Friday, September 20, 2019

Rutherford Revised (317)

317. To a Christian Gentlewoman  From London  9 Jan 1646

Mistress,Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.If death, which is before you and us all, were any other thing than a friendly dissolving, and a change, not a destruction of life, it would seem a hard voyage to go through such a sad and dark passage so thorny a valley, as is the wages of sin. But I am confident you know,the way though your foot never trod in that black shadow. The loss of life is gain to you. If Christ Jesus is the period, the end, and lodging-house, at the end of your journey, there is no fear; you go to a friend. And since you have had communion with Him in this life, and He has a pawn or pledge of yours, even the largest share of your love and heart, you may look death in the face with joy.
  If the heart is in heaven, the rest of you cannot be kept the prisoner of the second death. But though He be the same Christ in the other life that you found Him to be here, yet He is so far in His excellency, beauty, sweetness, irradiations, and beams of majesty, above what He appeared here, when He is seen as He is, that you will mistake Him, and He will appear a new Christ. And His kisses, breathings, embraces, the perfume, the ointment of His name poured out on you, will appear to have more of God, and a stronger smell of heaven, of eternity, of a Godhead, of majesty and glory, there than here; as water at the fountain, apples in the orchard and beside the tree, have more of their native sweetness, taste, and beauty, than when transported to us some hundred miles.page658image3513412448page658image3469229664
I do not mean that Christ can lose any of His sweetness in the carrying, or that He, in His Godhead and loveliness of presence, can be changed to the worse, between the little spot of the earth that you are in, and the right hand of the Father far above all heavens. But the change will be in you, when you will have new senses, and the soul will be a more deep and more capacious container, to take in more of Christ; and when means (the chariot, the Gospel, that He is now carried in, and ordinances that convey Him) shall be removed. Sure you cannot now be said to see Him face to face; or to drink of the wine of the highest fountain, or to take in seas and tides of fresh love immediately, without contaners, means, or messengers, at the Fountain itself, as you will do in a few days time, when you will be so near as to be with Christ (Luke xxiii. 43; John xvii. 24; Phil. i. 23; 1 Thess. iv. 17).
   You would, no doubt, take a days journey, yes, many days’ journey on earth, to go up to heaven, and fetch down anything of Christ; how much more may you be willing to make a journey to go in person to heaven (it is not lost time, but gained eternity) to enjoy the full Godhead! And then, in such a manner as He is there! not in His week-days clothes, as He is here with us, in a drop or the tenth part of a nights dew of grace and sweetness; but He is there in His marriage gown of glory, richer, more costly, more precious, in one hem or button of that garment of Fountain majesty than a million of worlds. Oh, the well is deep! You will then think that preachers, and sinful ambassadors on earth, did but spoil His praises, when they spoke of Him and preached His beauty.
   Alas! we only make Christ black and less lovely, in making such insignificant, and dry, and cold, and low expressions of His highest and transcendent super-excellency to the daughters of Jerusalem. Sure I have often, for my own part, sinned in this thing. No doubt angels do not fulfil their task, according to their duty, in that Christ keeps their feet from falling with the lost devils; though I know they are not behind in going to the utmost of created power. But there is sin in our praising, and sin in the quantity, besides other sins. But I must leave this; it is too deep for me. Go and see, and we want to go with you; but we are not masters of our own diet. If, in that last journey, you tread on a snake in the way, and by it wound your heel, as Jesus Christ did before you, the print of the wound will not be known at the resurrection of the just. Death is but an awesome step, over time and sin, to sweet Jesus Christ, who knew and felt the worst of death, for deaths teeth hurt Him. We know death has no teeth now, no jaws, for they are broken. It is a free prison; citizens pay nothing for the grave. The jailor who had the power of death is destroyed: praise and glory be to the First-begotten of the dead.
   The worst possible that may be is, that you leave behind you children, husband, and the church of God in miseries. But ye cannot get them to heaven with you for the present. You will not miss them, and Christ cannot miscount one of the poorest of His lambs. No lad, no girl, no poor one shall be missing, before you see them again, in the day that the Son shall render up the kingdom to His Father.
   The evening and the shadow of every poor hireling is coming. The sun of Christs church in this life is declining low. Not a soul of the militant company will be here within a few generations; our Husband will send for them all. It is a rich mercy that we are not married to time longer than the course be finished.
   You may rejoice that you do no go to heaven until you know that Jesus is there before you; that when you come there, at your first entry you may feel the smell of His ointments, His myrrh, aloes, and cassia. And this first greeting of His will make you find it is no uncomfortable thing to die. Go and enjoy your gain; live on Christs love while you are here, and all the way.
   As for the church which you leave behind you, the government is upon Christs shoulders, and He will plead for the blood of His saints. The Bush has been burning more than five thousand years, and we never yet saw the ashes of this fire. Yet a little while, and the vision shall not delay: it will speak, and not lie. I am more afraid of my duty, than of the Head Christs government. He cannot fail to bring judgment to victory. Oh that we could wait for our hidden life! Oh that Christ would remove the covering, draw aside the curtain of time, and split the heavens, and come down! Oh that shadows and night were gone, that the day would break, and that He who feeds among the lilies would cry to His heavenly trumpeters, Make ready, let us go down and fold together the four corners of the world, and marry the bride!” His grace be with you.
   Now, if I have found favour with you, and if you judge me faithful, my last request to you is that ye would leave me a legacy; and that is, that my name may be, at the very last, in your prayers: as I desire also, it may be in the prayers of those of your Christian acquaintance with whom you have been intimate.
   Your brother, in his own Lord Jesus, S. R.

No comments: