Friday, September 06, 2019

Rutherford Revised (287)

287.  To the Viscountess of Kenmore.   From Anwoth  1 Oct 1639

Madam, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. - I know you are near many comforters, and the promised Comforter is also near at hand. Yet because I found your Ladyship comforted me in my sad days, which are n yet over my head, it is my part and more, in many respects (though God knows I can do little in ha way) to speak to you in your desert place.
   I know, dear and noble Lady, this loss of your dear child came on you one piece and part of It after another; and you were looking for it, and now the Amighy has brought on you what you feared; and your Lord gave you lawful warning. And I hope for His sake who brewed and infused this cup up in heaven, you will gladly drink, and salute and welcome he cross. I am sure it is not your Lord's thought to feed you with judgement and wormwood, and to give you waters of bitterness to drink (Eze 34:16, Jer 9:15) I know your cup is sugared with mercy; and the withering of the bloom, the flower, even the red and white of earthly joys, is for no other purpose than to buy out at he ground the return of your heart and love. 
   Madam, subscribe to the Almighty's will; take up your pen. and let the cross of the Lord Jesus have your submission and resolution. AMEN. If you ask and test whose is this cross, I dare say it is not all your own, the best half of it is Christ's. Then your cross is not bastard born, but is lawfully begotten; it did not spring out of the dust (Joh 5:6). If Christ and you share halves of this suffering, and He says, 'Half mine, what should trouble you?' And I am sure I am here exactly as the word of God says,"share his sufferings" (Phi 3:10);  "what is lacking in Christ's afflictions " (Col 1:24): "the reproach of Christ" (Heb 2:6) It would only be to shift the comforts of God to say, 'Christ never had such a cross as mine: He never had a dead child, and so this is not His cross; neither can he in tthis meaning, be the owner of this cross.' But I hope that Christ, when He married you, married you and all the crosses and sad hearts Ththat follow you. And the word makes no exception, 'In all their affliction he was afflicted' (Is 58:9). Then Christ bore the first blow of His cross; it rebounded off Him onto you, and you get it second hand, and you and He share halves of it. And I will believe for your part He proposes to distill heaven out of his loss, and all others similar; for wisdom plans it, and love laid it on, and Christ claims it as His own, and puts your shoulder under only a part of it. Take it with joy as not a bastard cross, but as a visit from God, well born; and spend the rest of your time, until your change comes, in the work of believing. And let faith, which never  yet lied to you, speak for God's part of it,'Am I the sea, or a sea monsterthat you set a guard over me?' (Job 7:12). You may think not many of the children of God are in such a hard situation as you; but what would you think of some, who would exchange troubles and give you their's? But I know yours must be yours alone and Christ's together.
   I confess it seemed strange to me that your Lord should have done what seemed to knock the bottom out of your worldly comforts; but we do no see he grounds of the Almighty's sovereignty. ' He goes on by our right hand and by our left, but do no see Him.' We only see pieces of broken links of the chain of His providence; and he gears  the wheels His own providence, which we do not see. Oh, let the Former work His clay into what He wills! 'Will any teach the Almighty knowledge? ' If He pursues the dry stubble, who dares say, 'What are you doing?' Do not be surprised to see the Judge of he world weave into one web, your mercies and the judgement of the family Kenmore. He can make one web of the dissimilar.
   But my weak advice (with reverence and correction) is, for you, dear and worthy Lady, to see how far mortification goes on, and what scum the Lord's fire throws out of you. I know you see your knottiness, since our Lord whitens and carves and planes you. And the brightness of the furnace is to let you see what scum or rubbish you must lack, and what froth is in nature, that must be boiled out and taken away in the fire of your trials. I do not say heavier troubles prophesy heavier guiltiness; a cross is often a false prophet in his way. But I am sure our Lord would have the tin and bastard metal in you removed, lest the Lord say, 'The bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the firein vain the refining goes on' (Jer 6:29). And I will hope grief does not so far smother your light, as you do no practise this so necessary a duty, to agree with Him in his blessed plan.
   I would gladly plead for the Comforter's part in it, not against you, Madam,  (for I am sure you do not oppose Him), but against your grief, which will have is own violent entries in your soul: and I think it is not in your power to prevent it. But I must say, there are comforst allowed to you; so do not lack them.When you have a running over soul with joy now, that joy will never be missed out of the infinite ocean of delight, which is not diminished by drinking from it, or drawing out of it. It is a Christian art to comfort yourself in the Lord; to say, 'I was required to return back again this child to the Giver: and I have had four year's loan of him. and Christ's eternity's possession of him, the Lord has kept the agreement with me. If my Lord would not have him and me meet in one hour at death's door together, it is His wisdom to do so; 'I am satisfied. My meeting is postponed, not broken off, nor given up.' Madam, I wish I could share sorrow with you to relieve you. But I am only an onlooker: it is easy for me to speak; the God of comfort speak to you, and entice you with His feasts of love.
   My removal from my flock is so heavy to me, it makes my life a burden to me; I never had such longing for death. The Lord help and hold up sad clay. I fear you sin in drawing Mr. William Dalgleish from his country, where the labourers are few and the harvest area.
   Madam, ask my Lord Argyle to see to the provision of a pastor for his poor people. Grace be with you.
   Your Ladyship's at all obedience in Christ,  S.R.

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