Saturday, July 13, 2019

Rutherford Revised (203)

203. To William Gordon at Kenmure       From Aberdeen 1637

(See letter 72)

Dear brother, - Grace , mercy and peace be to you. I have been a long time in answering your letter which came quickly to me. It is my aim and heart wish that my fire which has been lit by the Lord, may sparkle fire on those standing near, to warm their hearts with God's love. The very dust that falls from Christ's feet, His old ragged clothes, His knotted and black cross, are sweeter to me than kings' golden crowns, and their time worn pleasures. I would be a liar and a false witness if I did not give my Lord Jesus a fair testimonial with my whole soul. I know my word will not raise Him up; He does not need such props beneath His feet to raise His glory high. But oh that I could raise Him to the height of heaven, and the breadth and length of ten heavens, in the estimation of all His young lovers! For we have all shaped Christ too narrow and too short and an in our conceit, formed ideas of His love which are very unworthy of it. Oh that men were taken and captivated with His beauty and fairness! They would give up playing with idols in which there is not half room for the love of one soul to express itself. And man's love is only a hungry heart gnawing on bare bones and sucking at dry breasts. Their poverty is well deserved who will not come to Him who has a world of love and goodness and plenty for all. We try to thaw our frozen hearts at the cold smoke of the temporary creature, and our souls gain neither heat nor life nor light; for these cannot give to us that which they do not have in themselves. Oh that we could push in through these thorns and this crowd of bastard lovers and be ravished and sick with love for Christ! We would find in our Lord some footing and some room and sweet leisure for our tottering and silly souls. I wish it was in my power to cry down all love except the love of Christ, and to cry down all gods except Christ, all saviours except Christ, all well-beloveds except Christ, and all courtiers of the soul and beggars of love except Christ.
   You complain that you lack a mark of the sound work of grace and love in your soul. As an answer, for your satisfaction (until God sends more) 1 Joh 3:14. And as for your complaint of deadness and doubting, I hope that Christ will take your deadness and you together. They are bodies full of holes, running boils and broken bones which need mending, which Christ the Doctor takes up; whole containers are not suitable for the Mediator Chrsit's work. Tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes are suitable goods for Christ's market. The only thing that will bring sinners within reach of Christ's pulling arm is that of which you write; some feeling of death and sin. That brings out complaints; and therefore, more of a complaining feeling, and be more acquainted with all the cramps, pains and soul faintings that trouble you. The more pain and the more sleeplessness and the more fevers the better. A soul bleeding to death until Christ was sent for and called for quickly to come and stem the blood and close up the hole in the wound with his own hand and ointment, is a very good disease in a time when many are dying with a sound heart. We have all too little of hell pain and terror that way; may God send me such a hell as Christ has promised to make into a heaven. Alas, I have not come so far on the road as to say in sad seriousness, 'Lord Jesus, great and sovereign Doctor, here is a patient in pain for You.' But the thing we get wrong is the lack of victory. We think that is the sign of one who has no grace. No, I say the lack of fighting is the sign of no grace; but I will not say that the lack of victory is such a sign. If my fire and the devil's water make a crackling in the air like thunder, I am less afraid; for where there is fire, it is Christ's share which I put and tie on Him to keep the fire burning and to pray to the Father that my faith does not fail, if in the meantime I am wrestling and doing and fighting and mourning. For prayer does not put Paul's devil (the thorn in the flesh and the messenger of Satan)  out of the door at first, but the Lord will have them to try every one, and let Paul look after himself, by God's help, God keeping the stakes and controlling the game. You do well not to doubt if the foundation is sure except to test that it is so; for there is a great difference between doubting that we have grace and testing if we have grace. The former way can be sin but the latter is good. We are careless in testing our freehold in Christ, and making sure work of Christ. Holy fear is to search the camp, so there is no enemy within us to betray us, and seeing that everything is fastened and secure. For I see many ships looking good before the wind, and professors who trust in their conversion, and they go on in security, and do not see the bilge water until the storm sinks them. Everyone needs twice a day and more often to be examined and searched with candles.
   Pray for me that the Lord would again give me space to hold a candle to this dark world. Grace, grace be with you,
   Yours in his sweet Lord and master,  S.R.

No comments: