Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Rutherford Revised (179)

179.  To Mr. John Nevay      From  Aberdeen 15 June 1637 

(Never was minister of Newmills in Loudon parish and chaplain too the earl. A Protestor Covenanter who in 1662 was exiled to Holland. Died in Rotterdam.)

Reverend and dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I received your letter of April 11. as I did another of March 25, and a letter for Mr. Andrew Cant (Minister at nearby Pitsligo).
   I am grieved that our mother church is running to the brothel house, and that we are hiring lovers, and giving gifts to the Great Mother of Fornications (Rev 17:5). Alas that our Husband is likely to leave us alone! It would be my part (if I could) to stir myself to grip Him, when our Husband is leaving, and keep Him in this land; for I know He is a sweet helper, and a lovely companion to a poor prisoner.
   I find that my difficulty has sharpened the edge of His love and kindness, so he seems to find new ways of expressing the sweetness of His love to my soul. Suffering for Christ is the very element in which Christ's love lives, and exercises itself, in throwing out flames of fire and sparks of heat, to warm such a frozen heart as mine. And if Christ weeping in sackcloth is so sweet, I cannot imagine what He will be, when we clay bodies (having put off mortality) come up to the marriage room and great palace, and see the King clothed in His royal robes, sitting on His throne. I would wish for no more for my heaven under the moon, which I am sighing in this house of clay, except for daily renewed feasts of love with Christ, and freedom now and then to feed my hunger with a kiss from that fairest face, that is like the sun in noonday strength. I would willingly agree to resign to Christ the fourteen bishops of this land, and all the most delightful pleasures on earth, and forfeit all my part of this clay god, this earth, which Adam's foolish children worship, to have no other exercise than to lie on a love bed with Christ, and fill this hungry and famished soil with kissing, hugging, and real enjoying of the Son of God; and I think that then I would write to my friends, that I had found this Golden World, and look out and laugh at the poor bodies who are killing one another for feathers. For truly, brother, since I came to this prison, I have conceived a new and extraordinary opinion of Christ which I did not have before. For I perceive we postpone all our joys to Christ, until He and we are in our own house above, as married partners, thinking that here there is nothing of it to be sought or found, except only hope and fair promises; and that Christ will give us nothing here except tears, sadness and crosses; and that we will ever sense the smell of the flowers of that high garden of paradise above, until we come there. No, but I find it is possible to find young glory, and a young green paradise of joy even here. I know that Christ's kisses will give a strong and refreshing smell of incomparable glory and joy in heaven than they do here; because a drink of the well of life up at the well head is more sweet and fresh by far than that which we get in our borrowed, old, leaking containers and wooden dishes here. Yet I am now convinced it is our foolishness to postpone everything until the final day, seeing  plentiful down payments will not diminish any of our capital sum. We dream of hunger in Christ's house while we are still here, although he permits feasts for all of God's childen in His family. It would be good then to stock ourselves up with more borrowed kisses from Christ, and with more borrowed visits, until we enter our new inheritance as heirs, and our Teacher gives us possession of our own when we are past being minors. Oh that all the young heirs would seek more, and a greater and nearer communion with my Lord Teacher, the first heir of all, Christ! For my part I wish that I could send you and that gentleman who wrote his greetings to me into the King's innermost cellar and house of wine, to be filled with love. A drink of this love is indeed worth having. We carry ourselves too politely with Christ our Lord; and our Lord does not love politeness, dryness, and strangeness in friends. Since needs force us to be in Christ's debt, then let us be in His debt; for it cannot be otherwise.
   Now for my present situation in my imprisonment; deliverance as to anything I can see, looks a cold prospect. If my hope looked or leaned on men, would soon wither at the root like a May flower. Yet I am determined to rest myself with waiting my Lord, and to let my faith swim when it does not touch the ground. I either must faint (which I hope my master of whom I boast will prevent), or then to lay my faith on Omnipotency, and so to blink and hold onto my grip. And I hope that my ship will ride it out, seeing Christ is willing to blow His sweet wind in my sails, and he mends and closes the leaks in my ship, and rules all things. It will be unusual if a believing passenger is thrown overboard.
   As for your master, my lord and my lady (John Campbell, Earl of Lodoun and Baroness Margaret Campbell), I will not want to forget them. I think that my prayers (such as they are) are a debt due to him; and I will be far more linked to his Lordship, if he holds fast to Christ (as I hope he will) now when so many of his rank and quality fall off Christ's back, and leave Him to fend for Himself.
   I beg you to remember my love to that worthy gentleman, A.C., who greeted me in your letter.; I have heard that he is one of my Master's friends, for which reason I am tied to him.I wish that he mat fall in love with Christ more and more.
   Now for your question:- As far as I poorly understand, I think that God is praised in two ways:1st. By on open profession of His highness before men such as is in the very hearing of the word, and receiving of either of the sacraments: in which acts by profession, we witness to men, that he is our God with whom we are in covenant, and our Lawgiver. So eating and drinking in the Lord's Supper, is an announcement and profession before men, that Christ is our killed redeemer. Here, because God speaks to us, not we to Hm, it is not a formal thanksgiving, but an announcement or affirmation of Christ's death - aware not worshipping.  Nor does it have God for the immediate object, and therefore there can be no kneeling here.
   2ndly. There is another praising of God, formal, when we are either formally blessing God or speaking His praises. And this I take to be twofold:- 1. When we directly and formally direct praises and thanksgiving to God. This may well be done kneeling, signifying our recognising His Highness; yet not that it cannot be done standing or sitting, especially seeing that joyful raising (which should be in praising) is not formally signifies by kneeling. 2. When we speak well of Gd, and declare His glorious nature and attributes extolling Him before men, to excite men to think Highly of Him. I hold the former to be in every way immediate worship, or else I do not know of any immediate worship at all; the latter has God for the subject, not properly the object, seeing it is directed to men immediately rather than to God; for here we speak about God by way of praising, rather than to God. And for my own part, as I think at present, I do not see how this can be done kneeling, seeing it is a preaching of God and Christ and not a praising or blessing God. But see that it is a formal praising of God, and not merely conscious, as I distinguished in the first matter; for in the first matter, any speaking about God, or of His works of creation, providence, and redemption, is indirect and conscious praising of Him, and preaching formally, or an act of teaching, not an act of declaring His praises. For there is a difference between the simple telling of the virtues of a thing (which is teaching formally) and the extolling of the with of a thing by commendation, causing others to praise with us.
   So recommending you to God's grace,  I rest, yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

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