Thursday, August 22, 2019

Rutherford Revised (275)

275. To Mr John Fergushill      From Aberdeen 1637

(See letters 112,188)

Reverend and well-beloved in our Lord Jesus, -I must by my letter still provoke you to write. You need not be surprised for the cross is full of talk, and it must speak, either good or bad, n0r can grief be silent. 

   I have no accusation to bring against Christ's cross, seeing He has made a friendly agreement between me an it , and we are in terms of love together. If my former mistakes, and now my silent Sabbaths, seem to men to speak wrath from the Lord, I dare say it is only Satan borrowing the use and loan of my cowardly and feeble fears, which jump at trifles. I know faith is not so faint and foolish as to tremble at false alarms. Yet I gather this out of it: blessed are they who have God's grace to guide a cross well. and there is some skill needed in it. I pray God I may not be so badly unfriendly, that Christ my Lord would leave me to be my own teacher and doctor. Will I not think that my Lord Jesus, who very well deserves His own place, will take His own place on Him as it suits him, and He will fill is own chair? For in this is His office, to comfort us, and those who are depressed in all their trials (2 Cor 1:4). Alas, I know I am a fool to seek a hole or defect in Christ's way with my soul. If I have nothing to present to Christ at His appearance, yet I pray I may be able with joy and peace and constancy, to show the Captain of my salvation, in that day, any wound I received in His service. Though my faith hangs by a small nail and thread; and though my Lord got no service from me except  my broken wishes, yet I trust those will be accepted on Christ's account. I have nothing to comfort me, but I say but, 'Will the Lord disappoint a hungry waiter?' The smell of Christ's wine and apples (which excel our appreciation) blows on my soul, and in the meantime I get no more. I am sure, that to let a starving body see food and give him none of it, is a double pain. Our Lord's love is not so cruel as to let a poor man see Christ and heaven, and never give him more, for lack of money to buy: no, I rather think Christ is such good value, that buyers may have without money and without price. And so I know it will not stand on my lack of money; for Christ at His own expense will buy my wedding dress, and redeem the inheritance I have lost, and give His word for one the like of me, who myself am not law abiding. Poor people must either beg or borrow from the rich; and the only thing commanding sinners to Christ is extreme necessity and want. Christ's love is ready to make and provide a ransom, and money for a poor man who has lost his purse. ' he who has no moneycome, buy and eat!'  (Is 55:1), that is the poor man's market.
   Now brother I see old crosses would have done nothing to me; and therefore, Christ has taken a new fresh stick to me, that seems to talk to my soul and make me tremble. I now often have more trouble with faith, when I lose my compass and am blown upon a rock, than those who look on from the shore are aware of. Advice to a sick man is sooner given than taken. Lord send the weary man a borrowed bed from Christ! I often think I am heavy after supper. Oh, but I would sleep soundly with Christ's left hand under my head, and his right hand hugging me. The devil could not spoil that bed. When I condor how tenderly Christ has cared or me in this prison, I think he has handled me like the child who is pitied and moaned over. I want no more until I am in heaven, but such a feast and fill of Christ's love as I would have; this love would be fair and adorning decorations which would beautify and set forth my black, unpleasant cross. I cannot tell my brother what I great load I would bear if I had a hearty fill of the love of that lovely One, Christ Jesus. Oh if you would seek and pray for that to me1 I would give Christ all his love styles and titles of honour, if he would only give me this; no, I would sell myself, for that love if I could.
   I have been waiting to see what friends in high place and in power will do for us. But when the Lord loosens the pegs of His own tent, He will have Himself acknowledged as its only builder,; and therefore, I would take back again my hope that I lent and pledged in men's hands, and give it all to Christ. It is now no time for me to set up idols of my own. It would be a pity to give any an ounce weight of hope outside of Christ. I think Him well worthy of all my hope, though it was as weighty as heaven and earth. I would be happy if I had anything Christ would seek or accept; but now alas, I do not see what service I can do for Him, except to talk a little, and babble on a piece of paper about the love of Christ. I am one as if my faith was mortgaged so I cannot commend it; and then, when He hides Himself, I run to the other extreme, in making each wing and toe of my situation as big as a mountain of iron; and then wrong belief can spin out a hell of heavy and desponding thoughts, and charge me to believe His daylight at midnight. But I argue with Christ, though it ill becomes me to do so. I would be happy in this house of wine and when I find a feast day, if I could '  attend and listen for the time to come?'(Is 42:23). But I see we must be off our feet wading in deep water; and then Christ's love finds seasonable employment in such a difficulty like that, and besides after broken brows, children learn to walk more carefully.  If I come o heaven any way, though like a tired traveller on my Guide's shoulder, it is good enough those who have no legs of their own for such a journey. I never thought there was need of so much wrestling to get to the top of the steep mountains I now find.
   Woe is me for this broken and backsliding church! It is like an old bowed wall, leaning to one side, and none of her sons will prop her up. I know I need not bemoan Christ; for He cares for His own honour more than I can do; bu who can blame me to be wo (if I had grace to be so) to see my Well-beloved's face spat on, and His own crown plucked off His head, and the ark of God taken and carried in the Philistine's cart, and the oxen put to carry it, which will let it fall to the ground. The Lord put His own helping hand! I want you to prepare yourself for a fight with beasts (1 Cor 15:32): you will not get permission to steal quietly to heaven, in Christ's company, without a conflict and a cross.
   Remember nay imprisonment, and praise my Helper, and fellow prisoner, Christ. Grace be with you.
   Yours, in Christ Jesus his Lord, S.r.

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