Saturday, September 21, 2019

Rutherford Revised (322)

322. To M.O.   From London 17 Apr 1646 

[Perhaps, as Letter 149, someone of Provost Osburns family in Ireland.]

Sir,I can write nothing for the present concerning these times (whatever others may think), but that which speaks wrath and judgment to these kingdoms. If ever you, or any of that land, received the Gospel in truth (as I am confident you and they did), there is here a great departure from that faith, and our sufferings are not yet at an end. However, I dare testify and die for it, that once Christ was revealed in the power of His excellency and glory to the saints there, and in Scotland, of which I was a witness. I pray God that none deceive you, or take the crown from you. Hell, or the gates of hell, cannot ravel, spoil, nor undo what Christ has once done among you. It may be that I am incapable of new light, and cannot receive that spirit of which some vainly boast; but that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled” (John i. 1), even the word of life,” has been declared to you. Thousands of thousands, walking in that light and that good old way, have gone to heaven, and are now before the throne. Truth is only one, and has no numbers. Christ and Antichrist are both now in the camp, and are come to open blows. Christs poor ship sails in the sea of blood; the passengers are so sea-sick of a high fever, that they do not recognise one another. Christ, I hope, will bring the broken ship to land. I had rather swim for life and death on an old plank, or a broken board, to land with Christ, than enjoy the rotten peace we have had before. It is likely  the Lord will take a severe course with us, to cause the children of the family to agree together. I conceive that Christ ha a great design of free grace to these lands; but His wheels must move over mountains and rocks. He never yet wooed a bride on earth, but in blood, in fire, and in the wilderness. A cross of our own choosing, honeyed and sugared with consolations, we cannot have. I do not think  much of a cross when all the children of the house weep with me and for me; and to suffer when we enjoy the communion of the saints is not much; but it is hard when saints rejoice in the suffering of saints, and redeemed ones hurt (yes, even go near to hate) redeemed ones.page667image3523271632
   I confess I imagined there had been no more such trouble on earth, or in the world, as that one elect angel should fight against another; but, for contempt of the communion of saints, we have need of new-born crosses, hardly ever heard of before. The saints are not Christ: there is no misjudging in Him; there is much in us; and a doubt it is, if we shall have fully one heart till we shall enjoy one heaven. Our star-light hides us from ourselves, and hides us from one another, and Christ from us all. But He will not be hidden from us. I will wish that all the sons of our Father in that land were of one mind, and that they are not shaken nor moved from the truth once received. Christ was in that Gospel, and Christ is the same now that He was in The Bishops’ time. That Gospel cannot sink; it will make you free, and bear you out. Christ, the subject of it, is the chosen of God; and cometh from Bozrah, with clothes dyed in blood. Ireland and Scotland both must be His field, in which He will feed and gather lilies. Suppose (which yet is impossible) that some had an eternity of Christ in Ireland, and a sweet summer of the Gospel, and a feast of fat things for evermore in Ireland, and that one should never come to heaven, it should be a desirable life! The Kings ointment, Christs perfume, His apples of love, His ointments, even down in this lower house of clay, are a choice heaven. Oh! what then is the King in His own land, where there is such a throne, so many Kings palaces, ten thousand thousands of crowns of glory that lack heads yet to fill them? Oh, so much leisure as will be there to sing! Oh, such a tree as grows there in the middle of that Paradise, where the inhabitants sing eternally under its branches! To look in at a window, and see the branches burdened with the apples of life, to be the last man that shall come in there, would be too much for me.
   I pray you to remember me to the Christians there; and remember our private covenant. Grace be with you.
   Your friend in the Lord Jesus,  S. R.

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