Monday, June 17, 2019

Rutherford Revised (174)

174. To my Lord Craighall   From Aberdeen 8 Jun 1637

(See letter 86)

My Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I am not only content, but I rejoice greatly, that  find any of the rulers of this land, and especially your Lordship, so hold on to Christ and His truth, so you dare, for His name, to say yes and no to monarchs in their face. I hope that He who has enabled you to do that, will give you more if you show yourself courageous, and (and as His word says), 'a man in the streets,'(Jer 5:1). But I ask that your Lordship allows me to be frank with you, as one who loves both your honour and your soul. I truly believe there was never idolatry at Rome, never idolatry condemned in God's word by the prophets, if religious kneeling before a consecrated creature, standing in the place of Christ in that very act and for the reverence of the elements (as our Act clearly says) is not idolatry. Neither will it help to say your intention is not of the essence of worship; for then, Aaron saying, 'tomorrow will be a feast for Jehovah.' that is for the golden calf, should not have been guilty of idolatry; for he only intended to lessen the lash of the people's fury and not to honour the calf. Your intention. to honour Christ is nothing seeing that by God's institution, religious kneeling means religious and divine adoration. Your intentions are dead and sleeping if you kneel before the sacrament. My Lord, I cannot in my place dispute; but if Cambridge and Oxford and the educated of Britain, will answer this argument and the argument from avoiding scandal which your Lordship seems to rely on, then I will turn myself into a ritualist, and call myself a fool (by doing what I have done) in my suffering for this truth; or give me the reputation of a hypocrite as well as a donkey. I hope you will understand something on that subject (if the Lord permits), that no cleverness in Britain will answer. Courtiers' arguments are for the most part from their own prejudice and not worth a straw to inform your conscience. When you stand before Christ's tribunal, the word of a Marquis or a King will be lighter than the wind. The Lord knows that I love your true honour, and the reputation of your family; but I would not want your honour or family to be built on sand and hay and stubble. 

   But let me, my very dear and worthy Lord, most humbly beg you by the mercies of God, by the comforts of His Spirit, by the dear blood and wounds of your lovely Redeemer, by the salvation of your soul, by your appearance before the awful face of a sin revenging and dreadful Judge, not to compare your soul's peace, with Christ's love and His kingly honour which is now questioned, with your place, honour , family or ease which an inch of time will remove. I truly believe that Christ is now begging a witness from you, and is saying, 'Will you also leave me?' It is possible that the wind will not blow so favourably for you all your life, for coming out and appearing before others to support and promote Christ, the fairest among the sons of men, the Prince of the kings of the earth.  'Fear not the reproach of man,nor be dismayed at their reviling.For the moth will eat them up like a garmentand the worm will eat them like wool,(Is 51:7,8). When the Lord begins, He will finish and cut down His enemies and they will lie before Him like withered hay, and they will lose their bloom. Think how many thousands in this kingdom you will cause to fall and stumble if you go with them; and you will lose the prayers of many who now stand before the Lord for you and your family. And more; when the time comes to render your accounts, and you have one foot in the edge of eternity, and the eyes close, and the face goes pale, and the the poor soul looks of of the windows of the house of clay, longing to be out, and you find yourself appearing before the Judge of the living and the dead to answer concerning your joining with the rest against Christ, for capsizing His ark, and the loosening of the tent pegs of Christ's tabernacle in this land, and will certainly see you stuck in a path of apostasy - then, then a king's favour and your worm eaten honour will be miserable comforters for you! The Lord has enlightened you to know his will; and as the Lord lives, they lead you and others to communion with great Babel, the mother of fornications. God said before, and continues to say the same to you, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her plagues.' Will you then go with them, and put your lip to the prostitute's golden cup, and drink of the wine of the wrath go God Almighty with them? Oh, poor hungry honour! Oh cursed pleasure and oh, damnable ease, bought with the loss of God! How many will pray for you! What a sweet presence of Christ you will find in your sufferings, if you will lay down your honours at the feet of Christ. What a fair recompense of reward! I affirm before the Lord, that I am now showing you a way for the Craighall family to stand on sure pillars. If you set it on rotten pillars you will crueley wrong your posterity. You have the promise of a King for a hundred fold more in this life (if it is good for you), and for everlasting life too. Do not make Christ a liar by not trusting His promises. Kings of clay cannot support you when you stand before Him. They and their hungry heaven are not worth a straw for they are on this side of time. The day long smile of a worm is worthless. Think about those who have gone before you to eternity, and would have given a world for a new opportunity to hold that truth. It is true that say it is of no importance, and those at ease despise us for suffering for it. But morning time is too early to reckon our losses; stay until evening and we will count up with the best of them. 
   Since I was imprisoned, I have found by experience (my witness is above), Christ is confirming this honourable cause with another and a nearer fellowship than I ever knew before; an may God weigh me in the scales in this, if I would exchange the cross of Christ or his truth, with the fourteen bishops, of whatever else a King can give. My dear Lord, risk to take the wind in your face for Christ. I believe that if he were to come from heaven Himself, and seek from you the deeds of Craighall, and a resignation of your place, you would fall down at His feet and say, 'Lord Jesus, it is too little for you.' If anyone thinks it is not a truth to die for, I am against him. I dare go to eternity with it, that this day the honour of our Lawgiver and King, in the government of His own free kingdom (who should pay tribute to no mortal king), is the true matter I question. My Lord, be on Christ's side of it, and take the word of a poor prisoner (no, the Lord Jesus guarantees it), that you have made by far the wisest choice. For my own part, the way I have been in this prison, I would be half ashamed to seek more until I reach the Well. In the world few know how sweet is Christ's breath, the excellency of His love, which has neither top nor bottom. This world has slandered the cross of Christ, because they love to go to heaven on dry land and do not love storms at sea. I write it myself (and I would say more if a reader would not think it hypocrisy), that my debt to Christ for the scent of His clothes, for thirty weeks of his love kisses, is so great, that I would (and I also choose to) suspend my salvation, to have many voices raised to praise Him. Suppose I never personally entered into the gates of the New Jerusalem, yet Christ was set on high, and I had the freedom forever throw my love and praises over the wall to Christ, I would be quiet and content. But oh, He is more than my limited praises! O time, time go quickly, that our communion with Jesus be complete!
   I wish your Lordship would urge Mr L, to consider the ceremonies, and let me see it as soon as possible, and I will give a reply.
   I recommend your Lordship to His rich grace, and will remain,
      Yours at all respectful obedience in Christ,  S,R.

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