Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Rutherford Revised (269)

269. To his Parishioners at Anwoth    From Aberdeen Sep 23 1637

(See letter 225)

Dearly beloved in our Lord, - Grace, mercy and peace from Gos our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be multiplied on you. 
   I long exceedingly to hear of your going an and advancement in your journey to the kingdom of God. My only joy out of heaven, is to hear that the seed of God sown among you is growing and coming to a harvest. I did not cease while I was among you, in season and out of season (according to the measure of grace given to me), to warn and stir up your minds: and I am free from  the blood of all men, for I have communicated to you the whole counsel of God. And I now again charge and warn you, in the great and dreadful name, and in the sovereign authority of the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and I beg you also by he mercies of God, and by he mercies of Chris, by your appearance before Christ Jesus our Lord, by all the plagues the are written in God's book, by your part in the holy city, the New Jerusalem, that you keep the truth of God, as I delivered it to you, before many witnesses, in the sight of God and His holy angels. For now the last days have come and are coming when many forsake Christ Jesus; and He says to you, will you also leave me?
   Remember I forewarned you not to dishonour the Lord's blessed name, in swearing, blaspheming, cursing, and the profaning of the Lord's Sabbath; willing you to give that day, from morning to night, to praying, praising, hearing of the word, conferring and speaking not your own words, but Gd's words, thinking and meditating on God's mature, word and work; and that every day, at morning and at night (at least), you should sanctify the Lord by praying in your houses, publicly in the hearing of all. That you should refuse the receiving of the Lord's supper, except after he form that I delivered it to you, according to the example of Chris our Lord, that is, that you should sit as banquets at one table with our King, and eat and drink and divide the elements one to another.  (The timber and stones of he church wall will bear witness, that my soul was refreshed by coforts of God in that supper!) And that crossing in baptism was unlawful, and against Christ's ordinance. And that no day besides the Sabbath (which is of His own appointment) should be kept holy, and sanctified with preaching and he public worship of God, for the memory of Christ's birth, death , resurrection and ascension; seeing such days so observed are unlawful, will word and not warranted in Christ's word. And that everything in God's worship, not warranted by Christ's Testament and word was unlawful. Also that Idolatry, worshipping God before hallowed creatures, and adoring of Christ by kneeling before bread and wine, was unlawful. And that you should be humble, sober, modest, forbearing pride, envy, malice, wrath, hatred, conteation, debate, lying , slandering, seeking and defrauding your neighbours in grass corn or cattle, buying or selling, borrowing or lending, taking of giving, bargains of covenants; that you should work with your own hands, and be content with what God has given you. That you should study to know God and His will, and keep in mind the doctrine of the Catechism, which I taught you carefully, and speak of it in your houses and in the fields, when you lie down at night and when you rise in the morning, and the you should believe in he Son of God, and obey His commandments, and learn to make your accounts in time with your Judge, because death and judgement are before you. 
   And if you nw have poverty and what of that word, which I delivered to you in abundance (yes, o God's honour I speak it, without taking anything o myself, who am but a poor empty man, you had as much of the word in nine years, while i was among you, as some others have had in many), mourn for your loss of time and repent. My soul plies you, that you should suck dry breasts, and be put to draw from dry wells. Oh that you would highly value the Lam f God, your well-beloved Christ Jesus, whose virtues and praise I preached o you with joy., and which He did approve and accompany with some power; and that you would call to mind the many fair days, and glorious feasts in our Lord's hose of wine, that you and I have had with Christ Jesus!
   But if there are any among you who take freedom to sin because I am removed from among you, and forget that word of truth which you heard, and turn the grace of God into wantonness, I here , under my hand, in the name of Christ my Lord, write to such persons all the plagues of God, and the entire curses the I ever preached in he pulpit of Anwoth, against the children of disobedience! And as the Lord lives, the Lord Jesus will make good what I write to you. Therefore, dearly beloved, complete my joy. Fear the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Seek God with me. Scotland's judgement does not sleep: awake and repent. The sword of the Lord will go from the north to the south, from the west to the west, and through all the corners of the land, and the sword will be drunk with your blood among the first; and I will stand up as a witness against you, if you do no amend your ways and your doings, and turn to the Lord with all your heart.
    I beg you also, my beloved in the Lord, my joy and my crown, do not be offended at my sufferings, the prisoner of Jesus Christ. I am filled with joy and the comfort of God. On my salvation, I know and am persuaded it is for Gods truth, and the honour of my King and royal Prince Jesus, I now suffer. And though this town is my prison, yet Christ has made it my palace, a garden of pleasures, a field and an orchard of delights. Likewise I know, though I am imprisoned, yet the word of God is not confined. My spirit also is free, His comforts have been sweet, sweet to my soul:  my pen , tongue and heart do not have words to express the kindness, love and mercy of my Well-beloved to me, in this house of my pilgrimage.
   I charge you to fear and love Christ, and to seek a house not made with hands, but your Father's house above. This laughing and white skinned world misleads you; and if you seek it more than God, it will play you the slip, to the endless sorrow of your heart. Alas, I could not make many of you fall in love with Christ, though I tried to speak much good of Him and to commend Him to you; which as it was your sin, so is my sorrow! Yet once again allow me to encourage, beg, and charge you in  the Lord, to think of His love, and to be delighted with Him, who is altogether lovely. I give you the word of a King that you will not repent of it.
   You are in my prayers night and day. I cannot forget you: I do not eat, I do not drink, but I pray for you all. I beg you all and every one of you to pray for me. Grace, grace be with you.
   Your lawful and loving pastor,  S.R.

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