(Rutherford, Selected letters. part 10)

of Siloam fell. Was not time's lease expired? and the sand of heaven's
sand-glass, set by our Lord, run out?
 And who can tell what thoughts of love and peace our Lord has to your
children? I trust He will make them famous in executing the written
judgments upon the enemies of the Lord, and that they shall bear
stones upon their shoulders for building that fair city that is called
'The Lord is there' (Ezek. 48.35). Therefore, Madam, let the Lord make
out of your father's house any work, even of judgment, that He
pleaseth. What is wrath to others is mercy to you and your house. It
is faith's work to claim and challenge loving-kindness out of all the
roughest strokes of God. Do that for the Lord which ye will do for
time: time will calm your heart at that which God has done, and let
our Lord have it now. What love ye did bear to friends now dead,
seeing they stand now in no need of it, let it fall as just legacy to
 And, since ye will not alter upon Him who will not change upon you, I
durst, in my weakness, think myself no spiritual seer if I should not
prophesy that daylight is near, when such a morning-darkness is upon
you; and that this trial of your Christian mind towards Him (whom you
dare not leave, howbeit He should slay you) shall close with a doubled
mercy. It is time for faith to hold fast as much of Christ as ever ye
had, and to make the grip stronger, and to cleave closer to Him,
seeing Christ loveth to be believed in and trusted to. The glory of
laying strength upon one that is mighty to save is more than we can
think. That piece of service, believing in a smiting Redeemer, is a
precious part of obedience. Oh what glory to Him to lay over the
burden of our heaven upon Him that purchased for us an eternal
kingdom! O blessed soul, who can adore and kiss His lovely free grace!
 The rich grace of Christ be with your spirit.

 ST ANDREW, Oct. 15, 1640

LXVI. To MR. TAYLOR, on her son's death

MISTRESS, - Grace, mercy, and peace be to you - Though I have no
relation worldly or acquaintance with you, yet (upon the testimony and
importunity of your elder son now at London, where I am, but chiefly
because I esteem Jesus Christ in you to be in place of all relations)
I make bold, in Christ, to speak my poor thoughts to you concerning
your son lately fallen asleep in the Lord. I know that grace rooteth
not out the affections of a mother, but putteth them on His wheel who
maketh all things new, that they may be refined: therefore, sorrow for
a dead child is allowed to you, though by measure and ounce-weights.
The redeemed of the Lord have not a dominion, or lordship, over their
sorrow and other affections, to lavish out Christ's goods at their
pleasure. 'For ye are not your own, but bought with a price'; and your
sorrow is not your own. Nor has He redeemed you by halves; and
therefore, ye are not to make Christ's cross no cross. He commandeth
you to weep: and that princely One, who took up to heaven with Him a
man's heart to be a compassionate High Priest, became your fellow and
companion on earth by weeping for the dead (John 11.35). And,
therefore, ye are to love that cross, because it was once at Christ's
shoulders before you: so that by His own practice He has over-gilded
and covered your cross with the Mediator's lustre. The cup ye drink
was at the lip of sweet Jesus, and He drank of it. The kind and
compassionate Jesus, at every sigh you give for the loss of your now
glorified child (so I believe, as is meet), with a man's heart crieth,
'Half Mine'.
 I was not a witness to his death, being called out of the kingdom;
but, if you will credit those whom I do credit (and I dare not lie),
he died comfortably. It is true, he died before he did so much service
to Christ on earth, as I hope and heartily desire that your son Mr
Hugh (very dear to me in Jesus Christ) will do. But that were a real
matter of sorrow if this were not to counterbalance it, that he has
changed service-houses, but has not changed services or Master. 'And
there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb
shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him' (Rev. 22.3). What he
could have done in this lower house, he is now upon that same service
in the higher house; and it is all one: it is the same service and
same Master, only there is a change of conditions. And ye are not to
think it a bad bargain for your beloved son, where he has gold for
copper and brass, eternity for time.
 I believe that Christ has taught you (for I give credit to such a
witness of you as your son Mr Hugh) not to sorrow because he died. All
the knot must be, 'He died too soon, he died too young, he died in the
morning of his life.' This is all; but sovereignty must silence your
thoughts. I was in your condition: I had but two children, and both
are dead since I came hither. The supreme and absolute Former of all
things giveth not an account of any of His matters. The good
Husbandman may pluck His roses, and gather in His lilies at
mid-summer, and, for aught I dare say, in the beginning of the first
summer month, and He may transplant young trees out of the lower
ground to the higher, where they may have more of the sun, and a more
free air, at any season of the year. What is that to you or me? The
goods are His own. The Creator of time and winds did a merciful
injury, if I dare borrow the word, to nature, in landing the passenger
so early. They love the sea too well, who complain of a fair wind and
a desirable tide, and a speedy coming ashore, especially a coming
ashore in that land where all the inhabitants have everlasting joy
upon their heads. He cannot be too early in heaven; his twelve hours
were not short hours. And withal, if you consider this, had you been
at his bed-side, and should have seen Christ coming to him, you could
not have adjourned Christ's free love, who would wants him no longer.
And dying in another land, where his mother could not close his eyes,
is not much. The whole earth is his Father's; any corner of his
Father's house is good enough to die in.
 It may be, the living child (I speak not of Mr Hugh) is more grief to
you than the dead. Ye are to wait on, if at any time God shall give
him repentance. Christ waited as long possibly on you and me,
certainly longer on me: and if He should deny repentance to him, I
could say something to that: but I hope better things of him. And
think this a favor, that He has bestowed upon you fine, free grace,
that is, mercy without hire; ye paid nothing for it: and who can put a
price upon any thing of royal and princely Jesus Christ? And God has
given to you to suffer for Him the spoiling of your goods. Esteem it
as an act of free grace also. Ye are no loser, having Himself; and I
persuade myself, if you could prize Christ, nothing could be bitter to
you. Grace, grace be with you.
     Your brother and well-wisher.

 LONDON, 1645


 Barbara Hamilton was the wife of a merchant in Edinburgh. Her spirit
may be judged from the following incident. When the Rev. Robert Blair
and other ministers were deposed by the bishops in Ireland (see Letter
XVI), they came to Scotland in 1637. But the Scottish bishops then
threatened them with even more severe treatment. Barbara Hamilton
suggested that they should present a petition to the Privy Council for
permission to preach and undertook to get it into the hands of the
Treasurer. Mr Blair accordingly drew up the petition. Barbara Hamilton
gathered a number of like-minded Edinburgh matrons and ranged them in
a line from the street to the door of the Council House, putting the
petition into the hands of the oldest of the women. The treasurer,
suspecting that any petition would be troublesome, pushed past her.
But Barbara Hamilton then took the paper and gripped the Treasurer's
arm firmly, saying, 'Stand, my lord, in Christ's name I charge you,
until I speak with you.' The Treasurer halted. 'Here,' she said, 'is a
supplication of Mr Blair asking for liberty to preach the Gospel. I
charge you to befriend the matter, as you would expect God to befriend
you in your distress.' The Treasurer promised to do his best, and as a
result B1air's petition was granted. This letter was written on the
occasion of the death of her son-in-law.

WORTHY FRIEND, - Grace be to you. I do unwillingly write unto you of
that which God has done concerning your son-in-law; only, I believe ye
look not below Christ, and the highest and most supreme act of
Providence, which moveth all wheels. And certainly, what came down
enacted and concluded in the great book below the throne, and signed
and subscribed with the hand which never did wrong, should be kissed
and adored by us.
 We see God's decrees when they bring forth their fruits, all actions,
good and ill, sweet and sour, in their time; but we see not presently
the after-birth of God's decree, namely, His blessed end, and the good
that He bringeth out of the womb of His holy and spotless counsel. We
see His working, and we sorrow; the end of His counsel lieth hidden,
and underneath the ground, and therefore we cannot believe. Even
amongst men, we see hewn stones, timber, and an hundred scattered
parcels and pieces of an house, all under-tools, hammers, and axes,
and saws; yet the house, the beauty and use of so many lodgings and
ease rooms, we neither see nor understand for the present; these are
but in the mind and head of the builder, as yet. We see red earth,
unbroken clods, furrows, and stones; but we see not summer, lilies,
roses, the beauty of a garden.
 If ye give the Lord time to work ye shall see it was your good, that
your son has changed dwelling-places, but not his Master. Christ
thought good to have no more of his service here; yet, 'His servants
shall serve Him' (Rev. 22.3). He needeth not us nor our service,
either on earth or in heaven. But ye are to look to Him who giveth the
hireling both his leave and his wages, for his naked aim and purpose
to serve Christ, as well as for his labours. It is put up in Christ's
account, that such a laborer did sweat forty years in Christ's
vineyard; howbeit he got not leave to labour so long, because He who
accepteth of the will for the deed counteth so. None can teach the
Lord to lay an account.
 He numbereth the drops of rain, and knoweth the stars by their names;
it would take us much studying to give a name to every star in the
firmament, great or small.
 If the sufferings of some other with you in that loss could ease you,
ye want them not. But He can do no wrong. He cannot halt; His goings
are equal who has done it. I know our Lord aimeth at more
mortification; let Him not come in vain to your house and lose the
pains of a merciful visit. God, the Founder, never melteth in vain;
howbeit to us He seemeth often to lose both fire and metal. But I know
ye are more in this work than I can be. There is no cause to faint or
be weary.
 Grace be with you; and the rich consolations of Jesus Christ sweeten
your cross and support you under it.

 LONDON, Oct 15, 1645

LXVIII. To A CHRISTIAN BROTHER, on the death of his daughter

REVEREND AND BELOVED IN THE LORD, - It may be that I have been too
long silent, but I hope that ye will not impute it to forgetfulness of
 As I have heard of the death of your daughter with heaviness of mind
on your behalf, so am I much comforted that she has evidenced to
yourself and other witnesses the hope of the resurrection of the dead.
As sown corn is not lost (for there is more hope of that which is sown
than of that which is eaten) (I Cor. 15.42, 43), so also is it in the
resurrection of the dead: the body 'is sown in corruption, it is
raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in
glory'. I hope that ye wait for the crop and harvest; 'for if we
believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so also them which sleep
in Jesus, will God bring with him.' Then they are not lost who are
gathered into that congregation of the first-born, and the general
assembly of the saints. Though we cannot outrun nor overtake them that
are gone before, yet we shall quickly follow them: and the difference
is, that she has the advantage of some months or years of the crown,
before you and her mother. And we do not take it ill, if our children
outrun us in the life of grace; why then are we sad, if they outstrip
us in the attainment of the life of glory? It would seem, that there
is more reason to grieve that children live behind us, than that they
are glorified and die before. All the difference is in some poor
hungry accidents of time, less or more, sooner or later. So the godly
child, though young, died a hundred years old; and you could not now
have bestowed her better, though the choice was Christ's, not yours.
 The King and Prince of ages can keep them better than you can do.
While she was alive, you could intrust her to Christ, and recommend
her to His keeping: now, by an after-faith, you have resigned her unto
Him, in whose bosom do sleep all that are dead in the Lord: you would
have lent her to glorify the Lord upon earth, and He has borrowed her,
with promise to restore her again, to be an organ of the immediate
glorifying of himself in heaven. Sinless glorifying of God is better
than sinful glorifying of Him. And sure your prayers concerning her
are fulfilled.
 If the fountain be the love of God, as I hope it is, ye are enriched
with losses. You know all I can say better, before I was in Christ,
than I can express it. Grace be with you.

 LONDON, Jan. 6, 1646


MISTRESS, - Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. - If death, which is
before you and us all, were any other thing than a friendly
dissolution, and a change, not a destruction of life, it would seem a
hard voyage to go through such a sad and dark trance, so thorny a
valley, as is the wages of sin. But I am confident the way ye know,
though your foot never trod in that black shadow. The loss of life is
gain to you. If Christ Jesus be the period, the end, and lodging home,
at the end of your journey, there is no fear; ye go to a friend. And
since ye have had communion with Him in this life, and He has a pawn
or pledge of yours, even the largest share of your love and heart, ye
may look death in the face with joy.
 But though He be the same Christ in the other life that ye found Him
to be here, yet He is so far in His excellency, beauty, sweetness,
irradiations, and beams of majesty, above what He appeared here, when
He is seen as He is, that ye shall misken Him, and He shall appear a
new Christ: as water at the fountain, apples in the orchard and beside
the tree, have more of their native sweetness, taste, and beauty, than
when transported to us some hundred miles.
 I mean not that Christ can lose any of His sweetness in the carrying,
or that He, in His Godhead and loveliness of presence, can be changed
to the worse, betwixt the little spot of the earth that ye are in, and
the right hand of the Father far above all heavens. But the change
will be in you, when ye shall have new senses, and the soul shall be a
more deep and more capacious vessel, to take in more of Christ; and
when means (the chariot, the Gospel, that He is now carried in, and
ordinances that convey Him) shall be removed. Sure ye cannot now be
said to see Him face to face; or to drink of the wine of the highest
fountain, or to take in seas and tides of fresh love immediately,
without vessels or messengers, at the Fountain itself, as ye will do a
few days hence, when ye shall be so near as to be with Christ.
 Death is but an awesome step, over time and sin, to sweet Jesus
Christ, who knew and felt the worst of death, for death's teeth hurt
Him. We know death has no teeth now, no jaws, for they are broken. It
is a free prison; citizens pay nothing for the grave. The jailer who
had the power of death is destroyed: praise and glory be to the
First-begotten of the dead.
 The worst possible that may be is, that ye leave behind you children,
husband and the church of God in miseries. But ye cannot get them to
heaven with you for the present. Ye shall not miss them, and Christ
cannot miscount one of the poorest of His lambs. No lad, no girl, no
poor one shall be a-missing in the day that the Son shall render up
the kingdom to His Father.
 As for the church which ye leave behind you, the government is upon
Christ's shoulders, and He will plead for the blood of His saints. The
Bush has been burning above five thousand years, and we never yet saw
the ashes of this fire. Yet a little while, and the vision shall not
tarry: it will speak, and not lie. I am more afraid of my duty, than
of the Head Christ's government. He cannot fail to bring judgment to
 Now, if I have found favor with you, and if ye judge me faithful, my
last suit to you is that ye would leave me a legacy; and that is, that
my name may be, at the very last, in your prayers: as I desire also,
it may be in the prayers of those of your Christian acquaintance with
whom ye have been intimate.

 LONDON, Jan 9, 1646


MADAM, - Oh how sweet is it that the company of the firstborn should
be divided into two great bodies of an army, and some in their
country, and some in the way to their country! If it were no more than
once to see the face of the Prince of this good land, and to be
feasted for eternity with the fatness, sweetness, dainties of the rays
and beams of matchless glory, and incomparable fountain-love, it were
a well-spent journey to creep hands and feet through seven deaths and
seven hells, to enjoy Him up at the well-head. Only let us not weary:
the miles to that land are fewer and shorter than when we first
believed. Strangers are not wise to quarrel with their host, and
complain of their lodging. It is a foul way, but a fair home. Oh that
I had but such grapes and clusters out of the land as I have sometimes
seen and tasted in the place whereof your Ladyship maketh mention! But
the hope of it in the end is a heart some convoy in the way.
 Grace be with you.
     Your Ladyship's, in Jesus Christ.

 LONDON, Jan. 26, 1646


MADAM, - Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. It has seemed good (as I
hear) to Him, who has appointed bounds for the number of our months,
to gather in a sheaf of ripe corn (in the death of your Christian
mother) into His garner. She is now above the winter, with a little
change of place, not of a Savior; only she enjoyeth Him now without
messages, and in His own immediate presence, from whom she heard by
letters and messengers before.
 I grant, death to her is a very new thing, but heaven was prepared of
old. And Christ (as enjoyed in His highest throne, and as loaded with
glory, and incomparably exalted above men and angels, having such a
heavenly circle of glorified spirits above, compassing the throne with
a song) is to her a new thing; but so new as the first summer rose, or
the first-fruits of that heavenly field, or as a new paradise to a
traveler, broken and worn out of breath with the sad occurrences of a
long and dirty way.
 You easily judge, Madam, what a large recompense is made to all her
service, her walking with God, and her sorrows, with the first cast of
the soul's eye upon the shining and admirably beautiful face of the
Lamb, that is in the midst of that fair and white army that is there;
and with the first draught and taste of the fountain of life, fresh
and new at the well-head.
 And now she sitteth for eternity mail-free, in a very considerable
land, which has more than four summers in the year. Oh, what
spring-time is there! Even the smelling of the odors of that great and
eternally blooming Rose of Sharon for ever and ever! What a singing
life is there! There is not a dumb bird in all that large field; but
all sing and breathe out heaven, joy, glory, dominion to the high
Prince of that new-found land. And, verily, the land is the sweeter
that Jesus Christ paid so dear a rent for it. And He is the glory of
the land: all which, I hope, does not so much mitigate and allay your
grief for her part (though truly this should seem sufficient), as the
unerring expectation of the dawning of that day upon yourself, and the
hope you have of the fruition of that same King and kingdom to your
own soul. Certainly the hope of it, when things look so dark-like on
both kingdoms, must be an exceedingly great quickening to languishing
spirits, who are far from home while we are here. What misery, to have
both a bad way all the day, and no hope of lodging at night! But He
has taken up your lodging for you.
 I can say no more now; but I pray that the very God of peace may
establish your heart to the end.

 LONDON, Feb. 24, 1646


ACCIDENTS: incidental accompaniments, not essentials.
AIRT, or AIRTH: direction, quarter of the heavens.
BACK-BOND: one givers after an earlier bond, making the person who gave
 the first bond free.
BACK-ENTRY: back door.
BAILIE: magistrate.
BAIRNS: children.
BANN: curse.
BLAFLUME: a sham or bubble.
BLENCH: white moneys, a pepper-corn or nominal rent.
BLOCK: a bargain.
BODE: to offer with a view to a bargain.
BRAE: slope of a hill.
BROOK: enjoy, possess.
BUD: bribe.
BURROWS: a pledge: LAW-BURROWS: security given not to injure another or
 his property.
BY-BOARD: side-table at which the children sat.
BY-HAND: aside.
BY-WORK: a leisure time occupation.
CAUMS: a mould.
CAUSEWAY or CAUSEY: a street. 'To keep the crown df the causey' is a bold
 public appearance.
CAUTION: surety.
CHEAP: barter, hence 'good cheap' or 'better-cheap' means a good bargain,
COAST: to sail close to the land,
COG: to stop the motion of a wheel.
COLD-RIFE or CAULD-RIFE: chilly, heartless.
COMMON:  vith reference to sharing a common table. 'To be in one's
 common' is to be indebted to.
COMPEAR: to appear at a court of law. So COMPEARANCE, appearing in court
 in obedience to a summons.
CONTRAIR: contrary to,
COUNTRY: common, in contrast to fine.
DAWTED: petted.
DING: to knock in violently.
DITTY or DITTY: indictment.
DO FOR: to act on behalf of.
DOW: to be able,.
DYKE: a wall.
DYVOUR: a debtor, or bankrupt.
EASE-ROOM: a room for leisure and rest.
FASH: to trouble by importunity.
FEARED: alarmed, timid.
FECKLESS: futile, ineffective.
FEU DUTY: yearly ground rent.
FREMD: strange, foreign.
FRIEND-STED: to befriend.
FRYST or FRIST: to postpone possession or action.
GATE: road, way, manner of acting. 'Start to the gate'; get early on the
HAND-FAST: to join hands in a compact or betrothal.
HAND-WRIT: written with one's own hand.
HEAP-METE: full measure.
HEARTSOME: cheerful.
HING: hang.
HOMELY: at home with.
HOME OVER: homewards.
JOUK: to dodge or bend down in order to escape something.
LAIRD: landed proprietor.
LAW-BURROWS: a pledge not to harm.
MAIL: rent or tax.
MARCH: boundary or frontier.
MASK: to infuse.
MINT: to attempt.
MISSIVE: a letter giving authority to act.
NEED-FORCE: by hook or by crook.
NICK: mark, point.
DIFFER: barter or bargain.
OBTEST: to adjure, beseech.
ON-WAITING: patient waiting.
OUTFIELD: waste land,
PACKALDS: bargains.
PAINFUL: painstaking, laborious.
PICKLE: a small grain.
PLEA: a quarrel or dispute.
PROFESSOR: one professing the Christian faith.
PROPANE: to present, to offer a gift.
REVERSION: the right to future possession.
SCAUR: to take fright.
SPEAT or SPAIT: a flood or overflowing stream.
SPEED: 'to come speed' is to succeed.
SPEAR or SPEER: to ask questions.
SPILL: spoil.
SPUNK: spark.
STARTS: 'at starts', fitfully.
ASTOUND: an overpowering stroke.
TARROW: reluctant.
THRING: to push forcefully.
TRANCE: passage.
TRYST: to arrange a meeting at a given time and place.
UNCO: uncommon, strange.
UNDER-TOOLS: lesser tools.
WAD SET: mortgage.
WALE: to choose.
WARE: to use or expend.
WHILE or WHILL: until.
WIN: reach, attain to.


file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01: rutle-10.txt