Monday, September 23, 2019

Rutherford Revised (342)

342.To the  Right Honourable and trulyworthy Colonel Gilbert Ker   From St. Andrews 27 May 1653

Much Honoured in the Lord,How it is with you may appear by your letters to some with us; but it is the complaint of not a few of such as were in Christ before me, that most of us inhabit and dwell in a parched land. The people of the Lord are like a land not rained upon. Though some dare not deny that this is the garden of the Beloved, and the vineyard that the Lord doth keep and water every moment, yet, oh! where are the sometime life giving breathings and influences from heaven that have refreshed His hidden ones?
The causes of His withdrawings are unknown to us. One thing cannot be denied, but that ways of high sovereignty and dominion of grace are far out of the sight of angels and men; yes, and so above the fixed way of free promises (such as, “Do this, and He will breathe and blow upon His garden), as He has put out a declaration to His hidden ones in Scotland, that smarting, wrestlings, prayings, complaining, gracious missing, cannot earn the visits from on high, nor fetch down showers upon the desert. It may be, when we are saying in our graves, Our bones are dry, and our hope gone,” that temporal and spiritual deliverance may come both together; and that He will cause us feel, both the one way and the other, the good of His reign who shortly comes to the throne. He will come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth.” “In His days will the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endures.” “He will deliver the needy when he cries; the poor also, and him that has no helper.” “He will redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious will their blood be in His sight” (Ps. 72 616). And though we cannot pray home a sweet season that way, yet Christ must bring summer with Him when He comes. There will be an handful of corn in the earth on the top of the mountains; the fruit of which shall shake like Lebanon.
    I do not know if I apply prophecies as I would, rather than as they are. When the one Shepherd is set over them, even He who will stand (oh how much do we lie!) and feed in the strength of the Lord, the isles (and this the greatest of them), which wait for His law, are to look for that;And I will make them, and the places round about My hill, a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season: there shall be showers of blessing” (Ezek. 34:26). How desirable must every drop of such a shower be! And, I will be as the dew to Israel: he will grow as the lily, and spread his roots as Lebanon. His branches will spread, and his beauty will be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon” (Hosea 14:5, 6). And, Instead of the thorn will come up the fir-tree, and instead of the thorn will come up the myrtle-tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off” (Isa. lv. 13). I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah-tree, and the oil-tree” (Isa. 41:19). I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on yout offspring.” And it will be no lost labour or fruitless husbandry; They will spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water-courses” (Isa. 44:3, 4). But when this shall be in Scotland (and it must be) is easier to
believe than prophesy; and quietly to hope and sit still (for that is yet our strength), than to quarrel with Him, that the wheels of this chariot move slowly.
   Yet this can hardly say anything to us who do so much please ourselves in our deadness, and are almost gone from godly thirst and missing too, being half-satisfied with our witheredness. No doubt we have spoiled His influences, and have not seconded nor smiled upon His actings upon us. Nor have we been much of his kind who does eight times breathe out that suit, “Enliven me, enliven me” (Ps. 119.). We do much want to be acted on by the Lord as blocks and stones; and so prodigal are we of His motions, as if they were no better to be husbanded. But it is good that it is not in our power to blast and undo His breathings; His wind blows where He wills.  If we could only lean, and cast a quiet spirit under the dewings and showerings of Him that every moment waters His vineyard, how happy and blessed would we be! We neither open nor discern His knocking, nor do we feel His hand put in through the keyhole, nor can we give any spiritual account of the walkings and motions of Christ,when He stands behind the wall, when He comes skipping over the mountains, when He comes to His garden and feasts, when He feeds among the lilies, when His ointment gives out a smell, when He knocks and withdraws, and is nowhere to be found. Oh, how little a portion of God do we see! How little we study God! How rarely do we read God, or are versed in the lively apprehensions of that great unknown All in All, the glorious Godhead, and the Godhead revealed in Christ! We dwell far from the well, and complain only dryly of our dryness and dulness. We are rather dry than thirsty.
   Sir, there may be artificial pride in this humility; but for me, I neither know what He is, nor His Sons name, nor where He lives. I hear a report of Christ great enough, and that is all. Oh! what is nearness to Him? What is that, to be in God,” to dwell in God? What a house must that be! (1 John 4:13). How far are some from their house and home? how ill acquainted with the rooms, mansions, safety, and sweetness of holy security to be found in God! Oh, what estrangement! what wandering! what frequent conversing with self and the creature! Is not here the bed shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it? and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it?” (Isa. 28:20). When shall we attain to a living in only, only God! and be cut off from all the poor created nothings, the painted shadow-beings of yesterday, which, an hour and less before creation, were dark waste negatives and empty nothings, and should so have been for eternity, had the Lord suffered them to lie there for ever! It is He, the great He, who sits upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants of it are as grasshoppers, that stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to live in, that brings the princes to nothing, and makes the judges of the earth as vanity” (Isa. 40
;22, 23). And He, the only He, and there is no He beside Him (Isa. 43:10, 11, 1325). Men or angels, they are not any of them a he to Him! But a living, breathing, dying nothing is man at his best, a sick clay-vanity; and the angel, to Him, but a more excellent, living and understanding nothing. Yet we live at a distance from Him; and we die and wither when we are out of God. Oh, if we knew how nothing we are without Him! Sir, we desire to mind your imprisonment; and are cheered and refreshed that we hear of any of His manifestations, and His outgoings, which are prepared as the morning to you. We hope that we need not desire you not to faint, and are confident that the anointing that stays in you teaches you so much. Wait on the speaking vision: Behold, He comes! behold,
His reward is with Him, and His work before Him!” (Isa. 40:10).
The only wise God strengthen you with all might, according to His

glorious power, to all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness. 
   Yours, at all observance, in the Lord Jesus, S. R.

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