Thursday, June 06, 2019

Rutherford Revised (162)

162.  To John Stuart, Provost of Ayr   From Aberdeen 1637

Much honoured and dearest in Christ, - Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you.
   I expected the comfort of a letter to a prisoner of Christ from you before now. I am here, Sir, putting off a part of my inch of time; and when I first wake in the morning (which is always feeling downcast and very sad), this question comes to my mind., 'Am I serving God or not?' Not that I doubt the truth of this honourable cause in which I am engaged; I dare go into eternity and before my Judge saying that I now suffer for the truth - because I cannot endure that my Master who is a free born King should pay tribute to any of the rulers or fragments of this earth. Oh, that with my sinful arm I could hold the crown on my princely King's head; though in that service my arm should be severed at the shoulder. But my closed mouth, my dumb Sabbaths, the memory of my communion with Christ on many fair, fair days in Anwoth, though now my Master gets no service from my tongue like before, has almost broken my faith in two. Yet in my deepest fears about His anger, I see through a cloud that I am wrong; and that He, in love to me soul, has taken up the argument between faith and fear, and a sentence has been passed on Christ's side, and I submit to the sentence. The Lord is just in His ways, but my guiltiness often overcomes my faith. It has not been recognised:because except for open sins, I lack nothing of what Judas and Cain had; only He in mercy has been pleased to restrain me, and to throw me into a fever of love for Himself, and His absence makes my fever more painful. Beside this He has visited my soul and watered it with comforts. But I do not yet have what I want. My only death is the want of real and felt possession.
   The great men who acted for me are dried up like winter water pools. All say, 'No deals for that man; it is best for him to be out of the kingdom.' So I see they are tired of me. But believe me, I am gladly content that Christ breaks all my idols in pieces. It has put a new edge on my blunted love to Christ; I see that He is jealous for my love, and will have it all for Himself. In a word these six things burden me:
  1. I am not like others in the vineyard; it may be because Christ thinks I am a withered tree, not worth its room. But God forbid!
  2.Woe, woe, woe is coming on my prostitute mother the apostate church! The time is coming when we will wish for dove's wings to fly and hide us. Oh, for the desolation of this land!
  3. I see my dear Master Christ, going alone (as it were), mourning in sackcloth. His fainting friends fear King Jesus will lose the battle. But He must win the day.
  4. My guiltiness and the sins of my youth speak against me and they say my sufferings are deserved by God's justice; but I pray to God, that for Christ's sake, he would never hear their arguments.
  5. Woe is me that I cannot get my royal, dreadful, mighty and glorious Prince of the kings of the earth to be set on high. Sir, you may help and pity me in this; and kneel and bless His name and get others to do it, for he has been pleased in my sufferings to make Atheists, Papists and enemies around me say, "It is as if God is with this prisoner.' Let hell and all the powers of hell (I do not care) be let loose against me to do their worst, if by it, Christ, and my Father, and His Father be magnified in my sufferings. 
  6. Christs love has given me pains; for though His presence has shamed me, and drowned me in debt, yet he often goes away when my love to Him burns. He seems to look like a proud suitor who will not look upon a poor match dying of love. I will not say he is lordly. But I know he is wise in hiding Himself from a child and a fool, who makes an idol and a god of one of Christ's kisses, which is idolatry. I fear I adore His comforts more than Himself, and that I love the apples more than the tree of life.
   Sir, write to me. Commend me to your wife. May her portion be mercy. Grace be with you. 
   Yours, in his dearest Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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