I have been scalded when the smoke of hell's fire went in at my throat, and I would have bought peace with a thousand years pain in hell; and I have been up also after these deep downs and sorrows before the Lamb's are white throne in my Father's in a court, the great King's dining hall. And Christ put a covering of love on me. He has thrown a coal in my soul and it is smoking among the straw and keeping the fireplace warm. I look back to what I was before and I laugh to see the sandcastles I built as a child.
   At first, remembering the many fair public feast days with my Lord Jesus, which are now changed into silent Sabbaths, raised a great storm,  and (if I may say so) made the devil active in my soul. The devil came in, and  prompted me to make an argument with Christ, and today the blame on him as a hard master. But now these mists are blown away, and I am not only silenced from all quarrelling, but I am fully content. Now, I wonder that any living man can laugh at the world, or give it a hearty greeting. The Lord Jesus has dealt with me, so that I now think never to be in this world's company again for a night's lodging. Christ keeps me good company. When I did not realise it, He has helped me, lifting the cross off my shoulders, so in that I think it is a a light as a feather, because underneath are the everlasting arms. God forbid there should be any exchanging of crosses; four I think my cross is so sweet I do not know where I would get its match. Christ's honeycombs draped so abundantly, that they sweeten any bitterness of mine. The only thing that breaks my heart, is that I cannot get it to the daughters of Jerusalem to tell them of my Bridegrooms glory. I charge you in the name of Christ, that you tell everyone you meet about it; and yet it is beyond telling and understanding. Oh, if all the kingdom was like me except for my chains. They do not know the love-kisses that my only Lord Jesus wastes on a favoured prisoner. I swear on my salvation, this is the only way to the New City. I know Christ has no meaningless seals. When he puts his private seal on blank paper? He has sealed my suffering with his comforts. I am writing this to confirm it to you, for it is what I have now seen as well as heard. Sometimes my silence burns up my spirit; but Christ has said,'your wages earn interest in heaven as if you were now preaching;' and this coming from a King's mouth rejoices in my heart. At other times I am sad living in Kedar's tents.
   So far I only know of only two people in this town that I dare trust. And the Lord has moved my brothers and my friends far away from me; and it may be that I will be forgotten in the place where the Lord made me the instrument to do some good. But I see that this is my vanity; let him make me into what pleases Him, if he makes it my salvation. I am tempted and troubled that all the fourteen bishops have been armed by God against me alone, when the rest of my brothers are still preaching. But I can only say,'it is good Lord Jesus because you have done it.'
   Woe is me for the virgin-daughter! Woe is me for the spoiling of the virgin daughter of Scotland! Oh, if my eyes were fountain of tears, to weep day and night for that poorer widow church, that poor  miserable prostitute! Alas, my Father has shut the door on my poor prostitute-mother! O for that cloud of black wrath, and the fury and indignation of the Lord, that is hanging over the land.
   Sir, I beg you to write to me. I pray you will also be kind to my troubled brother. Remember my love your wife; and the prayer and blessing of the prisoner of Christ be on you. Be regular in meeting with God for prayer and communion: those would to me be sweet meetings.
   Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

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