==================================== Samuel Rutherford A Selection from his Letters ==================================== Contents Foreword 1 I. To LADY KENMURE, at a time of illness and spiritual depression 1 II. To LADY KENMURE, on the occasion of the death of her infant daughter 1 III. To MARION MCNAUGHT, when his wife was ill 1 IV. To LADY KENMURE 2 V. To LADY KENMURE 2 VI. To MARION MCNAUGHT, when persecuted for her principles 2 VII. To LADY KENMURE 2 VIII. To JOHN KENNEDY, on his deliverance from shipwreck 2 IX. To LADY KENMURE, on the perils of rank and prosperity 2 X. To LADY KENMURE, on the death of her husband 2 XI. To lady KENMURE, when he expected to be removed from Anwoth 2 XII. To lady KENMURE, on the eve of his banishment to Aberdeen 3 XIII. To LADY KENMURE 3 XIV. To LADY KENMURE 3 XV To LADY BOYD 3 XVI. To MR ROBERT BLAIR 3 XVII. To ROBERT GORDON OF KNOCKBREX 3 XVIII. To ALEXANDER GORDON OF EARLSTON 3 XIX. To LADY KENMURE 3 XX. To lady KENMURE 3 XXI. To MR WILLIAM DALGLEISH, minister of the Gospel 4 XXII. To MR HUGH MACKAIL, minister of the Gospel at Irvine 4 XXIII. To JOHN EWART, Bailie of Kirkcudbright 4 XXIV. To WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE 4 XXV. To MR GEORGE GILLESPIE 4 XXVI. To JOHN GORDON OF RUSSO in the parish of Anwoth 4 XXVII. To LADY HALHILL 4 XXVIII. To PATRICK CARSEN 4 XXIX. To JOHN STUART, Provost of Aye 4 XXX. To JOIN STUART, Provost of Ayr 4 XXXI. To NINIAN MURE, a parishioner 4 XXXII To JOHN GORDON OF CARDONESS, the elder 5 XXXIII. To JOHN CLARK, a parishioner 5 XXXIV. To JOHN GORDON OF CARDONESS, the younger 5 XXXV. To JOHN FULLERTON of Carleton in Galloway 5 XXXVI. To JOHN GORDON OF CARDONESS, the elder 5 XXXVII. To EARLSTON, the younger 5 XXXVIII. To MR WILLIAM DALGLEISH 5 XXXIX. To MARION MCNAUGHT 5 XL. To ROBERT STEWART, on his decision for Christ 6 XLI. To LADY GAITGIRTH 6 XLII. To THE REV.JOHN FERGUSON OF OCHILTREE 6 XLIII. To ROBERT BROWN OF CARSLUTH 6 XLIV. To CASSIN CARRIE 6 XLV. To JOHN LENNOX, Laird of Catty 6 XLVI. To JOHN GORDON OF CARDONESS, the younger 6 XLVII. To WILLIAM GORDON 6 XLVIII. To LADY KENMURE 6 XLIX. To MRS STUART, wife of the Provost of Aye 6 L. To MR JAMES FLEMING 7 Ll. To MR FULK ELLIS 7 LII. To MR MATTHEW MOWAT, minister of Kilmarnock 7 LIII. To JAMES BAUTIE, theological student 7 LIV. To MR ROBERT BLAIR 7 LV. To ROBERT LENNOX OF DISDOVE, near Gatehouse 7 LVI. To EARLSTON, the younger 7 LVII. To LADY BOYD 7 LVIII. To LADY ROBERT LAND 8 LIX. To THE HONORABLE, REVEREND, AND WELL-BELOVED PROFESSORS OF CHRIST AND HIS TRUTH IN SINCERITY, IN IRELAND 8 LX. To LADY KENMURE, on the death of her son, John, second Viscount Kenmure 8 LXI. To MR JAMES WILSON 8 LXII. To LADY BOYD 8 LXIII. To LADY FINGASK 8 LXIV. To MR DAVID DICKSON, on the death of his son 8 LXV. To LADY BOYD, on the loss of several friends 9 LXVI. To MR. TAYLOR, on her son's death 9 LXVII. To BARBARA HAMILTON 9 LXVIII. To A CHRISTIAN BROTHER, on the death of his daughter 9 LXIX. To A CHRISTIAN GENTLEWOMAN, on her death-bed 9 LXX. To LADY KENMURE 9 LXXI. To LADY ARDROSS 9 Glossary 9 Foreword Samuel Rutherfurd nearly ended his days on a scaffold. But he was already on his deathbed when he was summoned to appear at the bar of the Scottish House to answer a charge of treason. 'Tell them,' he said to the officers, 'that I have a summons already from a superior Judge and indicator, and I behave to answer my first summons; and see your day arrives I shall be where few kings and great folk come.' That higher summons he answered on March 29, 1661. Charles II had returned to his throne largely by the assistance of the Presbyterians of England and Scotland, after the exchange of solemn assurances of religious and political liberty and tolerance. But once in the seat of power again Charles and his government showed their true colours. A carefully packed Scottish Parliaments 'the Drunken Parliament' - assembled on New Year's Day, 1661. One of its actions was to mark for execution four of the outstanding leaders of the Covenantors, among whom was Rutherfurd, then Principal of New College and Rector of the University of St. Andrew. Not the least of his crimes was the authorship of a then famous book, Lex Rex, 'the Law, the King', a denunciation of despotism and a plea for constitutional monarchy. Its standpoint is today a democratic commonplace, but it was then adjudged as ' full of seditious and treasonable matter'. The book was publicly burned at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh and before New College in St. Andrew. It was then that Parliament sent for its author. Born in 1600 at Jedburgh and graduated at Edinburgh in 1621, Rutherfurd became two years later the very youthful Professor of Humanity, or Latin, in the University. In 1627 he settled as parish minister at Anwoth in Galloway. Coming into conflict with the authorities he was in 1636 deprived of his ministerial functions and banished to Aberdeen; where, though he was not imprisoned, he found the experience irksome in the extreme. In 1638, however, the Kirk Assembly swept away the bishops and restored Rutherfurd to his parish, and in the following year he was appointed Professor of Divinity at St. Andrew. From 1643 to 1647 he took an important part in the work of the Westminster Assembly of divines as one of the Scottish Commissioners. Most of the letters, 220 out of 365, were written during his exile in Aberdeen. It is, perhaps, not surprising that they catch him often in moods of depression, grieving over his absent friends and his 'dumb Sabbaths'. But there are also times when he has been caught into the seventh heaven and tries to tell of unutterable things. Yet he is constantly reminding himself and his correspondents that the reality of the nearness and love of Christ is not to be measured by our feelings. For the rest, the letters are here to speak for themselves. I have not made an anthology of striking passages picked out of the context, but have preferred a representative selection of the letters themselves, though few are reproduced quite completely. The omissions are partly to avoid repetition: writing to several people in much the same condition at about the same time Rutherfurd naturally gives much the same counsel. Partly the omitted sentences are concerned with the ecclesiastical, theological and political argumentation of his day, and would either be of little interest or would take too much explanation before they could be made intelligible to most of us. The guiding aim has been to select what might be of interest and practically helpful to present-day readers. In some instances I have given information about the correspondents, but of many little is known and often that little would not be very illuminating. So far as the date is ascertainable the letters are arranged chronologically. Rutherfurd's varied and pungent vocabulary is a delight, but it presents somewhat of a problem. The usage of some words, such as 'professor' and 'painful', has changed since the seventeenth century, and the unwary may be misled. Many more of his words have gone out of use altogether and some are not even in an ordinary dictionary. Not a few are familiar only to the Scot. So I have done what I could by the provision of a Glossary. It may be noted, however, that Rutherfurd follows the characteristic practice of much sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writing, including the Book of Common Prayer and Shakespeare, of frequently using synonymous words together: as 'niffer and exchange', 'I dow not, I cannot', 'wale and choose'. It is thus often possible to make a good guess at the meaning of an unfamiliar word. Selections from the letters have frequently been printed, often in a very bowdlerized version. An admirable complete edition was issued by Dr Andrew Boner in 1863, and was several times reprinted. Samuel Rutherfurd and Some of his Correspondents, by Dr Alexander White (1894) is also to be commended to those who can find a copy. HUGH MARTIN I. To LADY KENMURE, at a time of illness and spiritual depression Lady Jane Campbell, Viscountess of Kenmure, was the third daughter of Archibald Campbell, seventh Earl of Argyle, and sister to the Marquis of Argyle who was beheaded in 1661. She was remarkable for ability and Christian devotion, and for her generous help to those who suffered for conscience' sake. She had many troubles of her own, which are reflected in these letters. She lost two daughters in infancy and her husband died in 1634. Her son, who succeeded to the title, also died before attaining his majority, in 1649. The last of Rutherfurd's letters to her is dated in 1661, just after the execution of her brother. She herself lived to a great age, though suffering all her life from bad health. Forty-seven letters to her from Rutherfurd have been preserved, and sixteen of them are quoted in this selection. See below, numbers II, IV, V, VII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XIX, XX, XLVIII, LX, LXX. MADAM, - All dutiful obedience in the Lord remembered. I have heard of your Ladyship's infirmity and sickness with grief; yet I trust ye have learned to say, 'It is the Lord, let Him do whatsoever seemeth good in His eyes.' For there be many Christians most like unto young sailors, who think the shore and the whole land doth move, when the ship and they themselves are moved; just so, not a few do imagine that God moveth and saileth and changeth places, because their giddy souls are under sail, and subject to alteration, to ebbing and flowing. But 'the foundation of the Lord abideth sure'. God knoweth that ye are His own. Wrestle, fight, go forward, watch, fear, believe, pray; and then ye have the infallible symptoms of one of the elect of Christ within you. Ye have now, Madam, a sickness before you; and also after that a death. Gather then now food for the journey. God give you eyes to see through sickness and death, and to see something beyond death. Now, I believe ye have only these two shallow brooks, sickness and death, to pass through; and ye have also a promise that Christ shall do more than meet you, even that He shall come Himself, and go with you foot for foot, yea and bear you in His arms. O then! O then! for the joy that is set before you; for the love of the Man (who is also 'God over all, blessed forever') that is standing on the shore to welcome you, run your race with patience. The Lord go with you. Your Lord will not have you, nor any of His servants, to exchange for the worse. Death in itself includeth both the death of the soul and the death of the body; but to God's children the bounds and the limits of death are abridged and drawn into a more narrow compass. So that when ye die, a piece of death shall only seize upon you, or the least part of you shall die, and that is the dissolution of the body; for in Christ ye are delivered from the second death; and, therefore, as one born of God, commit not sin (although ye cannot live and not sin), and that serpent shall but eat your earthly part. As for your soul, it is above the law of death. But it is fearful and dangerous to be a debtor and servant to sin; for the count of sin ye will not be able to make good before God, except Christ both count and pay for you. I trust also, Madam, that ye will be careful to present to the Lord the present estate of this decaying kirk. For what shall be concluded in Parliament anent her, the Lord knoweth. Stir up your husband, your brother, and all with whom you are in favour and credit, to stand upon the Lord's side against Baal. I have good hope your husband loveth the peace and prosperity of Zion: the peace of God be upon him. Thus, not willing to weary your Ladyship farther, I commend you, now and always, to the grace and mercy of that God who is able to keep you, that you fall not. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit. ANWOTH, July 27, 1628 II. To LADY KENMURE, on the occasion of the death of her infant daughter MADAM, - Saluting your Ladyship with grace and mercy from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. I was sorry, at my departure, leaving your Ladyship in grief, and would be still grieved at it if I were not assured that ye have one with you in the furnace whose visage is like unto the Son of God. I am glad that ye have been acquainted from your youth with the wrestlings of God, knowing that if ye were not dear to God, and if your health did not require so much of Him, He would not spend so much physic upon you. All the brethren and sisters of Christ must be conform to His image and copy in suffering (Rom. 8.29). And some do more vividly resemble the copy than others. Think, Madam, that it is a part of your glory to be enrolled among those whom one of the elders pointed out to John, 'These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' Ye have lost a child: nay she is not lost to you who is found to Christ. She is not sent away, but only sent before, like unto a star, which going out of our sight doth not die and vanish, but shineth in another hemisphere. We see her not, yet she doth shine in another country. If her glass was but a short hour, what she wanteth of time that she hath gotten of eternity; and ye have to rejoice that ye have now some plenishing up in heaven. Build your nest upon no tree here; for ye see God hath sold the forest to death; and every tree whereupon we would rest is ready to be cut down, to the end we may fly and mount up, and build upon the Rock, and dwell in the holes of the Rock. What ye love besides Jesus, your husband, is an adulterous lover. Now it is God's special blessing to Judah, that He will not let her find her paths in following her strange lovers. 'Therefore, behold I will hedge up thy way with thorns and make a wall that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them' (Hos. 2.6-7). 0 thrice happy Judas, when God buildeth a double stone wall betwixt her and the fire of hell! The world, and the things of the world, Madam, is the lover ye naturally affect beside your own husband Christ. The hedge of thorns and the wall which God buildeth in your way, to hinder you from this lover, is the thorny hedge of daily grief, loss of children, weakness of body, iniquity of the time, uncertainty of estate, lack of worldly comfort, fear of God's anger for old unrepented-of sins. What lose ye, if God twist and plait the hedge daily thicker? God be blessed, the Lord will not let you find your paths. Return to your first husband. Do not weary, neither think that death walketh towards you with a slow pace. Ye must be riper ere ye be shaken. Your days are no longer than Job's, that were 'swifter than a post, and passed away as the ships of desire, and as the eagle that hasteth for the prey' (9, 25, 26, margin). There is less sand in your glass now than there was yesternight. This span-length of ever-posting time will soon be ended. But the greater is the mercy of God, the more years ye get to advise, upon what terms, and upon what conditions, ye cast your soul in the huge gulf of never-ending eternity. The Lord hath told you what ye should be doing till He come; 'wait and hasten (saith Peter,) for the coming of the Lord'; all is night that is here, in respect of ignorance and daily ensuing troubles, one always making way to another, as the ninth wave of the sea to the tenth; therefore sigh and long for the dawning of that morning, and the breaking of that day of the coming of the Son of man, when the shadows shall flee away. Persuade yourself the King is coming; read His letter sent before Him, 'Behold, I come quickly.' Wait with the wearied night-watch for the breaking of the eastern sky, and think that you have not a morrow. I am loath to weary you; show yourself a Christian, by suffering without murmuring; - in patience possess your soul: they lose nothing who gain Christ. I commend you to the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus. ANWOTH, Jan, 15, 1629 III. To MARION MCNAUGHT, when his wife was ill Marion McNaught, a niece of Viscount Kenmure, married William Fullerton, Provost of Kirkcudbright. She was a close and lifelong friend of Rutherfurd. The manner in which he discusses with her the most profound questions of Christian doctrine and personal religion, as well as the tangled affairs of Church and State, are sufficient evidence of her outstanding gifts and graces. Forty-five letters to her have survived. Letters VI and XXXIX below are also to her. LOVING AND DEAR SISTER, - If ever you would pleasure me, entreat the Lord for me, now when I am so comfortless, and so full of heaviness, that I am not able to stand under the burthen any longer. The Almighty hath doubled His stripes upon me, for my wife is so sore tormented night and day, that I have wondered why the Lord tarrieth so long. My life is bitter unto me, and I fear the Lord be my contrair party. It is (as I now know by experience) hard to keep sight of God in a storm, especially when He hides Himself, for the trial of His children. If He would be pleased to remove His hand, I have a purpose to seek Him more than I have done. Happy are they that can win away with their soul. I am afraid of His judgments. I bless my God that there is a death, and a heaven. I would weary to begin again to be a Christian, so bitter is (continued in part 2...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01: rutle-01.txt .