Thursday, July 04, 2019

Rutherford Revised (190)

190. To Carsluth (Kirkmabreck)   From Aberdeen 1637

(This is Robert Brown of Carsluth, a man of property near Anwoth who died in 1658)

Much honoured sir, - I long to hear how your soul prospers. I sincerely want you to test how things are between your soul and the Lord. Do not think it is easy to take heaven by violence. Salvation now comes to most men in a dream at night. Faith, such as it is, is not scarce; for you will not now find a man who does not say he has faith in Christ. But alas! Dreams make no-one right.
   Worthy sir, I beg you in the Lord to give your soul no rest until you have real assurance and Christ's rights confirmed and guaranteed to your soul. The common faith and country holiness and week day zeal that is among people will never bring men to heaven. Make efforts for your salvation; for in that day when you will see many men's works and conquests and idol riches lying in ashes, when the earth and all its works will be burned with fire, oh how much would your soul give for God's favour in Christ! It is a blessed thing to see Christ when the sun is up, and to read your papers and soul accounts in a fair daylight. It will not be the time to call for a light when the Bridegroom is entering His room, and the door is shut. Fie, fie on blinded and impure souls who are prostituted with this idol clay, and hunt a poor, wretched hungry heaven, a hungry breakfast, a day's food, from this hungry world, and the loss of God's favour, and the rejection of their heaven (giving up as men used to say), for the laughter and games of their short morning! All that is under the sky, and between us and death, and on this side of the sun and moon, are, at their best, only toys, night dreams, fantasies, poor shadows, frothy water, godless vanities, and black hearts and salty and sour miseries, sugared over and sweetened with an hour or two's laughter, and the conceit of riches, honour, vain, vain favour seeking and lawless pleasures. Sir, if you look at both the laughing side and the weeping side of this world, and if you do not only look on the skin and colour of things but look inside and to the heart of their worth, you will see that one look from Christ's sweet and lovely face, one kiss from His fairest face, is worth ten thousand worlds of such rotten stuff as the foolish sons of men set their hearts upon. Oh sir, turn, turn your heart to the other side of things, and get it completely free from their entanglements, considering eternity, death, the clay bed the grave, awesome judgement, everlasting burning alive in hell, where death would give as great a price (if there was a market where death could be bought and sold) as all the world. Consider heaven and glory. But alas! Why do I speak of those things which it has mot entered into the heart man to consider? Look into those bottomless depths of loveliness, sweetness, beauty, excellency, glory, goodness, grace and mercy, that are in Christ; and you will then deprecate the whole world, and all the glory of it, even when it has come into summer bloom; and you will cry, 'Up with Christ, up with Christ's Father, up with eternity of glory!' Sir, there is a great deal less sand in your glass than when I saw you, and your afternoon is nearer evening than it was,. As a flood ebbs back to the sea, so does the Lords swift messenger, Time, carry you and your life with wings to the grave. You eat and drink but time does not stand still; you laugh but your day flies away; you sleep but your hours are numbered and put aside. Oh, how soon will time shut you out of the poor and cold and hungry inn go this life! An then what will yesterday's brief pleasures do for you, except be like a snowball melted away many years ago? Or worse! For the memory of these pleasures will fill the soul with bitterness. Time and experience will prove this to be true; and dying men if they could speak, would confirm this. Do not burden creaturss with more than they can carry. Put you soul and weights on God. Make Him your only Best-beloved. Your task in this life is to make sure of an eternity go glory for your soul, and to join your soul with Christ. Your love, if it was more than the love of all the angels together, is due to Christ: other things, worthy in themselves with regard to Christ, are not worth a stalk of grass or a drink of cold water. I do not doubt that at death you will see things more clearly, and then the world will carry no more weight than it is worth, and then if will bow down and be contracted into nothing; and you will see Christ longer, higher, broader, and deeper than ever he was. O blessed conquest, to lose all things and gain Christ! I do not know what you have if you lack Christ! Alas, how poor is your gain, if the earth was all yours by free inheritance, it not being held by any man of clay, if Christ is not yours! Oh, seek all means, put all oars in the water, put out all your power, bend all your efforts, to put away and part with all things that you may gain and enjoy Crist. Try and search His word, and try to go a step above and beyond ordinary professors; and resolve to sweat more and run faster than they do for salvation. Men's middling, cold and wise ways in godliness, and their pace like others, cold and wise to heaven, will cause many a man to lack his lodging at night and to lie in the fields. I recommend you seek Christ and His love; and recommend you to the tender mercy and rich grace of our Lord.
   Remember my love in Christ to your wife. I want her to learn to make her soul's anchor fast on Christ Himself. Few are saved. Let her consider what joy the smiles of God in Christ will be, and what love love kisses of sweet, sweet Jesus, and a welcome home to the Now Jerusalem from Christ's ow mouth will be to her soul when Christ will fold up the clay tent of her body, and for a time put it aside until the fair morning of the general resurrection. I affirm before God, man and angel, that I have not seen nor can imagine a lover comparable to lovely Jesus. I would not exchange or barter Him for ten heavens. If heaven could be without Him, what could we do there? Grace, grace be with you.
   Your soul's eternal well wisher,  S.R.

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