Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Rutherford Revised (159)

159. To John Fleming, Bailie (magistrate) of Leith                     From Aberdeen 15 Mar 1637

(See letter 68)

Worthy and dearly beloved in the Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be unto you. I received your letter. I wish I could satisfy you by drawing up and making for you a Christian directory. But the educated have done it before me and better than I can; especially especially Rogers, Greenham and Perkins. Nevertheless I will show you what I have done myself though I always fall short of what I wanted to do.
   1. Give to God hours of the day, less or more time for the word and prayer, not forgetting 12 o'clock or mid day; those should be shorter times.
   2. In the middle of work in the world there should be thoughts of sin, death, judgment and eternity with at least a word of two of instant prayer to God.
   3. Beware of the heart wandering during private prayer.
   4. Do not be troubled if you come from private prayer with no sense of joy. Low spirits, a sense of guilt and hunger are often best for us.
   5. Morning to night the Lord's Day is to be spent in private or pubic worship.
   6. Be careful in speaking, avoid wandering and idle thoughts, sudden anger and desire for revenge, even against those who persecute the truth, for we often mix our zeal with our wild fire.
   7. Avoid known, discovered and revealed sins which go against the conscience, for they are dangerous preparations for hardness of heart.
   8. In dealings with men, have care for faith and truth in covenants and negotiations, that we deal with all men sincerely; that we be conscientious about idle and lying words; that our conduct be such that those who see it will speak honourably abut our sweet Master and profession.
   9. I have been much challenged - 
1. For not committing everything to God; that I do not eat, drink, sleep, travel, speak and think for God.    
2. That I have not benefitted form good company. and that I did not leave some convicting word with natural and wicked men by rebuking their swearing; or being a silent witness before their wrong lives; and because my intent was not good in whatever company.
3. That the troubles and calamities of the church and of particular Christians have not affected me. 
4. That when I read the lives of David, Paul and the like when it humbled me, I (falling far short of their holiness) did not work to imitate them, afar off at least, according to God's grace to me.
5. That the unreported of sins of youth were not considered and grieved for.
6. That sudden feelings of pride, just, revenge, love of honours were not resisted and mourned for.
7. That my love was cold.
8. That my experience of God hearing me in one and another particulars, when considered together and then came a new trouble, I had always (once at least) to begin at A,B,C again. 
9. That I have not more boldly contradicted the enemies who speak against the truth either in public church meetings, at table or ordinary conversation.
10. That in great troubles I have accepted false reports of Christ's love and misunderstood His chastening; when the event was saying, 'All is mercy.'
11. Nothing moved me more, and weighed on my soul, that I could never in my prosperity, from my heart, so wrestle in prayer with God, nor be so dead to the world, so hungry and sick with love for Christ, so heavenly minded, as when the ten stone weight of a heavy cross was on me.
12. That the cross drew promises of new obedience, which ease blew away, like chaff before the wind.
13. That practice was so so short and narrow, and light was so long and broad.
14. That I have not often thought about death.
15. That I have not been careful to gain other for Christ.
16. That my grace and gifts produce little or no thankfulness.
   Somethings also have been helpful -
1. Riding alone on a long journey I have benefited in giving time to prayer.
2. By abstinence and giving days to god.
3. By praying for others and making an errand to God for them.
4. I have in many thinks had confirmed that Gd answers prayer, therefore I am used to pray for anything no matter of how little importance.
5. He enabled me not to question that this mocked way so nicknamed is the only way to heaven.
   Sir, you should look into these and many more things in your life and,
1. Thoughts about atheism should be watched for as 'If there is a God in heaven?' which will trouble and assault the best of us at some times.
2. Care for growth in grace above all things; and we should mourn falling from our first love.
3. Be consciencous about praying for the blind enemies.
   Sir, I thank you most kindly for caring for my brother and me too. I hope it is stored up for you and remembered in heaven.
   I am still ashamed of Christ's kindness to a sinner like me. He has left a fire in my heart that hell cannot pour water onto quench or extinguish it. Help me to praise and pray for me for you have a prisoner's blessing and prayers.
   Remember my love to your wife. Grace be with you. 
      Yours in Christ Jesus,  S.R.

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