Monday, September 23, 2019

Rutherford Revised (333)

333. To the much honoured and truly worthy Colonel Gilbert Ker when he was taken prisoner            From St. Andrews 14 May 1651

(See letters 328,329, 331,332)

Much Honoured and Worthy Sir,I have heard of your continued captivity in England, as well as in this troubled land. But, go where you want you cannot go from under your Shadow, which is broader than many kingdoms. You change lodging and countries; but the same Lord is before you, if you were carried away captive to the other side of the sun, or as far as the rising of the morning star. It is spoken to your mother (who has yet received no bill of divorce), which was written to Judah, Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in labour: for you will now go forth out of the city, and you will live in the field, and you will go even to Babylon; there you will be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem you from the hand of your enemies” (Micah 4: 10). England shall be accountable for you, to pay you back: I will say to the north, Give up;’ and to the south, Keep not back’” (Isa. 43: 6). It is a sermon that flesh and blood laughs at: Prophesy on these dry bones, and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!’” It is a preaching to the cold grave: Thus says the Lord to the bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you will live; and I will lay muscless upon you, and bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you will live’” (Ezek. 37:4-6). And the sea gave up the dead that were in it” (Rev 20:13). Berwick must give back the Scottish captives, and Colonel Gilbert Ker with them. For thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans whose cry is in the ships” (Isa 43:14). If any of yours were driven out to the utmost parts of heaven, from there will the Lord your God gather you, and from there will He fetch you” (Deut 30:4). Thus says the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will save My people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them, and they will live in the middle of Jerusalem, and they will all be My people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness” (Zech. 8:7, 8). Sir, ye are both booked by the Lord who writes up the people (Ps. 87:5, 6), and counted to the Lord as one of the house and stock (Ps. 22:30). Fear not, faint not; all your hairs are numbered.page686image3527072832
   It is the desire of the people of God, that, as your imprisonment up now to has been exemplary to the strengthening of the feeble and to the stopping of the mouth of the enemy, without any declining to the right or left hand; so your sufferings in the place you now go to, may be (as we are confident in the Lord of you, and in humility boast of His grace in you) savoury, convincing, and like to this honourable cause, that will prevail in Britain, contrary to all the machinations and counsels of devils and men. And though there were no other ink in the pen I now write with but some dewing of my last cooling blood, this I purpose (His grace, whose I am, enabling me) to stand to. Sir, we desire to adore no instruments; yet we conceive the shining and rays of grace from the Fountain, Jesus Christ, the fulness of the Godhead, bestowed on sinful men, hold forth the good thoughts of Christ to this poor land, whose multiplied graves, and whose souls under the altar, killed by Sectaries and evil men, cry aloud to heaven.
   I see nothing, Sir, if the Lord is not near (though I dare not say how soon) to awake for the year of Zions controversy. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven” (Isa. 34 5). Behold, it shall come down upon England, and on the residue of His enemies in Scotland. Wo is me for England! That land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness; that pleasant land shall be a wilderness, and the dust of their land pitch; a judgment upon their walled towns, their pleasant fields, their strong ships, etc., if they do not repent.
   You have not, I conceive, seen such searching and trying times as now these are. And yet the question will be drawn to a more narrow state, and crowds will yet leave the cause; for we took all into the covenant that offered to build with us. But Christ must have but a small remnant (few nobles, if any; few ministers; few professors), though our way stands unchanged. By honour and dishonour, by good report and evil report: as deceivers and yet true; as unknown, yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed” (2 Cor. 6:8, 9). Neither is this your condition alone, but the experienced lot of all the saints that have gone before you. It is one and the same cross of Christ; but there are various faces and differing circumstances in the same remnant (Col. 1: 24), the suf- ferings of Christ and yours. Sir, to be delivered to soldiers, and in captivity, looks like His suffering of whom Isaiah says, He was taken from prison, and from judgment” (Isa. 53: 8): ye, and taken bound (John 18:12). When the cause is the truth of God, the lustre and face of suffering is so much the more lovely that it has the hue and colour of Christs sufferings, who endured contradiction of sinners and despised the shame. Oh it is a great word, Christ shamed, and Christ abased!” But thus was the Head, and so are the members, dealt with in the world; and truly anything of Christ, even the worst of Him (to speak so), His reproach and shame, are lovely. Though superstitious love to the material cross He suffered upon be foolish, and doting upon the holy grave be cursed idolatry; yet is there a communion with Him in His sufferings most desirable. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christs sufferings” (1 Pet. 4:13): in which sense, the cup that His lip touched has the sweeter taste, even though death were in it; the grave, because He did lie in it, is so much the softer and the more refreshing a bed of rest; and that part of the sky and clouds that the Beloved shall break through, and come to judgment, is as lovely a piece of the created heaven as any is, if we may love the ground He goes on the better. But all this is to be understood in a spiritual

   Worthy Sir, I mind you to the Hearer of prayer. Oh help me in that kind.manner. The Lord calls you, Sir, upon whom the Spirit of God and His glory rests, to put your soulAmen to this dispensation; and require of us, that our desires follow the now-declared decree of God concerning the desolation of our sinful land, so many ways guilty of a despised Gospel, and a broken Covenant; and that with all submission. Certainly, no man has failed more in this thing, than he who writes to you. For I have brought my health into great risk, and tormented my spirit with excessive grief, for our present provocations, and the divisions of our church; and I see it is a challenging of, and a bold pleading against, Him upon whose shoulder the government is (Isa. 22:22). The Father has put a glorious trust on Christ: And I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place, and He will be for a glorious throne to His Fathers house; and they will hang on Him all the glory of His Fathers house, the offspring and the issue, all containers of small quantity, from the cups even to all the flagons” (Isa. 22:23, 24). Our unbelieving worries do so quarrel at the prosperity of enemies in an evil cause, that we wrestle with defeats, spoiling, captivity of the godly, killing of His people, the wasting of our land, starving and famishing of the kingdom, which is worse than the sword. But this is a sinful contradicting of the Lords revealed decree. His wisdom says, Spoiling and desolation is best for Scotland;” and we say,Not,” and so accuse Christ of misgovernment, and of not being true to the trust put upon Him. But since He does not drag the government at His heels, but has it upon His shoulder, and since the Nail fastened in a sure place cannot be broken, nor can the smallest container fail to find sweet security in dependence upon Him, since all the weight of heaven and earth, of redeemed saints and confirmed angels, is upon His shoulder, I am a fool, and brutish to imagine that I can add anything to Christs special care of and tenderness to His people. He who keeps the basins and knives of His house, and brings the conaners again to the second temple (Ezra 1:810), must have a more tender care of His redeemed ones than of a spoon, or of Peters old shoes (Acts 12:8), which yet must not be lost in His captivity. Oh for grace to suffer Christ to teach His own minors and young heirs! But we cannot endure to be under the actings of His government; we love too much to be our own. Oh, how sweet to be wholly Christs, and wholly in Christ! to be out of the creatures owning, and made complete in Christ! to live by faith in Christ, and to be, once for all, clothed with the uncreated majesty and glory of the Son of God, in which He makes all His friends and followers sharers! to dwell in Immanuels high and blessed land, and live in that sweetest air where no wind blows but the breathings of the Holy Ghost, no seas nor floods flow but the pure water of life, that proceeds from under the throne and from the Lamb! no planting but the Tree of Life that yields twelve manner of fruits every month! What do we here but sin and suffer? Oh, when shall the night be gone, the shadows flee away, and the morning of that long, long day, without cloud or night, dawn? The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” Oh, when shall the Lambs wife be ready, and the Bridegroom say, Come!page689image3528126544
   The Spirit of Jesus be with your spirit. Yours, in his only Lord Jesus,  S. R.

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