Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Rutherford Revised (199)

199. To To John Gordon of Cardoness, the Younger    From Aberdeen 1637

(See letter 123, 147)

Dearly beloved in our Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I am exceedingly longing to hear how your soul fares, which has a large share in both my prayers and careful thoughts. Sir, remember that a precious treasure and prize demands upon the short time you now have. The eternity of good or ill to your soul depends on your good or bad time left in your short and swift hourglass. Seek the Lord while he may be found: the Lord waits for you. Your soul is of great value. As much gold or silver that would cover over the highest heaven cannot buy it. To live like others, and to be free of open sins that the world calls shameful, will not bring you to heaven. All the civility and discretion that lies between you and heaven, will not lead you one foot or one inch beyond condemned nature. So make efforts in seeking salvation, and give your will, wit, humour, the green desires of youth's pleasures out of your hand to Christ. Until experience teaches you it is impossible for you to know how dangerous a time is youth. It dislike green and wet wood. When Christ puts fire on it, it does not light. Here there is need for more than ordinary effort, for corrupt nature has a good special friend in youth. And sinning against light will extinguish your candle, and deaden your conscience, and bring on it more coverings and skin, and less feeling and sense of guiltiness; and when that is finished, the devil, like a mad horse that had broken its bridle and runs away with is rider wherever it wants. Learn to know what the apostle knew, the deceitfulness of sin. Work to make prayer and reading and holy company and conversation your delight; and when delight enters, you will little by little smell the sweetness of Christ, until at the end your soul will be head over heels in Christ's sweetness. You will then be taken up to the top of the mountain with the Lord to know the ravishing of spiritual love, and the glory and excellency of a seen, revealed, felt and embraced Christ: and then you will not be able to tear yourself off from Christ and tie your soul to old lovers. Then, and not until then, will all the steps, moving, walking and wheels of your soul be tuned aright and in a spiritual frame.
   But if your delight is this world and its lusts, I do not know what Christ can make of you; you cannot be fit to be a container of glory and mercy. As the Lord lives, millions are led astray by false security, because God and wrath and judgement are not terrible to them. Stand in awe of God, and of the warnings of a conscience which checks and rebukes . Make others see Christ in you, moving, doing, speaking and thinking. If He is in you your actions will smell of Him. There is in the new born babies of Christ, an instinct like the naturally instinct which leads birds to build their nests and rear their young, and love such places as woods, forests and scrub better than other places. The natural instinct make a man love his mother country above all other countries; the instinct of a renewed nature and supernatural grace will lead you to such works as to love your country above, to long for your house not made with hands, and to call your borrowed prison here below a borrowed prison and to look to it as a servant and pilgrim. And the pilgrim's eye and look is a disdainful nd discontented one, his heart crying out after he looks, 'Fy, fy, this is not like my country.'
    I recommend you to every week mend a hole and reform a failing, one or the other; and remove a sin or a part of it, like anger, wrath, lust, intelmpernace every day that you may master the remnant of your corruption. God has given you a wife; love he nd let her breasts satisfy you; and for the Lord's sake, only drink water from your own cistern. Strange wells are poison. Make efforts to learn some new way against corruption from the man of Gd, Mr. William Dalgleish, or other servants of God. Do not sleep soundly until you can find yourself able to look death in the face and trust your soul for eternity. I am sure that many inches of the short thread of your life are gone since I saw you; and that thread has an end; and you are not able to make a knot to add one day or a fingers width to the end of it. When hearing and seeing and the outer walls of this clay house will fall down, and life will surrender the besieged castle of clay to death and judgement, and you find your time receded and run out, what thoughts will you then have of idol pleasures that possibly now are sweet? What gift or payment would you then give for the Lord's favour? And what a price would you then give for pardon? It is not wrong to think. 'What is I were to be condemned and to enter into a furnace of fire and brimstone? What if it come to this, that I have no inheritance but utter darkness? And what if I was brought to this, to be banished from the presence of God, and to be given to His officers, the devil and the power of the second death?' Suppose your soul was in such a situation, and consider what would take hold of you, and what would you then reckon of pleasing yourself in the way of sin?  Oh, dear Sir, for the Lord's sake wake up to live righteously, and love your poor soul! And after you have read this letter, say to yourself, "'The Lord will seek an account of this warning I have received.'
   Put Christ in your family. Do not receive hireling stranger as your pastor. I bless your children. grace be with you.
   Your lawful and loving pastor,  S.R.

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