Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Rutherford Revised (178)

178. To Lady Culross   From  Aberdeen 15 June 1637

See letters 62 and 74.

Madam, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I dare not say that I am surprised you have not written to me during my imprisonment, because I am aware of the reason; but I must write to you.
   I do not know whether joy or being downcast in my soul motivates me. Sorrow unmixed with sweetness does not often have love thoughts about Christ; but I see the devil can get in, and ride his errands on the thoughts of a poor troubled prisoner. I am sad that I am unfriending Christ by making arguments against Him, because I am the first in this kingdom be completely silenced, and because I cannot preach my Lord's righteousness to the great congregation. Nevertheless I am most concerned how things go, if there is not anger in my life. But though my Doctor has said I must not, I do rub my wounds. I would believe in the dark and take my chance on Christ's favour, and rest on this, that in my fever, my Doctor is at my bedside, and he sympathises when I sigh. My borrowed house, and another man's bed and fireside, and other losses have no place in my sorrow; a greater heat to consume a lesser fire is a good remedy for some burning. I believe that Christ has skill to cut the right vein when He draws blood; and He has taken the whole ordering and arranging of my suffering. Let Him teach me and teach my crosses as He thinks best. There is no danger or gamble in following such a guide, though he should lead me through hell, I could put faith to the fore, and fill the battle with quiet waiting and believing I will see the salvation of God. I know that Christ does not have to let me see both sides of my cross and turn it over and over so that I can see everything. My faith is richer for living on credit, and Christ's borrowed money, than to have a lot to hand. Alas, I have forgotten that in times past faith has stopped a leak in my damaged boat, and half filled my sails with a fair wind. I see it as a work of God that experiences are all lost to poor souls in their heavy trials when there is a challenge saying our maps of Christ are forgeries.
   But though I am a sinner, and worse than the chief of sinners, yes, a guilty devil, I am sure that my Well-beloved is God. And when I say that Christ is God, and that my Christ is God, I have said everything and cannot say more. I wish I could build as much as it could bear on, 'My Christ is God.' I might put the whole world on it. I am sure than an untried and untaken Christ, in the power of His love, kindness, mercies, goodness, wisdom, long-suffering and greatness, is the rock that poorly seeing travellers stub their foot against and so fearfully stumble. But my wounds are sorest and give me most pain, when I sin against His love and mercy. And if He would take me and my conscience by the ears, and decide not to settle the dispute, but let us deal with it between us, me spitting on the fair face-off Christs love and mercy by my jealousies, unbelief and doubting, would be enough to sink me. Oh, oh I am convinced that for this I stand dumb before You! Let me be my own judge in this and receive a dreadful sentence for it. For I still believe wrongly, though I have seen that my Lord has made my cross like crystal so that I can see Christ's fair face and heaven through it; and the God has honoured the likes of me, a lump of sinful flesh and blood, to be Christ's honourable favoured prisoner. I aught to think that the wall of the thieve's dungeon (if I was shut up in it), or any stinking dungeon, to be hung with tapestry, and most beautiful , for my Lord Jesus; and yet I am not so shut up for the sun shines on my prison, and it is open to the fair, wide heavens. But in His sweet visits, my Lord has done more; for He makes he see that He will be confined as a prisoner with me.He lies down and rises with me; when I sigh, He sighs; when I weep.He suffers with me; and I confess that here is the blessed outcome of my already begun sufferings, that my heart is filled with hunger and desire to have Him glorified in my sufferings.
   Madam, you are blessed by the Lord if you would help a poor debtor, and make others you know help me to pay my debts of love,  which are real praises to Christ my Lord. Madam, let me charge you in the Lord as you will answer to Him, to help me in this duty (which he has wound round my neck with a chain of particular expressions of His lovingkindness), to set Christ on high; to keep up my character with Him; for I have nothing to give Him. Oh that He would take my love and my heart in place of everything. I am a debtor who has no more free goods in all the world for Christ except that; it is both the whole inheritance I have and all my movable property also. Lord, give the thirsty man a drink. Oh to be over my ears in the well! Oh, to be moving and swimming over head and ears in Christ's love! I do to want Christ's love entering me, but I want to enter it, and be swallowed up in that love. But I do not see myself here; for I fear I make more of His love than of Himself; whereas he is far beyond and better than His love. Oh, if I had my sinful arms filled with that lovely one Christ! Blessed be my rich Lord Jesus, who does not send beggars away from His house with an empty dish. He fills the containers of those who will come to him and seek. If we were wise we might beg ourselves rich, if we could had out to Christ our withered hands, and learn to befriend, seek, ask and knock. I owe my salvation to Christ's glory, I owe it to Christ; and want my hell. yes a new hell, seven times hotter than the old hell, to but praises before men and angels my Lord Jesus; providing I was always free fro Christs hatred and frown. What does it matter if I am taken and enslaved in soul and body, if my great on royal king is set on high and praised above all others? Oh if I knew how high to have Him set, and all the world far, far under the soles of His feet? No, I do not deserve to be praised by Him, far less to be one who promotes His praise. But he can win His own glory out of me, and out of worse than me if there be any such, if it pleases His holy majesty to do so. He knows I do not now flatter Him.
   Madam, let me have your prayers, as you have the prayers and blessing of him who is separated from his brothers, Grace, grace be with you.
   Your own , in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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