Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Rutherford Revised (167)

167. To my Lady Boyd    From Aberdeen 1 May 1637

(See letters 77,78,107)

Madam, - Grace, mercy and peace from God out Father, and from out Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied to you.
   I have reasoned with your son (Lord Boyd); I rejoice to see him set his face in the right direction, now when the nobles love the sunny side of the Gospel best, and are afraid that Christ lacks soldiers, and will not be able to fend for Himself. 
   Madam, our debts of obligation to Christ aret small; the freedom of grace and of salvation is the wonder of men and angels but our Lord's mercy cannot be bought. You are bound to lift Christ on high, for he has given you eyes to see the devil coming out dressed in white, and the idolatry and apostasy of the time, washed with fair appearance; but the skin is black and the water foul. I confess it would be artful to wash a black devil and make him white.
   I am in strange ups and downs and seven times a day loose ground. I often have to swim; and again my feet are set on the Rock that is higher than me. He has now let me see four things which I never saw before:
1st, That the Supper will be a great feast, that is up in the great hall with the Royal King of glory, when even the slight afternoon meal and the cup given at the door in this hard desert is sweet. When He blows from afar off a kiss to His poor broken hearten mourners in the church, and sends me his hearty approval until we meet, I am amazed with wonder to think how it will be when the Fairest among the sons of men will put a King's soft, sweet cheeks to the sinful cheeks of poor sinners. O time, time go quickly and speed the day! Sweet Lord Jesus, hurry. Come flying like a young deer on the mountains of separation. I think we should carefully watch the time, and often look to see how low is the sun. For love has no 'Hello!', it is in pain until it holds the one beloved. 
2ndly, I find Christ's absence to be love's sickness and love's death. The wind that blows from the direction where my Lord Jesus reigns is sweet smelling, joyful and hearty to a soul burnt with its absence. For a soul sick with love, to fight with absence and delays is a painful battle. Christ's 'Not yet' is a blow to all the joints and ligaments of the soul. A nod of his head when he is hidden would be half a loan. To say,"You fool, what is the matter? He is coming,' would be life to a dead man. In my dumb Sabbaths I often seek an argument with my Lord (God forgive me!), and I am not bothered if there is two or three ounces of black anger in me. 
3rdly, For the third thing, I have seen my abominable vileness; if it was well known, no-one in this kingdom would ask me how I am. Many think my ten is a hundred, but I am a deeper hypocrite and shallower believer than everyone thinks. God knows I am not pretending. But I think of my life written on one page in big letters, and his mercy to such a sad and wretched debtor on the other hand, to be more than a miracle. If I could get my finger tips on a full assurance, I believe I would hold tight; but my cup does not lack bitterness. But for my part, despair might be excused if everyone in this land saw my inner character. But I know I am one who has made a great sale and a free bargain with free grace. But if I could be saved I would be pleased to believe that I am sure I have given Christ's blood, His free grace and His mercy, a large place to work upon; and Christ has shown His work, I dare not say to the limit (for he can if He will forgive all the devils and damned reprobates because of the breadth of His mercy), I say to an admirable extent.
4thly, I am hit by fear of ingratitude. This apostate church has played the prostitute with many lovers. They are spitting in the face of mu lovely King, and mocking Him and I dare not mend it; and they are running away from Christ in crowds, and I dare not mourn and be grieved for it. I think Christ is like a deserted castle, left by the inhabitants; all men run from Him now. Truth, innocent truth, goes mounting , wringing her hands in sackcloth and ashes. Woe, woe, woe is me for the virgin daughter of Scotland! Woe, woe to the people of this land! For they have gone back with perpetual backsliding.
   I am so occupied with these things that a borrowed bed, another man's fireside, the wind in my face (I being driven from my lovers and dear friends and my poor flock), find no place in my sorrow. I have no spare or old sorrow for these; only I think that the sparrows and swallows that build their nests in the church at Anwoth are blessed birds. There is no set back to my faith until it crack, harder than my closed mouth. But let me alone be miserable; God keep my dear brothers from it. But while I breathe; but when my royal and never, never enough praised King returns to His sinful prisoner, I ride on the high places of Jacob. I divide Shechem (Ps 60:6), I triumph in His strength. If this kingdom would glorify the Lord n my behalf! In this matter I want to be weighed in God's scales, if I do not think my wages have been not paid in full. I will want no more work from Christ.
   Madam, pity me in this and help me to praise Him; for though I be the chef of sinners, a devil and a most guilty devil, yet it is as the apple of His eye, I suffer now for the honour and glory as the Head of the Church, and with that I will go to eternity.
   I am greatly in love with Mr. Matthew Mowat (minister of Kilmarnock); I see him stamped with the image of God. I have good hope for your son, my Lord Boyd.
   Your Ladyship and your children have a prisoner's prayers. Grace be with you.
   Your Ladyship's, at all obedience in Christ,  S.R.

No comments: