Friday, September 20, 2019

Rutherford Revised (321)

321. To the Lady Ardross in Fife.  From London 24 Feb 1646

[Lady Ardross, whose maiden name was Helen Lindsay, was the daughter of Lady Christian Hamilton, eldest daughter of Thomas, first Earl of Haddington, by her first husband Robert, ninth Lord Lindsay of Byres. She was married to Sir William Scott of Ardross, son of Sir W. Scott of Elie. Her daughter, Euphemia, Countess of Dundonald, some thirty years after this, attended the field conventicles, and entertained the field preachers at her house.  This letter was written to her on the occasion of the death of her mother, who was then Lady Boyd, having married for her second husband, Robert, sixth Lord Boyd. ]

Madam,Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.It has seemed good, as I hear, to Him that has appointed the limits for the number of our months, to gather in a sheaf of ripe corn, in the death of your Christian mother, into His store. It is the more evident that winter is near, when apples, without the violence of wind, fall of their own accord off the tree. She is now above the winter, with a little change of place, not of a Saviour; only she enjoys Him now without messages, and in His own immediate presence, from whom she heard by letters and messengers before.
   I grant that death is to her a very new thing; but heaven was prepared of old. And Christ (as enjoyed in His highest throne, and as loaded with glory, and incomparably exalted above men and angels, having such a heavenly circle of glorified harpers and musicians above, surrounding the throne with a song) is to her a new thing, but so new as the first summer rose, or the first fruits of that heavenly field; or as a new paradise to a traveller, broken and worn out of breath with the sad occurrences of a long and dirty way.
   You may easily judge, Madam, what a large recompense is made to all her service, her walking with God, and her sorrows, with the first look of the souls eye upon the shining and admirably beautiful face of the Lamb, that is in the midst of that fair and white army which is there, and with the first drink and taste of the fountain of life, fresh and new at the wellhead; to say nothing of the enjoying of that face without limit, for more than this term of life which we now enjoy. And it cost her no more to go there, than to suffer death to do her this piece of service: for by Him who was dead, and is alive, she was delivered from the second death. What, then, is the first death to the second? Not a scratch of the skin of a finger to the endless second death. And now she sits for eternity rent free, in a very considerable land, which has more than four summers in the year. Oh, what spring-time is there! Even the smelling of the odours of that great and eternally blooming Rose of Sharon for ever and ever! What a singing life is there! There is not a dumb bird in all that large field; but all sing and breathe out heaven, joy, glory, dominion to the high Prince of that newly found land. And, truly, the land is the sweeter for Jesus Christ paid so dear a rent for it. And He is the glory of the land: all which, I hope, does not so much mitigate and allay your grief for her part (though truly this should seem sufficient), as the unerring expectation of the dawning of that day upon yourself, and the hope you have of the fruition of that same King and kingdom to your own soul. Certainly the hope of it, when things look so dark on both kingdoms, must be an exceedingly great quickening to languishing spirits, who are far from home while we are here. What misery, to have both a bad way all the day, and no hope of lodging at night! But He has taken up your lodging for you.
   I can say no more now; but I pray that the very God of peace may establish your heart to the end. I rest, Madam,
   Your Ladyships, at all respective obedience in the Lord,  S. R.

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