Saturday, June 22, 2019

Rutherford Revised (176)

176 To Carleton                From Aberdeen 15 June1637

(See letters 157 and 169)

Worthy and much honoured,- Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I now answer your letter which I received from my brother.
   Confess two things about myself: Ist, Woe, woe is me that anyone should think there is anything in me! He is my witness, before whom I am transparent, that all too often secret house devils are my company, and this sink of corruption I find in me, makes we go with low sails. And if others see what I see they would look past me not at me.
   2ndly, I know that this shower of free grace was needed on me otherwise I would have withered. I also know I need a striking tempter, so grace may be put to work and I kept humble.
   Worthy and dear brother in the Lord Jesus, what you read I now write from the heart. 1st, I affirm that Christ, and sweating and sighing under His cross is sweeter to me by far than all the kingdoms of the world could possibly be. 2ndly, If you and my dearest friends in Christ, reap any fruit by my suffering, let me be weighed in God's scales, if my joy is not full. Who am I to carry the marks of such a great King! But though I am a sink and a sinful lump, a wretched captive to sin, my Lord Jesus can cut heaven out of worse timber than me, if there can be worse. 3rdly, I now rejoice with my joy unspeakable and that I never proposed to bring the smallest part of Christ's truth under man's jurisdiction. I wanted to have and keep Christ all alone; and that He should never rub up against that black skinned prostitute of Rome. I am now fully paid at home, and now nothing is wrong with me except love sickness for full possession of my fairest Well-beloved. I would give Him my hand in promise, to postpone heaven a hundred years more, if he would but His holy face next to my sometimes wet cheeks. Oh, who would not pity me to know how much I would have the King shaking the tree of life over me, or letting me into the well of life with my old cup, the I might be drunk from the fountain here in the house of my pilgrimage! I cannot, no, I would not be free from Christ's love. He has left the mark where he has gripped. He goes away and leaves me to wrestle with His burning love, and I can hardly win my part of His love for he is absent. My Lord only gives me angry half kisses, which feed pain and increase hunger, but do not satisfy my desires; He puts my soul on a diet and makes me lean. I have got the pick and choice of Christ's crosses, even a tenth and the best of the gold of the crosses, to witness to the truth; and in this I find freedom, joy, access, life, comfort, love, faith, submission, patience and determination to keep on waiting. Also in my race he has come near and let me see the gold and crown. I do not want anything except fruitfulness and real enjoyment until I reach the heavenly country. Do not let anyone think he will lose out from Christ by suffering for Him. 4thly, As for these present trials they are very dangerous, for people are knocked off their feet by well washed and white skinned appearance of it not bettering.But it is the power of the great antichrist working in this land. Woe, woe, woe to apostate Scotland! There is wrath, and a cup of the red wine of the wrath of God Almighty in the Lord's hand, that they will drink and vomit, and fall not to rise again. The star called "Wormwood and gall' has fallen into the fountains and rivers, and has made them bitter. The sword of the Lord has been drawn against the idol shepherds of this land. Women will bless the barren womb and dry breasts; all hearts will be faint and all knees tremble. An end is coming,; the leopard and the lion will watch over our cities; great and fair houses will be deserted without inhabitants. The Lord has said, 'Do not pray for this people, for I have taken my peace from them.' Yet the Lord's third will come through the fire, as refined gold for the Lord's treasury, and the outcasts in Scotland will be gathered together again, and the desert will blossom like flowers, and bud and grow like the rose of Sharon; and the Lord's glory will be great over Scotland. 5thly, I am here opposed by the learned and full intellectuals of this kingdom, But I give honour to my Lord that truth laughs and the dimmed and blind writers and debaters of this world; and God's wisdom deals with them in His own strong truth that speaks for itself. 6thly, I do not doubt that the Lord is preparing me for harder trials. I am most ready at the good will of my Lord, in the strength of His grace, for anything He will call me to; nor will the black faced messenger , Death, be kept at the door when it knocks. It my Lord will take honour from the likes of me, how glad and joyful will my soul be! If Christ comes out with me to a hotter battle than this, I will fear no man. I know that my Master will win the battle, and His own hand controls my suffering. 7thly, As for my deliverance going wrong;  I am, by my Lord's grace, putting my hand on my mouth to be silent and keep on waiting. My Lord Jesus is coming for my deliverance; I will not complain that He does not come as quicky as I want Him to. Waiting until the swelling rivers go down, and until my Lord rises as a mighty man after strong wine will be best for me. I have not yet resisted to bloodshed. 8thly, Oh how often I am laid in the dust, and urged by the tempter (who can ride his own errands on our lying fears) to sin against the unchangeable love of my Lord! When I think about the sparrows and swallows that build their nests in the church at Anwoth, and of my dumb Sabbaths, my sorrowful, tear-filled eyes squint at Christ, and see Him as angry. But in this trial (all honour to our princely and royal King!) faith sails well before the wind, with topsail up, and carries the passenger through. I rein in my thoughts, so that I receive no slanders against my only, only Beloved. Even if he says from His own mouth, 'There is no hope;' yet I will die in that sweet trick, 'It is not so. I will see the salvation of God.' Let me be really deceived and never reach dry land; it is my joy to believe underwater, and to die with faith in my hand gripping Christ. Let my ideas of Christ's love go to the grave with me, and to hell with me; I may not, I dare not leave them. I hope to keep Christ's loan: if he never comes to claim it, let him look to his own promise. I know that presumption, though it is strong, will not be stubborn in heavy trials.
   Now my dearest in Christ, the great Messenger of the Covenant, the only wise and all sufficient Jehovah, strengthen you to the end. I hear the Lord has been to your house and has called your wife home to her rest. I know, Sir, you see the Lord loosening the pegs of your tent, and courting your love from this decorated and over covered world, and calling you to remaking yourself ready to go to your father's country, which will be a sweet fruit form that visit. You know, 'to send the Comforter,' was the King's word when he ascended on high. You have a claim to, and interest in that promise.
   Remember my love in Christ to your father. Show him that it is a late and black night with him. His lying long at the waterside, is so he may have his papers ready before he takes the ship and be ready for a last answer before his Judge and Lord.
   All love, all mercy, all grace and peace, all multiplied saving comforts, all joy and faith in Christ, all stability, and confirming strength of grace, and the goodwill of Him who lives in the Bush, be with you.
   Your unworthy brother, in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

No comments: