Thursday, August 01, 2019

Rutherford Revised (223)

223.  To Alexander Gordon of Knockgray   From Aberdeen 1637

(See 102, 154,and 182)

Dear brother, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. There is no question that our mother church has a father, and she will not die without an heir: her enemies will not make Mount Zion their inheritance. We see that wherever Zion's enemies go, suppose they dig many miles underground, yet our Lord finds them out: and he has vengeance laid up in store for them, and the poor and needy will not always be forgotten. Our hope was drooping and withering and man was saying, 'What can God make out of the old dry bones of this buried church?' The bishops and their followers were a grave above us. It is as if our Lord were to open our graves, ad make His two killed witnesses rise on the third day. Oh, how long do I wait to hear our weeping Lord Jesus sing again, and triumph and rejoice and divide the spoil?
   I find it hard work to believe when the course of providence goes across our faith and when unclear souls in a dark night cannot know east from west, and our compass seems to fail us. In daylight everyman is a believer: a fair day seems to be made all of faith and hope. What a trial of gold it is to smoke it a little above the fire! But to keep gold perfectly yellow coloured in the flames, and to be poured from container to container, and then yet to make our fire sound and speak, and shout the praises of the Lord is another matter. I know my Lord did not make me for fire, though He has in some way suited me for the fire.I bless His high name that I do not grow paler, nor have I lost the colour of gold; and that His fire has made me rather thin, and that my Lord may pour me into any container He pleases. For a small bet I might justly leave my share of this world's laughter, and give up on time, and throw out the pleasures of this world.
   I know a man who is amazed to see anyone in this life laugh or play. Surely our Lord seeks this from us as to any rejoicing in present perishing things. I see above all things, that we may sit down, and fold legs and arms, and stretch ourselves on Christ, and laugh at the feathers that children are chasing here. For I think the men of this world are like little children in a dangerous storm at sea, that play and make sport with the white foam of the waves which are coming in to sink and drown them; so are men making fool's sports with the white pleasures of a stormy world that will sink them. But, alas, what have we to do with the games they make? If Solomon said laughter was madness, what may we say of this world's laughing and playing with gold and silver and honours and rank and broad large conquests, except that they are poor souls, in the height and rage of a fever gone mad? Then a straw, a fig for all created games and rejoicing out of Christ! No I think that this world at its prime and perfection, when it has come to the summit of its excellency, and to the flower, might be bought with a halfpenny; and that it would barely weigh the worth of a drink f water.T here is nothing better than to consider it our crucified idol (that is dead and killed) as Paul did (Gal 6:14). Then let pleasures be crucified and riches be crucified, and rank and honour be crucified. And since the apostle says the world is crucified to him, we may put this world to the hanged man's sentence and to the gallows: and who will give much for a hanged man? As little as we should give for a hanged and crucified world. Yet what a sweet smell this dead corpse has to many fools in the world! And how many lovers and suitors find this hanged corpse! Fools are pulling it off the gallows and fighting over it. Oh, when will we learn to be deadened men, and to have our fill to these things that only have their short summer quarter this life! If we saw our Father's house and that great and fair city, the New Jerusalem, witch is up above sun and moon, we would cry to be over the water, and to be carried in Christ's arms out of this borrowed prison.
   Grace, grace, be with you.
      Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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