Saturday, August 03, 2019

Rutherford Revised (225)

225. To his parishioners    From Aberdeen 13 July 1637

Dearly beloved and longed for in  the Lord, my crown and my joy in  the day of Christ,- Grace be  to you and peace from God our Father  and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
               I long exceedingly  to know if  the of spoken of match between you and Christ holds, and if you follow on  to know the Lord. My  thoughts, day and night, are of you: while you sleep I am afraid for your souls,  that they are off  the rock. Next to my Lord Jesus and his fallen church, you have the great share of my sadness, and also of my joy; you are the matter of  the  tears, care, fear and daily prayers of an oppressed prisoner of Christ. As I am imprisoned for my high and lofty one, my royal and princely Master, my Lord Jesus; so I am imprisoned for you. For had I slept in my warm nest  and kept  the fair world in my arms, and he ropes of my tent fastened more securely; I might have sung good news of leisure  to my soul and you for a  time, with my brothers, the sons of my mother, they were angry with  me, and have thrown me out of the vineyard; if I would have been broken and led  to soil you, the Lord's flock and to cause you  to eat pastures trodden by men's feet  t and  to drink foul and muddy waters. But truly  the Almighty was a terror to me, and His fear made me afraid. O my Lord, judge if my ministry is not dear  to me, but not so dear by far as Christ my Lord! God knows  the sad and heavy Sabbaths I have had  since I lay down a my Master's feet my two shepherds rods. I have often said, as it is written, 'I have been hunted like a bird by those who were my enemies without cause they flung me alive into the pit and cast stones on me' (Lam 3:52.53). For next  to Christ I had only one joy, the apple of the eye of my delights, to preach Christ my Lord; and they have violently taken that away from me. It was to me like the poor man's one eye; and they have puout that eye, and quenched my light in the inheritance of the Lord. But my eye is towards the Lord: I know the I will see the salvation of God, and that my hope will not always be forgotten. And my sorrow will lack nothing to complete it saying, 'Why should I live?' if you follow have voice of a stranger, of one who comes into  the sheepfold, not by Chris the door, but climbs up another way. If the man builds his hay and stubble on he golden foundation, Christ Jesus (already laid among you) , and you follow him, I assure you the man's work will burn and never endure God's fire: and you and he will both be in danger of everlasting burning unless you repent. Oh, if any pain, any sorrow, any loss that I can suffer for Christ and you, was laid in payment to buy Christ's love to you! And that I could lay my dearest joys next to Christ my Lord, in the gap between you and eternal destruction! O if I had paper as broad as heaven and earth, and ink as the sea and all the rivers and fountains of the earth, and was able to writthe love, the worth, the excellency, the sweetness and due praises of our dearest and fairest Well-beloved! And then if you could read and understand it! What more could I want if my ministry among you could make a marriage between the little bride in those places and the Bridegroom? Oh, how rich a prisoner would I be, if I could get from my Lord (before whom I stand for you) the salvation of you all! Oh what a prey would I have caught you in Christ's net! Oh then I had casoumy Lord's lines and His newith rich gain! Oh, then, well tired and pained breast, and sore back and twisted body, in speaking to you early and late! My witness is above; your heaven would be two heavens to me, and the salvation of you all as two salvations to me. I would agree to a suspension and a postponement of my heaven for many hundreds of years (according to God's good pleasure) , if you were sure of the upper room in my Father's house, before me. I take heaven and earth to witness against you, I take documents in the hands of the sun and daylight that saw us, and in the hands of the wood and walls of thachurch, if I did not draw up fair contract of marriage between you and Christ, if I did not go with offers between the Bridegroom and you, and your conscience did bear you witness, your mouths confessed, that there were many good meetings between Christ and you at communion feasts, and other times? There were bracelets, jewels, rings and love letters sent to you by the Bridegroom. You were told what a good dowry you would have, and what a house you and your Husband would live in, and what was the Bridegrooms excellency, sweetness, high power, the evening and glory of His kingdom, he exceeding deepness of His love, who sought His black wife through pain, fires, shame, death and the grave, and swam the salt sea for her, going under the curse of the law, and so was made a curse for you; and you then consented and said, 'Even so I take Him,' I advise you to beware of new and strange leaven of men's inventions, besides and against he word of God, contrary to he law of his church now coming among you. I instructed you about the superstition and idolatry of kneeling when receiving the Lord's Supper and of crossing in baptism, and of the observing of men's days, with no instruction from Christ, our perfect Lawgiver. Do not agree with the surplice, the clothes of he mass priest, he clothes of Baal's priests. The abominable bowing to altars of wood is coming on you. Hate and keep yourselves from idols. Refuse to hear he reading of the anonymous Service Book, full of gross heresies, popish and superstitious errors, without any command of Christ, which tends to overthrow preaching. You do not owe obedience tthe illegitimate rules, they are unlawful, blasphemies, and supersitions. All the ceremonies that lie in Antichrist's foul womb, thegoods of that great mother of fornications, the church of Rome, are to be refused. You see where they lead you. Keep to the doctrine you have received. From me you heard the whole counsel of Gd. Do not sew patches on Christ clothes. Take Christ in His rags and losses, and as persecuted by men, and be content to sigh and pant up the mountain, with Christ's cross on your back. Let me be called a false prophet (and your conscience denied this) if your Lord Jesus will not stand by you and keep you and keep your cause against your enemies.
               I have heard, and my soul is sad abuitthat since I left you, many of you have turned back from the good old way, to the dog's vomit again. Let me speak to these men. By God's special direction, the first sentence had I ever spoken o yours that, ' Jesus saidtFor judgement I came into this worldthat those who do not see may seeand those who see may become blind.”  (Joh 9:39). Is it possible that my first meeting and you may be when we will both stand before the dreadful judge of the world; and in the name and authority of the Son of Gd, my great King and Master, I write by these presents, summonses to those men. I arrest their souls and bodies for the day of our appearance. Their eternal damnaion is written and sealed in heaven, by the handwriting of he great judge of the living and the dead; and I am ready to stand up as a preaching witness ttheir face against such, on that day and to say, 'Amen' ttheir condemnation unless they repent. The vengeance of he Gospel is heavier than the vengeance of the Law; the Mediator's curse and vengeance is twice vengeance; and that vengeance is the proper share of such men. And here I leave them as slaves, yes, until they repent and amend.
               You were witnesses how the Lord's day was spent while I was among you. O sacrilegious robber of God's day, what will you answer the Almighty when he seeks so many Sabbaths back again from you? What will the curser, swearer and blasphemer do when his tongue will be roasted in that broad and burning lake of fire and brimstone? And what will the drunkard do, when tongue, lungs and liver, bones and all shall boil and will fry in a tortuing fire? Then he will be far from his barrels of strong drink ; and there is no a cold well of water for him hell. What will be he case of the wretch , he covetous man, the oppressor, the deceiver, the earth worm who can never gehis wombful of clay (Ps 17:4), when in the day of Christ, gold and silver must be burnt to ashes, and he must appear and answer his Judge, and leave his clayey and naughty heaven? Wo, wo for evermore tthe time turning aheiswho has one god and one religion for summered another god and another religion for winter and the day of winnowing when Christ winnows all that is on His barn floor: who has a view about every fair and market, and his soul runs on these oiled wheels , time, custom, the world and command of men. Oh, if the careless atheist and sleeping man, who scrapes by everything with, ' God forgive our pastors if they lead us wrongly, we must do as they command,' and lays down his head on time's chest and gives his conscience to a caretaker and so sleeps while the smoke of hell fire flies up in his throat, and makes him jump off his sorrowful bed.! Oh, if such a man would awake! Many woes are for the over decorated and gold plated hypocrite. A heaven doom is for the liar and white tongued flatterer; and the flying book of God's fearful vengeance went teeny yards long and ten yards broads gone out from the face of God. will eventinto the house and in on on he soul of him who seals and swears falsely by God's name (Zec 5:2,3). I pronounce eternal burning, hotter than Sodom's flames, upon the men that boil in filthy lusts of fornication, adultery, incest and similar wickedness. No room, no room, not a foobreadtfor such vile dogs within the New Jerusalem. Many of you put all of this off with, ' God forgive us, we know no better.' I renew my old answer, ' The judge is coming in flaming fire, with all His mighty angels for vengeance on all them that do no know God and do not believe (2 The 1:8). I have often told you that security will kill you. All men say thathey have faith, like many men and women now, like many saints in heaven. And all believe, you say; so that every foul dog is clean enough, and good enough, for the clean and new Jerusalem above. Every man has conversion and the new birth; bu it is notrue. They never had a sick night for sin; conversion came tthem in a dream anight. Hell will be empty, so to speak athe day of judgment, and heaven crammed full! Alas, it is neither usual nor easy to believe and be saved. In the end, many must stand at heaven's gates (Luk 13:25)When they go to take outheir faith, they take ounothing, or (as we used o say) a hoax. O sad disappointment! I beg you, I charge you in the name of Chrst, make sure work of Christ and salvation.
   I         I know there are some believers among you, and I write to you, poor, broken hearted believers: all the comforts of Christ in the Old and New Testaments are yours. Oh, what a Father and Husband you have! Oh, if I had pen and ink and the way to write of Him! Let heaven and earth be putogether in a mass of pure gold, it will not weigh the thousandth part of Christ's love to a soul, even to me a poor prisoner. Oh, that is a large and marvellous love! Men and angels join your force and strength in one, you will no lift it or move it off the ground. ten thousand worlds, as many worlds as angels can number, and then as a new world of angels can multipy, would not be the beam of a balance to weigh Christ's excellency, sweetness and love. Put ten earths into one, and let a rose grow greater than ten whole earths, or whole worlds, oh what beauty would be in it, and whaa smell would it give! But a blast from the breath of that fairest Rose, in all God's paradise, even of Christ Jesus our Lord, one look of thafairest face, would be infinitely in smell and beauty above all imaginable and created glory. I am amazed that men are able to keep off Christ. I would consider myself blessed, if I could make an open proclamation, and gather all world, that are living on the earth, Jew and Gentile, ana all that will be born until the last trumpet blows, to flock around Christ and to stand looking, wondering, admiring and adoring His beauty and sweetness. For His fire is hotter than  any other fire, His love sweeter than ordinary love His beauty surpasses all other beauty. When I am heavy and sad, one of His love looks would do me as much good as having all the world's things. Oh, if you would fall in love with Him, how blessed would I be! How glad would my soul be to help you to love Him! But among us all we could not love Him enough. He is the Son of he Faher's love, and God's delight; the Father's love lies all on Him. Oh, if all mankind, would fetch all their love, and lay it on Him! Invite Him and take Him home to your house, praying morning and evening, as I often waned you to; especially now, do not let Him lack a home in your houses, nor lie in he fields when he is shut out of pulpits and churches. If you will be content to take heaven by violence, and the wind on your face for Christ,  and His cross, I am here as one who has some experience of Christ's cross, and I can say that Christ was always kind to me, but He overcomes Himself (if I may say so) in kindness while I suffer for Him. I gve you my word for it, Christ's cross is not so evil as they say it is; it is sweeter light and comfortable. I would not lack the vistis of love, and the very breath of Christ's mouth, when He kisses, and my Lord's delightful smiles and love hugs in my sufferings for Him, for a mountain of gold, or for all the honours, rank, grandeur of High Churchmen. Christ has the centre and heart of my love, , 'I am my Beloved's and my Well-beloved is mine.'
   O t      O that you were all engaged to Christ! O my dearly beloved in the Lord, I wish I could change my voice, and had a tongue tuned by the hands of my Lord, and had the way of speaking of Christ, the I might point out to you tht worth and highness and greatness and excellency of that fairest and renowned Bridegroom! I beg you by the mercies of the Lord, by the sighs, tears and heart's blood of our Lord Jesus, by the salvation of your poor and precious souls, start up the mountain, that you and I may meet before the Lanb's throne among the congregation of the firstborn. Lord grant that that may be he meeting place! That you and I may put ou hands ttogether, and pluck and eat the apples from the tree of life and that we may feast together drink together from that pure river of the water of life that comes out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Oh, how little is your hand breadth or lifespan of days here! Your inch of time is less than when you and I parted. Eternity, eternity is coming travelling with wings; then will every man's blacks and whites be brought to light. Of, how low will your thoughts be about this fair skinned but heart rotten apple, the vain, vain, careless world, when worms will make their houses in your eye sockets, and will eat the flesh from the balls of your cheeks and will make that body a number of dried bones.! Do not think that the usual way of serving God, as neighbours and others do, will bring you to heaven. Few, few are saved. The devil's court is crowded with many people; he has most of mankind for his servants. I know this world is a forest of thorns on your way to heaven; but you must go through it. Get to know the Lord: hold Christ fast; hear His voice only. Bless His name; sanctify and keep holy His day; keep the new commandment, 'Love one another;' let the Holy Spirit live in your bodies; and be clean and holy. Do no love the world: do not lie, love and follow truth: learn to know God. Keep in mind what I taught you; for God will seek an account of it when I am far from you. Keep from all evil and the appearance of evil,: follow good carefully, and seek peace and follow after it: honour your king and pray for him. Remember me to your God in your prayers; I cannot forget you. and now I write it again, heavy, sad and sore if that hit of the Lord's wrath that is coming o Scotland. Wo,wo to this prostitute land! For they will take the cup God's wrath from His hands and drink and vomit and fall and not rise again. In, in ,in with speed to your stronghold you prisoners of hope, and hide yourselves there until the anger of the Lord passe! Do not follow the pastors of this land, for he sun has set on them.As the Lord lives, they lead you from Christ, and from the good old way. Yet the Lord will keep the holy city, and make his withered church to bud again like a rose, and a field blessed by the Lord. 
             The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. The prayers and blessings of a prisoner of Christ imprisoned for Him, and for you be with you all. Amen. 
              Your lawful and loving pastor,   S.R.



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