Thursday, September 12, 2019

Rutherford Revised (292)

292. To Mrs. Pont, Prisoner at Dublin From St. Andrews 1640

(Mrs Pont, whose husband was a minister in Ireland refusing to use church ceremonies prescribed, and criticised the persecution of nonconformists and the rule of he bishops. The local bishop wanted minister and wife prosecuted. Pont escaped to Scotland but the wife was imprisoned for three years during which time her husband died. She came over to Scotland and died in 1704.)

Worthy and dear mistress, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. - The cause for which you suffer, and your willingness to suffer, is ground enough for me to know you well enough to write to you; although I do confess myself unable to speak to encourage a prisoner of Christ.
   I know you have an advantage over us who are not suffering; for your sighing (Ps 102:20) is a written bill for your Head, the Lord Jesus; and your breathing (Lam 3:56), and your looking up (Ps 5:3,69:3). And so, your meaning, half spoken , half unspoken, asks no jailer's permission, but will go to heaven without permission of bishop or lord, and be heavily welcome; so you may sigh and groan out your mind to Him who has all the keys of the king's three kings and dominions. I dare believe your hope will not die. Your trouble is a part of Zion's burning; and you know who guides Zion's fire, and who loved the ashes of His burnt bride, because His servants love them (Ps 102:14). I believe your ashes, if you were burnt for this cause, will praise Him: for the wrath of men and their malice will make a psalm to praise the Lord (Ps 76:10). And so, stand still and see what the Lord is to do for this island. His work is perfect (Deu 3:4). The nations have not sen the last end of His work.; His end is more fair and more glorious than the beginning.
   You have more honour than you are able to guide well, in that your imprisonment ts made heavy for such an honourable cause. The Gospel, the preaching of which men are dying to hinder, is not given to every ordinary professor. Some who would honestly support Christ in summertime, would let go of the beauty of the Gospel if they had to suffer. And so, let us believe that Wisdom gives to everyone here, as He thinks good, who bears them up who bear the cross. And since our Lord has put you to that part which was the flower of His own sufferings, we all expect thotyo as you have begun in the strength of our Captain, so you will go on without fainting. Providence makes use of men and devils for the refining of all the containers of God's house, small and great, and for doing two great works at once within you, both for smothing a stone to make it partner with Christ in Jerusalem's wall, and for witnessing to the glory of his reproached and borne down Gospel, which cannot die even if hell was made a grave around it. It will be seasonable joy for you, to divide joy between you and Christ's  laughing bride in these three kingdoms. And what if your mourning continues until mystical Christ  (in Ireland and in Great Britain) and you laugh both together.? Your laughing and joy were the more blessed, the one sun should shine on Christ, the Gospel and you laughing all together in these three kingdoms. Your time is measured, and your days and hours of suffering were from eternity, by infinite Wisdom, considered. If heaven does not repay in your mind inches of sorrow, then I must say, infinite Mercy cannot please you; but if the first kiss of the white and ruddy cheek of he Standard bearer and Chief among ten thousand thousand (Son 5:10), will overpay your prison at Dublin, in Ireland, then you will have no unanswered count to give in to Christ. If your faith cannot see nearer term day, then let me charge your hope to give Christ a new day, until eternity and time meet at one point. A paid sum, if ever paid, is paid if no day is broken to the hungry creditor. Take heaven's promise and subscribed obligation for the sum (Joh 14:3). If hope can trust Christ, I know He can and will pay. But when all is done and suffered by you, ten hundred deaths for lovely, lovely Jesus is only eternity's halfpenny; figures and symbols cannot give the proportion. Oh, but the surplus of Chris's glory is broad and large! Christ's items of eternal glory are hard and heavy to count; and if you borrow, by faith and hope, ten days or ten hundred years from that eternity of glory that stays with you, you are paid and more in your own hand. So, O prisoner of hope, wait on; sending, speeding salvation does not sleep. Antichrist is bleeding and in the way to death; and he does he worst when he bleeds the fastest. Keep your thinking between you and heaven, and your relations with Christ. He has in heaven the keys of your prison, and can set you free when He pleases. His rich grace support you. I pray you to help me with your prayers. Grace be with you.
   Your brother, in he pained and kingdom of Jesus Christ,  S.R.

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