(Rutherford, Selected letters. part 3) therefore, now ware your whole love upon Him; He alone is a suitable object for your love and all the affections of your soul. God has dried up one channel of your love by the removal of your husband. Let now that speat run upon Christ. And I dare say that God's hammering of you from your youth is only to make you a fair carved stone in the high upper temple of the New Jerusalem. Your Lord never thought this world's vain painted glory a gift worthy of you; and therefore would not bestow it on you, because He is to propane you with a better portion. Let the movable go; the inheritance is yours. Ye are a child of the house, and joy is laid up for you, it is long in coming, but not the worse for that. I am now expecting to see, and that with joy and comfort, that which I hoped of you since I knew you fully; even that ye have laid such strength upon the Holy One of Israel, that ye defy troubles, and that your soul is a castle that may be besieged, but cannot be taken. And withal consider how in all these trials (and truly they have been many) your Lord has been loosing you at the root from perishing things, and hunting after you to grip your soul. Madam, for the Son of God's sake, let Him not miss His grip, but stay and abide in the love of God, as Jude saith (Jude 21). Now. Madam, I hope your Ladyship will take these lines in good part; and wherein I have fallen short and failed to your Ladyship, in not evidencing what I was obliged to your more-than-undeserved love and respect, I request for a full pardon for it. Again, my dear and noble lady, let me beseech you to lift up your head, for the day of your redemption draweth near. And remember, that star that shined in Galloway is now shining in another world. Now I pray that God may answer, in His own style, to your soul, and that He may be to you the God of all consolations. ANWOTH, Sept. 14, 1634 XI. To lady KENMURE, when he expected to be removed from Anwoth MAIDAM, - My humble obedience in the Lord remembered. Know it has pleased the Lord to let me see, by all appearance, that my labours in God's house here are at an end; and I must now learn to suffer, in the which I am a dull scholar. By a strange providence, some of my papers, anent the corruptions of this time, are come to the King's hand. I know, by the wise and well-affected I shall be censured as not wise nor circumspect enough; but it is ordinary, that that should be a part of the cross of those who suffer for Him. Yet I love and pardon the instrument; I would commit my life to him, howbeit by him this has befallen me. But I look higher than to him. I make no question of your Ladyship's love and care to do what ye can for my help, and am persuaded that, in my adversities, your Ladyship will wish me well. I seek no other thing but that my Lord may be honored by me in giving a testimony. I was willing to do Him more service; but seeing He will have no more of my labours, and this land will thrust me out, I pray for grace to learn to be acquaint with misery, if I may give so rough a name to such a mark of those who shall be crowned with Christ. And howbeit I will possibly prove a faint-hearted, unwise man in that, yet I dare say I intend otherwise; and I desire not to go on the lee-side or sunny side of religion, or to put truth betwixt me and a storm: my Savior did not do so for me, who in His suffering took the windy side of the hill. No farther; but the Son of God be with you. ANWOTH, Dec. 5, 1634 XII. To lady KENMURE, on the eve of his banishment to Aberdeen NOBLE AND ELECT LADY, - That honor that I have prayed for these sixteen years, with submission to my Lord's will, my kind Lord has now bestowed upon me, even to suffer for my royal and princely King Jesus, and for His kingly crown, and the freedom of His kingdom that His Father has given Him. The forbidden lords have sentenced me with deprivation, and confinement within the town of Aberdeen. I am charged in the King's name to enter against the 20th day of August next, and there to remain during the Kings pleasure, as they have given it out. Howbeit Christ's green cross, newly laid upon me, be somewhat heavy, while I call to mind the many fair days sweet and comfortable to my soul and to the souls of many others, and how young ones in Christ are plucked from the breast, and the inheritance of God laid waste; yet that cross of Christ is accompanied with sweet refreshments, with the joy of the Holy Ghost, with faith that the Lord hears the sighing of a prisoner, with undoubted hope (as sure as my Lord liveth) after this night to see daylight, and Christ's sky to clear up again upon me, and His poor kirk; and that in a strange land, among strange faces, He will give favor in the eyes of men to His poor oppressed servant, who dow not but love that lovely One, that princely One, Jesus, the Comforter of his soul. All would be well, if I were free of old challenges for guiltiness, and for neglect in my calling, and for speaking too little for my Well-beloved's crown, honor, and kingdom. This is my only exercise, that I fear I have done little good in my ministry. I apprehend no less than a judgment upon Galloway, and that the Lord shall visit this whole nation for the quarrel of the Covenant. But what can be laid upon me, or any the like of me, is too light for Christ. Christ dow bear more, and would bear death and burning quick, in His quick servants, even for this honorable cause that I now suffer for. Yet for all my complaints (and He knoweth that I dare not now dissemble), He was never sweeter and kinder than He is now. My dear worthy Lady, I give it to your Ladyship, under my own hand, my heart writing as well as my hand welcome, welcome, sweet, sweet and glorious cross of Christ; welcome, sweet Jesus, with Thy light cross. Thou hast now gained and gotten all my love from me; keep what Thou hast gotten! Only woe, woe is me, for my bereft flock, for the lambs of Jesus, that I fear shall be fed with dry breasts. But I spare now. Madam, I dare not promise to see your Ladyship, because of the little time I have allotted me; and I purpose to obey the King, who has power of my body; and rebellion to kings is unbeseeming Christ's ministers. Madam, bind me more (if more can be) to your Ladyship; and write thanks to your brother, my Lord of Lorn, for what he has done for me, a poor and unknown stranger to his Lordship. I shall pray for him and his house, while I live. Now, Madam, commending your Ladyship, and the sweet child, to the tender mercies of the Lord Jesus, and His good-will who dwelt in the Bush. EDINBURGH, July 28, 1636 XIII. To LADY KENMURE MY VERY HONORABLE AND DEAR LADY, - Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I cannot forget your Ladyship, and that sweet child. I desire to hear what the Lord is doing to you and him. To write to me were charity. I cannot but write to my friends, that Christ has trysted me in Aberdeen; and my adversaries have sent me here to be feasted with love banquets with my royal, high, high, and princely King Jesus. Madam, why should I smother Christ's honesty? I dare not conceal His goodness to my soul; He looked fremed and unco-like upon me when I came first here; but I believe Himself better than His looks. God forgive them that raise an ill report upon the sweet cross of Christ. It is but our weak and dim eyes, and our looking only to the black side that makes us mistake. Those who can take that crabbed tree handsomely upon their back, and fasten it on cannily, shall find it such a burden as wings unto a bird, or sails to a ship. Madam, rue not of your having chosen the better part. Upon my salvation, this is Christ's truth I now suffer for. If I found but cold comfort in my sufferings, I would not beguile others; I would have told you plainly. But the truth is, Christ's crown, His sceptre, and the freedom of His kingdom, is that which is now called in question; because we will not allow that Christ should pay tribute and be a vassal to the shields of the earth, therefore the sons of our mother are angry at us. But it becometh not Christ to hold any man's stirrup. It is little to see Christ in a book. They talk of Christ by the book and the tongue, and no more; but to come nigh Christ, and embrace Him, is another thing. Madam, I write to your honor, for your encouragement in that honorable profession Christ has honored you with. Ye have gotten the sunny side of the bras, and the best of Christ's good things; and howbeit you get strokes and sour looks from your Lord, yet believe His love more than your own feeling, for this world can take nothing from you that is truly yours, and death can do you no wrong. Your rock does not ebb and flow, but your sea. That which Christ has said, He will bide by it. Madam, I find folks here kind to me; but in the night, and under their breath. My Master's cause may not come to the crown of the causeway. Others are kind according to their fashion. Many think me a strange man, and my cause not good; but I care not much for man's thoughts or approbation. I think no shame of the cross. The preachers of the town pretend great love, but the prelates have added to the rest this gentle cruelty (for so they think of it), to discharge me of the pulpits of this town. The people murmur and cry out against it; and to speak truly (howbeit) Christ is most indulgent to me otherwise), my silence on the Lord's day keeps me from being exalted above measure, and from startling in the heat of my Lord's love. Some people affect me, for the which cause, I hear the preachers here purpose to have my confinement changed to another place; so cold is northern love; but Christ and I will bear it. I have wrestled long with this sad silence. I said, what aileth Christ at my service? And my soul has been at a pleading with Christ, and at yea and nay. But I will yield to Him, providing my suffering may preach more than my tongue did; for I give not Christ an inch but for twice as good again. In a word, I am a fool, and He is God. I will hold my peace hereafter. Let me hear from your Ladyship, and your dear child. Pray for the prisoner of Christ, who is mindful of your ladyship. ABERDEEN, Nov. 22, 1636 XIV. To LADY KENMURE MADAM, - Grace, mercy and peace be to you. I received your Ladyship's letter. It refreshed me in my heaviness. The blessing and prayer of a prisoner of Christ come upon you. Nothing grieveth me but that I eat my feasts my lone, and that I cannot edify His saints. My silence eats me up, but He has told me He thanketh me no less than if I were preaching daily. Your Ladyship wrote to me that ye are yet an ill scholar. Madam, ye must go in at heaven's gates, and your book in your hand, still learning. You have had your own large share of troubles, and a double portion; but it saith your Father counteth you not a bastard; full-begotten bairns are nurtured (Heb. 12.8). I long to hear of the child. I write the blessings of Christ's prisoner and the mercies of God to him. Madam, it is not long since I did write to your Ladyship that Christ is keeping mercy for you; and I bide by it still, and now I write it under my hand. Love Him dearly. Win in to see Him; there is in Him that which you never saw. He is aye nigh; He is a tree of life, green and blossoming, both summer and winter. There is a nick in Christianity, to the which whosoever cometh, they see and feel more than others can do. Now the blessing of our dearest Lord Jesus, and the blessing of him that is 'separate from his brethren', come upon you. Yours, at Aberdeen, the prisoner of Christ. ABERDEEN XV To LADY BOYD Lady Boyd, whose maiden name was Christian Hamilton, was the daughter of a distinguished lawyer and inherited his abilities and strength of character. She was a trusted friend of many of the leading ministers of the Church of Scotland in her day. When she died the whole Scottish Parliament suspended its sitting to attend her funeral. See also letters LVII, LXII and LXV. MADAM, - Grace, mercy and peace be unto you. The Lord has brought me to Aberdeen, where I see God in few. This town has been advised upon of purpose for me; it consisteth either of Papists, or men of Gallio's naughty faith. It is counted wisdom, in the most, not to countenance a confined minister; but I find Christ neither strange nor unkind; for I have found many faces smile upon me since I came hither. I am heavy and sad, considering what is betwixt the Lord and my soul, which none seeth but He. I find men have mistaken me; it would be no art (as I now see) to spin small and make hypocrisy a goodly web, and to go through the market as a saint among men, and yet steal quietly to hell, without observation: so easy is it to deceive men. I have disputed whether or no I ever knew anything of Christianity, save the letters of that name. Men see but as men, and they call ten twenty and twenty an hundred; but O! to be approved of God in the heart and in sincerity is not an ordinary mercy. My neglects while I had a pulpit, and other things whereof I am ashamed to speak, meet me now, so as God maketh an honest cross my daily sorrow. Like a fool, I believed, under suffering for Christ, that I myself should keep the key of Christ's treasures, and take out comforts when I listed, and eat and be fat: but I see now a sufferer for Christ will be made to know himself, and will be holden at the door as well as another poor sinner, and will be fain to eat with the bairns, and to take the by-board, and glad to do so. My blessing on the cross of Christ that has made me see this! Oh! if we could take pains for the kingdom of heaven! But we sit down upon some ordinary marks of God's children, thinking we have as much as will separate us from a reprobate; and thereupon we take the play and cry, 'Holiday!' and thus the devil casteth water on our fire, and blunteth our zeal and care. But I see heaven is not at the door; and I see, howbeit my challenges be many, I suffer for Christ, and dare hazard my salvation upon it; for sometimes my Lord comets with a fair hour and O! but His love be sweet, delightful, and comfortable. Madam, I know your Ladyship knoweth this, and that made me bold to write of it, that others might reap somewhat by my bonds for the truth; for I should desire, and I aim at this, to have my Lord well spoken of, and honored, howbeit He should make nothing of me but a bridge over a water. Thus recommending your Ladyship, your son and children, to His grace, who has honored you with a name and room among the living in Jerusalem, and wishing grace to be with your Ladyship. ABERDEEN XVI. To MR ROBERT BLAIR Blair became minister of Bangor in Northern Ireland in 1623. But after nine years there he was deposed for nonconformity with a number of other ministers. A group of them took ship to emigrate to America in search of religious liberty but were forced by the weather to return, which is the occasion of this letter. In 1638 Blair was called to be minister in Aye and later in St. Andrew, where he became a close friend of Rutherfurd. In 1661 he was summoned before the Privy Council for a sermon on the Covenant and deprived of his church. He died in 1666. See also Letter LIV. REVEREND AND DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER, - Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, be unto you. It is no great wonder, my dear brother, that ye be in heaviness for a season, and that God's will (in crossing your design and desires to dwell amongst a people whose God is the Lord) should move you. I deny not but ye have cause to inquire what His providence speaketh in this to you; but God's directing and commanding Will can by no good logic be concluded from events of providence. The Lord sent Paul on many errands for the spreading of His Gospel, where he found lions in his way. A promise was made to His people of the Holy Land, and yet many nations were in the way, fighting against, and ready to kill them that had the promise, or to keep them from possessing the good land which the Lord their God had given them. I know that ye have most to do with submission of spirit; but I persuade myself that ye have learned, in every condition wherein ye are cast, therein to be content, and to say, 'Good is the will of the Lord, let it be done.' I believe that the Lord tacketh His ship often to fetch the wind, and that He purposeth to bring mercy out of your sufferings and silence, which (I know from mine own experience) is grievous to you. Seeing that He knoweth our willing mind to serve Him, our wages and stipend is running to the fore with our God, even as some sick soldiers get pay, when they are bedfast and not able to go to the field with others. When they have eaten and swallowed us up, they shall be sick and vomit us out living men again; the devil's stomach cannot digest the Church of God. Suffering is the other half of our ministry, howbeit the hardest; for we would be content that our King Jesus should make an open proclamation, and cry down crosses, and cry up joy, gladness, ease, honor, and peace. But it must not be so; through many afflictions we must enter into the kingdom of God. Not only by them, but through them, must we go; and wiles will not take us past the cross. It is folly to think to steal to heaven with a whole skin For myself, I am here a prisoner confined in Aberdeen, threatened to be removed to Caithness, because I desire to edify in this town; and am openly preached against in the pulpits in my hearing. There are none here to whom I can speak; I dwell in Kedar's tents. Refresh me with a letter from you. Dear brother, upon my salvation, this is His truth that we suffer for. Courage! Courage! Joy, Joy, for evermore! O for help to set my crowned lying on high! O for love to Him Who is altogether lovely - that love which many waters cannot quench, neither can the floods drown! I remember you, and bear your name on my breast to Christ. I beseech you, forget not His afflicted prisoner. Your brother and fellow prisoner. ABERDEEN, Feb. 7, 1637 XVII. To ROBERT GORDON OF KNOCKBREX Robert Gordon lived in the next parish to Anwoth. He was a prominent figure in Church life in Scotland. MY VERY WORTHY AND DEAR FRIEND, - Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. Though all Galloway should have forgotten me, I would have expected a letter from you ere now; but I will not expound it to be forgetfulness of me. Now, my dear brother, I cannot show you how matters go betwixt Christ and me. I find my Lord going and coming seven times a day. His visits are short; but they are both frequent and sweet. I dare not for my life think of a challenge of my Lord. I hear ill tales, and hard reports of Christ, from the Tempter and my flesh; but love believeth no evil. I may swear that they are liars, and that apprehensions make lies of Christ's honest and unalterable love to me. I dare not say that I am a dry tree, or that I have no room at all in the vineyard, but yet I often think that the sparrows are blessed, who may resort to the house of God in Anwoth, from which I am banished. Temptations, that I supposed to be stricken dead and laid upon their back, rise again and revive upon me; yea, I see that while I live, temptations will not die. The devil seemeth to brag and boast as much as if he had more court with Christ than I have; and as if he had charmed and blasted my ministry, that I shall do no more good in public. But his wind shaketh no corn. I will not believe that Christ would have made such a mint to have me to Himself, and have taken so much pains upon me as He has done, and then slip so easily from possession, and lose the glory of what He has done. Nay, since I came to Aberdeen, I have been taken up to see the new land, the fair palace of the Lamb; and will Christ let me see heaven, to break my heart, and never give it to me? I shall not think my Lord Jesus giveth a dumb earnest, or putteth His seals to blank paper, or intendeth to put me off with fair and false promises. I see that now which I never saw well before. (I) I see faith's necessity in a fair day is never known aright; but now I miss nothing so much as faith. Hunger in me runneth to fair and sweet promises; but when I come, I am like a hungry man that wanteth teeth, or a weak stomach having a sharp appetite that is filled with the very sight of meat, or like one stupefied with cold under water, that would fain come to land, but cannot grip anything casten to him. I can let Christ grip me, but I cannot grip Him. I cannot set my feet to the ground, for afflictions bring the cramp upon my faith. All I dow do is to hold out a lame faith to Christ, like a beggar holding out a stump instead of an arm or leg, and cry, 'Lord Jesus, work a miracle! 'Oh what would I give to have hands and arms to grip strongly. (2) I see that mortification, and to be crucified to the world, is not so highly accounted of by us as it should be. Oh how heavenly a thing it is to be dead and dumb and deaf to this world's sweet music! As I am at this present, I would scorn to buy this world's kindness with a bow of my knee. I scarce now either see or hear what it is that this world offereth me; I know that it is little that it can take from me, and as little that it can give me. (3) I thought courage, in the time of trouble for Christ's sake, a thing that I might take up at my foot. I thought that the very remembrance of the honesty of the cause would be enough. But I was a fool in so thinking. Christ will be steward and dispenser Himself and none else but He; therefore, now, I count much of one dram weight of spiritual joy. Truly I have no cause to say that I am pinched with penury, or that the consolations of Christ are dried up. Praise, praise with me. Remember my love to your brother, to your wife, and G.M. Desire him to be faithful, and to repent of his hypocrisy; and say that I wrote it to you. I wish him salvation. Write to me your mind agent C.E. and C.Y., and their wives, and I.G., or any others in my parish. I fear that I am forgotten amongst them; but I cannot forget them. The prisoner's prayers and blessings come upon you. Grace, grace be with you. Your brother, in the Lord Jesus. ABERDEEN, Feb. 9, 1637 XVIII. To ALEXANDER GORDON OF EARLSTON Alexander Gordon of Earlston, not far from Anwoth, was summoned before the High Commission by the bishop of Glasgow for preventing the intrusion of an unpopular nominee of the bishop into a vacant parish. This charge was not proceeded with, but on a later, similar charge he was heavily fined. He was a leading Churchman and a member of the (continued in part 4...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01: rutle-03.txt .