Saturday, September 21, 2019

Rutherford Revised (330)

330.To Mr. William Guthriewhen the army was at Stirling, after the defeat at Dunbar, and the godly in the West were falsely branded with intended compliance with the usurpers, about the time when those debates and that difference concerning the Public Resolutions arose.   From St. Andrews 

[William Guthrie was born at Pitforthy, in the shire of Angus, in the year 1620. He was the eldest son of the Laird of Pitforthy, a cadet of the old family of Guthrie, and by his mothers side was descended from the ancient house of Easter-Ogle. He attended the
literary and philosophical classes at the University of St. Andrews, and studied theology under Rutherford. On the 7th of November 1644, he was ordained minister of Fenwick. There he continued successfully to discharge his ministry till the 24th of July 1664, when, for nonconformity, he was suspended from and discharged to exercise his ministry, and his church declared vacant, by order of Bishop Burnet. He died at Brechin on the 10th of October 1665.]

(The battle was fought between Cromwell and the Scots, and the latter were completely defeated, with great loss. It was fought on the 3rd September 1650.
  After the battle of Dunbar, it was proposed that the restraints by which such as had, by various Acts of Parliament, been excluded from places of power and trust in the army and state, on account of their Malignancy, or opposition to the Covenant and liberties of the nation, should be removed. This was at first refused; but after the defeat at Hamilton, the Commission agreed to certain resolutions, for admitting into places of power and trust in the Army and State such as had been excluded by the Acts of Parliament referred to. These were called Public Resolutions,” and they became a source of much dissension in the church. At last they were formally approved of by the General Assembly held in July 1651, at St. Andrews, and adjourned to Dundee. At the last sitting at St. Andrews, Rutherford, who was strongly opposed to the Resolutions, gave in a protestation against the lawfulness of that Assembly. It was subscribed by twenty-one besides himself. Hence those opposed to the Public Resolutions were called Protesters,” and those friendly to them, Resolutioners.”)

Reverend Brother,I did not dream of such shortness of breath, and fainting in the way towards our country. I thought that I had no more to do than die in my nest, and bow down my sinful head, and let Him put on the crown, and so end. I have suffered much; but this is the thickest darkness, and the narrowest step of the way I have yet trodden. I see more suffering yet behind, and, I fear, from the keepers of the vine. Let me obtain from you, that you would urge upon the Lords people that they would stand far off from these merchants of souls who have come in amongst you. If the way revealed in the word be that way, we then know that these traders in souls and traffickers do not show the way of salvation. Alas, alas! poor I am utterly lost, my share of heaven is gone, and my hope is poor; I am perished, and I am cut off from the Lord, if before out of the way! But I dare not judge kind Christ; for, if it may be but permitted (with reverence to His greatness and highness  it is spoken), I will, before witnesses, produce His own hand that He said, This is the way, walk in it.” And He cannot except against His own seal. I profess that I am almost broken and a little sleepy, and would rather put off this body. But this is my weakness, who would be under the shadow and shade of that Good Land, completely to be outside the reach and blast of that terrible One. But I am a fool: there is no-one that can overbid, or take my lodging over my head, since Christ has taken it for me.
Dear brother, help me, and get me the help of their prayers who are with you in whom is my delight. You are much suspected of intended compliance; I mean, not of you only, but of all the people of God with you. It is but a poor thing the fulfilling of my joy; but let me swear all the serious seekers of His face, His secret sealed ones, by the strongest consolations of the Spirit, by the gentleness of Jesus Christ, that Plant of Renown, by your last accounts and appearing before God, when the White Throne shall be set up, do notbe not deceived with their fair words. Though my spirit is astonished at the cunning distinctions which are found out in the matters of the Covenant, that help may be had against these men; yet my heart trembles to entertain the least thought of joining with those deceivers.
   Grace, grace be with you. Amen.
      Your own brother, in our common Lord and Saviour,  
 S. R.

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