Monday, July 08, 2019

Rutherford Revised (196)

196. To Earlston, the Younger   From Aberdeen  1637

(See letters 99 and 181)

Worthy and dearly beloved our Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I long to hear from you. I still remain a prisoner of hope, and think it a service to the Lord to keep on waiting with submission, until the Lord's morning sky breaks, and His summer day dawns. For I am persuaded it is a piece of the chief work of out life (on which God sent us for some years, down to this earth among devils and men, the firebrands of the devil, and temptations), that we might for a time suffer here among our enemies; otherwise He might have made heaven to wait for when we  came out of the womb, and to have carried us home to our country, without letting us set down our feet in this knotted and thorny life. But seeing that a piece of suffering is carved for everyone of us, less or more, as infinite Wisdom has thought it good, our part is to harden and habituate our soft and thin skinned nature to endure fire and water, devils, lions, men, losses, sorrowful hearts, as those looked upon by God, angels, men and devils. Oh what foolishness it is to sit down and weep about a decree of God, which is both deaf and dumb to our tears, and must stand as still and immovable as God who made it! For who can come after our Lord to alter or better what He has purposed and done? It would be better to make windows in our prison, and to look out to God and our country, heaven, and to shout like chained men who long for the King's free air, "Lord let your kingdom come! Oh, let the bridegroom come! And O day, O fair day, O everlasting summer day, dawn and shine out, break out from under the black night sky, and shine!' I am persuaded that if every day a little stone in the prison walls was broken, and by that assurance given to the chained prisoner. lying under twenty stones of irons on his arms and legs, that at last his chain would wear in to two pieces, and eventually a hole be made as wide as for him to come safely over to his long wished for freedom, he would patiently wait until time penetrates the prison wall and break his chains. This is the way of the Lord's hopeful prisoners in their trials. Years and months will now take  one little stone then another from this house of clay,; and eventually time will win out the width of a good door and send out the imprisoned soul to the free air in heaven. And time will, little by little, file off out iron chains now on legs and arms, and outdate and wear our troubles threadbare and full of holes, and than wear them down to nothing; for I know that what I suffered yesterday will never again come to trouble me.

   Oh that we could breathe out new hope, and new submission every day into Christ's lap! For, certainly a weight of glory well weighed, yes, increasing to a far more exceeding and eternal weight, will repay both weight and length and light and clipped, short dated crosses. Our waters are only shallow and do not come either to our chin or to stopping us breathing. I can see (if I could borrow eyes from Christ) dry land nearby. Then why should we not laugh at troubles, and scorn our infant and soon dying temptations. I rejoice in the hope of that glory to be revealed, for we look for no uncertain glory. Our hope does not hang on such a thread as, 'I imagine so,' or, 'It is likely;' but the cable, the strong rope of our fastened anchor, is the oath and promise of Him who is eternally truthful. Our salvation is fastened by God's own hand, and with Christ's own strength, to the strong prop of God's unchangeable nature, 'For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed' (Mal 3:6). We may play, and dance, and jump on our immovable Rock. The ground is sure and good and will withstand hell's shaking, and devils' shaking, and the world's assaults.
   Oh, if our faith could ride it out against the high and proud waves and winds, when our sea seems to be all on fire! Oh, how often do I let my grip slip! I am left swimming and half sinking. I find the devil has the advantage of the high ground in this battle; for he fights on familiar ground, on our corrupt nature. Alas, that is a friend who is close family and blood to himself and will not fail to fight against us. And so it is that He who saves to the uttermost and leads many sons to glories still putting right my salvation; and twenty times a day I twist my heaven and then I must come to Christ with my twisted work to trouble Him  (as it were) to right it and again look for the ends of the thread and to fold up my eternal glory with His own hand and to give a right fastening with His holy and gracious hand for my marred and spoiled salvation. Certainly it is a troublesome thing to keep a child from falling, and injuries, and crying over this and that toy, and foolish running, and sickness and children's diseases; before he comes through them all, and yes out of the swamps and costs much black trouble to his guardians. And so a believer is a troublesome piece of work and a badly twisted yarn to Christ. But God be thanked for many spoiled salvations which Christ has mended since he first became teacher to lost mankind. Oh, what could we children do without Him? How soon we would spoil everything! But the less of our weight that is put on our own feeble legs, and the more that is on Christ the strong Rock, the better it is for us. It is good that Christ ever took the trouble that we are; it is our heaven to put many weights and loads on Christ, and to make Him all we have, top and bottom, beginning and ending of our salvation. Lord, hold us here.
   Now to this Teacher and rich Lord, I recommend you. Hold tight until he comes; and remember His prisoner. 
   Grace, grace be with you.
      Your, in his and your Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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