Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Rutherford revised (311)

311. To Barbara Hamilton    From London 15 Oct 1645 

(Wife of John Mein, letter 151, and sister of Robert Blair's first wife. She  successfully presented the Treasurer of he Privy Council with a petition from women asking for liberty for Presbyterian ministers expelled from Ireland. Written when her minister son in law died.)

Worthy friend, Grace be to you. I do unwillingly write to you about what God has done concerning your son in law; only, I believe you do not look below Christ and the higher and most supreme act of providence, which moves all wheels. And certainly what came down enacted and concluded in the great Book before the throne, and signed and subscribed with the hand which never did wrong, should be kissed and adored by us.
   We see God's decrees when they bring forth their fruits, all action, good and ill, sweet and sour, in their time; we we do not see at present the afterbirth of God's decree, namely, His blessed end, and the good he brings out of the womb of His holy and spotless counsel. We see His working, and we sorrow; the end of His counsel and working lies hidden, and underneath the ground, and so we cannot believe. Even among men, we see cut stones, timber, and a hundred scattered parcels and pieces of a house, all tools, hammers, axes, saws; yet the house, the beauty and ease of so many lodgings and rooms, we neither see nor understand for the present: These are only in the mind and head of the builder as yet. We see red earth, unbroken clods, furrows and stones; but we do not see summer lilies , roses, the beauty of a garden.
   If you give the Lord time to work (as often believers make haste not speed), His end is underground, and you will see it was for your good, your son has changed places, but not His Master. Christ thought it good to have no more of his service here, yet, 'His servants will worship him' (Rev22:3). He does no need us nor our service, either on earth or in heaven. But you are to look to Him who gives the hired man both his leave and his wages, for his naked aim and purpose of serving Christ, as well as for his work. It is laid down in Christ's accounts, that such a labourer did sweat forty years in Christ's vineyard; though he did not get permission to work as long, because He who accepts the will for he deed counts so. No-one can teach the Lord how to keep accounts.
   He counts the drops of rain, and knows the stars by their names; it would take us much study to name every star in the sky, great or small.
   See Lev 10:3 'And Aaron held his peace.'(Mic 6:9). Hear the stick, what it preaches, and see the name of God . You know his two sons were killed, when hey offered strange fire to the Lord. Tell your thoughts to be silent. If the soldiers of Newcastle had done this, you might have survived it; but the weapon was in another hand. and know there is something of God and heaven in the stick. The majesty of the unsearchable and bottomless ways and judgement of God is not seen in the stick,; and seeing them needs the eyes of the man of wisdom. If the sufferings of some other in that loss could help you, you do not lack them. But He can do no wrong. He cannot stop; His goings are equal who has done it. I know our Lord aims at more killing of sin; do not let Him come uselessly to your house, and lose the effort of a merciful visit. God, the Founder, never  melts to no purpose; however to us He often seems to lose both fire and metal. But I know you are further into his work than I can be. There is no reason to faint or tire. 
   Grace be with you; and the rich consolations of Jesus Christ, sweeten your cross and support you under it. I rest,
   Yours in His Lord and Master,  S.R.

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