Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Rutherford Revised (233)

233. To Fulk Ellis    From Aberdeen Sept 7 1637

(From Carickfergus in Ireland. A Covenanter army captain fought with the Scots against Charles I in 1640.Died in battle in Ireland, 1643. )

Worthy and much honoured in our Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you.
   1. I am glad of more than our friendship on paper. Seeing we have one Father, it matters less, though we never see one another's face. I profess myself most unworthy to follow the camp of such a worthy and renowned Captain as Christ. O, alas, I have reason to be sad that men expect anything of such a man as I am. I am amazed if Christ can make anything of my naughty, short, and narrow love to Him; surely it is not worth taking up.
   2. As for our lovely and beloved church in Ireland, my heart bleeds for her desolation; but I believe our Lord is only pruning the vines, not intending to cut them down or wipe them out. It is true (seeing we are heart atheists by nature and cannot rightly understand providence, because we limp and twist ever since we fell), we dream of a limping providence; as if God's yardstick by which He measures joy and sorrow to the sons of men, was crooked and unjust, because servants ride on horseback, and princes go on foot. But our Lord distributes good and evil, and some one potion or another to both, by ounce weights and measures them in just and even scales. Bu it is foolishness to measure the Gospel by summer or winter weather: the summer sun of the saints does not shine on them in this life.How we would have complained if the Lord had turned he same providence that we grumble at, upside down, and had ordered matters this way, that first the saints should have enjoyed heaven, glory, and leisure and then Methuselah's days of sad and daily miseries? We would think a short heaven, no heaven. Certainly His ways are past finding out.
  3. You complain of the evils of heart atheism; but it is to be a greater atheist than any man can be, that you write of that. Our light does not find that reverence and fear which a plant of God's setting should find in the soul! How do we, by nature as others, detain and hold captive the truth of God in unrighteousness, and so make God's truth a bound prisoner? And even when the prisoner breaks out of the jail, and comes out believing in a Godhead, and in some practice of holy obedience, how often do we again lay hands on the prisoner and again put our light in chains.? Certainly there comes grey mist and clouds from the lower part of our souls, our earthly emotions, to the higher part, which is our conscience, either natural or renewed: as smoke in a lower house breaks up, and poles the house above. If we had more practice in obedience, we would have more sound light.Laying aside all other guitiness, I think that this one, the violence done to God's candle in our soul, was a sufficient charge against us. There is no help for this except to stand in awe of Gd's light. Left alone light tells tales on us we little want to hear; but since it is not without God that light sits next to will (a lawless lord) it is no surprise that such a neighbour should leaven our judgment, and darken our light. I see that we need to protest against the works of the Old Man, and raise up a party againstour worst half, to accuse, condemn, sentence, and wixt spew regret the dominion of sin's kingdom.; and they make law in the New Covenant agains our guiltinesss. For Christ once condemned sin in the flesh, and we are to condemn it again.And if there had not been such thing as the grace of Jesus, I should have long since given up on heaven, and with the expectation of seeing God. But grace, grace, free grace, the merits Christ for nothing, white and fair, and large Saviour mercy (which is another sort of thing from creature mercy or Law mercy, yes a thousand degrees above angel mercy), has been, and must be the rock that we drowned souls must swim to. New washing, renewed application of purchased redemption, by that sacred blood that seals the free Covenant, is a thing of daily and hourly us to a poor sinner. Until we are in heaven, our issue of blood will not fully dry up; and therefore we must apply peace to our souls, from the new and living way; and Jesus who cleanses and cures the leprous soul, lovely Jesus, must be our song on this side of heaven's gates. And even when we had conquered the castle, then we must eternally sing, 'Worthy, worthy is the Lamb, who has saved us, and washed us in His own blood.
   I would advise all the ransomed ones to learn this song, and to drink and be drunk with the love of Jesus. O fairest, O highest, O loveliest One, open the well! Oh, water the burnt and withered travellers with your love! I think it is possible on earth to build a young New Jerusalem, a little new heaven, of this surpassing love. God, either send me more of this love, or take me quickly over the water, where I may be filled with His love. My softness cannot take want. I profess I do not kindly bear hunger for Christ's love. I do not know if I play foul with Chris, but I would have a link in that chain of His providence mended, in pining and delaying the hungry waiters. For myself I could wish that Christ would let out more of that love on me. Yet I dare not say Christ is stingy to me; and if I say I have an abundance of His love, I would lie. I am tempted to complain and cry, "Lord Jesus, hold your hand no longer.'
   Worthy Sir, let me have your prayers in my imprisonment. Grace be wih you.
   Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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