Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Rutherford Revised (188)

188. To Mr. John Fergushill of Ochiltree  From Aberdeen 1637

(See letter 112)

Reverend and dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. My longing and desires to see the newly built tabernacle of Christ again in Scotland, that tabernacle which came down from heaven, has now taken some life again, when I see Christ planning to sow vengeance among His enemies. I do not care if this land is ready for such a great, wonderful mercy; but I know He must do it, whenever it is done. I find the grief of my silence, and my fear to be held at the door of Christ's house, swelling in me; and the truth is, if it was not that I am spoiled now and then with pieces of Christ's sweet love and comforts, I fear I would have made a bad affair of this honourable cross, of which such a soft and silly minded body as I am is not worthy. For I have little in me except softness and great and excessive fears and sadness and sorrow; and God's terrors often surround me, because Christ does not look as favourably on me as a poor witness would have Him. And I wonder how I have gone past a year and a quarter's imprisonment without shaming my sweet Lord, to whom I want to be faith full; and I think I will die only attempting and aiming to serve and honour my Lord Jesus. Few know how empty I am at home; but it is a part of married love and husband love, that my Lord Jesus does not go publicly speaking against me. I only find stolen and concealed anger, and His frowns on me are kept secret for He will not have my enemies hear what is between me and Him. And believe me , I say the truth in Christ, that the only gall and wormwood in my cup, and that which has filled me with fear, has been in case my sins, which sun and moon and the Lord's children never witnessed, should have moved my Lord to hit me with dumb Sabbaths. Lord, pardon my soft and weak jealousies if I an mistaken here.
   My very dear brother, I would have expected longer and more detailed letters form you for my comfort in this; for your words have strengthened me. I ask you to remedy this; and be thankful and diligent while you have a corner of the Lord's vineyard to tend.  I wish to God that I had opportunity to follow you and break up the ground! But I wish I could tell my soul to be quiet, and to wait for the Lord. I am sure that while Christ lives I am well enough befriended. I hope he will extend His kindness and power for me; but God be thanked it is no worse for me than a cross for Christ and his truth. I know he might have taken many more choice and worthy witnesses, if He wished; but I seek no more (be what character I will, suppose I was made of a piece of hell) that my Lord in His infinite still, made glory to His name and enlargement to Christ's kingdom, out of me. Oh that I could reach to this, to desire that my part of Christ might be given in promise for the lifting of Christ's throne in Britain! Let my Lord fulfil the promise; or if he wishes, let it sink and drown unfulfilled.But what can I add to Him? Or what way can a smothered and pressed down prisoner set out Christ in open market to many souls as a lovely and desirable Lord? I know He sees to His own glory better than my low thoughts can dream of; and that the wheels and steps of this poor, disordered church are in His hands; and that things will roll according to Christ's will:- only Lord, settle the matter so that Christ may again own the house and be lord again in Scotland, and tearful face because of His leaving, will be dried at His sweet and much desired welcome home! I see that in all our trials our Lord will not mix our goods with His grace,; but he will have each man to know his own so the like of me may say in my sufferings, 'This is Christ's grace and this is only my coarse stuff: This is free grace, and this is only nature and reason.' I know that our legs would play up if they were to carry us through all our waters. And the least thing our Lord can have from us is to know we are grace's debtors and that nature is from a low family and blood, and grace is better born, and of family and blood with Christ, and from a better family. Of, that I was free from that idol which they call myself, and myself is a rejected symbol, and a denied and redundant thing! But that proud thing, myself, will not play unless it rides up side by side with Christ, or rather get in front of Him. O myself (another devil, as evil as the prince of devils!), if you could give way to Christ, and take your own place which is to sit down as low as nothing and corruption! Oh, but we need to be ransomed and redeemed by Christ from that master tyrant, that cruel and lawless lord, ourself. No, when I am seeking Christ, and am out of myself, I have the third part of a squint eye on that vain, vain thing, myself, myself, and something of my own. But I must stop here.
   I  want you to give your help to see if I can be restored to my wasted and lost flock. I do not see how it can be done, unless the lords would get me a freedom to preach; and they have reason too. 1. Because my opponents and enemies have practised their new regulations on me, of which one is that no deprived minister can preach without penalty of excommunication. 2. Because my opposing these regulations was a special thing that incensed Sysderff against me. 3. Because I was judicially accused for my book against the Arminians, and commanded by the Chancellor to admit I was at fault in writing against Dr Jackson, a wicked Arminian. Pray for a room in the house for me.
   Grace, grace be (as it is) your part.
      Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.r. 

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