Friday, September 20, 2019

Rutherford Revised (316)

316   To a Christian Brother, on the death of his Daughter                    From London 1645

Reverend and Beloved in the Lord,It may be that I have been too long silent, but I hope that you will not put it down to forgetfulness of you.
   As I have heard of the death of your daughter with heaviness of mind on your behalf, so am I much comforted that she has shown to yourself and other witnesses the hope of the resurrection of the dead. As sown corn is not lost (for there is more hope of that which is sown than of that which is eaten) (1 Cor. xv. 42, 43), so also is it in the resurrection of the dead: the body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory.” I hope that you wait for the crop and harvest;for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him” (1 Thess. iv. 14). Then they are not lost who are gathered into that congregation of the first-born, and the general assembly of the saints. Though we cannot outrun nor overtake them that are gone before, yet we shall quickly follow them; and the difference is, that she has the advantage of some months or years of the crown before you and her mother. As we do not take it badly if our children outrun us in the life of grace, why then are we sad if they outstrip us in the attainment of the life of glory? It would seem that there is more reason to grieve that children live behind us, than that they are glorified and die before us. All the difference is in some poor hungry accidents of time, less or more, sooner or later. So the godly child, though young, died a hundred years old; and you could not now have given her better, though the choice was Christs, not yours.
   And I am sure, Sir, you cannot now say that she is married against the will of her parents. She might more readily, if alive, fall into the hands of a worse husband; but can you think that she could have fallen into the hands of a better? And if Christ marry with your family, it is your honour, not any cause of grief, that Jesus should take any of yours, before she enjoys your share. Is it not great love? The inheritance is more than any other could give; as good a husband is impossible; to say a better is blasphemy. The King and Prince of ages can keep them better than ye can do. While she was alive, you could entrust her to Christ, and recommend her to His keeping; now, by an after-faith, you have resigned her to Him in whose arms do sleep all that are dead in the Lord. You would have lent her to glorify the Lord upon earth, and He has borrowed her (with promise to restore her again) (1 Cor. xv. 53; 1 Thess. iv. 15, 16) to be an means of the immediate glorifying of Himself in heaven. Sinless glorifying of God is better than sinful glorifying of Him. And sure your prayers concerning her are fulfilled. I shall desire, if the Lord will be pleased the same way to persuade her mother, that you have the same mind. Christ cannot multiply injuries upon you. If the fountain be the love of God (as I hope it is), you are enriched by losses.
   You knew all I can say better, before I was in Christ, than I can express it. Grace be with you.
      Yours, in Christ Jesus, S. R.

No comments: