Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Rutherford Revised (180)

180. To the much honoured John Gordon of Cardoness, the Elder      From Aberdeen 16 June 1637

(See letters 82 and 124)

Much honoured and dearest in my Lord, - Grace mercy and peace be to you. My soul longs exceedingly to know how things are between you and Christ; and whether or not there is any work of Christ in that parish, that will survive the test of fire and water. Let me be weighed by my Lord in fair scales, if your soul does not heavily burden me. You go to bed and you rise with me: thoughts of your soul, my dearest in our Lord, do not leave me in my sleep. You have a great share in my tears, sighs, requests and prayers. Oh, if I could buy your soul's salvation with any suffering whatsoever, and that you and I might meet with joy up in the rainbow, when we shall stand before our Judge! On my Lord, do not let it be that I should have any hard thing to witness against you on that day! Oh that He who gives life to the dead would give life from my sowing among you! Next to Christ, what joy is there this side of death, which would comfort me more, than that the souls of those poor people were safe and beyond all risk of being lost. 
   Sir, show the people this; for when I write to you, I think I write to all, old and young. Fulfil my joy and seek the Lord. I am sure that I once showed my lovely, royal, princely Lord Jesus to you all. If the Gospel is not the taste of life to you, woe, woe, woe will be your part in it for evermore. There will be as many sermons as I preached, as many sentences as I spoke, as many points of accusation when the Lord will confront the world about their evil doings. Believe me, I find heaven a city hard to win. 'The righteous will scarcely be saved.' Oh, what violence of crowding will heaven take! Alas! I see many deceiving themselves; thinking all will get to heaven now! Every dirty dog with his dirty feet will easily enter the new and clean Jerusalem. They all say they have faith; and most of the world do not know, and will not consider, that a mistake in the matter of their salvation, is the most pitiable mistake there can be; and no loss compares with this loss. Oh, then, look out that there is no loose nail in the work of your salvation; for you will not believe how quickly the Judge will come.And for yourself, I know that death is waiting, and hovering and lingering at God's command. So then, in order to be prepared, watch your time, and be warned concerning eternity and death. A wrong step or a backsliding going out of this life is in a way like the sin against the Holy Spirit, and can never be forgiven, because you cannot come back again through the last flood to mourn for it.
   I know you have many accounts and it will take counting, arranging and reckoning between you and your Lord. Get your accounts ready and in order. Do not lose your last game, for in that game with death, the prize is your precious soul: for the Lord's sake do not ruin the game and do not lose such a treasure.You know that out of love that I had for your soul, and out of my desire to make an honest work of you, I witnesses to my unhappiness and dislike of your ways very often both in private and in public. I now do not see what you do, your Judge sees. I beg you by the mercies f God, by the salvation of your soul, by your comfort the your eyes will close, and the face go pale, and the soul will tremble to be out of the lodging of clay, and by your appearance before your awful judge, after you read this letter take a new path with your ways, and now at the end of your days, make sure of heaven. Examine yourself to see if you are truly in Christ; for some take part in the Holy Spirit, and taste the good word of God, and of the powers of the life to command yet have no part in Christ at all. Many think they believe, but never tremble: the devils have gone farther  than these  (Jas 2:19). Make yourself sure that you are above ordinary professors. The sixth part of your lifespan and of your bandwidth of days is barely before you. Be quick, quick for the tide will not wait. Set Christ to work on all your accounts and all your secrets. It is better that you give Him, from your own hand, your accounts in this life, than if he takes them from you after this life. Though I was preaching about sin to you, I never knew so well what it was as since I came to Aberdeen. To feel the smoke of hells's fire in the throat for half an hour; to stand beside a river of fire and sulphur wider than the earth; and to think about being bound hand and foot, and thrown alive into the middle of it, and to have God locking the prison door, for it never to be opened in all eternity! Oh how it will disturb a conscience that has any life in it! The fruit from my pain is to have Christ and that people who once fairly met, to now meet with my soul in sad hours. And I rejoice that I gave fair warning of all the corruptions now entering Christ's house; and how many a sweet, sweet, soft kiss, many perfumed, well smelled kisses, and hugs have I received from my royal Master. He and I have had a lot of love together. I have at present a sick, pining away life, with much pain and much love sickness for Christ. Oh, what would I give to have a bed made for my weary soul on His breast! I would postpone heaven for many years, to have my fill of Jesus in this life, and to have opportunity to offer Christ to my people, and to court many people for Christ.I cannot tell you what sweet pain and delightful torments are in Christ's love; I often question time that holds us apart.. I confess to you, I have no rest, I have no ease, while I am over head and ears in love's ocean. If Christ's love (that fountain of delight) was opened to me as I would wish, oh, how I would drink and drink plentifully! Oh, how drunk would this my soul be! I half call His absence cruel; and the mask and the veil on Christ's face a cruel covering, that hides such a fair, fair face from a suck soul. I dare not challenge Himself, but His absence is a mountain if iron on my heavy heart. Oh, when shall we meet? Oh, how long is it to the  dawning of the wedding day! O sweet Lord Jesus, take big steps! O my Lord, come over mountains with one stride! O my Beloved, be like a young deer on the mountains of Separation. (Son 2:17). Oh, if He would fold the heavens together like an old cloak, and shovel time and days out of the way, and quickly make the Lamb's wife ready for her Husband.! Since He looked at me, my heart is not my own; He has run away to heaven with it. I know that it was not for nothing that I spoke so much good about Christ to you in public. Oh, if the heaven and the heaven of heavens was paper, and the sea ink, and the many mountains pens of brass, and I able to write on that paper front and back, full of the praises of my fairest, my dearest, my loveliest, my sweetest, my matchless and my most unequalled and marvellous Well-beloved! Woe is me that I cannot set Him before men and angels! Oh, there are few tongues to sing love songs about His incomparable excellence.! What can I, poor prisoner do to exalt Him? Or what way can I go to extol my high and lovely Lord Jesus? I am at my wit's end to know how to get His name made great. They are blessed who would help me with this! How sweet is the back of Christ! Oh, what then is His face? Those who see His face, how can they get their eyes off Him again! Look up to Him and love Him. Oh love and live! It would be life to me if you would read this letter to those people, and if they profited by it. Oh, if I could cause them to die of love for Jesus! Charge them, by the salvation of their souls, to hang on Christ's neck, and take their fill of his love, and follow Hm as I taught them. Do not in any way leave Christ. Hold tight onto what you have received. Keep the truth once given. If you or those people leave it in the slightest respect, you break your conscience in two; and who then can mend it or tie it together.? My dearest in the Lord, stand fast in Christ; keep the faith; fight for Christ. Wrestle for Him, and take men's fight to be God's favour; there is no comparison between them. Oh that the Lord would fulfil my joy and keep the young bride that is at Anwoth with Christ!
   And now, whoever they are who have returned to the old vomit since I left, I tie on their back, in my Master's name and authority, the long lasting weighty vengeance and curse of God. In my Lord's name I give them a sentence of black, unmixed, pure wrath which my Master will confirm and make good, when we stand together before Him, unless they repent early and turn to the Lord. And I write this to you, poor mourning and broken hearted believer, be you who you will, concerning the free salvation, Christ's sweet ointment for your wounds, O poor humble believer! Christ's kisses for your watery cheeks! Christ's blood of atonement for your guilty soul! Christ's heaven for your poor soul, though once banished out of paradise! And before long my Master will make good my word. Oh that people were wise! Oh that people would search out Christ, and never rest until they find Him. Oh, how my soul will mourn in secret, if my nine years with painful head, and sore breast and painful back, and grieved heart, and private and public prayers,  will all be for nothing among the people! Did my Lord Jesus send me only to summon you before you Judge, and to leave your summons at your houses? Was I only sent as a witness to gather the charges against you? Oh, may God forbid! I did often tell you of a fan of God's wind to come because you were contemptuous of it. I told you often of wrath, wrath from the Lord, to come upon Scotland; and I yet stand by my Master's word. It is coming quickly! Desolation for Scotland because of a broken covenant!
   Now worthy Sir, now my dear people, my joy and my crown in the :old, let Him be your fear. Seek the Lord and His face: save your souls. Doves! Fly to Christ's windows. Pray for me and praise for me. The blessing of my God, the prayers and blessing of a poor prisoner, and your lawful pastor be upon you.
   Your lawful and loving pastor,  S.R.  

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