Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Rutherford Revised (289)

289. To his Reverend and much honoured Brother, Dr. Alexander Leighton, Christ's prisoner in bonds in London.     From St. Andrews 22 Nov 1639

Reverend and much honoured prisoner of hope, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you, - I was not my part (whom our Lord has enlarged) to forget you His prisoner.
   When I consider how long your night has been, I think Christ is minded to put you in free grace's debt so much deeper, as your sufferings have continued so long. But what if Christ gives you no joy but pubic joy, with enlarged and triumphing Zion. I think Sir, you would best love to share your song of joy with Zion, and to have mystical Christ in Britain going halves and co-partner with your enlargement. I am sure your joy, bordering and neighbouring with the joy of Chris's bride, would be so much the sweeter if it was public. I thought if Christ had halved my mercies, and delivered His bride and not me, His praises should have been double what they are; but now two rich mercies joined in one  have stolen from our Lord more than half praises. Oh that mercy should so mislead us, and steal away our counts and acknowledgement! Worthy Sir, I hope I need not encourage you to go on in hoping for the salvation of God. There has not been so much taken from your time of ease and created joys, as eternity will add to your heaven. You know when one day in heaven has paid you (yes, and overpaid your blood, imprisonment, sorrow and sufferings) it would trouble angels' understanding to count the surplus of glory which eternity can and will give you. Oh but your hourglass of sufferings and losses comes to little, when it is counted and compared with the glory that stays on you on the other side of he water! You have no leisure to rejoice and sing here, while time speeds on, and where your psalms will be short; so you will think eternity, and he long day heaven that will be measured with neither sun, nor clock, than the long life of he Ancient of Days, to measure your praise little enough for you. If your span length of time is cloudy, you can only think your Lord can no more take your blood, your engagements with the income and recompense of free grace, than He would take the sufferings of Paul and His other dear servants, who were well paid hem beyond all counting (Rom 8:18). If the wisdom of Christ has made you Antichrist's eyesore, and his envy, you are to thank God that such a piece of clay, as you are, is made the field of glory to work on. It was he potter's aim that your clay was for His glory.  Oh, who can suffer enough for such a Lord! And who can lay out in store, enough of pain, shame , losses, and tortures to receive in again the free interest of eternal glory (2 Cor 4:17). Oh, how advantageous a bargain it is with such a rich Lord! If your hand and pen had been at leisure to gain glory on paper, it would have been only paper glory, but such a long bearing of a public cross, for the now contested privileges of the crown and sceptre of free King Jesus, the Prince of the kings of he earth, is glory booked in heaven. Worthy and dear brother, if you go to weigh Jesus, His sweetness, excellency, glory and beauty, and lay against Him your ounces or drachms of suffering for Him, you will be confined in two ways.
 1. It will be a pain to make the comparison, the disproportion being by no understanding imaginable: no, if heaven's arithmetic and angels' were set to work, tthey would never number the degrees of difference.
 2. I would confine you to find a scale for the balance to put that high and lofty One (that over transcending Prince of excellency) in. If your mind could fancy as many created heavens as time has minutes, trees have had leaves, and clouds have had raindrops, since the first stone of creation was laid, they would not make half a scale in which to bear and weigh boundless excellency. And so, the King whose name you are bearing, and whose dying you carry about with you in your body, is, out of all cry and consideration, beyond and above all our thoughts.
   For myself, I am content to feed upon wondering, sometimes, at seeing only the borders and outskirts of the incomparable glory which is in that excellent Prince. And I think you could wish for more ears than you have, since you hope these ears you have now given Him will be passages to take in the music of His glorious voice. I would be glad to pray for a new bride of Jews and Gentiles for our Lord Jesus, after the land of graven images will be made waste and our Lord Jesus is on horseback; hunting and persuing the Beast; and England and Ireland will be well swept rooms for Christ and His righteousness to live in; for He has opened our graves in Scotland, and the two dead and buried witnesses have risen again, and are prophesying. Oh that the princes would glory and boast themselves in carrying the train of Christ's royal robe in their arms! Let me die within half an hour of seeing the temple of the Son of God enlarged, and the ropes of Jerusalem's tent lengthened, to take in a more numerous company for a bride to the Son of Gd! Oh, if the corner or foundation stone of that house, that new house, was laid above my grave!
   On! Who can add to Him who is that great All! If He would create suns and moons, new heavens, thousand and thosand degrees more perfect than these that now are; and again, make a new creation ten thousand degrees in perfection beyond that new creation; and again, still for eternity multiply new heavens, they would never be a perfect resemblance of that infinite excellency, order, weight, measure, beauty and sweetness that is in Him. Oh, how little of Him do we see! Oh, how shallow are our thoughts of Him! Oh, if I had pain for Him, and shame and losses for Him, and more clay and spirits for Him! And I could go on earth without love, desire, hope, because Christ has taken away my love, desire and hope to heaven with Him.!
   I know, worthy Sir, your sufferings for Him are your glory; and so, do not be weary. His salvation is near a hand, and will not delay. 
   Pray for me. His grace be with you.
      Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,  S.R.

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