Thursday, August 29, 2019

Rutherford Revised (282)

282. To the Lady Robertland  From Aberdeen 4 Jan 1638

(A pious Fleming living in Stewarton)

Mistress, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. - I will be glad to hear your soul prospers, and fruit grows on you, after the Lord's cultivation and pains from His rod which has not been a stranger to you from your youth. It is the Lord's kindness that He takes the scum from us in the fire. Who knows how much we need winnowing, and how much dross to lose before we enter the kingdom of God? The entry to heaven is so narrow, that our knots, our bunches and lumps of pride, and self love, and idol love, and world love, must be hammered off us, so we may throng in, stooping low, and creeping through that narrow and thorny entrance.

   And now for myself, I find it the most sweet and heavenly life, to take up house and live at Christ's fireside, and set down my tent on Christ, that Foundation stone, who is sure and faithful ground and firm under foot. Oh, if I could win to it, and proclaim myself not the world's debtor, nor a lover indebted to it, and I did not want to pay for or start this world's love any longer, but deny the kindness and hared of God's creation totally, especially the lower part and clay vaunt of God's creatures, this vain earth! For what do I hold of His world? A borrowed lodging and some years' house room, and bread and water, and fire, and bed and candle, are all a part of the pension of my King and Lord; to whom I owe thanks and not to a creature. I thank God that God is God, and Christ is Christ, and the earth the earth, and the devil the devil, and the world the world, and the sin is sin, and that everything is what it is; because He has taught me in my wilderness not to shuffle my Lord Jesus, nor to mix Him with creature vanities, nor to twist or spin Christ in one web, or in one thread, with the world or things in it. Oh, if I could see Christ all alone, and mix Him with nothing! Oh, if I could cry down the price and weight of my cursed self, and cry up the price of Christ, and double, and triple, and augment, and heighten to millions the price and worth of Christ. I am (if I dare say so, and might lawfully complain) so hungrily taught by Christ Jesus my liberal Lord, that His nice love, which my soul would he in hand with, flies from me; and yet I am trained on to love Him, and lust, and long, and die for His love whom I cannot see. It is amazing to pine away for a hidden and covered lover, and to be hungry for His love, so a poor soul cannot get his fill of hunger for Christ. It is hard not even to get enough of hunger for Christ, when there are plenty for other things in the world. But sure, if we were teachers, and servants, and masers, and lord carvers of Christ's love. we would be more lean and worse fed than we are. Our food does us more good, for Christ keeps the keys, and the wind and the air of Christ's sweet breathing, and of the influence of His Spirit, is locked up in the hands of the good pleasure of Him who 'blows where he wills.'
   I see there is a sort of impatient impatience required in the lack of Christ as to His showing Himself, and waiting. They thrive who wait for His love, and its blowing, and the turning of His gracious wind; and they thrive who, in the waiting, are quick and make a noise for their hidden and lost Lord Jesus. Whatever happens, God feed me with Him in any way. If He would come in, I would not argue, where He gets a hole, of how He opened the lock. I would be content if Christ and I meet, suppose He would stand on the other side of hell's lake and cry to me, 'Either put in your foot and come through or you will not have me at all.' But what fools we are in taking up Him and His dealing! He has an entrance of His own beyond he thought of men, that no foot has skill o follow Him. But we are poor scholars, and would enter heaven's gates not knowing half our lesson; and will still be children, as long as we are in time's hands, and unil eternity makes a sun rise in our souls to give us understanding.We may see how we spoil our own fair heaven and our salvation, and how every day Christ is putting in one bone or other, in these fallen souls of ours, in the right place again; and on this side of the New Jerusalem, we still have need of forgiving and healing grace. I find crosses Christ's carved work He marks out for us, and with crosses He shapes and likeness us to His own image, cutting away pieces of our evil and corruption. Lord cut, Lord carve, Lord wound, Lord do anything that may perfect your Father's image in us, and make us fit for glory.
   Pray for me (I do not forget you) that our Lord would be pleased to lend me house room to preach His righteousness, and tell what I have heard and seen of Him. Do not forget Zion which is now in Christ's mould, and in His forge. Got bring her out as new work. Grace, grace be with you.
   Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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