Thursday, July 18, 2019

Rutherford Revised (214)

214. To Mr. James Hamilton    From Aberdeen 7 July 1637

Reverend and dearly beloved in our Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. We do not know one anther personally nor in correspondence; but we are sons of the same Father and sufferers for the same truth. 
   Let no man doubt that the question we face in that we are now forced to endure by suffering exile and imprisonment, is, whether Jesus should reign over His church of not. Oh, if my sinful arm could hold the crown on His head, though it might be cut off at the shoulder! Concerning your forthcoming and feared trial, my very dearest in our Lord Jesus, alas, who am I to speak comfort to a soldier of Christ, who has done a hundred times more for that honourable cause than I can do? I know that those of whom the world was not worthy wandered up and down in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth; and while there is one member of the mystical body of Christ out of heaven, that member has to suffer blows until our Lord Jesus pulls that member within the gates of the New Jerusalem, which He will not fail at last to do; for there is not one toe or finger that will not be taken into the city. What can be out part in this pitched battle between the Lamb and the Dragon except to in patience suffer the arrows that rebound off our sweet Master onto us, or rather, hit Him first and then rebound off Him onto his servants.? I think it is a sweet north wind that first blows on the fair face of the Chief among ten thousand and then comes on our sinful and black faces. When the wind once blows off Him onto me I think it has a sweet smell of Christ; and so be more than a single cross. I know you have a guard on you, and your attendants and train for your safety is beyond the force of mischief of your pursuers. It is good in conflict to be near our guardhouse and stronghold. We can do little to resist those who persecute us and oppose Him except to  keep our injuries and wound until the next day in court when our complaints will be heard. If today is not Christ's, I am sure tomorrow will be.
   As for anything I do in my imprisonment, when now and then I can say something, it is very little. I am very sad that anyone would think there is anything in such a broken and empty plant. Let no-one say of me that the free and unsought wind (for I gave nothing for it) blows on an empty plant. I am his overwhelmed debtor. I cry, 'Down with me, down, down with all the excellency of the world,; and up, up with Christ!' Long, long may that fair One, that holy One, be on high! My curse be on those who do not love Him. Oh, how glad would I be if His glory would grow out and spring up out of my imprisonment and sufferings! Certainly, since I became His prisoner, He has won the centre and heart of my soul. Christ has even become a new Christ to me and I long for Christ more than before. And now I make no more effort with Him: His love will carry it away. I surrender myself to His love. I want to sing and cry and to say I am even underwater eternally indebted to His kindness. I will not offer to be out of His debt for that will not happen. All, all for evermore to be Christ's! I do not know what further tests are ahead of me, bu I know Christ will save my soul over on the other side of the water. on the far side of crosses and beyond men's wrongs.
   I had only one eye and they have put it out. My one joy, next to the best of my joys, Christ, was preach my sweetest, sweetest Master, and the glory of His kingdom; and they thought it not cruelty to put out the poor man's one eye. And now I am looking around to see if suffering will speak my fair One's praises, and I an trying to hear if a dumb man's tongue can raise one note or one of Zion's springs, to advance my Well-beloved's glory Himself out of a dumb prisoner! Oh, if He would make some glory for I am pregnant with His word and cannot be delivered. No-one here will have my Master: alas, what is the matter with them about Him?
   I bless you for your prayers. Add to them praises: as I am able I repay you. I commend you for studying Christ's Testament; I wish I could set out the dead man's good will to His friends in His sweet Testament. Tell Christ a prisoner's heart commendations. Do not fear for your ten days will pass (Rev 2:10). Those gathered against Mount Zion, their eyes will melt away in their sockets, and their tongues rot in their mouths, and Christ's withered garden will grow green, again in Scotland. My Lord Jesus has not yet brought out the word hidden in heaven for Scotland.
   Grace be with you.
      Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,   S.R.

No comments: