Saturday, September 14, 2019

Rutherford Revised (295)

295. To his very dear Friend, John Fenwick   From St. Andrews 13 Feb 1640

( Fenwick was an English puritan who suffered for nonconformity but was made by Cromwell, a commissioners sent to the universities.)

Much hundred and dear friend, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you.- he necessary hindrances of my calling have until now kept me from replying to your letter, the headings of which I will now briefly answer.
   I approve you going to the Fountain, when your own cistern is dry. There must be a difference between Christ's well and your own borrowed water; and why other than you have need from emptiness and drying up, as well as you have need of the well? There must be a lack and a hole in our container to leave room for Christ's work. His well needs thirsty drinkers, to commend infinite love, which for eternity brewed such a cellar of living water for us.
   You commend his free love, and it is well done. Oh, if I could help you! And if I could be master convenor to gather in earth full and heaven full of tongues, dipped and steeped in my Lords well of love, or His wine of love, even tongues drunk win His love, to raise a song of praises to Him, between the east and west end, and furthest points of the broad heavens! If I was in your situation (as alas my dry and dead heart is not in that garden), I would ask permission to come and stand on he banks and coasts of the sea of love and be a feasted soul to see love's fair tide, free love's high and lofty waves, each of them higher than ten earth's, flowing in on pieces of lost clay. Oh, welcome, welcome, great sea! Oh, if I had as much love, for wideness and breadth, as ten outmost shells and spheres of the heaven of heavens, that I might receive a little flood of free love! Come, come dear friend, and be pained that the King's wine cellar of free love, and His banqueting house (oh so wide so stately, oh so God like, so glory like! 0 should be so abundant, so overflowing, and your shallow container so little to take in part of that love. But since it cannot come in to you for lack of room, enter yourself into this sea of love, and breathe under the waters, and die of love; and live as one drowned and dead in his love.
   But why do you claim of waters going over your soul, and the smoke of he terrors of a wrathful Lord do almost suffocate you, and bring you to the edge of death? I know the fault is in your eyes, not in Him. It is not the rock that flees and moves but the green sailor. If your sense and concerns are made judge of His love, there is a graven image made, even a changed god, and an enemy god, who was once (when my steps were washed with butter,
and the rock poured out for me streams of oil! Job 29:6) a friend God. Either now or never, let God work. You never had, since you were a man, such a fair field for faith; for a painted hell, and a worry of wrath in your Father, is faiths opportunity to try what strength is in it. Now give God as large a measure of love as you have of sorrow. Now see faith to be faith indeed, if you can make your grave between Christ's feet, and say, ' Though he should kill me, I will trust in Him. His believed love will be my winding sheet, and all my grave clothes; I will roll and sew my soul, my killed soul, in that web, His sweet and free love; and let Him write on my grave,"Here lies a believing dead man, breathing out and making a hole in death's broadside, and the breath of faith comes out through the hole."' See now if you can overcome and prevail with God, and wrestle God's tempting to death, quite out of breath, as that renowned wrestler did; 'and in his manhood he strove with God.He strove with the angel and prevailed'(Hos 12:3,4). He is indeed a strong man who out played heaven's strength, and the Holy One of Israel, the strong Lord: which is done by a secret supply of divine strength within, by which, the weakest being strengthened, overcomes and conquers. It will be a great victory, to blow out the flame of the fire you are now in, with the breath of faith. And when hell, men, malice, cruelty, falsehood, devils, the seeming frowns of a sweet Lord, meet you in the teeth, if then, as a captive of hope,  as you are chained in hope's prison, run to your stronghold, even from God's frowns to God's frowns, and believe the salvation of the Lord in the dark, which is your only victory, your enemies(who are only piece of malicious clay) will die as men and be confounded. But your troubles are many at once, and arrows come in from every direction, from country, friends, wife, children, enemies, land and right down from God who is the hope and stay of your soul, I confess is more and very heavy to be borne.  Yet all here are not more than grace;  all these bits of fire thrown into your sea of mercy, cannot dry it up. Your troubles are many and great; yet not an ounce weight beyond the measure of infinite wisdom, I hope, nor beyond the measure of grace He is to give. For our Lord never yet broke the back of His child, nor spoiled His own work. He often breaks in shreds and puts out a candle not lit at the Sun of righteousness; but He must cherish His own reeds (Is 42:30, and handle them softly (a reed never get a thrust from the Mediator's hand!), to lay together the two ends of the reed. Oh, what bandages and ligaments our Surgeon of broken spirits has, with which to bind up all His lame and bruised ones! Throw your disjointed spirit into His lap; and lay your burden on One who is so willing to take your cares and your fears off you, and to exchange and barter your crosses, and give you new for old, and gold for iron; even to give you clothes of praise for the spirit of heaviness. It is true in great part what you write of his church, only the letter of religion is reformed and scarcely that. I do not believe our Lord will build His Zion in this land on this skin of reformation. So long as our scum remains, and our heart idols are kept, His work must stand still; and so our Lord must yet sift his land, and search us with candles, And I know He will give us and not sell His kingdom. His grace and our remaining guiltiness must be compared; and the one must be seen in its glory, and the other in its sinfulness. But I want to believe, and would gladly hope to see, that the glancing and shining lustre of glory coming from the diamonds and stones set in the crown of our Lord Jesus will shine rays and beams many thousand miles around. I hope Christ is upon a great marriage; and His wooing and courting of His excellent Bride, does take its start from us, the ends of the earth. Oh, what joy and what glory would I judge it, if my heaven should be suspended until I might have permission to run on foot to be a witness of the marriage glory, and see Christ put on the glory of His last married bride,  and His last marriage love on earth; when He will enlarge his love bed, and set it on the top of he mountains, and take in the Elder Sister, the Jews, and the fullness of the Gentiles! It is heaven's glory on earth to be His servant, to run at His horse's foot and hold up train of His marriage robe royal, in the day of our royal Solomon's marriage. But oh, what glory  to have a seat or bed in the chariot of King Jesus, that is bottomed with gold, and paved and lined over and floored within with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem (Son 3:10). To lie on such King's love, in a bed next to the flower of heaven's glory.   I am sorry to hear you speak in your letter of 'God angry at you,' and of  'the sense of His indignation;' which only comes for suffering for Jesus all the has now come on you. Indeed 'apprehended wrath flames out of such ashes as 'apprehended sin,' but not from 'suffering for Christ.' But suppose you were in hell for past things and for old debt, I hope you owe Christ a great sum of love, to believe the sweetness of His love. I know what it is to sin in the way. It is to sin (if it was possible) the unchangeableness of a Godhead out of Christ, and to sin away a lovely and unchangeable God. Put more honest fears on Christ. Pu His own mask on His face, and not your veil made of unbelief, which speaks as if he borrowed love to you, from you and your fault and sinful deservings. Oh, no! Christ is man, but He is not like man. He has man's love in heaven, but it is lustred wih God's love, and it is with God's love you have to do. When your wheels go around, he stands still. Let God be God. And you be a man, and you have the deserving of man, and the sin of one who has suffered your Well-beloved to slip away, no, has refused Him entry when he was knocking, until His head and locks were frozen: yet what is that to Him? His book keeps your name, and is not printed and reprinted, and changed and corrected. And why except He should go to His place and hide Himself? Though His departure is His own good work, yet the belief of it, in that manner is your sin. But wait on until He returns with salvation, and makes you rejoice in the latter end. It is not much to complain; but rather believe than complain, and sit in the dust and close your mouth, until He makes your sown light grow again. For your troubles are not eternal; time will end then, and so you will at length see the Lord's salvation. His love does not sleep, but is still working for you. His salvation will not be slow nor linger; and suffering for Him is the noblest cross that is out of heaven. Your Lord had the choice of ten thousand other crosses beside his, to exercise you; but His love and His wisdom chose this out for you, beside them all. And take it as a choice one, and make use of it as you look to this world as your stepmother, in your borrowed prison. For it is a love look to heaven and the other side of the water that God seeks; and this is the fruit, the flower and bloom growing out of your cross, that you be a dead man to time, to clay, to gold, to county, to friends, wife, children and all pieces of created nothings; for in them there is not a seat nor bottom for soul's love. Oh, what room is there for your love (if it was as broad as he sea) up in heaven, and in God! And what would Christ not give for your love? God gave so much for your soul; and blessed are you if you have a love for Him, and can call in your soul's love from all idols, and make a God of God, a God of Christ, and draw a line between your heart and Him. If your deliverance did not come, Christ's presence and His believed love, must stand as security and surely for your deliverance, until your Lord sends it in His blessed time. For Christ has many salvations, if we could see them; and I would him it beter born comfort and joy that comes from deliverance, and the faith of His love, than that which comes from deliverance itself. I does not matter much, if your afflicted soul is eased, whatever the means, either your own wish of God's choosing. The latter I an sure is best, and the comfort strongest and sweetest. Let the Lord absolutely have he ordering of your evils and troubles; and put them off you by recommending your cross and your fire to Him skilled in melting his own metal, and who well knows what to do with His fire. Let your heart be willing for God's fire to have your tin, and brass and dross. To consent to lack corruption is a greater mercy than many professors know well  and to refer the manner of Gd's medicine to His own wisdom, whether by drawing blood or giving sugary drinks. That he cures sick people without pain is a great point of faith; and to believe Christ's cross to be a friend, as He Himself is a Friend, is also a special act of faith. But when you are over the water, his case will be a yesterday over a hundred ears before you were born; and the cup of glory will wash the memory of all this away; and make it as nothing. Only now take Christ in with you under your yoke, and let patience have her perfect work; for this impatience is your infirmity. The Lord is rising to do you good in the latter end; put on the faith of His salvation, and see Him speeding towards you.
   Sir, my work (being so great) hinders me from writing at more length. Excuse me: I hope to be mindful of you. I will, be indebted to you if you help me with your prayers for this people, this college and my own poor soul.
   Grace be with you. Remember my love o your wife.
      Yours, in Christ Jesus,  S.R.

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