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Title: Letters of Samuel Rutherford - (Third Edition)
Author: Rutherford, Samuel
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters of Samuel Rutherford - (Third Edition)" ***

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Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

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superscripted (example: yo^r).

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained
except in obvious cases of typographical error.

Page 80: "and cause you to come up out of your graves"--The transcriber
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       *       *       *       *       *

  LETTERS

  OF

  SAMUEL RUTHERFORD

[Illustration: RUTHERFORD'S WALK.]

[Illustration: title page]


  LETTERS

  OF

  SAMUEL RUTHERFORD

  _With a Sketch of his Life_

  AND

  _Biographical Notices of His Correspondents_

  BY THE

  REV. ANDREW A. BONAR, D.D.
  AUTHOR OF "MEMOIR AND REMAINS OF ROBERT MURRAY M'CHEYNE"

  THIRD EDITION

  LONDON
  THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY
  56 PATERNOSTER ROW AND 65 ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD



PREFACE.


Most justly does the old Preface to the earlier Editions begin by
telling the Reader that "These Letters have no need of any man's
epistle commendatory, the great Master having given them one, written
by His own hand on the hearts of all who favour the things of God."
Every one who knows these "Letters" at all, is aware of their most
peculiar characteristic, namely, the discovery they present of the
marvellous intercourse carried on between the writer's soul and his
God.

This Edition will be found to be the most complete that has hitherto
appeared. It is the same as that of 1863, in two vols., with two
slight alterations, viz. the footnotes are for the most part removed
to the Glossary, and a few of the notices are condensed, but nothing
omitted of any importance. On the other hand, one or two slight
additions have been made. Attending carefully to the chronological
arrangement, the Editor has sought, by biographical, topographical,
and historical notices, to put the Reader in possession of all that
was needed to enable him to enter into the circumstances in which each
Letter was written, so far as that could be done. The appended
Glossary of Scottish words and expressions (many of them in reality
old English), the Index of Places and Persons, the Index of Special
Subjects, and the prefixed Contents of Each Letter, will, it is
confidently believed, be found both interesting and useful. The Sketch
of Rutherford's Life may be thought too brief; but the limits within
which such a Sketch must necessarily be confined, when occupying the
place of a mere Introduction, rendered brevity inevitable.

Every Letter hitherto published is to be found in this Edition. The
ten additional Letters of the Edition 1848, along with two more, added
since that time, are all inserted in their chronological place. The
publishers have taken great pains with the typography.



CONTENTS.


                                                                  PAGE

  Sketch of _Samuel Rutherford_,                                     1

  1. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Children to be Dedicated to God,        33

  2. To _a Christian Gentlewoman, on the death of a
           Daughter._--Christ's Sympathy with, and Property in
           us--Reasons for Resignation,                             34

  3. To _Lady Kenmure, on occasion of illness and spiritual
           depression_.--Acquiescence in God's Purpose--Faith in
           exercise--Encouragement in view of Sickness and
           Death--Public Affairs,                                   36

  4. To _Lady Kenmure, on death of her infant Daughter_.--
           Tribulation the Portion of God's People, and intended
           to wean them from the World,                             40

  5. To _Lady Kenmure, when removing from Anwoth_.--Changes--
           Loss of Friends--This World no abiding Place,            42

  6. To _Marion M'Naught, telling of his Wife's illness_.--Inward
           Conflict, arising from Outward Trial,                    44

  7. To _Lady Kenmure_.--The Earnest of the Spirit--Communion
           with Christ--Faith in the Promises,                      46

  8. To _Marion M'Naught_.--His Wife's Illness--Wrestlings with
           God,                                                     49

  9. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Recommending a Friend to her
           Care--Prayers asked,                                     50

  10. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Submission, Perseverance, and Zeal
            recommended,                                            50

  11. To _Lady Kenmure_.--God's Inexplicable Dealings with His
            People well ordered--Want of Ordinances--Conformity
            to Christ--Troubles of the Church--Mr. Rutherford's
            Wife's Death,                                           52

  12. To _Marion M'Naught_.--God Mixeth the Cup--The Reward of
            the Wicked--Faithfulness--Forbearance--Trials,          54

  13. To _Marion M'Naught, when exposed to reproach for her
            principles_.--Jesus a Pattern of Patience under
            Suffering,                                              57

  14. To _Marion M'Naught, in prospect of the Lord's Supper_.--
            Abundance in Jesus--The Restoration of the Jews--
            Enemies of God,                                         58

  15. To _Marion M'Naught_.--The threatened Introduction of the
            Service-Book--Troubles of the Church--Private Wrongs,   60

  16. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Proposal to Remove him from Anwoth--
            Babylon's Destruction, and Christ's Coming--The Young
            invited,                                                62

  17. To _Marion M'Naught_.--The Prospects of the Church--
            Arminianism--Call to Prayer--No Help but in Christ,     64

  18. To _Marion M'Naught, in prospect of the Lord's Supper_.--
            Prayer Solicited--The Church's Prospects,               66

  19. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Encouragement to Abound in Faith from
            the Prospect of Glory--Christ's Unchangeableness,       67

  20. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Assurance of Christ's Love under
            Trials--Fulness of Christ--Hope of Glory,               69

  21. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Self-denial--Hope of Christ's Coming--
            Loving God for Himself,                                 72

  22. To _John Kennedy_.--Deliverance from Shipwreck--Recovery
            from threatened Death--Use of Trials--Remembrance
            of Friends,                                             74

  23. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Exhorting to remember her Espousal to
            Christ--Tribulation a Preparation for the Kingdom--
            Glory in the End,                                       77

  24. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Christ and His Garden--Provision
            of Ordinances in the Church--Our Children,              80

  25. To _a Gentleman at Kirkcudbright, excusing himself from
            visiting_,                                              83

  26. To _Marion M'Naught, after her dangerous illness_.--Use
            of Sickness--Reproaches--Christ our Eternal Feast--
            Fasting,                                                83

  27. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Love to Christ and Submission to His
            Cross--Believers kept--The Heavenly Paradise,           85

  28. To _Lady Kenmure, after the death of a child_.--The State
            of the Church, Cause for God's Displeasure--His Care
            of His Church--The Jews--Afflicted Saints,              87

  29. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Christ with His People in the
            Furnace of Affliction--Prayer,                          89

  30. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Rank and Prosperity hinder Progress--
      Watchfulness--Case of Relatives,                              90

  31. To _Lady Kenmure_.--A Union for Prayer Recommended,           92

  32. To _Marion M'Naught_.--State and Prospects of the
            Church--Satan,                                          94

  33. To _Marion M'Naught_.--In Prospect of Going to the
            Lord's Table,                                           95

  34. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Prospects of the Church--Christ's
            Care for the Children of Believers,                     96

  35. To _Lady Kenmure, on the death of a child_.--God Measures
            our Days--Bereavements Ripen us for the Harvest,        97

  36. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Choice of a Commissioner for
            Parliament,                                             99

  37. To _Lady Kenmure_.--On the Death of Lord Kenmure--Design
            of, and duties under, Affliction,                      100

  38. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Christ's Care of His Church, and
            His Judgments on her Enemies,                          102

  39. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Preparation for Death and Eternity,      103

  40. To _Lady Kenmure_.--When Mr. Rutherford had the Prospect
            of being Removed from Anwoth,                          105

  41. To _Marion M'Naught_.--The Church's Trials--Comfort
            under Temptations--Deliverance--A Message to the
            Young,                                                 106

  42. To _Lady Kenmure_.--The World passeth away--Special
            Portions of the Word for the Afflicted--Call to
            Kirkcudbright,                                         108

  43. To _Marion M'Naught_.--When Mr. Rutherford was in
            difficulty as to accepting a Call to Kirkcudbright,
            and Cramond,                                           111

  44. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Troubles threatening the Church,      113

  45. To _Marion M'Naught_.--In the Prospect of the Lord's
            Supper, and of Trials to the Church,                   113

  46. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Tossings of Spirit--Her Children
            and Husband,                                           114

  47. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Submission to God's Arrangements,     116

  48. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Troubles from False Brethren--
            Occurrences--Christ's Coming--Intercession,            117

  49. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Spoiling of Goods--Call to
            Kirkcudbright--The Lord Reigneth,                      119

  50. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Christ coming as Captain of
            Salvation--His Church's Conflict and Covenant--The
            Jews--Last Days' Apostasy,                             121

  51. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Public Temptations--The Security
            of every Saint--Occurrences in the Country-side,       123

  52. To _Marion M'Naught_.--In the Prospect of her Husband
            being compelled to receive the Commands of the
            Prelates--Saints are yet to Judge,                     125

  53. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Encouragement under Trial by
            prospect of Brighter Days,                             126

  54. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Public Wrongs--Words of Comfort,      126

  55. To _Marion M'Naught_.--When he had been threatened with
            Persecution for Preaching the Gospel,                  128

  56. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Reasons for Resignation--Security of
            Saints--The End of Time,                               129

  57. To _Marion M'Naught_.--In the Prospect of Removal to
            Aberdeen,                                              131

  58. To _Lady Kenmure_.--On occasion of Efforts to introduce
            Episcopacy,                                            131

  59. To _Earlston, Elder_.--No Suffering for Christ unrewarded--
            Loss of Children--Christ in Providence,                132

  60. To _Marion M'Naught_.--When he was under Trial by the
            High Commission,                                       135

  61. To _Lady Kenmure, on the evening of his banishment to
            Aberdeen_.--His only Regrets--The Cross unspeakably
            Sweet--Retrospect of his Ministry,                     136

  62. To _Lady Culross, on the occasion of his banishment to
            Aberdeen_.--Challenges of Conscience--The Cross
            no Burden,                                             138

  63. To _Mr. Robert Cunningham, at Holywood, in Ireland_.--
            Consolation to a Brother in Tribulation--His own
            Deprivation of Ministry--Christ worth Suffering for,   140

  64. To _Alexander Gordon of Earlston_.--His Feelings upon
            Leaving Anwoth,                                        143

  65. To _Robert Gordon of Knockbreck, on his way to
            Aberdeen_.--How Upheld on the Way,                     144

  66. To _Robert Gordon of Knockbreck, after arriving at
            Aberdeen_.--Challenges of Conscience--Ease in Zion,    144

  67. To _William Fullerton, Provost of Kirkcudbright_.--
            Encouragement to Suffer for Christ,                    145

  68. To _John Fleming, Bailie of Leith_.--The Sweetness and
            Faithfulness of Christ's Love,                         147

  69. To _Lady Kenmure_.--His Enjoyment of Christ in Aberdeen--
            A Sight of Christ exceeds all Reports--Some ashamed
            of Him and His,                                        148

  70. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Exercise under Restraint from
            Preaching--The Devil--Christ's Loving-kindness--
            Progress,                                              150

  71. To _Mr. Hugh M'Kail, Minister of Irvine_.--Christ to be
            Trusted amid Trial,                                    152

  72. To _William Gordon of Roberton_.--How Trials are
            Misimproved--The Infinite Value of Christ--Despised
            Warnings,                                              153

  73. To _Earlston, the Elder_.--Satisfaction with Christ's
            Ways--Private and Public Causes of Sorrow,             156

  74. To _Lady Culross_.--Suspicions of God's Ways--God's Ways
            always Right--Grace Grows under Trial,                 157

  75. To _John Kennedy, Bailie of Ayr_.--Longing after
            Discoveries of Christ--His Long-suffering--Trying
            Circumstances,                                         158

  76. To _Robert Gordon of Knockbreck_.--Benefit of Affliction,    161

  77. To _Lady Boyd_.--Aberdeen--Experience of himself Sad--
            Taking Pains to win Grace,                             163

  78. To _Lord Boyd_.--Encouragement to Exertion for Christ's
            Cause,                                                 164

  79. To _Margaret Ballantine_.--Value of the Soul, and Urgency
            of Salvation,                                          166

  80. To _Marion M'Naught_.--His Comfort under Tribulations,
            and the Prison a Palace,                               168

  81. To _Mr. John Meine (jun.)_.--Experience--Patient
            Waiting--Sanctification,                               169

  82. To _John Gordon of Cardoness, Elder_.--Win Christ at all
            Hazards--Christ's Beauty--A Word to Children,          170

  83. To _the Earl of Lothian_.--Advice as to Public
            Conduct--Everything to be endured for Christ,          174

  84. To _Jean Brown_.--The Joys of this Life embittered by
            Sin--Heaven an Object of Desire--Trial a Blessed
            Thing,                                                 177

  85. To _John Kennedy, Bailie of Ayr_.--The Reasonableness of
            Believing under all Affliction--Obligations to
            Free Grace,                                            179

  86. To _Lord Craighall_.--Episcopalian Ceremonies--How to
            Abide in the Truth--Desire for Liberty to preach
            Christ,                                                181

  87. To _Elizabeth Kennedy_.--Danger of Formality--Christ
            wholly to be Loved--Other Objects of Love,             183

  88. To _Janet Kennedy_.--Christ to be kept at every
           sacrifice--His incomparable Loveliness,                 185

  89. To _the Rev. Robert Blair_.--God's Arrangements sometimes
            Mysterious,                                            187

  90. To _the Rev. John Livingstone_.--Resignation--Enjoyment--
            State of the Church,                                   190

  91. To _Mr. Ephraim Melvin_.--Kneeling at the Lord's Supper
            a species of Idolatry,                                 192

  92. To _Mr. Robert Gordon of Knockbreck_.--Visits of
            Christ--The Things which Affliction Teaches,           195

  93. To _Lady Kenmure_.--God's Dealings with Scotland--The Eye
            to be directed Heavenward,                             197

  94. To _Lady Kenmure_.--The Times--Christ's Sweetness in
            Trouble--Longing after Him,                            198

  95. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Christ's Cross Sweet--His Coming to
            be Desired--Jealous of any Rival,                      200

  96. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Christ all Worthy--Anwoth,               201

  97. To _Alexander Gordon of Earlston_.--Christ Endeared by
            Bitter Experiences--Searchings of Heart--Fears
            for the Church,                                        202

  98. To _Mr. Alexander Colville of Blair_.--Increasing
            Experience of Christ's Love--God with His Saints,      204

  99. To _Earlston, Younger_.--Christ's Ways Misunderstood--His
            increasing Kindness--Spiritual Delicacy--Hard to be
            Dead to the World,                                     205

  100. To _Lady Cardoness_.--The One Thing Needful--Conscientious
             Acting in the World--Advice under Dejecting Trials,   208

  101. To _Jonet Macculloch_.--Christ's Sufficiency--Stedfastness
             in the Truth,                                         210

  102. To _Alexander Gordon of Knockgray_.--Grounds of Praise--
             Affliction tends to misrepresent Christ--Idols,       211

  103. To _Lady Cardoness, Elder_.--Christ and His Cause
             Recommended--Heavenly-mindedness--Caution against
             Compliances--Anxiety about his Parish,                213

  104. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Painstaking in the Knowledge of
             Christ--Unusual enjoyment of His Love--Not Easy
             to be a Christian--Friends must not mislead,          215

  105. To _a Gentlewoman, upon the death of her Husband_.--
             Resignation under Bereavement--His own Enjoyment
             of Christ's Love,                                     217

  106. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Weak Assurance--Grace different
             from Learning--Self-accusations,                      218

  107. To _Lady Boyd_.--Consciousness of Defects no argument of
             Christ being unknown--His Experience in Exile,        220

  108. To _Lady Kaskiberry_.--Gratitude for Kindness--Christ's
             Presence felt,                                        222

  109. To _Lady Earlston_.--Following Christ not Easy--Children
             not to be over-loved--Joy in the Lord,                223

  110. To _Mr. David Dickson_.--God's Dealings--The Bitter
             Sweetened--Notes on Scripture,                        224

  111. To _Jean Brown_.--Christ's Untold Preciousness--A Word
             to her Boy,                                           226

  112. To _Mr. John Fergushill_.--The Rod upon God's Children--
             Pain from a sense of Christ's Love--His Presence a
             Support under Trials--Contentedness with Him alone,   227

  113. To _Mr. Robert Douglas_.--Greatness of Christ's Love
             revealed to those who suffer for Him,                 229

  114. To _William Rigg of Athernie_.--Sustaining Power of
             Christ's Love--Satan's Opposition--Yearnings for
             Christ Himself--Fears for the Church,                 230

  115. To _Mr. Alexander Henderson_.--Sadness because of
             Christ's Headship not set forth--His Cause
             attended with Crosses--The Believer seen of all,      232

  116. To _Lord Loudon_.--Blessedness of Acting for Christ--His
             Love to His Prisoner,                                 234

  117. To _Mr. William Dalgleish, Minister of Kirkdale and
             Kirkmabreck_.--Christ's Kindness--Dependence on
             Providence--Controversies,                            237

  118. To _Mr. Hugh M'Kail, Minister at Irvine_.--Christ's
             Bountiful Dealings--Joy in Christ through the Cross,  239

  119. To _Mr. David Dickson_.--Joyful Experience--Cup
             Overflowing in Exile,                                 240

  120. To _Mr. Matthew Mowat, Minister at Kilmarnock_.--
              Plenitude of Christ's Love--Need to use Grace
              aright--Christ the Ransomer--Desire to proclaim
              His Gospel--Shortcomings and Sufferings,             242

  121. To _William Halliday_.--Diligence in securing Salvation,    245

  122. To a _Gentlewoman after the death of her Husband_.--Vanity
             of Earthly Possessions--Christ a sufficient
             Portion--Design of Affliction,                        245

  123. To _John Gordon of Cardoness, Younger_.--Reasons for
             being earnest about the Soul, and for Resignation,    247

  124. To _John Gordon of Cardoness, Elder_.--Call to
             Earnestness about Salvation--Intrusion of Ministers,  248

  125. To _Lady Forret_.--Sickness a Kindness--Christ's Glooms
             better than the World's Joys,                         249

  126. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Adherence to Duty amidst
             Opposition--Power of Christ's Love,                   250

  127. To _John Carsen_.--Nothing worth the Finding but Christ,    251

  128. To the _Earl of Cassillis_.--Honour of testifying for
             Christ,                                               252

  129. To _Mr. Robert Gordon, Bailie of Ayr_.--Christ above All,   253

  130. To _John Kennedy, Bailie of Ayr_.--Christ's Love--The
             Three Wonders--Desires for His Second Coming,         254

  131. To _Jean Brown_.--His Wisdom in our Trials--Rejoicing
            in Tribulation,                                        257

  132. To _Jean Macmillan_.--Strive to enter In,                   259

  133. To _Lady Busbie_.--Complete Surrender to Christ--No
             Idols--Trials discover Sins--A Free Salvation--The
             Marriage Supper,                                      260

  134. To _John Ewart, Bailie of Kirkcudbright_.--The Cross no
             Burden--Need of Sure Foundation,                      262

  135. To _William Fullerton, Provost of Kirkcudbright_.--Fear
             not them who kill the Body--Unexpected Favour,        263

  136. To _Robert Glendinning, Minister of Kirkcudbright_.--
             Prepare to meet thy God--Christ his Joy,              264

  137. To _William Glendinning_.--Perseverance against Opposition, 265

  138. To _Mr. Hugh Henderson, Minister of the Gospel_.--Trials
             selected by God--Patience--Looking for the Judge,     266

  139. To _Lord Balmerinoch_.--His happy Obligations to
             Christ--Emptiness of the World,                       267

  140. To _Lady Mar, Younger_.--No Exchange for Christ,            269

  141. To _James Macadam_.--The Kingdom taken by Force,            270

  142. To _William Livingstone_.--Counsel to a Youth,              271

  143. To _William Gordon of Whitepark_.--Nothing lost by
             Trials--Longing for Christ Himself, because of
             His Love,                                             272

  144. To _Mr. George Gillespie, Minister of Kirkcaldy_.--
             Suspicions of Christ's Love Removed--Three Desires,   273

  145. To _Jean Gordon_.--God the Satisfying Portion--Adherence
             to Christ,                                            275

  146. To _Mr. James Bruce, Minister of the Gospel_.--Misjudging
             of Christ's Ways,                                     276

  147. To _John Gordon, at Rusco_.--Pressing into Heaven--To
             be a Christian no Easy Attainment--Sins to be
             Avoided,                                              277

  148. To _Lady Hallhill_.--Christ's Crosses better than
             Egypt's Treasures,                                    278

  149. To _John Osburn, Provost of Ayr_.--Adherence to
             Christ--His Approbation worth all Worlds,             280

  150. To _John Henderson, in Rusco_.--Continuing in Christ--
             Preparedness for Death,                               281

  151. To _John Meine, Senior_.--Enjoyment of God's Love--Need
             of Help--Burdens,                                     281

  152. To _Mr. Thomas Garven_.--A Prisoner's Joys--Love of
             Christ--The Good Part--Heaven in Sight,               283

  153. To _Bethaia Aird_.--Unbelief under Trials--Christ's
             Sympathy,                                             284

  154. To _Alexander Gordon of Knockgray_.--Prospective Trials,    286

  155. To _Grizzel Fullerton, daughter of Marion M'Naught_.--The
             One Thing Needful--Christ's Love,                     286

  156. To _Patrick Carsen_.--Early Devotedness to Christ,          287

  157. To _the Laird of Carleton_.--Increasing Sense of
             Christ's Love--Resignation--Deadness to Earth--
             Temptations--Infirmities,                             288

  158. To _Lady Busbie_.--Christ all Worthy--Best at our
             Lowest--Sinfulness of the Land--Prayers,              290

  159. To _John Fleming, Bailie of Leith_.--Directions for
             Christian Conduct,                                    292

  160. To _Alexander Gordon of Earlston_.--Hungering after
             Christ Himself rather than His Love,                  295

  161. To _John Stuart, Provost of Ayr_.--Commercial
             Misfortunes--Service-Book--Blessedness of Trials,     298

  162. To _John Stuart, Provost of Ayr_.--The Burden of a
             Silenced Minister--Spiritual Shortcomings,            302

  163. To _John Stuart, Provost of Ayr_.--View of Trials
             past--Hard Thoughts of Christ--Crosses--Hope,         304

  164. To _Ninian Mure, one of the family of
             Cassincarrie_.--A Youth Admonished,                   307

  165. To _Mr. Thomas Garven_.--Personal Insufficiency--Grace
             from Christ alone--Longings after Him,                308

  166. To _Cardoness, the Elder_.--A Good Conscience--Christ
             kind to Sufferers--Responsibility--Youth,             310

  167. To _Lady Boyd_.--Lessons learned in the School of
             Adversity,                                            312

  168. To _Mr. David Dickson_.--Christ's Infinite Fulness,         315

  169. To _the Laird of Carleton_.--God's Working
             Incomprehensible--Longing after any Drop of
             Christ's Fulness,                                     317

  170. To _Robert Gordon of Knockbreck_.--Longing for
             Christ's Glory--Felt guiltiness--Longing for
             Christ's Love--Sanctification,                        319

  171. To _the Laird of Moncrieff_.--Concert in Prayer--
             Stedfastness to Christ--Grief misrepresents
             Christ's Glory,                                       321

  172. To _John Clark_.--Marks of Difference betwixt Christians
             and Reprobates,                                       323

  173. To _Cardoness, the Younger_.--Warning and Advice as
             to Things of Salvation,                               324

  174. To _Lord Craighall_.--Idolatry Condemned,                   326

  175. To _John Laurie_.--Christ's Love--A Right Estimate of
             Him--His Grace,                                       330

  176. To _the Laird of Carleton_.--A Christian's Confession
             of Unworthiness--Desire for Christ's Honour--Present
             Circumstances,                                        331

  177. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Christ Suffering in His Church--
             His Coming--Outpourings of Love from Him,             335

  178. To _Lady Culross_.--Christ's Management of Trials--What
             Faith can do--Christ not Experience--Prayers,         337

  179. To _Mr. John Nevay_.--Christ's Love Sharpened in
             Suffering--Kneeling at the Communion--Posture
             at Ordinances,                                        340

  180. To _John Gordon of Cardoness, the Elder_.--Longings
             for those under his former Ministry--Delight in
             Christ and His Appearing--Pleading with his Flock,    344

  181. To _Earlston, the Younger_.--Dangers of Youth--Christ
             the best Physician--Four Remedies against
             Doubting--Breathing after Christ's Honour,            348

  182. To _Alexander Gordon of Knockgray_.--Joy in God--Trials
             work out Glory to Christ,                             353

  183. To _Mr. J---- R----_.--Christ the Purifier of His
             Church--Submission to His Ways,                       355

  184. To _Mr. William Dalgleish, Minister of the Gospel_.--The
             Fragrance of the Ministry--A Review of his Past
             and Present Situation, and of his Prospects,          358

  185. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Longing to be Restored to his
             Charge,                                               361

  186. To _Robert Stuart_.--Christ chooses His own in the
             Furnace--Need of a Deep Work--The God-Man, a
             World's Wonder,                                       363

  187. To _Lady Gaitgirth_.--Christ Unchangeable, though not
             always Enjoyed--His Love never yet fully poured
             out--Himself His People's Cautioner,                  366

  188. To _Mr. John Fergushill of Ochiltree_.--Desponding
             Views of his own State--Ministerial Diligence--
             Christ's Worth--Self-seeking,                         368

  189. To _John Stuart, Provost of Ayr_.--Hope for Scotland--
             Self-submission--Christ Himself sought for by
             Faith--Stability of Salvation--His Ways,              371

  190. To _the Laird of Carsluth_.--Necessity of making sure
             of Salvation--Vanity of the World--Nothing worth
             having but Christ--Flight of Time,                    373

  191. To _the Laird of Cassincarrie_.--Earnestness about
             Salvation--Christ Himself sought,                     376

  192. To _Lady Cardoness_.--Grace--The Name of Christ to be
       Exalted--Everything but God fails us,                       378

  193. To _Sibylla Macadam_.--Christ's Beauty and Excellence,      380

  194. To _Mr. Hugh Henderson, Minister of Dalry_.--The Ways of
             Providence--Believing Patience,                       381

  195. To _Lady Largirie_.--Christ the Exclusive Object of
             Love--Preparation for Death,                          383

  196. To _Earlston, the Younger_.--Sufferings--Hope of Final
             Deliverance--The Believer in Safe Keeping--The
             Recompense Marred by Temptations,                     384

  197. To _Mr. William Dalgleish, Minister of the Gospel_.--
             Thoughts as to God's Arrangements--Winning Souls
             to be Supremely Desired--Longings for Christ,         386

  198. To _the Laird of Cally_.--Spiritual Sloth--Danger of
             Compromise--Self, the Root of all Sin--
             Self-renunciation,                                    388

  199. To _John Gordon of Cardoness, the Younger_.--Dangers of
             Youth--Early Decision,                                390

  200. To _Robert Gordon, Bailie of Ayr_.--The Misery of mere
             Worldly Hope--Earnestness about Salvation,            393

  201. To _Alexander Gordon of Earlston_.--Christ's Kingdom to
             be Exalted over all; and more Pains to be taken to
             Win farther into Him,                                 395

  202. To _the Laird of Cally_.--Youth a Precious Season--
             Christ's Beauty,                                      397

  203. To _William Gordon, at Kenmure_.--Testimony to Christ's
             Worth--Marks of Grace in Conviction of Sin and
             Spiritual Conflict,                                   399

  204. To _Margaret Fullerton_.--Christ, not Creatures, worthy
             of all Love--Love not to be measured by Feeling,      401

  205. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Difficulties in the way to the
             Kingdom--Christ's Love,                               402

  206. To _Lady Kenmure_.--The Use of Sufferings--Fears under
             them--Desire that Christ be Glorified,                404

  207. To _John Henderson of Rusco_.--Practical Hints,             407

  208. To _Alexander Colville of Blair_.--Regrets for not being
             able to Preach--Longings for Christ,                  408

  209. To _Mr. John Nevay_.--Christ's Surpassing Excellency--His
             Cause in Scotland,                                    409

  210. To _Lady Boyd_.--His Soul Fainting for Christ's Matchless
             Beauty--Prayer for a Revival,                         410

  211. To _a Christian Gentlewoman_.--God's Skill to bless by
             Affliction--Unkindness of Men--Near the Day of
             Meeting the Lord,                                     412

  212. To _William Glendinning_.--Search into Christ's
             Loveliness--What he would Suffer to see it--His
             Coming to Deliver,                                    414

  213. To _Robert Lennox of Disdove_.--Men's Folly in
             Undervaluing Christ--It is He that satisfieth--
             Admiration of Him,                                    416

  214. To _Mr. James Hamilton, Minister of the Gospel_.--
             Suffering for Christ's Headship--How Christ
             visited him in Preaching,                             418

  215. To _Mistress Stuart_.--Personal Unworthiness--Longing
             after Holiness--Winnowing Time,                       421

  216. To _Mr. Hugh M'Kail, Minister of Irvine_.--Advantages
             of our Wants and Distempers--Christ Unspeakable,      423

  217. To _Alexander Gordon of Garloch_.--Free Grace finding
             its Materials in us,                                  425

  218. To _John Bell, Elder_.--Danger of Trusting to a Name
             to Live--Conversion no Superficial Work--
             Exhortation to Make Sure,                             427

  219. To _Mr. John Row, Minister of the Gospel_.--Christ's
             Crosses better than the World's Joys--Christ
             Extolled,                                             429

  220. To _Lord Craighall_.--Duty of being disentangled from
             Christ-dishonouring Compliances,                      430

  221. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Her Prayers for Scotland not
             Forgotten,                                            430

  222. To _Lady Culross_.--Christ's Way of Showing Himself the
             Best--What Fits for Him--Yearning after Him
             insatiably--Domestic Matters,                         431

  223. To _Alexander Gordon of Knockgray_.--State of the
             Church--Believers purified by Affliction--Folly
             of seeking Joy in a Doomed World,                     434

  224. To _Fulwood, the Younger_.--Vanity of the World in the
             light of Death and Christ--The Present Truth--
             Christ's Coming,                                      436

  225. To _his Parishioners_.--Protestation of Care for their
             Souls, and for the Glory of God--Delight in his
             ministry, and in his Lord--Efforts for their
             Souls--Warnings against Errors of the Day--Awful
             words to the Backslider--Intense Admiration of
             Christ--A Loud Call to All,                           438

  226. To _Lady Kilconquhar_.--The Interests of the Soul and
             Urgent--Folly of the World--Christ altogether
             Lovely--His Pen fails to set forth Christ's
             Unspeakable Beauty,                                   445

  227. To _Lord Craighall_.--Standing for Christ--Danger
             from Fear, or Promises of Men--Christ's Requitals--
             Sin against the Holy Ghost,                           449

  228. To _Mr. James Fleming, Minister of the Gospel_.--
             Glory Gained to Christ--Spiritual Deadness--Help
             to Praise Him--The Ministry,                          451

  229. To _Mr. Hugh M'Kail, Minister of Irvine_.--The
       Law--This World under Christ's Control for the Believer,    454

  230. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Believer Safe though Tried--Delight
             in Christ's Truth,                                    455

  231. To _Lord Lindsay of Byres_.--The Church's Desolations--The
             End of the World, and Christ's Coming--His
             Attractiveness,                                       457

  232. To _Lord Boyd_.--Seeking Christ in Youth--Its
             Temptations--Christ's Excellence--The Church's
             Cause concerns the Nobles,                            457

  233. To _Fulk Ellis_.--Friends in Ireland--Difficulties in
             Providence--Unfaithfulness to Light--Constant Need
             of Christ,                                            463

  234. To _James Lindsay_.--Desertions, their Use--Prayers of
             Reprobates, and how the Gospel affects their
             Responsibility,                                       466

  235. To _Lord Craighall_.--Fear God, not Man--Sign of
             Backsliding,                                          470

  236. To _Mr. James Hamilton, Minister of the Gospel_.--
             Christ's Glory not affected by His People's
             Weakness,                                             471

  237. To _the Laird of Gaitgirth_.--Truth worth Suffering
             for--Light Sown, but the Evil of this World till
             Christ comes,                                         471

  238. To _Lady Gaitgirth_.--Christ and Example in Bearing
             Crosses--The extent to which Children should be
             Loved--Why Saints Die,                                473

  239. To _Mr. Matthew Mowat, Minister of Kilmarnock_.--What
       am I?--Longing to Act for Christ--Unbelief--Love in the
       Hiding of Christ's Face--Christ's Reproach,                 474

  240. To _Mr. John Meine, Jun._--Christ the Same--Youthful
             Sins--No Dispensing with Crosses,                     476

  241. To _John Fleming, Baillie of Leith_.--Riches of Christ
             Fail Not--Salvation--Vanity of Created Comforts--
             Longing for more of Christ,                           477

  242. To _Lady Rowallan_.--Jesus the Best Choice, and to be
             made sure of--The Cross and Jesus inseparable--
             Sorrows only Temporary,                               478

  243. To _Marion M'Naught_.--His own Prospects--Hopes--
             Salutations,                                          480

  244. To _Marion M'Naught_.--Proceedings of Parliament--Private
             Matters--Her Daughter's Marriage,                     481

  245. To _Lady Boyd_.--Imperfections--Yearnings after Christ--
             Christ's Supremacy not inconsistent with Civil
             Authority,                                            483

  246. To _Mr. Thomas Garven_.--Heaven's Happiness--Joy in the
              Cross,                                               485

  247. To _Janet Kennedy_.--The Heavenly Mansions--Earth a
             Shadow,                                               486

  248. To _Margaret Reid_.--Benefits of the Cross, if we are
             Christ's,                                             487

  249. To _James Bautie_.--Spiritual Difficulties Solved,          489

  250. To _Lady Largirie_.--Part with all for Christ--No
             Unmixed Joy here,                                     494

  251. To _Lady Dungueich_.--Jesus or the World--Scotland's
             Trials and Hopes,                                     495

  252. To _Janet Macculloch_.--Cares to be cast on Christ--
             Christ a Steady Friend,                               496

  253. To _Mr. George Gillespie_.--Christ the True Gain,           497

  254. To _Mr. Robert Blair_.--Personal Unworthiness--God's
             Grace--Prayer for Others,                             498

  255. To _Lady Carleton_.--Submission to God's Will--Wonders
             in the Love of Christ--No debt to the World,          500

  256. To _William Rigge of Athernie_.--The Law--Grace--Chalking
             out Providences for ourselves--Prescribing to His
             Love,                                                 501

  257. To _Lady Graighall_.--The Comforts of Christ's Cross--
             Desires for Christ,                                   503

  258. To _Lord Loudon_.--The Wisdom of adhering to Christ's
             Cause,                                                504

  259. To _David Dickson_.--Danger of Worldly Ease--Personal
             Occurrences,                                          507

  260. To _Alexander Gordon of Earlston_.--All Crosses Well
             Ordered--Providences,                                 508

  261. To _Lady Kilconquhair_.--The Kingdom to be taken by
             Violence,                                             510

  262. To _Robert Lennox of Disdove_.--Increasing Experience
       of Christ's Love--Salvation to be made sure,                512

  263. To_ Marion M'Naught_.--Hope in Trial--Prayer and
             Watchfulness,                                         513

  264. To _Thomas Corbet_.--Godly Counsels--Following Christ,      514

  265. To _Mr. George Dunbar, Minister of the Gospel_.--Christ's
             Love in Affliction--The Saint's Support and Final
             Victory,                                              515

  266. To _John Fleming, Bailie of Leith_.--Comfort Abounding
             under Trials,                                         517

  267. To _William Glendinning, Bailie of Kirkcudbright_.--The
             Past and the Future--Present Happiness,               517

  268. To _the Earl of Cassillus_.--Anxiety for the Prosperity
             of Zion--Encouragement for the Nobles to Support
             it--The Vanity of this World, and the Folly and
             Misery of forsaking Christ--The One Way to Heaven,    519

  269. To _his Parishioners at Anwoth_.--Exhortationn to abide
             in the Truth, in prospect of Christ's Coming--
             Scriptural Mode of Observing Ordinanaces such as
             the Sabbath, Family Prayer, and the Lord's Supper--
             Judgments Anticipated,                                521

  270. To _Lady Busbie_.--His Experience of Christ's Love--State
             of the Land and Church--Christ not duly Esteemed--
             Desire after Him, and for a Revival,                  524

  271. To _Earlston, Younger_.--Prosperity under the Cross--Need
             of Security, and being founded on Christ,             526

  272. To _John Gordon_.--Christ all Worthy--This World a Clay
             Prison--Desire for a Revival of Christ's Cause,       527

  273. To _William Rigge of Athernie_.--Comfort in Trials from
             the Knowledge of Christ's Power and Work--
             Corruption--Free Grace,                               529

  274. To _James Murray_.--The Christian Life a Mystery to the
             World--Chrsit's Kindness,                             530

  275. To _Mr. John Fergushill_.--Spiritual Longings under
             Christ's Cross--How to bear it--Christ Precious,
             and to be had without Money--The Church,              531

  276. To _William Glendinning_.--Sweetness of Trial--Swiftness
             of Time--Prevalence of Sin,                           534

  277. To _Lady Boyd_.--Sense of Unworthiness--Obligation to
             Grace--Christ's Absence--State of the Land,           536

  278. To _The Earl of Cassillis_.--Ambition--Christ's Royal
             Prerogative--Prelacy,                                 538

  279. To _Marion M'Naught_.--A Spring-tide of Christ's Love,      540

  280. To _John Gordon of Rusco_.--Heaven hard to be won--
             Many come short in Attaining--Idol Sins to be
             renounced--Likeness to Christ,                        541

  281. To _Lord Loudoun_.--True Honour in maintaining
             Christ's Cause--Prelacy--Light of Eternity,           543

  282. To _Lady Robertland_.--Afflictions purify--The World's
             Vanity--Christ's wise love,                           545

  283. To _Thomas Macculloch of Nether Ardwell_.--Earnest Call
             to Diligence--Circumspect Walking,                    548

  284. To _the Professors of Christ and His Truth in Ireland_.--
             The Way to Heaven ofttimes through Persecution--
             Christ's Worth--Making sure our Profession--
             Self-denial--No Compromise--Tests of Sincerity--His
             own Desire for Christ's Glory,                        549

  285. To _Robert Gordon of Knockbreck_.--Not the Cross, but
             Christ the Object of Attraction--Too little expected
             from Him--Spiritual Deadness,                         555

  286. To _the Parishioners of Kilmalcolm_.--Spiritual Sloth--
             Advice to Beginniers--A Dead Ministry--Languor--
             Obedience--Want of Christ's Felt Presence--Assurance
             Important--Prayer Meetings,                           559

  287. To _Lady Kenmure_.--On the Death of her Child--Christ
             Shares His People's Sorrows,                          565

  288. To _the Persecuted Church in Ireland_.--Christ's Legacy
             of Trouble--God's Dealings with Scotland in giving
             Prosperity--Christ takes Half of all Sufferings--
             Steadfastness for His Crown--His Love should lead
             to Holiness,                                          568

  289. To _Dr. Alexander Leighton_.--Public Blessings alleviate
       Private Sufferings--Trials Light when viewed in the Light
       of Heaven--Christ worthy of Suffering for,                  575

  290. To _a Person unknown_.--Anent Private Worship,              578

  291. To _Henry Stuart, and Family, Prisoners of Christ at
             Dublin_.--Faith's preparation for Trial--The World's
             Rage against Christ--The Immensity of His Glorious
             Beauty--Folly of Persecution--Victory Sure,           579

  292. To _Mrs. Pont, Prisoner at Dublin_.--Support under
             Trials--The Master's Reward,                          585

  293. To _Mr. James Wilson_.--Advices to a Doubting Soul--
             Mistakes about his Interest in God's Love--
             Temptation--Perplexity about Prayer--Want of
             Feeling,                                              588

  294. To _Lady Boyd_.--Sins of the Land--Dwelling in Christ--
             Faith awake sees all well,                            591

  295. To _John Fenwick_.--Christ the Fountain--Freeness of
             God's Love--Faith to be exercised under Frowns--
             Grace for Trials--Hope of Christ yet to be exalted
             on the Earth,                                         593

  296. To _Peter Stirling_.--Believers' Graces all from Christ--
             Aspiration after more Love to Him--His Reign Desired, 599

  297. To _Lady Fingast_.--Faith's Misgivings--Spiritual Darkness
             not Grace--Chrit's Love Inimitable,                   600

  298. To _Mr. David Dickson, on the Death of his Son_.--God's
       Sovereignty, and Discipline by Affliction,                  602

  299. To _Lady Boyd, on the Loss of several Friends_.--Trust
             even though slain--Second Causes not to be
             regarded--God's thoughts of Peace therein--All in
             Mercy,                                                603

  300. To _Agnes Macmath, on the Death of a Child_.--Reason for
             Resignation,                                          607

  301. To _Mr. Matthew Mowat, Minister of Kilmarnock_.--
             Worthiness of God's Love as manifested in Christ--
             Heaven with Christ,                                   608

  302. To _Lady Kenmure, on her Husband's Death_.--God's Method
             in Affliction--Future Glory,                          609

  303. To _Lady Boyd_.--Sin of the Land--Read Prayers--Brownism,   611

  304. To _James Murray's Wife_.--Heaven a Reality--
             Steadfastness to be grounded on Christ,               612

  305. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Sins of the Times--Practical Atheism,   613

  306. To _Mr. Thomas Wylie, Minister of Borgue_.--Sufficiency
             of Divine Grace--Call to England to assist at
             Westminster Assembly--Felt Unworthiness,              614

  307. To _a Young Man in Anwoth_.--Necessity of Godliness in
             its Power,                                            615

  308. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Westminster Assembly--Religious
             Sects,                                                616

  309. To _Lady Boyd_.--Proceedings of Westminster Assembly,       618

  310. To _Mistress Taylor, on her Son's Death_.--Suggestions
             for Comfort under Sorrow,                             620

  311. To _Barbara Hamilton_.--On Death of her Son-in-Law--
             God's Purposes,                                       623

  312. To _Mistress Hume, on her Husband's Death_.--God's
             Voice in the Rod,                                     625

  313. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Christ's Designs in Sickness and
             Sorrow,                                               626

  314. To _Barbara Hamilton, on her Son-in-Law slain in
             Battle_.--God does all
  Things Well, and with Design,                                    627

  315. To _a Christian Friend, on the Death of his Wife_.--God
             the First Cause--The End of Affliction,               629

  316. To _a Christian Brother, on the Death of his
             Daughter_.--Consolation in her having gone before--
             Christ the Best Husband,                              630

  317. To _a Christian Gentlewoman_.--Views of Death and
             Heaven--Aspirations,                                  632

  318. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Christ never in our Debt--Riches of
             Christ--Excellence of the Heavenly State,             635

  319. To _Mr. James Guthrie_.--Prospects for Scotland--His own
             Darkness--Christ's Ability,                           636

  320. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Trials cannot Injure Saints--
            Blessedness in Seeing Christ,                          638

  321. To _Lady Ardross, in Fife, on her Mother's Death_.--
             Happiness of Heaven, and Blessedness of Dying
             in the Lord,                                          639

  322. To _M. O._--Gloomy Prospects for the Backsliding
             Church--The Misunderstandings of Believers cause
             of great grief--The Day of Christ,                    640

  323. To _Earlston the Elder_.--Christ's Way of Afflicting
             the Best--Obligation to Free Grace--Enduring
             the Cross,                                            642

  324. To _Mr. George Gillespie_.--Prospect of Death--Christ
             the true support in Death,                            644

  325. To _Sir James Stewart, Lord Provost of Edinburgh_.--
             Declining Chair in Edinburgh,                         645

  326. To _Mistress Gillespie, Widow of George Gillespie_.--On
             the Death of a Child--God Afflicts in order to save
             us from the World,                                    646

  327. To _the Earl of Balcarras_.--Regarding some
             Misunderstanding,                                     648

  328. To _Colonel Gilbert Ker_.--Singleness of Aim--Judgment
             in regard to Adversaries,                             649

  329. To _Colonel Gilbert Ker_.--Courage in Days of Rebuke--
             God's Arrangements all Wise,                          651

  330. To _William Guthrie_.--Depression under Dark Trials--
             Dangers of Compliance,                                652

  331. To _Colonel Gilbert Ker_.--Courage in the Lord's
             Cause--Duty in regard to Providence to be
             observed--Safety in this,                             654

  332. To _Colonel Gilbert Ker_.--Christ's Cause deserves
             Service and Suffering from us,                        656

  333. To _Colonel Gilbert Ker, when taken Prisoner_.--
             Comforting Thoughts to the Afflicted--Darkness
             of the Times--Fellowship in Christ's Sufferings--
             Satisfaction with His Providences,                    658

  334. To _Colonel Gilbert Ker_.--Comfort under the Cloud
             hanging over Scotland--Dissuasion from Leaving
             Scotland,                                             662

  335. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Difference between what is Man's
             and Christ's, and between Christ Himself and His
             Blessings,                                            663

  336. To _Lady Ralston, Ursula Mure_.--Duty of Preferring
             to Live rather than Die--Want of Union in the
             judgments of the Godly,                               665

  337. To _a Minister of Glasgow_.--Encouraging Words to a
             Suffering Brother--Why men shrink from Christ's
             Testimony,                                            668

  338. To _Lady Kenmure_.--A Word to Cheer in Times of Darkness,   671

  339. To _Grizzel Fullerton_.--Exhortation to Follow Christ
             fully when others are cold,                           672

  340. To _Mr. Thomas Wylie_.--Regarding a Letter of Explanation,  673

  341. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Present Need helped by past Experience, 674

  342. To _Colonel Gilbert Ker_.--Deadness--Hopes of
             Refreshment--Distance from God--Nearness Delighted
             in,                                                   675

  343. To _Colonel Gilbert Ker_.--The State of the Land,           678

  344. To _Mr. John Scot, at Oxnam_.--Excuse for Absence from
             Duty,                                                 679

  345. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Thoughts for a Time of Sickness
             about the Life to Come,                               680

  346. To _Simeon Ashe_.--Views of the Presbyterians as to
             Allegiance to the Protector,                          681

  347. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Unkindness of the Creature--God's
             Sovereignty in permitting His Children to be
             Injured by Men,                                       682

  348. To _Lady Kenmure_.--God's Dealings with the Land,           683

  349. To _Mr. John Scot, at Oxnam_.--Protesters' Toleration,      683

  350. To _Mr. John Scot, at Oxnam_.--Gloomy Times--Means of
             promoting Godliness,                                  684

  351. To _Mr. James Durham, Minister of Glasgow, some few
             days before his Death_.--Man's Ways not God's
             Ways,                                                 685

  352. To _Mr. John Scot, at Oxnam_.--Adherence to the
             Testimony against Toleration,                         686

  353. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Trials--Deadness of the Spirit--
             Danger of False Security,                             686

  354. To _Lady Kenmure_.--Prevailing Declension, Decay, and
             Indifference to God's Dealings--Things Future,        688

  355. To _the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright_.--Union--
        Humiliation--Choice of a Professor,                        689

  356. To _Mr. John Murray, Minister at Methven._--A Synod
             Proposal for Union--Brethren under Censure,           691

  357. To _Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Trail, and the rest of their
             Brethren imprisoned in the Castle of Edinburgh_.--
             On Suffering for Christ--God's Presence ever with
             His People--Firmness and Constancy,                   692

  358. To _Several Brethren_.--Reasons for Petitioning his
       Majesty after his return, and for owning such as were
       censured while about so necessary a Duty,                   694

  359. To _a Brother Minister_.--Judgment of a Draught of a
       Petition, to have been presented to the Committee of
       Estates,                                                    696

  360. To _Lady Kenmure, on the Imprisonment of her Brother,
             the Marquis of Argyle_.--God's Judgments--Calls
             to Flee to Him--The Results of timid Compliance,      698

  361. To _Mistress Craig, upon the Death of her hopeful
             Son_.--Nine Reasons for Resignation,                  699

  362. To _Mr. James Guthrie, Minister of the Gospel at
             Stirling_.--Stedfast though Persecuted--Blessedness
             of Martyrdom,                                         701

  363. To _Mr. Robert Campbell_.--Stedfastness to Protest
             against Prelacy and Popery,                           703

  364. To _Believers at Aberdeen_.--Sinful Conformity and
             Schismatic Designs reproved,                          701

  365. To _Mr. John Murray, Minister at Methven_.--Proposal of
             a Season of Prayer,                                   708

       *       *       *       *       *

  Index of the Chief Places and Individuals referred to in
             the Letters,                                          711

  Index of Special Subjects,                                       715

  Glossary,                                                        718

       *       *       *       *       *

  APPENDIX.

  Editions of Rutherford's Letters,                                736

  Sample of the old Orthography,                                   740

  Last Words; Poem by Mrs. Cousin,                                 741



SKETCH

OF

SAMUEL RUTHERFORD.


"Wherever the palm-tree is, there is water," says the Eastern proverb;
and so, wherever the godly flourish, there, we are sure, must the Word
of God be found. In the history of the Reformation we read of Brother
Martin, a poor monk at Basle, whose hope of salvation rested solely on
the Lord Jesus, long before Luther sounded the silver trumpet that
summoned sin-convinced souls to the One Sacrifice. Having written out
his confession of faith, his statement of reliance on the
righteousness of Christ alone, the monk placed the parchment in a
wooden box, and shut up the wooden box in a hole of the wall of his
cell. It was not till last century that this box, with its interesting
contents, was discovered: it was brought to light only when the old
wall of the monastery was taken down. The palm-tree speaks of the
existence of water at its root; the pure Word of God taught this man
his simple faith. And herein we learn how it was that Basle so early
became a peculiar centre of light in that region; the prayer and the
faith of that hidden one, and others like-minded, and the Word on
which they fed, may explain it all.

There is a fact not unlike the above in the history of the district
where Samuel Rutherford laboured so lovingly. The people of that shire
tell that there was found, some generations ago, in the wall of the
old castle of Earlston, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, a copy of
"Wickliffe's Bible." It was deposited in that receptacle in order to
be hid from the view of enemies; but from time to time it was the lamp
of light to a few souls, who, perhaps in the silence of night, found
opportunity to draw it out of its ark, and peruse its pages. It seems
that the Lollards of Kyle (the adjoining district) had brought it to
Earlston. We know that there were friends and members of the family of
Earlston who embraced the Gospel even in those days. In the sixteenth
century, some of the ancestors of Viscount Kenmure are found holding
the doctrines of Wickliffe, which had been handed down to them. May we
not believe that the Gordons of Earlston, in after days, were not a
little indebted to the faith and prayers of these ancient witnesses
who hid the sacred treasure in the castle wall? As in the case of the
monk of Basle, their faith and patience were acknowledged in after
days by the blessing sent down on that quarter, when the Lord, in
remembrance of His hidden ones, both raised up the Gordons of
Earlston, with many others of a like spirit, and also sent thither His
servant Samuel Rutherford, to sound forth the Word of Life, and make
the lamp of truth blaze, like a torch, over all that region.

Samuel Rutherford was born about the year 1600. His father is
understood to have been a respectable farmer. He had two brothers,
James and George. But the place of his birth was not near the scene of
his after labours. It is almost certain that Nisbet, a village of
Roxburghshire close to the Teviot, in the parish of Crailing, was his
birthplace; the name Rutherford frequently occurs in the churchyard.
Not long ago, there were some old people in that parish who remembered
the gable-end of the house in which it was said that he was born, and
which, from respect to his memory, was permitted to stand as long as
it could keep together. And there was there a village well where, when
very young, Samuel nearly lost his life.[1] He had been amusing
himself with some companions, when he fell in, and was left there till
they ran and procured assistance; but on returning to the spot they
found him seated on a knoll, cold and dripping, yet uninjured. He told
them that "A bonnie white man came and drew him out of the well!"
Whether or not he really fancied that an angel had delivered him, we
cannot tell; but it is plain that, at all events, his boyish thoughts
were already wandering in the region of the sky.

  [1] This village well is about three feet deep. It is now closed up
  and worked by a pump.

He owed little to his native place. There was not so much of Christ
known in that parish then as there is now; for in after days he
writes, "My soul's desire is, that the place to which I owe my first
birth--in which, I fear, Christ was scarcely named, as touching any
reality of the power of godliness--may blossom as the rose" (Letter
cccxxxiv.). We have no account of his revisiting these scenes of his
early life, though he thus wrote to his friend, Mr. Scott, minister of
the adjoining parish of Oxnam. Like Donald Cargill, born in Perthshire
yet never known to preach there even once, Rutherford had his labours
in other parts of the land, distant from his native place. In this
arrangement we see the Master's sovereignty. The sphere is evidently
one of God's choosing for the man, instead of being the result of the
man's gratifying his natural predilections. It accords, too, with the
example of the Master, who never returned to Bethlehem, where He was
born, to do any of His works.

Jedburgh is a town three or four miles distant from Nisbet, and
thither Samuel went for his education; either walking to it, and
returning home at evening,--as a school-boy would scarcely grudge to
do,--or residing in the town for a season. The school at that time met
in a part of the ancient Abbey, called, from this circumstance, the
Latiners' Alley. In the year 1617 we find him farther from
home,--removed to Edinburgh, which, forty years before, had become the
seat of a College, though not as yet a University. There he obtained,
in 1621, the degree of Master of Arts. A single specimen (not elegant,
however) of his Latin verse remains in the lines he prefixed to an
edition of Row's "Hebrew Grammar," published at Glasgow, 1644--

    Verba Sionææ gentis, submersa tenebris
      Cimmeriis, mendax Kimchius ore crepat.
    Quæ vos Rabbini sinuosa ænigmata vultis,
      Nunc facilem linguam dicite quæso sacram.
    Falleris, Hippocrates; male parcæ stamina vitæ
      Curta vocas, artem vociferare μακραν;
    Sit cita mors, rapido sit et hora fugacior Euro,
      Bellerophontæis vita volato rotis:
    Rouæi Hebracis sit mors male grata Camoenis.
      Haec relege, ast artem dixeris esse brevem.

Soon after, he was appointed Regent, or Professor, of Humanity, though
there were three other competitors; for his talents had attracted the
notice of many. But, on occasion of a rumour that charged him with
some irregularity--whether with or without foundation, it is now
difficult to ascertain--he demitted his office in 1625, and led a
private life, attending prelections on theology, and devoting himself
to that study.

That there could not have been anything very serious in the rumour,
may be inferred from the fact that no church court took any notice of
the matter, though these were days when the reins of discipline were
not held with a slack hand. But it is not unlikely that this may have
been the time of which he says in a letter, "I knew a man who wondered
to see any in this life laugh or sport."[2] It may have been then that
he was led by the Spirit to know the things that are freely given us
of God.[3] We have no proof that he was converted at an earlier
period, but rather the opposite. He writes, "Like a fool as I was, I
suffered my sun to be high in the heaven, and near afternoon, before
ever I took the gate by the end."[4] And again, "I had stood sure, if
in my youth I had borrowed Christ for my bottom."[5] The clouds
returned after the rain; family trials, and other similar dealings of
Providence, combined to form his character as a man of God and as a
pastor.

  [2] Letter ccxxiv.

  [3] 1 Cor. ii. 12.

  [4] Letter clxxvii.

  [5] Letter ccxli.

In 1627 he was settled at Anwoth,[6] a parish situated in the
Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, on the river Fleet, near the Solway. The
church stood in a wide hollow, or valley, at the foot of the Boreland
Hill. Embosomed in wood, with neither the smoke nor the noise of a
village near, it must always have been a romantic spot--the very ideal
of a country church, set down to cherish rural godliness. Though at
this period Episcopacy had been obtruded upon Scotland, and many
faithful ministers were suffering on account of their resistance to
its ceremonies and services, yet he appears to have been allowed to
enter on his charge without any compliance being demanded, and
"without giving any engagement to the bishop." He began his ministry
with the text, John ix. 39. The same Lord that would not let Paul and
Timothy preach in Asia,[7] nor in Bithynia, and yet sent to the one
region the beloved John,[8] and to the other the scarcely less beloved
Peter,[9] in this instance prevented John Livingstone going to Anwoth,
which the patron had designed, and sent Rutherford instead. This was
the more remarkable, because Livingstone was sent to Ancrum, the
parish that borders on Nisbet, while he who was by birth related to
that place was despatched to another spot. This is the Lord's doing.
Ministers must not choose according to the flesh.

  [6] See notice of the topography at Letter cxcviii. It is a mile and a
  half from the modern Gatehouse of Fleet, a clean, English-looking
  village.

  [7] Acts xvi. 6, 7.

  [8] Rev. i. 11.

  [9] 1 Pet. i. 1.

During the first years of his labours here, the sore illness of his
wife was a bitter grief to him. Her distress was very severe. He
writes of it: "She is sore tormented night and day.--My life is bitter
unto me.--She sleeps none, and cries as a woman travailing in birth;
my life was never so wearisome."[10] She continued in this state for
no less than a year and a month, ere she died. Besides all this, his
two children had been taken from him. Such was the discipline by which
he was trained for the duties of a pastor, and by which a shepherd's
heart of true sympathy was imparted to him.

  [10] Letter xviii.

The parish of Anwoth had no large village near the church. The people
were scattered over a hilly district, and were quite a rural flock.
But their shepherd knew that the Chief Shepherd counted them worth
caring for; he was not one who thought that his learning and talents
would be ill spent if laid out in seeking to save souls, obscure and
unknown. See him setting out to visit! He has just laid aside one of
his learned folios, to go forth among his flock. See him passing along
yonder field, and climbing that hill on his way to some cottage, his
"quick eyes" occasionally glancing on the objects around, but his
"face upward" for the most part, as if he were gazing into heaven. He
has time to visit, for he rises at three in the morning, and at that
early hour meets his God in prayer and meditation, and has space for
study besides. He takes occasional days for catechising. He never
fails to be found at the sick-beds of his people. Men said of him, "He
is _always_ praying, _always_ preaching, _always_ visiting the sick,
_always_ catechising, _always_ writing and studying." He was known to
fall asleep at night talking of Christ, and even to speak of Him
during his sleep. Indeed, himself speaks of his dreams being of
Christ.[11]

  [11] Letter cclxxxvi.

His preaching could not but arrest attention. Though his elocution was
not good, and his voice rather shrill, he was, nevertheless, "one of
the most moving and affectionate preachers in his time, or perhaps in
any age of the church."[12] "In the pulpit (says one of his friends),
he had a strange utterance--a kind of skreigh, that I never heard the
like. Many times I thought he would have flown out of the pulpit when
he came to speak of Jesus Christ." An English merchant said of him,
even in days when controversy had sorely vexed him and distracted his
spirit, "I came to Irvine, and heard a well-favoured, proper old man
(David Dickson), with a long beard, and that man showed me all my
heart. Then I went to St. Andrews, where I heard a sweet,
majestic-looking man (R. Blair), and he showed me the majesty of God.
After him I heard a little, fair man (Rutherford), and he showed me
_the loveliness of Christ_."[13]

  [12] "Wodrow's Church Hist." i. 205.

  [13] "M'Crie's Sketches."

Anwoth was dear to him rather as the sphere appointed him by his
Master, than because of the fruit he saw of his labours. Two years
after being settled there, he writes, "I see exceedingly small fruit
of my ministry. I would be glad of one soul, to be a crown of joy and
rejoicing in the day of Christ." His people were "like hot iron, which
cooleth when out of the fire." In a sermon on Song ii. 8, he complains
of it being spiritually _winter_ in Anwoth. "The very repairing of
God's house, in our own parish church, is a proof. Ye need not go any
farther. The timber of the house of God rots, and we cannot move a
whole parish to spend twenty or thirty pounds Scots upon the house of
God, to keep it dry." Still he laboured in hope, and laboured often
almost beyond his strength. Once he says, "I have a grieved heart
daily in my calling." He speaks of his pained breast, at another time,
on the evening of the Lord's day, when his work was done.[14] But he
had seasons of refreshing to his own soul at least; especially when
the Lord's Supper was dispensed. Of these seasons he frequently
speaks. He asks his friend, Marion M'Naught, to help with her prayers
on such an occasion, "that being one of the days wherein Christ was
wont to make merry with His friends."[15] It was then that with
special earnestness he besought the Father to distribute "the great
Loaf, Christ, to the children of His family."

  [14] Letter clxxxv.

  [15] Letter xiv.

Another church was filled, but not altogether by parishioners.[16]
Many came from great distances; among others, several that were
converted, seventeen years before, under John Welsh, at Ayr. These all
helped him by their prayers, as did also a goodly number of godly
people in the parish itself, who were the fruit of the ministry of his
predecessor. Yet over the unsaved he yearned most tenderly. At one
time we hear him say, "I would lay my dearest joys in the gap between
you and eternal destruction."[17] At another, "My witness is in
heaven, your heaven, would be two heavens to me, and your salvation
two salvations." He could appeal to his people, "My day-thoughts and
my night-thoughts are of you;" and he could appeal to God, "O my Lord,
judge if my ministry be not dear to me; but not so dear by many
degrees as Christ my Lord."[18]

  [16] The oak pulpit out of which he preached was preserved till a few
  years ago. The old church (60 feet by 18) is in the shape of a barn,
  and could hold only 250 sitters. It is now entirely a ruin. The years
  1631 and 1633 were carved on some of the seats--perhaps the seats of
  the Gordons, or other heritors. We may add, while speaking of this old
  edifice, where "the swallows building their nest," seemed to the
  exiled pastor "blessed birds," that the rusty key of that kirk-door is
  now deposited in the New College, Edinburgh, sent to the museum there
  as a precious relic several years ago by a friend, through Dr. Welsh.
  The church is now roofless, its walls overgrown with ivy, in which the
  sparrows build their nests at will. The tomb of Lady Cardoness, an
  antique pile at the side of the wall, was removed in 1878, though the
  slabs are preserved.

  [17] Letter ccxvii.

  [18] Letter ccxvii.

All classes of people of Anwoth were objects of his care. He
maintained a friendly intercourse with people of high rank, and very
many of his Letters are addressed to such persons. He seems to have
been remarkably blessed to the gentry in the neighbourhood--more far
than to the common people. There was at that time some friend of
Christ to be found in almost every gentleman's seat many miles around
Anwoth.

[Illustration: OLD CHURCH OF ANWOTH.]

But the _herd boys_ were not beneath his special attention. He writes
of them when at Aberdeen, and exclaims, "O if I might but speak to
thee, or your herd boys, of my worthy Master."[19] He had a heart for
_the young_ of all classes, so that he would say of two children of
one of his friends, "I pray for them by name;"[20] and could thus take
time to notice one, "Your daughter desires a Bible and a gown. I hope
she shall use the Bible well, which, if she do, the gown is the better
bestowed." He lamented over the few that cry "Hosanna" in their
youth. "Christ is an _unknown_ Christ to young ones; and therefore
they seek Him not, because they know Him not."

  [19] Letter clxiii.

  [20] Letter xiv.

He dealt with _individual parishioners_ so closely and so personally
as to be able to appeal to them regarding his faithfulness in this
matter. He addresses one of them, Jean M'Millan: "I did what I could
to put you within grips of Christ; I told you Christ's testament and
latter-will plainly."[21] He so carried them on his heart (like the
priest with the twelve tribes on his breastplate), that he could
declare to Gordon of Cardoness, "Thoughts of your soul depart not from
me in my sleep."[22] "My soul was taken up when others were sleeping,
how to have Christ betrothed with a bride in that part of the land,"
viz. Anwoth.[23] He so prayed over them and for them, that he fears
not to say, "_There_ I wrestled with the angel and prevailed. Woods,
trees, meadows, and hills, are my witnesses that I drew on a fair
match betwixt Christ and Anwoth."[24] It is related that, on first
coming to the parish, there was a piece of ground on Mossrobin farm,
in the hollow of a hill, where on Sabbath afternoon the people used to
play at foot-ball. On one occasion he repaired to that spot, and
pointed out their sin, solemnly calling on the objects round to be
witnesses against them, especially three large stones[25] close at
hand on the slope of the hill, two of which still remain, and are
called "_Rutherford's Witnesses_." The third was wantonly dislodged
some years ago; and it is said that the other two were removed to the
other side of the stone dyke, where they are now, for the sake of
security. This is the spot which is especially taken notice of by Dr.
Chalmers, in recording a visit to Anwoth and its neighbourhood (Life,
vol. iii. 130):--

     "_Wednesday, August 23, 1826._--Started at five o'clock; ordered
     the gig forward on the public road to meet us after a scramble of
     about two miles among the hills, in the line of 'Rutherford's
     Memorials.' Went first to his church; the identical fabric he
     preached in, and which is still preached in.[26] The floor is a
     causeway. There are dates of 1628[27] and 1633 on some old carved
     seats. The pulpit is the same, and I sat in it. It is smaller
     than Kilmany, and very rude and simple. The church bell is said
     to have been given him by Lady Kenmure, one of his correspondents
     in his Letters. It is singularly small for a church, having been
     the Kenmure house bell. We then passed to the new church that is
     building; but I am happy to say the old fabric and Rutherford's
     pulpit are to be spared. It is a cruel circumstance that they
     pulled down (and that only three weeks ago) his dwelling-house,
     his old manse; which has not been used as a manse for a long
     time, but was recently occupied. It should have been spared. Some
     of the masons who were ordered to pull it down refused it, as
     they would an act of sacrilege, and have been dismissed from
     their employment. We went and mourned over the rubbish of the
     foundation. Then ascended a bank, still known by the name of
     _Rutherford's Walk_.[28] Then went further among the hills, to
     _Rutherford's Witnesses_,--so many stones which he called to
     witness against some of his parishioners who were amusing
     themselves at the place with some game on the Sunday, and whom he
     meant to reprove. The whole scene of our morning's walk was wild,
     and primitive, and interesting."

  [21] Letter cxxxii.

  [22] Letter clxxx.

  [23] Letter clxxxvi.

  [24] Letter cclxxvii.

  [25] Josh. xxiv. 27.

  [26] It has not been preached in since the year 1827.

  [27] A mistake for 1631.

  [28] It was a walk among trees, close to the manse.

  Once, while in Anwoth, his labours were interrupted (Letter xii.) by a
tertian fever which laid him aside for thirteen weeks. Even when well
recovered he could for a long time only preach on the Sabbath:
visiting and catechising were at a stand. This was just before his
wife's death in 1630, and he writes in the midst of it, "Welcome,
welcome, cross of Christ, if Christ be with it." "An afflicted life
looks very like the way that leads to the kingdom." And some years
thereafter, when his mother (who came from Nisbet and resided with him
six years after his first wife's death) was in a dangerous illness, he
touchingly informs one of his correspondents, to whom he writes from
Anwoth, "_My mother_ is weak, and I think shall leave me alone; but I
am not alone, because _Christ's Father_ is with me."[29]

  [29] Letter xlix.

And what was his recreation? The manse of Anwoth had many visits of
kind friends, who, in Rutherford's fellowship, felt that saying
verified, "They that dwell under His shadow shall return; they shall
revive as the corn."[30] The righteous compassed him about, because
the Lord had dealt bountifully with him. His Letters would be enough
of themselves to show that his friendship and counsel were sought by
the godly on all sides. One of his visitors was his own brother,
George, at Kirkcudbright. This good man was a teacher in that town,
who often repaired to Anwoth to take sweet counsel with Samuel; and
then, together, they talked of and prayed for their only other brother
James, an officer in the Dutch service, who had sympathy with their
views, and, in after days, conveyed to Samuel the invitation to become
Professor at Utrecht. Visits of those friends who resided near were
not unfrequent--such as the Gordons, Viscount Kenmure and his lady,
and Marion M'Naught. But at times Anwoth manse was lighted up by the
glad visit of unexpected guests. There is a tradition that Archbishop
Usher, passing through Galloway, turned aside on a Saturday to enjoy
the congenial society of Rutherford. He came, however, in disguise;
and being welcomed as a guest, took his place with the rest of the
family when they were catechised, as was usual, that evening. The
stranger was asked, "How many commandments are there?" His reply was
"_Eleven_."[31] The pastor corrected him; but the stranger maintained
his position, quoting our Lord's words, "_A_ NEW COMMANDMENT _I give
unto you, that ye love one another_." They retired to rest, all
interested in the stranger. Sabbath morning dawned. Rutherford arose
and repaired, as was his custom, for meditation to a walk that
bordered on a thicket,[32] but was startled by hearing the voice of
prayer--prayer too from the heart, and in behalf of the souls of the
people that day to assemble. It was no other than the holy Archbishop
Usher; and soon they came to an explanation, for Rutherford had begun
to suspect he had "entertained angels unawares." With great mutual
love they conversed together; and at the request of Rutherford, the
Archbishop went up to the pulpit, conducted the usual service of the
Presbyterian pastor, and preached on "the New Commandment."

  [30] Hos. xiv. 7.

  [31] In the parish church of Chiseldon, North Wilts, there are to be
  seen Eleven Commandments inscribed on a slab (which is affixed to the
  chancel arch); the additional one consisting of our Saviour's
  precept--"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another"
  (John xiii. 34). The church is quite an ancient one, dating back to
  1641.

  [32] The place is still pointed out by tradition, as "Rutherford's
  Walk." It was close to the old manse, which was pulled down many years
  ago. It stood about a quarter of a mile from the church, and bore the
  name, _Bushy Bield_, or _Bush o' Bield, i.e._, the bush of shelter.
  Some make it _Bush o' Biel_, and say it is a corruption of
  _Bosco-bello_, fair-wood, _Boscobel_.

[Illustration: BUSH O' BEILD--RUTHERFORD'S HOUSE.]

Scarcely less interesting is the record of another unlooked-for
meeting. Rutherford had one day left home to go to the neighbouring
town of Kirkcudbright, the next day being a day of humiliation in that
place. Having no doubt spent some time with his like-minded brother,
he turned his steps to the house of another friend, Provost Fullerton,
whose wife was Marion M'Naught. While sitting with them in friendly
converse a knock at the door was heard, and then a step on the
threshold. It was worthy Mr. Blair, who, on his way from London to
Portpatrick, had sought out some of his godly friends, that with them
he might be refreshed ere he returned to Ireland. He told them, when
seated, that "he had a desire to visit both Mr. Rutherford at Anwoth,
and Marion M'Naught at Kircudbright; but not knowing how to accomplish
both, had prayed for direction at the parting of the road, and laid
the bridle on the horse's neck. The horse took the way to
Kirkcudbright, and there he found both the friends he so longed to
see." It was a joyful and refreshing meeting on all sides. Wodrow
tells[33] another incident that, in part, bears some resemblance to
this. Rutherford had been reasoning at Stirling with the Marquis of
Argyle, and had set out homeward. But his horse was very troublesome,
and he was feeling in his mind that he should have been more urgent
and plain! He returned, and dealt freely this time. And now his horse
went on pleasantly all the way.

  [33] "Analecta," vol. ii. p. 161.

In 1634 he attended the remarkable deathbed of Lord Kenmure, a
narrative of which he published fifteen years after, in "The Last and
Heavenly Speeches and Glorious Departure of John Viscount Kenmure."
The inroads of Episcopacy were at this time threatening to disquiet
Anwoth. His own domestic afflictions were still affecting him; for he
writes that same year, in referring to his wife's death many years
before, "which wound is not yet fully healed and cured." About that
time, too, there was a proposal (never carried into effect) to call
him to Cramond near Edinburgh,[34] and another to get him settled at
Kirkcudbright.

  [34] Letter xliii. His friend and neighbour Mr. Dalgleish, minister of
  Kirkdale and Kirkmabreck, was translated to Cramond in 1639.

Meanwhile he persevered in study as well as in labours, and with no
common success. He had a metaphysical turn, as well as great
readiness in using the accumulated learning of other days. It might be
instructive to inquire why it is that wherever godliness is healthy
and progressive, we almost invariably find learning in the Church of
Christ attendant on it: while on the other hand, neglect of study is
attended sooner or later by decay of vital godliness. Not that all are
learned in such times; but there is always an element of the kind in
the circle of those whom the Lord is using. The energy called forth by
the knowledge of God in the soul leads on to the study of whatever is
likely to be useful in the defence or propagation of the truth;
whereas, on the other hand, when decay is at work and lifelessness
prevailing, sloth and ease creep in, and theological learning is
slighted as uninteresting and dry. With Samuel Rutherford and his
contemporaries we find learning side by side with vital, and
singularly deep, godliness. Gillespie, Henderson, Blair, Dickson, and
others, are well-known examples. Nor less distinguished was
Rutherford, who was led by circumstances in 1636 to publish his
elaborate defence of grace against the Arminians, in Latin. Its title
is, "Exercitationes de Gratia." So highly was it esteemed at
Amsterdam, where it was published, that a second edition was printed
that very year; and repeated invitations were addressed soon after to
the author to come to Holland, and occupy one or other of their
Divinity chairs. Soon after, the contest for _Christ's kingly office_
became increasingly earnest and keen. To Rutherford it appeared no
small matter. "I could wish many pounds added to my cross to know that
by my suffering Christ was set forward in His _kingly office_ in this
land."[35] July 27, 1636, was a day that put his principles to the
test. He was called before the High Commission Court, because of
nonconformity to the acts of Episcopacy, and because of His work
against the Arminians. The Court was presided over by Sydserff, Bishop
of Galloway, and was held at Wigton, about ten miles from Anwoth,
accross the Bay. He appeared in person there, and defended himself.
The issue could not be doubtful, though Lord Lorn made every exertion
in his behalf. He was deprived of his ministerial office, which he had
exercised at Anwoth for a period of nine years,[36] and banished to
Aberdeen. The next day (writing at evening on the subject), he tells
of his sentence, and calls it, "The honour that I have prayed for
these sixteen years." He made up his mind to leave Anwoth at once,
observing, with a submissiveness which we might wonder at in

  [35] Letter cxv. _See also_ Letter liv.

  [36] Letter cclxix. the author of "Lex Rex," "I propose to obey the
  king, who has power over my body." His only alarm was lest this
  separation from his flock might be a chastisement on him from the
  Lord, "because I have not been so faithful in the end as I was in the
  two first years of my ministry, when sleep departed from mine eyes
  through care for Christ's lambs."[37]

  [37] Letter cix.

On leaving Anwoth he directed his steps by Irvine, spending a night
there with his beloved friend David Dickson. What a night that must
have been! To hear these two in solemn converse! The one could not
perhaps handle the harp so well as the other; for David Dickson could
express his soul's weary longings and its consoling hopes in such
strains as that which has made his name familiar in Scotland, "O
mother dear Jerusalem;" but Rutherford, nevertheless, had so much of
poetry and sublime enthusiasm in his soul, that any poet could
sympathise with him to the full. Many of his letters "from _Christ's
palace_ in Aberdeen" are really strains of true poetry. What else is
such an effusion as this, when, rising on eagles' wings, he exclaims,
"A land that has more than four summers in the year! 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 sweeter that He
is the glory of that land."[38] "O how sweet to be wholly Christ's,
and wholly in Christ; to dwell in Immanuel's high and blessed land,
and live in that sweetest air, where no wind bloweth but the
breathings of the Holy Ghost, no sea nor floods flow but the pure
water of life that floweth from under the throne and from the Lamb, no
planting, but the tree of life that yieldeth twelve manner of fruits
every month! What do we here but sin and suffer? O when shall the
night be gone, the shadows flee away, and the morning of the long,
long day, without cloud or night, dawn? The Spirit and the bride say,
'Come!' O when shall the Lamb's wife be ready, and the Bridegroom say,
'Come?'"[39] Whoever compares such breathings with David Dickson's
hymn will see how congenial were their feelings and their hopes, and
even their mode of expressing what they felt and hoped, though the one
used prose and the other tried more memorable verse.

  [38] Letter cccxxiii.

  [39] Letter cccxxxiv.

We follow Rutherford to Aberdeen, the capital of the North, whither he
was accompanied by a deputation of his affectionate parishioners from
Anwoth, in whose company he would forget the length and tediousness
of the way. He arrived here in September 1636. This town was at that
time the stronghold of Episcopacy and Arminianism, and in it the state
of religion was very low. "It consisted of Papists, and men of
Gallio's naughty faith."[40] The clergy and doctors took the
opportunity of Rutherford's arrival to commence a series of attacks on
the special doctrines of grace which he held. But in disputation he
foiled them; and when many began to feel drawn to him in consequence
of his earnest dealings and private exhortations, there was a proposal
made to remove him from the town. "So cold," writes he, "is northern
love!" But (added he) "_Christ and I will bear it_;"[41] deeply
feeling his union to Him who said to Saul, "Why persecutest thou
_Me?_" Often, on the streets,[42] he was pointed as "_the banished
minister_;" and hearing of this, he remarked, "I am not ashamed of my
garland." He had visitors from Orkney, and from Caithness, to the
great annoyance of his persecutors.[43] Some blamed him for not being
"_prudent enough_," as we have seen men ready to do in similar cases
in our own day; but he replies, "_It is ordinary that that should be
part of the cross of those who suffer for Him_." Still he enjoyed, in
his solitude, occasional intercourse with some of the godly ones,
among whom were Lady Pitsligo, Lady Burnet of Largs, Andrew Cant, and
James Martin. His deepest affliction was separation from his flock at
Anwoth. Nothing can exceed his tender sorrow over this flock.[44]

  [40] Letter lxvi. Dr. James Sibbald, said to have been a man of great
  learning, was minister in one of the churches of New Aberdeen.
  Rutherford attended his preaching, and finding that he taught
  Arminianism, testified against him.

  [41] Letter cxvii.

  [42] The impression of some readers might be that he was in prison.
  But he never was so. He was _in exile_; but the whole town was his
  _prison_. He was, in this respect, like Shimei confined to Jerusalem
  (Letters lxviii., lxix., etc.). His house was in the Upper Kirkgate.

  [43] Letter clxi.

  [44] Letter clxxxi.

[Illustration: MARKET CROSS, ABERDEEN]

It was a saying of his own, "Gold may be gold, and bear the King's
stamp upon it, when it is trampled upon by men." And this was true of
himself. But he came out of his trial not only unscorched, but, as his
many letters from Aberdeen show, greatly advanced in every grace. The
Latin lines prefixed to the early editions of these Letters scarcely
exaggerate when they sing--

    "Quod Chebar et Patmos divinis vatibus olim;
      Huic fuerant sancto claustra Abredæa viro."

But we err if we suppose that it was only while there that he
experienced that almost ecstatic enjoyment of his Lord. He carried it
away with him; for is not this the same strain as pervades his
Letters, when, preaching in 1644, before the House of Commons in
London, he exclaims, "O for eternity's leisure, to look on Him, to
feast upon a sight of His face! O for the long summer day of endless
ages to stand beside Him and enjoy Him! O time, O sin, be removed out
of the way! O day! O fairest of days, dawn!"

He was, during part of two years, closely confined to that town,
though not in prison; but in 1638 public events had taken another
turn. The Lord had stirred up the spirit of the people of Scotland,
and the covenant was again triumphant in the land. Rutherford hastened
back to Anwoth. During his absence, "For six quarters of a year," say
his parishioners, "no sound of the Word of God was heard in our kirk."
The swallows had made their nests there undisturbed for two summers.

His Letters do not refer to the proceedings of the Glasgow Assembly of
1638. It is well known, however, that he was no mere indifferent
spectator to what then took place, but was present, and was member of
several committees which at that time sat on the affairs of the
church. Presbytery being fully restored by that Assembly, it was
thought right that one so gifted should be removed to a more important
sphere. He was sent by the church to several districts to promote the
cause of Reformation and the Covenant; and at length, in spite of his
reluctance, arising chiefly from love to his flock--his rural flock at
Anwoth--he was constrained to yield to the united opinion of his
brethren, and be removed to the Professor's Chair in St. Andrews in
1639, and become Principal of the New College. He bargained to be
allowed to preach regularly every Sabbath in his new sphere; for he
could not endure silence when he might speak a word for his Lord. He
seems to have preached also, as occasion offered, in the parishes
around, especially at Scoonie, in which the village of Leven
stands.[45]

  [45] "In 1650, Mr. Samuel Rutherford, minister of St. Andrews, did
  preach the preparation sermon in Cant. v. 2. Mr. Samuel had a lecture
  on Monday following on the 20th chapter of Matthew's Gospel."

  "_1651, July 13._--The comm. was given at Scoonie. Mr. Alex.
  Moncrieff, m. there, did preach the Preparation Sermon, and on Monday
  morning Mr. Sa. Rutherford did preach; his text at both occasions was
  Luke vii. 36 till 39 ver. At this time was present, besides Mr. Sa.
  Rutherford, Mr. Ja. Guthrie, and Mr. David Bennet, Mr. Ephraim Melvin,
  and Mr. William Oliphant, m. in Dumfermlin. Thither did resort many
  strangers, so that the throng was great. Mr. Ephraim and Mr. D. Bennet
  both did sit within the pulpit while the minister had his sermon." So
  again, "In _1652, June 13_.--Mr. S. R. of St. Andrews, did preach on
  the Sabbath afternoon; his lecture Luke xiv.; his sermon Luke vii. 36,
  38, to end. Mr. S. did exhort on Monday following, on his foresaid
  text, Luke vii. 40, 44." Once more, "_1653, Aug. 11_.--A fast keepit
  at Scoonie kirk, Mr. S. R. in the morning, lecture, Jonah ii.; his
  text, Rev. iii. 1, at end. Afternoon preached on same; his lecture
  Psalms cxxx., cxxxi." "_1654, Jan. 4._--Being Saturday, there was a
  Preparation Sermon for a Thanksgiving preached at Scoonie in Fyfe, for
  the continuance of the Gospel in the land and for the spreading of it
  in some places of the Highlands in Scotland, where in some families
  two and in some families one, began to call on God by prayer. Mr.
  Samuel Rutherford, m. in St. Andrews, preached on Saturday; his text,
  Isa. xlix. 9, 10, 11, 12. On the Sabbath, Mr. Alex Moncrieff, m., then
  preached; his lecture, 1 Thess. ch. i.; his text, Coloss. i. 27. In
  the afternoon of the Sabbath, Mr. Samuel preached again upon his
  forementioned text. On Monday morning, Mr. Samuel had a lecture on
  Psal. lxxxviii. He did read the whole Psalm. Observe, that on Saturday
  Mr. Samuel had this expression in his prayer after sermon, desiring
  that the Lord would rebuke Presbyteries and others that had taken the
  keys and the power in their hands, and keeped out, and would suffer
  none to enter (meaning in the ministry) but such as said as they
  said."--"Lamont's Diary."

His hands were necessarily filled with work in his new sphere; yet
still he relaxed nothing of his diligence in study. Nor did he lack
anything of former blessing. It was here the English merchant heard
him preach so affectingly on the loveliness of Christ; while such was
his success as a Professor that "the University became a Lebanon out
of which were taken cedars for building the house of God throughout
the land."

In the year 1640, he married his second wife, Jean M'Math, "a woman,"
says one, "of such worth, that I never knew any among men exceed him,
nor any among women exceed her. He who heard either of them pray or
speak, might have learnt to bemoan his own ignorance. Oh how many
times I have been convinced, by observing them, of the evil of
unseriousness unto God, and unsavouriness in discourse." They had
seven children; but only one survived the father, a little daughter,
Agnes, who does not seem to have been a comfort to her godly
mother.[46]

  [46] In the "Statistical Account of Scotland" it is stated that in
  1642 he was presented to the church of Mid-Calder. But he must have
  declined it at once; for in 1643 Mr. Hugh Kennedy is found the
  ordained and settled pastor of that parish.

In July 1643, the Westminster Assembly began their sittings; and to it
he was sent up as one of the Commissioners from the Church of
Scotland. A sketch of a "Shorter Catechism" exists in MS., in the
library of the Edinburgh University, in _Rutherford's handwriting_,
very much resembling the Catechism as it now stands, from which it has
been inferred that he had the principal hand in drawing it up for the
Assembly. He continued four years attending the sittings of this
famous synod, and was of much use in their deliberations. So prominent
a part did he take, that the great Milton has singled him out for
attack in his lines, "On the new forcers of conscience, under the Long
Parliament." Milton knew him only as an opponent of his sectarian and
independent principles, and so could scorn measures proposed by "Mere
A. S.[47] and Rutherford." But had he known the soul of the man, would
not even Milton have found a sublimity of thought and feeling in his
adversary, that at times approached his own lofty poesy? How
interesting, in any point of view, to find the devoted pastor of
Anwoth, on the streets of London, crossing the path of England's
greatest poet.

  [47] A. S. stands for _Adam Stewart_, who wrote a pamphlet,
  "Zerubbabel to Sanballat."

During his residence in London he was tried with many afflictions.
Several of his family died; and his own health began to give way, so
that he and his brother minister, Mr. G. Gillespie, visited Epsom to
drink the waters. Yet such was the amazing spirit of the man, under a
sense of duty, that amid the trials and bustle of that time he wrote,
"The Due Right of Presbyteries," "Lex Rex," _i.e._ "The Law, The
King," and "Trial and Triumph of Faith." Nor was he soured by
controversy. In the preface to one of his controversial works, he
discovers his large-hearted charity and manly impartiality in regard
to what he saw in these parts. He writes: "I judge that in England the
Lord hath many names, and a fair company, that shall stand at the side
of Christ when He shall render up the kingdom to the Father; and that
in that renowned nation there be men of all ranks, wise, valorous,
generous, noble, heroic, faithful, religious, gracious, learned."[48]

  [48] Preface to "Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist."

Returning home to St. Andrews, he resumed his labours both in the
college and in the pulpit with all his former zeal. In 1644, it
appears from the old minutes of Lanark Presbytery, a vacancy having
occurred, Rutherford was unanimously called to Lanark. He was inclined
to go, but the Presbytery of St. Andrews refused to loose him. He had
often preached at Lanark. He declined two invitations to the
professorship in Holland; one from Harderwyck in 1648, the other from
Utrecht in 1651; though the former offered the chair both of Divinity
and of Hebrew. He joined the Protestors in determinedly opposing the
proceedings of the Commission of Assembly, who had censured such as
protested against the admission to power of persons in the class of
malignants. His friend David Dickson keenly opposed him, and Mr. Blair
also, though less violently.[49] It was this controversy that made
John Livingstone say, in a letter to Blair, "Your and Mr. D. Dickson's
accession to these resolutions is the saddest thing I have seen in my
time. My wife and I have had more bitterness in this respect, these
several months, than ever we had since we knew what bitterness meant."
Rutherford wrote too violently on this matter.[50] Some say he was
naturally hot and fiery; but at this time all parties were greatly
excited. Still he did not lose his brotherly love--the same brotherly
love that led him so fervently to embrace Archbishop Usher as a
fellow-believer. We may get a lesson for our times from his remarks on
occasion of these bitter controversies. "It is hard when saints
rejoice in the sufferings of saints, and redeemed ones hurt, and go
nigh to hate, redeemed ones. For contempt of the communion of saints,
we have need of new-born crosses, scarce ever heard of before.--Our
star-light hideth us from ourselves, and hideth us from one another,
and Christ from us all." And then he subjoins (and is he not borne out
by the words of the Lord in John xvii. 22?): "A doubt it is if we
shall have fully one heart till we shall enjoy one heaven." The state
of things lay heavy on his mind: "I am broken and wasted by the wrath
that is upon this land."

  [49] When the Lord's Supper was to be dispensed, Blair in vain used
  every argument to induce Rutherford to take part with himself and Mr.
  Wood in serving tables; and, being forced to do it alone, began thus:
  "We must have water in our wine while here. O to be above, where there
  will be no mistakes!"--"Wodrow's Anal."

  [50] "Brodie's Diary" (May 27, 1653) says that S. R. in a conference
  in "Warriston's Chambers" retorted, that he had heard much of peace
  with men, but would like better to hear of a peace with God, and with
  sin, that His wrath may be turned away, without which a patched peace
  would be little effectual (p. 43). In June a longer conference (pp.
  48, 49, 50).

It was in 1651 that he published his work "De Divinâ Providentiâ," a
work in which he assailed Jesuits, Socinians, and Arminians. Richard
Baxter (tinged as he was with the Arminian theology), in referring to
this treatise, remarked (says Wodrow), that "His Letters were the best
piece, and this work the worst, he had ever read." Of course, this was
the language of controversy, for the book is one of great ability. It
was this work, indeed, that drew forth several invitations from
foreign Universities. The ten years that followed were times of much
distraction, being the times of Cromwell and the Commonwealth, as well
as of the Protesters and Resolutioners. In 1651 the Scottish nation
resolved to crown Charles II., as lawful king, at Scone; and when the
young king was at St. Andrews, in prospect of that event, he visited
the colleges. It fell to Rutherford to deliver, on that occasion, an
oration in Latin before His Majesty, on a subject which he could
handle well, both as a patriot and a Christian, "The Duty of Kings."

Milton sings--

                    "God doth not need
    Either man's work, or His own gifts; His state
    Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,
    And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
    _They also serve who only stand and wait_."

It is mentioned in "Lamont's Diary," 27th Sept. 1653, that at the
Provincial Synod of Fyfe, which met at St. Andrews, Mr. Samuel
Rutherford presented a paper to the Moderator, relating to the sins of
the ministry, which was not accepted. Upon the refusal of it, some
words passed between Rutherford and Mr. Robert Blair, the Moderator,
anent the public business. At the close of that meeting, two English
officers entered; upon which they were asked, "If they had come to sit
and voice with them?" They said, "No; only to see that they ruled
nothing in prejudice to the Commonwealth." The days were evil, and
Rutherford was longing now for such quiet service. He sometimes refers
to this desire; he wishes for a harbour in his latter days; only (adds
he), "failing is serving"--and he did delight in serving his Lord to
the last.[51] His friend M'Ward, in an advertisement prefixed to the
earlier editions of the Letters, bitterly laments the loss of a
Commentary on Isaiah, on which "this true Zechariah, who had
understanding in the visions of God,"[52] employed his leisure time
during the closing years of his life.[53] "His heart travailed more,"
says he, "in birth of this piece than ever I knew him of any; neither
was there ever anything he put his hand to that would have so
powerfully persuaded this panter after the enjoyment of his Master's
company, to have had his heaven and the immediate fruition of God
suspended for a season, as the eager desire he had to finish this work
before he finished his course." But all these papers were carried off,
and never recovered. So true is it, that of the seed we sow, we "know
not whether shall prosper, either this or that" (Eccles. xi. 6).

  [51] In 1655, we find in "Diary of Brodie of Brodie," p. 141:--"Quhil
  Mr. Rutherford, Mr. Blair, Mr. Wood, and many others, are labouring in
  places, and as we hear come small speed; Oh, is it not a marvel that
  _we_ should be discouraged!"

  [52] 2 Chron. xxvi. 5.

  [53] He planned a Commentary on Hosea in 1657, but the design was not
  executed. Reference is made to this in Letter cx.

When Charles II. was fully restored, and had begun to adopt arbitrary
measures, Rutherford's work, "Lex Rex," was taken notice of by the
Government; for, reasonable as are its principles in defence of the
liberty of subjects, its spirit of freedom was intolerable to rulers,
who were, step by step, advancing to acts of cruelty and death.
Indeed, it was so hateful to them, that they burnt it, in 1661, first
at Edinburgh, by the hands of the hangman; and then, some days after,
by the hands of the infamous Sharpe, under the windows of its author's
College in St. Andrews. He was next deposed from all his offices; and,
last of all, was summoned to answer at next Parliament a charge of
high treason. But the citation came too late. He was already on his
deathbed, and on hearing of it, calmly remarked, that he had got
another summons before a superior Judge and judicatory, and sent the
message, "I behove to answer my first summons; and, ere your day
arrive, I will be where few kings and great folks come."

We have no account of the nature of his last sickness, except that it
was a lingering disease. He had a daughter who died a few weeks before
himself. All that is told us of his deathbed is characteristic of the
man. At one time he spoke much of "the white stone" and "the new
name." When he was on the threshold of glory, ready to receive the
immortal crown, he said, "Now my tabernacle is weak, and I would think
it a more glorious way of going home to lay down my life for the
cause, at the Cross of Edinburgh or St. Andrews; but I submit to my
Master's will." Some days before his death, after a fainting fit, he
said, "Now I feel, I believe, I enjoy, I rejoice." And turning to Mr.
Blair, "I feed on manna: I have angels' food. My eyes shall see my
Redeemer. I know that He shall stand on earth at the latter day, and I
shall be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the air."[54] When
asked, "What think ye now of Christ?" he replied, "I shall live and
adore Him. Glory, glory to my Creator and Redeemer for ever. Glory
shineth in Immanuel's land." The same afternoon he said, "I shall
sleep in Christ; and when I awake, I shall be satisfied with His
likeness. O for arms to embrace Him!" Then he cried aloud, "O for a
well-tuned harp!" This last expression he used more than once, as if
already stretching out his hand to get his golden harp, and join the
redeemed in their new song. He also said on another occasion, "I hear
Him saying to me, 'Come up hither.'" His little daughter Agnes (the
only survivor of six children), eleven years of age, stood by his
bedside; he looked on her, and said, "I have left her upon the Lord."
Well might the man say so, who could so fully testify of his portion
in the Lord, as a goodly heritage. To four of his brethren, who came
to see him, he said, "My Lord and Master is chief of ten thousands of
thousands. None is comparable to Him, in heaven or in earth. Dear
brethren, do all for _Him_. Pray _for Christ_. Preach _for Christ_. Do
all for _Christ_; beware of men-pleasing. The Chief Shepherd will
shortly appear." He often called Christ "His Kingly King." While he
spoke even rapturously, "I shall shine! I shall see Him as He is! I
shall see Him reign, and all His fair company with Him, and I shall
have my large share"--he at the same time would protest, "I renounce
all that ever He made me will or do as defiled or imperfect as coming
from myself. I betake myself to Christ for sanctification as well as
justification." Repeating 1 Cor. i. 30, he said, "I close with it! Let
Him be so. He is my all and all." "If He should slay me ten thousand
times I will trust." He spoke as if he knew the hour of his departure;
not perhaps as Paul (2 Tim. iv. 6) or Peter (2 Peter i. 14), yet still
in a manner that seems to indicate that the Lord draws very near His
servants in that hour, and gives glimpses of what He is doing. On the
last day of his life, in the afternoon, he said, "This night will
close the door, and fasten my anchor within the veil, and I shall go
away in a sleep by five o'clock in the morning." And so it was. He
entered Immanuel's land at that very hour, and is now (as himself
would have said) "sleeping in the bosom of the Almighty," till the
Lord come.

  [54] "Lamont's Diary," p. 133.

We may add his latest words. "There is nothing now between me and the
Resurrection but 'This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.'" He
interrupted one speaking in praise of his painfulness in the ministry,
"I disclaim all. The port I would be in at is redemption and
forgiveness of sin through His blood." Two of his biographers record
that his last words were, "Glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land!"
as if he had caught a glimpse of its mountain-tops.

It was at St. Andrews he died, on 30th March 1661, and there he was
buried. "Lamont's Diary," p. 133, says: "He was interred on the 30th
of March, in the ordinary burial place." Had he lived a few weeks his
might have been the cruel death endured by his friend James Guthrie,
whom he had encouraged, by his letters, in stedfastness to the end.
The sentence which the Parliament passed, when told that he was dying,
did him no dishonour. When they had voted that he should not die in
the College, Lord Burleigh rose and said, "Ye cannot vote him out of
heaven."

His death was lamented throughout the land; and to this day few names
are so well known and honoured. So great was the reverence which some
of the godly had for this man of God, that they requested to be buried
where his body was laid. This was Thomas Halyburton's dying
request.[55] An old man in the parish of Crailing (in which Nisbet,
his birthplace, is situated) remembers the veneration entertained for
him by the great-grandfather of the present Marquis of Lothian. This
good Marquis used to lift his hat, as often as he passed the spot
where stood the cottage in which Samuel Rutherford was born. He was
twice married. His widow survived him fourteen years.

  [55] See (ch. vi.) of "Memoir of Halyburton," who, on his deathbed,
  quoted Rutherford's words, "Glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land."

[Illustration: RUINS OF ST. ANDREWS CATHEDRAL.]

If ever there was any portrait of him, it is not now known. The
portraits sometimes given of him are all imaginary. We are most
familiar with the likeness of his soul. There is one expressive line
in the epitaph on his tombstone, in the churchyard at the boundary
wall opposite the door of St Regulus' Tower--

    "What tongue, what pen, or skill of men,
    Can famous Rutherford commend!
    His learning justly raised his fame,
    True godliness adorn'd his name.
    He did converse with things above,
    _Acquainted with Immanuel's love_."

A monument to his memory was erected in 1842, by subscription, on the
Boreland Hill, in the parish of Anwoth. It is sixty feet in height,
and thus, seen all around, it seems to remind the inhabitants of that
region how God once visited His people there.

       *       *       *       *       *

His letters have long been famous among the godly. The present edition
of them has several things to recommend it. 1. The Letters are
chronologically arranged. 2. They have biographical notices prefixed
to a large number of them. Most of these are from the pen of the Rev.
James Anderson. The present editor has added, here and there,
topographical notes that seemed to have some interest, most of them
gleaned on the spot. The explanatory notes in the edition by the Rev.
C. Thomson, 1836, have often been consulted with much advantage. 3.
There are contents prefixed to each Letter, describing generally what
are the main subjects of each. 4. _There are some new letters inserted
in this collection; and there is a facsimile of an unpublished letter
directed to the Provost of Edinburgh_, at the time when there was an
attempt made to call Rutherford to that city. The letter, which is
preserved in the Records of the Edinburgh Town Council, entreats them
to drop the matter. It is written in a very small hand, as was usual
with him, and the seal on it has the armorial bearing of the
Rutherford family.

[Illustration: RUTHERFORD'S MONUMENT ON BORELAND HILL.]

If it be asked how it came about that these letters should have been
at first printed in an order entirely unchronological, the explanation
is simple: The first edition appeared in 1664, and in it there were
only two hundred and eighty-four of his letters gathered and
published; but many being edified thereby, an edition soon appeared
with sixty-eight more letters appended. All these seem to have been
printed very much in the order in which they came to hand, and the
additional sixty-eight, more especially, disturbed all arrangement.
The collector was Mr. M'Ward,[56] who, as a student, being much
beloved by Rutherford, went to the Westminster Assembly with him as
his amanuensis or secretary. He was afterwards successor to Andrew
Gray in Glasgow, and finally minister in Rotterdam. He gave them to
the public with an enthusiastic recommendation, under the title,
"Joshua Redivivus;[57] published for the use of all the people of God,
but more particularly for those who are now, or afterwards may be, put
to suffering for Christ and His cause; by a well-wisher to the work
and people of God. John xvi. 2; 2 Thessal. i. 6." The edition was in
duodecimo, and was printed at Rotterdam. Not only were the Letters
first published in Holland, but also, in 1674, there appeared a Dutch
translation of them at Flushing.

  [56] In "Lamont's Diary," April 1650, we read of "Mr. Robert Makeward,
  sometime servant (_i.e._ secretary) to Mr. Samuel Rutherford, minister
  of St. Andrews."

  [57] Why "_Joshua_"? Did he think of the faithful witnessing in Joshua
  xxiv.? Or is the reference to Joshua as one of the spies? _See_ Letter
  cxviii.

It will be noticed, in reading the Letters as they stand
chronologically, that at times the pen of the ready writer ran on with
amazing rapidity. He has written many in one day when his heart was
overflowing. It was easy to write when the Lord was pouring on him the
unction that teacheth all things. He would have written still more,
but he had heard that people looked up to him and overpraised his
Letters. During his confinement at Aberdeen, he wrote about two
hundred and twenty of these letters.

There are a few distasteful expressions in these epistolary effusions,
the sparks of a fancy that sought to appropriate everything to
spiritual purposes; but as to extravagance in the thoughts conveyed,
there is none. An old Memoir of Richard Cameron, the martyr, mentions
at the close that it had become a fashion among "profane preachers and
expectants" to say of these Letters, "They are fit only for old
wives." Dr. Love, on the other hand, protests, "The haughty contempt
of that book which is in the heart of many will be ground for
condemnation when the Lord cometh to make inquisition after such
things" (Letter xiv.). The extravagance in sentiment alleged against
them by some is just that of Paul, when he spoke of knowing "the
height and depth, length and breadth," of the love of Christ; or that
of Solomon, when the Holy Ghost inspired him to write "The Song of
Songs." Rather would we say of these Letters, what Livingstone in a
letter says of John Welsh's dying words, "O for a sweet fill of this
fanatic humour!" In modern days, Richard Cecil has said of Rutherford,
"He is one of my classics; he is a real original;" and, in older
times, Richard Baxter, some of whose theological leanings might have
prejudiced him, if anything could, said of his Letters, "Hold off the
Bible, such a book the world never saw." They were long ago translated
into Dutch, and of late years they have been translated into German.
Both in these, and in his other writings, we see sufficient proof that
had he cultivated literature as a pursuit, he might have stood high in
the admiration of men.[58]

  [58] Even in his controversial works, sparks of the same poetic fire
  fly out when opportunity occurs. In his Treatise "De Divina
  Providentiâ," the following paragraph occurs, extolling the glory of
  Godhead wisdom. "Comparentur cum illa increata sapientia Dei Patris
  umbratiles scintillulæ creatæ gloriolæ quotquot nominis celebritate
  inclaruerunt. Delirat _Plato_. Mentitur _Aristoteles_. _Cicero_
  balbutit, hæsitat, nescit Latine loqui. _Demosthenes_ mutus et
  elinguis obstupescit; virtutis viam ignorat _Seneca_; nihil canit
  _Homerus_; male canit _Virgilius!_ Accedant ad Christum qui virtutis
  gloria fulgent! _Aristides_ virtutem mentitur. _Fabius_ cespitat, a
  via justitiæ deviat. _Socrates_ ne hoc quidem scit, se nihil scire.
  _Cato_ levis et futilis est; _Solon_ est mundi et voluptatum servus et
  mancipium, non legislator. _Pythagoras_ nec sophos, nec philosophus
  est. _Bias_ nec mundi nec inanis gloriæ contemptor. _Alexander Macedo_
  ignavus est," &c. Another work bears this title: "Exercitationes
  Apologeticæ pro Divinâ Gratiâ, studio et industria Samuelis
  Rhætorfortis, Anwetensis, in Gallovidiâ, Scotiæ provinciâ Pastoris."
  The preface, or dedication, to _Gordon of Kenmure_, is very
  characteristic, ending thus: "Non enim ignoras in hac valle miseriarum
  minime sistendum, neque tentorium figendum; ad æternitatem ipsam (quod
  vere magnum nomen est & ineffabile) te vocari; crescere iter,
  decrescere diem, omnia alia aliena, tempus tantum nostrum esse, si
  modo nostrum est." In this preface he calls himself "_Pastor
  Anwetensis_," the old spelling of Anwoth being _Anweth_.

His correspondents were chiefly persons residing either in Galloway,
where Anwoth was, or in Ayrshire; for these two counties at that time
were rich in godly men of some standing.

His pen suggests often, by a few strokes, very much that is profound
and impressive. There is something not easily forgotten in the words
used to express the Church's indestructibleness when he says, "The
bush has been burning these five thousand years, and _no man yet saw
the ashes of that fire_" (Letter cccxvii.). How much truth is conveyed
in that saying, "Losses for Christ are but goods given out in bank in
Christ's hand." There is an ingenious use of Scripture that often
delights the reader; as when he speaks of "The corn on the house-tops
that never got the husbandman's prayer," or of "Him that counteth the
basons and knives of His house (Ezra i. 9, 10), and bringeth them back
safe to His second temple" (Letter cccxxxiii.).

It is a curious fact that only in Letter cccxxv., does he speak of the
Holy Spirit, though elsewhere (see "Life of Grace") very full are his
statements of the Spirit's work. The truth is, a man full of the Holy
Ghost is full of Christ and testifies to Him.

These letters will ever be precious to--

1. _All who are sensible of their own, and the Church's decay and
corruptions._--The wound and the cure are therein so fully opened out:
self is exposed, specially _spiritual self_. He will tell you, "There
is as much need to watch over grace, as to watch over sin." He will
show you God in Christ, to fill up the place usurped by self. The
subtleties of sin, idols, snares, temptations, self-deceptions, are
dragged into view from time to time. And what is better still, the
cords of Christ are twined round the roots of these bitter plants,
that they may be plucked up.

Nor is it otherwise in regard to corruption in public, and in the
Church. We do not mean merely the open corruption of error, but also
the secret "grey hairs" of decay. Hear him cry, "There is universal
deadness on all that fear God. O where are the sometime quickening
breathings and influences from heaven that have refreshed His hidden
ones!" And then he laments, in the name of the saints, "We are half
satisfied with our witheredness; nor have we as much of his strain who
doth eight times breathe out that suit (Psalm cxix.), Quicken me!" "We
live far from the well, and complain but dryly of our dryness."

2. _All who delight in the Surety's imputed righteousness._--If
thoroughly aware of the body of sin in ourselves we cannot but feel
that we need a _person_ in our stead--the person of the God-man in the
room of our guilty person. "To us a Son is given;" not salvation only,
but a Saviour. "He gave _Himself_ for _us_."

These letters are ever leading us to the Surety and His righteousness.
The eye never gets time to rest long on anything apart from Him and
His righteousness. We are shown the deluge-waters undried up, in order
to lead us into the ark again: "I had fainted, had not want and penury
chased me to the storehouse of all."

3. _All who rejoice in the Gospel of free grace._--Lord Kenmure having
said to him, "Sin causeth me to be jealous of His love to such a man
as I have been," he replied, "Be jealous of yourself, my Lord, but not
of Jesus Christ." In his "Trial and Triumph of Faith" he remarks, "As
holy walking is a duty coming from us, it is no ground of true peace.
Believers often seek in themselves what they should seek in Christ."
It is to the like effect he says in one of his letters, "Your heart is
not the compass that Christ saileth by,"--turning away his friend
from looking inward, to look upon the heart of Jesus. And this is his
meaning, when he thus lays the whole burden of salvation on the Lord,
and leaves nothing for us but acceptance, "Take ease to thyself, and
let Him bear all."[59] Then, pointing us to the risen Saviour as our
pledge of complete redemption, "Faith may dance, because Christ
singeth;"[60] "Faith _apprehendeth pardon_, but never payeth a penny
for it."[61] On his death-bed he said to his friends, "I disclaim all
that ever God made me will or do, and I look upon it as defiled and
imperfect." And so in his Letters he will admit of no addition, or
intermixture of other things, "The Gospel is like a small hair that
hath no breadth, and will not cleave in two."[62] He exhorts to
_Assurance_ as being the way to be humbled very low before God:
"Complaining is but a humble backbiting and traducing of Christ's new
work in the soul." "Make meikle of assurance, for it keepeth your
anchor fixed."[63] He warns us, in his "Trial and Triumph of Faith,"
"not to be too desirous of keen awakenings to chase us to Christ. Let
Christ tutor me as he thinketh good. He has seven eyes: I have but
one, and that too dim." In a similar strain he writes:--"The law shall
never be my doomster, by Christ's grace; I shall find a sure enough
doom in the Gospel to humble and cast me down. _There cannot be a more
humble soul than a believer. It is no pride in a drowning man to catch
hold of a rock._"[64] How much truth there is here! Naaman never was
humble in any degree, until he felt himself _completely healed_ of his
scaly leprosy; but truly he was humbled and humble then. And what one
word is there that suggests so many humbling thoughts as that word
"_grace_"?

  [59] Letter clxxxii.

  [60] Letter clxxxiii.

  [61] Letter clxxxii.

  [62] Letter cclxxix.

  [63] Letter cclxxxviii.

  [64] Letter ccxxx.

4. _All who seek to grow in holiness._--The Holy Ghost delights to
show us the glorious Godhead, in the face of Jesus. And this is a very
frequent theme in these Letters. "Take Christ for sanctification, as
well as justification," is often his theme. And in him we see a man
who seems to have fought for _holiness_ as unceasingly and as eagerly
as other men seek for _pardon and peace_. In him "_Holiness to the
Lord_" seems written on every affection of the heart, and on every
fresh-springing thought.

Fellowship with the living God is a distinguishing feature in the
holiness given by the Holy Ghost; we get "access by one Spirit to the
Father through Him."[65] Rutherford could sometimes say, "I have been
so near Him that I have said, 'I take instruments that this is the
Lord.'"[66] And he could from experience declare, "I dare avouch, the
saints know not the length and largeness of the sweet Earnest, and of
the sweet green sheaves before the harvest, that might be had on this
side of the water, _if we should take more pains_."[67] "I am every
way in your case, as hard-hearted and dead as any man, but yet I speak
to Christ through my sleep."[68] All this is from the pen of a man who
was a metaphysician, a controversialist, a leader in the church, and
learned in ancient and scholastic lore. Why are there not such
gracious, as well as great men now?

  [65] Ephes. ii. 18.

  [66] Letter xcix.

  [67] Letter ccii.

  [68] Letter cclxxxvi.

5. _All afflicted persons._--Here he had the very "tongue of the
learned, to speak a word in season to him that was weary." And with
what tender sympathy does he speak, leading the mourner so gently to
the heart of Jesus! He knew the heart of a stranger, for he had been a
stranger. "Let no man after me slander Christ for His cross."[69] Yes,
says he, His most loved are often His most tried: "The lintel-stone
and pillars of His New Jerusalem suffer more knocks of God's hammer
and tools than the common side-wall stones."[70] Even as to reproach
and calumny, he declares, "I love Christ's worst reproaches."

  [69] Letter cvii.

  [70] Letter cii.

It was to Hugh M'Kail, uncle of the youthful martyr, that he penned
the words, "Some have written me that I am possibly too joyful of the
cross; but my joy overleapeth the cross--it is bounded and terminated
on Christ."[71] And there it was he found a well of comfort never dry.

  [71] Letter ccvi.

6. _All who love the Person of Christ._--We have too often been
satisfied with speculative truth and abstract doctrine. On the one
hand, the orthodox have too often rested in the statements of our
Catechisms and Confessions; and, on the other, the "Election-doubters"
(as Bunyan would have called them) have pressed their favourite dogma,
that Christ died for all men, as if mere assent to a proposition could
save the soul. Rutherford places the truth before us in a more
accurate, and also more savoury way, full of life and warmth. The
Person of Him who gave Himself for His church is held up in all its
attractiveness. With him, it is ever the Person as much as the work
done; or rather, never the one apart from the other. Like Paul, he
would fain know _Him_, as well as the power of His resurrection.[72]

  [72] Phil. iii. 10.

Once, when Lord Kenmure asked him, "What will Christ be like when He
cometh?" his reply was, "_All lovely_." And this is everywhere the
favourite theme with him. At times he tells of His love. "His love
surroundeth and surchargeth me."[73] "If His love was not in heaven, I
should be unwilling to go thither."[74] Often he checks his pen to
tell of _Christ Himself_, "Welcome, welcome, sweet, sweet cross of
Christ;"--then correcting his language, "Welcome, fair, lovely, _royal
King, with Thine own cross_."[75] "O if I could doat as much upon
_Himself_ as I do upon His love."[76] "I fear I make more of His love
than of _Himself_."[77] How startling yet how true, is this remark, "I
see that in communion with Christ we may make more gods than
one,"[78]--meaning that we may be tempted to make the enjoyment itself
our god. It was his habitual aim to pass through privileges, joys,
even fellowship, to God Himself: "I have casten this work upon Christ,
to get me _Himself_."[79] "I would be farther in upon Christ than at
His joys; in, where love and mercy lodgeth; beside His heart."[80] "He
who sitteth on the throne is His lone a sufficient heaven."[81] "Sure
I am He is the far best half of heaven."[82]

  [73] Letter civ.

  [74] Letter civ.

  [75] Letter lxi.

  [76] Letter clx.

  [77] Letter clxxix.

  [78] Letter clxviii.

  [79] Letter clxxxvii.

  [80] Letter cclxxxvi.

  [81] Letter ccclii.

  [82] Letter cclxxix.

In a word, such was his soul's view of the living Person, that he
writes, "Holiness is not _Christ_, nor the blossoms and flowers of the
tree of life, nor the tree itself."[83] He had found out the true
fountain-head, and would direct all Zion's travellers thither. And let
a man try this; let the Holy Spirit lead a man to this _Person_;--and
surely his experience will be, "None ever came up dry from David's
well."

  [83] Letter cccxxxvi.

7. _All who love that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the
great God our Saviour._--The more we love the Person of Christ, the
more ought we to love His appearing; and the more we cherish both
feelings, the holier shall we become. Rutherford abounds in
aspirations for that day; he is one who "looks for and hastens unto
the coming of the day of God!" While in exile at Aberdeen in 1637, he
writes, "O when will we meet! O how long is it to the dawning of the
marriage day! O sweet Jesus, take wide steps! O my Lord, come over
mountains at one stride! O my Beloved, flee as a roe or young hart
upon the fountains of separation." Now and then he utters the
expression of an intense desire for the restoration of Israel to
their Lord, and the fulness of the Gentiles; but far oftener his
desires go forth to his Lord Himself. "O fairest among the sons of
men, why stayest Thou so long away? O heavens, move fast! O time, run,
run, and hasten the marriage day!" To Lady Kenmure his words are, "The
Lord hath told you what you should be doing till He come. 'Wait and
hasten,' saith Peter, 'for the coming of the Lord.' 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. Wait with
the wearied night-watch for the breaking of the eastern sky." Those
saints who feel most keenly the world's enmity, and the Church's
imperfection, are those who will most fervently love their Lord's
appearing. It was thus with Daniel on the banks of Ulai, and with John
in Patmos; and Samuel Rutherford's most intense aspirations for that
day are breathed out in Aberdeen.

His description of himself on one occasion is, "A man often borne down
and hungry, and waiting for the marriage supper of the Lamb."[84] He
is now gone to the "mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense;"
and there he no doubt still wonders at the unopened, unsearchable
treasures of Christ. But O for his insatiable desires Christward! O
for ten such men in Scotland to stand in the gap!--men who all day
long find nothing but Christ to rest in, whose very sleep is a
pursuing after Christ in dreams, and who intensely desire to "awake
with His likeness."

  [84] Letter lxiii.



LIST OF HIS WORKS.


     1. _Exercitationes Apologeticæ pro Divina Gratia._ Amstelodami,
            12mo, 1636. Franekeræ, 1651.

     2. _A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul's Presbytery in
            Scotland._ London, 4to, 1642.

     3. _A Sermon before the House of Commons, on_ Daniel vi. 26.
            London, 4to, 1644.

     4. _A Sermon before the House of Lords, on_ Luke vii. 22; Mark
            iv. 38; Matt. viii. 26. London, 4to, 1645.

     5. _"Lex Rex:" The Law and the Prince._ London, 4to, 1644. In
            Fullarton's _Scottish Nation_, 1862, mention is made
            of another work which is in reality the same as this; on
            _Civil Polity_. London, 4to, 1657. It is not, however, a
            separate work, but merely one of the editions of the
            well-known _Lex Rex_--the edition of 1657, which has the
            following title:--_Lex Rex; a Treatise of Civil Polity;
            being a Resolution of Forty-three Questions concerning
            Prerogative, Right, and Privilege, in reference to the
            Supreme Prince and People_. The change in the title was a
            device of the printer, in order to elude the Government,
            who sought to suppress the book.

     6. _The Due Right of Presbyteries._ London, 4to, 1644.

     7. _The Trial and Triumph of Faith._ London, 4to, 1645.

     8. _The Divine Right of Church Government and Excommunication._
            London, 4to, 1646. Appended to this is _A Dispute touching
            Scandal and Christian Liberty_.

     9. _Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself._ London, 4to,
            1647.

     10. _A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist._ London, 1648. To
             which is appended, _A Modest Survey of the Secrets of
             Antinomianism_.

     11. _A Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience._
             London, 4to, 1649.

     12. _The Last and Heavenly Speeches of John Gordon, Viscount
             Kenmure._ Edinburgh, 4to, 1649.

     13. _Disputatio Scholastica de Divina Providentia._ Edinburgh,
             4to, 1651.

     14. _The Covenant of Life Opened._ Edinburgh, 4to, 1655.

     15. _A Survey of Mr. Hooker's Church Discipline; or, A Survey of
             the Survey of that Summe of Discipline penned by Mr.
             Thomas Hooker._ London, 4to, 1658.

     16. _Influences of the Life of Grace._ The last work published in
             his lifetime. London, 4to, 1659. The original title page
             adds:--"_A Practical Treatise concerning the way, manner,
             and means of having and improving spiritual dispositions
             and quickening influences from Christ, the Resurrection
             and the Life._"


POSTHUMOUS.

     17. _Joshua Redivivus; or, Mr. Rutherford's Letters._ First
             Edition, 12mo, 1664. No printer's name and no place
             mentioned.

     18. _Examen Arminianismi._ Ultrajecti (Utrecht), 12mo, 1668.

     19. _A Testimony left by Mr. S. Rutherford to the Work of
             Reformation in Great Britain and Ireland before his
             death._ Date uncertain.

     20. _Twelve Communion Sermons._ Glasgow, 1876. This collection
             includes _Christ's Napkin_; and Song ii. 14-17, _Christ
             and the Dove's Heavenly Salutation_. These have internal
             evidence in their favour, viz. the language and general
             strain of thought. Add to these _The Lamb's Marriage_,
             Rev. xix. 7; and another on Song ii. 1-8 appended to a
             second edition, 1877, with the title, "Fourteen Communion
             Sermons," 1877.

     21. _The Cruel Watchmen. The Door of Salvation Opened._
             Edinburgh, 1735. Song v. 7, 8, 9, 10. These two are
             doubtful; at all events, very imperfect, as usually
             printed. The old edition of _The Cruel Watchmen_ is good.

     22. There is a _Treatise on Prayer; The Power and Prevalency of
             Truth and Prayer evidenced, in a Practical Discourse
             upon_ Matt. ix. 27-31. Printed in the year 1713. It is a
             small duodecimo of 111 pp., and has this note appended:
            "The rest of this Discourse cannot be found, it being
            above fifty years since the author died."

         An old _Catalogue of the most Vendible Books_, in 1658, gives
             as one of his works, _A Rationale on the Book of Common
             Prayer_, 8vo. But this is a mistake; Antony Sparrow wrote
             the book entitled, _The Rationale, or Practical Exposition
             of the Book of Common Prayer_.

         The Diaries of Brodie of Brodie (Spalding Club--Preface p.
             xix.), refer to "Shorthand Notes of two Sermons by S.
             Rutherford." Brodie used to correspond with him, for we
             find, August 6, 1655: "Mr. Rutherford exhorted me in his
             letter that my right hand might not know what my left
             hand did; and he says that he knows not but that the Lord
             may divorce the mother, but be a sanctuary to the little
             ones." We find further that S. R. wrote urging Brodie "to
             present Mr. Thomas Ross to Ila."

     23. _Quaint Sermons_ (eighteen in number), by S. R., never before
             published, with a prefatory note by Rev. And. A. Bonar.
             Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1885.



LETTERS.



I.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _on the return home of her daughter_.

     [In the early editions the date stands "1624," by a mistake for
     "1627;" for Rutherford was not settled in Anwoth in 1624.

     For a full notice of _Marion M'Naught_, see what is prefixed to
     Letter VI.]

(_CHILDREN TO BE DEDICATED TO GOD._)


WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR SISTER,--My love in Christ remembered. I have
sent to you your daughter Grizel with Robert Gordon, who came to fetch
her. I am in good hopes that the seed of God is in her, as in one born
of God; and God's seed will come to God's harvest. I have her promise
she shall be Christ's. For I have told her she may promise much in His
worthy name; for He becomes caution to His Father for all such as
resolve and promise to serve Him. I will remember her to God. I trust
you will acquaint her with good company, and be diligent to know with
whom she loveth to haunt. Remember Zion, and our necessities. I bless
your daughter from our Lord, and pray the Lord to give you joy and
comfort of her. Remember my love to your husband, to William and
Samuel your sons. The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

  Yours at all power in the Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _June 6, 1627_.



II.--_To a Christian Gentlewoman on the death of her daughter._

(_CHRIST'S SYMPATHY WITH, AND PROPERTY IN US--REASONS FOR
RESIGNATION._)


MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered to you. I was indeed sorrowful
at my departure from you, especially since ye were in such heaviness
after your daughter's death. Yet I do persuade myself, ye know that
the weightiest end of the cross of Christ that is laid upon you lieth
upon your strong Saviour; for Isaiah saith, "In all your afflictions
He is afflicted" (Isa lxiii. 9). O blessed Second who suffereth with
you! and glad may your soul be even to walk in the fiery furnace with
one like unto the Son of Man, who is also the Son of God. Courage! up
your heart! When ye do tire, He will bear both you and your burden
(Ps. lv. 22). Yet a little while and ye shall see the salvation of
God. Remember of what age your daughter was, and that just so long was
your lease of her. If she was eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years old,
I know not; but sure I am, seeing her term was come, and your lease
run out, ye can no more justly quarrel your great Superior for taking
His own at His just term day, than a poor farmer can complain that his
master taketh a portion of his own land to himself when his lease is
expired. Good mistress, if ye would not be content that Christ would
hold from you the heavenly inheritance which is made yours by His
death, shall not that same Christ think hardly of you if ye refuse to
give Him your daughter willingly, who is a part of His inheritance and
conquest? I pray the Lord to give you all your own, and to grace you
with patience to give God His also. He is an ill debtor who payeth
that which he hath borrowed with a grudge. Indeed, that long loan of
such a good daughter, an heir of grace, a member of Christ (as I
believe), deserveth more thanks at your Creditor's hands, than that ye
should gloom and murmur when He craveth but His own. I believe you
would judge them to be but thankless neighbours who would pay you a
sum of money after this manner. But what? Do you think her lost, when
she is but sleeping in the bosom of the Almighty? Think her not absent
who is in such a friend's house. Is she lost to you who is found to
Christ? If she were with a dear friend, although you should never see
her again, your care for her would be but small. Oh, now, is she not
with a dear Friend? and gone higher, upon a certain hope that ye
shall, in the Resurrection, see her again, when (be ye sure) she shall
neither be hectic nor consumed in body? You would be sorry either to
be, or to be esteemed, an atheist; and yet, not I, but the Apostle,
thinketh those to be hopeless atheists who mourn excessively for the
dead (Thess. iv. 13). But this is not a challenge on my part. I do
speak this only fearing your weakness; for your daughter was a part of
yourself; and, therefore, nature in you, being as it were cut and
halved, will indeed be grieved. But ye have to rejoice, that when a
part of you is on earth, a great part of you is glorified in heaven.
Follow her, but envy her not; for indeed it is self-love in us that
maketh us mourn for them that die in the Lord. Why? Because for them
we cannot mourn, since they are never happy till they be dead;
therefore we mourn for our own private respect. Take heed, then, that
in showing your affection in mourning for your daughter, ye be not,
out of self-affection, mourning for yourself. Consider what the Lord
is doing in it. Your daughter is plucked out of the fire, and she
resteth from her labours; and your Lord, in that, is trying you, and
casting you in the fire. Go through all fires to your rest; and now
remember that the eye of God is upon the bush burning and not
consumed; and He is gladly content that such a weak woman as you
should send Satan away, frustrate of his design. Now honour God, and
shame the strong roaring lion, when ye seem weakest. Should such an
one as ye faint in the day of adversity? Call to mind the days of old.
The Lord yet liveth. Trust in Him, although He should slay you. Faith
is exceeding charitable, and believeth no evil of God.[85] Now is the
Lord laying, in the one scale of the balance, your making conscience
of submission to His gracious will, and in the other, your affection
and love to your daughter. Which of the two will ye then choose to
satisfy? Be wise, then; and as I trust ye love Christ better than a
sinful woman, pass by your daughter, and kiss the Lord's rod. Men do
lop the branches off their trees round about, to the end they may grow
up high and tall. The Lord hath this way lopped your branch in taking
from you many children, to the end you should grow upward, like one of
the Lord's cedars, setting your heart above, where Christ is, at the
right hand of the Father. What is next, but that your Lord cut down
the stock after He hath cut the branches? Prepare yourself; you are
nearer your daughter this day than you were yesterday. While ye
prodigally spend time in mourning for her, ye are speedily posting
after her. Run your race with patience. Let God have His own; and ask
of Him, instead of your daughter which He hath taken from you, the
daughter of faith, which is patience; and in patience possess your
soul. Lift up your head: ye do not know how near your redemption doth
draw, Thus recommending you to the Lord, who is able to establish you,
I rest, your loving and affectionate friend in the Lord Jesus,

  ANWOTH, _April 23, 1628_.

  S. R.

  [85] So in his "sermon before the House of Lords," 1645: "Faith
  thinketh no evil of Christ." Also Letters XX. and XCII.: "Love
  believeth no evil."

[Illustration: KENMURE HOUSE.]



III.--_To the_ VISCOUNTESS OF KENMURE, _on occasion 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
     a woman distinguished, in her day, for the depth of her piety,
     and her warm attachment to the Presbyterian interest in Scotland.
     Nor was she less distinguished for generosity and munificence,
     than for piety. Her bounty was in a particular manner extended to
     those whom suffering for conscience' sake had reduced to poverty
     or exile. In the year 1628 she was married to Sir John Gordon of
     Lochinvar, afterwards Viscount Kenmure and Lord Gordon of
     Lochinvar, which is not far from Carsphairn. This union did not
     last many years. In 1634 she became a widow, his Lordship having
     died at Kenmure Castle, on the 12th of September that year, in
     the 35th year of his age. But her sorrow on this occasion was
     alleviated by the Christian resignation and faith which he was
     enabled to exercise under his last illness. To this noble man she
     had two daughters, who died in infancy, one about the beginning
     of the year 1629, and the other in 1634, as may be gathered from
     allusions to these bereavements, contained in two consolatory
     letters written to her by Rutherford in these years. She had
     also, by the same marriage, a son, John, second Viscount of
     Kenmure, who, however, died under age and unmarried, in August
     1649. This event forms the subject of a letter written to her by
     Rutherford the 1st of October that year. She married a second
     husband, on the 21st of September 1640, the Hon. Sir Henry
     Montgomery of Giffen, second son of Alexander, fifth Earl of
     Eglinton; but this marriage was without issue. Sir Henry's
     religious views were congenial to her own; and he is described as
     an "active and faithful friend of the Lord's kirk." She was soon
     left a widow a second time, in which state she lived till a very
     venerable age, having survived the Restoration a number of years,
     as appears from the fact that Livingstone, at the time of his
     death (which took place at Rotterdam in 1672), speaks of her as
     the oldest acquaintance he then had alive in Scotland. She was a
     regular correspondent of Rutherford, the last of whose letters to
     her is dated July the 24th, 1661, after the execution of her
     brother above mentioned. Nor after Mr. Rutherford's death was she
     unmindful of his widow. "Madam," says Mr. M'Ward, in a letter to
     her, "Mrs. Rutherford gives me often an account of the singular
     testimony which she met with of your Ladyship's affection to her
     and her daughter."

     _Kenmure Castle_ is well seen from the road that leads along the
     banks of the Ken. The loch, the river, the old baronial house,
     combine to attract notice. It is built on an insulated knoll,
     well wooded all around. It is four miles from Dalry, and the
     approach is through an avenue of lime-trees. The old garden has a
     hedge of very lofty beech trees, and a curious dial with a Latin
     inscription, dated "1623. _Joannes Bonar_ fecit"--the name of the
     person who (it is said) brought it from the Continent.]

(_ACQUIESCENCE IN GOD'S PURPOSE--FAITH IN EXERCISE--ENCOURAGEMENT IN
VIEW OF SICKNESS AND DEATH--PUBLIC AFFAIRS._)


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." It is now many years since the apostate angels made a
question, whether their will or the will of their Creator should be
done; and since that time, froward mankind hath always in that same
suit of law compeared to plead with them against God, in daily
repining against His will. But the Lord being both party and judge,
hath obtained a decreet, and saith, "My counsel shall stand, and I
will do all my pleasure" (Isa. xlvi. 10). It is then best for us, in
the obedience of faith, and in an holy submission, to give that to God
which the law of His almighty and just power will have of us.
Therefore, Madam, your Lord willeth you, in all states of life, to
say, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven:" and herein shall
ye have comfort, that He, who seeth perfectly through all your evils,
and knoweth the frame and constitution of your nature, and what is
most healthful for your soul, holdeth every cup of affliction to your
head, with His own gracious hand. Never believe that your
tender-hearted Saviour, who knoweth the strength of your stomach,
will mix that cup with one drachm-weight of poison. Drink then with
the patience of the saints, and the God of patience bless your physic.

I have heard your Ladyship complain of deadness, and want of the
bestirring power of the life of God. But courage! He who walked in the
garden, and made a noise that made Adam hear His voice, will also at
some times walk in your soul, and make you hear a more sweet word.
Yet, ye will not always hear the noise and the din of His feet, when
He walketh. Ye are, at such a time, like Jacob mourning at the
supposed death of Joseph, when Joseph was living. The new creature,
the image of the second Adam, is living in you; and yet ye are
mourning at the supposed death of the life of Christ in you. Ephraim
is bemoaning and mourning (Jer. xxxi. 18), when he thinketh God is far
off and heareth not; and yet God is like the bridegroom (Song ii. 9),
standing only behind a thin wall and laying to His ear; for He saith
Himself, "I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself." I have good
confidence, Madam, that Christ Jesus, whom your soul through forests
and mountains is seeking, is within you. And yet I speak not this to
lay a pillow under your head, or to dissuade you from a holy fear of
the loss of your Christ, or of provoking and "stirring up the Beloved
before He please," by sin. I know, in spiritual confidence, the devil
will come in, as in all other good works, and cry "Half mine;" and so
endeavour to bring you under a fearful sleep, till He whom your soul
loveth be departed from the door, and have left off knocking. And,
therefore, here the Spirit of God must hold your soul's feet in the
golden mid-line, betwixt confident resting in the arms of Christ, and
presumptuous and drowsy sleeping in the bed of fleshly security.
Therefore, worthy lady, so count little of yourself, because of your
own wretchedness and sinful drowsiness, that ye count not also little
of God, in the course of His unchangeable mercy. 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[86] 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 all the
infallible symptoms of one of the elect of Christ within you.

  [86] So it is in the earlier editions; not "faileth."

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. I doubt
not but that, if hell were betwixt you and Christ, as a river which ye
behoved to cross ere you could come at Him, but ye would willingly put
in your foot, and make through to be at Him, upon hope that He would
come in Himself, in the deepest of the river, and lend you His hand.
Now, I believe your hell is dried up, and 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 for ever"), that is
standing upon 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[87] her, the Lord knoweth. Sure I am, the decree
of a most fearful parliament in heaven is at the very point of coming
forth, because of the sins of the land. For "we have cast away the law
of the Lord, and despised the words of the Holy One of Israel" (Isa.
v. 24). "Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar
off; truth is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter" (Isa.
lix. 14). Lo! the prophet, as if he had seen us and our kirk,
resembleth _Justice_ to be handled as an enemy holden out at the ports
of our city [so is she banished!], and _Truth_ to a person sickly and
diseased, fallen down in a deadly swooning fit in the streets, before
he can come to an house. "The priests have caused many to stumble at
the law, and have corrupted the covenant of Levi" (Mal. ii. 3). "But
what will they do in the end?" Therefore give the Lord no rest for
Zion. Stir up your husband, your brother,[88] and all with whom ye are
in favour and credit, to stand upon the Lord's side against Baal. I
have good hope that your husband loveth the peace and prosperity of
Zion. The peace of God be upon him, for his intended courses anent the
establishment of a powerful ministry in this land. Thus, not willing
to weary your Ladyship further, I commend you now, and always, to the
grace and mercy of that God who is able to keep you, that ye fall not.
The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Your Ladyship's servant at all dutiful obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _July 27, 1628_.

  [87] "In reference to her,"--alluding to the known design of Charles
  I. to enforce conformity to Episcopacy.

  [88] The Marquis of Argyle.



IV.--_To the Elect and Noble Lady, my_ LADY KENMURE, _on occasion of
the death of her infant daughter_.

(_TRIBULATION THE PORTION OF GOD'S PEOPLE, AND INTENDED TO WEAN THEM
FROM THE WORLD._)


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 still be 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, and that ye get
scarce liberty to swallow down your spittle, being casten from furnace
to furnace, knowing 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. viii. 29). And some do more vively
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."
Behold your Forerunner going out of the world all in a lake of blood,
and it is not ill to die as He did. Fulfil with joy the remnant of the
grounds and "remainders of the afflictions of Christ" in your body
(Col. i. 24). 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 evanish, but
shineth in another hemisphere. Ye 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[89] 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 her 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. ii. 6, 7). O thrice
happy Judah, 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"
(ix. 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 our 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" (Rev. iii. 11). Wait with the wearied
night-watch for the breaking of the eastern sky, and think that ye
have not a morrow. As the wise father said, who, being invited against
to-morrow to dine with his friend, answered, "Those many days I have
had no morrow at all." I am loth to weary you. Show yourself a
Christian, by suffering without murmuring, for which sin fourteen
thousand and seven hundred were slain (Numb. xvi. 49). In patience
possess your soul. They lose nothing who gain Christ. Thus remembering
my brother's and my wife's humble service to your Ladyship, I commend
you to the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus, assuring you that your
day is coming, and that God's mercy is abiding you. The Lord Jesus be
with your spirit.

  Yours in the Lord Jesus at all dutiful obedience,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Jan. 15, 1629_.

  [89] In the earlier editions it is given "fly" throughout; not "flee."



V.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE, _upon her removal with her husband from the
parish of Anwoth_.

(_CHANGES AND LOSS OF FRIENDS--THIS WORLD NO ABIDING PLACE._)


MADAM,--Saluting you in Jesus Christ,--to my grief I must bid you (it
may be, for ever) farewell, in paper, having small assurance ever to
see your face again till the last general assembly, where the whole
church universal shall meet; yet promising, by His grace, to present
your Ladyship and your burdens to Him who is able to save you, and
give you an inheritance with the saints, after a more special manner
than ever I have done before.[90]

  [90] Lord Kenmure and his lady resided at Rusco, in the parish of
  Anwoth, during the first two years of Rutherford's ministry there; but
  they were now about to leave it. See Letter CXLVII.

Ye are going to a country where the Sun of righteousness, in the
Gospel, shineth not so clearly as in this kingdom; but if ye would
know where He whom your soul loveth doth rest, and where He feedeth at
the noontide of the day, wherever ye be, get you forth by the
footsteps of the flock, and feed yourself beside the shepherds' tents
(Song i. 7, 8), that is, ask for some of the watchmen of the Lord's
city, who will tell you truly, and will not lie, where ye shall find
Him whom your soul loveth. I trust ye are so betrothed in marriage to
the true Christ, that ye will not give your love to any false Christ.
Ye know not how soon your marriage-day will come; nay, is not eternity
hard upon you? It were time, then, that ye had your wedding garment in
readiness. Be not sleeping at your Lord's Coming. I pray God you may
be upon your feet standing when He knocketh. Be not discouraged to go
from this country to another part of the Lord's earth: "The earth is
His, and the fulness thereof." This is the Lord's lower house; while
we are lodged here, we have no assurance to lie ever in one chamber,
but must be content to remove from one corner of our Lord's nether
house to another, resting in hope that, when we come up to the Lord's
upper city, "Jerusalem that is above," we shall remove no more,
because then we shall be at home. And go wheresoever ye will, if your
Lord go with you, ye are at home; and your lodging is ever taken
before night, so long as He who is Israel's dwelling-house is your
home (Psa. xc. 1). Believe me, Madam, my mind is that ye are well
lodged, and that in your house there are fair ease-rooms and pleasant
lights, if ye can in faith lean down your head upon the breast of
Jesus Christ: and till this be, ye shall never get a sound sleep.
Jesus, Jesus, be your shadow and your covering. It is a sweet
soul-sleep to lie in the arms of Christ; for His breath is very sweet.

Pray for poor friendless Zion. Alas! no man will speak for her now,
although at home in her own country she hath good friends, her husband
Christ, and His Father her Father-in-law. Beseech your husband to be a
friend to Zion, and pray for her.

I have received many and divers dashes and heavy strokes since the
Lord called me to the ministry; but indeed I esteem your departure
from us amongst the weightiest. But I perceive God will have us to be
deprived of whatsoever we idolize, that He may have His own room. I
see exceeding small fruit of my ministry, and would be glad to know of
one soul to be my crown and rejoicing in the day of Christ. Though I
spend my strength in vain, yet my labour is with my God (Isa. xlix.
4). I wish and pray that the Lord would harden my face against all,
and make me to learn to go with my face against a storm. Again I
commend you, body and spirit, to Him who hath loved us, and washed us
from our sin in His own blood. Grace, grace, grace for ever be with
you. Pray, pray continually.

  Your Ladyship's at all dutiful obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Sept. 14, 1629_.

[Illustration: KIRKCUDBRIGHT.]



VI.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _on occasion of the illness of his wife_.

[MARION M'NAUGHT was daughter to the Laird of Kilquhanatie, in
Kirkpatrick Durham (see Letter XXV.), the representative of an ancient
family, now extinct, and connected also with the house of Kenmure,
through her mother, Margaret Gordon, sister to Lord Kenmure. She
became the wife of William Fullerton, Provost of Kirkcudbright, and
was a woman extensively known and held in honour by the most eminent
Christians and ministers of her day, on account of her rare godliness
and public spirit. We find in "The Last and Heavenly Speeches of
Viscount Kenmure," that by the special desire of that nobleman (who
was her relative), she was in continual attendance on him as he lay on
his deathbed. Her name is sometimes spelt "M'Knaight," or
"M'Knaichte," the modern "Macknight." She had three children--one
daughter, Grizzel, and two sons, Samuel and William,--who are often
affectionately remembered in Rutherford's letters to her. The
following epitaph was inscribed on her tomb, in the churchyard of
Kirkcudbright:--

     "Marion M'Naught, sister to John M'Naught of Kilquhanatie, an
     ancient and honourable baron, and spouse to William Fullerton,
     Provost of Kirkcudbright, died April 1643, age 58.

    _Sexum animis, pietate genus, genorosa, locumque
    Virtute exsuperans, conditur hoc tumulo._"

     The tombstone was lost sight of, but in 1863 was discovered again
     in removing the earth for a grave close by. It was only in 1860
     that her house (in which the meeting between Blair and Rutherford
     took place) was pulled down. It stood at the foot of the High
     Street, which was then the principal street of the town.

     A relative of this lady's husband, Fullerton of Carlton (see
     Letter CLVII.), wrote on her the following acrostic:--

    M  More happy than imaginèd can be,
    A  And blessed, are such as with heart sincere
    R  Resolve to cleave to Christ, to live and die
    I  In Him, with Him, and for Him to appear.
    O  O what transcendent glory grows from grace!
    N  None but--no, not--the soul refinèd shall
    M' Make to appear; that life, that light, that peace,
    K  Known only to the pure possessors all.
    N  Now, _THOU_, by grace, art into glory gone,
    A  And gained the garland of eternal bliss,
    I  In seeing Him who, on that glorious throne,
    C  Created, uncreated, glory is.
    H  Heaven's quire did sing at thy conversion sweet,
    T  Time posts thy final comforts to complete.

    (_Append. to "Minute-Book of Committee of Covenanters."_)]


(_INWARD CONFLICT ARISING FROM OUTWARD TRIAL._)


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
it to drink of the cup that Christ drank of, if I knew not that there
is no poison in it. God give us not of it till we vomit again, for we
have sick souls when God's physic works not. Pray that God would not
lead my wife into temptation. Woe is my heart, that I have done so
little against the kingdom of Satan in my calling; for he would fain
attempt to make me blaspheme God in His face. I believe, I believe, in
the strength of Him who hath put me in His work, he shall fail in that
which he seeks. I have comfort in this, that my Captain, Christ, hath
said, I must fight and overcome the world, and with a weak, spoiled,
weaponless devil, "the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing
in me" (John xvi. 33, and xiv. 30). Desire Mr. Robert[91] to remember
me, if he love me. Grace, grace be with you, and all yours.

  [91] Mr. Robert Glendinning, then minister of Kirkcudbright. His grave
  may be seen there.

Remember Zion. There is a letter procured from the King by Mr. John
Maxwell to urge conformity, to give the communion at Christmas in
Edinburgh.[92] Hold fast that which you have, that no man take the
crown from you. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Nov. 17, 1629_.

  [92] Mr. J. Maxwell here mentioned was at this time a minister in
  Edinburgh, and afterwards became Bishop of Ross,--a man of talent, but
  devoid of principle, whose aim was to secure the favour of the
  notorious Laud, by forwarding his designs for forcing Episcopacy upon
  the Scottish people. The letter above referred to was from the King,
  urging the adoption of the English service.



VII.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_THE EARNEST OF THE SPIRIT--COMMUNION WITH CHRIST--FAITH IN THE
PROMISES._)


MADAM,--I have longed exceedingly to hear of your life and health, and
growth in the grace of God. I lacked the opportunity of a bearer, in
respect I did not understand of the hasty departure of the last, by
whom I might have saluted your Ladyship, and therefore I could not
write before this time. I entreat you, Madam, let me have two lines
from you concerning your present condition. I know ye are in grief and
heaviness; and if it were not so, ye might be afraid, because then
your way should not be so like the way that (our Lord saith) leadeth
to the New Jerusalem. Sure I am, if ye knew what were before you, or
if ye saw but some glances of it, ye would with gladness swim through
the present floods of sorrow, spreading forth your arms out of desire
to be at land. If God have given you the Earnest of the Spirit, as
part of payment of God's principal sum, ye have to rejoice; for our
Lord will not lose His earnest, neither will He go back or repent Him
of the bargain. If ye find at some time a longing to see God, joy in
the assurance of that sight, howbeit that feast be but like the
Passover, that cometh about only once a year. Peace of conscience,
liberty of prayer, the doors of God's treasure cast up to the soul,
and a clear sight of Himself looking out, and saying, with a smiling
countenance, "_Welcome to Me, afflicted soul_;" this is the earnest
that He giveth sometimes, and which maketh glad the heart, and is an
evidence that the bargain will hold. But to the end ye may get this
earnest, it were good to come oft into terms of speech with God, both
in prayer and hearing of the word. For this is the house of wine,
where ye meet with your Well-Beloved. Here it is where He kisseth you
with the kisses of His mouth, and where ye feel the smell of His
garments; and they have indeed a most fragrant and glorious smell. Ye
must, I say, wait upon Him, and be often communing with Him, whose
lips are as lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh, and by the moving
thereof He will assuage your grief; for the Christ that saveth you is
a speaking Christ; the church knoweth Him by His voice (Song ii. 8),
and can discern His tongue amongst a thousand. I say this to the end
ye should not love those dumb masks of antichristian ceremonies, that
the church[93] where ye are for a time hath cast over the Christ whom
your soul loveth. This is to set before you a dumb Christ. But when
our Lord cometh, He speaketh to the heart in the simplicity of the
Gospel.

  [93] Episcopal.

I have neither tongue nor pen to express to you the happiness of such
as are in Christ. When ye have sold all that ye have, and bought the
field wherein this pearl is, ye will think it no bad market; for if ye
be in Him, all His is yours, and ye are in Him; therefore, "because He
liveth, ye shall live also" (John xiv. 19). And what is that else, but
as if the Son had said, "I will not have heaven except My redeemed
ones be with Me: they and I cannot live asunder. Abide in Me, and I in
you." O sweet communion, when Christ and we are through-other,[94] and
are no longer two! "Father, I will that those whom Thou hast given Me
be with Me where I am, to behold My glory that Thou hast given Me"
(John xvii. 24). Amen, dear Jesus, let it be according to that word. I
wonder that ever your heart should be cast down, if ye believe this
truth. I and they are not worthy of Jesus Christ, who will not suffer
forty years' trouble for Him, since they have such glorious promises.
But we fools believe those promises as the man that read Plato's
writings concerning the immortality of the soul: so long as the book
was in his hand he believed all was true, and that the soul could not
die; but so soon as he laid by the book, he began to imagine that the
soul is but a smoke or airy vapour, that perisheth with the expiring
of the breath. So we at starts do assent to the sweet and precious
promises; but, laying aside God's book, we begin to call all in
question. It is faith indeed to believe without a pledge, and to hold
the heart constant at this work; and when we doubt, to run to the Law
and to the Testimony, and stay there. Madam, hold you here: here is
your Father's testament,--read it; in it He hath left to you
remission of sins and life everlasting. If all that ye have here be
crosses and troubles, down-castings, frequent desertions, and
departure of the Lord, who is suiting you in marriage, courage! He who
is wooer and suitor should not be an household man with you till ye
and He come up to His Father's house together. He purposeth to do you
good at your latter end (Deut. viii. 16), and to give you rest from
the days of adversity (Ps. xciv. 13). "It is good to bear the yoke of
God in your youth" (Lam. iii. 27). "Turn in to your stronghold as a
prisoner of hope" (Zech. ix. 12). "For the vision is for an appointed
time; but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry,
wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry" (Hab. ii.
3). Hear Himself saying, "Come, My people" (rejoice, He calleth on
you!), "enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee;
hide thyself, as it were for a little moment, till the indignation be
past" (Isa. xxvi. 20). Believe, then, believe and be saved; think not
hard if ye get not your will, nor your delights in this life; God will
have you to rejoice in nothing but Himself. God forbid that ye should
rejoice in anything but in the cross of Christ (Gal. vi. 14).

  [94] Mixed up with each other.

Our church, Madam, is decaying,--she is like Ephraim's cake (Hos. vii.
9); "and grey hairs are here and there upon her, and she knoweth it
not." She is old and grey-haired, near the grave, and no man taketh it
to heart. Her wine is sour and is corrupted. Now if Phinehas's wife
did live she might travail in birth and die, to see the ark of God
taken, and the glory depart from our Israel. The power and life of
religion is away. "Woe be to us! for the day goeth away, for the
shadows of the evening are stretched out" (Jer. vi. 4). Madam, Zion is
the ship wherein ye are carried to Canaan; if she suffer shipwreck, ye
will be cast overboard upon death and life, to swim to land upon
broken boards. It were time for us, by prayer, to put upon our
master-pilot, Jesus, and to cry, "Master, save us; we perish." Grace,
grace be with you. We would think it a blessing to our kirk to see you
here; but our sins withhold good things from us. The great Messenger
of the Covenant preserve you in body and spirit.

  Yours in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Feb. 1, 1630_.



VIII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _on occasion of his wife's illness_.

(_WRESTLINGS WITH GOD._)


MISTRESS,--My love in Jesus Christ remembered. I am in good health;
honour to my Lord; but my wife's disease increaseth daily, to her
great torment and pain night and day. She has not been in God's house
since our communion, neither out of her bed. I have hired a man to
Edinburgh to Doctor Jeally and to John Hamilton.[95] I can hardly
believe her disease is ordinary, for her life is bitter to her; she
sleeps none, but cries as a woman travailing in birth. What will be
the event, He that hath the keys of the grave knoweth. I have been
many times, since I saw you, that I have besought the Lord to loose
her out of body, and to take her to her rest. I believe the Lord's
tide of afflictions will ebb again; but at present I am exercised with
the wrestlings of God, being afraid of nothing more than this, that
God has let loose the tempter upon my house. God rebuke him and his
instruments. Because Satan is not cast out but by fasting and prayer,
I entreat you remember our estate to our Lord, and entreat all good
Christians whom ye know, but especially your pastor,[96] to do the
same. It becomes us still to knock, and to lie at the Lord's door,
until we die knocking. If He will not open, it is more than He has
said in His word. But He is faithful. I look not to win away to my
home without wounds and blood. Welcome, welcome cross of Christ, if
Christ be with it. I have not a calm spirit in the work of my calling
here, being daily chastised; yet God hath not put out my candle, as He
does to the wicked. Grace, grace be with you and all yours.

  Yours in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.

  [95] Probably a relative of his wife, whose name was Eupham Hamilton.
  He was an apothecary in Edinburgh, and is mentioned among the godly in
  Livingstone's "Characteristics."

  [96] The Rev. Mr. Robert Glendinning, then minister of Kirkcudbright.



IX.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _recommending a friend to her love_.

(_PRAYERS ASKED_.)


MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. At the desire of this bearer,
whom I love, I thought to request you if ye can help his wife with
your advice, for she is in a most dangerous and deadly-like condition.
For I have thought she was changed in her carriage and life, this
sometime bypast, and had hope that God would have brought her home;
and now, by appearance, she will depart this life, and leave a number
of children behind her. If ye can be entreated to help her, it is a
work of mercy. My own wife is still in exceeding great torment night
and day. Pray for us, for my life was never so wearisome to me. God
hath filled me with gall and wormwood; but I believe (which holds up
my head above the water), "It is good for a man," saith the Spirit of
God, "that he bear the yoke in his youth" (Lam. iii. 27).

I do remember you. I pray you be humble and believe; and I entreat you
in Jesus Christ, pray for John Stuart and his wife, and desire your
husband to do the same. Remember me heartily to Jean Brown. Desire her
to pray for me and my wife: I do remember her. Forget not Zion. Grace,
grace upon them, and peace, that pray for Zion. She is the ship we
sail in to Canaan. If she be broken on a rock, we will be cast
overboard, to swim to land betwixt death and life. The grace of Jesus
be with your husband and children.

  Yours in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



X.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_SUBMISSION, PERSEVERANCE AND ZEAL RECOMMENDED._)


WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST,--I could not get an answer
written to your letter till now, in respect of my wife's disease; and
she is yet mightily pained. I hope that all shall end in God's mercy.
I know that an afflicted life looks very like the way that leads to
the kingdom; for the Apostle hath drawn the line and the King's
market-way, "through much tribulation, to the kingdom" (Acts xiv. 22;
1 Thess. iii. 4). The Lord grant us the whole armour of God.

Ye write to me concerning your people's disposition, how that their
hearts are inclined toward the man ye know, and whom ye desire most
earnestly yourself. He would most gladly have the Lord's call for
transplantation; for he knows that all God's plants, set by His own
hand, thrive well; and if the work be of God, He can make a
stepping-stone of the devil himself for setting forward the work. For
yourself, I would advise you to ask of God a submissive heart. Your
reward shall be with the Lord, although the people be not gathered (as
the prophet speaks); and suppose the word[97] do not prosper, God
shall account you "a repairer of the breaches." And take Christ
caution, ye shall not lose your reward. Hold your grip fast. If ye
knew the mind of the glorified in heaven, they think heaven come to
their hand at an easy market, when they have got it for threescore or
fourscore years wrestling with God. When ye are come thither, ye shall
think, "All I did, in respect of my rich reward, now enjoyed of free
grace, was too little." Now then, for the love of the Prince of your
salvation, who is standing at the end of your way, holding up in His
hand the prize and the garland to the race-runners, Forward, forward;
faint not. Take as many to heaven with you as ye are able to draw. The
more ye draw with you, ye shall be the welcomer yourself. Be no
niggard or sparing churl of the grace of God; and employ all your
endeavours for establishing an honest ministry in your town, now when
ye have so few to speak a good word for you. I have many a grieved
heart daily in my calling. I would be undone, if I had not access to
the King's chamber of presence, to show Him all the business. The
devil rages, and is mad to see the water drawn from his own mill; but
would to God we could be the Lord's instruments to build the Son of
God's house.

  [97] Work?

Pray for me. If the Lord furnish not new timber from Lebanon to build
the house, the work will cease. I look to Him, who hath begun well
with me. I have His handwrite, He will not change. Your daughter is
well, and longs for a Bible. The Lord establish you in peace. The Lord
Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours at all power in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



XI.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

     (_GOD'S INEXPLICABLE DEALINGS WITH HIS PEOPLE WELL ORDERED--WANT
     OF ORDINANCES--CONFORMITY TO CHRIST--TROUBLES OF THE
     CHURCH--DEATH OF MR. RUTHERFORD'S WIFE._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied upon you. I received
your Ladyship's letter, in the which I perceive your case in this
world smelleth of a fellowship and communion with the Son of God in
His sufferings. Ye cannot, ye must not, have a more pleasant or more
easy condition here, than He had, who "through afflictions was made
perfect" (Heb. ii. 10). We may indeed think, Cannot God bring us to
heaven with ease and prosperity? Who doubteth but He can? But His
infinite wisdom thinketh and decreeth the contrary; and we cannot see
a reason of it, yet He hath a most just reason. We never with our eyes
saw our own soul; yet we have a soul. We see many rivers, but we know
not their first spring and original fountain; yet they have a
beginning. Madam, when ye are come to the other side of the water, and
have set down your foot on the shore of glorious eternity, and look
back again to the waters and to your wearisome journey, and shall see,
in that clear glass of endless glory, nearer to the bottom of God's
wisdom, ye shall then be forced to say, "If God had done otherwise
with me than He hath done, I had never come to the enjoying of this
crown of glory." It is your part now to believe, and suffer, and hope,
and wait on; for I protest, in the presence of that all-discerning
eye, who knoweth what I write and what I think, that I would not want
the sweet experience of the consolations of God for all the bitterness
of affliction. Nay, whether God come to His children with a rod or a
crown, if He come Himself with it, it is well. Welcome, welcome,
Jesus, what way soever Thou come, if we can get a sight of Thee! And
sure I am, it is better to be sick, providing Christ come to the
bedside and draw by the curtains, and say, "Courage, I am Thy
salvation," than to enjoy health, being lusty and strong, and never to
be visited of God.

Worthy and dear lady, in the strength of Christ, fight and overcome.
Ye are now yourself alone, but ye may have, for the seeking, three
always in your company, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I trust they
are near you. Ye are now deprived of the comfort of a lively
ministry; so was Israel in their captivity; yet hear God's promise to
them: "Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God, although I have cast
them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them
among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in
the countries where they shall come" (Ezek. xi. 16). Behold a
sanctuary! for a sanctuary, God Himself in the place and room of the
temple of Jerusalem! I trust in God, that carrying this temple about
with you, ye shall see Jehovah's beauty in His house.

We are in great fears of a great and fearful trial to come upon the
kirk of God; for these, who would build their houses and nests upon
the ashes of mourning Jerusalem, have drawn our King upon hard and
dangerous conclusions against such as are termed Puritans, for the
rooting of them out. Our prelates (the Lord take the keys of His house
from these bastard porters!) assure us that, for such as will not
conform, there is nothing but imprisonment and deprivation.[98] The
spouse of Jesus will ever be in the fire; but I trust in my God she
shall not consume, because of the good-will of Him who dwelleth in the
Bush; for He dwelleth in it with good-will. All sorts of crying sins
without controlment abound in our land. The glory of the Lord is
departing from Israel, and the Lord is looking back over His shoulder,
to see if any one will say, "Lord, tarry," and no man requesteth Him
to stay. Corrupt and false doctrine is openly preached by the
idol-shepherds of the land. For myself, I have daily griefs, through
the disobedience unto, and contempt of, the word of God. I was
summoned before the High Commission by a profligate person in this
parish, convicted of incest. In the business, Mr. Alexander
Colvill[99] (for respect to your Ladyship) was my great friend, and
wrote a most kind letter to me. The Lord give him mercy in that day.
Upon the day of my compearance, the sea and winds refused to give
passage to the Bishop of St. Andrews.[100] I entreat your Ladyship,
thank Mr. Alexander Colvill with two lines of a letter.

  [98] The prelates, when the Courts of High Commission were erected in
  1610, were invested with the powers of imprisoning and depriving
  Nonconformists.

  [99] One of the judges.

  [100] Archbishop Spottiswoode.

My wife now, after long disease and torment, for the space of a year
and a month, is departed this life. The Lord hath done it; blessed be
His name. I have been diseased of a fever tertian for the space of
thirteen weeks, and am yet in the sickness, so that I preach but once
on the Sabbath with great difficulty. I am not able either to visit
or examine the congregation. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Your Ladyship's at all obedience,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _June 26, 1630_.



XII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_GOD MIXETH THE CUP--THE WICKED HAVE THEIR
REWARD--FAITHFULNESS--FORBEARANCE--TRIALS._)


WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR SISTER,--My love in the Lord Jesus remembered. I
understand that you are still under the Lord's visitation, in your
former business with your enemies, which is God's dealing. For, till
He take His children out of the furnace that knoweth how long they
should be tried, there is no deliverance; but after God's highest and
fullest tide, that the sea of trouble is gone over the souls of His
children, then comes the gracious long-hoped-for ebbing and drying up
of the waters. Dear sister, do not faint; the wicked may hold the
bitter cup to your head, but God mixeth it, and there is no poison in
it. They strike, but God moves the rod; Shimei curseth, but it is
because the Lord bids Him. I tell you, and I have it from Him before
whom I stand for God's people, that there is a decreet given out, in
the great court of the highest heavens, that your present troubles
shall be dispersed as the morning cloud, and God shall bring forth
your righteousness, as the light of the noontide of the day. Let me
intreat you, in Christ's name, to keep a good conscience in your
proceedings in that matter, and beware of yourself: yourself is a more
dangerous enemy than I, or any without you. Innocence and an upright
cause is a good advocate before God, and shall plead for you, and win
your cause. And count much of your Master's approbation and His
smiling. He is now as the king that is gone to a far country. God
seems to be from home (if I may say so), yet He sees the ill servants,
who say, "Our Master deferreth His coming," and so strike their
fellow-servants. But patience, my beloved; Christ the King is coming
home; the evening is at hand, and He will ask an account of His
servants. Make a fair, clear count to Him. So carry yourself as at
night you may say, Master, I have wronged none; behold, you have your
own with advantage. O! your soul then will esteem much of one of God's
kisses and embracements, in the testimony of a good conscience. The
wicked, howbeit they be casting many evil thoughts, bitter words, and
sinful deeds behind their back, yet they are, in so doing, clerks to
their own process, and doing nothing all their life but gathering
dittayes against themselves; for God is angry at the wicked every day.
And I hope your present process shall be sighted one day by Him, who
knoweth your just cause; and the bloody tongues, crafty foxes,
double-ingrained hypocrites, shall appear as they are before His
majesty, when He shall take the mask off their faces. And O, thrice
happy shall your soul be then, when God finds you covered with nothing
but the white robe of the saint's innocence, and the righteousness of
Jesus Christ.

You have been of late in the King's wine-cellar, where you were
welcomed by the Lord of the inn, upon condition that you walk in love.
Put on love, and brotherly kindness, and long-suffering; wait as long
upon the favour and turned hearts of your enemies as your Christ
waited upon you, and as dear Jesus stood at your soul's door, with
dewy and rainy locks, the long cold night. Be angry, but sin not. I
persuade myself, that holy unction within you, which teacheth you all
things, is also saying, "Overcome evil with good." If that had not
spoken in your soul, at the tears of your aged pastor, you would not
have agreed, and forgiven his foolish son, who wronged you; but my
Master bade me tell you, God's blessing shall be upon you for it; and
from Him I say, Grace, grace, grace, and everlasting peace be upon
you. It is my prayer for you, that your carriage may grace and adorn
the Gospel of that Lord who hath graced you. I heard your husband also
was sick; but I beseech you in the bowels of Jesus, welcome every rod
of God, for I find not in the whole book of God a greater note of the
child of God, than to fall down and kiss the feet of an angry God. And
when He seems to put you away from Him, and loose your hands that grip
Him, to look up in faith, and say, "I shall not, I will not, be put
away from Thee. Howbeit Thy Majesty draw to free Thyself of me, yet,
Lord, give me leave to hold, and cleave unto Thyself." I will pray,
that your husband may return in peace. Your decreet comes from heaven;
look up thither, for many (says Solomon) seek the face of the ruler,
but every man's Judgment cometh from the Lord. And be glad that it is
so, for Christ is the clerk of your process, and will see that all go
right; and I persuade myself He is saying, "Yonder servants of mine
are wronged; for My blood, Father, give them justice." Think you not,
dear sister, but our High Priest, our Jesus, the Master of requests,
presents our bills of complaint to the great Lord Justice? Yea I
believe it, since He is our Advocate, and Daniel calls Him the
Spokesman, whose hand presents all to the Father.

For other business, I say nothing, till the Lord give me to see your
face. I am credibly informed, that multitudes of England, and
especially worthy preachers, and silenced preachers of London, are
gone to New England; and I know one learned holy preacher, who hath
written against the Arminians, who is gone thither.[101] Our Blessed
Lord Jesus, who cannot get leave to sleep with His spouse in this
land, is going to seek an inn where He will be better entertained. And
what marvel? Wearied Jesus, after He had travelled from Geneva, by the
ministry of worthy Mr. Knox, and was laid in His bed, and reformation
begun, and the curtains drawn, had not gotten His dear eyes well
together, when irreverent bishops came in, and with the din and noise
of ceremonies, holy days, and other Romish corruptions, they awake our
Beloved. Others came to His bedside, and drew the curtains, and put
hands on His servants, banished, deprived, and confined them; and for
the pulpit they got a stool and a cold fire in the Blackness;[102] and
the nobility drew the covering off Him, and have made Him a poor naked
Christ, spoiling His servants of the tithes and kirk rents. And now
there is such a noise of crying sins in the land, as the want of the
knowledge of God, of mercy, and truth; such swearing, whoring, lying,
and blood touching blood; that Christ is putting on His clothes, and
making Him,[103] like an ill-handled stranger, to go to other lands.
Pray Him, sister, to lie down again with His beloved.

  [101] The emigration of preachers and people to New England was the
  consequence of the persecuting measures pursued by Archbishop Laud for
  enforcing conformity, in the prosecution of his favourite scheme of
  bringing the Church of England as near to that of Rome as could
  consort with his own supremacy and that of his sovereign. About
  seventy ministers and four thousand other persons emigrated to the
  American continent to escape the tyranny of Laud and his agents.

  [102] Blackness Castle, on the Forth, was used as a prison.

  [103] In the sense of making a show of or appearing as if He would go;
  Luke xxiv. 28.

Remember my dearest love to John Gordon, to whom I will write when I
am strong, and to John Brown, Grissel, Samuel, and William; grace be
upon them. As you love Christ, keep Christ's favour, and put not upon
Him when He sleeps, to awake Him before He please. The Lord Jesus be
with your spirit.

  Your brother in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _July 21, 1630_.



XIII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _when exposed to reproach for her
principles_.

(_JESUS A PATTERN OF PATIENCE UNDER SUFFERING._)


WELL-BELOVED SISTER,--I have been thinking, since my departure from
you, of the pride and malice of your adversaries; and ye may not
(since ye have had the Book of Psalms so often) take hardly with this;
for David's enemies snuffed at him, and through the pride of their
heart said, "The Lord will not require it" (Ps. x. 13). I beseech you,
therefore, in the bowels of Jesus, set before your eyes the patience
of your forerunner Jesus, who, when He was reviled, reviled not again;
when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him who
judgeth righteously (1 Pet. ii. 23). And since your Lord and Redeemer
with patience received many a black stroke on His glorious back, and
many a buffet of the unbelieving world, and says of Himself, "I gave
My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the
hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting" (Isa. iv. 6); follow
Him, and think it not hard that you receive a blow with your Lord.
Take part with Jesus of His sufferings, and glory in the marks of
Christ. If this storm were over, you must prepare yourself for a new
wound; for, five thousand years ago, our Lord proclaimed deadly war
betwixt the Seed of the Woman and the seed of the Serpent. And marvel
not that one town cannot keep the children of God and the children of
the devil, for one belly could not keep Jacob and Esau (Gen. xxv. 22);
one house could not keep peaceably together Isaac, the son of the
promise, and Ishmael, the son of the handmaid (Gen. xxi. 10). Be you
upon Christ's side of it, and care not what flesh can do. Hold
yourself fast by your Saviour, howbeit you be buffeted, and those that
follow Him. Yet a little while and the wicked shall not be. "We are
troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not
in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not
destroyed" (2 Cor. iv. 8, 9). If you can possess your soul in
patience, their day is coming. Worthy and dear sister, know to carry
yourself in trouble; and when you are hated and reproached, the Lord
shows it to you--"All this is come upon us, yet have we not gotten
Thee, neither have we dealt falsely in Thy covenant" (Ps. xliv. 17).
"Unless Thy law had been my delight, I had perished in mine
affliction" (Ps. cxix. 92). Keep God's covenant in your trials. Hold
you by His blessed word, and sin not. Flee anger, wrath, grudging,
envying, fretting. Forgive an hundred pence to your fellow-servant,
because your Lord hath forgiven you ten thousand talents. For I assure
you by the Lord, your adversaries shall get no advantage against you,
except you sin and offend your Lord in your sufferings. But the way to
overcome is by patience, forgiving and praying for your enemies, in
doing whereof you heap coals upon their heads, and your Lord shall
open a door to you in your troubles. Wait upon Him, as the night watch
waiteth for the morning. He will not tarry. Go up to your watch-tower,
and come not down; but by prayer, and faith, and hope, wait on. When
the sea is full, it will ebb again; and so soon as the wicked are come
to the top of their pride, and are waxed high and mighty, then is
their change approaching. They that believe make not haste.

Remember Zion, forget her not, for her enemies are many; for the
nations are gathered together against her. "But they know not the
thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they His counsel: for He
shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Arise and thresh, O
daughter of Zion" (Micah iv. 12, 13). Behold, God hath gathered His
enemies together, as sheaves to the threshing. Let us stay and rest
upon these promises. Now again, I trust in our Lord you shall by faith
sustain yourself, and comfort yourself in your Lord, and be strong in
His power; for you are in the beaten and common way to heaven when you
are under our Lord's crosses. You have reason to rejoice in it, more
than in a crown of gold; and rejoice, and be glad to bear the
reproaches of Christ. I rest, recommending you and yours for ever to
the grace and mercy of God.

  Yours in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Feb. 11, 1631_.



XIV.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _in the prospect of a Communion season_.

(_ABUNDANCE IN JESUS--THE RESTORATION OF THE JEWS--ENEMIES OF GOD._)


WELL-BELOVED IN THE LORD,--You are not unacquainted with the day of
our Communion. I entreat, therefore, the aid of your prayers for that
great work, which is one of our feast days, wherein our Well-beloved
Jesus rejoiceth, and is merry with His friends.

Good cause have we to wonder at His love, since the day of His death
was such a sorrowful day to Him, even the day when His mother, the
kirk, crowned Him with thorns, and He had many against Him, and
compeared His lone in the fields against them all; yet He delights
with us to remember that day. Let us love Him, and be glad and rejoice
in His salvation. I am confident that you shall see the Son of God
that day, and I dare in His name invite you to His banquet. Many a
time you have been well entertained in His house; and He changes not
upon His friends, nor chides them for too great kindness. Yet I speak
not this to make you leave off to pray for me, who have nothing of
myself, but in so far as daily I receive from Him, who is made of His
Father a running-over fountain, at which I and others may come with
thirsty souls, and fill our vessels. Long hath this well been standing
open to us. Lord Jesus, lock it not up again upon us. I am sorry for
our desolate kirk; yet I dare not but trust, so long as there be any
of God's lost money here He shall not blow out the candle. The Lord
make fair candlesticks in His house, and remove the blind lights.

I have been this time bypast thinking much of the incoming of the kirk
of the Jews.[104] Pray for them. When they were in their Lord's house,
at their Father's elbow, they were longing for the incoming of their
little sister, the kirk of the Gentiles. They said to their Lord, "We
have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for
our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?" (Cant. viii. 8).
Let us give them a meeting. What shall we do for our elder sister, the
Jews? Lord Jesus, give them breasts. That were a glad day to see us
and them both sit down to one table, and Christ at the head of the
table. Then would our Lord come shortly with his fair guard to hold
His great court.

  [104] So in his "Trial of Faith" p. 133 (published 1655).

Dear sister, be patient, for the Lord's sake, under the wrongs that
you suffer of the wicked. Your Lord shall make you see your desire on
your enemies. Some of them shall be cut off; "they shall shake off
their unripe grapes as the vine, and cast off their flower as the
olive" (Job. xv. 33): God shall make them like unripe sour grapes,
shaken off the tree with the blast of God's wrath; and therefore pity
them, and pray for them. Others of them must remain to exercise you.
God hath said of them, Let the tares grow up until harvest (Matt.
xiii. 30). It proves you to be your Lord's wheat. Be patient; Christ
went to heaven with many a wrong. His visage and countenance was all
marred more than the sons of men. You may not be above your Master;
many a black stroke received innocent Jesus, and He received no mends,
but referred them all to the great court-day, when all things shall be
righted. I desire to hear from you within a day or two, if Mr. Robert
remain in his purpose to come and help us. God shall give you joy of
your children. I pray for them by their names. I bless you from our
Lord, your husband and children. Grace, grace, and mercy be multiplied
upon you.

  Yours in the Lord for ever,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _May 7, 1631_.



XV.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT _on occasion of the threatened introduction
of the Episcopalian Service-Book_.

(_TROUBLES OF THE CHURCH--PRIVATE WRONGS._)


WELL-BELOVED SISTER,--My love in Christ remembered. I have received a
letter from Edinburgh, certainly informing me that the English
service, and the organs, and King James' Psalms, are to be imposed
upon our kirk; and that the bishops are dealing for a General
Assembly. A. R. hath confirmed the news also, and says he spoke with
Sir William Alexander,[105] who is to come down with his prince's
warrant for that effect. I am desired in the received letter to
acquaint the best-affected about me with that storm: therefore I
entreat you, and charge you in the Lord's name, pray; but do not
communicate this to any till I see you. My heart is broken at the
remembrance of it, and it was my fear, and answereth to my last letter
except one, that I wrote unto you. Dearly beloved, be not casten down,
but let us, as our Lord's doves, take us to our wings (for other
armour we have none), and flee into the hole of the rock. It is true
A. R. says, the worthiest men in England are banished, and silenced,
about the number of sixteen or seventeen choice Gospel preachers, and
the persecution is already begun. Howbeit I do not write this unto you
with a dry face, yet I am confident in the Lord's strength, Christ and
His side shall overcome; and you shall be assured; the kirk were not a
kirk, if it were not so. As our dear Husband, in wooing His kirk,
received many a black stroke, so His bride, in wooing Him, gets many
blows, and in this wooing there are strokes upon both sides. Let it be
so. The devil will not make the marriage go back, neither can he tear
the contract; the end shall be mercy. Yet notwithstanding of all this,
we have no warrant of God to leave off all lawful means. I have been
writing unto you the counsels and draughts of men against the kirk;
but they know not, as Micah says, the counsel of Jehovah. The great
men of the world may make ready the fiery furnace for Zion; but trow
ye that they can cause the fire to burn? No. He that made the fire, I
trust, shall not say amen to their decreets. I trust in my Lord, that
God hath not subscribed their bill, and their conclusions have not yet
passed our great King's seal. Therefore, if ye think good, address
yourself first to the Lord, and then to A. R., anent the business that
you know.

  [105] Sir W. Alexander of Menstrie, afterwards Earl of Stirling.

I am most unkindly handled by the presbytery; and (as if I had been a
stranger, and not a member of that seat, to sit in judgment with them)
I was summoned by their order as a witness against B. A. But they have
got no advantage in that matter. Other particulars you shall hear, God
willing, at meeting.

Anent the matter betwixt you and I. E., I remember it to God. I
entreat you in the Lord, be submissive to His will; for the higher
that their pride mounts up, they are the nearer to a fall. The Lord
will more and more discover that man. Let your husband, in all matters
of judgment, take Christ's part, for the defence of the poor and
needy, and the oppressed, for the maintenance of equity and justice in
the town. And take you no fear. He shall take your part, and then you
are strong enough. What? Howbeit you receive indignities for your
Lord's sake, let it be so. When He shall put His holy hand up to your
face in heaven, and dry your face, and wipe the tears from your eyes,
judge if ye will not have cause then to rejoice. Anent other
particulars, if you would speak with me, appoint any of the first
three days of the next week in Carletoun,[106] when Carletoun is at
home, and acquaint me with your desires. And remember me to God, and
my dearest affection to your husband; and for Zion's sake hold not
your peace. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and your
husband and children.

  Yours in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _June 2, 1631_.

  [106] Carleton, in Galloway (see note at Letter CLVII.), not far from
  Anwoth, where Mr. Fullerton, a true friend, resided.



XVI.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _on occasion of a proposal to remove him
from Anwoth_.

(_BABYLON'S DESTRUCTION AND CHRIST'S COMING--THE YOUNG INVITED._)


WORTHY AND DEAR MISTRESS,--My dearest love in Christ remembered. As to
the business which I know you would so fain have taken effect, my
earnest desire is, that you stand still. Haste not, and you shall see
the salvation of God. The great Master Gardener, the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence, with His own hand (I
dare, if it were for edification, swear it), planted me here,[107]
where, by His grace, in this part of His vineyard, I grow.--I dare not
say but Satan and the world (one of his pages whom he sends on his
errands) have said otherwise. And here I will abide till the great
Master of the Vineyard think fit to transplant me. But when He sees
meet to loose me at the root, and to plant me where I may be more
useful, both as to fruit and shadow, and when He who planted pulleth
up that He may transplant, who dare put to their hand and hinder? If
they do, God shall break their arm at the shoulder blade, and do His
turn. When our Lord is going west, the devil and world go east; and do
you not know that it hath been ever this way betwixt God and the
world--God drawing, and they holding, God "yea," and the world "nay"?
But they fall on their back and are frustrate, and our Lord holdeth
His grip.

  [107] At Anwoth.

Wherefore doth the word say, that our Christ, the Goodman of this
house, His dear kirk, hath feet like fine brass, as if they burned in
a furnace (Rev. i. 15)? For no other cause but because where our Lord
setteth down His brazen feet, He will forward; and whithersoever He
looketh, He will follow His look; and His feet burn all under them,
like as fire doth stubble and thorns. I think He hath now given the
world a proof of His exceeding great power, when He is doing such
great things, wherein Zion is concerned, by the sword of the Swedish
king,[108] as of a Gideon. As you love the glory of God, pray
instantly (yea engage all your praying acquaintance, and take their
faithful promise to do the like) for this king, and every one that
Zion's King armeth, to execute the written vengeance on Babylon. Our
Lord hath begun to loose some of Babylon's corner stones. Pray to Him
to hold on, for that city must fall, and the birds of the air and the
beasts of the earth must make a banquet of Babylon; for He hath
invited them to eat the flesh of that whore, and to drink her blood.
And the cup of the Lord's right hand shall be turned unto her, and
shameful spewing shall be upon her glory. He whose word must stand
hath said, "Take this cup at the hand of the Lord, and drink and be
drunken, and spew, and fall, and rise no more" (Jer. xxv. 27). Our
Jesus is setting up Himself, as His Father's ensign (Isa. xi. 10), as
God's fair white colours, that His soldiers may all flock about Him.
Long, long may these colours stand. It is long since He displayed a
banner against Babylon in the fight of men and angels. Let us rejoice
and triumph in our God. The victory is certain; for when Christ and
Babel wrestle, then angels and saints may prepare themselves to sing,
"Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen." Howbeit that Prince of
renown, precious Jesus, be now weeping and bleeding in His members,
yet Christ will laugh again; and it is time enough for us to laugh,
when our Lord Christ laugheth,--and that will be shortly. For when we
hear of wars and rumours of wars, the Judge's feet are then before the
door, and He must be in heaven giving order to the angels to make
themselves ready, and prepare their hooks and sickles for that great
harvest. Christ will be upon us in haste; watch but a little, and ere
long the skies will rive, and that fair lovely person, Jesus, shall
come in the clouds, freighted and loaded with glory. And then all
these knaves and foxes that destroyed the vines shall call to the
hills, and cry to the mountains to cover them, and hide them from the
face of Him who sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the
Lamb.

  [108] Gustavus Adolphus.

Remember me to your husband, and desire him from me to help Christ,
and to take His part, and in judgment sit ever beside Him, and receive
a blow patiently for His sake; for He is worthy to be suffered for,
not only to blows, but also to blood. He shall find that innocency and
uprightness in judgment shall hold its feet and make him happy, when
jouking will not do it. I speak this because a person said to me, "I
pray God the country be not in worse case now when the provost and
bailies are agreed, than formerly,"--to whom I replied, "I trust the
provost is agreed with the man's person, but not with his faults." I
pray for you, with my whole soul and desire, that your children may
walk in the truth, and that the Lord may shine upon them, and make
their faces to shine, when the faces of others shall blush. I dare
promise them, in His name, whose truth I preach, if they will but try
God's service, that they shall find Him the sweetest Master that ever
they served. And desire them from me but to try for a while the
service of this blessed Master, and then, if His service be not sweet,
if it afford not what is pleasant to the soul's taste, change Him upon
trial, and seek a better. Christ is an unknown Christ to the young
ones; and therefore they seek Him not, because they know Him not. Bid
them come and see, and seek a kiss of His mouth; and then they will
find His mouth is so sweet, that they will be everlastingly chained
unto Him by their own consent. If I have any credit with your
children, I entreat them in Christ's name to try what truth and
reality is in what I say, and leave not His service till they have
found me a liar. I give you, your husband, and them, to His keeping to
whom I have,[109] and dare venture myself and soul, even to our dear
Friend Jesus Christ, in whom I am,

  Yours,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.

  [109] To whom I have given, and dare venture to give.



XVII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _when in distress as to prospects of the
Church_.

(_ARMINIANISM--CALL TO PRAYER--NO HELP BUT IN CHRIST._)


WELL-BELOVED SISTER,--My dearest love in Christ remembered to you.
Know that I am in great heaviness for the pitiful case of our Lord's
kirk. I hear the cause why Dr. Burton[110] is committed to prison is
his writing and preaching against the Arminians. I therefore entreat
the aid of your prayers for myself, and the Lord's captives of hope,
and for Zion. The Lord hath let and daily lets me see clearly, how
deep furrows Arminianism and the followers of it draw upon the back of
God's Israel (but our Lord cut the cords of the wicked!). "Zion said,
The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me" (Isa. xlix.
14). "Zion weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are upon her
cheeks; amongst all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her
friends have dealt treacherously with her; they are become her
enemies" (Lam. i. 2). "Our silver is become dross, our wine mixed with
water" (Isa. i. 22). "How is the gold become dim! how is the most
fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the
top of every street. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine
gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands
of the potter!" (Lam. ix. 1, 2). It is time now for the Lord's secret
ones, who favour the dust of Zion, to cry, "How long, Lord?" and to go
up to their watch-tower, and to stay there, and not to come down until
the vision speak; for it shall speak (Hab. ii. 3). In the mean time,
the just shall live by faith. Let us wait on and not weary. I have not
a thread to hang upon and rest, but this one, "Can a woman forget her
sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her
womb? Yea, she may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have
graven thee upon the palms of My hands; Thy walls are continually
before Me" (Isa. xlix. 15, 16). For all outward helps do fail; it is
time therefore for us to hang ourselves, as our Lord's vessels, upon
the nail that is fastened in a sure place. We would make stakes of our
own fastening, but they will break. Our Lord will have Zion on His own
nail. Edom is busy within us, and Babel without us, against the
handful of Jacob's seed. It were best that we were upon Christ's side
of it, for His enemies will get _the stalks to keep_, as the proverb
is. Our greatest difficulty will be to win upon the rock now, when the
wind and waves of persecution are so lofty and proud. Let sweet Jesus
take us by the hand. Neither must we think that it will be otherwise;
for it is told to the souls under the altar, "That their
fellow-servants must be killed as they were" (Rev. vi. 11). Surely, it
cannot be long to the day. Nay, hear Him say, "Behold, I come, My dear
bride; think not long. I shall be at you at once. I hear you, and am
coming." Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus, come quickly; for the
prisoners of hope are looking out at the prison windows, to see if
they can behold the King's ambassador coming with the King's warrant
and the keys. I write not to you by guess now, because I have a
warrant to say unto you, the garments of Christ's spouse must be once
again dyed in blood, as long ago her husband's were. But our Father
sees His bleeding Son. What I write unto you, show it to I. G. Grace,
grace, grace and mercy be with you, your husband, and children.

  Yours in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.

  [110] Henry Burton, an able divine of the Church of England, wrote
  several vigorous pieces against Popery, and against Montague's
  "Appello Cæsarem."



XVIII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _in the prospect of a Communion
season_.

(_PRAYER SOLICITED--THE CHURCH'S PROSPECTS._)


MISTRESS,--My love in Christ as remembered. Our Communion is on
Sabbath come[111] eight days. I will entreat you to recommend it to
God, and to pray for me in that work. I have more sins upon me now
than the last time. Therefore I will beseech you in Christ, seek this
petition to me from God, that the Lord would give me grace to vow and
perform new obedience. I have cause to suit this of you; and show it
to Thomas Carson, Fergus and Jean Brown, for I have been and am
exceedingly cast down, and am fighting against a malicious devil, of
whom I can win little ground. I would think a spoil plucked from him,
and his trusty servant sin, a lawful and just conquest. And it were no
sin to take from him, in the name of the Goodman of our house, our
King Jesus. I invite you to the banquet. He saith, ye shall be dearly
welcome to Him. And I desire to believe (howbeit not without great
fear) He shall be as hearty in His own house as He has been before.
For me, it is but small reckoning; but I would fain have our Father
and Lord to break the great fair loaf, Christ, and to distribute His
slain Son amongst the bairns of His house, and that if any were a
step-bairn, in respect of comfort and sense, it were rather myself
than His poor bairns. Therefore bid our Well-beloved come to His
garden and feed among the lilies.

  [111] Sabbath that comes eight days after this.

And as concerning Zion, I hope our Lord, who sent His angel (Zech. ii.
1, 2) with a measuring line in his hand to measure the length and
breadth of Jerusalem, in token He would not want a foot length or inch
of His own free heritage, shall take order with those who have taken
away many acres of His own land from Him. And God will build Jerusalem
in the old sted and place where it was before. In this hope rejoice
and be glad. Christ's garment was not dipped in blood for nothing, but
for His Bride, whom He bought with strokes. I will desire you to
remember my old suits to God, God's glory and the increase of light,
that I dry not up. For your town, hope and believe that the Lord will
gather in His loose sheaves among you to His barn, and send one with a
well-toothed, sharp hook, and strong gardies, to reap His harvest. And
the Lord Jesus be Husbandman, and oversee the growing. Remember my
love to your husband and to Samuel. Grace upon you and your children.
Lord, make them corner-stones in Jerusalem, and give them grace in
their youth to take band with the fair Chief Corner-stone, who was
hewed out of the mountain without hands, and got many a knock with His
Father's forehammer, and endured them all, and the stone did neither
cleave nor break. Upon that stone make your soul to lie. King Jesus be
with your spirit.

  Your friend in his well-beloved Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



XIX.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_ENCOURAGEMENT TO ABOUND IN FAITH FROM THE PROSPECT OF
GLORY--CHRIST'S UNCHANGEABLENESS._)


MADAM,--Having saluted you in the Lord Jesus, I thought it my duty,
having the occasion of this bearer, to write again unto your ladyship,
though I have no new purpose but what I wrote of before. Yet ye cannot
be too often awakened to go forward towards your city, since your way
is long, and (for anything ye know) your day is short. And your Lord
requireth of you, as ye advance in years and steal forward insensibly
towards eternity, that your faith may grow and ripen for the Lord's
harvest. For the great Husbandman giveth a season to His fruits that
they may come to maturity, and having gotten their fill of the tree
they may then be shaken and gathered in for use; whereas the wicked
rot upon the tree, and their branch shall not be green. "He shall
shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower
as the olive" (Job xv. 33). It is God's mercy to you, Madam, that He
giveth you your fill, even to loathing, of this bitter world, that ye
may willingly leave it, and, like a full and satisfied banqueter,[112]
long for the drawing of the table. And at last, having trampled under
your feet all the rotten pleasures that are under sun and moon, and
having rejoiced as though ye rejoiced not, and having bought as though
ye possessed not (1 Cor. vii. 30), ye may, like an old crazy ship,
arrive at our Lord's harbour, and be made welcome, as one of those who
have ever had one foot loose from the earth, longing for that place
where your soul shall feast and banquet for ever and ever upon a
glorious sight of the incomprehensible Trinity, and where ye shall see
the fair face of the man Christ, even the beautiful face that was once
for your cause more marred than any of the visages of the sons of men
(Isa. lii. 14), and was all covered with spitting and blood. Be
content to wade through the waters betwixt you and glory with Him,
holding His hand fast, for He knoweth all the fords. Howbeit ye may be
ducked, but ye cannot drown, being in His company; and ye may all the
way to glory see the way bedewed with His blood who is the Forerunner.
Be not afraid, therefore, when ye come even to the black and swelling
river of death, to put in your foot and wade after Him. The current,
how strong soever, cannot carry you down the water to hell: the Son of
God, His death and resurrection, are stepping-stones and a stay to
you; set down your feet by faith upon these stones, and go through as
on dry land. If ye knew what He is preparing for you, ye would be too
glad. He will not (it may be) give you a full draught till you come up
to the well-head and drink, yea, drink abundantly, of the pure river
of the water of life, that proceedeth out from the throne of God and
of the Lamb (Rev. xxii. 1). Madam, tire not, weary not; I dare find
you the Son of God caution, when ye are got up thither, and have cast
your eyes to view the golden city, and the fair and never-withering
Tree of Life, that beareth twelve manner of fruits every month, ye
shall then say, "Four-and-twenty hours' abode in this place is worth
threescore and ten years' sorrow upon earth." If ye can but say, that
ye long earnestly to be carried up thither (and I hope you cannot for
shame deny Him the honour of having wrought that desire in your soul),
then hath your Lord given you an earnest. And, Madam, do ye believe
that our Lord will lose His earnest, and rue of the bargain, and
change His mind, as if He were a man that can lie, or the son of man
that can repent? Nay, He is unchangeable, and the same this year that
He was the former year. And His Son Jesus, who upon earth ate and
drank with publicans and sinners, and spake and conferred with whores
and harlots, and put up His holy hand and touched the leper's filthy
skin, and came evermore nigh sinners, even now in glory, is yet that
same Lord. His honour, and His great court in heaven, hath not made
Him forget His poor friends on earth. In Him honours change not
manners, and He doth yet desire your company. Take Him for the old
Christ, and claim still kindness to Him, and say, "O it is so; He is
not changed, but I am changed." Nay, it is a part of His unchangeable
love, and an article of the new covenant, to keep you that ye cannot
dispone Him, nor sell Him. He hath not played fast and loose with us
in the covenant of grace, so that we may run from Him at our pleasure.
His love hath made the bargain surer than so; for Jesus, as the
cautioner, is bound for us (Heb. vii. 22). And it cannot stand with
His honour to die in the borrows (as we use to say), and lose thee,
whom He must render again to the Father when He shall give up the
kingdom to Him. Consent and say "Amen" to the promises, and ye have
sealed that God is true, and Christ is yours. This is an easy market.
Ye but look on with faith; for Christ suffered all, and paid all.

  [112] Allusion to Horace, _Sat._ i. 1, 19. One of the few allusions to
  the classics that occur in Rutherford.

Madam, fearing I be tedious to your Ladyship, I must stop here,
desiring always to hear that your Ladyship is well, and that ye have
still your face up the mountain. Pray for us, Madam, and for Zion,
whereof ye are a part. We expect a trial. God's wheat in this land
must go through Satan's sieve, but their faith shall not fail. I am
still wrestling in our Lord's work, and have been tried and tempted
with brethren who look awry to the Gospel. Now He that is able to keep
you unto that day preserve your soul, body, and spirit, and present
you before His face with His own Bride, spotless and blameless.

Your Ladyship's, to be commanded always in the Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Nov. 26, 1631_.



XX.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_ASSURANCE OF CHRIST'S LOVE UNDER TRIALS--FULNESS OF CHRIST--HOPE OF
GLORY._)


MADAM,--I am grieved exceedingly that your Ladyship should think, or
have cause to think, that such as love you in God, in this country,
are forgetful of you. For myself, Madam, I owe to your Ladyship all
evidences of my high respect (in the sight of my Lord, whose truth I
preach, I am bold to say it) for His rich grace in you.

My Communion, put off till the end of a longsome and rainy harvest,
and the presbyterial exercise (as the bearer can inform your
Ladyship), hindered me to see you. And for my people's sake (finding
them like hot iron, that cooleth being out of the fire, and that is
pliable to no work), I do not stir abroad; neither have I left them at
all, since your Ladyship was in this country, save at one time only,
about two years ago. Yet I dare not say but it is a fault, howbeit no
defect in my affection; and I trust to make it up again, so soon as
possibly I am able to wait upon you.

Madam, I have no new purpose to write unto you, but of that which I
think (nay, which our Lord thinketh) needful, that one thing, Mary's
good part, which ye have chosen (Luke x. 42). Madam, all that God
hath, both Himself and the creatures, He is dealing and parting
amongst the sons of Adam. There are none so poor as that they can say
in His face, "He hath given them nothing." But there is no small odds
betwixt the gifts given to lawful bairns and to bastards; and the more
greedy ye are in suiting, the more willing He is to give, delighting
to be called open-handed. I hope your Ladyship laboureth to get
assurance of the surest patrimony, even God Himself. Ye will find in
Christianity, that God aimeth, in all His dealings with His children,
to bring them to a high contempt of, and deadly feud with the world,
and to set an high price upon Christ, and to think Him One who cannot
be bought for gold, and well worthy the fighting for. And for no other
cause, Madam, doth the Lord withdraw from you the childish toys and
the earthly delights that He giveth unto others, but that He may have
you wholly to Himself. Think therefore of the Lord, as of one who
cometh to woo you in marriage, when ye are in the furnace. He seeketh
His answer of you in affliction, to see if ye will say, Even so I take
Him. Madam, give Him this answer pleasantly, and in your mind do not
secretly grudge nor murmur. When He is striking you in love, beware to
strike again: that is dangerous; for those who strike again shall get
the last blow.

If I hit not upon the right string, it is because I am not acquainted
with your Ladyship's present condition; but I believe your Ladyship
goeth on foot, laughing, and putting on a good countenance before the
world, and yet ye carry heaviness about with you. Ye do well, Madam,
not to make them witnesses of your grief, who cannot be curers of it.
But be exceedingly charitable of your dear Lord. As there be some
friends worldly of whom ye will not entertain an ill thought, far more
ought ye to believe good evermore of your dear friend, that lovely
fair person, Jesus Christ. The thorn is one of the most cursed, and
angry, and crabbed weeds that the earth yieldeth, and yet out of it
springeth the rose, one of the sweetest-smelled flowers, and most
delightful to the eye, that the earth hath. Your Lord shall make joy
and gladness out of your afflictions; for all His roses have a
fragrant smell. Wait for the time when His own holy hand shall hold
them to your nose; and if ye would have present comfort under the
cross, be much in prayer, for at that time your faith kisseth Christ
and He kisseth the soul. And oh! if the breath of His holy mouth be
sweet, I dare be caution, out of some small experience, that ye shall
not be beguiled; for the world (yea, not a few number of God's
children) know not well what that is which they call a Godhead. But,
Madam, come near to the Godhead, and look down to the bottom of the
well; there is much in Him, and sweet were that death to drown in such
a well. Your grief taketh liberty to work upon your mind, when ye are
not busied in the meditation of the ever-delighting and all-blessed
Godhead. If ye would lay the price ye give out (which is but some few
years' pain and trouble) beside the commodities ye are to receive, ye
would see they are not worthy to be laid in the balance together: but
it is nature that maketh you look what ye give out, and weakness of
faith that hindereth you to see what ye shall take in. Amend your
hope, and frist your faithful Lord awhile. He maketh Himself your
debtor in the new covenant. He is honest; take His word: "Affliction
shall not spring up the second time" (Nahum i. 9). "He that overcometh
shall inherit all things" (Rev. xxi. 7). Of all things, then, which ye
want in this life, Madam, I am able to say nothing, if that be not
believed which ye have in Rev. iii. 5, 21: "The overcomer shall be
clothed in white raiment. To the overcomer I will give to sit with Me
in My throne, as I overcame, and am set down with My Father in His
throne." Consider, Madam, if ye are not high up now, and far ben in
the palace of our Lord, when ye are upon a throne in white raiment, at
lovely Christ's elbow. O thrice fools are we, who, like new-born
princes weeping in the cradle, know not that there is a kingdom before
them! Then let our Lord's sweet hand square us and hammer us, and
strike off the knots of pride, self-love, and world-worship, and
infidelity, that He may make us stones and pillars in His Father's
house (Rev. iii. 12). Madam, what think ye to take binding with the
fair corner-stone Jesus? The Lord give you wisdom to believe and hope
your day is coming. I hope to be witness of your joy, as I have been a
hearer and beholder of your grief. Think ye much to follow the heir of
the crown, who had experience of sorrows, and was acquainted with
grief? (Isa. liii. 3). It were pride to aim to be above the King's
Son: it is more than we deserve, that we are _equals_ in glory, in a
manner. Now commending you to the dearest grace and mercy of God, I
rest

  Your Ladyship's, at all obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Jan. 4, 1632_.



XXI.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_SELF-DENIAL--HOPE OF CHRIST'S COMING--LOVING GOD FOR HIMSELF._)


MADAM,--Understanding (a little after the writing of my last letter)
of the going of this bearer, I would not omit the opportunity of
remembering your Ladyship, still harping upon that string, which in
our whole lifetime is never too often touched upon (nor is our lesson
well enough learned), that there is a necessity of advancing in the
way to the kingdom of God, of the contempt of the world, of denying
ourself and bearing of our Lord's cross, which is no less needful for
us than daily food. And among many marks that we are on this journey,
and under sail toward heaven, this is one, when the love of God so
filleth our hearts, that we forget to love, and care not much for the
having, or wanting of, other things; as one extreme heat burneth out
another. By this, Madam, ye know, ye have betrothed your soul in
marriage to Christ, when ye do make but small reckoning of all other
suitors or wooers; and when ye can (having little in hand, but much in
hope) live as a young heir, during the time of his non-age and
minority, being content to be as hardly handled and under as precise a
reckoning as servants, because his hope is upon the inheritance. For
this cause God's bairns take well with spoiling of their goods,
knowing in themselves that they have in heaven a better and an
enduring substance (Heb. x. 34). That day that the earth and the works
therein shall be burned with fire (2 Pet. iii. 10), your hidden hope
and your life shall appear. And therefore, since ye have not now many
years to your endless eternity, and know not how soon the sky above
your head will rive, and the Son of man will be seen in the clouds of
heaven, what better and wiser course can ye take, than to think that
your one foot is here, and your other foot in the life to come, and to
leave off loving, desiring, or grieving for the wants that shall be
made up when your Lord and ye shall meet, and when ye shall give in
your bill, that day, of all your wants here? If your losses be not
made up, ye have place to challenge the Almighty; but it shall not be
so. Ye shall then rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and
your joy shall none take from you (1 Pet. i. 8; John xvi. 22). It is
enough, that the Lord hath promised you great things, only let the
time of bestowing them be in His own carving. It is not for us to set
an hour-glass to the Creator of time. Since He and we differ only in
the term of payment; since He hath promised payment, and we believe
it, it is no great matter. We will put that in His own will, as the
frank buyer, who cometh near to what the seller seeketh, useth at last
to refer the difference to his own will, and so cutteth off the course
of mutual prigging. Madam, do not prigg with your frank-hearted and
gracious Lord about the time of the fulfilling of your joys. It will
be; God hath said it; bide His harvest, wait upon His whitsunday.[113]
His day is better than your day; He putteth not the hook in the corn
till it be ripe and full-eared. The great Angel of the covenant bear
you company, till the trumpet shall sound, and the voice of the
Archangel awaken the dead. Ye shall find it your only happiness, under
whatever thing disturbeth and crosseth the peace of your mind, in this
life, to love nothing for itself, but only God for Himself. It is the
crooked love of some harlots, that they love bracelets, ear-rings, and
rings better than the lover that sendeth them. God will not so be
loved; for that were to behave as harlots, and not as the chaste
spouse, to abate from our love when these things are pulled away. Our
love to Him should begin on earth, as it shall be in heaven; for the
bride taketh not, by a thousand degrees, so much delight in her
wedding garment as she doth in her bridegroom; so we, in the life to
come, howbeit clothed with glory as with a robe, shall not be so much
affected with the glory that goeth about us, as with the bridegroom's
joyful race and presence. Madam, if ye can win to this here, the field
is won; and your mind, for anything ye want, or for anything your Lord
can take from you, shall soon be calmed and quieted. Get Himself as a
pawn, and keep Him, till your dear Lord come, and loose the pawn, and
rue upon you, and give you all again that He took from you, even a
thousand talents for one penny. It is not ill to lend God willingly,
who otherwise both will and may take from you against your will. It
is good to play the usurer with Him, and take in, instead of ten of
the hundred, an hundred of ten, often an hundred of one.

  [113] His term-day.

Madam, fearing to be tedious to you, I break off here, commending you
(as I trust to do while I live), your person, ways, burdens, and all
that concerneth you, to that Almighty who is able to bear you and your
burdens. I still remember you to Him, who will cause you one day to
laugh. I expect that, whatever ye can do, by word or deed, for the
Lord's friendless Zion, ye will do it. She is your mother; forget her
not; for the Lord intendeth to melt and try this land, and it is high
time we were all upon our feet, and falling about to try what claim we
have to Christ. It is like the bridegroom will be taken from us, and
then we shall mourn. Dear Jesus, remove not, else take us with Thee.
Grace, grace be with you for ever.

  Your Ladyship's, at all dutiful obedience,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Jan. 14, 1632_.



XXII.--_To_ JOHN KENNEDY. (_Letter_ LXXV.)

(_DELIVERANCE FROM SHIPWRECK--RECOVERY FROM THREATENED DEATH--USE OF
TRIALS--REMEMBRANCE OF FRIENDS._)


MY LOVING AND MOST AFFECTIONATE IN CHRIST,--I salute you with grace,
mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

I promised to write to you, and although late enough, yet I now make
it good. I heard with grief of your great danger of perishing by the
sea, and of your merciful deliverance with joy. Sure I am, brother,
that Satan will leave no stone unrolled, as the proverb is, to roll
you off your Rock, or at least to shake and unsettle you: for at that
same time the mouths of wicked men were opened in hard speeches
against you, by land, and the prince of the power of the air was angry
with you by sea. See then how much ye are obliged to that malicious
murderer, who would beat you with two rods at one time; but, blessed
be God, his arm is short; if the sea and wind would have obeyed him,
ye had never come to land. Thank your God, who saith, "I have the keys
of hell and of death" (Rev. i. 18); "I kill, and I make alive" (Deut.
xxxii. 39); "The Lord bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up" (1
Sam. ii. 6). If Satan were jailor, and had the keys of death and of
the grave, they should be stored with more prisoners. Ye were knocking
at these black gates, and ye found the doors shut; and we do all
welcome you back again.

I trust that ye know that it is not for nothing that ye are sent to us
again. The Lord knew that ye had forgotten something that was
necessary for your journey; that your armour was not as yet thick
enough against the stroke of death. Now, in the strength of Jesus
despatch your business; that debt is not forgiven, but fristed: death
hath not bidden you farewell, but hath only left you for a short
season. End your journey ere the night come upon you. Have all in
readiness against the time that ye must sail through that black and
impetuous Jordan; and Jesus, Jesus, who knoweth both those depths and
the rocks, and all the coasts, be your pilot. The last tide will not
wait you for one moment. If ye forget anything, when your sea is full,
and your foot in that ship, there is no returning again to fetch it.
What ye do amiss in your life to-day, ye may amend it to-morrow; for
as many suns as God maketh to arise upon you, ye have as many new
lives; but ye can die but once, and if ye mar or spill that business,
ye cannot come back to mend that piece of work again. No man sinneth
twice in dying ill; as we die but once, so we die but ill or well
once. You see how the number of your months is written in God's book;
and as one of the Lord's hirelings, ye must work till the shadow of
the evening come upon you, and ye shall run out your glass even to the
last pickle of sand. Fulfil your course with joy, for we take nothing
to the grave with us, but a good or evil conscience. And, although the
sky clear after this storm, yet clouds will engender another.

Ye contracted with Christ, I hope, when first ye began to follow Him,
that ye would bear His cross. Fulfil your part of the contract with
patience, and break not to Jesus Christ. Be honest, brother, in your
bargaining with Him; for who knoweth better how to bring up children
than our God? For (to lay aside His knowledge, of the which there is
no finding out) He hath been practised in bringing up His heirs these
five thousand years; and His bairns are all well brought up, and many
of them are honest men now at home, up in their own house in heaven,
and are entered heirs to their Father's inheritance. Now, the form of
His bringing up was by chastisements, scourging, correcting,
nurturing; and see if He maketh exception of any of His bairns: no,
His eldest Son and His Heir, Jesus, is not excepted (Rev. iii. 19;
Heb. xii. 7, 8, and ii. 10). Suffer we must; ere we were born, God
decreed it; and it is easier to complain of His decree than to change
it. It is true, terrors of conscience cast us down; and yet without
terrors of conscience we cannot be raised up again: fears and
doubtings shake us; and yet without fears and doubtings we would soon
sleep, and lose our grips of Christ. Tribulation and temptations will
almost loosen us to the root; and yet, without tribulations and
temptations, we can now no more grow than herbs or corn without rain.
Sin, and Satan, and the world will say, and cry in our ear, that we
have a hard reckoning to make in judgment; and yet none of these
three, except they lie, dare say in our face that our sin can change
the tenor of the new covenant. Forward, then, dear brother, and lose
not your grips. Hold fast the truth: for the world, sell not one
dram-weight of God's truth, especially now, when most men measure
truth by time, like young seamen setting their compass by a cloud; for
now time is father and mother to truth, in the thoughts and practices
of our evil time. The God of truth establish us; for, alas! now there
are none to comfort the prisoners of hope, and the mourners in Zion.
We can do little, except pray and mourn for Joseph in the stocks. And
let their tongue cleave to the roof of their mouth who forget
Jerusalem now in her day; and the Lord remember Edom, and render to
him as he hath done to us.

Now, brother, I shall not weary you; but I entreat you to remember my
dearest love to Mr. David Dickson, with whom I have small
acquaintance; yet I bless the Lord, I know that he both prayeth and
doeth for our dying kirk. Remember my dearest love to John Stuart,
whom I love in Christ; and show him from me that I do always remember
him, and hope for a meeting. The Lord Jesus establish him more and
more, though he be already a strong man in Christ. Remember my
heartiest affection in Christ to William Rodger,[114] whom I also
remember to God. I wish that the first news I hear of him and you, and
all that love our common Saviour in those bounds, may be, that they
are so knit and linked, and kindly fastened in love with the Son of
God, that ye may say, "Now if ye would ever so fain escape out of
Christ's hands, yet love hath so bound us, that we cannot get our
hands free again; He hath so ravished our hearts, that there is no
loosening of His grips; the chains of His soul-ravishing love are so
strong, that neither the grave nor death will break them." I hope,
brother, yea I doubt not of it, that ye lay me, and my first entry to
the Lord's vineyard, and my flock, before Him who hath put me into His
work. As the Lord knoweth, since first I saw you, I have been mindful
of you. Marion M'Naught doth remember most heartily her love to you,
and to John Stuart.[115] Blessed be the Lord! that in God's mercy I
found in this country such a woman, to whom Jesus is dearer than her
own heart, when there be so many that cast Christ over their shoulder.
Good brother, call to mind the memory of your worthy father, now
asleep in Christ; and, as his custom was, pray continually, and
wrestle, for the life of a dying, breathless kirk. And desire John
Stuart not to forget poor Zion; she hath few friends, and few to speak
one good word for her.

  [114] Livingstone in his "Memor. Characteristics" mentions this godly
  man, a merchant in Ayr.

  [115] See Letter CLXI.

Now I commend you, your whole soul, and body, and spirit, to Jesus
Christ and His keeping, hoping that ye will live and die, stand and
fall, with the cause of our Master, Jesus. The Lord Jesus Himself be
with your spirit.

  Your loving brother in our Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Feb. 2, 1632_.



XXIII.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_EXHORTING TO REMEMBER HER ESPOUSAL TO CHRIST--TRIBULATION A
PREPARATION FOR THE KINGDOM--GLORY IN THE END._)


MADAM,--Your Ladyship will not (I know) weary nor offend, though I
trouble you with many letters. The memory of what obligations I am
under to your Ladyship, is the cause of it.

I am possibly impertinent in what I write, because of my ignorance of
your present estate; but for all that is said, I have learned of Mr.
W. D.[116] that ye have not changed upon, nor wearied of your sweet
Master, Christ, and His service; neither were it your part to change
upon Him who "resteth in His love." Ye are among honourable company,
and such as affect grandeur and court. But, Madam, thinking upon your
estate, I think I see an improvident wooer coming too late to seek a
bride, because she is contracted already, and promised away to
another; and so the wooer's busking and bravery (who cometh to
you[117] as "who but he?") are in vain. The outward pomp of this busy
wooer, a beguiling world, is now coming in to suit[118] your soul too
late, when ye have promised away your soul to Christ many years ago.
And I know, Madam, what answer ye may now justly make to the late
suitor; even this: "Ye are too long of coming; my soul, the bride, is
away already, and the contract with Christ subscribed, and I cannot
choose, but I must be honest and faithful to Him." Honourable lady,
keep your first love, and hold the first match with that
soul-delighting, lovely Bridegroom, our sweet, sweet Jesus, fairer
than all the children of men, "the Rose of Sharon," and the fairest
and sweetest smelled rose in all His Father's garden. There is none
like Him; I would not exchange one smile of His lovely face with
kingdoms. Madam, let others take their silly, feckless heaven in this
life. Envy them not; but let your soul, like a tarrowing and
mislearned child, take the dorts (as we use to speak), or cast at all
things and disdain them, except one only: either Christ or nothing.
Your well-beloved, Jesus, will be content that ye be here devoutly
proud, and ill to please, as one that contemneth all husbands but
Himself. Either the King's Son, or no husband at all; this is humble,
and worthy ambition. What have ye to do to dally with a whorish and
foolish world? Your jealous Husband will not be content that ye look
by Him to another: He will be jealous indeed, and offended, if ye kiss
another but Himself. What weights do burden you, Madam, I know not;
but think it great mercy that your Lord from your youth hath been
hedging in your outstraying affections, that they may not go a-whoring
from Himself. If ye were His bastard, He would not nurture you so. If
ye were for the slaughter, ye would be fattened. But be content; ye
are His wheat, growing in our Lord's field (Matt. xiii. 25, 38); and
if wheat, ye must go under our Lord's threshing-instrument, in His
barn-floor, and through His sieve (Amos ix. 9), and through His mill
to be bruised (as the Prince of your salvation, Jesus, was) (Isa.
liii. 10), that ye may be found good bread in your Lord's house. Lord
Jesus, bless the spiritual husbandry, and separate you from the chaff,
that dow not bide the wind. I am persuaded your glass is spending
itself by little and little; and if ye knew who is before you, ye
would rejoice in your tribulations. Think ye it a small honour to
stand before the throne of God and the Lamb? and to be clothed in
white, and to be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb? and to be
led to the fountain of living waters, and to come to the Well-head,
even God Himself, and get your fill of the clear, cold, sweet,
refreshing water of life, the King's own well? and to put up your own
sinful hand to the tree of life and take down and eat the sweetest
apple in all God's heavenly paradise, Jesus Christ, your life and your
Lord? Up your heart! shout for joy! Your King is coming to fetch you
to His Father's house.

  [116] Mr. William Dalgleish, minister at Kirkmabreck.

  [117] A proverbial expression, as in Herbert's Poem, 84:

      "Then came brave Glory passing by,
      With silks that whistled, Who but he."


  [118] Z. Boyd's _Last Battle_, p. 185.

Madam, I am in exceeding great heaviness, God thinking it best for my
own soul thus to exercise me, thereby, it may be, to fit me to be His
mouth to others. I see and hear, at home and abroad, nothing but
matter of grief and discouragement, which indeed maketh my life
bitter. And I hope in God never to get my will in this world. And I
expect ere long a fiery trial upon the Church; for as many men almost
in England and Scotland, as many false friends to Christ, and as many
pulling and drawing to pull the crown off His holy head! and for fear
that our Beloved stay amongst us (as if His room[119] were more
desirable than Himself), men are bidding Him go seek His lodging.
Madam, if ye have a part in silly, friendless Zion (as I know ye
have), speak a word on her behalf to God and man. If ye can do nothing
else, speak for Jesus, and ye shall thereby be a witness against this
declining age. Now, from my very soul, laying and leaving you on the
Lord, and desiring a part in your prayers (as, my Lord knoweth, I
remember you), I deliver over your body, spirit, and all your
necessities, to the hands of our Lord, and remain for ever

Your Ladyship's, in your sweet Lord Jesus and mine,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Feb. 13, 1632_.

  [119] His place.



XXIV.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_CHRIST AND HIS GARDEN--PROVISION OF ORDINANCES IN THE CHURCH--OUR
CHILDREN._)


BELOVED MISTRESS,--My dearest love in Christ remembered to you. Know
that Mr. Abraham[120] showed me there is to be a meeting of the
bishops at Edinburgh shortly. The causes are known to themselves. It
is our part to hold up our hands for Zion. Howbeit, it is reported,
they came sad from court. It is our Lord's wisdom, that His kirk
should ever hang by a thread; and yet the thread breaketh not, being
hanged upon Him who is the sure Nail in David's house (Isa. xxii. 23),
upon whom all the vessels, great and small, do hang; and the Nail (God
be thanked) neither crooketh nor can be broken. Jesus, that Flower of
Jesse set without hands, getteth many a blast, and yet withers not,
because He is His Father's noble Rose, casting a sweet smell through
heaven and earth, and must grow; and in the same garden grow the
saints, God's fair and beautiful lilies, under wind and rain, and all
sun-burned, and yet life remaineth at the root. Keep within His
garden, and you shall grow with them, till the Great Husbandman, our
dear Master Gardener, come and transplant you from the lower part of
His vineyard up to the higher, to the very heart of His garden, above
the wrongs of the rain, sun, or wind. And then, wait upon the times of
the blowing of the sweet south and north wind of His gracious Spirit,
that may make you cast a sweet smell in your Beloved's nostrils; and
bid your Beloved come down to His garden, and eat of His pleasant
fruits (Cant. iv. 16). And He will come. You will get no more but this
until you come up to the Well-head, where you shall put up your hand
and take down the apples of the tree of life, and eat under the shadow
of that tree. These apples are sweeter up beside the tree than they
are down here in this piece of a clay prison-house. I have no joy but
in the thoughts of these times. Doubt not of your Lord's part and the
spouse's part; she shall be in good case. That word shall stand, "I
shall be as the dew to Israel: he shall grow up as the lily, and cast
out his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, his beauty shall
be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon" (Hosea xiv. 5, 6).
Christ shall set up His colours, and His ensign for the nations, and
shall gather together the outcasts of Israel (Isa. xi. 12). "Then the
Lord said to me, Son of man, these dead bones are the whole house of
Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, our hope is lost; we
are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy unto them, and say, Thus
saith the Lord God, Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and
cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land
of Israel" (Ezek. xxxvii. 11, 12). These promises are not wind, but
the breast of our beloved Christ, which we must suck and draw comfort
out of. Ye have cause to pity those poor creatures that stand out
against Christ, and the building of His house. Silly men! they have
but a feckless and silly heaven, nothing but meat and cloth, and laugh
a day or two in the world, and then in a moment go down to the grave;
and they shall not be able to hinder Christ's building. He that is
Master of work will lead stones to the wall over their belly.

  [120] Possibly, Mr. Abraham Henderson; a staunch defender of
  Presbytery, who, in 1605, persisted, along with eight of his brethren,
  in convening at Aberdeen, in face of prohibition, in order to maintain
  a protest in behalf of the Church's inherent right to meet in General
  Assembly. (See Forbes' "Apolog. Narration," p. 136.)

And for that present tumult that the children of this world raise
anent the planting of your town with a pastor, believe and stay upon
God, as you still shame us all in believing. Go forward in the
strength of the Lord; and I say from my Lord, before whom I stand,
have your eyes upon none but the Lord of armies, and the Lord shall
either let you see what you long to see, or then else fulfil your joy
more abundantly another way. You and yours, and the children of God
whom you care for in this town, shall have as much of the Son of God's
supper cut and laid upon your trenchers, be who he will that carveth,
as shall feed you to eternal life. And be not cast down for all that
is done: your reward is laid up with God. I hope to see you laugh and
leap for joy. Will the temple be built without din and tumult? No;
God's stones in His house in Germany are laid with blood; and the Son
of God no sooner begins to chop and hew stones with His hammer, but as
soon the sword is drawn. If the work were of men, the world would set
their shoulders to yours; but, in Christ's work, two or three must
fight against a Presbytery (though His own court) and a city. This
proveth that it is Christ's errand, and therefore that it shall
thrive. Let them lay iron chains cross over the door,--stay, and
believe, and wait, whill the Lion of the tribe of Judah come. And He
that comes from heaven clothed with the rainbow, and hath the little
book in His hand, when He taketh a grip of their chains, He will lay
the door on the broadside, and come in, and go up to the pulpit, and
take the man with Him whom He hath chosen for His work. Therefore, let
me hear from you, whether you be in heaviness, or rejoicing under
hope, that I may take part of your grief, and bear it with you, and
get part of your joy, which is to me also as my own joy.

And as to what are your fears anent the health or life of your dear
children, lay it upon Christ's shoulders: let Him bear all. Loose your
grips of them all; and when your dear Lord pulleth, let them go with
faith and joy. It is a tried faith to kiss a Lord that is taking from
you. Let them be careful, during the short time that they are here, to
run and get a grip of the prize. Christ is standing in the end of
their way, holding up the garland of endless glory to their eyes, and
is crying, "Run fast, and come and receive." Happy are they (if their
breath serve them) to run and not to weary, whill their Lord, with His
own dear hand, puts the crown upon their head. It is not long days,
but good days, that make life glorious and happy; and our dear Lord is
gracious to us, who shorteneth and hath made the way to glory shorter
than it was; so that the crown that Noah did fight for five hundred
years, children may now obtain it in fifteen years. And heaven is in
some sort better for us now than it was to Noah, for the man Christ is
there now, who was not come in the flesh in Noah's days. You shall
show this to your children, whom my soul in Christ blesseth, and
entreat them by the mercies of God, and the bowels of Jesus Christ, to
covenant with Jesus Christ to be His, and to make up the bond of
friendship betwixt their souls and their Christ, that they may have
acquaintance in heaven, and a friend at God's right hand. Such a
friend at court is much worth.

Now I take my leave of you, praying my Christ and your Christ to
fulfil your joy; and more graces and blessings from our sweet Lord
Jesus to your soul, your husband's and children, than ever I wrote of
the letters of A, B, C, to you. Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours in my sweet Master, Jesus Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _March 9, 1632_.



XXV.--_To a Gentlewoman at Kirkcudbright, excusing himself from
visiting._


MISTRESS,--I beseech you to have me excused if the daily employments
of my calling shall hinder me to see you according as I would wish;
for I dare not go abroad, since many of my people are sick, and the
time of our Communion draweth near. But frequent the company of your
worthy and honest-hearted pastor, Mr. Robert (Glendinning), to whom
the Lord hath given the tongue of the learned, to minister a word in
season to the weary. Remember me to him and to your husband. The Lord
Jesus be with your spirit. Your affectionate friend,

  S. R.



XXVI.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT, _after her dangerous illness_.

(_USE OF SICKNESS--REPROACHES--CHRIST OUR ETERNAL FEAST--FASTING._)


DEARLY-BELOVED MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. You are not
ignorant what our Lord in His love-visitation hath been doing with
your soul, even letting you see a little sight of that dark trance you
must go through ere you come to glory. Your life hath been near the
grave, and you were at the door, and you found the door shut and fast:
your dear Christ thinking it not time to open these gates to you till
you have fought some longer in His camp. And therefore He willeth you
to put on your armour again, and to take no truce with the devil or
this present world. You are little obliged to any of the two; but I
rejoice in this, that when any of the two comes to suit your soul in
marriage, you have an answer in readiness to tell them,--"You are too
long a-coming; I have many a year since promised my soul to another,
even to my dearest Lord Jesus, to whom I must be true." And therefore
you are come back to us again to help us to pray for Christ's fair
bride, a marrow dear to Him.

Be not cast down in heart to hear that the world barketh at Christ's
strangers, both in Ireland and in this land; they do it because their
Lord hath chosen them out of this world. And this is one of our Lord's
reproaches, to be hated and ill-entreated by men. The silly stranger,
in an uncouth country, must take with a smoky inn and coarse cheer, a
hard bed, and a barking, ill-tongued host. It is not long to the day,
and he will to his journey upon the morrow, and leave them all.
Indeed, our fair morning is at hand, the day-star is near the rising,
and we are not many miles from home. What matters ill entertainment in
the smoky inns of this miserable life? We are not to stay here, and we
will be dearly welcome to Him whom we go to. And I hope, when I shall
see you clothed in white raiment, washed in the blood of the Lamb, and
shall see you even at the elbow of your dearest Lord and Redeemer, and
a crown upon your head, and following our Lamb and lovely Lord
whithersoever He goeth,--you will think nothing of all these days; and
you shall then rejoice, and no man shall take your joy from you. It is
certain there is not much sand to run in your Lord's sand-glass, and
that day is at hand; and till then your Lord in this life is giving
you some little feasts.

It is true, you see Him not now as you shall see Him then. Your
well-beloved standeth now behind the wall looking out at the window
(Cant. ii. 9), and you see but a little of His face. Then, you shall
see all His face and all the Saviour,--a long, and high, and broad
Lord Jesus, the loveliest person among the children of men. O joy of
joys, that our souls know there is such a great supper preparing for
us even! Howbeit we be but half-hungered of Christ here, and many a
time dine behind noon,[121] yet the supper of the Lamb will come in
time, and will be set before us before we famish and lose our
stomachs. You have cause to hold up your heart in remembrance and hope
of that fair, long summer day; for in this night of your life, wherein
you are in the body absent from the Lord, Christ's fair moonlight in
His word and sacraments, in prayer, feeling, and holy conference, hath
shined upon you, to let you see the way to the city. I confess our
diet here is but sparing; we get but tastings of our Lord's comforts;
but the cause of that is not because our Steward, Jesus, is a niggard,
and narrow-hearted, but because our stomachs are weak, and we are
narrow-hearted. But the great feast is coming, and the chambers of
them made fair and wide to take in the great Lord Jesus. Come in,
then, Lord Jesus, to hungry souls gaping for thee! In this journey
take the Bridegroom as you may have Him, and be greedy of His smallest
crumbs; but, dear Mistress, buy none of Christ's delicates-spiritual
with sin, or fasting against your weak body. Remember you are in the
body, and it is the lodging-house; and you may not, without offending
the Lord, suffer the old walls of that house to fall down through want
of necessary food. Your body is the dwelling-house of the Spirit; and
therefore, for the love you carry to the sweet Guest, give a due
regard to His house of clay. When He looseth the wall, why not?
Welcome Lord Jesus! But it is a fearful sin in us, by hurting the body
by fasting, to loose one stone or the least piece of timber in it, for
the house is not our own. The Bridegroom is with you yet; so fast as
that also you may feast and rejoice in Him. I think upon your
magistrates; but He that is clothed in linen, and hath the writer's
inkhorn by His side, hath written up their names in heaven already.
Pray and be content with His will; God hath a council-house in heaven,
and the end will be mercy unto you. For the planting of your town with
a godly minister, have your eye upon the Lord of the harvest. I dare
promise you, God in this life shall fill your soul with the fatness of
His house, for your care to see Christ's bairns fed. And your
posterity shall know it, to whom[122] I pray for mercy, and that they
may get a name amongst the living in Jerusalem; and if God portion
them with His bairns, their rent is fair, and I hope it shall be so.
The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours ever in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Sept. 19, 1632_.

  [121] _Noon_, or a little before it, was then the usual hour for
  dinner.

  [122] In regard to whom I pray for the mercy Paul sought for the house
  of Onesiphorus (2 Tim. i. 6).



XXVII.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_LOVE TO CHRIST AND SUBMISSION TO HIS CROSS--BELIEVERS KEPT--THE
HEAVENLY PARADISE._)


MADAM,--Having saluted you with grace and mercy from God our Father,
and from our Lord Jesus Christ, I long both to see your Ladyship, and
to hear how it goeth with you.

I do remember you, and present you and your necessities to Him who is
able to keep you, and present you blameless before His face with joy;
and my prayer to our Lord is, that ye may be sick of love for Him, who
died of love for you,--I mean your Saviour Jesus. And O sweet were
that sickness to be soul-sick for Him! And a living death it were, to
die in the fire of the love of that soul-lover, Jesus! And, Madam, if
ye love Him, ye will keep His commandments; and this is not one of the
least, to lay your neck cheerfully and willingly under the yoke of
Jesus Christ. For I trust your Ladyship did first contract and bargain
with the Son of God to follow Him upon these terms, that by His grace
ye should endure hardship, and suffer affliction, as the soldier of
Christ. They are not worthy of Jesus who will not take a blow for
their Master's sake. As for our glorious Peace-maker, when He came to
make up the friendship betwixt God and us, God bruised Him, and struck
Him; the sinful world also did beat Him, and crucify Him, yet He took
buffets of both parties, and (honour to our Lord Jesus!) He would not
leave the field for all that, till He had made peace betwixt the
parties. I persuade myself your sufferings are but like your Saviour's
(yea, incomparably less and lighter), which are called but a "bruising
of His heel" (Gen. iii. 15); a wound far from the heart. Your life is
hid with Christ in God (Col. iii. 3), and therefore ye cannot be
robbed of it. Our Lord handleth us, as fathers do their young
children; they lay up jewels in a place, above the reach of the short
arm of bairns, else bairns would put up their hands and take them
down, and lose them soon. So hath our Lord done with our spiritual
life. Jesus Christ is the high coffer in the which our Lord hath hid
our life; we children are not able to reach up our arm so high as to
take down that life and lose it; it is in our Christ's hand. O long,
long may Jesus be Lord Keeper of our life! and happy are they that
can, with the Apostle (2 Tim. i. 12), lay their soul in pawn in the
hand of Jesus, for He is able to keep that which is committed in pawn
to Him against that day. Then, Madam, so long as this life is not
hurt, all other troubles are but touches in the heel. I trust ye will
soon be cured. Ye know, Madam, kings have some servants in their court
that receive not present wages in their hand, but live upon their
hopes: the King of kings also hath servants in His court that for the
present get little or nothing but the heavy cross of Christ, troubles
without and terrors within; but they live upon hope; and when it
cometh to the parting of the inheritance, they remain in the house as
heirs. It is better to be so than to get present payment, and a
portion in this life, an inheritance in this world (God forgive me,
that I should honour it with the name of an inheritance, it is rather
a farm-room!), and then in the end to be casten out of God's house,
with this word, "Ye have received your consolation, ye will get no
more." Alas! what get they? The rich glutton's heaven (Luke xvi. 25).
O but our Lord maketh it a silly heaven! "He fared well," saith our
Lord, "and delicately every day." O no more? a silly heaven! Truly no
more, except that he was clothed in purple, and that is all. I
persuade myself, Madam, ye have joy when ye think that your Lord hath
dealt more graciously with your soul. Ye have gotten little in this
life, it is true indeed: ye have then the more to crave, yea, ye have
all to crave; for, except some tastings of the first fruits, and some
kisses of His mouth whom your soul loveth, ye get no more. But I
cannot tell you what is to come. Yet I may speak as our Lord doth of
it. The foundation of the city is pure gold, clear as crystal; the
twelve ports are set with precious stones; if orchards and rivers
commend a soil upon earth, there is a paradise there, wherein groweth
the tree of life that beareth twelve manner of fruits every month,
which is seven score and four harvests in the year; and there is there
a pure river of water of life, proceeding out of the throne of God and
of the Lamb; and the city hath no need of the light of the sun or
moon, or of a candle, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is the
light thereof. Madam, believe and hope for this, till ye see and
enjoy. Jesus is saying in the Gospel, Come and see; and He is come
down in the chariot of truth, wherein He rideth through the world, to
conquer men's souls (Ps. xlv. 4), and is now in the world saying, "Who
will go with Me? will ye go? My Father will make you welcome, and give
you house-room; for in My Father's house are many dwelling-places."[123]
Madam, consent to go with Him. Thus I rest, commending you to God's
dearest mercy.

  Yours in the Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.

  [123] Μόνας.



XXVIII.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE, _after the death of a child_.

(_THE STATE OF THE CHURCH, CAUSE FOR GOD'S DISPLEASURE--HIS CARE OF
HIS CHURCH--THE JEWS--AFFLICTED SAINTS._)


MADAM,--I am afraid now (as many others are) that, at the sitting down
of our Parliament, our Lord Jesus and His spouse shall be roughly
handled. And it must be so, since false and declining Scotland, whom
our Lord took off the dunghill and out of hell, and made a fair bride
to Himself, hath broken her faith to her sweet Husband, and hath put
on the forehead of a whore. And therefore He saith He will remove.
Would God we could stir up ourselves to lay hold upon Him, who, being
highly provoked with the handling He hath met with, is ready to
depart! Alas! we do not importune Him by prayer and supplication to
abide amongst us! If we could but weep upon Him, and in the holy
pertinacity of faith wrestle with Him, and say, "We will not let Thee
go," it may be that then, He, who is easy to be intreated, would yet,
notwithstanding of our high provocations, condescend to stay and feed
among the lilies, till that fair and desirable day break, and the
shadows flee away. Ah! what cause of mourning is there, when our gold
is become dim, and the visage of our Nazarites, sometime whiter than
snow, is now become blacker than a coal, and Levi's house, once
comparable to fine gold, is now changed, and become like vessels in
whom He hath no pleasure! Madam, think upon this, that when our Lord,
who hath His handkerchief to wipe the face of the mourners in Zion,
shall come to wipe away all tears from their eyes, He may wipe yours
also, in the passing, amongst others. I am confident, Madam, that our
Lord will yet build a new house to Himself, of our rejected and
scattered stones, for our Bridegroom cannot want a wife. Can He live a
widower? Nay, He will embrace both us, the little young sister, and
the elder sister, the Church of the Jews; and there will yet be a day
of it. And therefore we have cause to rejoice, yea, to sing and shout
for joy. The Church hath been, since the world began, ever hanging by
a small thread, and all the hands of hell and of the wicked have been
drawing at the thread. But, God be thanked, they only break their arms
by pulling, but the thread is not broken; for the sweet fingers of
Christ our Lord have spun and twisted it. Lord, hold the thread whole!

Madam, stir up your husband to lay hold upon the covenant, and to do
good. What hath he to do with the world? It is not his inheritance.
Desire him to make home-over, and put to his hand to lay one stone or
two upon the wall of God's house before he go hence. I have heard
also, Madam, that your child is removed; but to have or want is best,
as He pleaseth. Whether she be with you, or in God's keeping, think it
all one; nay, think it the better of the two by far that she is with
Him. I trust in our Lord that there is something laid up and kept for
you; for our kind Lord, who hath wounded you, will not be so cruel as
not to allay the pain of your green wound; and, therefore, claim
Christ still as your own, and own Him as your One thing. So resting, I
recommend your Ladyship, your soul and spirit, in pawn to Him who
keepeth His Father's pawns, and will make an account of them
faithfully, even to that fairest amongst the sons of men, our sweet
Lord Jesus, the fairest, the sweetest, the most delicious Rose of all
His Father's great field. The smell of that Rose perfume your soul!

  Your Ladyship's, in his sweetest Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _April 1, 1633_.



XXIX.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_CHRIST WITH HIS PEOPLE IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION--PRAYER._)


DEAR SISTER,--I longed much to have conferred with you at this time. I
am grieved at anything in your house that grieveth you; and shall, by
my Lord's grace, suit my Lord to help you to bear your burden, and to
come in behind you, and give you and your burdens a put up the
mountain. Know you not that Christ wooeth His wife in the furnace?
"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee
in the furnace of affliction" (Isa. xlviii. 10). He casteth His love
on you when you are in the furnace of affliction. You might indeed be
casten down if He brought you in and left you there; but when He
leadeth you through the waters, think ye not that He has a sweet, soft
hand? You know His love-grip already; you shall be delivered, wait on.
Jesus will make a road, and come and fetch home the captive. You shall
not die in prison; but your strokes are such as were your Husband's,
who was wounded in the house of His friends. Strokes are not newings
to Him, and neither are they to you. But your winter night is near
spent; it is near-hand the dawning. I will see you leap for joy. The
kirk shall be delivered. This wilderness shall bud and grow up like a
rose. Christ got a charter of Scotland from His Father; and who will
bereave Him of His heritage, or put our Redeemer out of His mailing,
until His tack be run out? I must have you praying for me: I am black
shamed for evermore now with Christ's goodness; and in private, on the
17th and 18th of August, I got a full answer of my Lord to be a graced
minister, and a chosen arrow hidden in His own quiver. But know this,
assurance is not keeped but by watching and prayer; and, therefore,
dear mistress, help me. I have gotten now (honour to my Lord!) the
gate to open the slote, and shut the bar of His door; and I think it
easy to get anything from the King by prayer, and to use holy violence
with Him. Christ was in Carsphairne[124] kirk, and opened the people's
hearts wonderfully. Jesus is looking up that water; and minting to
dwell amongst them. I would we could give Him His welcome home to the
moors. Now peace and grace be upon you and all yours.

  Yours in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Aug. 20, 1633_.

  [124] The village and church of _Carsphairn_ stood not far from
  Kenmure Castle, and very near Earlston and Knockgray. The road from
  Dalmellington is bare, with steep, rocky hills on either side of the
  glen. The "Ken" may be meant by "that water" in the next sentence.



XXX.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_RANK AND PROSPERITY HINDER PROGRESS--WATCHFULNESS--CASE OF
RELATIVES._)


MADAM,--I determined, and was desirous also, to have seen your
ladyship, but because of a pain in my arm I could not. I know ye will
not impute it to any unsuitable forgetfulness of your Ladyship, from
whom, at my first entry to my calling in this country (and since
also), I received such comfort in my affliction as I trust in God
never to forget, and shall labour by His grace to recompense in the
only way possible to me; and that is, my presenting your soul, person,
house, and all your necessities, in prayer to Him, whose I hope you
are, and who is able to keep you till that Day of Appearance, and to
present you before His face with joy.

I am confident your Ladyship is going forward in the begun journey to
your Lord and Father's home and kingdom. Howbeit ye want not
temptations within and without. And who among the saints hath ever
taken that castle without stroke of sword? the Chief of the house, our
Elder Brother, our Lord Jesus, not being excepted, who won His own
house and home, due to Him by birth, with much blood and many blows.
Your Ladyship hath the more need to look to yourself, because our Lord
hath placed you higher than the rest, and your way to heaven lieth
through a more wild and waste wilderness than the way of many of your
fellow-travellers,--not only through the midst of this wood of thorns,
the cumbersome world, but also through these dangerous paths, the
vain-glory of it; the consideration whereof hath often moved me to
pity your soul, and the soul of your worthy and noble husband. And it
is more to you to win heaven, being ships of greater burden, and in
the main sea, than for little vessels, that are not so much in the
mercy and reverence of the storms, because they may come quietly to
their port by launching alongst the coast. For the which cause ye do
much, if in the midst of such a tumult of business, and crowd of
temptations, ye shall give Christ Jesus His own court and His own due
place in your soul. I know and am persuaded, that that lovely One,
Jesus, is dearer to you than many kingdoms; and that ye esteem Him
your Well-beloved, and the Standard-bearer among ten thousand (Cant.
v. 10). And it becometh Him full well to take the place and the
board-head in your soul before all the world. I knew and saw Him with
you in the furnace of affliction; for there he wooed you to Himself,
and chose you to be His; and now He craveth no other hire of you but
your love, and that He get no cause to be jealous of you. And,
therefore, dear and worthy lady, be like to the fresh river, that
keepeth its own fresh taste in the salt sea. This world is not worthy
of your soul. Give it not a good-day when Christ cometh in competition
with it. Be like one of another country. Home! and stay not; for the
sun is fallen low, and nigh the tops of the mountains, and the shadows
are stretched out in great length. Linger not by the way. The world
and sin would train you on, and make you turn aside. Leave not the way
for them; and the Lord Jesus be at the voyage!

Madam, many eyes are upon you, and many would be glad your Ladyship
should spill a Christian, and mar a good professor. Lord Jesus, mar
their godless desires, and keep the conscience whole without a crack!
If there be a hole in it, so that it take in water at a leak, it will
with difficulty mend again. It is a dainty, delicate creature, and a
rare piece of the workmanship of your Maker; and therefore deal gently
with it, and keep it entire, that amidst this world's glory your
Ladyship may learn to entertain Christ. And whatsoever creature your
Ladyship findeth not to smell of Him, may it have no better relish to
you than the white of an egg.

Madam, it is a part of the truth of your profession to drop words in
the ears of your noble husband continually of eternity, judgment,
death, hell, heaven, the honourable profession, the sins of his
father's house. He must reckon with God for his father's debt:
forgetting of accounts payeth no debt. Nay, the interest of a
forgotten bond runneth up with God to interest upon interest. I
knoweth he looketh homeward, and loveth the truth; but I pity him with
my soul because of his many temptations. Satan layeth upon men a
burden of cares above a load,[125] and maketh a pack-horse of men's
souls when they are wholly set upon this world. We owe the devil no
such service. It were wisdom to throw off that load into a mire, and
cast all our cares over upon God.

  [125] A burden above a load, or a load above a burden, is a phrase for
  a very heavy weight.

Madam, think ye have no child. Subscribe a bond to your Lord that she
shall be His if He take her; and thanks, and praise, and glory to His
holy name shall be the interest for a year's loan of her. Look for
crosses, and while it is fair weather mend the sails of the ship.

Now hoping your Ladyship will pardon my tediousness, I recommend your
soul and person to the grace and mercy of our sweet Lord Jesus, in
whom I am,

  Your Ladyship's, at all dutiful obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Nov. 15, 1633_.



XXXI.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_A UNION FOR PRAYER RECOMMENDED._)


MADAM,--Having received a letter from some of the worthiest of the
ministry in this kingdom, the contents whereof I am desired to
communicate to such professors in these parts as I know love the
beauty of Zion, and are afflicted to see the Lord's vineyard trodden
under foot by the wild boars out of the wood, who lay it waste, I
could not but also desire your Ladyship's help to join with the rest,
desiring you to impart it to my Lord your husband, and if ye think it
needful, I shall write to his Lordship, as Mr. G. G.[126] shall
advertise me.

  [126] Mr. George Gillespie; see Letter cxliv.

Know, therefore, that the best affected of the ministry have thought
it convenient and necessary, at such a time as this, that all who love
the truth should join their prayers together, and cry to God with
humiliation and fasting. The times, which are agreed upon, are the two
first Sabbaths of February next, and the six days intervening betwixt
these Sabbaths, as they may conveniently be had, and the first
Sabbath of every quarter. And the causes, as they are written to me,
are these:

1. Besides the distresses of the Reformed churches abroad, the many
reigning sins of uncleanness, ungodliness, and unrighteousness in this
land, the present judgments on the land, and many more hanging over
us, whereof few are sensible, or yet know the right and true cause of
them.

2. The lamentable and pitiful estate of a glorious church (in so short
a time, against so many bonds), in doctrine, sacrament, and
discipline, so sore persecuted, in the persons of faithful pastors and
professors, and the door of God's house kept so straight by bastard
porters, insomuch that worthy instruments, able for the work, are held
at the door, the rulers having turned over religion into policy, and
the multitude ready to receive any religion that shall be enjoined by
authority.

3. In our humiliation, besides that we are under a necessity of
deprecating God's wrath, and vowing to God sincerely new obedience,
the weakness, coldness, silence, and lukewarmness of some of the best
of the ministry, and the deadness of professors, who have suffered the
truth both secretly to be stolen away, and openly to be plucked from
us, would be confessed.

4. Atheism, idolatry, profanity, and vanity, should be confessed; our
king's heart recommended to God; and God intreated, that He would stir
up the nobles and the people to turn from their evil ways.

Thus, Madam, hoping that your Ladyship will join with others, that
such a work be not slighted, at such a necessary time, when our kirk
is at the overturning, I will promise to myself your help, as the Lord
in secrecy and prudence shall enable you, that your Ladyship may
rejoice with the Lord's people, when deliverance shall come; for true
and sincere humiliation come always speed with God. And when
authority, king, court, and churchmen oppose the truth, what other
armour have we but prayer and faith? whereby, if we wrestle with Him,
there is ground to hope that those who would remove the burdensome
stone (Zech. xii. 3) out of its place, shall but hurt their back, and
the stone shall not be moved, at least not removed.

Grace, grace be with you, from Him who hath called you to the
inheritance of the saints in light.

Your Ladyship's at all submissive obedience in his sweet Lord Jesus.

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Jan. 23, 1634_.



XXXII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_STATE AND PROSPECTS OF THE CHURCH--SATAN._)


MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. I am in care and fear for
this work of our Lord's, now near approaching, because of the danger
of the time; and I dare not for my soul be silent, to see my Lord's
house burning, and not cry "Fire, fire!" Therefore, seek from our Lord
wisdom spiritual, and not black policy, to speak with liberty our
Lord's truth.--I am cast down, and would fain have access and presence
to The King that day, even howbeit I should break up iron doors. I
believe you will not forget me; and you will desire Jean Brown, Thomas
Carson, and Marion Carson, to help me. Pray for well-cooked meat and a
heartsome Saviour, with joy crying, "Welcome in My Father's name."

I am confident Zion shall be well; the Bush shall burn and not
consume, for the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush. But the Lord
is making on a fire in Jerusalem, and purposeth to blow the bellows,
and to melt the tin and brass, and bring out a fair beautiful bride
out of the furnace, that will be married over again upon the new
Husband, and sing as in the days of her youth, when the contract of
marriage is written over again. But I fear the bride be hidden for a
time from the dragon that pursueth the woman with child. But what,
howbeit we go and lurk in the wilderness for a time? for the Lord will
take His kirk to the wilderness and speak to her heart.

Nothing casteth me down, but only I fear the Lord will cast down the
shepherd's tents, and feed his own in a secret place. But let us,
however matters frame, cast over the affairs of the bride upon the
Bridegroom; the government is upon His shoulders, and He dow bear us
all well enough. That fallen star, the prince of the bottomless pit,
knoweth it is near the time when he shall be tormented; and now in his
evening he has gathered his armies, to win one battle or two, in the
edge of the evening, at the sun going down. And when our Lord has been
watering His vineyards in France, and Germany, and Bohemia, how can we
think ourselves Christ's sister, if we be not like Him, and our other
great sisters? I cannot but think, seeing the ends of the earth are
given to Christ (Psa. ii. 8), and Scotland is the end of the earth,
and so we are in Christ's charter-tailzie, but our Lord will keep His
possession. We fall by promise and law to Christ. He won us with the
sweat of His brow, if I may say so; His Father promised Him His
liferent of Scotland. Glory, glory to our King! long may He wear His
crown. O Lord, let us never see another King! O let Him come down like
rain upon the new-mown grass!

I had you in remembrance on Saturday in the morning last, in a great
measure, and was brought, thrice on end, in remembrance of you in my
prayer to God. Grace, grace be your portion.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _March 2, 1634_.



XXXIII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_IN PROSPECT OF A COMMUNION SEASON._)


MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. Please you understand, to my
grief, our Communion is delayed till Sabbath come eight days; the
laird and lady hath earnestly desired me to delay it, because the
laird is sick, and he fears he be not able to travel, because he has
lately taken physic. The Lord bless that work. Commend it to God as
you love me, for I love not Satan's thorns cast in the Lord's way. The
Lord rebuke him. I trust in God's mercy, Satan has gotten but a delay,
but no free discharge that his kingdom shall not be hurt. Commend the
laird to your God. I pray you advertise your people, that they be not
disappointed in coming here. Show such of them as you love in Christ,
from me, that Jesus Christ will be welcome, when He comes, in that He
has sharpened their desires for eight days space. Your daughter is
well, I hope, every way. Forget not God's kirk; they are but bastards,
and not sons and daughters, that mourn not for Zion. Lord hear us! No
further. Jesus Christ be with your spirit. I shall remember you and
your new house. Lord Jesus go from the one house to the other.

  Yours at all power in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



XXXIV.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_PROSPECTS OF THE CHURCH--CHRIST'S CARE FOR THE CHILDREN OF
BELIEVERS._)


WELL-BELOVED SISTER,--My old and dearest love in Christ remembered.
Know that I have been visiting my Lady Kenmure. Her child is with the
Lord. I entreat you, visit her, and desire the goodwife[127] of
Barcapple to visit her, and Knockbrecks (Mr. Gordon), if you see him
in the town. My Lord her husband is absent, and I think she will be
heavy. You know what Mr. W. Dalgleish and I desired you to deal for,
at my Lord Kirkcudbright's hand. Send me word if you obtained anything
at my Lord's hands, anent the giving up of our names to the High
Commission; for I hear it is not for nothing that the Bishop hath
taken that course. Our Lord knows best what is good for an old kirk
that has fallen from her first love, and hath forgotten her Husband
days without number. A trial is like to come on; but I am sure our
Husbandman Christ shall lose chaff, but no corn at all. Yet there is a
dry wind coming, but neither to fan nor to purge. Happy are they who
are not blown away with the chaff, for we will but suffer temptation
for ten days; but those who are faithful to the death shall receive
the crown of life. I hear daily what hath been spoken of myself, most
unjustly and falsely; and no marvel, the dragon, with the swing of his
tail, hath made the third part of the stars to fall from heaven, and
the fallen stars would have many to fall with them. If ever Satan was
busy, now, when he knoweth his time is short, he is busy. "Yet a
little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." I
know, ere it be long, the Lord shall come and redd all pleas betwixt
us and our enemies. Now welcome, Lord Jesus, go fast.

  [127] _Barcaple_ is in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, in the parish
  of Tongueland.

Send me word about Grizel, your daughter, whom I remember in Christ;
and desire her to cast herself in His arms who was born of a woman,
and, being the Ancient of days, was made a young weeping child. It was
not for nothing that our brother Jesus was an infant. It was that He
might pity infants of believers, who were to come out of the womb into
the world. I believe our Lord Jesus shall be waiting on, with mercy,
mercy, mercy, to the end of that battle, and bring her through with
life and peace, and a sign of God's favour. I will expect
advertisement from you, and especially if you fear her. Mistress, you
remember that I said to you anent your love to me and my brother,
begun in Christ; you know we are here but strangers, and you have not
yet found us a dry well, as others have been. Be not overcome of any
suspicion. I trust in God that the Lord, who knit us together, shall
keep us together. It is time now that the lambs of Jesus should all
run together, when the wolf is barking at them; yet I know, ere God's
bairns want a cross, their love among themselves shall be a cross; but
our Lord giveth love for another end. I know you will, with love,
cover infirmities; and our Lord give you wisdom in all things. I think
love hath broad shoulders, and will bear many things, and yet neither
faint nor sweat, nor fall under the burden.

Commend me to your husband and dear Grizel. I think on her. Lord Jesus
be in the furnace with her, and then she will but smoke and not burn.
Desire Mr. Robert[128] to excuse my not seeing of him at his house. I
have my own reasons therefor.[129] Grace, mercy, and peace be with
you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _April 25, 1634_.

  [128] Mr. Robert Glendinning, the minister.

  [129] "For this;" as in our metre version, Ps. cvi. 40, etc.



XXXV.--_To my LADY KENMURE, on the death of a child_.

(_GOD MEASURES OUR DAYS--BEREAVEMENTS RIPEN US FOR THE HARVEST._)


MADAM,--All submissive and dutiful obedience in our Lord Jesus
remembered. I trust I need not much entreat your Ladyship to look to
Him who hath stricken you at this time; but my duty, in the memory of
that comfort I found in your Ladyship's kindness, when I was no less
heavy (in a case not unlike that), speaketh to me to say something
now. And I wish I could ease your Ladyship, at least with words. I am
persuaded your Physician will not slay you, but purge you, seeing He
calleth Himself the Chirurgeon, who maketh the wound and bindeth it up
again; for to lance a wound is not to kill, but to cure the patient
(Deut. xxxii. 39). I believe faith will teach you to kiss a striking
Lord; and so acknowledge the sovereignty of God (in the death of a
child) to be above the power of us mortal men, who may pluck up a
flower in the bud and not be blamed for it. If our dear Lord pluck up
one of His roses, and pull down sour and green fruit before harvest,
who can challenge Him? For He sendeth us to His world, as men to a
market, wherein some stay many hours, and eat and drink, and buy and
sell, and pass through the fair, till they be weary; and such are
those who live long, and get a heavy fill of this life. And others
again come slipping in to the morning market, and do neither sit nor
stand, nor buy nor sell, but look about them a little, and pass
presently home again; and these are infants and young ones, who end
their short market in the morning, and get but a short view of the
Fair. Our Lord, who hath numbered man's months, and set him bounds
that he cannot pass (Job xiv. 5), hath written the length of our
market, and it is easier to complain of the decree than to change it.

I verily believe, when I write this, your Lord hath taught your
Ladyship to lay your hand on your mouth. But I shall be far from
desiring your Ladyship, or any others, to cast by a cross, like an old
useless bill that is only for the fire; but rather would wish each
cross were looked in the face seven times, and were read over and over
again. It is the messenger of the Lord, and speaks something; and the
man of understanding will hear the rod, and Him that hath appointed
it. Try what is the taste of the Lord's cup, and drink with God's
blessing, that ye may grow thereby. I trust in God, whatever speech it
utter to your soul, this is one word in it,--"Behold, blessed is the
man whom God correcteth" (Job v. 17); and that it saith to you, "Ye
are from home while here; ye are not of this world, as your Redeemer,
Christ, was not of this world." There is something keeping for you,
which is worth the having. All that is here is condemned to die, to
pass away like a snowball before a summer sun; and since death took
first possession of something of yours, it hath been and daily is
creeping nearer and nearer to yourself, howbeit with no noise of feet.
Your Husbandman and Lord hath lopped off some branches already; the
tree itself is to be transplanted to the high garden. In a good time
be it. Our Lord ripen your Ladyship. All these crosses (and indeed,
when I remember them, they are heavy and many,--peace, peace be the
end of them!) are to make you white and ripe for the Lord's
harvest-hook. I have seen the Lord weaning you from the breasts of
this world. It was never His mind it should be your patrimony; and
God be thanked for that. Ye look the liker one of the heirs. Let the
movables go; why not? They are not yours. Fasten your grips upon the
heritage; and our Lord Jesus make the charters sure, and give your
Ladyship to grow as a palm-tree on God's mount Zion; howbeit shaken
with winds, yet the root is fast. This is all I can do, to recommend
your case to your Lord, who hath you written upon the palms of His
hand. If I were able to do more, your Ladyship may believe me that
gladly I would. I trust shortly to see your Ladyship. Now He who hath
called you confirm and stablish your heart in grace, unto the Day of
the Liberty of the Sons of God.

Your Ladyship's at all submissive obedience in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _April 29, 1634_.



XXXVI.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_CHOICE OF A COMMISSIONER FOR PARLIAMENT._)


WELL-BELOVED MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. I hear this day
your town is to choose a commissioner for the Parliament; and I was
written to from Edinburgh, to see that good men should be chosen in
your bounds. And I have heard this day that Robert Glendoning or John
Ewart look to be chosen. I beseech you see this be not. The Lord's
cause craveth other witnesses to speak for Him than such men; and,
therefore, let it not be said that Kirkcudbright, which is spoken of
in this kingdom for their religion, hath sent a man to be their mouth
that will speak against Christ. Such a time as this will not fall out
once in half an age. I would intreat your husband to take it upon him.
It is an honourable and necessary service for Christ; and shew him
that I wrote unto you for that effect. I fear William Glendoning hath
not skill and authority. I am in great heaviness. Pray for me, for we
must take our life in our hand in this ill time. Let us stir up
ourselves, to lay our Lord's bride and her wrongs before our Husband
and Lord. Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _May 20_.



XXXVII.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_ON THE DEATH OF LORD KENMURE--DESIGNS OF AND DUTIES OF AFFLICTION._)


MY VERY NOBLE AND WORTHY LADY,--So oft as I call to mind the comforts
that I myself, a poor friendless stranger, received from your Ladyship
here in a strange part of the country, when my Lord took from me the
delight of mine eyes (Ezek. xxiv. 16), as the Word speaketh (which
wound is not yet fully healed and cured), I trust your Lord shall
remember that, and give you comfort now at such a time as this,
wherein your dearest Lord hath made you a widow, that ye may be a free
woman for Christ, who is now suiting for marriage-love of you. And
therefore, since you lie alone in your bed, let Christ be as a bundle
of myrrh, to sleep and lie all the night betwixt your breasts (Cant.
i. 13), and then your bed is better filled than before. And seeing,
amongst all crosses spoken of in our Lord's Word, this giveth you a
particular right to make God your Husband (which was not so yours
while your husband was alive), read God's mercy out of this
visitation; albeit I must out of some experience say, the mourning for
the husband of your youth be, by God's own mouth, the heaviest worldly
sorrow (Joel i. 8). And though this be the weightiest burden that ever
lay upon your back; yet ye know (when the fields are emptied and your
husband now asleep in the Lord), if ye shall wait upon Him who hideth
His face for a while, that it lieth upon God's honour and truth to
fill the field, and to be a Husband to the widow. See and consider
then what ye have lost, and how little it is. Therefore, Madam, let me
intreat you, in the bowels of Christ Jesus, and by the comforts of His
Spirit, and your appearance before Him, let God, and men, and angels
now see what is in you. The Lord hath pierced the vessel; it will be
known whether there be in it wine or water. Let your faith and
patience be seen, that it may be known your only beloved first and
last hath been Christ. And, 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 hath dried up one channel of your love by
the removal of your husband. Let now that speat run upon Christ. Your
Lord and lover hath graciously taken out your husband's name and your
name out of the summonses that are raised at the instance of the
terrible sin-revenging Judge of the world against the house of the
Kenmures. 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 propine you with a better portion. Let the movables
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. What
have ye to do here? This world never looked like a friend upon you. Ye
owe it little love. It looked ever sour-like upon you. Howbeit ye
should woo it, it will not match with you; and therefore never seek
warm fire under cold ice. This is not a field where your happiness
groweth; it is up above, where there are a great multitude, which no
man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white
robes, and palms in their hands (Rev. vii. 9). What ye could never get
here ye shall find there. And withal consider how in all these trials
(and truly they have been many) your Lord hath 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. Thus I remain,

  Your Ladyship's at all dutiful obedience in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Sept. 14, 1634_.



XXXVIII.--_To_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_CHRIST'S CARE OF HIS CHURCH, AND HIS JUDGMENTS ON HER ENEMIES._)


MISTRESS,--My dearest love in Christ remembered. I entreat you charge
your soul to return to rest, and to glorify your dearest Lord in
believing; and know that for the good-will of Him that dwelleth in the
bush, the burning kirk shall not be consumed to ashes; but "Blessing
shall come on the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him
that was separate from his brethren" (Deut. xxxiii. 16). And are not
the saints separate from their brethren, and sold and hated? "For the
archers have sorely grieved Joseph, and shot at him and hated him; but
his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong
by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob" (Gen. xlix. 23, 24). From Him
is the Shepherd and the Stone of Israel. The Stone of Israel shall not
be broken in pieces; it is hammered upon by the children of this
world, and we shall live and not die. Our Lord hath done all this, to
see if we will believe, and not give over; and I am persuaded you must
of necessity stick by your work. The eye of Christ hath been upon all
this business; and He taketh good heed to who is for Him, and who is
against Him. Let us do our part, as we would be approved of Christ.
The Son of God is near to His enemies. If they were not deaf, they may
hear the dinn of His feet; and He will come with a start upon His
weeping bairns, and take them on His knee, and lay their head in His
bosom, and dry their watery eyes. And this day is fast coming. "Yet a
little time, and the vision will speak, it will not tarry" (Hab. ii.
3). These questions betwixt us and our adversaries will all be decided
in yonder day, when the Son of God shall come, and redd all pleas; and
it will be seen whether we or they have been for Christ, and who have
been pleading for Baal. It is not known what we are now; but when our
life shall appear in glory, then we shall see who laughs fastest that
day. Therefore, we must possess our souls in patience, and go into our
chamber and rest, while the indignation be past. We shall not weep
long when our Lord shall take us up, in the day that He gathereth His
jewels. "They that feared the Lord spoke often one to another, and the
Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written
before Him, for them that feared the Lord, and thought upon His name"
(Mal. iii. 16). I shall never be of another faith, but that our Lord
is heating a furnace for the enemies of His kirk in Scotland. It is
true the spouse of Christ hath played the harlot, and hath left her
first Husband, and the enemies think they offend not, for we have
sinned against the Lord; but they shall get the devil to their thanks.
The rod shall be cast into the fire, that we may sing as in the days
of our youth. My dear friend, therefore, lay down your head upon
Christ's breast. Weep not; the Lion of the tribe of Judah will arise.
The sun is gone down upon the prophets, and our gold is become dim,
and the Lord feedeth His people with waters of gall and wormwood; yet
Christ standeth but behind the wall, His bowels are moved for
Scotland. He waiteth, as Isaiah saith, that He may show mercy. If we
could go home, and take our brethren with us, weeping with our face
towards Zion, asking the way thitherward, He would bring back our
captivity. We may not think that God has no care of His honour, while
men tread it under their feet; He will clothe Himself with vengeance,
as with a cloak, and appear against our enemies for our deliverance.
Ye were never yet beguiled, and God will not now begin with you.
Wrestle still with the angel of the covenant, and you shall get the
blessing. Fight! He delighteth to be overcome by wrestling.

Commend me to Grizel. Desire her to learn to know the adversaries of
the Lord, and to take them as her adversaries, and to learn to know
the right gate into the Son of God. O but acquaintance with the Son of
God, to say, "My Well-beloved is mine, and I am His," is a sweet and
glorious course of life, that none know but those who are sealed and
marked in the forehead with Christ's mark, and the new name, that
Christ writeth upon His own. Grace, grace, and mercy be with you.

  Yours in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Sept. 25, 1634_.



XXXIX.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_PREPARATION FOR DEATH AND ETERNITY._)


MADAM,--All dutiful obedience in our Lord remembered. I know ye are
now near one of those straits in which ye have been before. But
because your outward comforts are fewer, I pray Him whose ye are to
supply what ye want another way. For howbeit we cannot win to the
bottom of His wise providence, who ruleth all; yet it is certain this
is not only good which the Almighty hath done, but it is _best_. He
hath reckoned all your steps to heaven; and if your Ladyship were
through this water, there are the fewer behind; and if this were the
last, I hope your Ladyship hath learned by on-waiting to make your
acquaintance with death, which being to the Lord, the woman's seed,
Jesus, only a bloody heel and not a broken head (Gen. iii. 15), cannot
be ill to His friends, who get far less of death than Himself.
Therefore, Madam, seeing ye know not but the journey is ended, and ye
are come to the water-side, in God's wisdom look all your papers and
your counts, and whether ye be ready to receive the kingdom of heaven
as a little child, in whom there is little haughtiness and much
humility. I would be far from discouraging your Ladyship; but there is
an absolute necessity that, near eternity, we look ere we leap, seeing
no man winneth back again to mend his leap. I am confident your
Ladyship thinketh often upon it, and that your old Guide shall go
before you and take your hand. His love to you will not grow sour, nor
wear out of date, as the love of men, which groweth old and
grey-haired often before themselves. Ye have so much the more reason
to love a better life than this, because this world hath been to you a
cold fire, with little heat to the body, and as little light, and much
smoke to hurt the eyes. But, Madam, your Lord would have you thinking
it but dry breasts, full of wind and empty of food. In this late
visitation that hath befallen your Ladyship, ye have seen God's love
and care, in such a measure that I thought our Lord brake the sharp
point off the cross, and made us and your Ladyship see Christ take
possession and infeftment upon earth, of him who is now reigning and
triumphing with the hundred forty and four thousand who stand with the
Lamb on Mount Zion. I know the sweetest of it is bitter to you; but
your Lord will not give you painted crosses. He pareth not all the
bitterness from the cross, neither taketh He the sharp edge quite from
it; then it should be of your waling and not of His, which should have
as little reason in it as it should have profit for us. Only, Madam,
God commandeth you now to believe and cast anchor in the dark night,
and climb up the mountain. He who hath called you, establish you and
confirm you to the end.

I had a purpose to have visited your Ladyship; but when I thought
better upon it, the truth is, I cannot see what my company would
profit you; and this hath broken off my purpose, and no other thing.
I know many honourable friends and worthy professors will see your
Ladyship, and that the Son of God is with you, to whose love and
mercy, from my soul, I recommend your Ladyship, and remain,

Your Ladyship's at all dutiful obedience, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Nov. 29, 1634_.



XL.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_WHEN MR. RUTHERFORD HAD THE PROSPECT OF BEING REMOVED FROM ANWOTH._)


MADAM,--My humble obedience in the Lord remembered. Know it hath
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 hath
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 honoured 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
Saviour did not so for me, who in His suffering took the windy side of
the hill. No farther; but the Son of God be with you.

  Your Ladyship's in the Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Dec. 5, 1634_.



XLI.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_THE CHURCH'S TRIALS--COMFORT UNDER TEMPTATIONS--DELIVERANCE--A
MESSAGE TO THE YOUNG._)


WELL-BELOVED SISTER,--My love in Christ remembered. I hear of good
news anent our kirk; but I fear that our King will not be resisted,
and therefore let us not be secure and careless. I do wonder if this
kirk come not through our Lord's fan, since there is so much chaff in
it; howbeit I persuade myself, the Son of God's wheat will not be
blown away. Let us be putting on God's armour, and be strong in the
Lord. If the devil and Zion's enemies strike a hole in that armour,
let our Lord see to that;--let us put it on, and stand. We have Jesus
on our side; and they are not worthy such a Captain, who would not
take a blow at His back. We are in sight of His colours; His banner
over us is love; look up to that white banner, and stand, I persuade
you, in the Lord of victory.

My brother writeth to me of your heaviness, and of temptations that
press you sore. I am content it be so: you bear about with you the
mark of the Lord Jesus. So it was with the Lord's apostle, when he was
to come with the Gospel to Macedonia (2 Cor. vii. 5): his flesh had no
rest; he was troubled on every side, and knew not what side to turn
him unto; without were fightings, and within were fears. In the great
work of our redemption, your lovely, beautiful, and glorious Friend
and Well-beloved Jesus, was brought to tears and strong cries; so as
His face was wet with tears and blood, arising from a holy fear and
the weight of the curse. Take a drink of the Son of God's cup, and
love it the better that He drank of it before you. There is no poison
in it. I wonder many times that ever a child of God should have a sad
heart, considering what their Lord is preparing for them.

Is your mind troubled anent that business that we have now in hand in
Edinburgh.[130] I trust in my Lord, the Lord shall in the end give to
you your heart's desire; even howbeit the business frame not, the Lord
shall feed your soul, and all the hungry souls in that town. Therefore
I request you in the Lord, pray for a submissive will, and pray as
your Lord Jesus bids you, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in
heaven." And let it be that your faith be brangled with temptations,
believe ye that there is a tree in our Lord's garden that is not often
shaken with wind from all the four airts? Surely there is none. Rebuke
your soul, as the Lord's prophet doth: "Why art thou cast down, O my
soul? why art thou disquieted within me?" (Psalm xliii. 11). That was
the word of a man who was at the very over-going of the brae and
mountain; but God held a grip of him. Swim through your temptations
and troubles to be at that lovely, amiable person, Jesus, to whom your
soul is dear. In your temptations run to the promises: they be our
Lord's branches hanging over the water, that our Lord's silly,
half-drowned children may take a grip of them; if you let that grip
go, you will fall to the ground. Are you troubled with the case of
God's kirk? Our Lord will evermore have her betwixt the sinking and
the swimming. He will have her going through a thousand deaths, and
through hell, as a cripple woman, halting, and wanting the power of
her one side (Micah iv. 6, 7), that God may be her staff. That broken
ship will come to land, because Jesus is the pilot. Faint not; you
shall see the salvation of God,--else say, that God never spake His
word by my mouth; and I had rather never have been born, ere it were
so with me. But my Lord hath sealed me. I dare not deny I have also
been in heaviness since I came from you, fearing for my unthankfulness
that I be deserted. But the Lord will be kind to me, whether I will or
not. I repose that much in His rich grace, that He will be loath to
change upon me. As you love me, pray for me in this particular.

  [130] Efforts to obtain redress from grievances inflicted by the
  prelatic party.

After advising with Carletoun, I have written to Mr. David Dickson
anent Mr. Hugh M'Kail,[131] and desired him to write his mind to
Carletoun, and Carletoun to Edinburgh, that they may particularly
remember Mr. Hugh to the Lord; and I happened upon a convenient trusty
bearer by God's wonderful providence.

  [131] See Letter LXXI.

No further. I recommend you to the Lord's grace, and your husband and
children. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours in the Lord,

  S. R.

  EDINBURGH, 1634.

_P.S._--MISTRESS,--I had not time to give my advice to your daughter
Grizel; you shall carry my words therefore to her. Show her now, that
in respect of her tender age, she is in a manner as clean paper, ready
to receive either good or ill; and that it were a sweet and glorious
thing for her to give herself up to Christ, that He may write upon her
His Father's name, and His own new name. And desire her to acquaint
herself with the Book of God; the promises that our Lord writes upon
His own, and performeth in them and for them, are contained there. I
persuade you, when I think that she is in the company of such parents,
and hath occasion to learn Christ, I think Christ is wooing her soul;
and I pray God she may not refuse such a husband. And therefore I
charge her, and beseech her by the mercies of God, by the wounds and
blood of Him who died for her, by the word of truth, which she
heareth, and can read, by the coming of the Son of God to judge the
world, that she would fulfil your joy, and learn Christ, and walk in
Christ. She shall think this the truth of God many years after this;
and I will promise to myself, in respect of the beginnings that I have
seen, that she shall give herself to Him that gave Himself for her.
Let her begin at prayer; for if she remember her Creator in the days
of her youth, He will claim kindness to her in her old age. It shall
be a part of my prayers, that this may be effectual in her, by Him who
is able to do exceeding abundantly, to whose grace again I recommend
you, and her, and all yours.



XLII.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_THE WORLD PASSETH AWAY--SPECIAL PORTIONS OF THE WORD FOR THE
AFFLICTED--CALL TO KIRKCUDBRIGHT._)


MADAM,--The cause of my not writing to your Ladyship was not my
forgetfulness of you, but the want of the opportunity of a convenient
bearer; for I am under more than a simple obligation to be kind (on
paper, at least) to your Ladyship. I bless our Lord, through Christ,
who hath brought you home again to your own country from that
place,[132] where ye have seen with your eyes that which our Lord's
truth taught you before, to wit, that worldly glory is nothing but a
vapour, a shadow, the foam of the water, or something less and
lighter, even nothing; and that our Lord hath not without cause said
in His Word, "The countenance," or fashion, "of this world passeth
away" (1 Cor. vii. 31)--in which place our Lord compareth it to an
image in a looking-glass, for it is the looking-glass of Adam's sons.
Some come to the glass, and see in it the picture of _honour_,--and
but a picture indeed, for true honour is to be great in the sight of
God; and others see in it the shadow of _riches_,--and but a shadow
indeed, for durable riches stand as one of the maids of Wisdom upon
her left hand (Prov. iii. 16); and a third sort see in it the face of
painted _pleasures_, and the beholders will not believe but the image
they see in this glass is a living man, till the Lord come and break
the glass in pieces and remove the face, and then, like Pharaoh
awakened, they say, "And behold it was a dream." I know your Ladyship
thinketh yourself little in the common of this world, for the
favourable aspect of any of these three painted faces; and blessed be
our Lord that it is so. The better for you, Madam; they are not worthy
to be wooers, to suit in marriage your soul, that look to no higher
match than to be married upon painted clay. Know, therefore, Madam,
the place whither our Lord Jesus cometh to woo a bride, it is even in
the furnace: for if ye be one of Zion's daughters (which I ever put
beyond all question, since I first had occasion to see in your
Ladyship such pregnant evidences of the grace of God), the Lord, who
hath His fire in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem (Isa. xxxi. 9), is
purifying you in the furnace. And therefore be content to live in it,
and every day to be adding and sewing-to a pasment to your wedding
garment, that ye may be at last decored and trimmed as a bride for
Christ, a bride of His own busking, beautified in the hidden man of
the heart. "Forgetting your father's house, so shall the King greatly
desire your beauty" (Psalm xlv. 11). If your Ladyship be not changed
(as I hope ye are not), I believe ye esteem yourself to be of those
whom God hath tried these many years, and refined as silver. But,
Madam, I will show your Ladyship a privilege that others want, and ye
have, in this case. Such as are in prosperity, and are fatted with
earthly joys, and increased with children and friends, though the Word
of God is indeed written to such for their instruction, yet to you,
who are in trouble (spare me, Madam, to say this), from whom the Lord
hath taken many children, and whom He hath exercised otherwise, there
are some chapters, some particular promises in the Word of God, made
in a most special manner, which should never have been yours, so as
they now are, if you had your portion in this life, as others. And,
therefore, all the comforts, promises, and mercies God offereth to the
afflicted, they are as so many love-letters written to you. Take them
to you, Madam, and claim your right, and be not robbed. It is no small
comfort, that God hath written some scriptures to you, which He hath
not written to others. Ye seem rather in this to be envied than
pitied; and ye are indeed in this, like people of another world, and
those that are above the ordinary rank of mankind, whom our King and
Lord, our Bridegroom Jesus, in His love-letter to His well-beloved
spouse, hath named beside all the rest. He hath written comforts and
His hearty commendations in the 54th of Isaiah, 4, 5; Psalm cxlvii. 2,
3, to you. Read these and the like, and think your God is like a
friend that sendeth a letter to a whole house and family, but speaketh
in His letter to some by name, that are dearest to Him in the house.
Ye are, then, Madam, of the dearest friends of the Bridegroom. If it
were lawful, I would envy you, that God honoured you so above many of
His dear children. Therefore, Madam, your part is, in this case
(seeing God taketh nothing from you but that which He is to supply
with His own presence), to desire your Lord to know His own room, and
take it even upon Him to come in, in the room of dead children.
"Jehovah, know Thy own place, and take it to Thee," is all ye have to
say.

  [132] Edinburgh.

Madam, I persuade myself that this world is to you an unco inn; and
that ye are like a traveller, who hath his bundle upon his back, and
his staff in his hand, and his feet upon the door-threshold. Go
forward, honourable and elect lady, in the strength of your Lord (let
the world bide at home and keep the house), with your face toward Him,
who longeth more for a sight of you than ye can do for Him. Ere it be
long, He will see us. I hope to see you laugh as cheerfully after
noon, as ye have mourned before noon. The hand of the Lord, the hand
of the Lord be with you in your journey. What have ye to do here? This
is not your mountain of rest. Arise, then, and set your foot up the
mountain; go up out of the wilderness, leaning upon the shoulder of
your Beloved (Song viii. 5). If ye knew the welcome that abideth you
when ye come home, ye would hasten your pace; for ye shall see your
Lord put up His own holy hand to your face, and wipe all tears from
your eyes; and I trow, then ye shall have some joy of heart.

Madam, paper willeth me to end before affection. Remember the estate
of Zion; pray that Jerusalem may be as Zechariah prophesied, "a
burdensome stone for all" (Zech. xii. 3), that whosoever boweth down
to roll the stone out of the way, may hurt and break the joints of
their back, and strain their arms, and disjoint their shoulder-blades.
And pray Jehovah that the stone may lie still in its own place, and
keep band with the cornerstone. I hope it shall be so; He is a skilled
Master-builder who laid it.

I would, Madam, under great heaviness be refreshed with two lines from
your Ladyship, which I refer to your own wisdom. Madam, I would seem
undutiful not to show you, that great solicitation is made by the town
of Kirkcudbright for to have the use of my poor labours amongst them.
If the Lord shall call, and His people cry, who am I to resist? But
without His seen calling, and till the flock whom I now oversee be
planted with one to whom I dare intrust Christ's spouse, gold nor
silver nor favour of men, I hope, shall not loose me. I leave your
Ladyship, praying more earnestly for grace and mercy to be with you,
and multiplied upon you, here and hereafter, than my pen can express.
The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Your Ladyship's at all obedience in the Lord.

  KIRKCUDBRIGHT.



XLIII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_WHEN MR. RUTHERFORD WAS IN DIFFICULTY AS TO ACCEPTING A CALL TO
KIRKCUDBRIGHT, AND CRAMOND._)


MUCH HONOURED AND DEAR MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. I am
grieved at the heart to write anything to you to breed heaviness to
you; and what I have written, I wrote with much heaviness. But I
entreat you in Christ's name, when my soul is under wrestlings, and
seeking direction from our Lord (to whom His vineyard belongeth)
whither I shall go, give me liberty to advise, and try all airts and
paths, to see whether He goeth before me and leadeth me. For if I were
assured of God's call to your town, let my arm fall from my
shoulder-blade and lose power, and my right eye be dried up (which is
the judgment of the idol shepherd) (Zech. xi. 17), if I would not swim
through the water without a boat ere I sat His bidding. But if ye knew
my doubtings and fears in that, ye would suffer with me. Whether they
be temptations or impediments cast in by my God, I know not. But you
have now cause to thank God; for seeing the Bishop hath given you such
a promise, he will give you an honest man more willingly than he will
permit me to come to you. And, as I ever entreated you, put the
business out of your hand in the Lord's reverence;[133] and try of
Him, if ye have warrant of Him to seek no man in the world but one
only, when there are choice of good men to be had. Howbeit they be too
scarce, yet they are. And what God saith to me in the business, I
resolve by His grace to do; for I know not what He will do with me.
But God shall fill you with joy ere this business be ended; for I
persuade myself our Lord Jesus hath stirred you up already to do good
in the business, and ye shall not lose your reward.

  [133] Referring to a promise made to the people of Kirkcudbright by
  the Bishop of Galloway, to give them a man according to their own
  mind, provided they would not choose Mr. Rutherford.

I have heard your husband and Samuel have been sick. The man who is
called _the Branch_ and _God's fellow_, who standeth before His
Father, will be your stay and help (Zech. xiii. 7). I would I were
able to comfort your soul. But have patience, and stand still; he that
believeth maketh not haste. This matter of Cramond, cast in at this
time, is either a temptation, having fallen out at this time; or then
it will clear all my doubts, and let you see the Lord's will. But I
never knew my own part in the business till now. I thought I was more
willing to have embraced the charge in your town, than I am, or am
able to win to. I know ye pray that God would resolve me what to do;
and will interpret me, as love biddeth you, which "thinketh not ill,
and believeth all things, and hopeth all things." Would ye have more
than the Son of God? and ye have Him already. And ye shall be fed by
the carver of the meat, be he who he will; and those who are hungry
look more to the meat than to the carver.

I cannot see you the next week. If my lady come home, I must visit
her. The week thereafter will be a Presbytery at Girthon. God will
dispose of the meeting. Grace upon you, and your seed, and husband.
The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



XLIV.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_TROUBLES THREATENING THE CHURCH._)


WELL-BELOVED SISTER,--My love in Jesus Christ remembered. Your
daughter is well, thanks be to God. I trust in Him ye shall have joy
of her; the Lord bless her. I am now presently going about
catechising. The bearer is in haste. Forget not poor Zion; and the
Lord remember you, for we shall be shortly winnowed. Jesus, pray for
us, that our faith fail not! I would wish to see you a Sabbath with
us, and we shall stir up one another, God willing, to seek the Lord;
for it may be He hide Himself from us ere it be long. Keep that which
you have: ye will get more in heaven. The Lord send us to the shore
out of all the storms, with our silly souls sound and whole with us;
for if liberty of conscience come, as is rumoured, the best of us will
be put to our wits to seek how to be freed. But we shall be like those
who have their chamber to go in unto, spoken of in Isaiah (Isa. xxvi.
20). Read the place yourself, and keep you within your house while the
storm be passed. If you can learn a ditty against C., try, and cause
try, that ye may see the Lord's righteous judgment upon the devil's
instruments. We are not much obliged to his kindness. I wish all such
wicked doers were cut off.

These in haste. I bless you in God's name, and all yours. Your
daughter desires a Bible and a gown. I hope she shall use the Bible
well, which if she do, the gown is the better bestowed. The Lord Jesus
be with your spirit.

  Yours for ever in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



XLV.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_IN THE PROSPECT OF THE COMMUNION, AND OF TRIALS TO THE CHURCH._)


WELL-BELOVED SISTER IN CHRIST,--You shall understand I have received a
letter from Edinburgh, that it is suspected that there will be a
General Assembly, or then some meeting of the bishops; and that at
this synod there will be some commissioners chosen by the Bishop;
which news have so taken up my mind that I am not so settled for
studies as I have been before, and therefore was never in such fear
for the work. But because it is written to me as a secret, I dare not
reveal it to any but to yourself, whom I know. And therefore, I
entreat you not for any comfort of mine, who am but one man, but for
the glory and honour of Jesus Christ, the Master of the banquet, be
more earnest with God; and, in general, show others of your Christian
acquaintance my fears for myself. I can be content of shame in that
work, if my Lord and Master be honoured; and therefore petition our
Lord especially to see to His own glory, and to give bread to His
hungry bairns, howbeit I go hungry away from the feast. Bequest Mr.
Robert[134] from me, if he come not, to remember us to our Lord.

  [134] Mr. Robert Glendinning.

I have neither time, nor a free disposed mind, to write to you anent
your own case. Send me word if all your children and your husband be
well. Seeing they are not yours, but your dear Lord's, esteem them but
as borrowed, and lay them down at God's feet. Your Christ to you is
better than they all. You will pardon my unaccustomed short letter;
and remember me and that honourable feast to our Lord Jesus. He was
with us before. I hope He will not change upon us; but I fear I have
changed upon Him. But, Lord, let old kindness stand. Jesus Christ be
with your spirit.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



XLVI.--_To_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_TOSSINGS OF SPIRIT--HER CHILDREN AND HUSBAND._)


WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR SISTER,--My tender affection in Christ
remembered. I left you in as great heaviness as I was in since I came
to this country; but I know you doubt not but that (as the truth is in
Christ) my soul is knit to your soul, and to the soul of all yours;
and I would, if I could, send you the largest part of my heart
inclosed in this letter. But by fervent calling upon my Lord, I have
attained some victory over my heart, which runneth often not knowing
whither, and over my beguiling hopes, which I know now better than I
did. I trust in my Lord to hold aloof from the enticings of a seducing
heart, by which I am daily cosened; and I mind not (by His grace who
hath called me according to His eternal purpose) to come so far within
the grips of my foolish mind, gripping about any folly coming its way
as the woodbine or ivy goeth about the tree.

I adore and kiss the providence of my Lord, who knoweth well what is
most expedient for me, and for you and your children; and I think of
you as of myself, that the Lord, who in His deep wisdom turneth about
all the wheels and turning of such changes, shall also dispose of that
for the best to you and yours. In the presence of my Lord, I am not
able, howbeit I would, to conceive amiss of you in that matter. Grace,
grace for ever be upon you and your seed, and it shall be your
portion, in despite of all the powers of darkness. Do not make more
question of this. But the Lord saw a nail in my heart loose, and He
hath now fastened it. Honour be to His Majesty.

I hear your son is entered to the school. If I had known of the day, I
would have begged from our Lord that He would have put the book in his
hand with His own hand. I trust in my Lord it is so; and I conceive a
hope to see him a star, to give light in some room of our Lord's
house; and purpose, by the Lord's grace, as I am able (if our Lord
call you to rest before me), when you are at your home, to do to the
uttermost of my power to help him every way in grace and learning, and
his brothers, and all your children. And I hope you would expect that
of me.

Further, you shall know that Mr. W. D.[135] is come home, who saith it
is a miracle that your husband, in this process before the Council,
escaped both discredit and damage. Let it not be forgotten he was, in
our apprehension, to our grief, cast down and humbled in the Lord's
work, in that matter betwixt him and the bailie: now the Lord hath
honoured him, and made him famous for virtue, honesty, and integrity,
two several times, before the nobles of this kingdom. Your Lord
liveth. We will go to His throne of grace again; His arm is not
shortened.

  [135] William Dalgleish, minister of Kirkdale and Kirkmabreck. See
  Letter CXVII.

The King is certainly expected. Ill is feared; we have cause for our
sins to fear that the Bridegroom shall be taken from us. By our sins
we have rent His fair garments, and we have stirred up and awakened
our Beloved. Pray Him to tarry, or then to take us with Him. It were
good that we should knock and rap at our Lord's door. We may not tire
to knock oftener than twice or thrice. He knoweth the knock of His
friends.

I am still what I was ever to your dear children, tendering their
soul's happiness, and praying that grace, grace, grace, mercy, and
peace from God, even God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus, may be
their portion; and that now, while they are green and young, their
hearts may take band with Jesus, the Cornerstone: and win once in, in
our Lord and Saviour's house, and then they will not get leave to
flit. Pray for me, and especially for humility and thankfulness. I
have always remembrance of you, and your husband, and dear children.
The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours evermore in my dear Lord Jesus and yours,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



XLVII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_SUBMISSION TO GOD'S ARRANGEMENTS._)


WORTHY AND BELOVED MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. I have
sent you a letter from Mr. David Dick[136] concerning the placing of
Mr. Hugh M'Kail with themselves; therefore I write to you now only to
entreat you in Christ not to be discouraged thereat. Be submissive to
the will of your dear Lord, who knoweth best what is good for your
soul and your town both; for God can come over greater mountains than
these, we believe; for He worketh His greatest works contrary to
carnal reason and means. "My ways are not," saith our Lord, "as your
ways; neither are my thoughts as your thoughts" (Isa. lv. 8). I am no
whit put from my belief for all that. Believe, pray, and use means. We
shall cause Mr. John Kerr, who conveyed myself to Lochinvar,[137] to
use means to seek a man, if Mr. Hugh fail us. Our Lord has a little
bride among you, and I trust He will send one to woo her to our sweet
Lord Jesus. He will not want His wife for the suiting, and He has
means in abundance in His hand to open all the slots and bars that
Satan draws over the door. He cometh to His bride leaping over the
mountains, and skipping over the hills. His way to His spouse is full
of stones, mountains, and waters, yet He putteth in His foot and
wadeth through. He will not want her; and therefore refresh me with
two words concerning your confidence and courage in our Lord, both
about that, and about His own Zion; for He wooeth His wife in the
Burning Bush; and for "the good-will of Him that dwelleth in the
Bush," the bush is not consumed. It is better to weep with Jerusalem
in the forenoon, than to weep with Babel after noon, in the end of the
day. Our day of laughter and rejoicing is coming. Yet a little while,
and ye shall see the salvation of God. I long to see you, and to hear
how your children are, especially Samuel. Grace be their heritage and
portion from the Lord, and the Lord be their lot, and then their
inheritance shall please them well. Remember my love to your husband.
The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours in his sweetest Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.

  [136] David Dickson.

  [137] About four miles east from Earlston. It has a small loch, where
  are ruins of an old castle.



XLVIII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_TROUBLES FROM FALSE BRETHREN--OCCURRENCES--CHRIST'S
COMING--INTERCESSION._)


WELL-BELOVED SISTER,--I know you have heard of the success of our
business in Edinburgh. I do every Presbytery day see the faces of my
brethren smiling upon me, but their tongues convey reproaches and lies
of me a hundred miles off, and have made me odious to the Bishop of
St. Andrews, who said to Mr. W. Dalgleish that ministers in Galloway
were his informers. Whereupon no letter of favour could be procured
from him for effectuating of our business; only I am brought in the
mouths of men, who otherwise knew me not, and have power (if God shall
permit) to harm me. Yet I entreat you, in the bowels of Christ Jesus,
be not cast down. I fear your sorrow exceed because of this; and I am
not so careful for myself in the matter as for you. Take
courage;--your dearest Lord will light your candle, which the wicked
would fain blow out; and, as sure as our Lord liveth, your soul shall
find joy and comfort in this business. Howbeit you see all the hounds
in hell let loose to mar it, their iron chains to our dear and mighty
Lord are but straws, which He can easily break. Let not this
temptation stick in your throat; swallow it, and let it go down; our
Lord give you a drink of the consolations of His Spirit, that it may
digest. You never knew one in God's book who put to their hand to the
Lord's work for His kirk, but the world and Satan did bark against
them, and bite also where they had power. You will not lay one stone
on Zion's walls but they will labour to cast it down again.

For myself, the Lord letteth me see now greater evidence of a calling
to Kirkcudbright than ever He did before; and therefore pray, and
possess your soul in patience. Those that were doers in the business
have good hopes that it will yet go forward and prosper. As for the
death of the King of Sweden (which is thought to be too true), we can
do nothing else but reverence our Lord, who doth not ordinarily hold
Zion on her rock by the sword, and arm of flesh and blood, but by His
own mighty and outstretched arm. Her King that reigneth in Zion yet
liveth, and they are plucking Him round about to pull Him off His
throne; but His Father hath crowned him, and who dare say, "It is ill
done"? The Lord's bride will be up and down, above the water swimming
and under the water sinking, until her lovely and mighty Redeemer and
Husband set His head through the skies, and come with His fair court
to red all their pleas, and give them the hoped-for inheritance: and
then we shall lay down our swords and triumph, and fight no more. But
do not think, for all this, that our Lord and Chief Shepherd will want
one weak sheep, or the silliest dying lamb, that He hath redeemed. He
will tell His flock, and gather them all together, and make a faithful
account of them to the Father who gave them to Him. Let us learn to
turn our eyes off men, that our whorish hearts doat not on them, and
woo our old Husband, and make Him our darling. For, "thus saith the
Lord to the enemies of Zion, Drink ye, and be drunk, and spue, and
fall, and rise no more, because of the sword that I send amongst you.
And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to
drink, then shalt thou say to them, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Ye
shall certainly drink" (Jer. xxv. 27, 28). You see our Lord brewing a
cup of poison for His enemies, which they must drink, and because of
this have sore bowels and sick stomachs, yea, burst. But when Zion's
captivity is at an end, "the children of Israel shall come, they and
the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and
seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with their
faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord
in an everlasting covenant that shall not be forgotten" (Jer. i. 45).
This is spoken to us, and for us, who with woe hearts ask, "What is
the way to Zion?" It is our part who know how to go to our Lord's
door, and to knock by prayer, and how to lift Christ's slot, and shut
the bar of His chamber door, to complain and tell Him how the Lord
handleth us, and how our King's business goeth, that He may get up and
lend them a blow, who are tigging and playing with Christ and His
spouse. You have also, dear Mistress, house troubles, in sickness of
your husband and bairns, and in spoiling of your house by thieves;
take these rods in patience from your Lord. He must still move you
from vessel to vessel, and grind you as our Lord's wheat, to be bread
in His house. But when all these strokes are over your head, what will
ye say to see your well-beloved Christ's white and ruddy face, even
His face who is worthy to bear the colours among ten thousand? (Cant.
v. 10). Hope and believe to the end. Grace for ever be multiplied upon
you, your husband, and children.

  Your own in his dearest Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  EDINBURGH, _Dec. 1634_.



XLIX.--_To_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_SPOILING OF GOODS--CALL TO KIRKCUDBRIGHT--THE LORD REIGNETH._)


WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR SISTER,--My love in Christ remembered. God hath
brought me home from a place where I have been exercised with great
heaviness, and I have found at home new matter of great heaviness, yet
dare not but in all things give thanks.

In my business in Edinburgh,[138] I have not sinned nor wronged my
party,--by his own confession, and by the confession of his friends, I
have given of my goods for peace and the saving of my Lord's truth
from reproaches, which is dearer to me than all I have. My mother is
weak, and I think shall leave me alone; but I am not alone, because
Christ's Father is with me.

  [138] See note, Letter XII.

For your business anent your town I see great evidence; but Satan and
his instruments are against it, and few set their shoulders to
Christ's shoulder to help Him. But He will do all His lone; and I dare
not but exhort you to believe, and persuade you, that the hungry in
your city shall be fed; and as for the rest that want a stomach, the
parings of God's loaf will suffice them; and, therefore, believe it
shall be well. I may not leave my mother to come and confer with you
of all particulars. I have given such directions to our dear friend as
I can; but the event is in our dear Lord's hands.

God's Zion abroad flourisheth, and His arm is not shortened with us,
if we could believe. There is scarcity and a famine of the word of God
in Edinburgh. Your sister Jane laboureth mightily in our business; but
hath not as yet gotten an answer from I. P. Mr. A. C.[139] will work
what he can. My Lady saith she can do little, and that it suiteth not
her nor her husband well to speak in such an affair. I told her my
mind plainly.

  [139] Probably Mr. Alexander Colville, mentioned Letter XI.

I long to know of your estate. Remember me heartily to your dear
husband. Grace be the portion of your bairns. I know you are mindful
of the green wound of our sister kirk in Ireland. Bid our Lord lay a
plaister to it (He hath good skill to do so), and set others to work.
Grace, grace upon your soul, and body, and all yours.

  Yours in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.

     [The following brief note, addressed to Marion M'Naught, may be
     read as a sort of postscript to the foregoing, though generally
     printed as a separate Letter.]

DEAR MISTRESS,--I have not time this day to write to you; but God,
knowing my present state and necessities of my calling, will, I hope,
spare my mother's life for a time, for the which I have cause to thank
the Lord. I entreat you, be not cast down for that which I wrote
before to you anent the planting of a minister in your town. Believe,
and you shall see the salvation of God. I write this, because when you
suffer, my heart suffereth with you. I do believe your soul shall have
joy in your labours and holy desires for that work. Grace upon you,
and your husband, and children.

  Yours ever in Christ,

  ANWOTH.



L.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

     (_CHRIST COMING AS CAPTAIN OF SALVATION--HIS CHURCH'S CONFLICT
     AND COVENANT--THE JEWS--LAST DAYS APOSTASY_.)


WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR SISTER,--I know your heart is cast down for the
desolation like to come upon this kirk and the appearance that an
hireling shall be thrust in upon Christ's flock in that town; but send
a heavy heart up to Christ, it shall be welcome. Those who are with
the beast and the dragon, must make war with the Lamb; "but the Lamb
shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and
they who are with Him are called and chosen, and faithful" (Rev. xvii.
14). Our ten days shall have an end; all the former things shall be
forgotten when we shall be up before the throne. Christ hath been ever
thus in the world; He hath always the defender's part, and hath been
still in the camp, fighting the Church's battles. The enemies of the
Son of God will be fed with their own flesh, and shall drink their own
blood; and therefore, their part of it shall at last be found hard
enough: so that we may look forward and pity them. Until the number of
the elect be fulfilled, Christ's garments must be rolled in blood. He
cometh from Edom, from the slaughter of His enemies, "clothed with
dyed garments, glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of
His strength." Who is this (saith he) that appears in this glorious
posture? Our great He! that He who is mighty to save, whose glory
shineth while He sprinkleth the blood of His adversaries, and staineth
all His raiment. The glory of His righteous revenges shineth forth in
these stains (Isa. lxiii. 1). But seeing our world is not here-away,
we poor children, far from home, must steal through many waters,
weeping as we go, and withal believing that we do the Lord's
faithfulness no wrong, seeing He hath said, "I, even I, am He that
comforteth you: who art thou, that shouldest be afraid of a man that
shall die, and of the son of man that shall be made as grass?" (Isa.
li. 12). "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou
walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt; neither shall the
flames kindle upon thee" (Isa. xliii. 2).

There is a cloud gathering and a storm coming. This land shall be
turned upside down; and if ever the Lord spake to me (think on it),
Christ's bride will be glad of a hole to hide her head in, and the
dragon may so prevail as to chase the woman and her man-child over
sea. But there shall be a gleaning, two or three berries left in the
top of the olive-tree, of whom God shall say, "Destroy them not, for
there is a blessing in them." Thereafter there shall be a fair
sun-blink on Christ's old spouse, and a clear sky, and she shall sing
as in the days of her youth. The Antichrist and the great red dragon
will lop Christ's branches, and bring His vine to a low stump, under
the feet of those who carry the mark of the beast; but the Plant of
Renown, the Man whose name is the Branch, will bud forth again and
blossom as the rose, and there shall be fair white flourishes again,
with most pleasant fruits, upon that tree of life. A fair season may
He have! Grace, grace be upon that blessed and beautiful tree! under
whose shadow we shall sit, and His fruit shall be sweet to our taste.
But Christ shall woo His handful in the fire, and choose His own in
the furnace of affliction. But be it so; He dow not, He will not slay
His children. Love will not let Him make a full end. The covenant will
cause Him hold His hand. Fear not, then, saith the First and the Last,
He who was dead and is alive. We see not Christ sharpening and
furbishing His sword for His enemies; and therefore our faithless
hearts say, as Zion did, "The Lord hath forsaken me." But God
reproveth her, and saith, "Well, well, Zion, is that well said? Think
again on it, you are in the wrong to Me. Can a woman forget her
sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the fruit of her
womb? Yea, she may; yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have
engraven thee upon the palms of My hands" (Isa. xlix. 15, 16). You
break your heart and grow heavy, and forget that Christ hath your name
engraven on the palms of His hand in great letters. In the name of the
Son of God, believe that buried Scotland, dead and buried with her
dear Bridegroom, shall rise the third day again, and there shall be a
new growth after the old timber is cut down.

I recommend you, and your burdens and heavy heart, to the supporting
of His grace and good-will who dwelt in the Bush, to Him who was
separated from His brethren. Try your husband afar off, to see if he
can be induced to think upon going to America.

O to see the sight, next to Christ's Coming in the clouds, the most
joyful! our elder brethren the Jews and Christ fall upon one another's
necks and kiss each other! They have been long asunder; they will be
kind to one another when they meet. O day! O longed-for and lovely
day-dawn! O sweet Jesus, let me see that sight which will be as life
from the dead, Thee and Thy ancient people in mutual embraces.[140]

  [140] In the Preface to his "Peaceable Plea," he expresses the same
  yearnings towards the Jews. And also in "Trial of Faith," sermon xiii.

Desire your daughter to close with Christ upon terms of suffering for
Him; for the cross is an old mealing and plot of ground that lyeth to
Christ's house. Our dear Chief had aye that rent lying to His
inheritance. But tell her the day is near the dawning, the sky is
riving; our Beloved will be on us, ere ever we be aware. The
Antichrist, and death and hell, and Christ's enemies and ours, will be
bound and cast into the bottomless pit. The Lord Jesus be with your
spirit.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _April 22, 1635_.



LI.--_To_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_PUBLIC TEMPTATIONS--THE SECURITY OF EVERY SAINT--OCCURRENCES IN THE
COUNTRY-SIDE._)


LOVING AND DEAR SISTER,--For Zion's sake hold not your peace, neither
be discouraged, for the on-going of this persecution. Jehovah is in
this burning Bush. The floods may swell and roar, but our ark shall
swim above the waters; it cannot sink, because a Saviour is in it.
Because our Beloved was not let in by His spouse when He stood at the
door, with His wet and frozen head, therefore He will have us to seek
Him awhile; and while we are seeking, the watchmen who go about the
walls have stricken the poor woman, and have taken away her veil from
her. But yet a little while and our Lord will come again. Scotland's
sky will clear again; her moment must go over. I dare in faith say and
write (I am not dreaming), Christ is but seeking (what He will have
and make) a clean glistering bride out of the fire. God send Him His
errand, but He cannot want what He seeks. In the meantime, one way or
other, He shall find, or make a nest for His mourning dove. What is
this we are doing, breaking the neck of our faith? We are not come as
yet to the mouth of the Red Sea; and howbeit we were, for His honour's
sake, He must dry it up. It is our part to die gripping and holding
fast His faithful promise. If the Beast should get leave to ride
through the land, to seal such as are his, he will not get one lamb
with him, for these are secured and sealed as the servants of God. In
God's name, let Christ take His barn-floor, and all that is in it, to
a hill, and winnow it. Let Him sift His corn, and sweep His house, and
seek His lost gold. The Lord shall cog the rumbling wheels, or turn
them; for the remainder of wrath doth He restrain. He can loose the
belt of kings; to God, their belt, wherewith they are girt, is knit
with a single draw-knot.

As for a pastor to your town, your conscience can bear you witness you
have done your part. Let the Master of the vineyard now see to His
garden, seeing you have gone on, till He hath said, "Stand still." The
will of the Lord be done. But a trial is not, to give up with God and
believe no more. I thank my God in Christ, I find the force of my
temptation abated, and its edge blunted, since I spoke to you last. I
know not if the tempter be hovering, until he find the dam gather
again, and me more secure; but it hath been my burden, and I am yet
more confident the Lord will succour and deliver.

I intend, God willing, that our Communion shall be celebrated the
first Sabbath after Pasch. Our Lord, that great Master of the feast,
send us one hearty and heartsome supper, for I look it shall be the
last. But we expect, when the shadows shall flee away, and our Lord
shall come to His garden, that He shall feed us in green pastures
without fear. The dogs shall not then be hounded out amongst the
sheep. I earnestly desire your prayers for assistance at our work, and
put others with you to do the same. Remember me to your husband, and
desire your daughter to be kind to Christ, and seek to win near Him;
He will give her a welcome unto His house of wine, and bring her into
the King's chamber. O how will the sight of His face, and the smell of
His garments, allure and ravish the heart! Now, the love of the lovely
Son of God be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, 1635.



LII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

     (IN THE PROSPECT OF HER HUSBAND BEING COMPELLED TO RECEIVE THE
     COMMAND OF THE PRELATES--SAINTS ARE YET TO JUDGE.)


WELL-BELOVED MISTRESS,--I charge you in the name of the Son of God, to
rest upon your Rock, that is higher than yourself. Be not afraid of a
man, who is a worm, nor of the son of man, who shall die. God be your
fear. Encourage your husband. I would counsel you to write to
Edinburgh to some advised lawyers, to understand what your husband, as
the head magistrate, may do in opposing any intruded minister, and in
his carriage toward the new prelate,[141] if he command him to
imprison or lay hands upon any, and, in a word, how far he may in his
office disobey a prelate, without danger of law. For if the Bishop
come to your town, and find not obedience to his heart, it is like he
will command the Provost to assist him against God and the truth. Ye
will have more courage under the persecution. Fear not; take Christ
caution,[142] who said, "There shall not one hair of your head perish"
(Luke xxi. 18). Christ will not be in your common to have you giving
out anything for Him, and not give you all incomes with advantage. It
is His honour His servants should not be herried and undone in His
service. You were never honoured till now. And if your husband be the
first magistrate who shall suffer for Christ's name in this
persecution, he may rejoice that Christ hath put the first garland on
his head and upon yours. Truth will yet keep the crown of the causey
in Scotland. Christ and truth are strong enough. They judge us now; we
shall one day judge them, and sit on twelve thrones and judge the
twelve tribes. Believe, believe; for they dare not pray; they dare not
look Christ in the face. They have been false to Christ, and He will
not sit with the wrong. Ye know it is not our cause; for if we would
quit our Lord, we might sleep for the present in a sound skin, and
keep our place, means, and honour, and be dear to them also; but let
us once put all we have over in Christ's hand. Fear not for my papers;
I shall despatch them, but ye will be examined for them. The Spirit
of Jesus give you inward peace. Desire your husband from me to prove
honest to Christ; he shall not be a loser at Christ's hand.

  Yours ever in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _July 8, 1635_.

  [141] Bishop Sydserff wished to force a minister upon the people of
  Kirkcudbright, in room of Mr. Glendinning, whom he ordered to be
  imprisoned, because he would not conform to Episcopacy. Provost
  Fullarton (husband of M. M'Naught), along with other magistrates,
  refused to imprison Mr. Glendinning. See note at Letter LXVII.

  [142] Surety.



LIII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_ENCOURAGEMENT UNDER TRIAL BY PROSPECT OF BRIGHTER DAYS._)


MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. Having appointed a meeting
with Mr. David Dickson, and knowing that B. will not keep the
Presbytery, I cannot see you now. Commend my journey to God. My soul
blesseth you for your last letter. Be not discouraged; Christ will not
want the Isles-men. "The Isles shall wait for His law." We are His
inheritance, and He will sell no part of His inheritance. For the sins
of this land, and our breach of the covenant, contempt of the Gospel,
and our defection from the truth, He hath set up a burning furnace in
our Mount Zion; but I say it, and will bide by it, the grass shall yet
grow green on our Mount Zion. There shall be dew all the night upon
the lilies, amongst which Christ feedeth, until the day break, and the
shadows flee away. And the moth shall eat up the enemies of Christ.
Let them make a fire of their own, and walk in the light thereof, it
shall not let them see to go to their bed; but they shall lie down in
sorrow (Isa. l. 11). Therefore, rejoice and believe. This in haste.
Grace, grace be with you and yours.

  Yours in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



LIV.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_PUBLIC WRONGS--WORDS OF COMFORT._)


LOVING AND DEAR SISTER,--I fear that you be moved and cast down,
because of the late wrong that your husband received in your Town
Council. But I pray you comfort yourself in the Lord; for a just cause
bides under the water only as long as wicked men hold their hand
above it; their arm will weary, and then the just cause shall swim
above, and the light that is sown for the righteous shall spring and
grow up. If ye were not strangers here, the dogs of the world would
not bark at you. You may see all windings and turnings that are in
your way to heaven out of God's Word; for He will not lead you to the
kingdom at the nearest, but you must go through "honour and dishonour,
by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as
unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as
chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, and yet always rejoicing" (2
Cor. vi. 8, 10). The world is one of the enemies that we have to fight
with, but a vanquished and overcome enemy, and like a beaten and
forlorn soldier; for our Jesus hath taken the armour from it. Let me
then speak to you in His words: "Be of good courage," saith the
Captain of our salvation, "for I have overcome the world." You shall
neither be free of the scourge of the tongue, nor of disgraces (even
if it were buffetings and spittings upon the face, as was our
Saviour's case), if you follow Jesus Christ. I beseech you in the
bowels of our Lord Jesus, keep a good conscience, as I trust you do.
You live not upon men's opinion; gold may be gold, and have the king's
stamp upon it, when it is trampled upon by men. Happy are you, if,
when the world trampleth upon you in your credit and good name, yet
you are the Lord's gold, stamped with the King of heaven's image, and
sealed by the Spirit unto the day of your redemption. Pray for the
spirit of love; for "love beareth all things; it believeth all things,
hopeth all things, and endureth all things" (1 Cor. xiii. 7).

And I pray you and your husband, yea, I charge you before God, and the
Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, pray for these your
adversaries, and read this to your husband from me, and let both of
you put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies. And, sister,
remember how many thousands of talents of sins your Master hath
forgiven you. Forgive ye therefore your fellow-servants one talent.
Follow God's command in this, and "seek not after your own heart, and
after your own eyes," in this matter, as the Spirit speaks (Numb. xv.
39). Ask never the counsel of your own heart here; the world will blow
up your heart now, and cause it swell, except the grace of God cause
it fall. Jesus, even Jesus, the Eternal Wisdom of the Father, give you
wisdom. I trust God shall be glorified in you. And a door shall be
opened unto you, as to the Lord's "prisoners of hope," as Zechariah
speaks. It is a benefit to you, that the wicked are God's fan to purge
you. And I hope they shall blow away no corn, or spiritual graces, but
only your chaff. I pray you, in your pursuit, have so recourse to the
law of men, that you wander not from the law of God. Be not cast down:
if you saw Him who is standing on the shore, holding out His arms to
welcome you on land, you would not only wade through a sea of wrongs,
but through hell itself to be at Him. And I trust in God you see Him
sometimes. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit, and all yours.

  Your brother in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



LV.--_To_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

     (_WHEN HE HAD BEEN THREATENED WITH PERSECUTION FOR PREACHING THE
     GOSPEL--THE SAINTS SHALL YET WIN THE DAY._)


WORTHY AND WELL-BELOVED MISTRESS,--My love in Christ remembered. I
know ye have heard of the purpose of my adversaries, to try what they
can do against me at this Synod for the work of God in your town when
I was at your Communion. They intend to call me in question at the
Synod for treasonable doctrine. Therefore help me with your prayers,
and desire your acquaintance to help me also. Your ears heard how
Christ was there. If He suffer His servant to get a broken head in His
own kingly service, and not either help or revenge the wrong, I never
saw the like of it. There is not a night drunkard, time-serving, idle,
idol shepherd to be spoken against: I am the only man; and because it
is so, and I know God will not help them lest they be proud, I am
confident their process shall fall asunder. Only be ye earnest with
God for hearing, for an open ear, and reading of the bill, that He may
in heaven hear both parties, and judge accordingly. And doubt not,
fear not; they shall not, who now ride highest, put Christ out of His
kingly possession in Scotland. The pride of man and his rage shall
turn to the praise of our Lord. It is an old feud, that the rulers of
the earth, the dragon and his angels, have carried to the Lamb and His
followers; but the followers of the Lamb shall overcome by the Word of
God. And believe this, and wait on a little, till they have got their
womb full of clay and gravel, and they shall know (howbeit stolen
waters be sweet) Esau's portion is not worth his hunting. Commend me
to your husband, and send me word how Grizel is. The Son of God lead
her through the water. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours in his only, only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH.



LVI.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_REASONS FOR RESIGNATION--SECURITY OF SAINTS--THE END OF TIME._)


MADAM,--I received your Ladyship's letter from J. G.[143] I thank our
Lord ye are as well at least as one may be who is not come home. It is
a mercy in this stormy sea to get a second wind; for none of the
saints get a first, but they must take the winds as the Lord of the
seas causeth them to blow, and the inn as the Lord and Master of the
inns hath ordered it. If contentment were here, heaven were not
heaven. Whoever seek the world to be their bed, shall at best find it
short and ill-made, and a stone under their side to hold them waking,
rather than a soft pillow to sleep upon. Ye ought to bless your Lord
that it is not worse. We live in a sea where many have suffered
shipwreck, and have need that Christ sit at the helm of the ship. It
is a mercy to win to heaven, though with much hard toil and heavy
labour, and to take it by violence ill and well as it may be. Better
go swimming and wet through our waters than drown by the way;
especially now when truth suffereth, and great men bid Christ sit
lower and contract Himself in less bounds, as if He took too much
room.

  [143] J. Gordon.

I expect our new prelate[144] shall try my sitting. I hang by a
thread, but it is (if I may speak so) of Christ's spinning. There is
no quarrel more honest or honourable than to suffer for truth. But the
worst is, that this kirk is like to sink, and all her lovers and
friends stand afar off; none mourn with her, and none mourn for her.
But the Lord Jesus will not be put out of His conquest so soon in
Scotland. It will be seen that the kirk and truth will rise again
within three days, and Christ again shall ride upon His white horse;
howbeit His horse seem now to stumble, yet he cannot fall. The fulness
of Christ's harvest in the end of the earth is not yet come in. I
speak not this because I would have it so, but upon better grounds
than my naked liking. But enough of this sad subject.

  [144] Sydserff.

I long to be fully assured of your Ladyship's welfare, and that your
soul prospereth, especially now in your solitary life when your
comforts outward are few, and when Christ hath you for the very
uptaking. I know His love to you is still running over, and His love
hath not so bad a memory as to forget you and your dear child, who
hath two fathers in heaven, the one the Ancient of Days. I trust in
His mercy He hath something laid up for him above, however it may go
with him here. I know it is long since your Ladyship saw that this
world had turned your stepmother and did forsake you. Madam, you have
reason to take in good part a lean dinner and spare diet in this life,
seeing your large supper of the Lamb's preparing will recompense all.
Let it go, which was never yours but only in sight, not in property.
The time of your loan will wear shorter and shorter, and time is
measured to you by ounce weights; and then I know your hope shall be a
full ear of corn and not blasted with wind. It may be your joy that
your anchor is up within the veil, and that the ground it is cast upon
is not false but firm. God hath done His part: I hope ye will not deny
to fish and fetch home all your love to Himself; and it is but too
narrow and short for Him if it were more. If ye were before pouring
all your love (if it had been many gallons more) in upon your Lord, if
drops fell by in the in-pouring, He forgiveth you. He hath done now
all that can be done to win beyond it all, and hath left little to woo
your love from Himself, except one only child. What is His purpose
herein He knoweth best, who hath taken your soul in tutoring. Your
faith may be boldly charitable of Christ, that however matters go, the
worst shall be a tired traveller, and a joyful and sweet welcome home.
The back of your winter night is broken. Look to the east, the day sky
is breaking. Think not that Christ loseth time, or lingereth
unsuitably. O fair, fair, and sweet morning! We are but as sea
passengers. If we look right, we are upon our country coast: our
Redeemer is fast coming, to take this old worm-eaten world, like an
old moth-eaten garment, in His two hands, and to roll it up and lay it
by Him. These are the last days, and an oath is given, by God Himself,
that time shall be no more (Rev. x. 6); and when time itself is old
and grey-haired, it were good we were away. Thus, Madam, ye see I am,
as my custom is tedious in my lines. Your Ladyship will pardon it.
The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Your Ladyship's at all obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _Jan. 18, 1636_.



LVII.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_IN THE PROSPECT OF REMOVAL TO ABERDEEN._)


HONOURED AND DEAREST IN THE LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.
I am well, and my soul prospereth. I find Christ with me. I burden no
man; I want nothing; no face looketh on me but it laugheth on me.
Sweet, sweet is the Lord's cross. I overcome my heaviness. My
Bridegroom's love-blinks fatten my weary soul. I soon go to my King's
palace at Aberdeen. Tongue, and pen, and wit, cannot express my joy.

Remember my love to Jean Gordon, to my sister, Jean Brown, to Grizel,
to your husband. Thus in haste. Grace be with you.

  Yours in his only, only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  EDINBURGH, _April 5, 1636_.

_P.S._--My charge is to you to believe, rejoice, sing, and triumph.
Christ has said to me, Mercy, mercy, grace and peace for Marion
M'Naught.



LVIII.--_To my_ LADY KENMURE.

(_ON OCCASION OF EFFORTS TO INTRODUCE EPISCOPACY._)


RIGHT HONOURABLE,--I cannot find a time for writing some things I
intended on Job, I have been so taken up with the broils that we are
encumbered with in our calling. For our prelate will have us either to
swallow our light over, and digest it contrary to our stomachs
(howbeit we should vomit our conscience and all, in this troublesome
conformity), or then he will try if deprivation can convert us to the
ceremonial faith.[145]

  [145] Conformity to episcopal forms.

I write to your Ladyship, Madam, not as distrusting your affection or
willingness to help me, as your Ladyship is able by yourself or
others, but to advertise you that I hang by a small thread. For our
learned prelate, because we cannot see with his eyes so far in a
mill-stone as his light doeth, will not follow his Master, meek Jesus,
who waited upon the wearied and short-breathed in the way to
heaven.[146] Where all see not alike, and some are weaker, He carrieth
the lambs in His bosom, and leadeth gently those that are with young.
But we must either see all the evil of ceremonies to be but as
indifferent straws, or suffer no less than to be casten out of the
Lord's inheritance! Madam, if I had time I would write more at length,
but your Ladyship will pardon me till a fitter occasion. Grace be with
you and your child, and bear you company to your best home.

  Your Ladyship's in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _June 8, 1636_.

  [146] Alluding to Gen. xxxii. 14, and Isa. xl. 11.



LIX.--_To_ EARLSTON, _Elder_.


     [ALEXANDER GORDON of Earlston was descended from the house of
     Gordon of Lochinvar, and the residence of his family at first was
     Gordon of Airds (about a mile from the New Galloway Railway
     Station, on a wooded height, in the parish of Kells). His
     great-grandfather, Alexander Gordon of Airds, having married
     Margaret, eldest daughter of John Sinclair of Earlston, the issue
     of that union came to possess the lands of Earlston. (Nisbet's
     "Heraldry.") It is a tradition that old Gordon of Airds imbibed
     Wickliffite views, when he was on a sort of embassy to the
     English Borderers, and that he propagated the truth by bringing
     home an English Wickliffite to be tutor to his eldest son. Having
     obtained a New Testament in the vulgar tongue, he read it at
     meetings which were held in the woods of Airds, in a secluded
     spot, at the junction of the Ken and the Dee, where the loch
     begins.[147] The truth circulated rapidly through the whole
     province of Galloway.

       [147] It is probably the little mound in the wood called "Low's
       Seat," from its being the favourite resort of a local poet of
       that name.

     There are some interesting traditions about old Gordon of Airds.
     He was compelled, when a youth, to sign the sentence that doomed
     Patrick Hamilton to death, 1528; and this very circumstance led
     him to inquire more fully into the truth. He lived to the age of
     one hundred and one, dying in 1586. A traveller, coming to crave
     the hospitality of Airds one evening, was courteously received by
     a youth, who, however, referred him to his father. His father in
     turn referred him to an older man, the grandfather of the boy;
     and then this grey-haired grand-sire said, "Sir, you must ask _my
     father_,"--the patriarch who sat in the arm-chair and conducted
     worship that evening. (Agnew's "Sheriffs of Galloway.")

     _Earlston_, or Erliston, or Earleston, is not far from
     Carsphairn. As you come from Dalry, in Glenkens, you see the roof
     of the ancient residence appearing from among the trees that grow
     up the sloping ridge at the foot of which it stands. In front of
     the grim old tower there is a fine lawn, a remnant of better
     days, and a linn not far off. There is another _Earlston_, in the
     parish of Borgue, a quite modern mansion, built by a descendant
     of this ancient family, and called after the name of the original
     property.

     The grace of God, which had early chosen this family, continued
     to favour it for many generations. Alexander Gordon, Rutherford's
     friend, was worthy of his ancestors. Livingstone, in his
     "Characteristics," speaks of him as "a man of great spirit, but
     much subdued by inward exercise. For wisdom, courage, and
     righteousness, he might have been a magistrate in any part of
     the earth." He warmly espoused the side of the Presbyterians. In
     the end of July 1635, he was summoned by the Bishop of Glasgow to
     appear before the High Commission, for preventing the intrusion
     of an unpopular nominee of the bishop into a vacant parish. But
     Lord Lorn, afterwards the martyred Marquis of Argyle, having
     appeared with him before that court, and affirmed that Earlston
     had done this by his direction as patron of the parish, the
     matter was deferred to a future day. This letter of Rutherford
     probably refers to the vexatious proceedings instituted against
     him in regard to this matter. He was afterwards summoned by
     Sydserff, Bishop of Galloway, fined five hundred merks, and
     banished to Montrose. The Privy Council, however, afterwards
     dispensed with his banishment upon the payment of his fine.
     Earlston was a member of the Assembly which met at Glasgow, in
     1638, as commissioner from the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright. His
     name appears among the members of Parliament in 1641, as member
     for the shire of Galloway. He was married to Elizabeth, daughter
     of John Gordon of Muirfad, by whom he had several children. His
     eldest son, William, who succeeded him, is retoured heir of his
     father on the 23rd of January 1655. In the avenue leading to
     Earlston, there is a very large old oak, still shown as that in
     the thick foliage of which this William Gordon hid, and so
     escaped his pursuers, in the days of the persecution. But in
     1679, on his way to join the rising at Bothwell, he was shot by a
     troop of dragoons, and lies buried in Glassford Churchyard, where
     is a monument to his memory.]

       *       *       *       *       *

(_NO SUFFERING FOR CHRIST UNREWARDED--LOSS OF CHILDREN--CHRIST IN
PROVIDENCE._)

MUCH HONOURED SIR,--I have heard of the mind and malice of your
adversaries against you. It is like they will extend the law they
have, in length and breadth, answerable to their heat of mind. But it
is a great part of your glory that the cause is not yours, but your
Lord's whom you serve. And I doubt not but Christ will count it His
honour to back His weak servant; and it were a shame for Him (with
reverence to His holy name) that He should suffer Himself to be in the
common of such a poor man as ye are, and that ye should give out for
Him and not get in again. Write up your depursments for your Master
Christ, and keep the account of what ye give out, whether name,
credit, goods, or life, and suspend your reckoning till nigh the
evening; and remember that a poor weak servant of Christ wrote it to
you, that ye shall have Christ, a King, caution for your incomes and
all your losses. Reckon not from the forenoon. Take the Word of God
for your warrant; and for Christ's act of cautionary, howbeit body,
life, and goods go for Christ your Lord, and though ye should lose the
head for Him, yet "there shall not one hair of your head perish; in
patience, therefore, possess your soul."[148] And because ye are the
first man in Galloway called out and questioned for the name of Jesus,
His eye hath been upon you, as upon one whom He designed to be among
His witnesses. Christ hath said, "Alexander Gordon shall lead the ring
in witnessing a good confession," and therefore He hath put the
garland of suffering for Himself first upon your head. Think yourself
so much the more obliged to Him, and fear not; for He layeth His right
hand on your head. He who was dead and is alive will plead your cause,
and will look attentively upon the process from the beginning to the
end, and the Spirit of glory shall rest upon you. "Fear none of these
things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of
you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation
ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of
life"[149] (Rev. ii. 10). This lovely One, Jesus, who also became the
Son of man, that He might take strokes for you, write the
cross-sweetening and soul-supporting sense of these words in your
heart!

  [148] Luke xxi. 18, 19.

  [149] Zech. xii. 2, 6.

These rumbling wheels of Scotland's ten days' tribulation are under
His look who hath seven eyes. Take a house on your head, and slip
yourself by faith in under Christ's wings till the storm be over. And
remember, when they have drunken us down, Jerusalem will be a cup of
trembling and of poison.[150] They shall be fain to vomit out the
saints; for Judah "shall be a hearth of fire in a sheaf, and they
shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the
left." Woe to Zion's enemies! they have the worst of it; for we have
writ for the victory. Sir, ye were never honourable till now. This is
your glory, that Christ hath put you in the roll with Himself and with
the rest of the witnesses who are come out of great tribulation, and
have washen their garments and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb. Be not cast down for what the servants of Antichrist cast in
your teeth, that ye are a head to and favourer of the Puritans, and
leader to that sect. If your conscience say, "Alas! here is much din
and little done" (as the proverb is), because ye have not done so much
service to Christ that way as ye might and should, take courage from
that same temptation. For your Lord Christ looketh upon that very
challenge as an hungering desire in you to have done more than ye did;
and that filleth up the blank, and He will accept of what ye have done
in that kind. If great men be kind to you, I pray you overlook them;
if they smile on you, Christ but borroweth their face to smile through
them upon His afflicted servant. Know the well-head; and for all that,
learn the way to the well itself. Thank God that Christ came to your
house in your absence and took with Him some of your children. He
presumed that much on your love, that ye would not offend;[151] and
howbeit He should take the rest, He cannot come upon your wrong side.
I question not, if they were children of gold, but ye think them well
bestowed upon Him.

  [150] Zech. xii. 2, 6.

  [151] Stumble; be offended.

Expound well these two rods on you, one in your house at home, another
on your own person abroad. Love thinketh no evil. If ye were not
Christ's wheat, appointed to be bread in His house, He would not grind
you. But keep the middle line, neither despise nor faint (Heb. xii.
5). Ye see your Father is homely with you. Strokes of a father
evidence kindness and care; take them so. I hope your Lord hath
manifested Himself to you, and suggested these, or more choice
thoughts about His dealing with you. We are using our weak moyen and
credit for you up at our own court, as we dow. We pray the King to
hear us, and the Son of Man to go side for side with you, and hand in
hand in the fiery oven, and to quicken and encourage your unbelieving
heart when ye droop and despond. Sir, to the honour of Christ be it
said, my faith goeth with my pen now. I am presently believing Christ
shall bring you out. Truth in Scotland shall keep the crown of the
causeway yet. The saints shall see religion go naked at noon-day, free
from shame and fear of men. We shall divide Shechem, and ride upon the
high places of Jacob. Remember my obliged respects and love to Lady
Kenmure and her sweet child.

  Yours ever in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ANWOTH, _July 6, 1636_.



LX.--_To_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_WHEN HE WAS UNDER TRIAL BY THE HIGH COMMISSION._)


MY DEAR AND WELL-BELOVED IN CHRIST,--I am yet under trial, and have
appeared before Christ's forbidden lords,[152] for a testimony against
them. The Chancellor and the rest tempted me with questions, nothing
belonging to my summons, which I wholly declined, notwithstanding of
his threats. My newly printed book against Arminians[153] was one
challenge; not lording the prelates[154] was another. The most part
of the bishops, when I came in, looked more astonished than I, and
heard me with silence. Some spoke for me; but my Lord ruled it so as I
am filled with joy in my sufferings, and I find Christ's cross sweet.
What they intend against the next day I know not. Be not secure, but
pray. Our Bishop of Galloway said, If the Commission should not give
him his will of me (with an oath he said), he would write to the King.
The Chancellor summoned me in judgment to appear that day eight days.
My Lord has brought me a friend from the Highlands of Argyle, my Lord
of Lorn,[155] who hath done as much as was within the compass of his
power. God gave me favour in his eyes. Mr. Robert Glendinning is
silenced, till he accepts a colleague. We hope to deal yet for him.
Christ is worthy to be entrusted. Your husband will get an easy and
good way of his business. Ye and I both shall see the salvation of God
upon Joseph separate from his brethren. Grace be with you.


  S. R.

  EDINBURGH, 1636.

  [152] The prelates; alluding to 1 Pet. v. 3.

  [153] _Exercitat. Apol. pro Divinâ Gratiâ_, published this year (1636)
  at Amsterdam.

  [154] Calling them "Lords."

  [155] Brother to Lady Kenmure, and afterwards the celebrated Marquis
  of Argyle. See Letter LXI. also.



LXI.--_To the truly Noble and Elect Lady, my LADY VISCOUNTESS OF
KENMURE, on the evening of his banishment to Aberdeen._

(_HIS ONLY REGRETS--THE CROSS UNSPEAKABLY SWEET--RETROSPECT OF HIS
MINISTRY._)


NOBLE AND ELECT LADY,--That honour that I have prayed for these
sixteen years, with submission to my Lord's will, my kind Lord hath
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 hath 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 King's 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 sweet smelled and perfumed cross of Christ is accompanied with
sweet refreshments, with the kisses of a King, 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
favour 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, honour, and kingdom. O for a day in the
assembly of the saints to advocate for King Jesus! If my Lord also go
on now to quarrels I die, I cannot endure it. But I look for peace
from Him, because He knoweth I dow bear men's feud, but I dow not bear
His feud. This is my only exercise, that I fear I have done little
good in my ministry; but I dare not but say, I loved the bairns of the
wedding-chamber, and prayed for and desired the thriving of the
marriage, and coming of His kingdom.

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 honourable 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. One
kiss now is sweeter than ten long since; sweet, sweet is His cross;
light, light and easy is His yoke. O what a sweet step were it up to
my Father's house through ten deaths, for the truth and cause of that
unknown, and so not half well loved, Plant of Renown, the Man called
the Branch, the Chief among ten thousands, the fairest among the sons
of men! O what unseen joys, how many hidden heart-burnings of love,
are in the "remnants of the sufferings of Christ!" (Col. i. 24.) 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 hath
power of my body; and rebellion to kings is unbeseeming Christ's
ministers. Be pleased to acquaint my Lady Mar[156] with my case. I
will look that your Ladyship and that good lady will be mindful to God
of the Lord's prisoner, not for my cause, but for the Gospel's sake.
Madam, bind me more, if more can be, to your Ladyship, and write
thanks to your brother, my Lord of Lorn, for what he hath done for me,
a poor unknown stranger to his Lordship. I shall pray for him and his
house, while I live. It is his honour to open his mouth in the
streets, for his wronged and oppressed Master Christ Jesus. Now,
Madam, commending your Ladyship and the sweet child to the tender
mercies of mine own Lord Jesus, and His good-will who dwelt in the
Bush,

  I am yours in his own sweetest Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  EDINBURGH, _July 28, 1636_.

  [156] See Letter CXL.



LXII.--_To the LADY CULROSS, on occasion of his banishment to
Aberdeen._


     [ELIZABETH MELVILLE, wife of James Colvill, the eldest son of
     Alexander, Commendator of Culross, was the daughter of Sir James
     Melville of Halhill, in Fife. Her father was ambassador from
     Queen Mary to Queen Elizabeth, and a privy councillor to King
     James VI. He was also a man of piety, who (says Livingstone),
     "professed he had got assurance from the Lord, that himself,
     wife, and all his children, should meet in heaven." Lady Culross
     held a high place among the eminent Christians of her day.
     Livingstone says: "She was famous for her piety, and for her
     dream concerning her spiritual condition, which she put in verse,
     which was published by others. Of all that ever I saw, she was
     most unwearied in religious exercises; and the more she enjoyed
     access to God therein she hungered the more." She was present at
     the famous Communion at Shotts in June 1636, when the sermon
     preached by Livingstone, on the Monday after, was the means, it
     is believed, of the conversion of not less than five hundred
     individuals. The night before had been spent in prayer by a great
     number of Christians in a large room of the inn where she slept;
     and the minister who should have preached on Monday having fallen
     sick, it was at her suggestion that the other ministers assisting
     on that occasion, to whom Livingstone was a stranger, laid upon
     him the work of addressing the people. There is a poem written by
     her, entitled "Ane Godlie Dream;" and there is still preserved a
     sonnet of her composition, which she sent to Mr. John Welsh when
     he was imprisoned in Blackness, 1605:--

    "My dear brother, with courage bear the cross,
      Joy shall be joined with all thy sorrow here.
    High is thy hope, disdain this earthly dross,
      Once shall you see the wished day appear.

    "Now it is dark, thy sky cannot be clear;
      After the clouds it shall be calm anon;
    Wait on His will whose blood hath bought thee dear:
      Extol His name, though outward joys be gone.

    "Look to the Lord, thou art not left alone,
      Since He is thine, what pleasure canst thou take!
    He is at hand, and hears thy every groan:
      End out thy fight, and suffer for His sake.

    "A sight most bright thy soul shall shortly see,
      When store of glore thy rich reward shall be."

     --_Wodrow_ MSS. Adv. Lib. Edin. vol. xxix.]

(_CHALLENGES OF CONSCIENCE--THE CROSS NO BURDEN._)

MADAM,--Your letter came in due time to me, now a prisoner of Christ,
and in bonds for the Gospel. I am sentenced with deprivation and
confinement within the town of Aberdeen. But O my guiltiness, the
follies of my youth, the neglects in my calling, and especially in not
speaking more for the kingdom, crown, and sceptre of my royal and
princely King Jesus, do so stare me in the face, that I apprehend
anger in that which is a crown of rejoicing to the dear saints of God.
This, before my compearance, which was three several days, did trouble
me, and burdeneth me more now; howbeit Christ, and in Him God
reconciled, met me with open arms, and trysted me precisely at the
entry of the door of the Chancellor's hall, and assisted me so to
answer, as that the advantage is not theirs but Christ's. Alas! that
is no cause of wondering that I am thus borne down with challenges;
for the world hath mistaken me, and no man knoweth what guiltiness is
in me so well as these two, who keep my eyes now waking and my heart
heavy, I mean (1) my heart and conscience, and (2) my Lord, who is
greater than my heart.

Shew your brother that I desire him, while he is on the watch-tower,
to plead with his mother, and to plead with this land, and spare not
to cry for my sweet Lord Jesus His fair crown, that the interdicted
and forbidden lords are plucking off His royal head. If I were free of
challenges, and a High Commission within my soul, I would not give a
straw to go to my Father's house through ten deaths, for the truth and
cause of my lovely, lovely One, Jesus. But I walk in heaviness now. If
ye love me, and Christ in me, my dear Lady, pray, pray for this only,
that bygones betwixt my Lord and me may be bygones, and that He would
pass from the summons of His High Commission, and seek nothing from
me, but what He will do for me and work in me. If your ladyship knew
me as I do myself, ye would say, "Poor soul, no marvel." It is not my
apprehension that createth this cross to me; it is too real, and hath
sad and certain grounds. But I will not believe that God will take
this advantage of me, when my back is at the wall. He who forbiddeth
to add affliction to affliction, will He do it Himself? Why should He
pursue a dry leaf and stubble? Desire Him to spare me now. Also the
memory of the fair feast-days, that Christ and I had in His
banqueting-house of wine, and of the scattered flock once committed
to me, and now taken off my hand by Himself, because I was not so
faithful in the end as I was in the two first years of my entry, when
sleep departed from my eyes, because my soul was taken up with a care
for Christ's lambs,--even these add sorrow to my sorrow. Now my Lord
hath only given me this to say, and I write it under mine own hand (be
ye the Lord's servant's witness), welcome, welcome, sweet, sweet cross
of Christ; welcome, fair, fair, lovely, royal King with Thine own
cross. Let us all three go to heaven together. Neither care I much to
go from the south of Scotland to the north, and to be Christ's
prisoner amongst unco faces, in a place of this kingdom, which I have
little reason to be in love with. I know Christ shall make Aberdeen my
garden of delights. I am fully persuaded that Scotland shall eat
Ezekiel's book, that is written within and without, "lamentation, and
mourning, and woe" (Ezek. ii. 10). But the saints shall get a drink of
the well that goeth through the streets of the New Jerusalem, to put
it down. Thus hoping that ye will think upon the poor prisoner of
Christ, I pray, grace, grace be with you.

  Your Ladyship's in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  EDINBURGH, _July 30, 1636_.



LXIII.--_To MR. ROBERT CUNNINGHAM, Minister of the Gospel at Holywood,
in Ireland._


     [MR. ROBERT CUNNINGHAM was for some time employed as chaplain to
     the Earl of Buccleuch's regiment in Holland. On the return of the
     troops to Scotland, he removed to the north of Ireland, where he
     was admitted minister of Holywood in 1615. "He was the one man to
     my discerning," says Livingstone, "of all that ever I saw, who
     resembled most the meekness of Jesus Christ in his whole
     carriage, and was so far reverenced by all, even the most wicked,
     that he was oft troubled with that Scripture, 'Woe to you when
     all men speak well of you.'" He continued to labour in his
     charge, and in the surrounding district, with great success,
     until the Presbyterian ministers began to be molested for their
     nonconformity. Owing to the singular gentleness of Cunningham's
     disposition, he was for some time less subjected to trouble than
     his brethren; but at length, on the 12th of August 1636, he and
     four other ministers (among whom was Mr. Hamilton mentioned in
     the close of this letter) were formally deposed for refusing to
     subscribe certain canons, one of which was kneeling at the Lord's
     Supper. Not long after, he, with some of his deposed brethren,
     came over to Scotland; but he did not long survive his arrival.
     He died at Irvine, on the 29th of March 1637, scarcely eight
     months after this letter was written. A little before he expired,
     his wife sitting on the front of his bed with her hand clasped in
     his, after committing to God his flock at Holywood, his friends
     and his children, he added, "And last of all, I recommend to Thee
     this gentlewoman, who is no more my wife." His affectionate wife
     bursting into tears, he sought by comfortable words to allay her
     grief; but in the act of so doing, fell asleep in Jesus.]

(_CONSOLATION TO A BROTHER IN TRIBULATION--HIS OWN DEPRIVATION OF
MINISTRY--CHRIST WORTH SUFFERING FOR._)

WELL-BELOVED AND REVEREND BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.
Upon acquaintance in Christ, I thought good to take the opportunity of
writing to you. Seeing it hath seemed good to the Lord of the harvest
to take the hooks out of our hands for a time, and to lay upon us a
more honourable service, even to suffer for His name, it were good to
comfort one another in writing. I have had a desire to see you in the
face; yet now being the prisoner of Christ, it is taken away. I am
greatly comforted to hear of your soldier's stately[157] spirit, for
your princely and royal Captain Jesus our Lord, and for the grace of
God in the rest of our dear brethren with you.

  [157] See Glossary.

You have heard of my trouble, I suppose. It hath pleased our sweet
Lord Jesus to let loose the malice of these interdicted lords in His
house to deprive me of my ministry at Anwoth, and to confine me, eight
score miles from thence, to Aberdeen; and also (which was not done to
any before) to inhibit me to speak at all in Jesus' name, within this
kingdom, under the pain of rebellion. The cause that ripened their
hatred was my book against the Arminians, whereof they accused me, on
those three days I appeared before them. But, let our crowned King in
Zion reign! By His grace the loss is theirs, the advantage is Christ's
and truth's. Albeit this honest cross gained some ground on me, and my
heaviness and my inward challenges of conscience for a time were
sharp, yet now, for the encouragement of you all, I dare say it, and
write it under my hand, "Welcome, welcome, sweet, sweet cross of
Christ." I verily think the chains of my Lord Jesus are all overlaid
with pure gold, and that His cross is perfumed, and that it smelleth
of Christ, and that the victory shall be by the blood of the Lamb, and
by the word of His truth, and that Christ, lying on His back, in His
weak servants, and oppressed truth, shall ride over His enemies'
bellies, and shall "strike through kings in the day of His wrath"
(Psa. cx. 4). It is time we laugh when He laugheth; and seeing He is
now pleased to sit[158] with wrongs for a time, it becometh us to be
silent until the Lord hath let the enemies enjoy their hungry, lean,
and feckless paradise. Blessed are they who are content to take
strokes with weeping Christ. Faith will trust the Lord, and is not
hasty, nor headstrong; neither is faith so timorous as to flatter a
temptation, or to bud and bribe the cross. It is little up or little
down[159] that the Lamb and His followers can get no law-surety, nor
truce with crosses; it must be so, till we be up in our Father's
house. My heart is woe indeed for my mother Church, that hath played
the harlot with many lovers. Her Husband hath a mind to sell her for
her horrible transgressions; and heavy will the hand of the Lord be
upon this backsliding nation. The ways of our Zion mourn; her gold has
become dim, her white Nazarites are black like a coal. How shall not
the children weep, when the Husband and the mother cannot agree! Yet I
believe Scotland's sky shall clear again; that Christ shall build
again the old waste places of Jacob; that our dead and dry bones shall
become one army of living men, and that our Well-beloved may yet feed
among the lilies, until the day break and the shadows flee away (Song
iv. 5, 6). My dear brother, let us help one another with our prayers.
Our King shall mow down His enemies, and shall come from Bozrah with
His garments all dyed in blood. And for our consolation shall He
appear, and call His wife Hephzibah, and His land Beulah (Isa. lxii.
4); for He will rejoice over us and marry us, and Scotland shall say,
"What have I to do any more with idols?" Only let us be faithful to
Him that can ride through hell and death upon a windlestrae, and His
horse never stumble; and let Him make of me a bridge over a water, so
that His high and holy name may be glorified in me. Strokes with the
sweet Mediator's hand are very sweet. He was always sweet to my soul;
but since I suffered for Him, His breath hath a sweeter smell than
before. Oh that every hair of my head, and every member and every bone
in my body, were a man to witness a fair confession for Him! I would
think all too little for Him. When I look over beyond the line, and
beyond death, to the laughing side of the world, I triumph, and ride
upon the high places of Jacob; howbeit otherwise I am a faint,
dead-hearted, cowardly man, oft borne down, and hungry in waiting for
the marriage supper of the Lamb. Nevertheless, I think it the Lord's
wise love that feeds us with hunger, and makes us fat with wants and
desertions.

  [158] Endure.

  [159] Of little moment.

I know not, my dear brother, if our worthy brethren be gone to sea or
not. They are on my heart and in my prayers. If they be yet with you,
salute my dear friend, John Stuart, my well-beloved brethren in the
Lord, Mr. Blair, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Livingston, and Mr. M'Clelland,[160]
and acquaint them with my troubles, and entreat them to pray for the
poor afflicted prisoner of Christ. They are dear to my soul. I seek
your prayers and theirs for my flock: their remembrance breaketh my
heart. I desire to love that people, and others my dear acquaintance
in Christ, with love in God, and as God loveth them. I know that He
who sent me to the west and south, sends me also to the north. I will
charge my soul to believe and to wait for Him, and will follow His
providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it. Now, my dear
brother, taking farewell in paper, I commend you all to the word of
His grace, and to the work of His Spirit, to Him who holdeth the seven
stars in His right hand, that you may be kept spotless till the day of
Jesus our Lord.

  I am your brother in affliction in our sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  From IRVINE, being on my journey to Christ's
  Palace in Aberdeen, _August 4, 1636_.

  [160] Correspondents who, because of the oppressive measures of the
  prelates, intended to proceed to New England. There was a M'Lelland
  of Balmagachan, near Roberton, in the parish of Borgue; but this is
  not he. This was John M'Lelland, sometime minister of Kirkcudbright,
  a friend of R. Blair's.



LXIV.--_To ALEXANDER GORDON of Earlston._

(_HIS FEELINGS UPON LEAVING ANWOTH._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--I find small hopes of Q.'s business.[161] I
intend, after the council-day, to go on to Aberdeen. The Lord is with
me: I care not what man can do. I burden no man, and I want nothing.
No king is better provided than I am. Sweet, sweet, and easy is the
cross of my Lord. All men I look in the face (of whatsoever
denomination, nobles and poor, acquaintance and strangers) are
friendly to me. My Well-beloved is some kinder and more warmly than
ordinary, and cometh and visiteth my soul. My chains are overgilded
with gold. Only the remembrance of my fair days with Christ in Anwoth,
and of my dear flock (whose case is my heart's sorrow), is vinegar to
my sugared wine. Yet both sweet and sour feed my soul. No pen, no
words, no ingine can express to you the loveliness of my only, only
Lord Jesus. Thus, in haste, making for my palace at Aberdeen, I bless
you, your wife, your eldest son, and other children. Grace, grace be
with you.

  [161] Probably "Queensberry."

  Yours in his only, only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  EDINBURGH, _Sept. 5, 1636_.



LXV.--_To ROBERT GORDON of Knockbreck, on his way to Aberdeen._


     [ROBERT GORDON of Knockbrex, in the parish of Borgue, which
     adjoins Anwoth, is, by Livingstone in his "Characteristics,"
     described as "a single-hearted and painful Christian, much
     employed at parliaments and public meetings after the year 1638."
     He was a member of the famous Assembly which met at Glasgow in
     1638, as commissioner from the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright. The
     precise date of his death is uncertain; but we find, in 1657,
     John Gordon in Garloch, five miles from Dalry, is retoured "heir
     of Robert Gordon of Knockbreck, his granduncle, in the lands of
     Knockbreck." (_Inq. Retor. Abbrev. Kirkcudbright_, No. 274.) This
     John Gordon, and Robert, his brother, were executed together at
     Edinburgh on the 7th of December 1666, for having been engaged in
     the rising at Pentland. (See Letter CCXVII.) They inherited, and
     suffered for, the principles of Robert Gordon of Knockbreck,
     their granduncle, to whom this letter was written.

     _Knockbrex_ stands near the sea-shore, amid thick woods, looking
     down on the opening of _Wigtown Bay_. But a modern mansion has
     taken the place of Gordon's residence.]

       *       *       *       *       *

(_HOW UPHELD ON THE WAY._)

MY DEAREST BROTHER,--I see Christ thinketh shame (if I may speak so)
to be in such a poor man's common as mine. I burden no man; I want
nothing; no face hath gloomed upon me since I left you. God's sun and
fair weather conveyeth me to my time-paradise in Aberdeen. Christ hath
so handsomely fitted for my shoulders this rough tree of the cross, as
that it hurteth me no ways. My treasure is up in Christ's coffers; my
comforts are greater than ye can believe; my pen shall lie for penury
of words to write of them. God knoweth I am filled with the joy of the
Holy Ghost. Only my memory of you, my dearest in the Lord, my flock
and others, keepeth me under, and from being exalted above measure.
Christ's sweet sauce hath this sour mixed with it; but O such a sweet
and pleasant taste! I find small hopes of Q.'s matter. Thus in haste.
Remember me to your wife, and to William Gordon. Grace be with you,

  Yours in his only, only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  EDINBURGH, _Sept. 5, 1636_.



LXVI.--_To ROBERT GORDON of Knockbreck, after arriving at Aberdeen._

(_CHALLENGES OF CONSCIENCE--EASE IN ZION._)


DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I am, by God's
mercy, come now to Aberdeen, the place of my confinement, and settled
in an honest man's house. I find the town's-men cold, general, and dry
in their kindness; yet I find a lodging in the heart of many
strangers. My challenges are revived again, and I find old sores
bleeding of new; dangerous and painful is an under-cotted conscience;
yet I have an eye to the blood that is physic for such sores. But,
verily, I see Christianity is conceived to be more easy and lighter
than it is; so that I sometimes think I never knew anything but the
letters of that name; for our nature contenteth itself with little in
godliness. Our "Lord, Lord," seemeth to us ten "Lord-Lords." Little
holiness in our balance is much, because it is our own holiness; and
we love to lay small burdens upon our soft natures, and to make a fair
court-way to heaven. And I know it were necessary to take more pains
than we do, and not to make heaven a city more easily taken than God
hath made it. I persuade myself that many runners shall come short,
and get a disappointment. Oh! how easy is it to deceive ourselves, and
to sleep, and wish that heaven may fall down in our laps! Yet for all
my Lord's glooms, I find Him sweet, gracious, loving, kind; and I want
both pen and words to set forth the fairness, beauty, and sweetness of
Christ's love, and the honour of this cross of Christ, which is
glorious to me, though the world thinketh shame thereof. I verily
think that the cross of Christ would blush and think shame of these
thin-skinned worldings, who are so married to their credit that they
are ashamed of the sufferings of Christ. O the honour to be scourged
and stoned with Christ, and to go through a furious-faced death to
life eternal! But men would have law-borrows against Christ's cross.

Now, my dear brother, forget not the prisoner of Christ, for I see
very few here who kindly fear God. Grace be with you. Let my love in
Christ and hearty affection be remembered to your kind wife, to your
brother John, and to all friends. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours in his only, only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Sept. 20, 1636_.



LXVII.-_For WILLIAM FULLARTON, Provost of Kirkcudbright._


     [WILLIAM FULLARTON, as has been formerly noticed, was the husband
     of Marion M'Naught. His religious principles were the same with
     those of his excellent wife, and he was a man of virtue,
     integrity, and piety. He proved himself the patron of the
     oppressed in the case of Mr. Robert Glendinning, the aged
     minister of Kirkcudbright; to which case there is evident
     allusion in this letter. Mr. Glendinning having refused to
     conform to Prelacy, and to receive, as his assistant and
     successor, a man whom Bishop Sydserff intruded upon him and the
     people of Kirkcudbright, the bishop suspended him from his
     office, and sentenced him to be imprisoned. Provost Fullarton,
     and the other magistrates of the burgh (one of whom was Mr.
     William Glendinning, son of the minister), indignant at such
     tyrannical proceedings, refused to incarcerate their own pastor,
     then nearly eighty years of age, and were determined, with the
     great body of the inhabitants of the town, to attend upon his
     ministry. Sydserff, too proud and violent to allow his authority
     to be thus despised, caused Bailie Glendinning to be imprisoned
     in Kirkcudbright, and the other magistrates to be confined within
     the town of Wigtown, while he sentenced the aged minister to
     remain within the bounds of his parish, and forbade him to
     exercise any part of his ministerial functions. But he found it
     impossible, by all the means he could employ, to reduce these
     refractory magistrates to obedience. The firmness which Fullarton
     manifested on this occasion is warmly commended by Rutherford.]

       *       *       *       *       *

(_ENCOURAGEMENT TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST._)

MUCH HONOURED AND VERY DEAR FRIEND,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you.--I am in good case, blessed be the Lord, remaining here in this
unco town a prisoner for Christ and His truth. And I am not ashamed of
His cross. My soul is comforted with the consolations of His sweet
presence, for whom I suffer.

I earnestly entreat you to give your honour and authority to Christ,
and for Christ; and be not dismayed for flesh and blood, while you are
for the Lord, and for His truth and cause. And howbeit we see truth
put to the worse for the time, yet Christ will be a friend to truth,
and will do for those who dare hazard all that they have for Him and
for His glory. Sir, our fair day is coming, and the court will change,
and wicked men will weep after noon, and sorer than the sons of God,
who weep in the morning. Let us believe and hope for God's salvation.

Sir, I hope I need not write to you for your kindness and love to my
brother,[162] who is now to be distressed for the truth of God as well
as I am. I think myself obliged to pray for you, and your worthy and
kind bed-fellow and children, for your love to him and me also. I hope
your pains for us in Christ shall not be lost. Thus recommending you
to the tender mercy and loving-kindness of God, I rest,

  Your very loving and affectionate brother,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Sept. 21, 1636_.

  [162] His brother was a teacher in Kirkcudbright, and between him and
  Samuel there was a warm attachment, and strong sympathies. He, too,
  suffered persecution for his adherence to the cause of Presbytery. For
  this, and his zealous support of Mr. Glendinning, whom the Bishop of
  Galloway treated with such cruelty, he was in November 1636 condemned
  to resign his charge, and remove from Kirkcudbright before the ensuing
  term of Whitsunday.



LXVIII.--_To JOHN FLEMING, Bailiffe (Bailie) of Leith_.

     [Of Mr. Fleming nothing can be ascertained, unless it is he who
     is mentioned by Livingston as being a merchant in Edinburgh, a
     man of note among the godly.]

(_THE SWEETNESS AND FAITHFULNESS OF CHRIST'S LOVE._)


MY VERY WORTHY FRIEND,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I received
your letter. I bless the Lord through Jesus Christ, I find His word
good, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isa. xlviii.
10). "I will be with him in trouble" (Ps. xci. 15). I never expected
other at Christ's hand but much good and comfort; and I am not
disappointed. I find my Lord's cross overgilded and oiled with
comforts. My Lord hath now shown me the white side of His cross. I
would not exchange my weeping in prison with the Fourteen
Prelates'[163] laughter, amidst their hungry and lean joys. This world
knoweth not the sweetness of Christ's love; it is a mystery to them.

  [163] Referring probably to the number of prelates (consisting of two
  archbishops and twelve bishops) who were members of the High
  Commission by whom he was sentenced to imprisonment.

At my first coming here, I found great heaviness, especially because
it had pleased the prelates to add this gentle cruelty to my former
sufferings (for it is gentle to them), to inhibit the ministers of the
town to give me the liberty of a pulpit. I said, What aileth Christ at
my service? But I was a fool; He hath chid Himself friends with me. If
ye and others of God's children shall praise His great name, who
maketh worthless men witnesses for Him, my silence and sufferings
shall preach more than my tongue could do. If His glory be seen in me,
I am satisfied; for I want for no kindness from Christ. And, sir, I
dare not smother His liberality. I write it to you, that ye may
praise, and desire your brother and others to join with me in this
work.

This land shall be made desolate. Our iniquities are full; the Lord
saith, we shall drink, and spue, and fall. Remember my love to your
good kind wife. Grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Nov. 13, 1636_.



LXIX.--_To the Noble and Christian Lady the_ VISCOUNTESS OF KENMURE.

     (_HIS ENJOYMENT OF CHRIST IN ABERDEEN--A SIGHT OF CHRIST EXCEEDS
     ALL REPORTS--SOME ASHAMED OF HIM AND HIS._)


MY VERY HONOURABLE 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 hath 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. I shall not again
quarrel Christ for a gloom, now He hath taken the mask off His face,
and saith, "Kiss thy fill;" and what can I have more when I get great
heaven in my little arms? Oh, how sweet are the sufferings of Christ
for Christ! 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 were a sweet and honourable death to die for the honour of
that royal and princely King Jesus. His love is a mystery to the
world. I would not have believed that there was so much in Christ as
there is. "Come and see" maketh Christ to be known in His excellency
and glory. I wish all this nation knew how sweet His breath is. It is
little to see Christ in a book, as men do the world in a card. They
talk of Christ by the book and the tongue, and no more; but to come
nigh Christ, and hause Him, and embrace Him, is another thing. Madam,
I write to your honour, for your encouragement in that honourable
profession Christ hath honoured you with. Ye have gotten the sunny
side of the brae, and the best of Christ's good things. He hath not
given you the bastard's portion; and howbeit ye 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 doth not ebb and flow, but your
sea. That which Christ hath said, He will bide by it. He will be your
tutor. You shall not get you charters of heaven to play you with. It
is good that ye have lost your credit with Christ, and that Lord
Free-will shall not be your tutor. Christ will lippen the taking you
to heaven, neither to yourself, nor any deputy, but only to Himself.
Blessed be your tutor. When your Head shall appear, your Bridegroom
and Lord, your day shall then dawn, and it shall never have an
afternoon, nor an evening shadow. Let your child be Christ's; let him
stay beside you as thy Lord's pledge that you shall willingly render
again, if God will.

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 hath 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. Remember my
obliged obedience to my good Lady Marr. Grace, grace be with you. I
write and pray blessings to your sweet child.

  Yours in all dutiful obedience in his only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Nov. 22, 1636_.



LXX.--_To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, my_ LADY
VISCOUNTESS OF KENMURE.

(_EXERCISE UNDER RESTRAINT FROM PREACHING--THE DEVIL--CHRIST'S LOVING
KINDNESS--PROGRESS._)


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. Since my coming hither, Galloway
sent me not a line, except what my brother, Earlston, and his son, did
write. I cannot get my papers transported; but, Madam, I want not
kindness of one who hath the gate of it. Christ (if He had never done
more for me since I was born) hath engaged my heart, and gained my
blessing in this house of my pilgrimage. It pleaseth my Well-beloved
to dine with a poor prisoner, and the King's spikenard casteth a
fragrant smell. Nothing grieveth me, but that I eat my feasts my lone,
and that I cannot edify His saints. O that this nation knew what is
betwixt Him and me; none would scar at the cross of Christ! My silence
eats me up, but He hath told me He thanketh me no less, than if I were
preaching daily. He sees how gladly I would be at it; and therefore my
wages are going to the fore, up in heaven, as if I were still
preaching Christ. Captains pay duly bedfast soldiers, howbeit they
do[164] nor march, nor carry armour. "Though Israel be not gathered,
yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be
my strength" (Isa. xlix. 5). My garland, "the banished minister" (the
term of Aberdeen), ashameth me not. I have seen the white side of
Christ's cross; how lovely hath He been to His oppressed servant! "The
Lord executeth judgment for the oppressed, He giveth food to the
hungry: the Lord looseth the prisoner; the Lord raiseth them that are
bowed down: the Lord preserveth the stranger" (Ps. cxlvi. 7, 9). If it
were come to exchanging of crosses, I would not exchange my cross with
any. I am well pleased with Christ, and He with me; I hope none shall
hear us.[165] It is true for all this, I get my meat with many
strokes, and am seven times a-day up and down, and am often anxious
and cast down for the case of my oppressed brother; yet I hope the
Lord will be surety for His servant. But now upon some weak, very weak
experience, I am come to love a rumbling and raging devil best. Seeing
we must have a devil to hold the saints waking, I wish a cumbersome
devil, rather than a secure and sleeping one.[166] At my first coming
hither, I took the dorts at Christ, and took up a stomach against Him;
I said, He had cast me over the dike of the vineyard, like a dry tree.
But it was His mercy, I see, that the fire did not burn the dry tree;
and now, as if my Lord Jesus had done that fault, and not I (who
belied my Lord), He hath made the first mends, and He spake not one
word against me, but hath come again and quickened my soul with His
presence. Nay, now I think the very annuity and casualties of the
cross of Christ Jesus my Lord, and these comforts that accompany it,
better than the world's set-rent. O how many rich off-fallings are in
my King's house! I am persuaded, and dare pawn my salvation on it,
that it is Christ's truth I now suffer for. I know His comforts are no
dreams; He would not put His seal on blank paper, nor deceive His
afflicted ones that trust in Him.

  [164] Some editions read "dow,"--are not able.

  [165] In Thomson's edition this is explained by referring to Proverbs
  xiv. 10.

  [166] "Trial of Faith," p. 462, 1655, uses the same words.

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. xii. 8). I long to hear of the
child. I write the blessings of Christ's prisoner and the mercies of
God to him. Let him be Christ's and yours betwixt you, but let Christ
be whole play-maker. Let Him be the leader; and you the borrower, not
an owner.

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 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. I invite you of new to come to Him. "Come and
see," will speak better things of Him than I can do. "Come nearer"
will say much. God never thought this world a portion worthy of you.
He would not even you to a gift of dirt and clay; nay, He will not
give you Esau's portion, but reserves the inheritance of Jacob for
you. Are ye not well married now? Have you not a good husband now?

My heart cannot express what sad nights I have had for the virgin
daughter of my people. Woe is me, for my time is coming. "Behold, the
day, behold, the day is come; the morning hath gone forth, the rod
hath blossomed, pride hath budded, violence is risen up in a rod of
wickedness, the sun is gone down upon our prophets." A dry wind upon
Scotland, but neither to fan nor to cleanse; but out of all question,
when the Lord hath cut down the forest, the aftergrowth of Lebanon
shall flourish; they shall plant vines in our mountains, and a cloud
shall yet fill the temple. 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,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



LXXI.--_To_ MR. HUGH M'KAIL.


     [MR. HUGH M'KAIL was at this time minister of Irvine. Previous to
     his settlement in that parish, Rutherford was very desirous of
     seeing him settled assistant and successor to Mr. Robert
     Glendinning, the aged minister of Kirkcudbright; the people too
     had an eye to him, but were disappointed, having been anticipated
     by the parish of which he was now pastor. He and Mr. William
     Cockburn were appointed by the General Assembly of 1644 to visit
     the north of Ireland for three months, with the view of promoting
     the interests of the Presbyterian Church in that country. He was
     ultimately translated to Edinburgh. In the unhappy controversy
     between the Resolutioners and Protesters, M'Kail took the side of
     the former; but was among the more moderate of the party. Baillie
     often refers to him in his letters. He died in the beginning of
     the year 1660, and was buried in the Greyfriars' churchyard,
     Edinburgh. (Lamont's "Diary," p. 121.) He was the brother of Mr.
     Matthew M'Kail of Bothwell, who was the father of the youthful
     Hugh M'Kail, and young Hugh, who nobly suffered in 1666, was
     educated in Edinburgh, under the superintendence of this uncle.]



(_CHRIST TO BE TRUSTED AMID TRIAL._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I thank you for your letter. I cannot but
show you, that as I never expected anything from Christ, but much good
and kindness, so He hath made me to find it in the house of my
pilgrimage. And believe me, brother, I give it to you under mine own
hand-writ, that whoso looketh to the white side of Christ's cross, and
can take it up handsomely with faith and courage, shall find it such
a burden as sails are to a ship, or wings to a bird. I find that my
Lord hath overgilded that black tree, and hath perfumed it, and oiled
it with joy and consolation. Like a fool, once I would chide and plead
with Christ, and slander Him to others, of unkindness.[167] But I
trust in God, not to call His glooms unkind again; for He hath taken
from me my sackcloth; and I verily cannot tell you what a poor Joseph
and prisoner (with whom my mother's children were angry) doth now
think of kind Christ. I will chide no more, providing He will quit me
all by-gones; for I am poor. I am taught in this ill weather to go on
the lee-side of Christ, and to put Him in between me and the storm;
and (I thank God) I walk on the sunny side of the brae. I write it
that ye may speak in my behalf the praises of my Lord to others, that
my bonds may preach. O if all Scotland knew the feasts, and
love-blinks, and visits that the prelates have sent unto me! I will
verily give my Lord Jesus a free discharge of all that I, like a fool,
laid to His charge, and beg Him pardon, to the mends. God grant that
in my temptations I come not on His wrong side again, and never again
fall a raving against my Physician in my fever.

  [167] At one time I would have falsely charged Him with unkindness.

Brother, plead with your mother while ye have time. A pulpit would be
a high feast to me; but I dare not say one word against Him who hath
done it. I am not out of the house as yet. My sweet Master saith, I
shall have house-room at His own elbow; albeit their synagogue will
need force to cast me out. A letter were a work of charity to me.
Grace be with you. Pray for me.

  Your brother and Christ's prisoner,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Nov. 22, 1636_.



LXXII.--_To WILLIAM GORDON of Roberton_.

     [WILLIAM GORDON of Roberton, in the parish of Borgue in Galloway,
     close to Knockbrex, was the father of William Gordon of Roberton,
     who joined with the Covenanters in the rising at Pentland in
     1666, and was killed, "to the great loss of the country where he
     lived," says Wodrow, "and his own family, his aged father having
     no more sons." Mary, a daughter of this venerable old man, to
     whom this letter is addressed, suffered much for nonconformity at
     the hands of Claverhouse and his friends. She was married to John
     Gordon of Largmore (which is in Kells, near Kenmure Castle), who,
     in the battle at Pentland, was severely wounded, and, returning
     to his own house, died in the course of a few days. The old man
     did not long survive the death of his son and son-in-law; for, on
     the 8th of September 1668, Mary Gordon is retoured heir of
     William Gordon of Roberton, her father. In Kells churchyard, near
     the gate, there is a short epitaph: "Here lyes the corpse of
     Roger Gordon of Largmore, who dyed March 2, 1662, aged 72 years;
     and of John Gordon of Largmore his grandchild, who dyed January
     6, 1667, of his wounds got at Pentland in defence of the
     Covenanted Reformation."]

(_HOW TRIALS ARE MISIMPROVED--THE INFINITE VALUE of CHRIST--DESPISED
WARNINGS._)


DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. So often as I think
on our case, in our soldier's night-watch, and of our fighting life in
the fields, while we are here, I am forced to say, prisoners in a
dungeon, condemned by a judge to want the light of the sun, and moon,
and candle, till their dying day, are no more, nay, not so much, to be
pitied as we are. For they are weary of their life, they hate their
prison; but we fall to, in our prison, where we see little, to drink
ourselves drunk with the night-pleasures of our weak dreams; and we
long for no better life than this. But at the blast of the last
trumpet, and the shout of the archangel, when God shall take down the
shepherd's tent of this fading world, we shall not have so much as a
drink of water, of all the dreams that we now build on. Alas! that the
sharp and bitter blasts on face and sides, which meet us in this life,
have not learned us mortification, and made us dead to this world! We
buy our own sorrow, and we pay dear for it, when we spend out our
love, our joy, our desires, our confidence, upon an handful of snow
and ice, that time will melt away to nothing, and go thirsty out of
the drunken inn when all is done. Alas! that we inquire not for the
clear fountain, but are so foolish as to drink foul, muddy, and rotten
waters, even till our bed-time. And then in the Resurrection, when we
shall be awakened, our yesternight's sour drink and swinish dregs
shall rift up upon us; and sick, sick, shall many a soul be then.

I know no wholesome fountain but one. I know not a thing worth the
buying but heaven; and my own mind is, if comparison were made betwixt
Christ and heaven, I would sell heaven with my blessing, and buy
Christ. O if I could raise the market for Christ, and heighten the
market a pound for a penny, and cry up Christ in men's estimation ten
thousand talents more than men think of Him! But they are cheapening
Him,[168] and crying Him down, and valuing Him at their unworthy
halfpenny; or else exchanging and bartering Christ with the miserable
old fallen house of this vain world. Or then they lend Him out upon
interest, and play the usurers with Christ: because they profess Him,
and give out before men that Christ is their treasure and stock; and
in the mean time, praise of men, and a name, and ease, and the summer
sun of the Gospel, is the usury they would be at. So, when the trial
cometh, they quit the stock for the interest, and lose all. Happy are
they who can keep Christ by Himself alone, and keep Him clean and
whole till God come and count with them. I know that in your hard and
heavy trials long since, ye thought well and highly of Christ; but,
truly, no cross should be old to us. We should not forget them because
years are come betwixt us and them, and cast them byhand as we do old
clothes. We may make a cross old in time, new in use, and as fruitful
as in the beginning of it. God is where and what He was seven years
ago, whatever change may be in us. I speak not this as if I thought ye
had forgotten what God did, to have your love long since, but that ye
may awake yourself in this sleepy age, and remember fruitfully of
Christ's first wooing and suiting of your love, both with fire and
water, and try if He got His answer, or if ye be yet to give Him it.
For I find in myself, that water runneth not faster through a sieve
than our warnings slip from us; I have lost and casten byhand many
summons the Lord sent to me; and therefore the Lord hath given me
double charges, that I trust in God shall not rive me. I bless His
great name, who is no niggard in holding-in crosses upon me, but
spendeth largely His rods, that He may save me from this perishing
world. How plentiful God is in means of this kind is esteemed by many
one of God's unkind mercies; but Christ's cross is neither a cruel nor
unkind mercy, but the love-token of a father. I am sure, a lover
chasing us for our weal, and to have our love, should not be run away
from, or fled from. God send me no worse mercy than the sanctified
cross of Christ portendeth, and I am sure I should be happy and
blessed.

  [168] Bringing down the price, perhaps alluding to Zech. xi. 31.

Pray for me, that I may find house-room in the Lord's house to speak
in His name. Remember my dearest love in Christ to your wife. Grace,
grace be unto you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1636.



LXXIII.--_To_ EARLSTON, _Elder_.

     "And they overcame the dragon by the blood of the Lamb, and by
     the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto
     the death."--REV. xii. 11.

(_CHRIST'S LIBERALITY--HIS OWN MISAPPREHENSIONS OF CHRIST._)


MUCH-HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I long to see
you in paper, and to be refreshed by you. I cannot but desire you, and
charge you to help me to praise Him who feedeth a poor prisoner with
the fatness of His house. O how weighty is His love! O but there is
much telling in Christ's kindness! The Amen, the Faithful and True
Witness, hath paid me my hundred-fold, well told, and one to the
hundred. I complained of Him, but He is owing me nothing now. Sir, I
charge you to help me to praise His goodness, and to proclaim to
others my Bridegroom's kindness, whose love is better than wine. I
took up an action against Christ, and brought a plea against His love,
and libelled unkindness against Christ my Lord, and I said, "This is
my death; He hath forgotten me." But my meek Lord held His peace, and
beheld me, and would not contend for the last word of flyting. And now
He hath chided Himself friends with me. And now I see He must be God,
and I must be flesh. I pass from my summons; I acknowledge He might
have given me my fill of it, and never troubled Himself. But now He
hath taken away the mask; I have been comforted; He could not smother
His love any longer to a prisoner and a stranger. God grant that I may
never buy a plea against Christ again, but may keep good quarters with
Him. I want here no kindness,[169] no love-tokens; but O wise is His
love! for, notwithstanding of this hot summer-blink, I am kept low
with the grief of my silence. For His word is in me as a fire in my
bowels; and I see the Lord's vineyard laid waste, and the heathen
entered into the sanctuary: and my belly is pained, and my soul in
heaviness, because the Lord's people are gone into captivity, and
because of the fury of the Lord, and that wind (but neither to fan nor
purge) which is coming upon apostate Scotland. Also I am kept awake
with the late wrong done to my brother; but I trust you will counsel
and comfort him. Yet, in this mist, I see and believe the Lord will
heal this halting kirk, "and will lay her stones with fair colours,
and her foundations with sapphires, and will make her windows of
agates, and her gates carbuncles" (Isa. liv. 11, 12). "And for brass
He will bring gold." He hath created the smith that formed the sword:
no weapon in war shall prosper against us. Let us be glad and rejoice
in the Lord, for His salvation is near to come. Remember me to your
wife and your son John. And I entreat you to write to me. Grace, grace
be with you.

  Yours in his only, only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Dec. 30, 1636_.

  [169] I have no want of.



LXXIV.--_To the_ LADY CULROSS.

  "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed
  their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."--REV.
  vii. 14.

(_HIS OWN MISCONCEPTION OF CHRIST'S WAYS--CHRIST'S KINDNESS._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied upon you. I greatly long
to be refreshed with your letter. I am now (all honour and glory to
the King eternal, immortal, and invisible!) in better terms with
Christ than I was. I, like a fool, summoned my Husband and Lord, and
libelled unkindness against Him; but now I pass from that foolish
pursuit; I give over the plea. He is God, and I am man. I was loosing
a fast stone, and digging at the ground-stone, the love of my Lord, to
shake and unsettle it. But, God be thanked, it is fast; all is sure.
In my prison He hath shown me daylight; He dought not hide His love
any longer. Christ was disguised and masked, and I apprehended it was
not He; but He hath said, "It is I, be not afraid;" and now His love
is better than wine. O that all the virgins had part of the
Bridegroom's love whereupon He maketh me to feed. Help me to praise. I
charge you, Madam, help me to pay praises; and tell others, the
daughters of Jerusalem, how kind Christ is to a poor prisoner. He hath
paid me my hundred-fold; it is well told me, and one to the hundred. I
am nothing behind with Christ. Let not fools, because of their lazy
and soft flesh, raise a slander and an ill report upon the cross of
Christ. It is sweeter than fair.

I see grace groweth best in winter. This poor persecuted kirk, this
lily amongst the thorns, shall blossom, and laugh upon the gardener;
the husbandman's blessing shall light upon it. O if I could be free of
jealousies of Christ, after this, and believe, and keep good quarters
with my dearest Husband! for He hath been kind to the stranger. And
yet in all this fair hot summer weather, I am kept from saying, "It is
good to be here,"[170] with my silence, and with grief to see my
mother wounded and her veil taken from her, and the fair temple casten
down. My belly is pained, my soul is heavy for the captivity of the
daughter of my people, and because of the fury of the Lord, and His
fierce indignation against apostate Scotland. I pray you, Madam, let
me have that which is my prayer here, that my sufferings may preach to
the four quarters of this land; and, therefore, tell others how
open-handed Christ had been to the prisoner and the oppressed
stranger. Why should I conceal it? I know no other way how to glorify
Christ, but to make an open proclamation of His love, and of His soft
and sweet kisses to me in the furnace, and of His fidelity to such as
suffer for Him. Give it me under your hand, that ye will help me to
pray and praise; but rather to praise and rejoice in the salvation of
God. Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours in his dearest and only, only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Dec. 30, 1636_.

  [170] My being silenced as to preaching, and my grief, keep me from
  saying.

[Illustration: AYR.]



LXXV.--_To JOHN KENNEDY, Bailiffe (i.e. Bailie) of Ayr._

     [JOHN KENNEDY was the son of Hugh Kennedy, Provost of Ayr. Hugh
     was an eminent Christian, and did much to promote the cause of
     religion in the place where he lived. John Welsh, minister of
     Ayr, bore this high testimony to him in a letter written to him
     in France: "Happy is that city, yea, happy is that nation that
     has a Hugh Kennedy in it. I have myself certainly found the
     answer of his prayers from the Lord in my behalf." On his
     death-bed, he was filled "with inexpressible joy in the Holy
     Ghost, beyond what it was possible to comprehend." (Wodrow, in
     his life of Boyd of Trochrig.) John, his son, possessed much of
     the spirit and character of his father. "He was," says Fleming
     ("Fulfilling of the Scriptures"), "as choice a Christian as was
     at that time." The same writer records a remarkable escape from
     imminent peril at sea which Kennedy experienced; which may be the
     deliverance to which Rutherford refers in a subsequent letter. It
     happened thus: John Stewart, Provost of Ayr, another of
     Rutherford's correspondents, who had gone to France, having
     loaded a ship at Rochelle with various commodities for Scotland,
     proceeded to England by the nearest way, and thence to Ayr. After
     waiting a considerable time for the arrival of his vessel, he was
     told that it was captured by the Turks. This information,
     however, proved to be incorrect, for it at length arrived in the
     roads; upon hearing of which, Kennedy, an intimate friend of
     Stewart, was so overjoyed, that he went out to it in a small
     boat. But a storm suddenly arising, he was driven past the
     vessel, and the general belief of the onlookers from the shore
     was that he and his boat were swallowed up; indeed, the storm
     increased to such a degree of violence as to threaten even the
     shipwreck of the vessel. Deeply affected at the apprehended loss
     of his friend, Stewart shut himself up in entire seclusion for
     three days; but at the very time he had gone to visit Kennedy's
     wife under her supposed bereavement, Kennedy, who had been driven
     to another part of the coast, but had reached the land in safety,
     made his appearance, to the great joy of all. Kennedy was a
     member of the Scottish Parliament in the years 1644-5-6, for the
     burgh of Ayr, and is styled in the roll, "John Kennedy, Provost
     of Ayr." He was also a member of the General Assemblies of
     1642-3-4-6 and 7, and his name appears among the ruling elders in
     the commission for the public affairs of the kirk in all these
     years. His brother Hugh (also an elder of the Church) was
     frequently a member of the General Assembly, and, as we learn
     from "Baillie's Letters," had an active share in the proceedings
     of the Covenanters during the reign of Charles I. There are
     lineal descendants of this family in Ayr at this day; one of
     them, like his ancestor, was lately Provost of the town.]

(_LONGING AFTER CLEARER VIEWS OF CHRIST--HIS LONG-SUFFERING--TRYING
CIRCUMSTANCES._)


WORTHY AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I long to
see you in this northern world on paper; I know it is not
forgetfulness that ye write not. I am every way in good ease, both in
soul and body; all honour and glory be to my Lord. I want nothing but
a further revelation of the beauty of the unknown Son of God. Either I
know not what Christianity is, or we have stinted a measure of so many
ounce weights, and no more, upon holiness; and there we are at a
stand, drawing our breath all our life. A moderation in God's way is
now much in request. I profess that I have never taken pains to find
out Him whom my soul loveth; there is a gate yet of finding out Christ
that I have never lighted upon. Oh, if I could find it out! Alas, how
soon are we pleased with our own shadow in a glass! It were good to be
beginning in sad earnest to find out God, and to seek the right tread
of Christ. Time, custom, and a good opinion of ourselves, our good
meaning, and our lazy desires, our fair shows, and the world's
glistering lustres, and these broad passments and buskings of
religion, that bear bulk in the kirk, is that wherewith most satisfy
themselves. But a bed watered with tears, a throat dry with praying,
eyes as a fountain of tears for the sins of the land, are rare to be
found among us. Oh if we could know the power of godliness!

This is one part of my case; and another is, that I, like a fool, once
summoned Christ for unkindness, and complained of His fickleness and
inconstancy, because He would have no more of my service nor
preaching, and had casten me out of the inheritance of the Lord. And
now I confess that this was but a bought plea, and I was a fool. Yet
He hath borne with me. I gave Him a fair advantage against me, but
love and mercy would not let Him take it; and the truth is, now He
hath chided Himself friends with me, and hath taken away the mask, and
hath renewed His wonted favour in such a manner that He hath paid me
my hundred-fold in this life, and one to the hundred. This prison is
my banqueting-house; I am handled as softly and delicately as a dawted
child. I am nothing behind (I see) with Christ; He can, in a month,
make up a year's losses. And I write this to you, that I may entreat,
nay, adjure and charge you, by the love of our Well-beloved, to help
me to praise; and to tell all your Christian acquaintance to help me,
for I am as deeply drowned in His debt as any dyvour can be. And yet
in this fair sun-blink I have something to keep me from startling, or
being exalted above measure; His word is as fire shut up in my bowels,
and I am weary with forbearing. The ministers in this town are saying
that they will have my prison changed into less bounds, because they
see God with me. My mother hath borne me a man of contention, one that
striveth with the whole earth. The late wrongs and oppressions done to
my brother keep my sails low; yet I defy crosses to embark me in such
a plea against Christ as I was troubled with of late. I hope to
over-hope and over-believe my troubles. I have cause now to trust
Christ's promise more than His gloom.

Remember my hearty affection to your wife. My soul is grieved for the
success of our brethren's journey to New England; but God hath
somewhat to reveal that we see not. Grace be with you. Pray for the
prisoner.

  Yours, in his only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Jan. 1, 1637_.



LXXVI.--_To ROBERT GORDON of Knockbrex._

(_BENEFIT OF AFFLICTION._)


MY DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied upon you.--I
am almost wearying, yea, wondering, that ye write not to me: though I
know it is not forgetfulness.

As for myself, I am every way well, all glory to God. I was before at
a plea with Christ (but it was bought by me, and unlawful), because
His whole providence was not yea and nay to my yea and nay, and
because I believed Christ's outward look better than His faithful
promise. Yet He hath in patience waited on, whill I be come to myself,
and hath not taken advantage of my weak apprehensions of His goodness.
Great and holy is His name! He looketh to what I desire to be, and not
to what I am. One thing I have learned. If I had been in Christ, by
way of adhesion only, as many branches are, I should have been burnt
to ashes, and this world would have seen a suffering minister of
Christ (of something once in show) turned into unsavoury salt. But my
Lord Jesus had a good eye that the tempter should not play foul play,
and blow out Christ's candle. He took no thought of my stomach, and
fretting and grudging humour, but of His own grace. When He burnt the
house, He saved His own goods. And I believe that the devil and the
persecuting world shall reap no fruit of me, but burnt ashes: for He
will see to His own gold, and save that from being consumed with the
fire.

Oh, what owe I to the file, to the hammer, to the furnace of my Lord
Jesus! who hath now let me see how good the wheat of Christ is, that
goeth through His mill, and His oven, to be made bread for His own
table. Grace tried is better than grace, and it is more than grace; it
is glory in its infancy. I now see that godliness is more than the
outside, and this world's passments and their buskings. Who knoweth
the truth of grace without a trial? Oh, how little getteth Christ of
us, but that which He winneth (to speak so) with much toil and pains!
And how soon would faith freeze without a cross! How many dumb crosses
have been laid upon my back, that had never a tongue to speak the
sweetness of Christ, as this hath! When Christ blesseth His own
crosses with a tongue, they breathe out Christ's love, wisdom,
kindness, and care of us. Why should I start at the plough of my
Lord, that maketh deep furrows on my soul? I know that He is no idle
Husbandman, He purposeth a crop. O that this white, withered
lea-ground were made fertile to bear a crop for Him, by whom it is so
painfully dressed; and that this fallow-ground were broken up! Why was
I (a fool!) grieved that He put His garland and His rose upon my
head--the glory and honour of His faithful witnesses? I desire now to
make no more pleas with Christ. Verily He hath not put me to a loss by
what I suffer; He oweth me nothing; for in my bonds how sweet and
comfortable have the thoughts of Him been to me, wherein I find a
sufficient recompense of reward!

How blind are my adversaries, who sent me to a banqueting-house, to a
house of wine, to the lovely feasts of my lovely Lord Jesus, and not
to a prison, or place of exile! Why should I smother my Husband's
honesty, or sin against His love, or be a niggard in giving out to
others what I get for nothing? Brother, eat with me, and give thanks.
I charge you before God, that ye speak to others, and invite them to
help me to praise! Oh, my debt of praise, how weighty it is, and how
far run up! O that others would lend me to pay, and learn me to
praise! Oh, I am a drowned dyvour! Lord Jesus, take my thoughts for
payments. Yet I am in this hot summer-blink with the tear in my eye;
for (by reason of my silence) sorrow, sorrow hath filled me; my harp
is hanged upon the willow-trees, because I am in a strange land. I am
still kept in exercise with envious brethren; my mother hath borne me
a man of contention.

Write to me your mind anent Y. C.: I cannot forget him; I know not
what God hath to do with him:--and your mind anent my parishioners'
behaviour, and how they are served in preaching; or if there be a
minister as yet thrust in upon them, which I desire greatly to know,
and which I much fear.

Dear brother, ye are in my heart, to live and to die with you. Visit
me with a letter. Pray for me. Remember my love to your wife. Grace,
grace be with you; and God, who heareth prayer, visit you, and let it
be unto you according to the prayers of

  Your own brother, and Christ's prisoner,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Jan. 1, 1637_.



LXXVII.--_To my_ LADY BOYD.

     [LADY BOYD, whose maiden name was Christian Hamilton, was the
     eldest daughter of Thomas, first Earl of Haddington. She was
     first married to Robert, ninth Lord Lindsay of Byres, who died in
     1616. She married for her second husband, Robert, sixth Lord
     Boyd, who died in August 1628. Lady Boyd was distinguished for
     piety, and a zealous Presbyterian. Livingstone gives her a place
     among "some of the professors in the Church of Scotland of his
     acquaintance, who were eminent for grace and gifts;" eulogizes
     her as "a rare pattern of Christianity, grave, diligent, and
     prudent;" and adds, "She used every night to write what had been
     the case of her soul all the day, and what she had observed of
     the Lord's dealing." He speaks of residing for some time, during
     the course of his ministry, in the house of Kilmarnock, with "the
     worthy Lady Boyd." Some of her letters are given by Wodrow in his
     life of Boyd of Trochrig (pp. 166, 272.) She used to reside much
     at Badenheath, in the parish of Chryston, near Glasgow, and there
     John Livingston visited her.]

(_ABERDEEN--EXPERIENCE OF HIMSELF SAD--PRESSING FORWARDS._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you. The Lord hath brought me
to Aberdeen, where I see God in few. This town hath 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,[171] 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. And, for fear of
scandal and stumbling, I must bide this day of the law's pleading: I
know not if this court kept within my soul be fenced in Christ's name.
If certainty of salvation were to be bought, God knoweth, if I had ten
earths, I would not prig with God. 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 hath 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 cometh with a fair
hour, and O! but His love be sweet, delightful, and comfortable. Half
a kiss is sweet; but our doting love will not be content with a right
to Christ, unless we get possession; like the man who will not be
content with rights to bought land, except he get also the ridges and
acres laid upon his back to carry home with him! However it be, Christ
is wise; and we are fools, to be browden and fond of a pawn in the
loof of our hand. Living on trust by faith may well content us. 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
honoured, 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 hath honoured you with a name and room among the living in
Jerusalem, and wishing grace to be with your Ladyship, I rest,

  Your Ladyship's in his sweetest Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.

  [171] Spin fine.



LXXVIII.--_To my_ LORD BOYD.

     [ROBERT, seventh LORD BOYD, was the only son of Robert, sixth
     Lord Boyd, by Lady Christian Hamilton, mentioned in the preceding
     letter. His father (who was cousin of the famous Robert Boyd of
     Trochrig, two miles from Girvan, and under whom he studied at
     Saumur) died in August 1628, at the early age of 33. Young Robert
     was served heir to his father the 9th of May 1629. His earthly
     course was, however, brief; for he died of a fever on the 17th of
     November 1640, aged about 24. He was married to Lady Anne
     Fleming, second daughter of John, second Earl of Wigtown. Lord
     Boyd warmly espoused the side of the Covenanters; and though not
     a member of the General Assembly held at Glasgow in 1638, he
     attended its meetings and took a deep interest in its
     proceedings.]

(_ENCOURAGEMENT TO EXERTION FOR CHRIST'S CAUSE._)


MY VERY HONOURABLE AND GOOD LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to your
Lordship. Out of the worthy report that I hear of your Lordship's zeal
for this borne-down and oppressed Gospel, I am bold to write to your
Lordship, beseeching you by the mercies of God, by the honour of our
royal and princely King Jesus, by the sorrows, tears, and desolation
of your afflicted mother-Church, and by the peace of your conscience,
and your joy in the day of Christ, that your Lordship would go on, in
the strength of your Lord, and in the power of His might, to bestir
yourself, for the vindicating of the fallen honour of your Lord Jesus.
Oh, blessed hands for evermore, that shall help to put the crown upon
the head of Christ again in Scotland! I dare promise, in the name of
our Lord, that this will fasten and fix the pillars and the stakes of
your honourable house upon earth, if you lend and lay in pledge in
Christ's hand, upon spiritual hazard, life, estate, house, honour,
credit, moyen, friends, the favour of men (suppose kings with three
crowns), so being that ye may bear witness, and acquit yourself as a
man of valour and courage to the Prince of your salvation, for the
purging of His temple, and sweeping out the lordly Diotrepheses,
time-courting Demases, corrupt Hymenæuses and Philetuses, and other
such oxen, that with their dung defile the temple of the Lord. Is not
Christ now crying, "Who will help Me? who will come out with Me, to
take part with Me, and share in the honour of My victory over these
Mine enemies, who have said, We will not have this man to rule over
us?"

My very honourable and dear Lord, join, join (as ye do) with Christ.
He is more worth to you and your posterity than this world's
May-flowers, and withering riches and honour, that shall go away as
smoke, and evanish in a night vision, and shall, in one half-hour
after the blast of the archangel's trumpet, lie in white ashes. Let me
beseech your Lordship to draw by the lap of time's curtain, and to
look in through the window to great and endless eternity, and consider
if a worldly price (suppose this little round clay globe of this ashy
and dirty earth, the dying idol of the fools of this world, were all
your own) can be given for one smile of Christ's God-like and
soul-ravishing countenance. In that day when so many joints and knees
of thousand thousands wailing shall stand before Christ, trembling,
shouting, and making their prayers to hills and mountains to fall upon
them, and hide them from the face of the Lamb, oh, how many would sell
lordships and kingdoms that day, and buy Christ! But, oh, the market
shall be closed and ended ere then! Your Lordship hath now a blessed
venture of winning court with the Prince of the kings of the earth. He
Himself weeping; truth borne down and fallen in the streets, and an
oppressed Gospel; Christ's bride with watery eyes and spoiled of her
veil, her hair hanging about her eyes, forced to go in ragged apparel;
the banished, alienated, and imprisoned prophets of God, who have not
the favour of liberty to prophesy in sackcloth, all these, I say, call
for your help. Fear not worms of clay; the moth shall eat them as a
garment. Let the Lord be your fear; He is with you, and shall fight
for you; and ye shall make the heart of this your mother-Church to
sing for joy. The Lamb and His armies are with you, and the kingdoms
of the earth are the Lord's. I am persuaded that there is not another
gospel, nor another saving truth, than that which ye now contend for.
I dare hazard my heaven and salvation upon it, that this is the only
saving way to glory.

Grace, grace, be with your Lordship.

Your Lordship's at all respectful obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



LXXIX.--_To_ MARGARET BALLANTINE.

     [This name is not found among the people of the parish of Anwoth.
     Like John Laurie, Letter CLXXV., she may have been some one at a
     distance.]

(_VALUE OF THE SOUL AND URGENCY OF SALVATION._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you.--It is more than time
that I should have written to you; but it is yet good time, if I could
help your soul to mend your pace, and to go more swiftly to your
heavenly country. For truly ye have need to make all haste, because
the inch of your day that remaineth will quickly slip away; for
whether we sleep or wake, our glass runneth. The tide bideth no man.
Beware of a beguile in the matter of your salvation. Woe, woe for
evermore, to them that lose that prize. For what is behind, when the
soul is once lost, but that sinners warm their bits of clay houses at
a fire of their own kindling, for a day or two (which doth rather
suffocate with its smoke than warm them); and at length they lie down
in sorrow, and are clothed with everlasting shame! I would seek no
further measure of faith to begin withal than to believe really and
stedfastly the doctrine of God's justice, His all-devouring wrath, and
everlasting burning, where sinners are burnt, soul and body, in a
river and great lake of fire and brimstone. Then they would wish no
more goods than the thousandth part of a cold fountain-well to cool
their tongues. They would then buy death with enduring of pain and
torment for as many years as God hath created drops of rain since the
creation. But there is no market of buying or selling life or death
there. O, alas! the greatest part of this world run to the place of
that torment rejoicing and dancing, eating, drinking, and sleeping. My
counsel to you is, that ye start in time to be after Christ; for if ye
go quickly, Christ is not far before you; ye shall overtake Him. O
Lord God, what is so needful as this, "Salvation, salvation!" Fy upon
this condemned and foolish world, that would give so little for
salvation! Oh, if there were a free market for salvation proclaimed in
that day when the trumpet of God shall awake the dead, how many buyers
would be then! God send me no more happiness than that salvation which
the blind world, to their eternal woe, letteth slip through their
fingers. Therefore, look if ye can give out your money (as Isaiah
speaketh) (lv. 2) for bread, and lay Christ and His blood in wadset
for heaven. It is a dry and hungry bairn's part of goods that Esaus
are hunting for here. I see thousands following the chase, and in the
pursuit of such things, while in the meantime they lose the blessing;
and, when all is done, they have caught nothing to roast for supper,
but lie down hungry. And, besides, they go to bed, when they die,
without a candle; for God saith to them, "This ye shall have at My
hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow" (Isa. l. 11). And truly this is as
ill-made a bed to lie upon as one could wish; for he cannot sleep
soundly, nor rest sweetly, who hath sorrow for his pillow. Rouse,
rouse up, therefore, your soul, and speer[172] how Christ and your
soul met together. I am sure that they never got Christ, who were not
once sick at the yolk of the heart for Him. Too, too many whole souls
think that they have met with Christ, who had never a wearied night
for the want of Him: but, alas! what richer are men, that they dreamed
the last night they had much gold, and, when they awoke in the
morning, they found it was but a dream? What are all the sinners in
the world, in that day when heaven and earth shall go up in a flame of
fire, but a number of beguiled dreamers? Every one shall say of his
hunting and his conquest, "Behold, it was a dream!" Every man in that
day will tell his dream. I beseech you, in the Lord Jesus, beware,
beware of unsound work in the matter of your salvation: ye may not, ye
cannot, ye dow not want Christ. Then after this day, convene all your
lovers before your soul, and give them their leave; and strike hands
with Christ, that thereafter there may be no happiness to you but
Christ, no hunting for anything but Christ, no bed at night, when
death cometh, but Christ. Christ, Christ, who but Christ! I know this
much of Christ, that He is not ill to be found, nor lordly of His
love. Woe had been my part of it for evermore, if Christ had made a
dainty of Himself to me. But, God be thanked, I gave nothing for
Christ. And now I protest before men and angels that Christ cannot be
exchanged, that Christ cannot be sold, that Christ cannot be weighed.
Where would angels, or all the world, find a balance to weigh Him in?
All lovers blush when ye stand beside Christ! Woe upon all love but
the love of Christ! Hunger, hunger for evermore be upon all heaven but
Christ! Shame, shame for evermore be upon all glory but Christ's
glory. I cry death, death upon all lives but the life of Christ. Oh,
what is it that holdeth us asunder? O that once we could have a fair
meeting!

Thus recommending Christ to you and you to Him, for evermore, I rest.
Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [172] Ask.



LXXX.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_HIS COMFORT UNDER TRIBULATION, AND THE PRISON A PALACE._)


MY DEARLY BELOVED SISTER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I
complain that Galloway is not kind to me in paper. I have received no
letters these sixteen weeks but two. I am well. My prison is a palace
to me, and Christ's banqueting-house. My Lord Jesus is as kind as they
call Him. O that all Scotland knew my case, and had part of my feast!
I charge you in the name of God, I charge you to believe. Fear not
the sons of men; the worms shall eat them. To pray and believe now,
when Christ seems to give you a nay-say, is more than it was before.
Die believing; die, and Christ's promise in your hand. I desire, I
request, I charge your husband and that town,[173] to stand for the
truth of the Gospel. Contend with Christ's enemies; and I pray you
show all professors whom you know my case. Help me to praise. The
ministers here envy me; they will have my prison changed. My mother
hath borne me a man of contention, and one that striveth with the
whole earth. Remember my love to your husband. Grace be with you.

  Yours in the Lord,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Jan. 3, 1637_.

  [173] Kirkcudbright.



LXXXI.--_To_ MR. JOHN MEINE (_Jun_.).

     [MR. JOHN MEINE was the son of John Meine, merchant in Edinburgh,
     "a solid and stedfast professor of the truth of God." His mother
     was Barbara Hamilton, a notice of whom see Letter CCCXIII. He was
     now, it would appear from an allusion in the close of this
     letter, a student of theology, with a view to the holy ministry.
     Halyburton on his deathbed spake of this letter as one in which
     was to be found "More practical religion than in a large
     volume."]

(_EXPERIENCE--PATIENT WAITING--SANCTIFICATION._)


WORTHY AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I have
been too long in answering your letter, but other business took me up.
I am here waiting, if the fair wind will turn upon Christ's sails in
Scotland, and if deliverance be breaking out to this over-clouded and
benighted kirk. O that we could contend, by prayers and supplications,
with our Lord for that effect! I know that He hath not given out His
last doom against this land. I have little of Christ, in this prison,
but groanings, and longings, and desires. All my stock of Christ is
some hunger for Him, and yet I cannot say but I am rich in that. My
faith, and hope, and holy practice of new obedience, are scarce worth
the speaking of. But blessed be my Lord, who taketh me, light, and
clipped, and naughty, and feckless as I am. I see that Christ will not
prig with me, nor stand upon stepping-stones; but cometh in at the
broadside without ceremonies, or making it nice, to make a poor,
ransomed one His own. O that I could feed upon His breathing, and
kissing, and embracing, and upon the hopes of my meeting and His!
when love-letters shall not go betwixt us, but He will be messenger
Himself! But there is required patience on our part, till the
summer-fruit in heaven be ripe for us. It is in the bud; but there be
many things to do before our harvest come. And we take ill with it,
and can hardly endure to set our paper-face to one of Christ's storms
and to go to heaven with wet feet, and pain, and sorrow. We love to
carry a heaven to heaven with us, and would have two summers in one
year, and no less than two heavens. But this will not do for us: one
(and such a one!) may suffice us well enough. The man, Christ, got but
one only, and shall we have two?

Remember my love in Christ to your father; and help me with your
prayers. If ye would be a deep divine, I recommend to you
sanctification. Fear Him, and He will reveal His covenant to you.
Grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Jan. 5, 1637_.

[Illustration: CARDONESS CASTLE.]



LXXXII.--_To JOHN GORDON of Cardoness, Elder._

     [JOHN GORDON of Cardoness, in the parish of Anwoth, was descended
     from Gordon of Lochinvar; but little is known concerning him. His
     name appears the first of 188 signatures attached to an
     unsuccessful petition of the elders and parishioners of Anwoth,
     presented to the Commission of the General Assembly 1638, for
     Rutherford being continued minister of that parish, when counter
     applications were made by the city of Edinburgh and the
     University of St. Andrews for the transference of his services.
     From Rutherford's letters to him, we learn that he was at this
     time far advanced in life. He was naturally a man of strong
     passions, by which it would appear he had, in the previous part
     of his life, been led astray.

     The old castle of _Cardoness_ stands on a tongue of land, at the
     mouth of the river Fleet, about a mile from Gatehouse. It is
     built on a rocky height, overhanging the public road, and looking
     toward the bay. You see an old square-built tower, or fortalice,
     raising its grey head from among the tall trees that now surround
     it. Tradition tells of an old proprietor, that he was in league
     with Græme, the Border outlaw; and how, in consequence of his
     daring and God-defying deeds, the chief and his whole family
     perished in the _Black Loch_, a small loch in the parish of
     Anwoth, at Woodend, 26 ft. deep. Though not a descendant, John
     Gordon seems to have been a man of like strong passions with that
     old chieftain, till subdued by grace.]

(_WIN CHRIST AT ALL HAZARDS--CHRIST'S BEAUTY--A WORD TO CHILDREN._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I have longed
to hear from you, and to know the estate of your soul, and the estate
of that people with you.

I beseech you, Sir, by the salvation of your precious soul, and the
mercies of God, to make good and sure work of your salvation, and try
upon what ground-stone ye have builded. Worthy and dear Sir, if ye be
upon sinking sand, a storm of death, and a blast, will lose Christ and
you, and wash you close off the rock. Oh, for the Lord's sake, look
narrowly to the work!

Read over your life, with the light of God's day-light and sun; for
salvation is not casten down at every man's door. It is good to look
to your compass, and all ye have need of, ere you take shipping; for
no wind can blow you back again. Remember, when the race is ended, and
the play either won or lost, and ye are in the utmost circle and
border of time, and shall put your foot within the march of eternity,
and all your good things of this short night-dream shall seem to you
like the ashes of a bleeze of thorns or straw, and your poor soul
shall be crying, "Lodging, lodging, for God's sake!" then shall your
soul be more glad at one of your Lord's lovely and homely smiles, than
if ye had the charters of three worlds for all eternity. Let pleasures
and gain, will and desires of this world, be put over into God's
hands, as arrested and fenced goods that ye cannot intromit with. Now,
when ye are drinking the grounds of your cup, and ye are upon the
utmost end of the last link of time, and old age, like death's long
shadow, is casting a covering upon your days, it is no time to court
this vain life, and to set love and heart upon it. It is near
after-supper; seek rest and ease for your soul in God through Christ.

Believe me, that I find it to be hard wrestling to play fair with
Christ, and to keep good quarters with Him, and to love Him in
integrity and life, and to keep a constant course of sound and solid
daily communion with Christ. Temptations are daily breaking the thread
of that course, and it is not easy to cast a knot again; and many
knots make evil work. Oh, how fair have many ships been plying before
the wind, that, in an hour's space, have been lying in the sea-bottom!
How many professors cast a golden lustre, as if they were pure gold,
and yet are, under that skin and cover, but base and reprobate metal!
And how many keep breath in their race many miles, and yet come short
of the prize and the garland! Dear sir, my soul would mourn in secret
for you, if I knew your case with God to be but false work. Love to
have you anchored upon Christ maketh me fear your tottering and slips.
False under-water, not seen in the ground of an enlightened
conscience, is dangerous; so is often falling, and sinning against
light. Know this, that those who never had sick nights or days in
conscience for sin, cannot have but such a peace with God as will
undercoat and break the flesh again, and end in a sad war at death.
Oh, how fearfully are thousands beguiled with false hide, grown over
old sins, as if the soul were cured and healed!

Dear Sir, I always saw nature mighty, lofty, heady, and strong in you;
and that it was more for you to be mortified and dead to the world,
than for another common man. Ye will take a low ebb, and a deep cut,
and a long lance, to go to the bottom of your wounds in saving
humiliation, to make you a won prey for Christ. Be humbled; walk
softly. Down, down, for God's sake, my dear and worthy brother, with
your topsail. Stoop, stoop! it is a low entry to go in at heaven's
gate. There is infinite justice in the party ye have to do with; it is
His nature not to acquit the guilty and the sinner. The law of God
will not want one farthing of the sinner. God forgetteth not both the
cautioner and the sinner; and every man must pay, either in his own
person (oh, Lord save you from that payment!), or in his cautioner,
Christ. It is violence to corrupt nature for a man to be holy, to lie
down under Christ's feet, to quit will, pleasure, worldly love,
earthly hope, and an itching of heart after this farded and
over-gilded world, and to be content that Christ trample upon all.
Come in, come in to Christ, and see what ye want, and find it in Him.
He is the short cut (as we used to say), and the nearest way to an
outgate of all your burdens. I dare avouch that ye shall be dearly
welcome to Him; my soul would be glad to take part of the joy ye
should have in Him. I dare say that angels' pens, angels' tongues,
nay, as many worlds of angels as there are drops of water in all the
seas, and fountains, and rivers of the earth, cannot paint Him out to
you. I think His sweetness, since I was a prisoner, hath swelled upon
me to the greatness of two heavens. Oh for a soul as wide as the
utmost circle of the highest heaven that containeth all, to contain
His love! And yet I could hold little of it. O world's wonder! Oh, if
my soul might but lie within the smell of His love, suppose I could
get no more but the smell of it! Oh, but it is long to that day when I
shall have a free world of Christ's love! Oh, what a sight to be up in
heaven, in that fair orchard of the new paradise; and to see, and
smell, and touch, and kiss that fair field-flower, that ever-green
Tree of life! His bare shadow were enough for me; a sight of Him would
be the earnest of heaven to me. Fy, fy upon us! that we have love
lying rusting beside us, or, which is worse, wasting upon some
loathsome objects, and that Christ should lie His lone. Wo, wo is me!
that sin hath made so many madmen, seeking the fool's paradise, fire
under ice, and some good and desirable things, without and apart from
Christ. Christ, Christ, nothing but Christ, can cool our love's
burning languor. O thirsty love! wilt thou set Christ, the well of
life, to thy head, and drink thy fill? Drink, and spare not; drink
love, and be drunken with Christ! Nay, alas! the distance betwixt us
and Christ is a death. Oh, if we were clasped in other's arms! We
should never twin again, except heaven twinned and sundered us; and
that cannot be.

I desire your children to seek this Lord. Desire them from me, to be
requested, for Christ's sake, to be blessed and happy, and to come and
take Christ, and all things with Him. Let them beware of glassy and
slippery youth, of foolish young notions, of worldly lusts, of
deceivable gain, of wicked company, of cursing, lying, blaspheming,
and foolish talking. Let them be filled with the Spirit; acquaint
themselves with daily praying; and with the storehouse of wisdom and
comfort, the good word of God. Help the souls of the poor people. O
that my Lord would bring me again among them, that I might tell unco
and great tales of Christ to them! Receive not a stranger to preach
any other doctrine to them.

Pray for me, His prisoner of hope. I pray for you without ceasing. I
write my blessing, earnest prayers, the love of God, and the sweet
presence of Christ to you, and yours, and them. Grace, grace, grace be
with you.

  Your lawful and loving pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



LXXXIII.--_To the_ EARL OF LOTHIAN.

     [WILLIAM, third EARL OF LOTHIAN, to whom this letter is
     addressed, was the eldest son of Robert, first Earl of Ancrum;
     and he acquired the title of Earl of Lothian by his marriage with
     Anne Ker, Countess of Lothian, by whom he succeeded to the estate
     and titles of Lothian in 1624. In 1638 he manifested great zeal
     for the Covenant. He was a member of the General Assembly which
     met at Glasgow that year, as elder for the Presbytery of
     Dalkeith. Hostilities having again commenced in 1640, his
     Lordship was in the Scottish army that invaded England, and
     defeated the Royalists at Newburn. In 1643 he was sent from
     Scotland by the Privy Council, with the approbation of Charles I.
     In 1644 he commanded, with the Marquis of Argyle, the forces sent
     against the Marquis of Montrose, whom he obliged to retreat, and
     then delivered up his commission to the Committee of Estates, who
     passed an act in approbation of his services. He was president of
     the Committee despatched by the Parliament to the King in
     December 1646, with their final propositions. He protested
     against the raising of an army in 1648 to rescue the King from
     the hands of the English, without receiving from His Majesty
     assurance that he would secure the religious liberties of his
     Scottish subjects,--an attempt which was called the "Engagement."
     But while resisting the arbitrary measures of his prince, he was
     of sincere and ardent loyalty. No sooner was it known that the
     Parliament of England intended to proceed against Charles I.
     before the High Court of Justice, than he and other commissioners
     were sent, in name of the kingdom of Scotland, to remonstrate
     against their proceedings in regard to the sacred person of the
     king. He took a solemn protest against their proceedings, for
     which he was put under arrest, sent with a guard to Gravesend,
     and thence to Scotland. On his return he received the thanks of
     Parliament for his conduct on this occasion; and, along with the
     Earl of Cassillis, was despatched to Breda in 1650 to invite King
     Charles to Scotland. His Lordship died in the year 1675. By Anne,
     Countess of Lothian, he had five sons and nine daughters.]

(_ADVICE AS TO PUBLIC CONDUCT--EVERYTHING TO BE ENDURED FOR CHRIST._)


RIGHT HONOURABLE, AND MY VERY WORTHY AND NOBLE LORD,--Out of the
honourable and good report that I hear of your Lordship's good-will
and kindness, in taking to heart the honourable cause of Christ, and
His afflicted Church and wronged truth in this land, I make bold to
speak a word on paper, to your Lordship, at this distance, which I
trust your Lordship will take in good part. It is to your Lordship's
honour and credit, to put to your hand, as ye do (all honour to God!),
to the falling and tottering tabernacle of Christ, in this your
mother-Church, and to own Christ's wrongs as your own wrongs. O
blessed hand, which shall wipe and dry the watery eyes of our weeping
Lord Jesus, now going mourning in sackcloth in His members, in His
spouse in His truth, and in the prerogative royal of His kingly power!
He needeth not service and help from men; but it pleaseth His wisdom
to make the wants and losses, the sores and wounds of His spouse, a
field and an office-house for the zeal of His servants to exercise
themselves in. Therefore, my noble and dear Lord, go on, go on in the
strength of the Lord against all opposition, to side with wronged
Christ. The defending, and warding of strokes off Christ's bride, the
King's daughter, is like a piece of the rest of the way to heaven,
knotty, rough, stormy, and full of thorns. Many would follow Christ,
but with a reservation that, by open proclamation, Christ would cry
down crosses, and cry up fair weather, and a summer sky and sun, till
we were all fairly landed at heaven. I know that your Lordship hath
not so learned Christ; but that ye intend to fetch heaven, suppose
that your father were standing in your way, and to take it with the
wind on your face; for so both storm and wind were on the fair face of
your lovely Forerunner, Christ, all His way. It is possible that the
success answer not your desire in this worthy cause. What then? duties
are ours, but events are the Lord's; and I hope, if your Lordship, and
others with you, will go on to dive to the lowest ground and bottom of
the knavery and perfidious treachery to Christ of the accursed and
wretched prelates, the Antichrist's first-born, and the first-fruit of
his foul womb, and shall deal with our Sovereign (law going before
you) for the reasonable and impartial hearing of Christ's bill of
complaints, and set yourselves singly to seek the Lord and His face,
that your righteousness shall break through the clouds which prejudice
hath drawn over it, and that ye shall, in the strength of the Lord,
bring our banished and departing Lord Jesus home again to His
sanctuary. Neither must your Lordship advise with flesh and blood in
this; but wink, and in the dark, reach your hand to Christ, and follow
Him. Let not men's fainting discourage you; neither be afraid of men's
canny wisdom, who, in this storm, take the nearest shore, and go to
the lee and calm side of the Gospel, and hide Christ (if ever they had
Him) in their cabinets, as if they were ashamed of Him, or as if
Christ were stolen wares, and would blush before the sun.

My very dear and noble Lord, ye have rejoiced the hearts of many,
that ye have made choice of Christ and His Gospel, whereas such great
temptations do stand in your way. But I love your profession the
better that it endureth winds. If we knew ourselves well, to want
temptations is the greatest temptation of all. Neither is father, nor
mother, nor court, nor honour, in this over-lustred world with all its
paintry and farding, anything else, when they are laid in the balance
with Christ, but feathers, shadows, night-dreams, and straws. Oh, if
this world knew the excellency, sweetness, and beauty of that high and
lofty One, the Fairest among the sons of men, verily they would see,
that if their love were bigger than ten heavens, all in circles beyond
each other, it were all too little for Christ our Lord! I hope that
your choice will not repent you, when life shall come to that twilight
betwixt time and eternity, and ye shall see the utmost border of time,
and shall draw the curtain, and look into eternity, and shall one day
see God take the heavens in His hands, and fold them together, like an
old holely garment, and set on fire this clay part of the creation of
God, and consume away into smoke and ashes the idol-hope of poor
fools, who think that there is not a better country than this low
country of dying clay. Children cannot make comparison aright betwixt
this life and that which is to come; and, therefore, the babes of this
world, who see no better, mould, in their own brain, a heaven of their
own coining, because they see no farther than the nearest side of
time.

I dare lay in pawn my hope of heaven, that this reproached way is the
only way of peace. I find it is the way that the Lord hath sealed with
His comforts now, in my bonds for Christ; and I verily esteem and find
chains and fetters for that lovely One, Christ, to be watered over
with sweet consolations, and the love-smiles of that lovely
Bridegroom, for whose coming we wait. And when He cometh, then shall
the blacks and whites of all men come before the sun; then shall the
Lord put a final decision upon the pleas that Zion hath with her
adversaries. And as fast as time passeth away (which neither sitteth,
nor standeth, nor sleepeth), as fast is our hand-breadth of this short
winter-night flying away, and the sky of our long-lasting day drawing
near its breaking.

Except your Lordship be pleased to plead for me against the tyranny of
prelates, I shall be forgotten in this prison; for they did shape my
doom according to their new, lawless canons, which is, that a deprived
minister shall be utterly silenced, and not preach at all; which is a
cruelty, contrary to their own former practices.

Now, the only wise God, the very God of peace, confirm, strengthen,
and establish your Lordship upon the stone laid in Zion, and be with
you for ever.

Your Lordship's at all respectful obedience in his sweet Lord Jesus,


  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



LXXXIV.--_To_ JEAN BROWN.

     [JEAN BROWN was the mother of the well-known Mr. John Brown,
     minister of Wamphray in Annandale, who, after the restoration of
     Charles II., was ejected from his charge and banished from the
     King's dominions for his opposition to Prelacy. She was a woman
     of intelligence and piety.]

(_THE JOYS OF THIS LIFE EMBITTERED BY SIN--HEAVEN AN OBJECT OF
DESIRE--TRIAL A BLESSED THING._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you. I long to hear how
your soul prospereth. I earnestly desire your on-going toward your
country. I know that ye see your day melteth away by little and
little, and that in a short time ye shall be put beyond time's bounds;
for life is a post that standeth not still, and our joys here are born
weeping, rather than laughing, and they die weeping. Sin, sin, this
body of sin and corruption embittereth and poisoneth all our
enjoyments. O that I were where I shall sin no more! O to be freed of
these chains and iron fetters, which we carry about with us! Lord,
loose the sad prisoners! Who of the children of God have not cause to
say, that they have their fill of this vain life? and, like a full and
sick stomach, to wish at mid-supper that the supper were ended, and
the table drawn, that the sick man might win to bed, and enjoy rest?
We have cause to tire at mid-supper of the best messes that this world
can dress up for us; and to cry to God, that He would remove the table
and put the sin-sick souls to rest with Himself. O for a long play-day
with Christ, and our long-lasting vacance of rest! Glad may their
souls be that are safe over the frith, Christ having paid the fraught.
Happy are they who have passed their hard and wearisome time of
apprenticeship, and are now freemen and citizens in that joyful, high
city, the New Jerusalem.

Alas! that we should be glad of and rejoice in our fetters, and our
prison-house, and this dear inn, a life of sin, where we are absent
from our Lord, and so far from our home. O that we could get bonds and
law-suretyship of our love, that it fasten not itself on these
clay-dreams, these clay-shadows, and worldly vanities! We might be
oftener seeing what they are doing in heaven, and our hearts more
frequently upon our sweet treasure above. We smell of the smoke of
this lower house of the earth, because our hearts and our thoughts are
here. If we could haunt up with God, we should smell of heaven and of
our country above; and we should look like our country, and like
strangers, or people not born or brought up hereaway. Our crosses
would not bite[174] upon us if we were heavenly-minded. I know of no
obligation which the saints have to this world, seeing we fare but
upon the smoke of it; and, if there be any smoke in the house, it
bloweth upon our eyes. All our part of the table is scarce worth a
drink of water; and when we are stricken, we dare not weep, but steal
our grief away betwixt our Lord and us, and content ourselves with
stolen sorrow behind backs. God be thanked that we have many things
that so stroke us against the hair that we may pray, "God keep our
better home, God bless our Father's house; and not this smoke, that
bloweth us to seek our best lodging." I am sure that this is the best
fruit of the cross, when we, from the hard fare of the dear inn, cry
the more that God would send a fair wind, to land us, hungered and
oppressed strangers, at the door of our Father's house, which now is
made, in Christ, our kindly heritage. Oh! then, let us pull up the
stakes and stoups of our tent, and take our tent on our back, and go
with our flitting to our best home; for here we have no continuing
city.

  [174] Leave the mark of their teeth.

I am waiting in hope here, to see what my Lord will do with me. Let
Him make of me what He pleaseth; providing He make glory to Himself
out of me, I care not. I hope, yea, I am now sure, that I am for
Christ, and all that I can or may make is for Him. I am His
everlasting dyvour, and still shall be; for, alas, I have nothing for
Him, and He getteth but little service of me! Pray for me, that our
Lord would be pleased to give me houseroom, that I may serve Him in
the calling which He hath called me unto. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



LXXXV.--_To JOHN KENNEDY, Bailie of Ayr_.

(_THE REASONABLENESS OF BELIEVING UNDER ALL AFFLICTION--OBLIGATIONS TO
FREE GRACE._)


WORTHY AND WELL-BELOVED BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto
you.--I am yet waiting what our Lord will do for His afflicted Church,
and for my re-entry to my Lord's house. O that I could hear the
forfeiture of Christ (now casten out of His inheritance) recalled and
taken off by open proclamation; and that Christ were restored to be a
freeholder and a landed heritor in Scotland; and that the courts
fenced in the name of the bastard prelates (their godfather, the
Pope's, bailiffs and sheriffs) were cried down! Oh, how sweet a sight
were it to see all the tribes of the Lord in this land fetching home
again our banished King, Christ, to His own palace, His sanctuary, and
His throne! I shall think it mercy to my soul, if my faith will
out-watch all this winter-night, and not nod nor slumber till my
Lord's summer-day dawn upon me. It is much if faith and hope, in the
sad nights of our heavy trial, escape with a whole skin, and without
crack or crook. I confess that unbelief hath not reason to be either
father or mother to it,[175] for unbelief is always an irrational
thing; but how can it be, but that such weak eyes as ours must cast
water in a great smoke, or that a weak head should not turn giddy when
the water runneth deep and strong? But God be thanked that Christ in
His children can endure a stress and a storm, howbeit soft nature
would fall down in pieces. O that I had that confidence as to rest on
this, though He should grind me into small powder, and bray me into
dust, and scatter the dust to the four winds of heaven, that my Lord
would gather up the powder, and make me up a new vessel again, to bear
Christ's name to the world! I am sure that love, bottomed and seated
upon the faith of His love to me, would desire and endure this, and
would even claim and threep kindness upon Christ's strokes, and kiss
His love-glooms, and both spell and read salvation upon the wounds
made by Christ's sweet hands. O that I had but a promise made from the
mouth of Christ, of His love to me! and then, howbeit my faith were as
tender as paper, I think longing, and dwining, and greening of sick
desires would cause it to bide out the siege till the Lord came to
fill the soul with His love. And I know also, that in that case faith
would bide green and sappy at the root, even at mid-winter, and stand
out against all storms. However it be, I know that Christ winneth
heaven in despite of hell.

  [175] Unbelief has not its origin in _reason_.

But I owe as many praises and thanks to free grace as would lie
betwixt me and the utmost border of the highest heaven, suppose ten
thousand heavens were all laid above other. But oh! I have nothing
that can hire or bud grace; for if grace would take hire, it were no
more grace. But all our stability, and the strength of our salvation,
is anchored and fastened upon free grace; and I am sure that Christ
hath by His death and blood casten the knot so fast, that the fingers
of the devils and hell-fulls of sins cannot loose it. And that bond of
Christ (that never yet was, nor ever shall, nor can be registrated)
standeth surer than heaven, or the days of heaven, as that sweet
pillar of the covenant whereon we all hang. Christ, with all His
little ones under His two wings and in the compass or circle of His
arms, is so sure, that, cast Him and them into the ground of the sea,
He shall come up again and not lose one. An odd one cannot, nor shall,
be lost in the telling.

This was always God's aim, since Christ came into the play betwixt Him
and us, to make men dependent creatures; and, in the work of our
salvation, to put created strength, and arms and legs of clay, quite
out of place, and out of office and court. And now God hath
substituted in our room, and accepted His Son, the Mediator, for us
and all that we can make. If this had not been, I would have skinked
over and foregone my part of paradise and salvation, for a breakfast
of dead, moth-eaten earth; but now I would not give it, nor let it go
for more than I can tell. And truly they are silly fools, and ignorant
of Christ's worth, and so full ill-trained and tutored, who tell
Christ and heaven over the board for two feathers or two straws of the
devil's painted pleasures, only lustred on the outer side. This is our
happiness now, that our reckonings at night, when eternity shall come
upon us, cannot be told. We shall be so far gainers, and so far from
being super-expended (as the poor fools of this world are, who give
out their money, and get in but black hunger), that angels cannot lay
our counts, nor sum our advantage and incomes. Who knoweth how far it
is to the bottom of our Christ's fulness, and to the ground of our
heaven? Who ever weighed Christ in a pair of balances? Who hath seen
the foldings and plies, and the heights and depths of that glory which
is in Him, and kept for us? O for such a heaven as to stand afar off,
and see, and love, and long for Him, whill time's thread be cut, and
this great work of creation dissolved, at the coming of our Lord!

Now to His grace I recommend you. I beseech you also to pray for a
re-entry to me into the Lord's house, if it be His good will.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Jan. 6, 1637_.



LXXXVI.--_To my_ LORD CRAIGHALL.

     [SIR JOHN HOPE, LORD CRAIGHALL, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas
     Hope (Lord Advocate of Scotland in the time of James VI. and
     Charles I.) His property, Craighall, is in the parish of
     Inveresk, near Edinburgh. Sir Thomas was the most eminent lawyer
     of his day, and was first brought into notice by the ability with
     which he defended the cause of John Forbes, John Welsh, and the
     other ministers who were tried for high treason at Linlithgow, on
     account of their holding a General Assembly at Aberdeen in 1605.
     Craighall is in the parish of Ceres, in Fife,[176] a fine old
     castellated ruin. John, second baronet, was admitted a Lord of
     Session 27th July 1632, and became President of the Court, and in
     1645 was appointed one of the Privy Council. His name appears on
     the roll of members of the General Assemblies 1645-1649, and of
     the commissions which these Assemblies appointed. In Lamont's
     "Diary" we read (1659), "The Laird of Craighall, in Fyfe,
     depairted out of this lyfe on Sabbath at nyght, and was interred
     at Ceres."]

       [176] There is a village of _Craighall_ near Inveresk, in the
       barony of Pinkie, which got its name from this family, just as
       there is an _Earlston_ in Borgue parish, called from the old
       Earlston.



(_EPISCOPALIAN CEREMONIES--HOW TO ABIDE IN THE TRUTH--DESIRE FOR
LIBERTY TO PREACH CHRIST._)


MY LORD,--I received Mr. L.'s[177] letter with your Lordship's and his
learned thoughts in the matter of ceremonies. I owe respect to the
man's learning, for that I hear him to be opposed to Arminian
heresies. But, with reverence of that worthy man, I wonder to hear
such popish-like expressions as he hath in his letter, as, "Your
Lordship may spare doubtings, when the King and Church have agreed in
the settling of such orders; and the Church's direction in things
indifferent and circumstantial (as if indifferent and circumstantial
were all one!) should be the rule of every private Christian." I only
viewed the papers two hours' space, the bearer hastening me to write.
I find the worthy man not so seen in this controversy as some
turbulent men of our country, whom he calleth "refusers of
conformity;" and let me say it, I am more confirmed in nonconformity,
when I see such a great wit play the agent so slenderly. But I will
lay the blame on the weakness of the cause, not on the meanness of Mr.
L.'s learning. I have been, and still am confident, that Britain[178]
cannot answer one argument, _a scandalo_: and I longed much to hear
Mr. L. speak to the cause; and I would say, if some ordinary divine
had answered as Mr. L. doth, that he understood not the nature of a
scandal; but I dare not vilify that worthy man so. I am now upon the
heat of some other employment. I shall (but God willing) answer this,
to the satisfying of any not prejudiced.

  [177] Who is here meant cannot now be well ascertained. It may have
  been Mr. Loudian, of whom Baillie says, "He was an excellent
  philosophe, sound and orthodox, opposite to Canterbury's way, albeit
  too conform. I counselled oft Glasgow to have him for their Divinity
  Lecturer" ("Letters and Journals," i. 77).

  [178] All the divines in Britain.

I will not say that every one is acquainted with the reason in my
letter, from God's presence and bright shining face in suffering for
this cause. Aristotle never knew the medium of the conclusion: and
Christ saith few know it (Rev. ii. 17). I am sure that conscience
standing in awe of the Almighty, and fearing to make a little hole in
the bottom for fear of under-water, is a strong medium to hold off an
erroneous conclusion in the least wing, or lith, of sweet, sweet
truth, that concerneth the royal prerogative of our kingly and highest
Lord Jesus. And my witness is in heaven, that I saw neither pleasure,
nor profit, nor honour, to hook me, or catch me, in entering into
prison for Christ, but the wind on my face for the present. And if I
had loved to sleep in a whole skin, with the ease and present delight
that I saw on this side of sun and moon, I should have lived at ease,
and in good hopes to fare as well as others. The Lord knoweth that I
preferred preaching of Christ, and still do, to anything, next to
Christ Himself. And their new canons took my one, my only joy, from
me, which was to me as the poor man's one ewe, that had no more! And,
alas! there is little lodging in their hearts for pity or mercy, to
pluck out a poor man's one eye for a thing indifferent; _i.e._ for
knots of straw, and things (as they mean) off the way to heaven. I
desire not that my name take journey, and go a pilgrim to Cambridge,
for fear I come into the ears of authority. I am sufficiently burnt
already.

In the mean time, be pleased to try if the Bishop of St. Andrews,[179]
and Glasgow (Galloway's ordinary),[180] will be pleased to abate from
the heat of their wrath, and let me go to my charge. Few know the
heart of a prisoner; yet I hope that the Lord will hew His own glory
out of as knotty timber as I am. Keep Christ, my dear and worthy Lord.
Pretended paper-arguments from[181] angering the mother-Church (that
can reel, and nod, and stagger), are not of such weight as peace with
the Father, and Husband. Let the wife gloom, I care not, if the
Husband laugh.

Remember my service to my Lord your father, and mother, and lady.
Grace be with you.

  Yours at all obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Jan. 24, 1637_.

  [179] John Spottiswoode.

  [180] James Law, Bishop of Glasgow, was the deputy of Sydserff, the
  Bishop of Galloway.

  [181] Arguments drawn from the risk of provoking.



LXXXVII.--_To_ ELIZABETH KENNEDY.

[ELIZABETH KENNEDY was the sister of Hugh Kennedy, Provost of Ayr, and
a woman as eminent for piety and prayer as her brother. Wodrow records
of her that, being much afflicted with the stone, she was advised to
submit to a surgical operation. Several meetings for prayer took place
among the godly at Ayr in reference to her case. When the surgeon came
to perform the operation, one of these meetings was going on in the
house, and they continued so long in prayer as nearly to exhaust his
patience; but before they had concluded, the stone dissolved, and
without surgical aid she obtained immediate relief. (_Wodrow's_
"Analecta," vol. ii.)]

(_DANGER OF FORMALITY--CHRIST WHOLLY TO BE LOVED--OTHER OBJECTS OF
LOVE._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I have long had a
purpose of writing unto you, but I have been hindered. I heartily
desire that ye would mind your country, and consider to what airt your
soul setteth its face; for all come not home at night who suppose that
they have set their face heavenward. It is a woful thing to die, and
miss heaven, and to lose house-room with Christ at night: it is an
evil journey where travellers are benighted in the fields. I persuade
myself that thousands shall be deceived and ashamed of their hope.
Because they cast their anchor in sinking sands, they must lose it.
Till now I knew not the pain, labour, nor difficulty that there is to
win at home: nor did I understand so well, before this, what that
meaneth, "The righteous shall scarcely be saved." Oh, how many a poor
professor's candle is blown out, and never lighted again! I see that
ordinary profession, and to be ranked amongst the children of God, and
to have a name among men, is now thought good enough to carry
professors to heaven. But certainly a name is but a name, and will
never bide a blast of God's storm. I counsel you not to give your
soul or Christ rest, nor your eyes sleep, till ye have gotten
something that will bide the fire, and stand out the storm. I am sure,
that if my one foot were in heaven, and if then He should say, "Fend
thyself, I will hold my grips of thee no longer," I should go no
farther, but presently fall down in as many pieces of dead nature.

They are happy for evermore who are over head and ears in the love of
Christ, and know no sickness but love-sickness for Christ, and feel no
pain but the pain of an absent and hidden Well-beloved. We run our
souls out of breath and tire them, in coursing and galloping after our
night-dreams (such are the rovings of our miscarrying hearts), to get
some created good thing in this life, and on this side of death. We
would fain stay and spin out a heaven to ourselves, on this side of
the water; but sorrow, want, changes, crosses, and sin, are both woof
and warp in that ill-spun web. Oh, how sweet and dear are those
thoughts that are still upon the things which are above! and how happy
are they who are longing to have little sand in their glass, and to
have time's thread cut, and can cry to Christ, "Lord Jesus, have over;
come and fetch the dreary[182] passenger!" I wish that our thoughts
were more frequently than they are upon our country. Oh, but heaven
casteth a sweet smell afar off to those who have spiritual smelling!
God hath made many fair flowers; but the fairest of them all is
heaven, and the Flower of all flowers is Christ. Oh! why do we not fly
up to that lovely One? Alas that there is such a scarcity of love, and
of lovers, to Christ amongst us all! Fie, fie, upon us, who love fair
things, as fair gold, fair houses, fair lands, fair pleasures, fair
honours, and fair persons, and do not pine and melt away with love to
Christ! Oh! would to God I had more love for His sake! O for as much
as would lie betwixt me and heaven, for His sake! O for as much as
would go round about the earth, and over the heaven, yea, the heaven
of heavens, and ten thousand worlds, that I might let all out upon
fair, fair, only fair Christ! But, alas! I have nothing for Him, yet
He hath much for me. It is no gain to Christ that He getteth my
little, feckless span-length and hand-breadth of love.

  [182] Sorrowful.

If men would have something to do with their hearts and their
thoughts, that are always rolling up and down (like men with oars in a
boat), after sinful vanities, they might find great and sweet
employment to their thoughts upon Christ. If those frothy,
fluctuating, and restless hearts of ours would come all about Christ,
and look into His love, to bottomless love, to the depth of mercy, to
the unsearchable riches of His grace, to inquire after and search into
the beauty of God in Christ, they would be swallowed up in the depth
and height, length and breadth of His goodness. Oh, if men would draw
the curtains, and look into the inner side of the ark, and behold how
the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth in Him bodily! Oh! who would not
say, "Let me die, let me die ten times, to see a sight of Him?" Ten
thousand deaths were no great price to give for Him. I am sure that
sick, fainting love would heighten the market, and raise the price to
the double for Him. But, alas! if men and angels were rouped, and sold
at the dearest price, they would not all buy a night's love, or a
four-and-twenty-hours' sight of Christ! Oh, how happy are they who get
Christ for nothing! God send me no more, for my part of paradise, but
Christ: and surely I were rich enough, and as well heavened as the
best of them, if Christ were my heaven.

I can write no better thing to you, than to desire you, if ever ye
laid Christ in a count, to take Him up and count over again: and weigh
Him again and again: and after this have no other to court your love,
and to woo your soul's delight, but Christ. He will be found worthy of
all your love, howbeit it should swell upon you from the earth to the
uppermost circle of the heaven of heavens. To our Lord Jesus and His
love I commend you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



LXXXVIII.--_To_ JANET KENNEDY.

     [This seems to be the wife of Mr. John Fergushill; see Letter
     CXII.]

(_CHRIST TO BE KEPT AT EVERY SACRIFICE--HIS INCOMPARABLE LOVELINESS._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you. Ye are not a little
obliged to His rich grace, who hath separated you for Himself, and for
the promised inheritance with the saints in light, from this condemned
and guilty world. Hold fast Christ, contend for Him; it is a lawful
plea to go to holding and drawing for Christ; and it is not possible
to keep Christ peaceably, having once gotten Him, except the devil
were dead. It must be your resolution to set your face against Satan's
northern tempests and storms, for salvation. Nature would have heaven
to come to us while sleeping in our beds. We would all buy Christ, so
being we might make price ourselves. But Christ is worth more blood
and lives than either ye or I have to give Him. When we shall come
home, and enter to the possession of our Brother's fair kingdom, and
when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory,
and when we shall look back to pains and sufferings, then shall we see
life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to
glory; and that our little inch of time-suffering is not worthy of our
first night's welcome-home to heaven. Oh, what then shall be the
weight of every one of Christ's kisses! Oh, how weighty, and of what
worth shall every one of Christ's love-smiles be! Oh, when once He
shall thrust a wearied traveller's head betwixt His blessed breasts,
the poor soul will think one kiss of Christ hath fully paid home forty
or fifty years' wet feet, and all its sore hearts, and light (2 Cor.
iv. 17) sufferings it had in following after Christ! Oh,
thrice-blinded souls, whose hearts are charmed and bewitched with
dreams, shadows, feckless things, night-vanities, and night-fancies of
a miserable life of sin! Shame on us who sit still, fettered with the
love and liking of the loan of a piece of dead clay! Oh, poor fools,
who are beguiled with painted things, and this world's fair weather,
and smooth promises, and rotten, worm-eaten hopes! May not the devil
laugh to see us give out our souls, and get in but corrupt and
counterfeit pleasures of sin? O for a sight of eternity's glory, and a
little tasting of the Lamb's marriage-supper! Half a draught, or a
drop of the wine of consolation, that is up at our banqueting-house,
out of Christ's own hand, would make our stomachs loathe the brown
bread and the sour drink of a miserable life. Oh, how far are we
bereaved of wit, to chafe, and hunt, and run, till our souls be out of
breath, after a condemned happiness of our own making! And do we not
sit far in our own light to make it a matter of bairn's play, to skink
and drink over[183] paradise, and the heaven that Christ did sweat
for, even for a blast of smoke, and for Esau's morning breakfast? O
that we were out of ourselves, and dead to this world, and this world
dead and crucified to us! And, when we should be close out of love and
conceit of any masked and farded lover whatsoever, then Christ would
win and conquer to Himself a lodging in the inmost yolk of our heart.
Then Christ should be our night-song and morning-song; then the very
noise and din of our Well-beloved's feet, when He cometh, and His
first knock or rap at the door, should be as news of two heavens to
us. O that our eyes and our soul's smelling should go after a blasted
and sun-burnt flower, even this plastered, fair-outsided world: and
then we have neither eye nor smell for the Flower of Jesse, for that
Plant of renown, for Christ, the choicest, the fairest, the sweetest
rose that ever God planted! Oh, let some of us die to smell the
fragrance of Him; and let my part of this rotten world be forfeited
and sold for evermore, providing I may anchor my tottering soul upon
Christ! I know that it is sometimes at this, "Lord, what wilt Thou
have for Christ?" But, O Lord, canst Thou be budded, and propined with
any gift for Christ? O Lord, can Christ be sold? or rather, may not a
poor needy sinner have Him for nothing? If I can get no more, oh, let
me be pained to all eternity, with longing for Him! The joy of
hungering for Christ should be my heaven for evermore. Alas, that I
cannot draw souls and Christ together! But I desire the coming of His
kingdom, and that Christ, as I assuredly hope He will, would come upon
withered Scotland, as rain upon the new-mown grass. Oh, let the King
come! Oh, let His kingdom come! Oh, let their eyes rot in their
eyeholes (Zech. xiv. 12), who will not receive Him home again to reign
and rule in Scotland. Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [183] Drink the health of the buyer over the concluded bargain.



LXXXIX.--_To my Well-beloved and Reverend Brother_, MR. ROBERT BLAIR.

     [MR. ROBERT BLAIR was born at Irvine in 1593. After completing
     his education at the College of Glasgow, he there held for
     several years the office of regent, during which time he was
     licensed as a probationer for the holy ministry. Having a strong
     desire to go to France, he was encouraged to this by M. Basnage,
     a French Protestant minister who visited Scotland in 1622. But
     Providence ordered his lot otherwise. He was induced to accept of
     the charge of Bangor, in Ireland, and was admitted in the year
     1623. Here he laboured with great diligence and success; and
     there being in the same part of the country several other devout
     ministers, by mutual co-operation, they were instrumental in
     producing in the north of Ireland a change upon an ignorant and
     irreligious people, much resembling the effects of the preaching
     of the Gospel in the apostolic age. But this good work was not
     allowed to go on unopposed. In the autumn of 1631 he was
     suspended from his ministry by the Bishop of Down; in May 1632 he
     was deposed; and in November 1634 solemnly excommunicated; and
     all this simply for nonconformity. In these circumstances, he and
     some other ministers similarly situated, together with a
     considerable number of people, formed the purpose of going to New
     England, and actually embarked in 1636; but the tempestuous state
     of the weather forced them to return. He then came over to
     Scotland, and in 1638 became minister of Ayr, from which by a
     sentence of the General Assembly he was soon translated to St.
     Andrews, where he and Rutherford lived in the warmest friendship
     until the rise of the controversy between the Resolutioners and
     Protesters, which in some degree disturbed their mutual good
     understanding. Rutherford was a strong Protester: Blair regretted
     the extremes, as he conceived, to which both parties went; and,
     with Mr. James Durham of Glasgow, endeavoured to restore harmony
     between them, but without success. In 1661 he was summoned before
     the Privy Council for a sermon he had preached, in which he bore
     testimony to the covenanted Reformation, as well as against the
     defections of the times. He was sentenced to be confined to his
     own house, but afterwards permitted to retire to Musselburgh. He
     next removed to Kirkcaldy, and from thence to Meikle Couston, in
     the parish of Aberdour, where he died on the 27th of April 1666.
     (See Life of Robert Blair, issued by the Wodrow Society, 1848.)]

(_GOD'S ARRANGEMENTS SOMETIMES MYSTERIOUS._)


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 that 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.
"Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of
the Lord, and my God shall be my strength" (Isa. xlix. 5). And we are
to believe it shall be thus ere all the play be played. "The violence
done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon" (and the great whore's
lovers), "shall the inhabitants of Zion say; and my blood be upon
Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say."[184] And, "Behold, I will make
Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they
shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in
that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: they
that burden themselves with it shall be broken in pieces, though all
the people of the earth be gathered together against it."[185] 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,
honour, 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.

  [184] Jer. li. 35.

  [185] Zech. xii. 2, 3.

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, and tempted
with disputations by the doctors, especially by D. B.[186] Yet I am
not ashamed of the Lord Jesus, His garland, and His crown. I would not
exchange my weeping with the painted laughter of the fourteen
prelates. At my first coming here I took the dorts at Christ, and
would, forsooth, summon Him for unkindness. I sought a plea of my
Lord, and was tossed with challenges whether He loved me or not; and
disputed over again all that He had done to me, because His word was a
fire shut up in my bowels, and I was weary with forbearing, because I
said I was cast out of the Lord's inheritance. But now I see that I
was a fool. My Lord miskent all, and did bear with my foolish
jealousies; and miskent that ever I wronged His love. And now He has
come again with mercy under His wings. I pass from my (oh witless!)
summons: He is God, I see, and I am man. Now it hath pleased Him to
renew His love to my soul, and to dawt His poor prisoner. Therefore,
dear brother, help me to praise and show the Lord's people with you
what He hath done to my soul, that they may pray and praise. And I
charge you in the name of Christ, not to omit it. For this cause I
write to you, that my sufferings may glorify my royal King, and edify
His Church in Ireland. He knoweth how one of Christ's love coals hath
burnt my soul with a desire to have my bonds to preach His glory,
whose cross I now bear. God forgive you if you do it not; but I hope
the Lord will move your heart, to proclaim in my behalf the sweetness,
excellency, and glory of my royal King. It is but our soft flesh that
hath raised a slander on the Cross of Christ: I see now the white side
of it; my Lord's chains are all over-gilded. Oh, if Scotland and
Ireland had part of my feast! And yet I get not my meat but with many
strokes. There are none here to whom I can speak; I dwell in Kedar's
tents. Refresh me with a letter from you. Few know what is betwixt
Christ and me.

  [186] Dr Robert Baron, Professor of Divinity in the Marischal College
  of Aberdeen, one of the learned doctors of that city, whose dispute,
  in 1638, with Alexander Henderson, David Dickson, and Andrew Cant, on
  the subject of the Covenant, excited at the time so much attention.

Dear brother, upon my salvation, this is His truth that we suffer for.
Christ would not seal a blank charter to souls. Courage, courage! joy,
joy for evermore! Oh, joy unspeakable and glorious! O for help to set
my crowned King 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. Grace, mercy, and peace be
with you. Salute in the Lord, from me, Mr. Cunningham, Mr.
Livingstone, Mr. Ridge,[187] Mr. Colwart,[188] &c.

  Your brother, and fellow-prisoner,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 7, 1637_.

  [187] Mr. John Ridge was an English minister, whom opposition to
  ceremonial impositions on conscience led to leave his native country
  for Ireland. He was admitted to the vicarage of Antrim on the 7th of
  July 1619, in which he laboured with success for many years; but being
  deposed by Henry Leslie, the Bishop of Down, for nonconformity, he
  came over to Irvine, where he died.

  [188] Mr. Henry Colwart was also a native of England; and, like Mr.
  Ridge, left the land of his birth, and went to Ireland. He was
  admitted to the pastoral charge of Oldstone in 1630; but, being
  deposed by Bishop Leslie for refusing to submit to the innovations of
  Prelacy, he came over to Scotland, and was admitted minister of
  Paisley, where he died.



XC.--_To his Reverend and Dear Brother_, MR. JOHN LIVINGSTONE.

     [JOHN LIVINGSTONE (the son of Alexander Livingstone, minister
     first at Monyabroch or Kilsyth, and afterwards at Lanark) was
     born at Monyabroch on the 21st of January 1603. At the College of
     Glasgow, he enjoyed the advantage of having as his regent for two
     years the famous Robert Blair, for whom he continued ever after
     to retain the highest veneration. He was first settled minister
     at Killinchie, in Ireland, towards the close of the year 1630,
     but had not laboured above twelve months in that charge when he
     was suspended by the Bishop of Down, for nonconformity. To enjoy
     religious liberty, he set out with Mr. Blair and others in their
     intended emigration to America; but, with the rest, was forced by
     the adverse state of the weather to return. Shortly after, he
     received calls from two parishes, Stranraer and Stewarton, but
     preferred the call from the former, and his induction took place
     on the 5th of July 1638. Here he continued in the assiduous
     discharge of his pastoral functions until 1648, when, by the
     sentence of the General Assembly, he was translated to the parish
     of Ancrum, in the Presbytery of Jedburgh. Upon the death of
     Charles I., he was sent to the Hague, and afterwards to Breda, as
     one of the commissioners from the Church of Scotland to treat
     with his son Charles II., whose character he had the penetration
     to discover. In the controversy between the Resolutioners and
     Protesters, Livingstone took the side of the latter, but was
     dissatisfied with the violence manifested by his party. After the
     restoration of Charles II., being summoned to appear before the
     Privy Council in 1662, he appeared; but, declining to engage to
     observe the anniversary of the death of Charles I., and to take
     the oath of allegiance in the precise way in which it was
     dictated to him, he was sentenced to quit his native land within
     two months. Having repaired to Rotterdam, he preached
     occasionally to the Scottish congregation there, and devoted the
     remainder of his life to the cultivation of Biblical literature.
     He died in that city on the 9th of August 1672, in the seventieth
     year of his age.

     It was this same Livingstone that was so blessed in awakenings.
     By a sermon which he preached in 1630 at the Kirk-of-Shotts, on
     the Monday after the dispensation of the Lord's Supper, five
     hundred souls, it is believed, were converted. On a similar
     occasion, at Holywood, in the north of Ireland, in one day, he
     was the instrument of awakening double that number to inquiry
     after salvation. (See Brief Historical Relation of the Life of
     John Livingston in "Select Biographies," vol. i., Wodrow Society,
     1845.)]

(_RESIGNATION--ENJOYMENT--STATE OF THE CHURCH_.)


MY REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I
long to hear from you, and to be refreshed with the comforts of The
Bride of our Lord Jesus in Ireland. I suffer with you in grief, for
the dash that your desires to be at New England have received of late;
but if our Lord, who hath skill to bring up His children, had not seen
it your best, it would not have befallen you. Hold your peace, and
stay yourselves upon the Holy One of Israel. Hearken to what He hath
said in crossing of your desires; He will speak peace to His people.

I am here removed from my flock, and silenced, and confined in
Aberdeen, for the testimony of Jesus. And I have been confined in
spirit also with desertions and challenges. I gave in a bill of
quarrels, and complaints of unkindness against Christ, who seemed to
have cast me over the dyke of the vineyard as a dry tree, and
separated me from the Lord's inheritance; but high, high and loud
praises be to our royal crowned King in Zion, that He hath not burnt
the dry branch. I shall yet live, and see His glory.

Your mother-Church, for her whoredom, is like to be cast off. The
bairns may break their hearts to see such chiding betwixt the husband
and the wife. Our clergy is upon a reconciliation with the Lutherans;
and the Doctors are writing books, and drawing up a common confession,
at the Council's command. Our Service Book is proclaimed with sound
of trumpet. The night is fallen down upon the prophets! Scotland's
day of visitation is come. It is time for the bride to weep, while
Christ is a-saying that He will choose another wife. But our sky will
clear again; the dry branch of cut-down Lebanon will bud again and be
glorious, and they shall yet plant vines upon our mountains.

Now, my dear brother, I write to you for this end, that ye may help me
to praise; and seek help of others with you, that God may be glorified
in my bonds. My Lord Jesus hath taken the withered, dry stranger, and
His prisoner broken in heart, into His house of wine. Oh, oh, if ye,
and all Scotland, and all our brethren with you, knew how I am
feasted! Christ's honey-combs drop comforts. He dineth with His
prisoner, and the King's spikenard casteth a smell. The devil cannot
get it denied that we suffer for the apple of Christ's eye, His royal
prerogatives, as King and Lawgiver. Let us not fear or faint. He will
have His Gospel once again rouped in Scotland, and have the matter
going to voices, to see who will say, "Let Christ be crowned King in
Scotland." It is true that Antichrist stirreth his tail; but I love a
rumbling and raging devil in the kirk (since the Church militant
cannot or may not want a devil to trouble her), rather than a subtle
or sleeping devil. Christ never yet got a bride without stroke of
sword. It is now nigh the Bridegroom's entering into His chamber; let
us awake and go in with Him.

I bear your name to Christ's door; I pray you, dear brother, forget me
not. Let me hear from you by a letter; and I charge you, smother not
Christ's bounty towards me. I write what I have found of Him in the
house of my pilgrimage. Remember my love to all our brethren and
sisters there.

The Keeper of the vineyard watch for His besieged city, and for you.

  Your brother, and fellow-sufferer,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 7, 1637_.



XCI.--_To_ MR. EPHRAIM MELVIN.

     [EPHRAIM MELVIN, or MELVILLE, was first ordained minister of
     Queensferry, and afterwards translated to Linlithgow, where he
     died. His ministry was signally blessed of God for bringing many
     to the saving knowledge of the truth, among whom were some who
     afterwards became eminent ministers of the Gospel in their day.
     One of these was the famous Mr. James Durham of Glasgow.
     Happening, with his pious wife, a daughter of the laird of
     Duntervie, to pay a visit to her mother, also a religious woman,
     in Queensferry, when the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was to
     be observed in that place, his mother-in-law, upon the Saturday,
     desired him to go with her to hear sermon. Being then a stranger
     to true religion, he was disinclined to go, and said, with a tone
     of indifference, "that he had not come there to hear sermon;" but
     upon being pressed, to gratify his pious relative, he went. The
     discourse which he heard, though plain and ordinary, was
     delivered with an affection and earnestness that arrested the
     attention of Durham, and so impressed him, that on coming home he
     said to his mother-in-law, "Your minister preached very
     seriously, and I shall not need to be pressed to go to hear
     to-morrow." Accordingly he went, and Mr. Melvin, choosing for his
     text these words, "To you which believe, He is precious," 1 Peter
     ii. 7, opened up the preciousness of Christ with such unction and
     seriousness, that it proved, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the
     means of his conversion. In that sermon he closed with Christ,
     and then took his seat at the Lord's Table, though to that day he
     had been an absolute stranger to believing. He was accustomed
     afterwards to call Mr. Melvin his father, when he spoke of him or
     to him. On another occasion, Mr. Melvin, by a sermon which he
     preached at Stewarton, when a probationer and chaplain to the
     excellent Lady Boyd, was the instrument of converting Mr. John
     Stirling in the fourteenth or sixteenth year of his age--one who
     proved a useful minister in his day, "Some say also," remarks
     Wodrow, "that he was a spiritual father to Mr. John Dury of
     Dalmeny, a man much esteemed of in his time, as having a taking
     and soaring gift of preaching, much like Mr. William Guthrie's
     gift." When Rutherford heard of Melvin's death, he is represented
     to have said, "And is Ephraim dead? He was an interpreter among a
     thousand." (Wodrow's "Anal.," vol. iii.)]

(_THE IDOLATRY OF KNEELING AT THE COMMUNION_.)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I received your letter, and am contented,
with all my heart, that our acquaintance in our Lord continue.

I am wrestling as I dow, up the mount with Christ's cross: my Second
is kind and able to help.

As for your questions, because of my manifold distractions, and
letters to multitudes, I have not time to answer them. What shall be
said in common for that shall be imparted to you; for I am upon these
questions. Therefore spare me a little, for the Service Book would
take a great time. But I think; "Sicut deosculatio religiosa imaginis,
aut etiam elementorum, est in se idololatria externa, etsi intentio
deosculandi, tota, quanta in actu est, feratur in Deum πρωτοτυπὸν;
ita, geniculatio coram pane, quando, nempe, ex instituto,
totus homo externus et internus versari debeat circa elementaria
signa, est adoratio relativa, et adoratio ipsius panis. Ratio:
Intentio adorandi objectum materiale, non est de essentiâ externæ
adorationis, ut patet in deosculatione religiosâ. Sic geniculatio
coram imagine Babylonicâ est externa adoratio imaginis, etsi tres
pueri mente intendissent adorare Jehovam. Sic, qui ex metu solo, aut
spe pretii, aut inanis gloriæ, geniculatur coram aureo vitulo
Jeroboami (quod ab ipso rege, qui nullâ religione inductus, sed
libidine dominandi tantum, vitulum erexit, factitatum esse, textus
satis luculenter clamat), adorat vitulum externâ adoratione. Esto
quod putaret vitulum esse meram creaturam, et honore nullo dignum:
quia geniculatio, sive nos nolumus, sive volumus, ex instituto Dei et
naturæ, in actu religioso, est symbolum religiosæ adorationis. Ergo,
sicut panis significat corpus Christi, etsi absit actus omnis nostræ
intentionis; sic religiosa geniculatio, sublatâ omni intentione
humanâ, est externa adoratio panis, coram quo adoramus, ut coram signo
vicario et repræsentativo Dei." [As the religious homage done to an
image, or even to elements, is in itself an external act of idolatry,
in so far as the act is concerned, although the _intention_ of such
homage may be directed to God the Great First Cause,--so the act of
kneeling to a piece of bread, seeing that, according to the ordinance,
the whole man, internal and external, ought to be engaged in the
elementary signs, is a relative act of worship and an adoration of the
bread itself. The reason is: an _intention_ to worship a material
object is not of the essence of external adoration, as appears in a
religious act of homage. Thus, the bending of the knee before the
Babylonish image is an external act of worship, even though the three
youths had no intention to worship any but the true God; and in like
manner, those who, from fear or the hope of reward or vain-glory, bend
the knee to Jeroboam's golden calf (which the text clearly enough
proclaims to have been done by the king himself, from no religious
motive but the mere desire to rule), do pay adoration to the calf by
the external act, although, no doubt, they may suppose the calf a mere
created object and unworthy of honour,--because the act of homage,
whether we mean it or not, is, from the ordinance of God and nature, a
symbol of worship. Therefore, as the bread denotes the body of Christ
(even though that idea be not present to the mind), so in like manner,
kneeling, when used as a religious service, is the external adoration
of that bread, in presence of which we bow as before the delegated
representative of God, be our intention what it may.][189]

  [189] The Latin is to be accounted for as being an extract from some
  learned treatise. It is in substance what we find in Calderwood's
  "Altare Damascenum," p. 595.

Thus recommending you to God's tender mercy, I desire that you would
remember me to God. Sanctification will settle you most in the truth.

  Grace be with you, Brother in Christ Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



XCII.--_To_ ROBERT GORDON _of Knockbrex_.

(_VISITS OF CHRIST--THE THINGS WHICH AFFLICTION TEACHES._)


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.[190] 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 hath done, and then slip so easily
from possession, and lose the glory of what He hath 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. (1.) 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 the 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 love to be kissed, and to sit on Christ's knee; but
I cannot set my feet to the ground, for afflictions bring the cramp
upon my faith. All that 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, and fold heartsomely about Christ's
neck, and to have my claim made good with real possession! I think
that my love to Christ hath feet in abundance, and runneth swiftly to
be at Him, but it wanteth hands and fingers to apprehend Him. I think
that I would give Christ every morning my blessing, to have as much
faith as I have love and hunger; at least, I miss faith more than love
or hunger.

  [190] Does no harm.

(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! I confess it hath pleased His Majesty to make me laugh at the
children, who are wooing this world for their match. I see men lying
about the world, as nobles about a king's court; and I wonder what
they are all doing there. As I am at this present, I would scorn to
court such a feckless and petty princess, or buy this world's kindness
with a bow of my knee. I scarce now either hear or see what it is that
this world offereth me; I know that it is little which it can take
from me, and as little that it can give me. I recommend mortification
to you above anything; for, alas! we but chase feathers flying in the
air, and tire our own spirits for the froth and over-gilded clay of a
dying life. One sight of what my Lord hath let me see within this
short time is worth a world of worlds.

(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. I have much ado now to win to one smile. But I
see that joy groweth up in heaven, and it is above our short arm.
Christ will be steward and dispenser Himself, and none else but He;
therefore, now, I count much of one dramweight of spiritual joy. One
smile of Christ's face is now to me as a kingdom; and yet He is no
niggard to me of comforts. Truly I have no cause to say that I am
pinched with penury, or that the consolations of Christ are dried up:
for He hath poured down rivers upon a dry wilderness the like of
me,[191] to my admiration; and in my very swoonings, He holdeth up my
head, and stayeth me with flagons of wine, and comforteth me with
apples. My house and bed are strewed with kisses of love. Praise,
praise with me. Oh, if ye and I betwixt us could lift up Christ upon
His throne, howbeit all Scotland should cast Him down to the ground!

  [191] Such as I am!

My brother's case toucheth me near. I hope that ye will be kind to
him, and give him your best counsel.

Remember my love to your brother, to your wife, and G. M.[192] 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 anent 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.

  [192] All those whose initials are given are understood to have been
  parishioners of his at Anwoth.

The prisoner's prayers and blessings come upon you. Grace, grace be
with you.

  Your brother, in the Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 9, 1637_.



XCIII.--_To the Honourable and truly Noble Lady, the_ VISCOUNTESS OF
KENMURE.

(_GOD'S DEALINGS WITH SCOTLAND--THE EYE TO BE DIRECTED HEAVENWARD._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to your Ladyship.--I long to hear
from you.

I am here waiting, if a good wind, long looked for, will at length
blow into Christ's sails, in this land. But I wonder if Jesus be not
content to suffer more yet in His members and cause, and in the beauty
of His house, rather than He should not be avenged upon this land. I
hear that many worthy men, who see more in the Lord's dealings than I
can take up with my dim sight, are of a contrary mind, and do believe
that the Lord is coming home again to His house in Scotland. I hope He
is on His journey that way; yet I look not but that He will feed this
land with their own blood, before He establish His throne amongst us.

I know that your honour is not looking after things here-away. Ye have
no great cause to think that your stock and principal is under the
roof of these visible heavens; and I hope that ye would think yourself
a beguiled and cozened soul if it were so. I should be sorry to
counsel your Ladyship to make a covenant with time, and this life; but
rather desire you to hold in fair generals, and afar off from this
ill-founded heaven that is on this side of the water. It speaketh
somewhat when our Lord bloweth the bloom off our daft hopes in this
life, and loppeth the branches off our worldly joys, well nigh the
root, on purpose that they should not thrive. Lord, spill my fool's
heaven in this life, that I may be saved for ever. A forfeiture of the
saint's part of the yolk and marrow of short-laughing worldly
happiness, is not such a real evil as our blinded eyes conceive.

I am thinking long now for some deliverance more than before. But I
know I am in an error. It is possible I am not come to that measure of
trial which the Lord is seeking in His work. If my friends in Galloway
would effectually do for my deliverance, I should exceedingly rejoice;
but I know not but the Lord hath a way whereof He will be the only
reaper of praises.

Let me know with the bearer how the child is. The Lord be his father
and tutor, and your only comforter. There is nothing here, where I am,
but profanity and atheism. Grace, grace, be with your Ladyship.

  Your Ladyship's, at all obliged obedience, in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 13, 1637_.



XCIV.--_To the Noble and Christian Lady, the_ VISCOUNTESS OF KENMURE.

(_THE TIMES--CHRIST'S SWEETNESS IN TROUBLE--LONGING AFTER HIM._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I would not omit the
occasion to write to your Ladyship with the bearer. I am glad that the
child is well. God's favour, even in the eyes of men, be seen upon
him!

I hope that your Ladyship is thinking upon these sad and woful days
wherein we now live, when our Lord, in His righteous judgment, is
sending the kirk the gate she is going to Rome's brothel-house to seek
a lover of her own, seeing that she hath given up with Christ her
Husband. Oh, what sweet comfort, what rich salvation, is laid up for
those who had rather wash and roll their garments in their own blood,
than break out[193] from Christ by apostacy! Keep yourself in the love
of Christ, and stand far aback from the pollutions of the world. Side
not with these times; and hold off from coming nigh the signs of a
conspiracy with those that are now come out against Christ, that ye
may be one kept for Christ only. I know that your Ladyship thinketh
upon this, and how you may be humbled for yourself and this
backsliding land; for I avouch, that wrath from the Lord is gone out
against Scotland. I think aye the longer the better of my royal and
worthy Master. He is become a new Well-beloved to me now, in renewed
consolations, by the presence of the Spirit of grace and glory.
Christ's garments smell of the powder of the merchant, when He cometh
out of His ivory chambers. Oh, His perfumed face, His fair face, His
lovely and kindly kisses, have made me, a poor prisoner, see that
there is more to be had of Christ in this life than I believed! We
think all is but a little earnest, a four-hours, a small tasting, that
we have, or that is to be had, in this life (which is true compared
with the inheritance); but yet I know it is more: it is the kingdom of
God within us. Wo, wo is me, that I have not ten loves for that one
Lord Jesus; and that love faileth, and drieth up in loving Him; and
that I find no way to spend my love desires, and the yolk of my heart
upon that fairest and dearest One. I am far behind with my narrow
heart. Oh, how ebb a soul have I to take in Christ's love! for let
worlds be multiplied, according to angels' understanding, in millions,
whill they weary themselves, these worlds would not contain the
thousandth part of His love. Oh, if I could yoke in amongst the thick
of angels, and seraphims, and now glorified saints, and could raise a
new love-song of Christ, before all the world! I am pained with
wondering at new-opened treasures in Christ. If every finger, member,
bone, and joint, were a torch burning in the hottest fire in hell, I
would that they could all send out love praises, high songs of praise
for evermore, to that Plant of Renown, to that royal and high Prince,
Jesus my Lord. But alas! His love swelleth in me, and findeth no vent.
Alas! what can a dumb prisoner do or say for Him! O for an ingine to
write a book of Christ and His love! Nay, I am left of Him bound and
chained with His love. I cannot find a loosed soul to lift up His
praises, and give them out to others. But oh! my day-light hath thick
clouds; I cannot shine in His praises. I am often like a ship plying
about to seek the wind; I sail at great leisure, and cannot be blown
upon that loveliest Lord. Oh, if I could turn my sails to Christ's
right airth, and that I had my heart's wishes of His love! But I but
mar His praises: nay, I know no comparison of what Christ is, and what
His worth is. All the angels, and all the glorified, praise Him not so
much as in halves. Who can advance Him, or utter all His praises? I
want nothing; unknown faces favour me; enemies must speak good of the
truth; my Master's cause purchaseth commendations.

  [193] _Off_, probably.

The hopes of my enlargement, from appearances, are cold. My faith hath
no bed to sleep upon but omnipotency. The good-will of the Lord, and
His sweetest presence, be with you and that child. Grace and peace be
yours.

  Your Ladyship's, in all duty in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



XCV.--_To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, the_ VISCOUNTESS OF
KENMURE.

(_CHRIST'S CROSS SWEET--HIS COMING TO BE DESIRED--JEALOUS OF ANY
RIVAL._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to your Ladyship. I would not omit
to write a line with this Christian bearer; one in your Ladyship's own
case, driven near to Christ, in and by her affliction. I wish that my
friends in Galloway forget me not. However it be, Christ is so good, I
will have no other tutor, suppose I could have wale and choice of ten
thousand beside. I think now five hundred heavy hearts for Him too
little. I wish that Christ, now weeping, suffering, and contemned of
men, were more dear and desirable to many souls than He is. I am sure
that if the saints wanted Christ's cross, so profitable, and so sweet,
they might, for the gain and glory of it, wish it were lawful either
to buy or borrow His cross. But it is a mercy that the saints have it
laid to their hand for nothing; for I know no sweeter way to heaven
than through free grace and hard trials together; and one of these
cannot well want another.

O that time would post faster, and hasten our looked-for communion
with that fairest, fairest among the sons of men! O that the day would
favour us and come, and put Christ and us into each other's arms! I am
sure that a few years will do our turn, and the soldier's hour-glass
will soon run out. Madam, look to your lamp, and look for your Lord's
Coming, and let your heart dwell aloof from that sweet child. Christ's
jealousy will not admit of two equal loves in your Ladyship's heart.
He must have one, and that the greatest; a little one to a creature
may and must suffice a soul married to Him. "Thy Maker is thine
Husband" (Isa. liv. 5). I would wish you well, and my obligations
these many years byegone speak no less to me; but more I can neither
wish, nor pray, nor desire for your Ladyship, than Christ singled and
waled out from all created good things, or Christ howbeit wet in His
own blood, and wearing a crown of thorns. I am sure that the saints,
at their best, are but strangers to the weight and worth of the
incomparable sweetness of Christ. He is so new, so fresh in excellency
every day of new, to those that search more and more in Him, as if
heaven could furnish us as many new Christs (if I may so speak) as
there are days betwixt Him and us; and yet He one and the same. Oh, we
love an unknown lover when we love Christ!

Let me hear how the child is every way. The prayers of a prisoner of
Christ be upon him. Grace for evermore, even whill glory perfect it,
be with your Ladyship.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



XCVI.--_To the Noble and Christian Lady, the_ VISCOUNTESS OF KENMURE.

(CHRIST ALL WORTHY--ANWOTH.)


MADAM,--Notwithstanding the great haste of the bearer, I would bless
your Ladyship on paper, desiring, that since Christ hath ever envied
that the world should have your love by Him,[194] that ye give
yourself out for Christ, and that ye may be for no other. I know none
worthy of you but Christ.

  [194] More than He; setting Him aside.

Madam, I am either suffering for Christ, and this is the sure and good
way; or, I have done with heaven, and shall never see God's face,
which, I bless Him, cannot be.

I write my blessing to that sweet child, that ye have borrowed from
God. He is no heritage to you, but a loan; love him as folks do
borrowed things. My heart is heavy for you.

They say that the kirk of Christ hath neither son nor heir, and
therefore that her enemies shall possess her. But I know that she is
not that ill-friended; her Husband is her heir, and she His heritage.

If my Lord would be pleased, I should desire that some be dealt with,
for my return to Anwoth. But if that never be, I thank God Anwoth is
not heaven; preaching is not Christ. I hope to wait on.

Let me hear how your child is, and your Ladyship's mind and hopes of
him; for it would ease my heart to know that he is well.

I am in good terms with Christ; but oh, my guiltiness! Yet He bringeth
not pleas betwixt Him and me to the streets, and before the sun.

Grace, grace for ever more be with your Ladyship.

  Your Ladyship's, at all obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



XCVII.--_To_ ALEXANDER GORDON _of Earlston_.

(_CHRIST ENDEARED BY BITTER EXPERIENCES--SEARCHINGS OF HEART--FEAR FOR
THE CHURCH._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I received your
letter, which refreshed me. Except from your son, and my brother, I
have seen few letters from my acquaintance in that country; which
maketh me heavy. But I have the company of a Lord who can teach us all
to be kind, and hath the right gate of it. Though, for the present, I
have seven ups and downs every day, yet I am abundantly comforted and
feasted with my King and Well-beloved daily. It pleaseth Him to come
and dine with a sad prisoner, and a solitary stranger. His spikenard
casteth a smell. Yet my sweet hath some sour mixed with it, wherein I
must acquiesce; for there is no reason that His comforts be too cheap,
seeing they are delicates. Why should He not make them so to His own?
But I verily think now, that Christ hath led me up to a nick in
Christianity that I was never at before; I think all before was but
childhood and bairn's play. Since I departed from you, I have been
scalded, whill the smoke of hell's fire went in at my throat, and I
would have bought peace with a thousand years' torment in hell; and I
have been up also, after these deep down-castings and sorrows, before
the Lamb's white throne, in my Father's inner court, the Great King's
dining-hall. And Christ did cast a covering of love on me. He hath
casten a coal into my soul, and it is smoking among the straw and
keeping the hearth warm. I look back to what I was before, and I laugh
to see the sand-houses I built when I was a child.

At first the remembrance of the many fair feast-days with my Lord
Jesus in public, which are now changed into silent Sabbaths, raised a
great tempest, and (if I may speak so) made the devil ado in my soul.
The devil came in, and would prompt me to make a plea with Christ, and
to lay the blame on Him as a hard master. But now these mists are
blown away, and I am not only silenced as to all quarrelling, but
fully satisfied. Now, I wonder that any man living can laugh upon the
world, or give it a hearty good-day. The Lord Jesus hath handled me
so, that, as I am now disposed, I think never to be in this world's
commons again for a night's lodging. Christ beareth me good company.
He hath eased me, when I saw it not, lifting the cross off my
shoulders, so that I think it to be but a feather, because underneath
are everlasting arms. God forbid it come to bartering or nifferings of
crosses; for I think my cross so sweet, that I know not where I would
get the like of it. Christ's honey-combs drop so abundantly, that they
sweeten my gall. Nothing breaketh my heart, but that I cannot get the
daughters of Jerusalem to tell them of my Bridegroom's glory. I charge
you in the name of Christ, that ye tell all that ye come to of it; and
yet it is above telling and understanding. Oh, if all the kingdom were
as I am, except my bonds! They know not the love-kisses that my only
Lord Jesus wasteth on a dawted prisoner. On my salvation, this is the
only way to the New City. I know that Christ hath no dumb seals. Would
He put His privy-seal upon blank paper? He hath sealed my sufferings
with His comforts. I write this to confirm you. I write now what I
have seen as well as heard. Now and then my silence burneth up my
spirit; but Christ hath said, "Thy stipend is running up with interest
in heaven, as if thou wert preaching;" and this from a King's mouth
rejoiceth my heart. At other times I am sad, dwelling in Kedar's
tents.

There are none (that I yet know of) but two persons in this town that
I dare give my word for. And the Lord hath removed my brethren and my
acquaintance far from me; and it may be, that I shall be forgotten in
the place where the Lord made me the instrument to do some good. But I
see that this is vanity in me; let Him make of me what He pleaseth, if
He make salvation out of it to me. I am tempted and troubled, that all
the fourteen prelates[195] should have been armed of God against me
only, while the rest of my brethren are still preaching. But I dare
not say one word but this, "It is good, Lord Jesus, because Thou hast
done it."

  [195] See Letter LXVIII.

Wo is me for the virgin-daughter! wo is me for the desolation of the
virgin-daughter of Scotland! Oh, if my eyes were a fountain of tears,
to weep day and night for that poor widow-kirk, that poor miserable
harlot! Alas, that my Father hath put to the door on my poor
harlot-mother! O for that cloud of black wrath, and fury of the
indignation of the Lord, that is hanging over the land!

Sir, write to me, I beseech you. I pray you also be kind to my
afflicted brother. Remember my love to your wife; and the prayer and
blessing of the prisoner of Christ be on you. Frequent your meetings
for prayer and communion with God: they would be sweet meetings to me.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 16, 1637_.



XCVIII.--_To the Worthy and much Honoured MR. ALEXANDER COLVILLE of
Blair._

     [ALEXANDER COLVILLE of Blair (which is in the parish of Carnock,
     Fifeshire) early commended himself to the gratitude of Rutherford
     by befriending him under prelatic persecutions. When Rutherford
     in 1630 was summoned before the High Commission Court, this
     gentleman, being one of the judges, exerted himself in his
     behalf; and his influence, together with the absence of the
     Archbishop of St Andrews, occasioned the desertion of the diet,
     and put a stop to the proceedings against the obnoxious minister.
     (See Letter XI.) As we learn from this letter, he also showed
     much kindness to Rutherford's brother on his trial before the
     High Commission in November 1636, for his nonconformity and
     zealous support of Mr. Glendinning, the injured minister of
     Kirkcudbright. Colville was an elder of the Church, and his name
     appears on the roll of the members of the General Assemblies
     1645, 1646, 1648, and 1649, and of the Commissions appointed by
     these Assemblies. We find him after this, in co-operation with
     another individual, delating Mr. Robert Bruce, minister of
     Ballagray, of which they were parishioners, on the ground that
     they were not edified by his doctrine.]

(_INCREASING EXPERIENCE OF CHRIST'S LOVE--GOD WITH HIS SAINTS._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. The bearer
hereof, Mr. R. F., is most kind to me; I desire you to thank him. But
none is so kind as my only royal King and Master, whose cross is my
garland. The King dineth with His prisoner, and His spikenard casteth
a smell. He hath led me up to such a pitch and nick of joyful
communion with Himself, as I never knew before. When I look back to
by-gones, I judge myself to have been a child at A, B, C with Christ.
Worthy Sir, pardon me, I dare not conceal it from you; it is as a fire
in my bowels. (In His presence who seeth me I speak it!) I am pained,
pained with the love of Christ; He hath made me sick, and wounded me.
Hunger for Christ outrunneth faith; I miss faith more than love. Oh,
if the three kingdoms would come and see! Oh, if they knew His
kindness to my soul! It hath pleased Him to bring me to this, that I
will not strike sails to this world, nor flatter it, nor adore this
clay idol that fools worship. As I am now disposed, I think that I
shall neither borrow nor lend[196] with it; and yet I get my meat from
Christ with nurture; for seven times a-day I am lifted up, and casten
down. My dumb Sabbaths burden my heart, and make it bleed. I want not
fearful challenges, and jealousies sometimes of Christ's love, that He
hath casten me over the dyke of the vineyard as a dry tree. But this
is my infirmity. By His grace I take myself in these ravings. It is
kindly that faith and love both be sick, and fevers are kindly to most
joyful communion with Christ.

  [196] "Neither borrow nor lend," have no dealings with it.

Ye are blessed who avouch Christ openly before The Prince of this
kingdom, whose eyes are upon you. It is your glory to lift Him up on
His throne, to carry His train, and bear up the hem of His robe royal.
He hath an hiding-place for Mr. Alexander Colville against the storm:
go on, and fear not what man can do. The saints seem to have the worst
of it (for apprehension can make a lie of Christ and His love); but it
is not so. Providence is not rolled upon unequal and crooked wheels;
all things work together for the good of those who love God, and are
called according to His purpose. Ere it be long, we shall see the
white side of God's providence.

My brother's case hath moved me not a little. He wrote to me your care
and kindness. Sir, the prisoner's blessings and prayers, I trust,
shall not go past you. He that is able to keep you, and to present you
before the presence of His face with joy, establish your heart in the
love of Christ.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 19, 1637_.



XCIX.--_To EARLSTON, Younger._

     [WILLIAM GORDON, to whom this letter is addressed, was the eldest
     son of Alexander Gordon of Earlston, formerly noticed (Letter
     LIX.). He exhibited in youth much of the piety and public spirit
     of his father. His well-known attachment to the cause of
     Presbytery rendered him early obnoxious to Charles II. and the
     Malignant party. When that monarch came to Scotland in 1651, and
     held a Parliament, he was fined for his compliance with the
     English; and on his refusing to pay the fine, soldiers were sent
     out to extract it by compulsion from his tenants, who were almost
     ruined by the driving away of their cattle and the robbing of
     their houses. He was again fined by Middleton, in 1662, and
     summoned before the Privy Council. On the 1st of March 1664,
     sentence of banishment from the kingdom was pronounced upon him
     for keeping conventicles, and for refusing to engage to refrain
     from such meetings in all time coming. Whither he went is not
     known; but the Council, on being petitioned, granted him licence
     to return until the 15th of March ensuing, at the same time
     requiring him to "depart and remain forth of the kingdom the said
     day, in case the said Lords give order therefor" ("Decr. Secr.
     Council," Register House, Edin.). After this he remained at home,
     but his end was near, for, setting out to join the forces of the
     Covenanters at Bothwell, in the beginning of the year 1679, after
     the defeat (either on the day of it, or the day after), he was
     met by a party of English dragoons, who, upon his refusing to
     surrender, killed him on the spot. "Thus fell," says Howie, in
     the "Scots Worthies," "a renowned Gordon, a gentleman of good
     parts and endowments; a man devoted unto religion and godliness,
     and a prime supporter of the Presbyterian interest in that part
     of the country where he lived." He was married to Mary, daughter
     of Sir John Hope, second baronet of Craighall, and President of
     the Court of Session, by his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir
     Archibald Murray of Blackbarony. His eldest son, Alexander,
     succeeded him.]

[Illustration: BOTHWELL BRIDGE.]

(_CHRIST'S WAYS MISUNDERSTOOD--HIS INCREASING KINDNESS--SPIRITUAL
DELICACY--HARD TO BE DEAD TO THE WORLD._)


HONOURED AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I
received your letter, which refreshed my soul.

I thank God that the court is closed; I think shame of my part of it.
I pass now from my unjust summons of unkindness libelled against
Christ my Lord. He is not such a Lord and Master as I took Him to be;
verily He is God, and I am dust and ashes. It took Christ's glooms to
be as good as Scripture speaking wrath; but I have seen the other side
of Christ, and the white side of His cross now. I behoved to come to
Aberdeen to learn a new mystery in Christ, that His promise is better
to be believed than His looks, and that the devil can cause Christ's
glooms to speak a lie to a weak man. Nay, verily, I was a child
before; all by-gones are but bairn's play. I would I could begin to be
a Christian in sad earnest. I need not blame Christ if I be not one,
for He hath showed me heaven and hell in Aberdeen. But the truth is,
for all my sorrow, Christ is nothing in my debt, for comforts have
refreshed my soul. I have heard and seen Him in His sweetness, so as I
am almost saying, it is not He that I was wont to meet with. He
smileth more cheerfully, His kisses are more sweet and soul-refreshing
than the kisses of the Christ I saw before were, though He be the
same. Or rather, the King hath led me up to a measure of joy and
communion with my Bridegroom that I never attained to before, so that
often I think that I will neither borrow nor lend with this
world.[197] I will not strike sail to crosses, nor flatter them to be
quit of them, as I have done. Come all crosses, welcome, welcome! so
that I may get my heartful of my Lord Jesus. I have been so near Him,
that I have said, "I take instruments that this is the Lord. Leave a
token behind Thee, that I may never forget this." Now, what can Christ
do more to dawt one of His poor prisoners? Therefore, Sir, I charge
you in the name of my Lord Jesus, praise with me, and show unto others
what He hath done unto my soul. This is the fruit of my sufferings,
that I desire Christ's name may be spread abroad in this kingdom, in
my behalf. I hope in God not to slander Him again. Yet in this, I get
not my feasts without some mixture of gall; neither am I free of old
jealousies, for He hath removed my lovers and friends far from me; He
hath made my congregation desolate, and taken away my crown. And my
dumb Sabbaths are like a stone tied to a bird's foot, that wanteth not
wings,--they seem to hinder me to fly, were it not that I dare not say
one word, but, "Well done, Lord Jesus."

  [197] See Letter XCVIII.

We can, in our prosperity, sport ourselves, and be too bold with
Christ; yea, be that insolent, as to chide with Him; but under the
water we dare not speak. I wonder now of my sometime boldness, to
chide and quarrel Christ, to nickname providence when it stroked me
against the hair; for now, swimming in the waters, I think my will is
fallen to the ground of the water: I have lost it. I think that I
would fain let Christ alone, and give Him leave to do with me what He
pleaseth, if He would smile upon me. Verily, we know not what an evil
it is to spill and indulge ourselves, and to make an idol of our will.
I was once that I would not eat except I had waled meat; now I dare
not complain of the crumbs and parings under His table. I was once
that I would make the house ado, if I saw not the world carved and set
in order to my liking; now I am silent when I see God hath set
servants on horseback, and is fattening and feeding the children of
perdition. I pray God, that I may never find my will again. Oh, if
Christ would subject my will to His, and trample it under His feet,
and liberate me from that lawless lord!

Now, Sir, in your youth gather fast; your sun will mount to the
meridian quickly, and thereafter decline. Be greedy of grace. Study
above anything, my dear brother, to mortify your lusts. Oh, but pride
of youth, vanity, lusts, idolizing of the world, and charming
pleasures, take long time to root them out! As far as ye are advanced
in the way to heaven, as near as ye are to Christ, as much progress as
ye have made in the way of mortification, ye will find that ye are far
behind, and have most of your work before you. I never took it to be
so hard to be dead to my lusts and to this world. When the day of
visitation cometh, and your old idols come weeping about you, ye will
have much ado not to break your heart. It is best to give up in time
with them, so as ye could at a call quit your part of this world for a
drink of water, or a thing of nothing. Verily I have seen the best of
this world, a moth-eaten, threadbare coat: I purpose to lay it aside,
being now old and full of holes. O for my house above, not made with
hands!

Pray for Christ's prisoner; and write to me. Remember my love to your
mother. Desire her, from me, to make ready for removing; the Lord's
tide will not bide her; and to seek an heavenly mind, that her heart
may be often there. Grace be with you.

  Yours, and Christ's prisoner,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 20, 1637_.



C.--_To the_ LADY CARDONESS.

(_THE ONE THING NEEDFUL--CONSCIENTIOUS ACTING IN THE WORLD--ADVICE
UNDER DEJECTING TRIALS._)


MY DEARLY BELOVED, AND LONGED-FOR IN THE LORD,--Grace, mercy, and
peace be to you--I long to hear how your soul prospereth, and how the
kingdom of Christ thriveth in you. I exhort you and beseech you in the
bowels of Christ, faint not, weary not. There is a great necessity of
heaven; ye must needs have it. All other things, as houses, lands,
children, husband, friends, country, credit, health, wealth, honour,
may be wanted; but heaven is your one thing necessary, the good part
that shall not be taken from you. See that ye buy the field where the
pearl is. Sell all, and make a purchase of salvation. Think it not
easy; for it is a steep ascent to eternal glory; many are lying dead
by the way, that were slain with security.

I have now been led by my Lord Jesus to such a nick in Christianity,
as I think little of former things. Oh, what I want! I want so many
things, that I am almost asking if I have anything at all. Every man
thinketh he is rich enough in grace, till he take out his purse, and
tell his money, and then he findeth his pack but poor and light in the
day of a heavy trial. I found that I had not to bear my expenses, and
I should have fainted, if want and penury had not chased me to the
storehouse of all.

I beseech you to make conscience of your ways. Deal kindly, and with
conscience, with your tenants. To fill a breach or a hole, make not a
greater breach in the conscience. I wish plenty of love to your soul.
Let the world be the portion of bastards; make it not yours. After the
last trumpet is blown, the world and all its glory will be like an old
house that is burnt to ashes, and like an old fallen castle, without a
roof. Fy, fy upon us, fools! who think ourselves debtors to the world!
My Lord hath brought me to this, that I would not give a drink of cold
water for this world's kindness. I wonder that men long after, love,
or care for these feathers. It is almost an unco world to me. To think
that men are so mad as to block with dead earth! To give out
conscience, and get in clay again, is a strange bargain!

I have written my mind at length to your husband. Write to me again
his case. I cannot forget him in my prayers; I am looking up (Ps. v.
3). Christ hath some claim to him. My counsel is, that ye bear with
him when passion overtaketh him: "A soft answer putteth away wrath."
Answer him in what he speaketh, and apply yourself in the fear of God
to him; and then ye will remove a pound weight of your heavy cross,
that way, and so it shall become light.

When Christ hideth Himself, wait on, and make din till He return; it
is not time then to be carelessly patient. I love to be grieved when
He hideth His smiles. Yet believe His love in a patient onwaiting and
believing in the dark. Ye must learn to swim and hold up your head
above the water, even when the sense of His presence is not with you
to hold up your chin. I trust in God that He will bring your ship safe
to land. I counsel you to study sanctification, and to be dead to this
world. Urge kindness on Knockbrex. Labour to benefit by his company;
the man is acquainted with Christ.

I beg the help of your prayers, for I forget not you. Counsel your
husband to fulfil my joy, and to seek the Lord's face. Show him, from
me, that my joy and desire is to hear that he is in the Lord. God
casteth him often in my mind, I cannot forget him. I hope Christ and
he have something to do together. Bless John from me. I write
blessings to him, and to your husband, and to the rest of your
children. Let it not be said, "I am not in your house," through
neglect of the Sabbath exercise.

  Your lawful and loving pastor in his only, only Lord,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 20, 1637_.



CI.--_To_ JONET MACCULLOCH.

     [No doubt this lady was one of the _Maccullochs_ of _Ardwell_, a
     residence near Anwoth, next to Cardoness. The Letter, CLXXXIV.,
     to Mr. Thomas Macculloch of _Nether Ardwell_, relates apparently
     to another of the same house. The house is very pleasantly
     situated near the mouth of the Fleet. The old mansion-house of
     Ardwell, or Ardwall, bore the name of "Nether Ardwell;" it
     occupied a spot about a hundred yards distant from the present
     mansion, lying towards the shore, a little below where the bay
     receives the waters of the Fleet. "Higher Ardwell" was towards
     the north: a farm near Bushy Bield (Rutherford's old manse, which
     was originally a mansion house) still bears that name. The family
     of the Maccullochs, who were intimate with Rutherford, still
     retain the property. They are an ancient family; for William
     Macculloch got a feu charter of the lands of Nether Ardwell from
     his cousin, or uncle, Macculloch of Cardoness and Myreton, in
     1587. It is the wife of this William Macculloch, in all
     probability, of whom the following lines speak, on the tomb at
     the south side of the raised pile in the old churchyard:--

    Dumb, senseless statue of a painted stone,
    What means this boast? Thy captive is but clay.
    Thou gainest nothing but some lifeless bones;
    Her choicest part, her soul, triumphs for aye.
    Then, gazing friends, do not her death deplore;
    You lose, while she doth gain for evermore.

     "Margrat Maklellan, goodwife of Ardwell, departed this life 1620.
     Ætatis suæ 31."

     We may add, the grand-daughter of this lady, to whom the lines on
     the monument refer, was mother of the martyr, John Bell of
     Whyteside.]

(_CHRIST'S SUFFICIENCY--STEDFASTNESS IN THE TRUTH._)


DEAR SISTER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I long to hear how
your soul prospereth.

I am as well as a prisoner of Christ can be, feasted and made fat with
the comforts of God. Christ's kisses are made sweeter to my soul than
ever they were. I would not change my Master with all the kings of
clay upon the earth. Oh! my Well-beloved is altogether lovely and
loving. I care not what flesh can do.

I persuade my soul that I delivered the truth of Christ to you. Slip
not from it, for any bosts or fear of men. If ye go against the truth
of Christ that I now suffer for, I shall bear witness against you in
the day of Christ.

Sister, fasten your grip fast on Christ. Follow not the guises of this
sinful world. Let not this clay portion of earth take up your soul: it
is the portion of bastards, and ye are a child of God; and, therefore,
seek your Father's heritage. Send up your heart to see the dwelling
house and fair rooms in the New City. Fy, fy upon those who cry, "Up
with the world and down with conscience and heaven!" We have bairn's
wits, and therefore we cannot prize Christ aright. Counsel your
husband, and mother, to make them ready for eternity. That day is
drawing nigh.

Pray for me, the prisoner of Christ. I cannot forget you.

  Your lawful pastor and brother,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 20, 1637_.



CII.--_To ALEXANDER GORDON of Knockgray_.

     [Knockgray is a farm-like house, enclosed by trees, at the foot
     of the hills of Carsphairn. It is on your right hand, coming from
     Earlston to Carsphairn, after passing the little hill of
     Dundeuch. "Alexander Gordon of Knockgray," says Livingstone, who
     personally knew him, "was a rare Christian in his time. His
     chief, the Laird of Lochinvar, put him out of his land mostly for
     his religion; yet, being thereafter restored by that man's son,
     Lord Viscount of Kenmure, he told me the Lord had blessed him, so
     as he had ten thousand sheep" ("Select Biograph." vol. i.). From
     what Rutherford says in a subsequent letter addressed to
     him,--"Christ's ways were known to you long before I (who am but
     a child) knew anything of Him,"--it may be concluded that he was
     much older than Rutherford. The venerable old man was apprehended
     in his own house by one Captain Stuart; by whom also he seems to
     have been carried to Edinburgh, and there incarcerated.
     Alexander, his son (the grandson of Rutherford's correspondent),
     had also his own share of persecution under the intolerant reign
     of Charles II. He suffered much by garrisons put into his house,
     by the loss of household articles which they carried away, and by
     the forfeiture of his property. (Wodrow, MSS. vol. xxxvii.)]

(_GROUNDS OF PRAISE--AFFLICTION TEMPTS TO MISREPRESENT
CHRIST--IDOLS._)


DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I long to hear how
your soul prospereth. I expected letters from you ere now.

As for myself, I am here in good case, well feasted with a great King.
At my coming here, I was that bold as to take up a jealousy of
Christ's love. I said I was cast over the dyke of the Lord's vineyard,
as a dry tree; but I see that if I had been a withered branch, the
fire would have burned me long ere now. Blessed be His high name, who
hath kept sap in the dry tree. And now, as if Christ hath done the
wrong, He hath made the mends, and hath miskent my ravings; for a man
under the water cannot well command his wit, far less his faith and
love. Because it was a fever, my Lord Jesus forgave me that amongst
the rest. He knoweth that in our afflictions we can find a spot in the
fairest face that ever was, even in Christ's face. I would not have
believed that a gloom should have made me to misken my old Master; but
we must be whiles[198] sick. Sickness is but kindly to both faith and
love. But oh, how exceedingly is a poor dawted prisoner obliged to
sweet Jesus! My tears are sweeter to me than the laughter of the
fourteen prelates is to them. The worst of Christ, even His chaff, is
better than the world's corn.

  [198] Occasionally.

Dear Brother, I beseech you, I charge you in the name and authority of
the Son of God, to help me to praise His Highness; and I charge you
also to tell all your acquaintance, that my Master may get many
thanks. Oh, if my hairs, all my members, and all my bones, were
well-tuned tongues, to sing the high praises of my great and glorious
King! Help me to lift Christ up upon His throne, and to lift Him up
above the thrones of the clay-kings, the dying sceptre-bearers of this
world. The prisoner's blessing, the blessing of him that is separate
from his brethren, be upon them all who will lend me a lift in this
work. Show this to that people with you to whom I sometimes preached.

Brother, my Lord hath brought me to this, that I will not flatter the
world for a drink of water. I am no debtor to clay; Christ hath made
me dead to that. I now wonder that ever I was such a child, long
since, as to beg at such beggars! Fy upon us, who woo such a
black-skinned harlot, when we may get such a fair, fair match in
heaven! O that I could give up this clay-idol, this masked, painted,
over-gilded dirt, that Adam's sons adore! We make an idol of our will.
As many lusts in us, as many gods; we are all godmakers. We are like
to lose Christ, the true God, in the throng of those new and false
gods. Scotland hath cast her crown off her head; the virgin-daughter
hath lost her garland. Wo, wo to our harlot mother. Our day is coming;
a time when women shall wish they had been childless, and fathers
shall bless miscarrying wombs and dry breasts; many houses great and
fair shall be desolate. This kirk shall sit on the ground all the
night, and the tears shall run down her cheeks. The sun hath gone down
upon her prophets. Blessed are the prisoners of hope, who can run into
their stronghold, and hide themselves for a little, till the
indignation be overpast.

Commend me to your wife, your daughters, your son-in-law, and to A. T.
Write to me the case of your kirk. Grace be with you.

I am much moved for my brother. I entreat for your kindness and
counsel to him.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _Feb. 23, 1637_.



CIII.--_To the LADY CARDONESS, Elder_.

(_CHRIST AND HIS CAUSE RECOMMENDED--HEAVENLY-MINDEDNESS--CAUTION
AGAINST COMPLIANCES--ANXIETY ABOUT HIS PARISH._)


WORTHY AND WELL-BELOVED IN THE LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you. I long to hear from you on paper, that I may know how your soul
prospereth. My desire and longing is to hear that ye walk in the
truth, and that ye are content to follow the despised but most lovely
Son of God.

I cannot but recommend Him unto you, as your Husband, your
Well-beloved, your Portion, your Comfort, and your Joy. I speak this
of that lovely One, because I praise and commend the ford (as we used
to speak) as I find it. He hath watered with His sweet comforts an
oppressed prisoner. He was always kind to my soul; but never so kind
as now, in my greatest extremities. I dine and sup with Christ. He
visiteth my soul the visitations of love, in the night-watches.

I persuade my soul that this is the way to heaven, and His own truth
I now suffer for. I exhort you in the name of Christ to continue in
the truth which I delivered unto you. Make Christ sure to your soul;
for your day draweth nigh to an end. Many slide back now, who seemed
to be Christ's friends, and prove dishonest to Him; but be ye faithful
to the death, and ye shall have the crown of life. This span-length of
your days (whereof the spirit of God speaketh, Ps. xxxix. 5) shall,
within a short time, come to a finger-breadth, and at length to
nothing. Oh, how sweet and comfortable will the feast of a good
conscience be to you, when your eye-strings shall break, your face wax
pale, and the breath turn cold, and your poor soul come sighing to the
windows of the house of clay of your dying body, and shall long to be
out, and to have the jailor to open the door, that the prisoner may be
set at liberty! Ye draw nigh the water-side: look your accounts; ask
for your Guide to take you to the other side. Let not the world be
your portion; what have ye to do with dead clay? Ye are not a bastard,
but a lawfully begotten child; therefore set your heart on the
inheritance. Go up beforehand, and see your lodging. Look through all
your Father's rooms in heaven: in your Father's house are many
dwelling-places. Men take a sight of lands ere they buy them. I know
that Christ hath made the bargain already; but be kind to the house ye
are going to, and see it often. Set your heart on things that are
above, where Christ is at the right hand of God.

Stir up your husband to mind his own country at home. Counsel him to
deal mercifully with the poor people of God under him. They are
Christ's, and not his; therefore, desire him to show them merciful
dealing and kindness, and to be good to their souls. I desire you to
write to me. It may be that my parish forget me; but my witness is in
heaven that I dow not, I do not, forget them. They are my sighs in the
night, and my tears in the day. I think myself like a husband plucked
from the wife of his youth. O Lord, be my Judge: what joy would it be
to my soul to hear that my ministry hath left the Son of God among
them, and that they are walking in Christ! Remember my love to your
son and daughter. Desire them from me to seek the Lord in their youth,
and to give Him the morning of their days. Acquaint them with the word
of God and prayer.

Grace be with you. Pray for the prisoner of Christ; in my heart I
forget you not.

  Your lawful and loving pastor, in his only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 6, 1637_.



CIV.--_To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, my LADY VISCOUNTESS
OF KENMURE._

(_PAINSTAKING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST--UNUSUAL ENJOYMENT OF HIS
LOVE--NOT EASY TO BE A CHRISTIAN--FRIENDS MUST NOT MISLEAD._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I am refreshed with your
letter. The right hand of Him to whom belong the issues from death
hath been gracious to that sweet child. I dow not, I do not, forget
him and your Ladyship in my prayers.

Madam, for your own case. I love careful, and withal, _doing_
complaints of want of practice; because I observe many who think it
holiness enough to complain, and set themselves at nothing: as if to
say "I am sick" could cure them. They think complaints a good charm
for guiltiness. I hope that ye are wrestling and struggling on, in
this dead age, wherein folks have lost tongue, and legs, and arms for
Christ. I urge upon you, Madam, a nearer communion with Christ, and a
growing communion. There are curtains to be drawn by in Christ, that
we never saw, and new foldings of love in Him. I despair that ever I
shall win to the far end of that love, there are so many plies in it.
Therefore, dig deep; and sweat, and labour, and take pains for Him;
and set by as much time in the day for Him as you can. He will be won
with labour.

I, His exiled prisoner, sought Him, and He hath rued upon me, and hath
made a moan for me, as He doth for His own,[199] and I know not what
to do with Christ. His love surroundeth and surchargeth me. I am
burdened with it; but oh, how sweet and lovely is that burden! I dow
not keep it within me. I am so in love with His love, that if His love
were not in heaven, I should be unwilling to go thither. Oh, what
weighing, and what telling is in Christ's love! I fear nothing now so
much as the losing[200] of Christ's cross, and of the love-showers
that accompany it. I wonder what He meaneth, to put such a slave at
the board-head, at His own elbow. O that I should lay my black mouth
to such a fair, fair, fair face as Christ's! But I dare not refuse to
be loved. The cause is not in me, why He hath looked upon me, and
loved me for He got neither bud nor hire of me. It cost me nothing, it
is good-cheap love. Oh, the many pound-weights of His love under which
I am sweetly pressed!

  [199] Jer. xxxi. 20; Hos. xi. 8.

  [200] The fear to be deprived of it. Early editions give "_laughing_,"
  which seems a misprint.

Now, Madam, I persuade you, that the greatest part but play with
Christianity; they put it by-hand easily. I thought it had been an
easy thing to be a Christian, and that to seek God had been at the
next door; but O the windings, the turnings, the ups and the downs
that He hath led me through! And I see yet much way to the ford. He
speaketh with my reins in the night-season; and in the morning, when I
awake, I find His love-arrows, that He shot at me, sticking in my
heart. Who will help me to praise? Who will come to lift up with me,
and set on high, His great love? And yet I find that a fire-flaught of
challenges will come in at midsummer, and question me. But it is only
to keep a sinner in order.

As for friends, I will not think the world to be the world if that
well go not dry. I trust, in God, to use the world as a canny or
cunning master doth a knave servant (at least God give me grace to do
so!): he giveth him no handling nor credit, only he intrusteth him
with common errands, wherein he cannot play the knave. I pray God that
I may not give this world the credit of my joys, and comforts, and
confidence. That were to put Christ out of His office. Nay, I counsel
you, Madam, from a little experience, let Christ keep the great seal,
and intrust Him so as to hing your vessels, great and small, and pin
your burdens, upon the Nail fastened in David's house (Isa. xxii. 23).
Let me not be well, if ever they get the tutoring of my comforts.
Away, away with irresponsal tutors that would play me a slip, and then
Christ would laugh at me, and say, "Well-wared! try again ere you
trust." Now woe is me, for my whorish mother, the Kirk of Scotland!
Oh, who will bewail her!

Now the presence of the great Angel of the Covenant be with you and
that sweet child.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.



CV.--_To a Gentlewoman, upon the death of her husband._

(_RESIGNATION UNDER BEREAVEMENT--HIS OWN ENJOYMENT OF CHRIST'S LOVE._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.

I cannot but rejoice, and withal be grieved, at your case. It hath
pleased the Lord to remove your husband (my friend, and this kirk's
faithful professor[201]) soon to his rest; but shall we be sorry that
our loss is his gain, seeing his Lord would want his company no
longer? Think not much of short summons; for, seeing he walked with
his Lord in his life, and desired that Christ should be magnified in
him at his death, ye ought to be silent and satisfied. When Christ
cometh for His own, He runneth fast: mercy, mercy to the saints goeth
not at leisure. Love, love in our Redeemer is not slow; and withal He
is homely with you, who cometh at His own hand to your house, and
intromitteth, as a friend, with anything that is yours. I think He
would fain borrow and lend with you. Now he shall meet with the
solacious company, the fair flock, and blessed bairn-teme of the
first-born, banqueting at the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is a
mercy that the poor wandering sheep get a dyke-side in this stormy
day, and a leaking ship a safe harbour, and a sea-sick passenger a
sound and soft bed ashore. Wrath, wrath, wrath from the Lord is coming
upon this land that he hath left behind him. Know, therefore, that the
wounds of your Lord Jesus are the wounds of a lover, and that He will
have compassion upon a sad-hearted servant; and that Christ hath said,
He will have the husband's room in your heart. He loved you in your
first husband's time, and He is but wooing you still. Give Him heart
and chair, house and all. He will not be made companion with any
other. Love is full of jealousies: He will have all your love; and who
should get it but He? I know that ye allow it upon Him. There are
comforts both sweet and satisfying laid up for you: wait on. First
Christ; He is an honest debtor.

  [201] Confessor.

Now for mine own case. I think some poor body would be glad of a
dawted prisoner's leavings. I have no scarcity of Christ's love: He
hath wasted more comforts upon His poor banished servant than would
have refreshed many souls. My burden was once so heavy, that one ounce
weight would have casten the balance, and broken my back; but Christ
said, "Hold, hold!" to my sorrow, and hath wiped a bluthered face,
which was foul with weeping. I may joyfully go my Lord's errands, with
wages in my hands. Deferred hopes need not make me dead-sweir (as we
used to say): my cross is both my cross and my reward. O that men
would sound His high praise! I love Christ's worst reproaches, His
glooms, His cross, better than all the world's plastered glory. My
heart is not longing to be back again from Christ's country; it is a
sweet soil I am come to. I, if any in the world, have good cause to
speak much good of Him. Oh, hell were a good-cheap price to buy Him
at! Oh, if all the three kingdoms were witnesses to my pained, pained
soul, overcome with Christ's love!

I thank you most kindly, my dear sister, for your love to, and tender
care of, my brother. I shall think myself obliged to you if ye
continue his friend. He is more to me than a brother now, being
engaged to suffer for so honourable a Master and cause.

Pray for Christ's prisoner; and grace, grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.



CVI.--_To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, my LADY KENMURE._

(_WEAK ASSURANCE--GRACE DIFFERENT FROM LEARNING--SELF-ACCUSATIONS._)


MADAM,--Upon the offered opportunity of this worthy bearer, I could
not omit to answer the heads of your letter.

_1stly_, I think not much to set down on paper some good things anent
Christ (that sealed and holy thing),[202] and to feed my soul with raw
wishes to be one with Christ; for a wish is but broken and half love.
But verily to obey this, "Come and see," is a harder matter! Oh, I
have smoke rather than fire, and guessings rather than real assurances
of Him. I have little or nothing to say, that I am as one who hath
found favour in His eyes; but there is some pining and mismannered
hunger, that maketh me miscall and nickname Christ as a changed Lord.
But alas! it is ill-flitten. I cannot believe without a pledge. I
cannot take God's word without a caution, as if Christ had lost and
sold His credit, and were not in my books responsal, and law-biding.
But this is _my_ way; for _His_ way is, "After that ye believed, ye
were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. i. 13).

  [202] Luke i. 35.

_2ndly_, Ye write, "that I am filled with knowledge, and stand not in
need of these warnings." But certainly my light is dim when it cometh
to handy-grips. And how many have full coffers, and yet empty bellies!
Light, and the saving use of light, are far different. Oh, what need
then have I to have the ashes blown away from my dying-out fire! I may
be a book-man, and (yet) be an idiot and stark fool in Christ's way!
Learning will not beguile Christ. The Bible beguiled the Pharisees,
and so may I be misled. Therefore, as night-watchers hold one another
waking by speaking to one another, so have we need to hold one another
on foot: sleep stealeth away the light of watching, even the light
that reproveth sleeping. I doubt not but more would fetch heaven, if
they believed not heaven to be at the next door. The world's negative
holiness--"no adulterer, no murderer, no thief, no cozener"--maketh
men believe they are already glorified saints. But the sixth chapter
to the Hebrews may affright us all, when we hear that men may take (a
taste) of the gifts and common graces of the Holy Spirit, and a taste
of the powers of the life to come, to hell with them. Here is
reprobate silver, which yet seemeth to have the King's image and
superscription upon it!

_3rdly_, I find you complaining of yourself. And it becometh a sinner
so to do. I am not against you in that. Sense of death is a sib
friend, and of kin and blood to life; the more sense, the more life;
the more sense of sin, the less sin. I would love my pain, and
soreness, and my wounds, howbeit these should bereave me of my night's
sleep, better than my wounds without pain. Oh, how sweet a thing it is
to give Christ His handful of broken arms and legs, and disjointed
bones!

_4thly_, Be not afraid for little grace. Christ soweth His living
seed, and He will not lose His seed. If He have the guiding of my
flock and state, it shall not miscarry. Our spilled works, losses,
deadness, coldness, wretchedness, are the ground upon which the Good
Husbandman laboureth.

_5thly_, Ye write, "that His compassions fail not, notwithstanding
that your service to Christ miscarrieth." To which I answer:

God forbid that there were buying and selling, and blocking for as
good again, betwixt Christ and us; for then free grace might go to
play, and a Saviour sing dumb, and Christ go to sleep. But we go to
heaven with light shoulders; and all the bairn-teme, and the vessels
great and small that we have, are fastened upon the sure Nail (Isa.
xxii. 23, 24). The only danger is, that we give grace more to do than
God giveth it; that is, by turning His grace into wantonness.

_6thly_, Ye write, that "few see your guiltiness, and that ye cannot
be free with many, as with me." I answer: Blessed be God, that Christ
and we are not heard before men's courts. It is at home, betwixt Him
and us, that pleas are taken away.

Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CVII.--_To the Right Honourable and Christian Lady, my LADY BOYD._

(_CONSCIOUSNESS OF DEFECTS NO ARGUMENT OF CHRIST BEING UNKNOWN--HIS
EXPERIENCE IN EXILE._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you, from God our Father, and
from our Lord Jesus Christ.

I cannot but thank your Ladyship for your letter, that hath refreshed
my soul. I think myself many ways obliged to your Ladyship for your
love to my afflicted brother, now embarked with me in that same cause.
His Lord hath been pleased to put him on truth's side. I hope that
your Ladyship will befriend him with your counsel and countenance in
that country, where he is a stranger. And your Ladyship needeth not
fear but your kindness to His own will be put up into Christ's
accounts.

Now, Madam, for your Ladyship's case. I rejoice exceedingly that the
Father of lights hath made you see that there is a nick in
Christianity, which ye contend to be at; and that is, to quit the
right eye, and the right hand, and to keep the Son of God. I hope your
desire is to make Him your garland, and that your eye looketh up the
mount, which certainly is nothing but the new creature. Fear not,
Christ will not cast water upon your smoking coal; and then who else
dare do it if He say nay? Be sorry at corruption, and be not secure.
That companion lay with you in your mother's womb, and was as early
friends with you as the breath of life. And Christ will not have it
otherwise; for He delighteth to take up fallen bairns, and to mend
broken brows. Binding up of wounds is His office (Isa. lxi. 1).

_First_, I am glad that Christ will get employment of His calling in
you. Many a whole soul is in heaven which was sickerer than ye are. He
is content that ye lay broken arms and legs on His knee, that He may
spelk them. _Secondly_, hiding of His face is wise love. His love is
not fond, doting, and reasonless, to give your head no other pillow
whill ye be in at heaven's gates, but to lie between His breasts, and
lean upon His bosom. Nay, His bairns must often have the frosty cold
side of the hill, and set down both their bare feet among thorns. His
love hath eyes, and, in the meantime, is looking on. Our pride must
have winter weather to rot it. But I know that Christ and ye will not
be heard;[203] ye will whisper it over betwixt yourselves, and agree
again. For the anchor-tow abideth fast within the vail; the end of it
is in Christ's ten fingers: who dare pull, if He hold? "I, the Lord
thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying, Fear not, I will help thee.
Fear not, Jacob" (Isa. xli. 13, 14). The sea-sick passenger shall come
to land; Christ will be the first to meet you on the shore. I hope
that your ladyship will keep the King's highway. Go on (in the
strength of the Lord), in haste, as if ye had not leisure to speak to
the innkeepers by the way. He is over beyond time, on the other side
of the water, who thinketh long for you.

  [203] No one will ever hear the chiding. See Note, Letter LXX.

For my unfaithful self, Madam, I must say a word. At my first coming
hither, the devil made many a black lie of my Lord Jesus, and said the
court was changed, and He was angry, and would give an evil servant
his leave at mid-term.[204] But He gave me grace not to take my leave.
I resolved to bide summons, and sit, howbeit it was suggested and
said, "What should be done with a withered tree, but over the dyke
with it?" But now, now (I dare not, I dow not keep it up!), who is
feasted as His poor exiled prisoner. I think shame of the board-head
and the first mess, and the royal King's dining-hall, and that my
black hand should come upon such a Ruler's table. But I cannot mend
it; Christ must have His will: only He paineth my soul so sometimes
with His love, that I have been nigh to pass modesty, and to cry out.
He hath left a smoking, burning coal in my heart, and gone to the door
Himself, and left me and it together. Yet it is not desertion; I know
not what it is, but I was never so sick for Him as now. I durst not
challenge my Lord, if I got no more for heaven; it is a dawting cross.
I know He hath other things to do than to play with me, and to
trindle an apple with me, and that this feast will end. O for
instruments in God's name, that this is He! and that I may make use of
it, when, it may be, a near friend within me will say, and when it
will be said by a challenging devil, "Where is thy God?" Since I know
that it will not last, I desire but to keep broken meat. But let no
man after me slander Christ for His cross.

  [204] Discharge His servant before the term.

The great Lord of the Covenant, who brought from the dead the great
Shepherd of His sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant establish
you, and keep you and yours to His appearance.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.



CVIII.--_To the_ LADY KASKEBERRY.

     [This lady was wife to _James Schoneir_ of _Kaskeberrie_, or
     Kaskeberrian, in Fife. His name occurs as elder to the General
     Assembly in 1647, and he was ruling elder in the Presbytery of
     Kirkcaldy. (Lamont's "Diary," 1650.) His lady died in 1655, and
     was buried in Kinglassie church.]

(_GRATITUDE FOR KINDNESS--CHRIST'S PRESENCE FELT._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I long to hear how your
Ladyship is. I know not how to requite your Ladyship's kindness; but
your love to the saints, Madam, is laid up in heaven. I know it is for
your well-beloved Christ's sake that ye make His friends so dear to
you, and concern yourself so much in them.

I am, in this house of pilgrimage, every way in good case: Christ is
most kind and loving to my soul. It pleaseth Him to feast, with His
unseen consolations, a stranger and an exiled prisoner; and I would
not exchange my Lord Jesus with all the comfort out of heaven. His
yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

This is His truth which I now suffer for; for He hath sealed it with
His blessed presence. I know that Christ shall yet win the day, and
gain the battle in Scotland. Grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.



CIX.--_To the_ LADY EARLSTON.

     [This was probably Lady Earlston, senior, as may be inferred from
     Rutherford's reminding her that her "afternoon sun will soon go
     down." Her maiden name was Elizabeth Gordon, she being the
     daughter of John Gordon of Muirfad, near Creeton, in the north
     extremity of Kirkmabreck, next parish to Anwoth (the same who was
     afterwards designed of Penningham), the second son of Sir John
     Gordon of Lochinvar, and brother to Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar,
     father of first Lord Kenmure. (Nisbet's "Heraldry," vol. i.)
     _Muirfad_ is now a little croft,--a plain, one-storeyed house,
     with a clump of willows and oaks round it, near Palnure Station.]

(FOLLOWING CHRIST NOT EASY--CHILDREN NOT TO BE OVER-LOVED--JOY IN THE
LORD.)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I long to hear how your
soul prospereth. I exhort you to go on in your journey; your day is
short, and your afternoon sun will soon go down. Make an end of your
accounts with your Lord; for death and judgment are tides that bide no
man. Salvation is supposed to be at the door, and Christianity is
thought an easy task; but I find it hard, and the way strait and
narrow, were it not that my Guide is content to wait on me, and to
care for a tired traveller. Hurt not your conscience with any known
sin. Let your children be as so many flowers borrowed from God: if the
flower die or wither, thank God for a summer loan of them, and keep
good neighbourhood, to borrow and lend[205] with Him. Set your heart
upon heaven, and trouble not your spirit with this clay-idol of the
world, which is but vanity, and hath but the lustre of the rainbow in
the air, which cometh and goeth with a flying March-shower. Clay is
the idol of bastards, not the inheritance of the children.

  [205] To be on good terms with.

My Lord hath been pleased to make many unknown faces laugh upon me,
and hath made me well content of a borrowed fireside, and a borrowed
bed. I am feasted with the joys of the Holy Ghost, and my royal King
beareth my charges honourably. I love the smell of Christ's sweet
breath better than the world's gold. I would I had help to praise Him.

The great Messenger of the Covenant, the Son of God, establish you on
your Rock, and keep you to the day of His coming.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.

[Illustration: IRVINE.]



CX.--_To his Reverend and Dear Brother_, MR. DAVID DICKSON.

     [DAVID DICKSON (sometimes shortened into DICK), born in 1583, was
     the only son of Mr. John Dickson, a pious and wealthy merchant in
     Glasgow. After finishing his studies at the University of
     Glasgow, he was admitted Professor of Philosophy in that
     University, which office he held for eight years. In 1618 he was
     ordained minister of Irvine, where he laboured with much
     acceptance and success. In 1622, refusing to practise the
     ceremonies then imposed upon the Church by the Perth Articles, he
     was summoned by James Law, Archbishop of Glasgow, to appear
     before the High Commission Court. He appeared, but declined the
     authority of the Court in ecclesiastical matters. The result was,
     that he was deprived of his charge at Irvine, and banished to
     Turriff, in Aberdeenshire. There, however, he was employed every
     Sabbath by the incumbent of the parish. Yielding to the
     solicitations of the Earl of Eglinton and the town of Irvine, the
     Bishop granted him liberty to return to his old charge about the
     end of July 1623. He resumed his pastoral duties with increased
     ardour; and in addition to his Sabbath labours, preached every
     Monday (the market-day of Irvine), for the benefit of the rural
     population. Great numbers, particularly from the neighbouring
     parish of Stewarton, attending these meetings, the result was the
     famous Stewarton Revival, which lasted from 1623 to 1630. After
     the renewal of the National Covenant, in 1638, Dickson, who was
     then distinguished as a leader, in conjunction with Alexander
     Henderson and Andrew Cant, was sent on a mission to Aberdeen, to
     explain the Covenant to the inhabitants who were hostile to it,
     when the celebrated controversy between the three commissioners
     and the doctors of Aberdeen, on the subject, took place. In 1642
     he was appointed Professor of Divinity in the University of
     Glasgow, in which office he was associated with the celebrated
     Robert Baillie. He was afterwards translated to the same office
     in the University of Edinburgh. In the differences between the
     Resolutioners and Protesters, he took the side of the former;
     but, on seeing how matters went upon the restoration of Charles
     II., is reported to have said to one who visited him on his
     deathbed, that the Protesters were the truest prophets. He died
     in December 1662. Dickson was a man of more than ordinary
     talents, of extensive theological acquirements, of a very
     intrepid spirit, and a popular preacher. He was the author of
     various works, which have been highly esteemed.]

(_GOD'S DEALINGS--THE BITTER SWEETENED--NOTES ON SCRIPTURE._)


REVEREND AND DEAREST BROTHER,--What joy have I out of heaven's gates,
but that my Lord Jesus be glorified in my bonds? Blessed be ye of the
Lord who contribute anything to my obliged and indebted praises. Dear
brother, help me, a poor dyvour, to pay the interest; for I cannot
come nigh to render the principal. It is not jest nor sport which
maketh me to speak and write as I do: I never before came to that nick
or pitch of communion with Christ that I have now attained to. For my
confirmation, I have been these two Sabbaths or three in private,
taking instruments in the name of God, that my Lord Jesus and I have
kissed each other in Aberdeen, the house of my pilgrimage. I seek not
an apple to play me with (He knoweth, whom I serve in the spirit!),
but a seal. I but beg earnest, and am content to suspend and frist
glory whill supper-time. I know that this world will not last with me;
for my moonlight is noonday light, and my four hours above my feasts
when I was a preacher; at which time, also, I was embraced very often
in His arms. But who can blame Christ to take me on behind Him (if I
may say so), on His white horse, or in His chariot, paved with love,
through a water? Will not a father take his little dawted Davie in his
arms, and carry him over a ditch or a mire? My short legs could not
step over this lair, or sinking mire; and, therefore, my Lord Jesus
will bear me through. If a change come, and a dark day (so being that
He will keep my faith without flaw or crack), I dare not blame Him,
howbeit I get no more whill I come to heaven. But ye know that the
physic behoved to have sugar: my faith was fallen aswoon, and Christ
but held up a swooning man's head. Indeed, I pray not for a dawted
bairn's diet: He knoweth that I would have Christ, sour or sweet,--any
way, so being it be Christ indeed. I stand not now upon pared apples,
or sugared dishes, but I cannot blame Him to give, and I must gape and
make a wide mouth. Since Christ will not pantry up joys, He must be
welcome who will not bide away. I seek no other fruit than that He may
be glorified. He knoweth that I would take hard fare to have His name
set on high.

I bless you for your counsel. I hope to live by faith, and swim
without a mass or bundle of joyful sense under my chin; at least to
venture, albeit I should be ducked.

Now for my case: I think that the council should be essayed, and the
event referred to God;--duties are ours, and events are God's.

I shall go through yours upon the Covenant at leisure, and write to
you my mind thereanent; and anent the Arminian contract betwixt the
Father and the Son. I beseech you, set to, to go through
Scripture.[206] Yours on the Hebrews is in great request with all who
would be acquainted with Christ's Testament. I purpose, God willing,
to set about Hosea, and to try if I can get it to the press here.

  [206] Rutherford seems here to allude to a plan of furnishing short
  commentaries on the whole Bible, which was suggested and set on foot
  by Dickson at the beginning of the seventeenth century. "The Hebrews,"
  as is mentioned in this letter, together with "The Psalms" and
  "Matthew," were undertaken by Dickson; and "Hosea," which Rutherford
  here intimates his intention to undertake, but never accomplished, was
  contributed by Hutchison in his stead. In the Preface to one of the
  earliest editions of the Letters, a complaint is made that some one
  was secreting a MS. commentary of Rutherford's upon "Isaiah."

It refresheth me much that ye are so kind to my brother. I hope your
counsel will do him good. I recommend him to you, since I am so far
from him. I am glad that the dying servant of God, famous and faithful
Mr. Cunningham, sealed your ministry before he fell asleep.

  Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.



CXI.--_To_ JEAN BROWN.

(_CHRIST'S UNTOLD PRECIOUSNESS--A WORD TO HER BOY._)


WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR SISTER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I
received your letter, which I esteem an evidence of your Christian
affection to me, and of your love to my honourable Lord and Master. My
desire is, that your communion with Christ may grow, and that your
reckonings may be put by-hand with your Lord ere you come to the
water-side.

Oh, who knoweth how sweet Christ's kisses are! Who hath been more
kindly embraced and kissed than I, His banished prisoner? If the
comparison could stand, I would not exchange Christ with heaven
itself. He hath left a dart and arrow of love in my soul, and it
paineth me till He come and take it out. I find pain of those wounds,
because I would have possession. I know now that this worm-eaten
apple, the plastered, rotten world, which the silly children of this
world are beating, and buffeting, and pulling each other's ears for,
is a portion for bastards, good enough; and that it is all they have
to look for. I am not offended that my adversaries stay at home at
their own fireside, with more yearly rent than I. Should I be angry
that the Goodman of this house of the world casteth a dog a bone to
hurt his teeth? He hath taught me to be content with a borrowed
fireside, and an unco bed; and I think I have lost nothing, the income
is so great. Oh, what telling is in Christ! Oh, how weighty is my fair
garland, my crown, my fair supping-hall in glory, where I shall be
above the blows and buffetings of prelates! Let this be your desire,
and let your thoughts dwell much upon that blessedness that abideth
you in the other world. The fair side of the world will be turned to
you quickly, when ye shall see the crown. I hope that ye are near your
lodging. Oh, but I would think myself blessed, for my part, to win to
the house before the shower come on; for God hath a quiver full of
arrows to shoot at and shower down upon Scotland.

Ye have the prayers of a prisoner of Christ. I desire Patrick to give
Christ his young love, even the flower of it; and to put it by all
others. It were good to start soon to the way; he should thereby have
a great advantage in the evil day. Grace be with you.

  Yours only in his Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.



CXII.--_To_ MR. JOHN FERGUSHILL.

     [MR. JOHN FERGUSHILL'S mother was Janet Kennedy, sister or near
     relative to Hugh Kennedy of Ayr. He was at this time minister of
     Ochiltree, a parish in the centre of Ayrshire, in the district of
     Kyle. When Mr. Robert Blair was translated from Ayr to St.
     Andrews by the General Assembly, 1639, Fergushill was, by the
     same Assembly, appointed his successor. He died in 1644. He is
     mentioned by Livingstone, as one of the "many of the godly and
     able ministers" in Scotland. He was a member of the famous
     Glasgow Assembly, 1638. Lady Gaitgirth's mansion was near
     Ochiltree; see Letter CLXXXVII.]

(_THE ROD UPON GOD'S CHILDREN--PAIN FROM A SENSE OF CHRIST'S LOVE--HIS
PRESENCE A SUPPORT UNDER TRIALS--CONTENTEDNESS WITH HIM ALONE._)


REVEREND AND WELL-BELOVED IN THE LORD,--I was refreshed with your
letter. I am sorry for that lingering and longsome visitation that is
upon your wife; but I know that ye take it as the mark of a lawfully
begotten child, and not of a bastard, to be under your Father's rod.
Till ye be in heaven, it will be but foul weather; one shower up and
another down. The lintel-stone and pillars of the New Jerusalem suffer
more knocks of God's hammer and tool than the common side-wall stones.
And if twenty crosses be written for you in God's book, they will come
to nineteen, and then at last to one, and after that to nothing, but
your head shall lie betwixt Christ's breasts for evermore and His own
soft hand shall dry your face, and wipe away your tears. As for public
sufferings for His truth, your Master also will see to these. Let us
put Him into His own office, to comfort and deliver. The gloom of
Christ's cross is worse than itself.

I cannot keep up what He hath done to my soul. My dear brother, will I
not get help of you to praise, and to lift Christ up on high? He hath
pained me with His love, and hath left a love-arrow in my heart, that
hath made a wound, and swelled me up with desires, so that I am to be
pitied for want of real possession. Love would have the company of the
party loved; and my greatest pain is the want of Him, not of His joys
and comforts, but of a near union and communion.

This is His truth, I am fully persuaded, which I now suffer for; for
Christ hath taken upon Him to be witness to it by His sweet comforts
to my soul; and shall I think Him a false witness? or that He would
subscribe blank paper? I thank His high and dreadful name for what He
hath given. I hope to keep His seal and His pawn till He come and
loose it Himself. I defy hell to put me off it. But He is Christ, and
He hath met with His prisoner; and I took instruments in His own hand,
that it was He, and none other for Him. When the devil fenceth a
bastard-court[207] in my Lord's ground, and giveth me forged summons,
it will be my shame to misbelieve, after such a fair broad seal. And
yet Satan and my apprehension sometimes make a lie of Christ, as if He
hated me. But I dare believe no evil of Christ. If He would cool my
love-fever for Himself with real presence and possession, I would be
rich; but I dare not be mislearned and seek more in that kind, howbeit
it be no shame to beg at Christ's door. I pity my adversaries. I
grudge not that my Lord keepeth them at their own fireside, and hath
given me a borrowed fireside: let the Goodman of the house cast the
dog a bone, why should I take offence? I rejoice that the broken bark
shall come to land, and that Christ will, on the shore, welcome the
sea-sick passenger. We have need of a great stock against this day of
trial that is coming. There is neither chaff nor corn in Scotland, but
it shall once[208] pass through God's sieve. Praise, praise, and pray
for me; for I cannot forget you. I know that ye will be friendly to my
afflicted brother, who is now embarked in the same cause with me. Let
him have your counsel and comforts.

  [207] Opens and constitutes an unauthorized court.

  [208] Sooner or later.

Remember my love in Christ to your wife; her health is coming, and her
salvation sleepeth not. Ye have the prayers and blessing of a prisoner
of Christ. Sow fast, deal bread plentifully. The pantry-door will be
locked on the bairns, in appearance, ere long. Grace, grace, be with
you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.



CXIII.--_To his Reverend and Dear Brother_, MR. ROBERT DOUGLAS.

     [ROBERT DOUGLAS, one of the ablest and most respected ministers
     of the Church of Scotland in his day, was the illegitimate son of
     Mr. Douglas, who was the son of Sir G. Douglas, Governor of
     Lochleven Castle. (Wodrow's "Analecta," iv. 226.) Having finished
     his preparations for the ministry, he was ordained to be chaplain
     for the forces that served under the celebrated Gustavus of
     Sweden. It is said that, in one of Gustavus' engagements,
     surveying the battle from an eminence, and observing something
     wrong in the left wing of the army which threatened to prove
     disastrous, he either personally or by a messenger acquainted the
     commanding officer with the circumstance, and that this
     information led to victory. When he left the army, the Swedish
     monarch parted with him reluctantly, saying, "There is a man who,
     for wisdom and prudence, might be a counsellor to any king in
     Europe. He might be a moderator to any assembly in the world; and
     he might be a general to conduct any army, for his skill in
     military affairs." (_Ibid._ iv. 221.) During this period, he
     committed to memory the greater part of the Bible, having almost
     no other book to read. Returning to his own country, he was
     admitted colleague to Mr. James Simson, minister of Kirkcaldy, in
     1630. Thence he was translated to Edinburgh in 1641. For a time
     he was deceived by the duplicity of James Sharp, but at last he
     detected his real character; and when the traitor (shortly before
     he went up to London to be consecrated Archbishop) happened to
     meet with him, and addressed him as "Brother," Mr. Douglas,
     disgusted at his hypocrisy, exclaimed, "Brother! no more brother.
     James, if my conscience had been of the make of yours, I could
     have been Bishop of St. Andrews sooner than you." In 1669 he was
     admitted indulged minister at Pencaitland, where he died at an
     advanced age in 1674, and was buried in Edinburgh. (Wodrow's
     "History" and "Analecta.")]

(GREATNESS OF CHRIST'S LOVE REVEALED TO THOSE WHO SUFFER FOR HIM.)


MY VERY REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you.--I long to see you on paper. I cannot but write you, that this
which I now suffer for is Christ's truth; because He hath been pleased
to seal my sufferings with joy unspeakable and glorious. I know that
He will not put His seal upon blank paper; Christ hath not dumb seals,
neither will He be a witness to a lie. I beseech you, my dear brother,
to help me to praise, and to lift Christ up on His throne above the
shields of the earth. I am astonished and confounded at the greatness
of His kindness to such a sinner. I know that Christ and I shall never
be even; I shall die in His debt. He hath left an arrow in my heart
that paineth me for want of real possession; and hell cannot quench
this coal of God's kindling. I wish no man to slander Christ or His
cross for my cause; for I have much cause to speak much good of Him.
He hath brought me to a nick and degree of communion with Himself that
I knew not before. The din and gloom of our Lord's cross is more
fearful and hard than the cross itself. He taketh the bairns in His
arms when they come to a deep water; at least, when they lose ground,
and are put to swim, then His hand is under their chin.

Let me be helped by your prayers; and remember my love to your kind
wife. Grace be with you.

  Your brother, and Christ's prisoner,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 7, 1637_.



CXIV.--_To the much Honoured WILLIAM RIGG, of Athernie, in Fife, near
Leven._

     [WILLIAM RIGG of Athernie, in the capacity of one of the bailies
     of Edinburgh, "gave great evidence" (says Livingstone) "that he
     had the spirit of a magistrate beyond many, being a terror to all
     evil-doers." He took an active part against all attempts to
     introduce Prelacy, and contributed liberally to the printing of
     such books as "crossed the course of Conformity." In March 1624,
     a committee of the Privy Council, by the authority of the King,
     deprived Rigg of his office, fined him in fifty thousand pounds
     Scots, and ordered him to be warded in Blackness Castle till the
     sum was paid, and afterwards to be confined in Orkney. This
     sentence, however, was afterwards mitigated. He was distinguished
     above most for devoting a large portion of his income to
     religious purposes. Such was his liberality, that one said, "To
     my certain knowledge, he spends yearly more on pious uses than
     all my estate is worth; and mine will be towards 8 or 9000 merks
     (about £350) in the year." He was a man of much prayer, and
     generally commenced with deep and bitter complaints and
     confession of sin, but ended with unspeakable assurance, and joy
     and thanksgiving. His death took place on the 2nd of January
     1644, and is thus recorded by Sir Thomas Hope, in his "Diary"
     (p. 201): "This day, my worthy cousin, William Rigg of Athernie,
     departed, at his house of Athernie, having taken bed on Sunday of
     before, and died on the third day. The Lord prepare me; for this,
     next to my dearest son, is a heavy stroke." The old house of
     _Athernie_ stood a little inland from the present mansion; only a
     gable of the old house remains. It overlooked a pretty glen
     through which runs a burn that falls into the sea near the
     churchyard of _Scoonie_.]

(_SUSTAINING POWER OF CHRIST'S LOVE--SATAN'S OPPOSITION--YEARNINGS FOR
CHRIST HIMSELF--FEARS FOR THE CHURCH._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I received your
long-looked-for and short letter. I would that ye had spoken more to
me, who stand in need. I find Christ, as ye write, aye the longer the
better; and therefore cannot but rejoice in His salvation, who hath
made my chains my wings, and hath made me a king over my crosses, and
over my adversaries. Glory, glory, glory to His high, high and holy
name! Not one ounce, not one grain-weight more is laid on me than He
hath enabled me to bear; and I am not so much wearied to suffer as
Zion's haters are to persecute. Oh, if I could find a way, in any
measure, to strive to be even with Christ's love! But that I must give
over. Oh, who would help a dyvour to pay praises to the King of
saints, who triumpheth in His weak servants!

I see that if Christ but ride upon a worm or feather, His horse will
neither stumble nor fall. The worm Jacob is made by Him a new, sharp
threshing instrument, having teeth, to thresh the mountains, and beat
them small, and to make the hills as chaff, and to fan them so as the
wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them (Isa.
xli. 14-16). Christ's enemies are but breaking their own heads in
pieces, upon the Rock laid in Zion; and the stone is not removed out
of its place. Faith hath cause to take courage from our very
afflictions; the devil is but a whetstone to sharpen the faith and
patience of the saints. I know that he but heweth and polisheth
stones, all this time, for the new Jerusalem.

But in all this, three things have much moved me, since it hath
pleased my Lord to turn my moon-light into day-light. _First_, He hath
yoked me to work, to wrestle with Christ's love; of longing wherewith
I am sick, pained, fainting, and like to die because I cannot get
Himself; which I think a strange sort of desertion. For I have not
Himself, whom if I had, my love-sickness would cool, and my fever go
away; at least, I should know the heat of the fire of complacency,
which would cool the scorching heat of the fire of desire. (And yet I
have no penury of His love!) And so I dwine, I die, and He seemeth not
to rue on me. I take instruments in His hand, that I would have Him,
but I cannot get Him; and my best cheer is black hunger. I bless Him
for that feast.

_Secondly_, Old challenges now and then revive, and cast all down. I
go halting and sighing, fearing there be an unseen process yet coming
out, and that heavier than I can answer. I cannot read distinctly my
surety's act of cautionary for me in particular, and my discharge; and
sense, rather than faith, assureth me of what I have; so unable am I
to go but by a hold.[209] I could, with reverence of my Lord, forgive
Christ, if He would give me as much faith as I have hunger for Him. I
hope the pardon is now obtained, but the peace is not so sure to me as
I would wish. Yet, one thing I know, there is not a way to heaven but
the way which He hath graced me to profess and suffer for.

  [209] Ps. lxxiii. 23.

_Thirdly_, Wo, wo is me for the virgin-daughter of Scotland, and for
the fearful desolation and wrath appointed for this land! And yet all
are sleeping, eating and drinking, laughing and sporting, as if all
were well. Oh, our dim gold! our dumb, blind pastors! The sun is gone
down upon them, and our nobles bid Christ fend for Himself, if He be
Christ. It were good that we should learn in time the way to our
stronghold.

Sir, howbeit not acquainted, remember my love to your wife. I pray God
to establish you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 9, 1637_.



CXV.--_To_ MR. ALEXANDER HENDERSON.

     [ALEXANDER HENDERSON, the well-known hero of the Second
     Reformation, was born in the year 1583, and received his
     education at the University of St. Andrews. After having taught
     for several years a class of philosophy and rhetoric in that
     University, he obtained a presentation to the parish of Leuchars,
     in 1612. Being at that time unimpressed with spiritual truth, he
     was a defender of the principles and measures of the prelatic
     party in the Church. His settlement was on these accounts so
     unpopular, that on the day of his ordination the church-doors
     were secured by the people, and the members of Presbytery,
     together with the presentee, were obliged to break in by the
     window. But his soul was soon after visited by the Holy Spirit,
     and underwent an entire change. He became leader in effecting
     that revolution in the ecclesiastical affairs of Scotland which
     commenced about the year 1637. He was Moderator of the famous
     Assembly which met at Glasgow in 1638, and by that Assembly was
     translated to Edinburgh. In the civil war, Henderson was
     appointed by the Covenanters to act as one of their commissioners
     in treating with his Majesty Charles I. In 1642 he was delegated
     by the Commission of the General Assembly to sit as one of their
     commissioners in the Westminster Assembly of Divines, which kept
     him in London for several years. He died on the 12th of August
     1646, in the 63rd year of his age, shortly after his return from
     England. Baillie, in his speech to the General Assembly in the
     following year, pronounced him, "the fairest ornament after Mr.
     John Knox, of incomparable memory, that ever the Church of
     Scotland did enjoy."]

(_SADNESS BECAUSE CHRIST'S HEADSHIP NOT SET FORTH--HIS CAUSE ATTENDED
WITH CROSSES--THE BELIEVER SEEN OF ALL._)


MY REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I received your letters. They are as
apples of gold to me; for with my sweet feasts (and they are above the
deserving of such a sinner, high and out of measure), I have sadness
to ballast me, and weight me a little. It is but His boundless wisdom
which hath taken the tutoring of His witless child; and He knoweth
that to be drunken with comforts is not safest for our stomachs.
However it be, the din and noise and glooms of Christ's cross are
weightier than itself. I protest to you (my witness is in heaven),
that I could wish many pound weights added to my cross, to know that
by my sufferings Christ were set forward in His kingly office in this
land. Oh, what is my skin to His glory; or my losses, or my sad heart,
to the apple of the eye of our Lord and His beloved Spouse, His
precious truth, His royal privileges, the glory of manifested justice
in giving of His foes a dash, the testimony of His faithful servants
who do glorify Him, when He rideth upon poor, weak worms, and
triumpheth in them! I desire you to pray, that I may come out of this
furnace with honesty, and that I may leave Christ's truth no worse
than I found it; and that this most honourable cause may neither be
stained nor weakened.

As for your cause, my reverend and dearest brother, ye are the talk of
the north and south; and looked to, so as if ye were all crystal
glass. Your motes and dust would soon be proclaimed and trumpets blown
at your slips. But I know that ye have laid help upon One that is
mighty. Intrust not your comforts to men's airy and frothy applause,
neither lay your down-castings on the tongues of salt mockers and
reproachers of godliness. "As deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and
yet well known" (2 Cor. vi. 8, 9). God hath called you to Christ's
side, and the wind is now in Christ's face in this land; and seeing ye
are with Him, ye cannot expect the lee-side, or the sunny side of the
brae. But I know that ye have resolved to take Christ upon any terms
whatsoever. I hope that ye do not rue, though your cause be hated, and
prejudices are taken up against it. The shields of the world think our
Master cumbersome wares, and that He maketh too great din, and that
His cords and yokes make blains, and deep scores in their neck.
Therefore they kick. They say, "This man shall not reign over us."

Let us pray one for another. He who hath made you a chosen arrow in
His quiver, hide you in the hollow of His hand!

  I am yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 9, 1637_.

[Illustration: LOUDON CASTLE.]



CXVI.--_To the Right Honourable my_ LORD LOUDON.

     [JOHN CAMPBELL, first Earl of Loudon, and the son of Sir James
     Campbell of Lawers, was a man of distinguished talents, and of a
     very decided character. In the history of his country he makes no
     small figure as a strenuous opponent of the attempts made by
     Charles I. to impose Prelacy and arbitrary power on Scotland. He
     was a member of the General Assembly which met at Glasgow in
     1638, in the business of which he took an active part. When the
     King, dissatisfied with the proceedings of this Assembly, put
     himself at the head of an army to reduce his Scottish subjects to
     submission, Loudon had a leading hand in the measures then
     adopted for preserving the religion and liberties of Scotland, as
     secured by the ecclesiastical and civil laws of the kingdom. In
     the skirmish at Newburn, where the King's forces were defeated by
     the Scottish army, he commanded a brigade of horse. In 1641, when
     peace was restored between the King and his Scottish subjects,
     Loudon was made Lord Chancellor of Scotland, a situation which he
     held till after the execution of Charles I., and the calling home
     of Charles II. by the Scots in 1650. Malignants being again
     brought into places of power and trust, he demitted his office.
     He continued, however, strongly to adhere to the cause of
     Charles, in consequence of which he was excepted from Cromwell's
     act of indemnity, and his estates forfeited. But all that he had
     suffered for the royal cause did not recommend him to the favour
     of the unprincipled government of Charles II. His name is in the
     list of Middleton's fines (imposed upon the gentlemen of Ayrshire
     in 1662) for £12,000. He felt convinced that, should his life be
     spared, he would fall an early victim to the vengeance of his
     enemies, and often exhorted his pious lady to beseech the Lord
     that he might not live to the next session of Parliament, else he
     would share the same fate with the Marquis of Argyle. His wish
     was granted; for he died at Edinburgh, March 15, 1662.
     Rutherford's "Divine Right of Church Government and
     Excommunication," printed at London in 1646, is dedicated to this
     nobleman, who was then Chancellor of the University of St
     Andrews. His son James, second Earl of Loudon, was subjected to
     no small persecution under the dominancy of Prelacy; and, seeking
     refuge in Holland, took up his residence at Leyden, where he died
     on the 29th of October 1684.]

(_BLESSEDNESS OF ACTING FOR CHRIST--HIS LOVE TO HIS PRISONER._)


MY VERY NOBLE AND HONOURABLE LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you.--I make bold to write to your Lordship, that you may know the
honourable cause which ye are graced to profess is Christ's own truth.
Ye are many ways blessed of God, who have taken upon you to come out
to the streets with Christ on your forehead, when so many are ashamed
of Him, and hide Him (as it were) under their cloak, as if He were a
stolen Christ. If this faithless generation, and especially the nobles
of this kingdom, thought not Christ dear wares, and religion
expensive, hazardous, and dangerous, they would not slip from His
cause as they do, and stand looking on with their hands folded behind
their back when louns are running with the spoil of Zion on their
back, and the boards of the Son of God's tabernacle. Law and justice
are to be had by any, especially for money and moyen; but Christ can
get no law, good-cheap or dear. It were the glory and honour of you,
who are the nobles of this land, to plead for your wronged Bridegroom
and His oppressed spouse, as far as zeal and standing law will go with
you. Your ordinary logic from the event, "that it will do no good to
the cause, and, therefore, silence is best till the Lord put to His
own hand," is not (with reverence to your Lordship's learning) worth a
straw. Events are God's. Let us do,[210] and not plead against God's
office. Let Him sit at His own helm, who moderateth all events. It is
not a good course to complain that we cannot get a providence of gold,
when our laziness, cold zeal, temporizing, and faithless fearfulness
spilleth good providence.

  [210] Act.

Your Lordship will pardon me: I am not of that mind, that tumults or
arms is the way to put Christ on His throne; or that Christ will be
served and truth vindicated, only with the arm of flesh and blood.
Nay, Christ doth His turn with less din, than with garments rolled in
blood. But I would that the zeal of God were in the nobles to do their
part for Christ; and I must be pardoned to write to your Lordship
thus.

I dow not, I dare not, but speak to others what God hath done to the
soul of His poor, afflicted exile-prisoner. His comfort is more than I
ever knew before. He hath sealed the honourable cause which I now
suffer for, and I shall not believe that Christ will put His amen and
ring[211] upon an imagination. He hath made all His promises good to
me, and hath filled up all the blanks with His own hand. I would not
exchange my bonds with the plastered joy of this whole world. It hath
pleased Him to make a sinner the like of me an ordinary banqueter in
His house-of-wine, with that royal, princely One, Christ Jesus. Oh,
what weighing, oh, what telling is in His love! How sweet must He be,
when that black and burdensome tree, His own cross, is so perfumed
with joy and gladness! O for help to lift Him up by praises on His
royal throne! I seek no more than that His name may be spread abroad
in me, that meikle good may be spoken of Christ on my behalf; and this
being done, my losses, place, stipend, credit, ease, and liberty,
shall all be made up to my full contentment and joy of heart.

  [211] As if sealing it by His ring as in marriage, or as Esth. iii.
  10.

I shall be confident that your Lordship will go on in the strength of
the Lord, and keep Christ, and avouch Him, that He may read your name
publicly before men and angels. I shall entreat your Lordship to
exhort and encourage that nobleman, your chief,[212] to do the same.
But I am wo[213] that many of you find a new wisdom, which deserveth
not such a name. It were better that men would see that their wisdom
be holy, and their holiness wise.

  [212] The Earl of Argyle.

  [213] Sorrowful.

I must be bold to desire your Lordship to add to your former favours
to me (for the which your Lordship hath a prisoner's blessing and
prayers) this, that ye would be pleased to befriend my brother, now
suffering for the same cause; for as he is to dwell nigh your
Lordship's bounds, your Lordship's word and countenance may help him.

Thus recommending your Lordship to the saving grace and tender mercy
of Christ Jesus our Lord, I rest, your Lordship's obliged servant in
Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 9, 1637_.



CXVII.--_To MR. WILLIAM DALGLEISH, Minister of the Gospel._

     [MR. WILLIAM DALGLEISH was minister of the conjunct parishes of
     _Anwoth_, _Kirkdale_, and _Kirkmabreck_. He preached at Anwoth
     only every alternate week; but so abundantly blessed were his
     labours to the people, that when he surrendered (_quoad sacra_)
     the charge of Anwoth to Rutherford, upon its being formed into a
     distinct parochial charge, not only many of the humbler class of
     the parishioners, but the proprietors too, had embraced the
     doctrines of the Gospel. Dalgleish strictly adhered to
     Presbyterian principles, and on that account was subjected to
     trouble.

     In 1635 he was deprived of his charge as minister of the united
     parishes of Kirkdale and Kirkmabreck. In 1637, when Episcopacy
     began to be the losing cause, he returned to his flock. His name
     appears on the roll of the members of the famous Assembly which
     met at Glasgow in 1638; and in 1639 he was translated to Cramond,
     as successor to Mr. William Colville, afterwards Principal of the
     University of Edinburgh; to whom he appears to have been related,
     as the name of his wife was Elizabeth Colville. He was the
     intimate friend of the well-known Alexander Henderson, who by his
     latter will ordained his executor "to deliver to my dear
     acquaintance Mr. John Duncan, at Culross, and Mr. William
     Dalgleish, minister at Cramond, all my manuscripts and papers
     which are in my study, and that belong to me any where else; and
     after they have received them, to destroy or preserve and keep
     them, as they shall judge convenient for their own private or the
     public good." In 1662 Dalgleish was ejected for nonconformity,
     and died before the Revolution.

     _Kirkmabreck_ was a pendicle of the Abbey of Dundrennan, which is
     seven miles from Kirkcudbright. The farms and cottages that bear
     this name are about two miles from the shore, a little way up on
     the high ground, but the church and churchyard lie in a hollow,
     between the Larg and the Cairnharrow hills. Part of the old
     ivy-covered walls, and the gable of the church, still remain. One
     modern tomb in the churchyard is marked by a granite pillar, 20
     feet high. It is the grave of Dr. Thomas Brown. The inscription
     on the west side reads thus:--"Thomas, M.D., Professor of Moral
     Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, who died 2nd August
     1820, aged 43 years. Janet, who died 5th August 1824, aged 51."

     The Statistical Account speaks of Old Mortality having renovated
     some of the grave-stones, but all traces of his work have
     disappeared. In that old church Samuel Rutherford preached his
     sermons on Zech. xiii. 7, 9, at a Communion in 1630. In 1634 he
     preached on Luke xiv. 16, at the preparation before the
     Communion; and on another occasion, on Isaiah xlix. 1-4.

     The parish extends along the shore, to the village of Creetown in
     one direction, and in the other, to the old castle and farm of
     _Carsluth_. The old tower and ruined walls of this castle, built
     of granite from the neighbouring quarries, stand embosomed in
     trees, on a spot commanding a fine view of the bay. _Barholm
     Castle_ also is in this parish, and was the spot where John Knox
     was secreted previous to his escape to the Continent. His
     signature was long shown on the wall of one of the rooms. The old
     towers, overgrown with ivy, peep out from the thick woods on the
     right of the road from Kirkdale to Creetown. The modern mansion
     stands on a wooded eminence, on the other side of Creetown. Not
     more than a mile from this old castle, is the ruined church of
     _Kirkdale_, on the edge of a wood, and considerably above the
     house. It resembles the churches of Kirkmabreck and Anwoth in
     shape, having been long and narrow. The inscriptions on the old
     tombstones are so worn as to be illegible. The churchyard has
     been enclosed, and at the gate the eye is sure to rest on a small
     tablet in the side wall, with these words:--

     "But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and
     stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Dan. xii. 13.)]

(_CHRIST'S KINDNESS--DEPENDENCE ON PROVIDENCE--CONTROVERSIES._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I am
well. My Lord Jesus is kinder to me than ever He was. It pleaseth Him
to dine and sup with His afflicted prisoner. A King feasteth me, and
His spikenard casteth a sweet smell. Put Christ's love to the trial,
and put upon it our burdens, and then it will appear love indeed. We
employ not His love, and therefore we know it not. I verily count the
sufferings of my Lord more than this world's lustred and over-gilded
glory. I dare not say but my Lord Jesus hath fully recompensed my
sadness with His joys, my losses with His own presence. I find it a
sweet and rich thing to exchange my sorrows with Christ's joys, my
afflictions with that sweet peace I have with Himself.

Brother, this is His own truth I now suffer for. He hath sealed my
sufferings with His own comforts, and I know that He will not put His
seal upon blank paper. His seals are not dumb nor delusive, to confirm
imaginations and lies. Go on, my dear brother, in the strength of the
Lord, not fearing man who is a worm, nor the son of man that shall
die. Providence hath a thousand keys, to open a thousand sundry doors
for the deliverance of His own, when it is even come to a _conclamatum
est_.[214] Let us be faithful, and care for our own part, which is to
do and suffer for Him, and lay Christ's part on Himself, and leave it
there. Duties are ours, events are the Lord's. When our faith goeth to
meddle with events, and to hold a court (if I may so speak) upon God's
providence, and beginneth to say, "How wilt Thou do this and that?" we
lose ground. We have nothing to do there. It is our part to let the
Almighty exercise His own office, and steer His own helm. There is
nothing left to us, but to see how we may be approved of Him, and how
we may roll the weight of our weak souls in well-doing upon Him who is
God Omnipotent: and when that we thus essay miscarrieth, it will be
neither our sin nor cross.

  [214] "All is over."

Brother, remember the Lord's word to Peter; "Simon, lovest thou
me?--Feed my sheep." No greater testimony of our love to Christ can
be, than to feed carefully and faithfully His lambs.

I am in no better neighbourhood with the ministers here than before:
they cannot endure that any speak of me, or to me. Thus I am, in the
mean time, silent, which is my greatest grief. Dr. Barron[215] hath
often disputed with me, especially about Arminian controversies, and
for the ceremonies. Three yokings laid him by; and I have not been
troubled with him since. Now he hath appointed a dispute before
witnesses; I trust that Christ and truth will do for themselves.

  [215] Barron was of the family of Kinnaird in Fifeshire. He became
  minister of the parish of Keith; in 1624 was appointed to a charge in
  Aberdeen. In 1625 he was nominated Professor of Divinity in Marischal
  College there. He was a determined opponent of such men as Rutherford
  and Dickson, and at length resigned his chair and retired to Berwick,
  where he died in 1639.

I hope, brother, that ye will help my people; and write to me what ye
hear the Bishop is to do with them. Grace be with you.

  Your brother in bonds,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CXVIII.--_To MR. HUGH MACKAIL, Minister of the Gospel at Irvine._

(_CHRIST'S BOUNTIFUL DEALINGS--JOY IN CHRIST THROUGH THE CROSS._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I bless you for your letter. He is come
down as rain upon the mown grass; He hath revived my withered root;
and He is the dew of herbs. I am most secure in this prison: salvation
is for walls in it; and what think ye of these walls? He maketh the
dry plant to bud as the lily, and to blossom as Lebanon:--the great
Husbandman's blessing cometh down upon the plants of righteousness.
Who may say this, my dear brother, if I, His poor exiled stranger and
prisoner, may not say it? Howbeit all the world should be silent, I
cannot hold my peace. Oh, how many black accounts have Christ and I
rounded over together in the house of my pilgrimage! and how fat a
portion He hath given to a hungry soul! I had rather have Christ's
four-hours, than have dinner and supper both in one from any other.
His dealing, and the way of His judgments, are past finding out. No
preaching, no book, no learning, could give me that which it behoved
me to come and get in this town. But what of all this, if I were not
misted, and confounded, and astonished how to be thankful, and how to
get Him praised for evermore! And, what is more, He hath been pleased
to pain me with His love, and my pain groweth through want of real
possession.

Some have written to me, that I am possibly too joyful of the cross;
but my joy overleapeth the cross, it is bounded and terminated upon
Christ. I know that the sun will overcloud and eclipse, and that I
shall again be put to walk in the shadow: but Christ must be welcome
to come and go, as He thinketh meet. Yet He would be more welcome to
me, I trow, to come than to go. And I hope He pitieth and pardoneth
me, in casting apples to me at such a fainting time as this. Holy and
blessed is His name! It was not my flattering of Christ that drew a
kiss from His mouth. But He would send me as a spy into this
wilderness of suffering, to see the land and try the ford; and I
cannot make a lie of Christ's cross. I can report nothing but good
both of Him and it, lest others should faint. I hope, when a change
cometh, to cast anchor at midnight upon the Rock which He hath taught
me to know in this daylight; whither I may run, when I must say my
lesson without book, and believe in the dark. I am sure it is sin to
tarrow at Christ's good meat, and not to eat when He saith, "Eat, O
well-beloved, and drink abundantly." If He bear me on His back, or
carry me in His arms over this water, I hope for grace to set down my
feet on dry ground, when the way is better. But this is slippery
ground: my Lord thought good I should go by a hold, and lean on my
Well-beloved's shoulder. It is good to be ever taking from Him. I
desire that He may get the fruit of praises, for dawting and thus
dandling me on His knee: and I may give my bond of thankfulness, so
being I have Christ's back-bond again for my relief, that I shall be
strengthened by His powerful grace to pay my vows to Him. But, truly,
I find that we have the advantage of the brae upon our enemies: we are
more than conquerors through Him who loved us; and they know not
wherein our strength lieth.

Pray for me. Grace be with you.

  Your brother in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CXIX.--_To_ MR. DAVID DICKSON.

(_JOYFUL EXPERIENCE--CUP OVERFLOWING IN EXILE._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you.--I
find that great men, especially old friends, scaur to speak for me.
But my kingly and royal Master biddeth me to try His moyen to the
uttermost, and I shall find a friend at hand. I still depend upon
Him; His court is still as before; the prisoner is welcome to Him. The
black, crabbed tree of my Lord's cross hath made Christ and my soul
very entire. He is my song in the night. I am often laid in the dust
with challenges, and apprehensions of His anger; and then, if a
mountain of iron were laid upon me, I cannot be heavier; and with much
wrestling I win into the King's house of wine. And yet, for the most
part, my life is joy; and such joy through His comforts, as I have
been afraid lest I should shame myself and cry out, for I can scarce
bear what I get. Christ giveth me a measure heaped up, pressed down,
and running over; and, believe it, His love paineth more than prison
and banishment. I cannot get the way of Christ's love. Had I known
what He was keeping for me, I should never have been so faint-hearted.
In my heaviest times, when all is lost, the memory of His love maketh
me think Christ's glooms are but for the fashion.[216] I seek no more
than a vent to my wine;[217] I am smothered and ready to burst for
want of vent. Think not much of persecution. It is before you; but it
is not as men conceive of it. My sugared cross forceth me to say this
to you, ye shall have waled meat. The sick bairn is ofttime the
spilled bairn; he shall command all the house. I hope that ye help a
tired prisoner to praise and pray. Had I but the annual of annual[218]
to give to my Lord Jesus, it would ease my pain. But, alas! I have
nothing to pay, He will get nothing of poor me; but I am wo that I
have not room enough in my heart for such a stranger. I am not cast
down to go farther north. I have good cause to work for my Master, for
I am well paid beforehand; I am not behind, howbeit I should not get
one smile more till my feet be up within the King's dining-hall.

  [216] Frowns for form's sake.

  [217] Alluding to Job xxxii. 19.

  [218] The smallest return, the quit-rent of a quit-rent.

I have gone through yours upon the Covenant;[219] it hath edified my
soul, and refreshed a hungry man. I judge it sharp, sweet, quick, and
profound. Take me at my word, I fear that it get no lodging in
Scotland.

  [219] "_Therapeutica Sacra_; seu de curandis casibus conscientiæ circa
  regenerationem per Fœderum Divinorum applicationem," is the title
  of the book.

The brethren of Ireland write not to me; chide with them for that. I
am sure that I may give you and them a commission (and I will abide by
it), that you tell my Beloved that I am sick of love. I hope in God to
leave some of my rust and superfluities in Aberdeen. I cannot get a
house in this town wherein to leave drink-silver in my Master's name,
save one only. There is no sale for Christ in the north; He is like to
lie long on my hand, ere any accept Him. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CXX.--_To_ MR. MATTHEW MOWAT.

     [MATTHEW MOWAT, son to the Laird of Busbie (Letter CXXXIII.), was
     minister of Kilmarnock. He was one of the seven leading ministers
     in the west whom the Parliament, after the restoration of Charles
     II., brought before them with the view of extorting their
     acquiescence in the establishment of Prelacy; which, if effected,
     it was apprehended would have an influence in leading others to
     comply. They were all put in prison, and refusing (though several
     times brought before the Parliament), to take the oath of
     allegiance without explanation, inasmuch as it involved the oath
     of supremacy, they were more severely treated. Livingstone
     describes Mowat as "one of a meek, sweet disposition, straight
     and zealous for the truth." Rutherford, who highly valued him,
     says in one of his letters, "I cannot speak to a man so sick of
     love to Christ as Mr. Matthew Mowat;" and in another, "I am
     greatly in love with Mr. Matthew Mowat, for I see him really
     stampt with the image of God." The time of his death is unknown.
     Some additional notices of him are to be found in Wodrow's
     "Analecta," vol. iii.]

(_PLENITUDE OF CHRIST'S LOVE--NEED TO USE GRACE ARIGHT--CHRIST THE
RANSOMER--DESIRE TO PROCLAIM HIS GOSPEL--SHORTCOMINGS AND
SUFFERINGS_.)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I am a very far mistaken man. If others
knew how poor my stock was, they would not think upon the like of me,
but with compassion. For I am as one kept under a strict tutor; I
would have more than my tutor alloweth me. But it is good that a
bairn's wit is not the rule which regulateth my Lord Jesus. Let Him
give what He will, it shall aye be above merit, and my ability to gain
therewith. I would not wish a better stock, whill heaven be my stock,
than to live upon credit at Christ's hands, daily borrowing. Surely,
running-over love (that vast, huge, boundless love of Christ that
there is telling[220] in for man and angels!) is the only thing I most
fain would be in hands with. He knoweth that I have little but the
love of that love; and that I shall be happy, suppose I never get
another heaven but only an eternal, lasting feast of that love. But
suppose my wishes were poor, He is not poor: Christ, all the seasons
of the year, is dropping sweetness. If I had vessels, I might fill
them; but my old, riven, and running-out dish, even when I am at the
Well, can bring little away. Nothing but glory will make tight and
fast our leaking and rifty vessels. Alas! I have skailed more of
Christ's grace, love, faith, humility, and godly sorrow, than I have
brought with me. How little of the sea can a child carry in his hand!
As little dow I take away of my great Sea, my boundless and
running-over Christ Jesus.

  [220] Which will try the skill of men and angels to estimate.

I have not lighted upon the right gate of putting Christ to the bank,
and making myself rich with Him. My misguiding and childish
trafficking with that matchless Pearl, that heaven's Jewel, the Jewel
of the Father's delights, hath put me to a great loss. O that He would
take a loan of me, and my stock, and put His name in all my bonds, and
serve Himself heir to the poor, mean portion which I have, and be
accountable for the talent Himself! Gladly would I put Christ into my
room to guide all; and let me be but a servant to run errands, and act
by His direction. Let me be His interdicted heir. Lord Jesus, work
upon my minority, and let Him win a pupil's blessing! Oh, how would I
rejoice to have this work of my salvation legally fastened upon
Christ! A back-bond of my Lord Jesus that it should be forthcoming to
the orphan, would be my happiness. Dependency on Christ were my surest
way; if Christ were my foundation, I were sure enough. I thought the
guiding of grace had been no art;[221] I thought it would come of
will; but I would spill my own heaven yet, if I had not burdened
Christ with all. I but lend my bare name to the sweet covenant;
Christ, behind and before, and on either side, maketh all sure. God
will not take an Arminian cautioner. Freewill is a weather-cock,
turning at a serpent's tongue, a tutor that cowped our Father Adam,
unto us; and brought down the house, and sold the land, and sent the
father, and mother, and all the bairns through the earth to beg their
bread. Nature in the Gospel hath but a cracked credit. Oh, well to my
poor soul for evermore, that my Lord called grace to the council, and
put Christ Jesus, with free merits and the blood of God, foremost in
the chase to draw sinners after a Ransomer! Oh, what a sweet block was
it by way of buying and selling, to give and tell down a ransom for
grace and glory to dyvours! Oh, would to my Lord that I could cause
paper and ink to speak the worth and excellency, the high and loud
praises of a Brother-ransomer! The Ransomer needeth not my report,
but, oh, if He would take it, and make use of it! I should be happy if
I had an errand to this world, but for some few years, to spread
proclamations, and outcries, and love-letters of the highness, the
highness for evermore, the glory, the glory for evermore, of the
Ransomer, whose clothes were wet and dyed in blood! albeit, after I
had done that, my soul and body should go back to their mother
_Nothing_ that their Creator brought them once out from, as from their
beginning. But why should I pine away, and pain myself with wishes?
and not believe, rather, that Christ will hire such an outcast as I
am, a masterless body, put out of the house by the sons of my mother,
and give me employment and a calling, one way or other, to set out
Christ and His wares to country buyers, and propose Christ unto, and
press Him upon some poor souls, that fainer than their life would
receive Him?

  [221] Required no skill, but would come as I chose.

You complain heavily of "your shortcoming in practice, and venturing
on suffering for Christ." You have many marrows. For the first, I
would put you off a sense of wretchedness. Hold on! Christ never yet
slew a sighing, groaning child: more of that would make you won goods,
and a meet prey for Christ. Alas! I have too little of it, for
venturing on suffering. I had not so much free gear when I came to
Christ's camp as to buy a sword. I wonder[222] that Christ should not
laugh at such a soldier. I am no better yet; but faith liveth and
spendeth upon our Captain's charges, who is able to pay for all. We
need not pity Him, He is rich enough.

  [222] In most editions, it is "_a_ wonder," as if in way of
  exclamation.

Ye desire me also "Not to mistake Christ under a mask." I bless you,
and thank God for it. But alas! masked or bare-faced, kissing or
glooming, I mistake Him: yea, I mistake Him the farthest when the mask
is off; for then I play me with His sweetness. I am like a child that
hath a gilded book, that playeth with the ribbons and the gilding, and
the picture on the first page, but readeth not the contents of it.
Certainly, if my desires to my Well-beloved were fulfilled, I could
provoke devils, and crosses, and the world, and temptations to the
field; but oh! my poor weakness maketh me lie behind the bush and hide
me.

Remember my service and my blessing to my Lord. I am mindful of him as
I am able. Desire him from a prisoner, to come and visit my good
Master, and feel but the smell of His love. It setteth him well,
howbeit he be young, to make Christ his garland. I could not wish him
in a better case, than in a fever of love-sickness for Christ.

Remember my bonds. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXXI.--_To_ WILLIAM HALLIDAY.

[The name "Halliday" occurs on the tombstones of the old churchyard of
Anwoth. No doubt this correspondent was one of his flock at Anwoth.
One of the name lies buried in the old churchyard, with the following
inscription on her tombstone:--

"_Margat_ (_i.e. Margaret_) _Halliday_, spouse of John Bell in
Archland, who departed this life anno 1631, Jan. 27, ætat. suæ 76. O
death, I will be thy death! Now is Christ risen from the dead, and is
the first froot (_i.e._ fruits) of them that ..." (broken off.)

_Archland_ is the same place as _Henton_, in the parish of Anwoth, a
notice of which is given at Letter CCXIX., addressed to this John
Bell.]

(_DILIGENCE IN SECURING SALVATION._)


LOVING FRIEND,--I received your letter.--I wish that ye take pains for
salvation. Mistaken grace, and somewhat like conversion which is not
conversion, is the saddest and most doleful thing in the world. Make
sure of salvation, and lay the foundation sure, for many are beguiled.
Put a low price upon the world's clay; but a high price upon Christ.
Temptations will come, but if they be not made welcome by you, ye have
the best of it. Be jealous over yourself and your own heart, and keep
touches with God. Let Him not have a faint and feeble soldier of you.
Fear not to back Christ, for He will conquer and overcome. Let no man
scaur at Christ, for I have no quarrels at His cross; He and His cross
are two good guests, and worth the lodging. Men would fain have Christ
good-cheap; but the market will not come down. Acquaint yourself with
prayer. Make Christ your Captain and your armour. Make conscience of
sinning[223] when no eye seeth you. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in Christ Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.

  [223] Be conscientious as to sinning when out of sight of men.



CXXII.--_To a Gentlewoman, after the death of her Husband._

(_VANITY OF EARTHLY POSSESSIONS--CHRIST A SUFFICIENT PORTION--DESIGN
OF AFFLICTION._)


DEAR AND LOVING SISTER,--I know that ye are minding your sweet
country, and not taking your inn, the place of your banishment, for
your home. This life is not worthy to be the thatch, or outer wall, of
the paradise of your Lord Jesus, that He did sweat for to you, and
that He keepeth for you. Short, and silly, and sand-blind were our
hope, if it could not look over the water to our best heritage, and if
it stayed only at home about the doors of our clay house.

I marvel not, my dear sister, that ye complain that ye come short of
your old wrestlings which ye had for a blessing; and that now you find
it not so. Bairns are but hired to learn their lesson when they first
go to school. And it is enough that those who run a race see the gold
only, at the starting-place; and possibly they see little more of it,
or nothing at all till they win to the rinks-end, and get the gold in
the loof of their hand. Our Lord maketh delicates and dainties of His
sweet presents and love-visits to His own: but Christ's love, under a
veil, is love. If ye get Christ, howbeit not the sweet and pleasant
way ye would have Him, it is enough; for the Well-beloved cometh not
our way; He must wale His own gate Himself. For worldly things, seeing
there are meadows and fair flowers in your way to heaven, a smell in
the bygoing is sufficient. He that would reckon and tell all the
stones in his way, in a journey of three or four hundred miles, and
write up in his count-book all the herbs and the flowers growing in
his way, might come short of his journey. You cannot stay, in your
inch of time, to lose your day (seeing that you are in haste, and the
night and your afternoon will not bide you), in setting your heart on
this vain world. It were your wisdom to read your account-book, and to
have in readiness your business, against the time you come to death's
water-side. I know that your lodging is taken; your forerunner,
Christ, hath not forgotten that; and therefore you must set yourself
to your "one thing," which you cannot well want.

In that our Lord took your husband to Himself, I know it was that He
might make room for Himself. He cutteth off your love to the creature,
that ye might learn that God only is the right owner of your love.
Sorrow, loss, sadness, death, are the worst of things that are, except
sin. But Christ knoweth well what to make of them, and can put His own
in the cross's common, so that we shall be obliged to affliction, and
thank God who taught us to make our acquaintance with such a rough
companion, who can hale us to Christ. You must learn to make your
evils your great good; and to spin comforts, peace, joy, communion
with Christ, out of your troubles, which are Christ's wooers, sent to
speak for you[224] to Himself. It is easy to get good words, and a
comfortable message from our Lord, even from such rough serjeants as
divers temptations. Thanks to God for crosses! When we count and
reckon our losses in seeking God, we find that godliness is great
gain. Great partners of a shipful of gold are glad to see the ship
come to the harbour;--surely we, and our Lord Jesus together, have a
shipful of gold coming home, and our gold is in that ship. Some are so
in love, or, rather, in lust, with this life, that they sell their
part of the ship for a little thing. I would counsel you to buy hope,
but sell it not, and give not away your crosses for nothing. The
inside of Christ's cross is white and joyful, and the far-end of the
black cross is a fair and glorious heaven of ease. And seeing Christ
hath fastened heaven to the far-end of the cross, and He will not
loose the knot Himself, and none else can (for when Christ casteth a
knot, all the world cannot loose it), let us then count it exceeding
joy when we fall into divers temptations.

  [224] See 1 Kings ii. 18.

Thus recommending you to the tender mercy and grace of our Lord, I
rest, your loving brother,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CXXIII.--_To JOHN GORDON of Cardoness, Younger._

     [JOHN GORDON of Cardoness, younger, like his father, previously
     noticed (Letter LXXXII.), was naturally a man of strong passions.
     Judging from this letter, he appears not only to have been
     neglectful of religion, but to have freely indulged in the
     follies and vices of youth. Rutherford warns him of his sin and
     danger with much freedom and affectionate earnestness; and these
     warnings, it is to be hoped, were not in vain. He was in the
     Covenanters' army, in England, in 1644, as appears from a letter
     of his preserved among the Wodrow MSS. It is dated "Sunderland,
     28th March 1644," and is addressed to Mr. Thomas Wylie. It is
     written in a religious strain. After referring to the success of
     the army, and to the account of this drawn up by Mr. Robert
     Douglas, it contains in the close the following passage:--"I
     entreat you be kind to my wife, and deal with her neither to take
     my absence, nor the form of coming from her, in evil part; for,
     in God's presence, public duties and nothing else removed me, or
     marred the form of my removal. Be earnest with her that she seek
     a nearer acquaintance with Christ: and fail not to pray for her
     and her family, and me." (Wodrow MSS., vol. xxix.)]

(_REASONS FOR BEING EARNEST ABOUT THE SOUL, AND FOR RESIGNATION._)


HONOURED AND DEAR BROTHER,--I wrote of late to you: multitudes of
letters burden me now. I am refreshed with your letter.

I exhort you in the bowels of Christ, set to work for your soul. And
let these bear weight with you, and ponder them seriously: _1st_,
Weeping and gnashing of teeth in utter darkness, or heaven's joy.
_2ndly_, Think what ye would give for an hour, when ye shall lie like
dead, cold, blackened clay. _3rdly_, There is sand in your glass yet,
and your sun is not gone down. _4thly_, Consider what joy and peace
are in Christ's service. _5thly_, Think what advantage it will be to
have angels, the world, life and death, crosses, yea, and devils, all
for you, as the King's serjeants and servants, to do your business.
_6thly_, To have mercy on your seed, and a blessing on your house.
_7thly_, To have true honour, and a name on earth that casteth a sweet
smell. _8thly_, How ye will rejoice when Christ layeth down your head
under His chin, and betwixt His breasts, and drieth your face, and
welcometh you to glory and happiness. _9thly_, Imagine what pain and
torture is a guilty conscience; what slavery to carry the devil's
dishonest loads. _10thly_, Sin's joys are but night-dreams, thoughts,
vapours, imaginations, and shadows. _11thly_, What dignity it is to be
a son of God. _12thly_, Dominion and mastery over temptations, over
the world and sin. _13thly_, That your enemies should be the tail, and
you the head.

For your bairns, now at rest (I speak to you and your wife, and cause
her read this). _1st_, I am a witness for Barbara's glory in heaven.
_2ndly_, For the rest, I write it under my hand, there are days coming
on Scotland when barren wombs, and dry breasts, and childless parents
shall be pronounced blessed. They are, then, in the lee of the harbour
ere the storm come on. 3_rdly_, They are not lost to you that are laid
up in Christ's treasury in heaven. _4thly_, At the Resurrection, ye
shall meet with them; thither they are sent before, but not sent
away.[225] _5thly_, Your Lord loveth you, who is homely to take and
give, borrow and lend. _6thly_, Let not bairns be your idols; for God
will be jealous, and take away the idol, because He is greedy of your
love wholly.

  [225] He alludes to the almost classical saying, "Præmissi, non
  amissi." See Letter IV.

I bless you, your wife, and children. Grace for evermore be with you.

  Your loving pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CXXIV.--_To JOHN GORDON of Cardoness, Elder._

(_CALL TO EARNESTNESS ABOUT SALVATION--INTRUSION OF MINISTERS._)


HONOURABLE, AND DEAREST IN THE LORD,--Your letter hath refreshed my
soul. My joy is fulfilled if Christ and ye be fast together. Ye are my
joy and my crown. Ye know that I have recommended His love to you. I
defy the world, Satan, and sin. His love hath neither brim nor bottom
in it. My dearest in Christ, I write my soul's desire to you. Heaven
is not at the next door. I find Christianity to be a hard task; set to
in your evening. We would all keep both Christ and our right eye, our
right hand and foot; but it will not do with us. I beseech you, by the
mercies of God, and your compearance before Christ, look Christ's
account-book and your own together, and collate them. Give the remnant
of your time to your soul. This great idol-god, the world, will be
lying in white ashes on the day of your compearance; and why should
night-dreams, and day-shadows, and water-froth, and May-flowers run
away with your heart? When we win to the water-side, and black death's
river-brink, and put our foot into the boat, we shall laugh at our
folly. Sir, I recommend unto you the thoughts of death, and how ye
would wish your soul to be when ye shall lie cold, blue, ill-smelling
clay.

For any hireling to be intruded, I, being the King's prisoner, cannot
say much; but, as God's minister, I desire you to read Acts i. 15, 16,
to the end, and Acts vi. 2-5, and ye shall find that God's people
should have a voice in choosing church-rulers and teachers. I shall be
sorry if, willingly, ye shall give way to his unlawful intrusion upon
my labours. The only wise God direct you.

God's grace be with you.

  Your loving pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CXXV.--_To the_ LADY FORRET.

     [LADY FORRET was, we suppose, a "saint in Cæsar's household;" for
     Lord Forret (originally Mr. David Balfour) was one of
     Lauderdale's friends, appointed to watch the outed ministers in
     Fife. See "Blair's Life," by Row.]

(_SICKNESS A KINDNESS--CHRIST'S GLOOMS BETTER THAN THE WORLD'S JOYS._)


WORTHY MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I long to hear
from you. I hear Christ hath been that kind as to visit you with
sickness, and to bring you to the door of the grave: but ye found the
door shut (blessed be His glorious name!) whill ye be riper for
eternity. He will have more service of you; and, therefore, He seeketh
of you that henceforth ye be honest to your new husband, the Son of
God. We have idol-love, and are whorishly inclined to love other
things beside our Lord; and, therefore, our Lord hunteth for our love
more ways than one or two. O that Christ had His own of us! I know He
will not want you, and that is a sweet wilfulness in His love: and ye
have as good cause, on the other part, to be headstrong and peremptory
in your love to Christ, and not to part, nor divide your love betwixt
Him and the world. If it were more, it is little enough, yea, too
little for Christ.

I am now, every way, in good terms with Christ. He hath set a banished
prisoner as a seal on His heart, and as a bracelet on His arm. That
crabbed and black tree of the cross laugheth upon me now; the alarming
noise of the cross is worse than itself. I love Christ's glooms better
than the world's worm-eaten joys. Oh, if all the kingdom were as I am,
except these bonds! My loss is gain; my sadness joyful; my bonds,
liberty; my tears comfortable. This world is not worth a drink of cold
water. Oh, but Christ's love casteth a great heat! Hell, and all the
salt sea, and the rivers of the earth, cannot quench it.

I remember you to God; ye have the prayers of a prisoner of Christ.
Grace, grace, be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 9, 1637_.



CXXVI.--_For_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_ADHERENCE TO DUTY AMIDST OPPOSITION--POWER OF CHRIST'S LOVE._)


LOVING AND DEAR SISTER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. Your
letter hath refreshed my soul. You shall not have my advice to make
haste to go out of that town; for if you remove out of Kirkcudbright,
they will easily undo all. You are at God's work, and in His way
there. Be strong in the Lord; the devil is weaker than you are,
because stronger is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
Your care of and love showed towards me, now a prisoner of Christ, is
laid up for you in heaven, and you shall know that it is come up in
remembrance before God.

Pray, pray for my desolate flock; and give them your counsel, when ye
meet with any of them. It shall be my grief to hear that a wolf enter
in upon my labours; but if the Lord permit it, I am silent. My sky
shall clear, for Christ layeth my head in His bosom, and admitteth me
to lean there. I never knew before what His love was in such a
measure. If He leave me, He leaveth me in pain, and sick of love; and
yet my sickness is my life and health. I have a fire within me; I defy
all the devils in hell, and all the prelates in Scotland, to cast
water on it.

I rejoice at your courage and faith. Pray still, as if I were on my
journey to come and be your pastor. What iron gates or bars are able
to stand it out against Christ? for when He bloweth, they open to Him.

I remember your husband. Grace, grace, be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 11, 1637_.



CXXVII.--_To_ JOHN CARSEN.

     [John Carsen was the son of Andrew Carsen, merchant and burgess
     of Kirkcudbright. He was retoured heir of his father 13th May
     1635.--"Inquir. Gener." _No._ 2121. There are still several of
     the name in Kirkcudbright, and it is found often in the
     churchyard. There is "Bailie John Carsen" in the "Minute-book of
     Comm. of Covenanters," along with Bailie Ewart; and is called
     "Carsen of _Senwick_."]

(_NOTHING WORTH THE FINDING, BUT CHRIST._)


MY WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR FRIEND,--Every one seeketh not God, and far
fewer find Him; because they seek amiss. He is to be sought for above
all things, if men would find what they seek. Let feathers and shadows
alone to children, and go seek your Well-beloved. Your only errand to
the world, is to woo Christ; therefore, put other lovers from about
the house, and let Christ have all your love, without minching or
dividing it. It is little enough, if there were more of it. The
serving of the world and sin hath but a base reward and smoke instead
of pleasures, and but a night-dream for true ease to the soul. Go
where you will, your soul shall not sleep sound but in Christ's bosom.
Come in to Him, and lie down, and rest you on the slain Son of God,
and inquire for Him. I sought Him; and now, a fig for all the
worm-eaten pleasures, and moth-eaten glory out of heaven, since I have
found Him, and in Him all I can want or wish! He hath made me a king
over the world. Princes cannot overcome me. Christ hath given me the
marriage kiss, and He hath my marriage-love: we have made up a full
bargain, that shall not go back on either side. Oh, if ye, and all in
that country, knew what sweet terms of mercy are betwixt Him and me!
Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 11, 1637_.



CXXVIII.--_To the_ EARL OF CASSILLIS.

     [JOHN KENNEDY, sixth EARL OF CASSILLIS, was the son of Gilbert
     Kennedy, master of Cassillis, which is six miles from Ayr. He was
     served heir to his uncle, John, fifth Earl of Cassillis, in 1616.
     His Lordship was a person of considerable talents, of great
     virtue, and a zealous Covenanter. Having studied under Dr.
     Cameron, Principal of the College of Glasgow, a great defender of
     absolute government, he could not yield to some clauses in the
     first draught of the Covenant, which seemed to vindicate the use
     of defensive arms against the King; but he agreed to the Covenant
     as it now stands. He sat in the Glasgow Assembly, 1638, as elder
     from the Presbytery of Ayr; and was one of the three ruling
     elders sent to the Assembly of Divines at Westminster in 1643. He
     was one of the commissioners who, in March 1650, went from
     Scotland to Breda, to treat with Charles II. He attended at the
     crowning of Charles at Scone, January 1, 1651. So strongly
     attached was he to the royal family, that when on one occasion
     Cromwell summoned him to a meeting, instead of attending it, he,
     along with some ministers and his chaplain, kept a day of fasting
     and prayer in his family. On the other hand, such was his
     hostility to the measures of the court, in establishing Prelacy
     and in ejecting the Presbyterian ministers from their charges,
     that he seldom paid stipend to any of the curates intruded into
     their places till compelled by a charge of horning. Wodrow
     designates him "the great and worthy Earl of Cassillis." "I have
     this account," says he, "of the Earl of Cassillis, that he was
     singularly pious, and a man of a very high spirit, who carried
     with a great state and majesty. His carriage in his family was
     most exemplary and religious. He was very much in secret duty,
     and had his hours wherein none had access to him. Upon the
     Sabbath his carriage was singular. He usually wrote the sermon,
     and at night caused his chaplain to examine all his servants and
     his children, even after they were pretty big, upon the sermon;
     and every one behoved to give their notes; and after all, many
     times he took out his own papers and read to them. When at
     Edinburgh, Lauderdale sent a servant to him upon a Sabbath night,
     telling him he was coming to wait on him. Presently he called Mr.
     Violant, his chaplain, and ordered him to go out and meet
     Lauderdale, and tell him that if he designed a Sabbath day's
     visit he was very welcome, but he would discourse upon no other
     thing with him but what was suitable to the day. Lauderdale came
     up, and discoursed with him,--as he could very well do,--only
     upon points of divinity" (Wodrow's "Analecta"). His Lordship died
     at his own house in the West in 1668.

     The mansion is near Dalrymple. It is on the banks of the Doon,
     and embosomed in wood, with the hill called _The Dounans_ facing
     the house. It is a confused pile of building. A long avenue of
     fine old trees leads up to it.]

(_HONOUR OF TESTIFYING FOR CHRIST_.)


MY VERY NOBLE AND HONOURABLE LORD,--I make bold (out of the honourable
and Christian report I hear of your Lordship, having no other thing to
say but that which concerneth the honourable cause which the Lord hath
enabled your Lordship to profess) to write this, that it is your
Lordship's crown, your glory, and your honour, to set your shoulder
under the Lord's glory, now falling to the ground, and to back Christ
now, when so many think it wisdom to let Him fend for Himself. The
shields of the earth ever did, and do still believe that Christ is a
cumbersome neighbour, and that it is a pain to hold up His yeas and
nays. They fear that He take their chariots, and their crowns, and
their honour from them; but my Lord standeth in need of none of them
all. But it is your glory to own Christ and His buried truth; for, let
men say what they please, the plea with Zion's enemies in this day of
Jacob's trouble is, if Christ should be King, and no mouth speak laws
but His? It concerneth the apple of Christ's eye, and His royal
privileges, what is now debated; and Christ's kingly honour is come to
yea and nay. But let me be pardoned, my dear and noble Lord, when I
beseech you by the mercies of God, by the comfort of the Spirit, by
the wounds of our dear Saviour, by your compearance before the Judge
of quick and dead, to stand for Christ, and to back Him. Oh, if the
nobles had done their part, and been zealous for the Lord! it had not
been as it is now. But men think it wisdom to stand beside Christ till
His head be broken, and sing dumb. There is a time coming when Christ
will have a thick court, and He will be the glory of Scotland; and He
will make a diadem, a garland, a seal upon His heart, and a ring upon
His finger, of those who have avouched Him before this faithless
generation. Howbeit, ere that come, wrath from the Lord is ordained
for this land.

My Lord, I have cause to write this to your Lordship; for I dare not
conceal His kindness to the soul of an afflicted, exiled prisoner. Who
hath more cause to boast in the Lord than such a sinner as I, who am
feasted with the consolations of Christ, and have no pain in my
sufferings, but the pain of soul-sickness of love for Christ, and
sorrow that I cannot help to sound aloud the praises of Him who hath
heard the sighing of the prisoner, and is content to lay the head of
His oppressed servant in His bosom, under His chin, and let Him feel
the smell of His garments? It behoved me to write this, that your
Lordship might know that Christ is as good as He is called; and to
testify to your Lordship, that the cause, which your Lordship now
professeth before the faithless world, is Christ's, and that your
Lordship shall have no shame of it.

Grace be with you.

  Your Lordship's obliged servant,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXXIX.--_To MR. ROBERT GORDON, Bailie of Ayr._

     [ROBERT GORDON was a merchant in Ayr. In Paterson's "History of
     the County of Ayr," he and his partner merchants are mentioned as
     having, in 1644, supplied the Scots army in Ireland, at a certain
     price, with a large quantity of meal and beans. He was cousin to
     John, Viscount of Kenmure, whose "Last and Heavenly Speeches and
     Glorious Departure" were published by Rutherford, and to which
     there is a reference in the beginning of this letter. It was to
     him that Kenmure said, "Robert, I know you have light and
     understanding; and though you have no need to be instructed by
     me, yet have you need to be incited" (p. 94). Gordon was
     frequently a member of the Town Council of Ayr; in 1631 as Dean
     of Guild, and in 1632 as Bailie. In 1638 and 1647 he held the
     office of Provost. He was a man of piety, and a zealous supporter
     of the Presbyterian cause. In an old parchment copy of the
     National Covenant 1638 (in the possession of Hugh Cowan, Esquire,
     Ayr), Gordon's signature appears, as well as the signatures of
     the other members of the Town Council, some of whom were
     Rutherford's correspondents, as John Kennedy, John Osborne, and
     John Stewart. The above copy of the National Covenant is signed
     by Rothes, Montrose, and other men of rank, being one of the
     copies sent at that time by the Covenanters from Edinburgh to the
     various burghs throughout the country to be subscribed.]

(_CHRIST ABOVE ALL._)


WORTHY SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I long to hear from
you on paper. Remember your chief's speeches[226] on his death-bed. I
pray you, sir, sell all, and buy the Pearl. Time will cut you from
this world's glory; look what will do you good, when your glass shall
be run out. And let Christ's love bear most court in your soul, and
that court will bear down the love of other things. Christ seeketh
your help in your place; give Him your hand. Who hath more cause to
encourage others to own Christ than I have? for He hath made me sick
of love, and left me in pain to wrestle with His love. And love is
like to fall aswoon through His absence. I mean not that He deserteth
me, or that I am ebb of comforts; but this is an unco pain.--O that I
had a heart and a love to render to Him back again! Oh, if
principalities and powers, thrones and dominions, and all the world
would help me to praise! Praise Him in my behalf.

  [226] The words of Lord Kenmure.

Remember my love to your wife. I thank you most kindly for your love
to my brother. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXXX.--_To JOHN KENNEDY, Bailie of Ayr._

(_CHRIST'S LOVE--THE THREE WONDERS--DESIRES FOR HIS SECOND COMING._)


GRACE, mercy, and peace be to you. Your not writing to me cannot bind
me up from remembering you now and then, that at least ye may be a
witness, and a third man, to behold on paper what is betwixt Christ
and me. I was in his eyes like a young orphan, wanting known parents,
casten out in the open fields; either Christ behoved to take me up,
and to bring me home to His house and fireside, else I had died in the
fields. And now I am homely with Christ's love, so that I think the
house mine own, and the Master of the house mine also. Christ inquired
not, when He began to love me, whether I was fair, or black, or
sun-burnt; love taketh what it may have. He loved me before this time,
I know; but now I have the flower of _His_ love; His love is come to a
fair bloom, like a young rose opened up out of the green leaves; and
it casteth a strong and fragrant smell. I want nothing but ways of
expressing Christ's love. A full vessel would have a vent. Oh, if I
could smoke out, and cast out coals, to make a fire in many breasts of
this land! Oh! it is a pity that there were not many imprisoned for
Christ, were it for no other purpose than to write books and
love-songs of the love of Christ. This love would keep all created
tongues of men and angels in exercise, and busy night and day, to
speak of it. Alas! I can speak nothing of it, but wonder at three
things in His love:--_First_, freedom. O that lumps of sin should get
such love for nothing! _Secondly_, the sweetness of His love. I give
over either to speak or write of it; but those that feel it, may
better bear witness what it is. But it is so sweet, that, next to
Christ Himself, nothing can match it. Nay, I think that a soul could
live eternally blessed only on Christ's love, and feed upon no other
thing. Yea, when Christ in love giveth a blow, it doeth a soul good;
and it is a kind of comfort and joy to it to get a cuff with the
lovely, sweet, and soft hand of Jesus. And, _thirdly_, what power and
strength are in His love! I am persuaded it can climb a steep hill,
with hell upon its back; and swim through water and not drown; and
sing in the fire, and find no pain; and triumph in losses, prisons,
sorrows, exile, disgrace, and laugh and rejoice in death. O for a
year's lease of the sense of His love without a cloud, to try what
Christ is! O for the coming of the Bridegroom! Oh, when shall I see
the Bridegroom and the Bride meet in the clouds, and kiss each other!
Oh, when will we get our day, and our heart's fill of that love! Oh,
if it were lawful to complain of the famine of that love, and want of
the immediate vision of God! O time, time! how dost thou torment the
souls of those that would be swallowed up of Christ's love, because
thou movest so slowly! Oh, if He would pity a poor prisoner, and blow
love upon me, and give a prisoner a taste or draught of that
sweetness, which is glory as it were begun, to be a confirmation that
Christ and I shall have our fill of each other for ever! Come hither,
O love of Christ, that I may once kiss thee before I die! What would I
not give to have time, that lieth betwixt Christ and me, taken out of
the way, that we might once meet! I cannot think but that, at the
first sight I shall see of that most lovely and fairest face, love
will come out of His two eyes, and fill me with astonishment. I would
but desire to stand at the outer side of the gates of the New
Jerusalem, and look through a hole of the door, and see Christ's face.
A borrowed vision in this life would be my borrowed and begun heaven,
whill the long, long-looked-for day dawn. It is not for nothing that
it is said, "Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col. i. 27). I will be
content of no pawn of heaven but Christ Himself; for Christ, possessed
by faith here, is young heaven, and glory in the bud. If I had that
pawn, I would bide horning and hell both, ere I gave it again. All
that we have here is scarce the picture of glory. Should not we young
bairns long and look for the expiring of our minority? It were good to
be daily begging propines and love-gifts, and the Bridegroom's
favours; and, if we can do no more, to seek crumbs, and hungry dinners
of Christ's love, to keep the taste of heaven in our mouth whill
supper-time. I know it is far after noon, and nigh the marriage-supper
of the Lamb; the table is covered already. O Well-beloved, run, run
fast! O fair day, when wilt thou dawn! O shadows, flee away! I think
hope and love, woven through other, make our absence from Christ
spiritual torment. It is a pain to wait on; but hope that maketh not
ashamed swalloweth up that pain. It is not unkindness that keepeth
Christ and us so long asunder. What can I say to Christ's love? I
think more than I can say. To consider, that when my Lord Jesus may
take the air (if I may so speak), and go abroad, yet He will be
confined and keep the prison with me! But, in all this sweet communion
with Him, what am I to be thanked for? I am but a sufferer. Whether I
will or not, He will be kind to me; as if He had defied my guiltiness
to make Him unkind, He so beareth His love in on me. Here I die with
wondering, that justice hindereth not love; for there are none in
hell, nor out of hell, more unworthy of Christ's love. Shame may
confound and scaur me once to hold up my black mouth to receive one of
Christ's undeserved kisses. If my innerside were turned out, and all
men saw my vileness, they would say to me, "It is a shame for thee to
stand still whill Christ kiss thee and embrace thee." It would seem
to become me rather to run away from His love, as ashamed at my own
unworthiness; nay, I may think shame to take heaven, who have so
highly provoked my Lord Jesus. But seeing Christ's love will shame me,
I am content to be shamed. My desire is, that my Lord would give me
broader and deeper thoughts, to feed myself with wondering at His
love. I would I could weigh it, but I have no balance for it. When I
have worn my tongue to the stump, in praising of Christ, I have done
nothing to Him. I must let Him alone, for my withered arms will not go
about His high, wide, long, and broad love. What remaineth, then, but
that my debt to the love of Christ lie unpaid for all eternity? All
that are in heaven are black-shamed with His love as well as I. We
must all be dyvours together; and the blessing of that houseful, or
heavenful, of dyvours shall rest for ever upon Him. Oh, if this land
and nation would come and stand beside His inconceivable and glorious
perfections, and look in, and love, and adore! Would to God I could
bring in many lovers to Christ's house! But this nation hath forsaken
the Fountain of living waters. Lord, cast not water on Scotland's
coal. Wo, wo will be to this land, because of the day of the Lord's
fierce anger that is so fast coming.

Grace be with you.

  Your affectionate brother, in our Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CXXXI.--_To_ JEAN BROWN.

(_HIS WISDOM IN OUR TRIALS--REJOICE IN TRIBULATION._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I am glad that ye go on
at Christ's back, in this dark and cloudy time. It were good to sell
other things for Him; for when all these days are over, we shall find
it our advantage that we have taken part with Christ. I confidently
believe that His enemies shall be His footstool, and that He will make
green flowers dead, withered hay, when the honour and glory shall fall
off them, like the bloom or flower of a green herb shaken with the
wind. It were not wisdom for us to think that Christ and the Gospel
would come and sit down at our fireside; nay, but we must go out of
our own warm houses, and seek Christ and His Gospel. It is not the
sunny side of Christ that we must look to, and we must not forsake
Him for want of that; but must set our face against what may befall us
in following on, till He and we be through the briers and bushes, on
the dry ground. Our soft nature would be borne through the troubles of
this miserable life in Christ's arms; and it is His wisdom, who
knoweth our mould, that His bairns go wet-shod and cold-footed to
heaven. Oh, how sweet a thing were it for us to learn to make our
burdens light, by framing our hearts to the burden, and making our
Lord's will a law!

I find Christ and His cross not so ill to please, nor yet such
troublesome guests, as men call them; nay, I think patience should
make the water which Christ giveth us good wine, and His dross good
metal. And we have cause to wait on; for, ere it be long, our Master
will be at us, and bring this whole world out, before the sun and
daylight, in their blacks and whites. Happy are they who are found
watching. Our sand-glass is not so long as we need to weary; time will
eat away and root out our woes and sorrow. Our heaven is in the bud,
and growing up to an harvest. Why then should we not follow on, seeing
our span-length of time will come to an inch? Therefore I commend
Christ to you, as your last-living, and longest-living Husband, and
the staff of your old age. Let Him now have the rest of your days. And
think not much of a storm upon the ship that Christ saileth in: there
shall no passenger fall overboard, but the crazed ship and the
sea-sick passenger shall come to land safe.

I am in as sweet communion with Christ as a poor sinner can be; and am
only pained that He hath much beauty and fairness, and _I_ little
love; He great power and mercy, and _I_ little faith; He much light,
and _I_ bleared eyes. O that I saw Him in the sweetness of His love,
and in His marriage-clothes, and were over head and ears in love with
that princely one, Christ Jesus my Lord! Alas, my riven dish, and the
running-out vessel, can hold little of Christ Jesus!

I have joy in this, that I would not refuse death before[227] I put
Christ's lawful heritage in men's trysting; and what know I, if they
would have pleased both Christ and me? Alas, that this land hath put
Christ to open rouping, and to an "Any man bids more?" Blessed are
they who would hold the crown on His head, and buy Christ's honour
with their own losses.

  [227] I would die, ere ever I would put Christ's property at the
  disposal of men who may choose to appoint their own times.

I rejoice to hear that your son John[228] is coming to visit Christ,
and taste of His love. I hope that he will not lose his pains, nor rue
of that choice. I had always (as I said often to you) a great love to
dear Mr. John Brown, because I thought I saw Christ in him more than
in his brethren. Fain would I write to him, to stand by my sweet
Master; and I wish ye would let him read my letter, and the joy I
shall have if he will appear for, and side with, my Lord Jesus. Grace
be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.

  [228] The same who was afterwards so well known as minister of
  Wamphray.



CXXXII.--_To_ JEAN MACMILLAN.

     [There were Macmillans at Dalshangan, near Carsphairn, noted as
     Covenanters. But the name is a common one, and this correspondent
     was probably an Anwoth parishioner.]

(_STRIVE TO ENTER IN._)


LOVING SISTER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I cannot come to
you to give you my counsel; and howbeit I would come, I cannot stay
with you. But I beseech you to keep Christ, for I did what I could to
put you within grips of Him. I told you Christ's testament and
latter-will plainly, and I kept nothing back that my Lord gave me; and
I gave Christ to you with good will. I pray you to make Him your own,
and go not from that truth which I taught you, in one hair-breadth.
That truth will save you if you follow it. Salvation is not an easy
thing, and soon gotten. I often told you that few are saved, and many
damned: I pray you to make your poor soul sure of salvation, and the
seeking of heaven your daily task. If ye never had a sick night and a
pained soul for sin, ye have not yet lighted upon Christ. Look to the
right marks of having closed with Christ. If ye love Him better than
the world, and would quit all the world for Him, then that saith the
work is sound. Oh, if ye saw the beauty of Jesus, and smelled the
fragrance of His love, you would run through fire and water to be at
Him? God send you Him.

Pray for me, for I cannot forget you. Grace be with you.

  Your loving pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXXXIII.--_To the_ LADY BUSBIE.

     [LADY BUSBIE is probably the mother-in-law of R. Blair,
     Rutherford's intimate friend. R. Blair married Catherine,
     daughter of Hugh Montgomery, Laird of Busbie, in Ayrshire, in
     1635. In Welsh's "Life" mention is made of "Mouat of Bushby,"
     eight miles from Ayr. He was father of Matthew Mouat of
     Kilmarnock.]

(_COMPLETE SURRENDER TO CHRIST--NO IDOLS--TRIALS DISCOVER SINS--A FREE
SALVATION--THE MARRIAGE SUPPER_.)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I am glad to hear that
Christ and ye are one, and that ye have made Him your "one thing,"
whereas many are painfully toiled in seeking many things, and their
many things are nothing. It is only best that ye set yourself apart,
as a thing laid up and out of the gate, for Christ alone; for ye are
good for no other thing than Christ; and He hath been going about you
these many years, by afflictions, to engage you to Himself. It were a
pity and a loss to say Him nay. Verily I could wish that I could swim
through hell, and all the ill weather in the world, and Christ in my
arms. But it is my evil and folly, that except Christ come unsent for,
I dow not go to seek Him: when He and I fall a-reckoning, we are both
behind, He in payment, and I in counting; and so marches lie still
unredd, and accounts uncleared betwixt us. O that He would take His
own blood for counts and miscounts, that I might be a free man, and
none had any claim to me but only, only Jesus. I will think it no
bondage to be rouped, comprised, and possessed by Christ as His
bondman.

Think well of the visitation of your Lord; for I find one thing, which
I saw not well before, that when the saints are under trials, and well
humbled, little sins raise great cries and war-shouts in the
conscience; and in prosperity, conscience is a pope, to give
dispensations, and let out and in, and give latitude and elbow-room to
our heart. Oh, how little care we for pardon at Christ's hand, when we
make dispensations! And all is but bairns' play, till a cross without
beget a heavier cross within, and then we play no longer with our
idols. It is good still to be severe against ourselves; for we but
transform God's mercy into an idol, and an idol that hath a
dispensation to give, for the turning of the grace of God into
wantonness. Happy are they who take up God, wrath, justice, and sin,
as they are in themselves, for we have miscarrying light, that parteth
with the child, when we have good resolutions only. But, God be
thanked, that salvation is not rolled upon our wheels.

Oh, but Christ hath a saving eye! salvation is in His eyelids! When He
first looked on me, I was saved; it cost Him but a look to make hell
quit of me! Oh, but merits, free merits, and the dear blood of God,
were the best gate that ever we could have gotten out of hell! Oh,
what a sweet, oh, what a safe and sure way is it, to come out of hell
leaning on a Saviour! That Christ and a sinner should be one, and have
heaven betwixt them, and be halvers of salvation, is the wonder of
salvation. What more humble could love be? And what an excellent smell
doth Christ cast on His lower garden, where there grow but wild
flowers, if we speak by way of comparison. But there is nothing but
perfect garden flowers in heaven, and the best plenishing that is
there is Christ. We are all obliged to love heaven for Christ's sake.
He graceth heaven, and all His Father's house, with His presence. He
is a Rose that beautifieth all the upper garden of God; a leaf of that
Rose of God for smell is worth a world. O that He would blow His smell
upon a withered and dead soul! Let us, then, go on to meet with Him,
and to be filled with the sweetness of His love. Nothing will hold Him
from us. He hath decreed to put time, sin, hell, devils, men, and
death out of the way, and to rid the rough way betwixt us and Him,
that we may enjoy one another. It is strange and wonderful, that He
would think long in heaven without us; and that He would have the
company of sinners to solace and delight Himself withal in heaven. And
now the supper is abiding us. Christ, the Bridegroom, with desire is
waiting on, till the bride, the Lamb's wife, be busked for the
marriage, and the great hall be redd for the meeting of that joyful
couple. Oh, fools! what do we here? and why sit we still? Why sleep we
in the prison? Were it not best to make us wings, to flee up to our
blessed Match, our Marrow, and our fellow Friend.

I think, Mistress, that ye are looking thereaway, and that this is
your second or third thought. Make forward; your Guide waiteth on you.

I cannot but bless you for your care and kindness to the saints. God
give you to find mercy, in that day of our Lord Jesus; to whose saving
grace I recommend you.

  Yours, in our Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXXXIV.--_To JOHN EWART, Bailie of Kirkcudbright_.

     [JOHN EWART's name often occurs in the "Minute Book of Comm. of
     Covenanters," as residing in Kirkcudbright. He is understood to
     be the father of the John Ewart who was sentenced to banishment,
     1663, for refusing to take part in quelling a tumult raised at
     the intrusion of a curate in room of the ejected minister of
     Kirkcudbright. (Wodrow's "Hist.") A descendant of his at
     Stranraer has a small silver cup, which has been handed down from
     his ancestors.]

(_THE CROSS NO BURDEN--NEED OF SURE FOUNDATION._)


MY VERY WORTHY AND DEAR FRIEND,--I cannot but most kindly thank you
for the expressions of your love. Your love and respect to me is a
great comfort to me.

I bless His high and glorious name, that the terrors of great men have
not affrighted me from openly avouching the Son of God. Nay, His cross
is the sweetest burden that ever I bare; it is such a burden as wings
are to a bird, or sails are to a ship, to carry me forward to my
harbour. I have not much cause to fall in love with the world; but
rather to wish that He who sitteth upon the floods would bring my
broken ship to land, and keep my conscience safe in these dangerous
times; for wrath from the Lord is coming on this sinful land.

It were good that we prisoners of hope know of our stronghold to run
to, before the storm come on; therefore, Sir, I beseech you by the
mercies of God, and comforts of His spirit, by the blood of your
Saviour, and by your compearance before the sin-revenging Judge of the
world, keep your garments clean, and stand for the truth of Christ,
which ye profess. When the time shall come that your eye-strings shall
break, your face wax pale, your breath grow cold, and this house of
clay shall totter, and your one foot shall be over the march, in
eternity, it will be your comfort and joy that ye gave your name to
Christ. The greatest part of the world think heaven at the next door,
and that Christianity is an easy task; but they will be beguiled.
Worthy Sir, I beseech you, make sure work of salvation. I have found
my experience, that all I could do hath had much ado in the day of my
trial; and, therefore, lay up a sure foundation for the time to come.

I cannot requite you for your undeserved favours to me and my now
afflicted brother. But I trust to remember you to God. Remember me
heartily to your kind wife.

  Yours, in his only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXXXV.--_To WILLIAM FULLERTON, Provost of Kirkcudbright._

(_FEAR NOT THEM WHO KILL THE BODY--UNEXPECTED FAVOUR._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I am much
obliged to your love in God.

I beseech you, Sir, let nothing be so dear to you as Christ's truth,
for salvation is worth all the world, and, therefore, be not afraid of
men that shall die. The Lord will do for you in your suffering for
Him, and will bless your house and seed; and ye have God's promise,
that ye shall have His presence in fire, water, and in seven
tribulations. Your day shall wear to an end, and your sun go down. In
death it will be your joy that ye have ventured all ye have for
Christ; and there is not a promise of heaven made but to such as are
willing to suffer for it. It is a castle taken by force. This earth is
but the clay portion of bastards; and, therefore, no wonder that the
world smile on its own; but better things are laid up for His
lawfully-begotten bairns, whom the world hateth.

I have experience to speak this; for I would not exchange my prison
and sad nights with the court, honour, and ease of my adversaries. My
Lord is pleased to make many unknown faces to laugh upon me, and to
provide a lodging for me; and He Himself visiteth my soul with feasts
of spiritual comforts. Oh, how sweet a Master is Christ! Blessed are
they who lay down all for Him.

I thank you kindly for your love to my distressed brother. Ye have the
blessing and prayers of the prisoner of Christ to you, your wife and
your children.

Remember my love and blessing to William and Samuel. I desire them in
their youth to seek the Lord, and to fear His great name; to pray
twice a-day, at least, to God, and to read God's word; to keep
themselves from cursing, lying, and filthy talking.

Now the only wise God, and the presence of the Son of God, be with you
all.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXXXVI.--_To ROBERT GLENDINNING, Minister of Kirkcudbright._

(_PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD--CHRIST HIS JOY._)


MY DEAR FRIEND,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I thank you most
kindly for your care of me, and your love and respective[229] kindness
to my brother in his distress. I pray the Lord that ye may find mercy
in the day of Christ; and I entreat you, Sir, to consider the times
which ye live in, and that your soul is more worth to you than the
whole world, which, in the day of the blowing of the Last Trumpet,
shall lie in white ashes, as an old castle burned to nothing. And
remember that judgment and eternity is before you. My dear and worthy
friend, let me entreat you in Christ's name, and by the salvation of
your soul, and by your compearance before the dreadful and
sin-revenging Judge of the world, to make your accounts ready. Redd
them ere ye come to the water-side; for your afternoon will wear
short, and your sun fall low and go down; and ye know that this long
time your Lord hath waited on you. Oh, how comfortable a thing it will
be to you, when time shall be no more, and your soul shall depart out
of the house of clay to vast and endless eternity, to have your soul
dressed up, and prepared for your Bridegroom! No loss is comparable to
the loss of the soul; there is no hope of regaining that loss. Oh, how
joyful would my soul be to hear that ye would start to the gate, and
contend for the crown, and leave all vanities and make Christ your
garland! Let your soul put away your old lovers, and let Christ have
your whole love.

  [229] Perhaps this word means kindness that had respect to his special
  needs.

I have some experience to write of this to you. My witness is in
heaven, that I would not exchange my chains and bonds for Christ, and
my sighs, for ten worlds' glory. I judge this clay-idol, which Adam's
sons are rouping, and selling their souls for, not worth a drink of
cold water. Oh, if your soul were in my soul's stead, how sick would
ye be of love for that fairest One, that Fairest among the sons of
men! May-flowers, and morning vapour, and summer mist, posteth not so
fast away as these worm-eaten pleasures which we follow. We build
castles in the air, and night-dreams are our daily idols that we doat
on. Salvation, salvation is our only necessary thing. Sir, call home
your thoughts to this work, to inquire for your Well-beloved. This
earth is the portion of bastards: seek the Son's inheritance, and let
Christ's truth be dear to you.

I pawn my salvation on it, that this is the honour of Christ's kingdom
which I now suffer for (and this world, I hope, shall not come between
me and my garland); and that this is the way to life. When ye and I
shall lie lumps of pale clay upon the ground, our pleasures, that we
now naturally love, shall be less than nothing in that day. Dear
brother, fulfil my joy, and betake you to Christ without further
delay. Ye will be fain at length to seek Him, or do infinitely worse.
Remember my love to your wife. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXXXVII.--_To_ WILLIAM GLENDINNING.

     [WILLIAM GLENDINNING was the son of Mr. Robert Glendinning,
     minister of Kirkcudbright. A short time before this letter was
     written, he was ordered to be imprisoned in Kirkcudbright by
     Bishop Sydserff, for refusing to incarcerate his father, whom
     that intolerant prelate had suspended from his office, and had
     ordered to be imprisoned, because he would neither conform to
     Episcopacy, nor admit as his assistant a creature of the Bishop.
     He was a member of the General Assembly of Glasgow 1638, being
     returned by the burgh of Kirkcudbright, of which he was then
     Provost. During the subsequent years, he was frequently a member
     of the General Assembly; and his name appears as a member of
     Parliament for the burgh of Kirkcudbright, and sent by the
     Committee of Estates, in 1644, 1645, and 1646.]

(_PERSEVERANCE AGAINST OPPOSITION._)


WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I
thank you most kindly for your care and love to me, and in particular
to my brother, in his distress in Edinburgh.[230] Go on through your
waters without wearying; your Guide knoweth the way; follow Him, and
cast your cares and temptations upon Him. And let not worms, the sons
of men, affright you; they shall die, and the moth shall eat them.
Keep your garland; there is no less at the stake, in this game betwixt
us and the world, than our conscience and salvation. We have need to
take heed to the game, and not to yield to them. Let them take other
things from us; but here, in matters of conscience, we must hold and
draw with kings, and set ourselves in terms of opposition with the
shields of the earth. Oh, the sweet communion, for evermore, that hath
been between Christ and His prisoner! He wearieth not to be kind. He
is the fairest sight I see in Aberdeen, or in any part that ever my
feet were in.

  [230] Rutherford here refers to the trial of his brother George,
  schoolmaster and reader in Kirkcudbright, before the High Commission,
  at Edinburgh, in November the preceding year, for his nonconformity
  and zealous support of Mr. Robert Glendinning, the persecuted minister
  of Kirkcudbright. As previously noticed (Letter LXVII.), he was
  condemned to resign his office, and to remove from Kirkcudbright
  before the ensuing term of Whitsunday. When at Edinburgh, and on his
  trial, he experienced much kindness from several of the correspondents
  of our author, who, in his letters to them, makes the most heartfelt
  grateful acknowledgments. After his ejection, "he seems," says Murray,
  "to have taken refuge in Ayrshire; for in a letter to Lord Loudon,
  Rutherford speaks of his brother as being nigh his Lordship's bounds;
  and every individual whom he addressed on his behalf (after his
  removal from Kirkcudbright) was connected with that county. The
  kindness and the frequency with which, in his letters, he speaks of
  him, do honour to his heart" ("Life of Rutherford," p. 93).

Remember my hearty kindness to your wife. I desire her to believe, and
lay her cares on God, and make fast work of salvation. Grace be with
you.

  Yours in his only Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXXXVIII.--_To_ MR. HUGH HENDERSON.

     [HUGH HENDERSON was first minister of Dalry, a parish in the
     district of Cunningham, Ayrshire; and afterwards of Dumfries. We
     meet with his name as minister of Dalry in 1643, when he was
     nominated as one of the eight ministers whom the General Assembly
     appointed to visit Ireland by pairs, each pair for three months
     successively, to instruct, comfort, and encourage the
     Presbyterians in that country, who had been deprived of their
     ministers through the tyranny of the prelates. In 1645 he was
     appointed by the General Assembly chaplain to Colonel Stuart's
     regiment; and in 1648 translated to Dumfries. Shortly after the
     restoration of Charles II., he, and all the ministers of the
     Presbytery of Dumfries, were, by the order of the King's
     Commissioner, carried prisoners to Edinburgh, for refusing to
     observe the 29th day of May as a religious anniversary, in
     commemoration of the King's birth and restoration. But he and the
     rest (with the exception of two) at last yielded so far as to
     engage simply to preach on that day, knowing it would be the day
     of their ordinary weekly sermon; a promise hardly compatible with
     straightforwardness, being something like a disingenuous attempt
     to make it appear that they were complying with the statute of
     Parliament, when they were merely discharging a professional
     duty. Henderson exhibited more consistency and stedfastness the
     subsequent year, when he preferred being expelled from his charge
     to conforming to Prelacy. He was ejected in the close of the year
     1662, by the Earl of Middleton. After this, Henderson frequently
     preached in his own house in Galloway.]

(_TRIALS SELECTED BY GOD--PATIENCE--LOOKING FOR THE JUDGE._)


MY REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I hear that you bear the marks of
Christ's dying about with you, and that your brethren have cast you
out for your Master's sake. Let us wait on till the evening, and till
our reckoning in black and white come before our Master. Brother,
since we must have a devil to trouble us, I love a raging devil best.
Our Lord knoweth what sort of devil we have need of: it is best that
Satan be in his own skin, and look like himself. Christ weeping
looketh like Himself also, with whom Scribes and Pharisees were at yea
and nay, and sharp contradiction.

Ye have heard of the patience of Job. When he lay in the ashes, God
was with him, clawing and curing his scabs, and letting out his boils,
comforting his soul; and He took him up at last. That God is not dead
yet; He will stoop and take up fallen bairns. Many broken legs since
Adam's days hath He spelked, and many weary hearts hath He refreshed.
Bless Him for comfort. Why? None cometh dry from David's well. Let us
go among the rest, and cast down our toom buckets into Christ's ocean,
and suck consolations out of Him. We are not so sore stricken, but we
may fill Christ's hall with weeping. We have not gotten our answer
from Him yet. Let us lay up our broken pleas to a full sea, and keep
them till the day of Christ's Coming. We and this world will not be
even till then: they would take our garment from us; but let _us_ hold
and _them_ draw.

Brother, it is a strange world if we laugh not. I never saw the like
of it, if there be not "paiks the man," for this contempt done to the
Son of God. We must do as those who keep the bloody napkin to the
Bailie, and let him see blood; we must keep our wrongs to our Judge,
and let Him see our bluddered and foul faces. Prisoners of hope must
run to Christ, with the gutters that tears have made on their cheeks.

Brother, for myself, I am Christ's dawted one for the present; and I
live upon no deaf nuts, as we use to speak. He hath opened fountains
to me in the wilderness. Go, look to my Lord Jesus: His love to me is
such, that I defy the world to find either brim or bottom to it. Grace
be with you.

  Your brother, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXXXIX.--_To my_ LORD BALMERINOCH.

     [JOHN ELPHINSTON, second LORD BALMERINOCH, was the only son by
     the first marriage of the Honourable Sir James Elphinston, first
     Lord Balmerinoch. He distinguished himself in 1633 for his
     opposition to the measures of the Court in favour of Prelacy, and
     particularly for opposing in Parliament the Act concerning the
     King's prerogative in imposing Apparel on Churchmen, and also the
     Act ratifying the Acts previously made for settling the estate of
     Bishops. Soon after he was libelled and condemned to death as
     guilty of treason. However, after a long and severe imprisonment,
     he obtained from his Majesty a free though reluctant pardon. True
     to his former principles, he still continued to oppose the
     measures then pursued by Government, and particularly the
     attempts to introduce the Service Book into Scotland. He was a
     member of the Glasgow Assembly 1638, being returned as elder for
     the Presbytery of Edinburgh. "His Lordship," says Wood, "was,
     without exception, the best friend the Covenanters had, as he not
     only assisted that party with his advice on all occasions, but
     also supplied them with large sums of money, by which he
     irreparably injured the very ample fortune he inherited from his
     father. He lived in habits of strict friendship with the chief
     leaders of the Presbyterians, and was particularly intimate with
     Sir Archibald Johnston of Warriston. He had so strong a sense of
     justice, that, having reason to suspect his father had made too
     advantageous a purchase of the lands of Balumby, in the county of
     Forfar, he, of his own accord, gave 10,000 merks to the heir of
     that estate, by way of compensation" (Wood's "Cramond"). He died
     suddenly in 1649, at the very time when commissioners (of whom he
     was one) were sent to treat with Charles II. in Holland.
     (Lamont's "Diary," p. 1.)]

(_HIS HAPPY OBLIGATIONS TO CHRIST--EMPTINESS OF THE WORLD._)


MY VERY NOBLE AND TRULY HONOURABLE LORD,--I make bold to write news to
your Lordship from my prison, though your Lordship have experience
more than I can have. At my first entry here, I was not a little
casten down with challenges, for old, unrepented-of sins; and Satan
and my own apprehensions made a lie of Christ, that He hath casten a
dry, withered tree over the dyke of the vineyard. But it was my folly
(blessed be His great name), the fire cannot burn the dry tree. He is
pleased now to feast the exiled prisoner with His lovely presence; for
it suiteth Christ well to be kind, and He dineth and suppeth with such
a sinner as I am. I am in Christ's tutoring here. He hath made me
content with a borrowed fireside, and it casteth as much heat as mine
own. I want nothing but real possession of Christ; and He hath given
me a pawn of that also, which I hope to keep till He come Himself to
loose the pawn. I cannot get help to praise His high name. He hath
made me king over my losses, imprisonment, banishment; and only my
dumb Sabbaths stick in my throat. But I forgive Christ's wisdom in
that. I dare not say one word; He hath done it, and I will lay my hand
upon my mouth. If any other hand had done it to me, I could not have
borne it.

Now, my Lord, I must tell your Lordship that I would not give a drink
of cold water for this clay idol, this plastered world. I testify, and
give it under my own hand, that Christ is most worthy to be suffered
for. Our lazy flesh, which would have Christ to cry down crosses by
open proclamation, hath but raised a slander upon the cross of Christ.
My Lord, I hope that ye will not forget what He hath done for your
soul. I think that ye are in Christ's count-book, as His obliged
debtor.

Grace, grace be with your spirit.

  Your Lordship's obliged servant,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXL.--_To my LADY MAR, Younger._

     [LADY MAR, younger, whose maiden name was Christian Hay, was the
     wife of John Erskine, eighth Earl of Mar. She became a widow in
     1654, his Lordship having died in that year. Her son, John,
     became ninth Earl of Mar, and her daughter, Elizabeth, was
     married to Archibald, Lord Napier. Lady Mar, senior, was Lady
     Mary Stewart, daughter of Esme, Duke of Lennox, second wife of
     John, Lord Erskine, seventh Earl of Mar. She died in the house of
     Sir Thomas Hope, in the Cowgate, Edinburgh, and was buried at
     Alloa, 11th May 1644. (Sir Thomas Hope's "Diary," p. 205.) It was
     for her that, in 1625, the book of devotion, called "The Countess
     of Mar's Sanctuary, or Arcadia," was drawn up--a little work of
     which only two copies were known to be in existence, till
     reprinted in 1862, at Edinburgh.]

(_NO EXCHANGE FOR CHRIST._)


MY VERY NOBLE AND DEAR LADY,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I
received your Ladyship's letter, which hath comforted my soul. God
give you to find mercy in the day of Christ.

I am in as good terms and court with Christ as an exiled, oppressed
prisoner of Christ can be. I am still welcome to His house; He knoweth
my knock, and letteth in a poor friend. Under this black, rough tree
of the cross of Christ, He hath ravished me with His love, and taken
my heart to heaven with Him. Well and long may He brook it. I would
not niffer Christ with all the joys that man or angel can devise
beside Him. Who hath such cause to speak honourably of Christ as I
have? Christ is King of all crosses, and He hath made His saints
little kings under Him; and He can ride and triumph upon weaker bodies
than I am (if any can be weaker), and His horse will neither fall nor
stumble.

Madam, your Ladyship hath much ado with Christ, for your soul,
husband, children, and house. Let Him find much employment for His
calling with you; for He is such a friend as delighteth to be burdened
with suits and employments; and the more ye lay on Him, and the more
homely ye be with Him, the more welcome. O the depth of Christ's
love! It hath neither brim nor bottom. Oh, if this blind world saw His
beauty! When I count with Him for His mercies to me, I must stand
still and wonder, and go away as a poor dyvour, who hath nothing to
pay. Free forgiveness is payment. I would that I could get Him set on
high; for His love hath made me sick, and I die except I get real
possession.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Your Ladyship's, at all obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXLI.--_To_ JAMES MACADAM.

     [John Livingstone ("Histor. Relation"), along with Marion
     M'Naught and other such, mentions John Macadam and Christian
     Macadam of Waterhead, near Carsphairn, as eminent Christians. The
     person to whom this letter is addressed may have been one of that
     family. The famous road engineer in our day, Macadam, born at
     Waterhead, was descended from this ancient family.

     It seems that the Christian Macadam mentioned above was
     afterwards Lady Cardoness; and because of her connection with
     this correspondent of Rutherford's, we may give the inscription
     on her tomb. The tomb is part of the enclosed pile close to the
     old Anwoth church. The inscription is on the north side of the
     pile:--

  "Christian M'Adam, Lady Cardynes. Departed 16th June of 1628.
  Ætatis suæ, 33.

    "Ye gazers on the trophy of a tomb,
    Send out one groan for want of her whose life,
    Twice born on earth, now is in earth's womb.
    Lived long a virgin, now a spotless wife.
    Church keeps her godly life, the tomb her corpse,
    And earth her precious name. Who then does lose?
    Her husband? No, since heaven her soul doth gain."]

(_THE KINGDOM TAKEN BY FORCE._)


MY VERY DEAR AND WORTHY FRIEND,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I
long to hear of your growing in grace, and of your advancing in your
journey to heaven. It will be the joy of my heart to hear that ye hold
your face up the brae, and wade through temptations without fearing
what man can do. Christ shall, when He ariseth, mow down His enemies,
and lay bulks[231] (as they use to speak) on the green, and fill the
pits with dead bodies (Ps. cx. 6; "the places"). They shall lie like
handfuls of withered hay, when He ariseth to the prey. Salvation,
salvation is the only necessary thing. This clay idol, the world, is
not to be sought; it is a morsel not for you, but for hunger-bitten
bastards. Contend for salvation. Your Master, Christ, won heaven with
strokes: it is a besieged castle; it must be taken with violence. Oh,
this world thinketh heaven but at the next door, and that godliness
may sleep in a bed of down till it come to heaven! But that will not
do it.

  [231] Carcases; properly, the _trunk_, or _bulk_ of the man. In some
  editions it is written "bouks;" but "_bulks_" is in all the old
  editions.

For myself, I am as well as Christ's prisoner can be; for by Him I am
master and king of all my crosses. I am above the prison, and the lash
of men's tongues; Christ triumpheth in me. I have been casten down,
and heavy with fears, and haunted with challenges. I was swimming in
the depths, but Christ had His hand under my chin all the time, and
took good heed that I should not lose breath; and now I have gotten my
feet again, and there are love-feasts of joy, and spring-tides of
consolation betwixt Christ and me. We agree well; I have court with
Him; I am still welcome to His house. Oh, my short arms cannot fathom
His love! I beseech you, I charge you, to help me to praise. Ye have a
prisoner's prayers, therefore forget me not.

I desire Sibylla to remember me dearly to all in that parish who know
Christ, as if I had named them.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXLII.--_To my very dear brother_, WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE.

     [Probably one of his Anwoth parishioners. There are Livingstones
     in that neighbourhood to this day.]

(_COUNSEL TO A YOUTH._)


MY VERY DEAR BROTHER,--I rejoice to hear that Christ hath run away
with your young love, and that ye are so early in the morning matched
with such a Lord; for a young man is often a dressed lodging for the
devil to dwell in. Be humble and thankful for grace; and weigh it not
so much by weight, as if it be true. Christ will not cast water on
your smoking coal; He never yet put out a dim candle that was lighted
at the Sun of Righteousness. I recommend to you prayer and watching
over the sins of your youth; for I know that missive letters go
between the devil and young blood. Satan hath a friend at court in the
heart of youth; and there pride, luxury, lust, revenge, forgetfulness
of God, are hired as his agents. Happy is your soul if Christ man the
house, and take the keys Himself, and command all, as it suiteth Him
full well to rule all wherever He is. Keep Christ, and entertain Him
well. Cherish His grace; blow upon your own coal; and let Him tutor
you.

Now for myself: know that I am fully agreed with my Lord. Christ hath
put the Father and me into each other's arms. Many a sweet bargain He
made before, and He hath made this among the rest. I reign as king
over my crosses. I will not flatter a temptation, nor give the devil a
good word: I defy hell's iron gates. God hath passed over my
quarrelling of Him at my entry here, and now He feedeth and feasteth
with me.

Praise, praise with me; and let us exalt His name together.

  Your brother in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXLIII.--_To WILLIAM GORDON of Whitepark._

     [This may be a son of George Gordon, who is recorded as heir to
     the estate of "Whytpark," March 20, 1628. It was not, in the
     parish of Anwoth, but close to Castle Douglas.]

(_NOTHING LOST BY TRIALS--LONGING FOR CHRIST HIMSELF BECAUSE OF HIS
LOVE._)


WORTHY SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you. I long to hear from
you. I am here the Lord's prisoner and patient, handled as softly by
my Physician as if I were a sick man under a cure. I was at hard terms
with my Lord, and pleaded with Him, but I had the worst side. It is a
wonder that He should have suffered the like of me to have nicknamed
the Son of His love, Christ, and to call Him a changed Lord, who hath
forsaken me. But misbelief hath never a good word to speak of Christ.
The dross of my cross gathered a scum of fears in the fire--doubtings,
impatience, unbelief, challenging of Providence as sleeping, and as
not regarding my sorrow; but my goldsmith, Christ, was pleased to take
off the scum, and burn it in the fire. And, blessed be my Refiner, He
hath made the metal better, and furnished new supply of grace, to
cause me hold out weight; and I hope that He hath not lost one
grain-weight by burning His servant. Now His love in my heart casteth
a mighty heat; He knoweth that the desire I have to be at Himself
paineth me. I have sick nights and frequent fits of love-fevers for
my Well-beloved. Nothing paineth me now but want of His presence. I
think it long till day. I challenge time as too slow in its pace, that
holdeth my only fair one, my love, my Well-beloved from me. Oh, if we
were together once! I am like an old crazed ship that hath endured
many storms, and that would fain be in the lee of the shore, and
feareth new storms; I would be that nigh heaven, that the shadow of it
might break the force of the storm, and the crazed ship might win to
land. My Lord's sun casteth a heat of love and beam of light on my
soul. My blessing thrice every day upon the sweet cross of Christ! I
am not ashamed of my garland, "the banished minister," which is the
term of Aberdeen. Love, love defieth reproaches. The love of Christ
hath a corslet of proof on it, and arrows will not draw blood of it.
We are more than conquerors through the blood of Him that loved us
(Rom. viii. 37). The devil and the world cannot wound the love of
Christ. I am further from yielding to the course of defection than
when I came hither. Sufferings blunt not the fiery edge of love. Cast
love into the floods of hell, it will swim above. It careth not for
the world's busked and plastered offers. It hath pleased my Lord so to
line my heart with the love of my Lord Jesus, that, as if the field
were already won, and I on the other side of time, I laugh at the
world's golden pleasures, and at this dirty idol which the sons of
Adam worship. This worm-eaten god is that which my soul hath fallen
out of love with.

Sir, ye were once my hearer: I desire now to hear from you and your
wife. I salute her and your children with blessings. I am glad that ye
are still handfasted with Christ. Go on in your journey, and take the
city by violence. Keep your garments clean. Be clean virgins to your
husband the Lamb. The world shall follow you to heaven's gates: and ye
would not wish it to go in with you. Keep fast Christ's love. Pray for
me, as I do for you.

The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXLIV.--_To_ MR. GEORGE GILLESPIE.

     [GEORGE GILLESPIE was the son of Mr. John Gillespie, some time
     minister of the Gospel at Kirkcaldy. He was licensed to preach
     the Gospel some time prior to 1638: and in April, that year, was
     ordained minister of Wemyss. In 1642, by the General Assembly he
     was translated to one of the churches in Edinburgh, where he
     continued till his death. Gillespie possessed talents of the
     highest order; and so much were these appreciated that, young as
     he was, he was one of the four ministers sent as commissioners
     from the Church of Scotland to the Westminster Assembly in 1643.
     There he attracted general notice, by the cogency of argument,
     and the rare learning which he showed in pleading the cause of
     Presbytery and opposing Erastianism. At one of the meetings of
     that Assembly, when the learned Selden had delivered a long and
     an elaborate discourse in favour of Erastianism, to which none
     seemed prepared to reply, Gillespie, who was still a young man,
     was observed to be writing. A venerable friend went to his chair,
     and asked if he had taken notes, but found that he had written
     nothing except these words, frequently repeated, "Give light,
     Lord." His friend urged him to answer. Gillespie at last rose,
     and in an extempore speech refuted Selden with a power of
     reasoning and an amount of learning which excited the admiration
     of all present. Selden himself is said to have observed, after
     hearing this reply, "That young man, by a single speech, has
     swept away the labour and the learning of ten years of my life!"
     Gillespie died in December 1648, in the 36th year of his age.
     During his last illness he enjoyed little comfort, but was strong
     in the faith of adherence to the divine promises--a subject on
     which he insisted much in his sermons. When asked if he had any
     comfort, he said, "No; but though the Lord allow me no comfort,
     yet I will _believe_ that my Beloved is mine, and that I am His."
     To two ministers, who asked what advice he had to give them, he
     answered: "I have little experience of the ministry, having been
     in it only nine years; but I can say that I have got more
     assistance in the work of preaching from prayer than study; and
     much more help from the assistance of the Spirit than from
     books." And yet he was known to have been an indefatigable
     student. He is the author of various works, which are chiefly
     controversial, such as "The English Popish Ceremonies," and
     "Aaron's Rod Blossoming."]

(_SUSPICIONS OF CHRIST'S LOVE REMOVED THREE DESIRES._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I received your letter. As for my case,
brother, I bless His glorious name, that my losses are my gain, my
prison a palace, and my sadness joyfulness. At my first entry, my
apprehensions so wrought upon my cross, that I became jealous of the
love of Christ, as being by Him thrust out of the vineyard, and I was
under great challenges, as ordinarily melted gold casteth forth a
drossy scum, and Satan and our corruption form the first words that
the heavy cross speaketh, and say, "God is angry, He loveth you not."
But our apprehensions are not canonical;[232] they indite lies of God
and Christ's love. But since my spirit was settled, and the clay has
fallen to the bottom of the well, I see better what Christ was doing.
And now my Lord is returned with salvation under His wings. Now I want
little of half a heaven, and I find Christ every day so sweet,
comfortable, lovely, and kind, that three things only trouble me:
_1st_, I see not how to be thankful, or how to get help to praise that
Royal King, who raiseth up those that are bowed down. _2nd_, His love
paineth me, and woundeth my soul, so that I am in a fever for want of
real presence. _3rd_, An excessive desire to take instruments in God's
name, that this is Christ and His truth, which I now suffer for; yea,
the apple of the eye of Christ's honour, even the sovereignty and
royal privileges of our King and Lawgiver, Christ. And, therefore, let
no man scaur at Christ's cross, or raise an ill report upon Him or it;
for He beareth the sufferer and it both.

  [232] Authentic Scripture.

I am here troubled with the disputes of the great doctors (especially
with Dr. B.[233]) in Ceremonial and Arminian controversies, for all
are corrupt here; but, I thank God, with no detriment to the truth, or
discredit to my profession. So, then, I see that Christ can triumph in
a weaker man nor I; and who can be more weak? But His grace is
sufficient for me.

  [233] Dr. Robert Barron.

Brother, remember our old covenant, and pray for me, and write to me
your case. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.



CXLV.--_To_ JEAN GORDON.

(_GOD THE SATISFYING PORTION--ADHERENCE TO CHRIST._)


MY VERY DEAR AND LOVING SISTER,--Grace mercy, and peace be to you.--I
long to hear from you. I exhort you to set up the brae to the King's
city, that must be taken by violence. Your afternoon's sun is wearing
low. Time will eat up your frail life, like a worm gnawing at the root
of a May-flower. Lend Christ your heart. Set Him as a seal there. Take
Him in within, and let the world and children stand at the door. They
are not yours; make you and them[234] for your proper owner, Christ.
It is good that He is your Husband and their Father. What missing can
there be of a dying man, when God filleth His chair? Give hours of the
day to prayer. Fash Christ (if I may speak so), and importune Him; be
often at His gate; give His door no rest. I can tell you that He will
be found. Oh, what sweet fellowship is betwixt Him and me! I am
imprisoned, but He is not imprisoned. He hath shamed me with His
kindness. He hath come to my prison, and run away with my heart and
all my love. Well may He brook it! I wish that my love get never an
owner but Christ. Fy, fy upon old lovers, that held us so long
asunder! We shall not part now. He and I shall be heard, before He
win out of my grips. I resolve to wrestle with Christ, ere I quit Him.
But my love to Him hath casten my soul into a fever, and there is no
cooling of my fever, till I get real possession of Christ. O strong,
strong love of Jesus, thou hast wounded my heart with thine arrows! Oh
pain! Oh pain of love for Christ! Who will help me to praise?

Let me have your prayers. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 13, 1637_.

  [234] This seems to mean mould, or fashion, yourself and them.



CXLVI.--_To MR. JAMES BRUCE, Minister of the Gospel_.

     [MR. JAMES BRUCE was minister of Kingsbarns, in the Presbytery of
     St Andrews; admitted in 1630. Prelacy and the English ceremonies
     had then, for a considerable time, been imposed upon the Church
     of Scotland. But Bruce, like many other of her ministers, being
     in principle decidedly favourable to Presbytery, refused to
     conform. He was, however, permitted to continue in his charge,
     the Bishops at that time removing very few, because the
     introduced ceremonies were so unpopular, that it was judged
     dangerous and impolitic to enforce a rigid and universal
     compliance with them. Bruce made an early public appearance
     against the attempts of the Court to impose the Anglo-Popish
     liturgy, or Service Book, in 1637. He was a member of the Glasgow
     Assembly, 1638. He died at Kingsbarns, May 26, 1662, when the
     storm of persecution was about to break upon the Church of
     Scotland, being thus taken away from the evil to come.]

(_MISJUDGING OF CHRIST'S WAYS._)


REVEREND AND WELL-BELOVED BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you.--Upon the nearest acquaintance (that we are Father's children), I
thought good to write to you. My case, in my bonds for the honour of
my royal Prince and King, Jesus, is as good as becometh the witness of
such a sovereign King. At my first coming hither, I was in great
heaviness, wrestling with challenges; being burdened in heart (as I am
yet), for my silent Sabbaths, and for a bereaved people, young ones
new-born, plucked from the breast, and the children's table drawn. I
thought I was a dry tree cast over the dyke of the vineyard. But my
secret conceptions of Christ's love, at His sweet and long-desired
return to my soul, were found to be a lie of Christ's love, forged by
the tempter and my own heart. And I am persuaded it was so. Now there
is greater peace and security within than before; the court is raised
and dismissed, for it was not fenced in God's name. I was far mistaken
who should have summoned Christ for unkindness; misted faith, and my
fever, conceived amiss of Him. Now, now, He is pleased to feast a
poor prisoner, and to refresh me with joy unspeakable and glorious! so
as the Holy Spirit is witness that my sufferings are for Christ's
truth; and God forbid that I should deny the testimony of the Holy
Spirit and make Him a false witness. Now, I testify under my hand, out
of some small experience, that Christ's cause, even with the cross, is
better than the king's crown; and that His reproaches are sweet, His
cross perfumed, the walls of my prison fair and large, my losses gain.

I desire you, my dear brother, to help me to praise, and to remember
me in your prayer to God. Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours, in our Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CXLVII.--_To JOHN GORDON, at Rusco, in the Parish of Anwoth,
Galloway._

     [It is said that "Rusco" means "a boggy place," referring to the
     original state of the place. The old tower or castle still stands
     on a gentle slope, three miles from Gatehouse and two from
     Anwoth, but uninhabited. The wooded height of Castramont was part
     of the domain. It was at this old mansion (Rusco) that Robert
     Campbell, laird of Kinzeancleugh, the friend of John Knox, died
     of fever, in 1574, when on a visit to Gordon of Lochinvar,
     "expressing his confidence of victory, and his desire to depart
     and be with Christ."]

(_PRESSING INTO HEAVEN--A CHRISTIAN NO EASY ATTAINMENT--SINS TO BE
AVOIDED._)


MY WORTHY AND DEAR BROTHER,--Misspend not your short sand-glass, which
runneth very fast; seek your Lord in time. Let me obtain of you a
letter under your hand, for a promise to God, by His grace, to take a
new course of walking with God. Heaven is not at the next door; I find
it hard to be a Christian. There is no little thrusting and thringing
to thrust in at heaven's gates; it is a castle taken by force;--"Many
shall strive to enter in, and shall not be able."

I beseech and obtest you in the Lord, to make conscience of rash and
passionate oaths, of raging and sudden avenging anger, of night
drinking, of needless companionry, of Sabbath-breaking, of hurting any
under you by word or deed, of hating your very enemies. "Except ye
receive the kingdom of God as a little child," and be as meek and
sober-minded as a babe, "ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
That is a word which should touch you near, and make you stoop and
cast yourself down, and make your great spirit fall. I know that this
will not be easily done, but I recommend it to you, as you tender
your part of the kingdom of heaven.

Brother, I may, from new experience, speak of Christ to you. Oh, if ye
saw in Him what I see! A river of God's unseen joys has flowed from
bank to brae over my soul since I parted with you. I wish that I
wanted part, so being ye might have; that your soul might be sick of
love for Christ, or rather satiated with Him. This clay-idol, the
world, would seem to you then not worth a fig; time will eat you out
of possession of it. When the eye-strings break, and the breath
groweth cold, and the imprisoned soul looketh out of the windows of
the clay-house, ready to leap out into eternity, what would you then
give for a lamp full of oil? Oh seek it now.

I desire you to correct and curb banning, swearing, lying, drinking,
Sabbath-breaking, and idle spending of the Lord's day in absence from
the kirk, as far as your authority reacheth in that parish.

I hear that a man is to be thrust into that place, to the which I have
God's right. I know that ye should have a voice by God's word in that
(Acts i. 15, 16, to the end; vi. 3-5). Ye would be loath that any
prelate should put you out of your possession earthly; and this is
your right. What I write to you, I write to your wife. Grace be with
you.

  Your loving Pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CXLVIII.--_To the_ LADY HALLIHILL.

[LADY HALLIHILL, whose maiden name was Learmonth, was the wife of Sir
James Melville of Hallhill, in Fife, the son of Sir James Melville of
Hallhill, a privy councillor to King James VI., and an accomplished
statesman and courtier in his day, who died in 1617. (Douglas'
"Peerage," vol. ii.) Consequently, this lady was sister-in-law to Lady
Culross, formerly noticed. Livingstone, who was personally acquainted
with her, describes her as "eminent for grace and gifts;" and whose
"memory was very precious and refreshing" to him.]

(_CHRIST'S CROSSES BETTER THAN EGYPT'S TREASURES_.)


DEAR AND CHRISTIAN LADY,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I longed
much to write to your Ladyship; but now, the Lord offering a fit
occasion, I would not omit to do it.

I cannot but acquaint your Ladyship with the kind dealing of Christ
to my soul, in this house of my pilgrimage, that your Ladyship may
know that He is as good as He is called. For at my first entry into
this trial (being casten down and troubled with challenges and
jealousies of His love, whose name and testimony I now bear in my
bonds), I feared nothing more than that I was casten over the dyke of
the vineyard, as a dry tree. But, blessed be His great name, the dry
tree was in the fire, and was not burnt; His dew came down and
quickened the root of a withered plant. And now He is come again with
joy, and hath been pleased to feast His exiled and afflicted prisoner
with the joy of His consolations. Now I weep, but am not sad; I am
chastened, but I die not; I have loss, but I want nothing; this water
cannot drown me, this fire cannot burn me, because of the good-will of
Him that dwelt in The Bush. The worst things of Christ, His
reproaches, His cross, are better than Egypt's treasures. He hath
opened His door, and taken into His house-of-wine a poor sinner, and
hath left me so sick of love for my Lord Jesus, that if heaven were at
my disposing, I would give it for Christ, and would not be content to
go to heaven, except I were persuaded that Christ were there. I would
not give, nor exchange, my bonds for the prelates' velvets; nor my
prison for their coaches; nor my sighs for all the world's laughter.
This clay-idol, the world, hath no great court in my soul. Christ hath
come and run away to heaven with my heart and my love, so that neither
heart nor love is mine: I pray God, that Christ may keep both without
reversion. In my estimation, as I am now disposed, if my part of this
world's clay were rouped and sold, I would think it dear of a drink of
water. I see Christ's love is so kingly, that it will not abide a
marrow; it must have a throne all alone in the soul. And I see that
apples beguile bairns, howbeit they be worm-eaten. The moth-eaten
pleasures of this present world make bairns believe ten is a hundred,
and yet all that are here are but shadows. If they would draw by the
curtain that is hung betwixt them and Christ, they should see
themselves fools who have so long miskenned the Son of God. I seek no
more, next to heaven, than that He may be glorified in a prisoner of
Christ; and that in my behalf many would praise His high and glorious
name who heareth the sighing of the prisoner.

Remember my service to the laird, your husband; and to your son, my
acquaintance. I wish that Christ had his young love, and that in the
morning he would start to the gate, to seek that which the world
knoweth not, and, therefore, doth not seek it.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CXLIX.--_To the much honoured JOHN OSBURN, Provost of Ayr._

[OF JOHN OSBURN, merchant in Ayr, and at this time chief magistrate of
that burgh, little is now known. He died about the close of the year
1653, or beginning of the following year, as appears from his son
David being retoured his heir on 17th January 1654. He appears on the
list of the gentlemen in Ayrshire whom Middleton fined in 1662.]

(_ADHERENCE TO CHRIST--HIS APPROBATION WORTH ALL WORLDS._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--Upon our small
acquaintance, and the good report I hear of you, I could not but write
to you. I have nothing to say, but that Christ, in that honourable
place He hath put you in, hath intrusted you with a dear pledge, which
is His own glory; and hath armed you with His sword to keep the
pledge, and make a good account of it to God. Be not afraid of men.
Your Master can mow down His enemies, and make withered hay of fair
flowers. Your time will not be long; after your afternoon will come
your evening, and after evening, night. Serve Christ. Back Him; let
His cause be your cause; give not an hair-breadth of truth away; for
it is not yours, but God's. Then, since ye are going, take Christ's
testificate with you out of this life--"Well done, good and faithful
servant!" His "well done" is worth a shipful of "good-days" and
earthly honours. I have cause to say this, because I find Him truth
itself. In my sad days, Christ laugheth cheerfully, and saith, "All
will be well!" Would to God that all this kingdom, and all that know
God, knew what is betwixt Christ and me in this prison--what kisses,
embracements, and love communion! I take His cross in my arms with
joy; I bless it, I rejoice in it. Suffering for Christ is my garland.
I would not exchange Christ for ten thousand worlds! nay, if the
comparison could stand, I would not exchange Christ with heaven.

Sir, pray for me, and the prayers and blessing of a prisoner of Christ
meet you in all your straits. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in Christ Jesus, his Lord,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CL.--_To his loving Friend_, JOHN HENDERSON. [See Letter CCVII.]

(_CONTINUING IN CHRIST--PREPAREDNESS FOR DEATH._)


LOVING FRIEND,--Continue in the love of Christ, and the doctrine which
I taught you faithfully and painfully, according to my measure. I am
free of your blood. Fear the dreadful name of God. Keep in mind the
examinations[235] which I taught you, and love the truth of God.
Death, as fast as time fleeth, chaseth you out of this life; it is
possible that ye may make your reckoning with your Judge before I see
you. Let salvation be your care, night and day, and set aside hours
and times of the day for prayer. I rejoice to hear that there is
prayer in your house. See that your servants keep the Lord's day. This
dirt and god of clay (I mean the vain world) is not worth the seeking.

  [235] Perhaps (see in Letter CLXVI.) his instructions on the Catechism
  are meant.

An hireling pastor is to be thrust in upon you, in the room to which I
have Christ's warrant and right. Stand to your liberties, for the word
of God alloweth you a vote in choosing your pastor.

What I write to you, I write to your wife. Commend me heartily to her.
The grace of God be with you.

  Your loving Friend and Pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CLI.--_To JOHN MEINE, Senior._

[JOHN MEINE, merchant in Edinburgh, was a man of enlightened piety,
and a decided Presbyterian. His zeal and stedfastness in maintaining
Presbyterian principles exposed him to the resentment of the court and
prelates. Having, with other citizens of Edinburgh, encouraged
Nonconforming ministers, by accompanying them to the court when they
were dragged before the High Commission, he was, without citation or
trial, banished to Wigtown by the Privy Council, according to the
orders of the king. But the execution of the sentence was suspended.
In regard to the Perth Articles, he would make no compromise. In 1624,
when the Town Council, Session, and citizens of Edinburgh, convened,
according to an ancient custom observed among them from the time of
the Reformation, to remove such grounds of difference as might have
arisen, before uniting in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, Meine
strongly pleaded that the ordinance should be solemnised without
kneeling, a ceremony with which (he said) he could not comply. On
account of his zeal in this matter, he was summoned before the Privy
Council. The result was, that in June that year, he was sentenced to
be banished to the north and confined within the town of Elgin. About
the beginning of January next year, he obtained liberty for a few days
to visit his family, but on the understanding that he should
afterwards return to his place of confinement. However, the death of
James VI. on the 27th of March that year, put an end to his trouble
for a time. Livingstone, describing him in his Memorable
Characteristics, says, "He used, summer and winter, to rise about
three in the morning, and always sing some psalm as he put on his
clothes. He spent till six o'clock alone in religious exercises, and
at six worshipped God with his family, and then went to his shop."
Meine was married to Barbara Hamilton, sister to the first wife of the
famous Robert Blair.]

(_ENJOYMENT OF GOD'S LOVE--NEED OF HELP--BURDENS._)


DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I wonder that ye
sent me not an answer to my last letter, for I stand in need of it. I
am in some piece of court, with our great King, whose love would cause
a dead man to speak, and live. Whether my court will continue or not,
I cannot well say; but I have His ear frequently, and (to His glory
only I speak it) no penury of the love-kisses of the Son of God. He
thinketh good to cast apples to me in my prison to play withal, lest I
should think long and faint. I must give over all attempts to fathom
the depth of His love. All I can do is, but to stand beside His great
love, and look and wonder. My debts of thankfulness affright me; I
fear that my creditor get a dyvour-bill and ragged account.

I would be much the better of help. Oh for help! and that ye would
take notice of my case. Your not writing to me maketh me think ye
suppose that I am not to be bemoaned, because He sendeth comfort. But
I have pain in my unthankfulness, and pain in the feeling of His love,
whill I am sick again for real presence and real possession of Christ.
Yet there is no gowked (if I may so speak), nor fond love in Christ.
He casteth me down sometimes for old faults; and I know that He
knoweth well that sweet comforts are swelling, and therefore sorrow
must take a vent to the wind.

My dumb Sabbaths are undercoating wounds. The condition of this
oppressed kirk, and my brother's case (I thank you and your wife for
your kindness to him), hold my sore smarting, and keep my wounds
bleeding. But the groundwork standeth sure. Pray for me. Grace be with
you. Remember me to your wife.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CLII.--_To_ MR. THOMAS GARVEN.

[This correspondent was one of the ministers of Edinburgh. Letters
CLXV. and CCXLVII. also are addressed to him. Brodie, in his "Diary,"
June 1662, speaks of hearing him preach.]

(_A PRISONER'S JOYS--LOVE OF CHRIST--THE GOOD PART--HEAVEN IN SIGHT._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I bless you for your letter; it was a
shower to the new-mown grass. The Lord hath given you the tongue of
the learned. Be fruitful and humble.

It is possible that ye may come to my case, or the like; but the water
is neither so deep, nor the stream so strong, as it is called. I think
my fire is not so hot; my water is dry land, my loss rich loss. Oh,
if[236] the walls of my prison be high, wide, and large, and the place
sweet! No man knoweth it, no man, I say, knoweth it, my dear brother,
so well as He and I; no man can put it down in black and white as my
Lord hath sealed it in my heart. My poor stock hath grown since I came
to Aberdeen; and if any had known the wrong I did, in being jealous of
such an honest lover as Christ, who withheld not His love from me,
they would think the more of it. But I see, He must be above me in
mercy. I will never strive with Him; to think to recompense Him is
folly. If I had as many angels' tongues, as there have fallen drops of
rain since the creation, or as there are leaves of trees in all the
forests of the earth, or stars in the heaven, to praise, yet my Lord
Jesus would ever be behind with me.[237] We will never get our
accounts fitted. A pardon must close the reckoning; for His comforts
to me in this honourable cause have almost put me beyond the bounds of
modesty; howbeit I will not let every one know what is betwixt us.
Love, love (I mean Christ's love), is the hottest coal that ever I
felt. Oh, but the smoke of it be hot! Cast all the salt sea on it, it
will flame; hell cannot quench it; many many waters will not quench
love. Christ is turned over to His poor prisoner in a mass and globe
of love. I wonder that He should waste so much love upon such a waster
as I am; but He is no waster, but abundant in mercy. He hath no
niggard's alms, when He is pleased to give. Oh that I could invite all
the nation to love Him! Free grace is an unknown thing. This world
hath heard but a bare name of Christ, and no more. There are infinite
plies in His love that the saints will never win to unfold; I would it
were better known, and that Christ got more of His own due than He
doth.

  [236] "Oh if;" _q.d._, What will you say if I tell you that the walls
  of my prison are, etc.

  [237] Never have got His due from me.

Brother, ye have chosen the good part, who have taken part with
Christ. Ye will see Him win the field, and shall get part of the spoil
when He divideth it. They are but fools who laugh at us; for they see
but the backside of the moon, yet our moonlight is better than their
twelve-hours' sun. We have gotten the New Heavens, and, as a pledge of
that, the Bridegroom's love-ring. The children of the wedding-chamber
have cause to skip and leap for joy; for the marriage-supper is
drawing nigh, and we find the four-hours sweet and comfortable. O
time, be not slow! O sun, move speedily, and hasten our banquet! O
Bridegroom, be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains! O
Well-beloved, run fast, that we may once meet!

Brother, I restrain myself for want of time. Pray for me; I hope to
remember you. The good-will of Him who dwelt in the bush, the tender
mercies of God in Christ, enrich you. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CLIII.--_To_ BETHAIA AIRD.

[The name _Aird_ is not uncommon in the history of the Church. _Mr.
Wm. Aird_ was a noted minister in Edinburgh in Livingstone's days.
Wodrow's "History" mentions _Aird of Muirkirk_, and also _John Aird_
of Milton. In the memoir of Walter Pringle of Greenknow, we find
_James Aird_ was his intimate friend. But whether this correspondent
was related to any of them, we know not. She may have been simply an
Anwoth parishioner.]

(_UNBELIEF UNDER TRIAL--CHRIST'S SYMPATHY AND LOVE._)


WORTHY SISTER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you. I know that ye
desire news from my prison, and I shall show you news. At my first
entry hither, Christ and I agreed not well upon it. The devil made a
plea in the house, and I laid the blame upon Christ; for my heart was
fraughted with challenges, and I feared that I was an outcast, and
that I was but a withered tree in the vineyard, and but held the sun
off the good plants with my idle shadow, and that, therefore, my
Master had given the evil servant the fields, to send him. Old
guiltiness (as witness) said, "All is true." My apprehensions were
with child of faithless fears, and unbelief put a seal and amen to
all. I thought myself in a hard case. Some said I had cause to rejoice
that Christ had honoured me to be a witness for Him; and I said in my
heart, "These are words of men, who see but mine outside, and cannot
tell if I be a false witness or not."

If Christ had in this matter been as wilful and short as I was, my
faith had gone over the brae, and broken its neck. But we were well
met,--a hasty fool, and a wise, patient, and meek Saviour. He took no
law-advantage of my folly, but waited on till my ill-blood was fallen,
and my drumbled and troubled well began to clear. He was never a whit
angry at the fever-ravings of a poor tempted sinner; but He mercifully
forgave, and came (as it well becometh Him), with grace and new
comfort, to a sinner who deserved the contrary, And now He is content
to kiss my black mouth, to put His hand into mine, and to feed me with
as many consolations as would feed ten hungry souls. Yet I dare not
say that He is a waster of comforts, for no less would have borne me
up; one grain-weight less would have casten the balance.

Now, who is like to that royal King, crowned in Zion! Where shall I
get a seat for real Majesty to set Him on? If I could set Him as far
above the heaven as thousand thousands of heights devised by men and
angels, I should think Him but too low. I pray you, for God's sake, my
dear sister, to help me to praise. His love hath neither brim nor
bottom; His love is like Himself, it passeth all natural
understanding. I go to fathom it with my arms; but it is as if a child
would take the globe of sea and land in his two short arms. Blessed
and holy is His name! This must be His truth which I now suffer for;
for He would not laugh upon a lie, nor be witness with His comforts to
a night-dream.

I entreat for your prayers; and the prayer and blessing of a prisoner
of Christ be upon you. Grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CLIV.--_To ALEXANDER GORDON of Knockgray, near Carsphairn._

(_PROSPECTIVE TRIALS._)


DEAR BROTHER,--I have not leisure to write to you. Christ's ways were
known to you long before I, who am but a child, knew anything of Him.
What wrong and violence the prelates may, by God's permission, do unto
you, for your trial, I know not; but this I know, that your ten days'
tribulation will end. Contend to the last breath for Christ.
Banishment out of these kingdoms is determined against me, as I hear;
this land dow not bear me. I pray you, to recommend my case and bonds
to my brethren and sisters with you. I intrust more of my spiritual
comfort to you and them that way, my dear brother, than to many in
this kingdom besides. I hope that ye will not be wanting to Christ's
prisoner.

Fear nothing; for I assure you that Alexander Gordon of Knockgray
shall win away and get his soul for a prey. And what can he then want
that is worth the having? Your friends are cold (as ye write); and so
are those in whom I trusted much. Our Husband doth well in breaking
our idols in pieces. Dry wells send us to the fountain. "My life is
not dear to me, so being I may fulfil my course with joy." I fear that
ye must remove; your new hireling will not bear your discountenancing
of him, for the prelate is afraid that Christ get you; and that he
hath no will to.

Grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord and Master,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLV.--_To_ GRIZZEL FULLERTON.

[GRIZZEL FULLERTON was the daughter of William Fullerton, Provost of
Kirkcudbright, and Marion M'Naught. See Letter VI.]

(_THE ONE THING NEEDFUL--CHRIST'S LOVE._)


DEAR SISTER,--I exhort you in the Lord, to seek your one thing, Mary's
good part, that shall not be taken from you. Set your heart and soul
on the children's inheritance. This clay-idol, the world, is but for
bastards, and ye are His lawfully-begotten child. Learn the way (as
your dear mother hath done before you) to knock at Christ's door. Many
an alms of mercy hath Christ given to her, and hath abundance behind
to give to you. Ye are the seed of the faithful, and born within the
covenant; claim your right. I would not exchange Christ Jesus for ten
worlds of glory. I know now (blessed be my Teacher!) how to shute the
lock, and unbolt my Well-beloved's door; and He maketh a poor stranger
welcome when He cometh to His house. I am swelled up and satisfied
with the love of Christ, that is better than wine. It is a fire in my
soul; let hell and the world cast water on it, they will not mend
themselves. I have now gotten the right gate of Christ. I recommend
Him to you above all things. Come and find the smell of His breath;
see if His kisses be not sweet. He desireth no better than to be much
made of; be homely with Him, and ye shall be the more welcome; ye know
not how fain Christ would have all your love. Think not this is
imagination and bairns' play, which we make din for. I would not
suffer for it, if it were so. I dare pawn my heaven for it, that it is
the way to glory. Think much of truth, and abhor these ways devised by
men in God's worship.

The grace of Christ be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CLVI.--_To_ PATRICK CARSEN.

[This was, perhaps, the son of John Carsen, formerly noticed. See
Letter CXXVII.]

(_EARLY DEVOTEDNESS TO CHRIST._)


DEAR AND LOVING FRIEND,--I cannot but, upon the opportunity of a
bearer, exhort you to resign the love of your youth to Christ; and in
this day, while your sun is high and your youth serveth you, to seek
the Lord and His face. For there is nothing out of heaven so necessary
for you as Christ. And ye cannot be ignorant but your day will end,
and the night of death shall call you from the pleasures of this life:
and a doom given out in death standeth for ever--as long as God
liveth! Youth, ordinarily, is a post and ready servant for Satan, to
run errands; for it is a nest for lust, cursing, drunkenness,
blaspheming of God, lying, pride, and vanity. Oh, that there were such
an heart in you as to fear the Lord, and to dedicate your soul and
body to His service! When the time cometh that your eye-strings shall
break, and your face wax pale, and legs and arms tremble, and your
breath shall grow cold, and your poor soul look out at your prison
house of clay, to be set at liberty; then a good conscience, and your
Lord's favour, shall be worth all the world's glory. Seek it as your
garland and crown.

Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CLVII.--_To_ CARLETON.

[Livingstone, in his Characteristics, mentions two persons of this
name: "Fullerton of Carleton, in Galloway, a grave and cheerful
Christian;" and "Cathcart of Carleton, in Carrick, an old, experienced
Christian," in much repute among the religious of his day, for his
skill in solving cases of conscience, and dealing with persons under
spiritual affliction. But it seems clear that Rutherford's
correspondent was _John Fullerton of Carleton_, in the parish of
Borgue. For, in Letter XV. he is spoken of as in Galloway. In the
"Minutes of Comm. of Covenanters," we find the following estates put
side by side, all of them a few miles from Anwoth, viz. "_Roberton_
and _Carleton_, Caillie and Rusco, Carsluth and Cassincarrie." His
lady's name appears prefixed to Letter CCLVI.

This, too, was the Carleton that wrote the Acrostic on Marion M'Naught
(see note on Letter V.). He was the author of a poem--"The Turtle
Dove, under the absence and presence of her only _Choice_.
1664,"--dedicated by the author to Lady Jane Campbell, Viscountess
Kenmure, with whom he was connected. He also wrote "A Manifesto of the
Kingdom of Scotland in favour of the League and Covenant," in verse.
(See "Minutes of Comm. of Covenanters.")]

(_INCREASING SENSE OF CHRIST'S LOVE--RESIGNATION--DEADNESS TO
EARTH--TEMPTATIONS--INFIRMITIES._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--I will not impute your not writing to me to
forgetfulness. However, I have One above who forgetteth me not--nay,
He groweth in His kindness. It hath pleased His holy Majesty to take
me from the pulpit, and teach me many things, in my exile and prison,
that were mysteries to me before.

I see His bottomless and boundless love and kindness, and my
jealousies and ravings, which, at my first entry into this furnace,
were so foolish and bold, as to say to Christ, who is truth itself, in
His face, "Thou liest." I had well nigh lost my grips. I wondered if
it was Christ or not; for the mist and smoke of my perturbed heart
made me mistake my Master, Jesus. My faith was dim, and hope frozen
and cold; and my love, which caused jealousies, had some warmness, and
heat, and smoke, but no flame at all. Yet I was looking for some good
of Christ's old claim to me, though[238] I had forfeited all my
rights. But the tempter was too much upon my counsels, and was still
blowing the coal. Alas! I knew not well before how good skill my
Intercessor and Advocate, Christ, hath of pleading, and of pardoning
me such follies. Now He is returned to my soul with healing under His
wings; and I am nothing behind with Christ[239] now; for He hath
overpaid me, by His presence, the pain I was put to by on-waiting, and
any little loss that I sustained by my witnessing against the wrongs
done to Him. I trow it was a pain to my Lord to hide Himself any
longer. In a manner, He was challenging His own unkindness, and
repented Him of His glooms. And now, what want I on earth that Christ
can give to a poor prisoner? Oh, how sweet and lovely is He now! Alas!
that I can get none to help me to lift up my Lord Jesus upon His
throne, above all the earth.

  [238] "I thought" is the old reading, but it has no meaning.

  [239] Christ has paid me all my claim.

_2ndly_, I am now brought to some measure of submission, and I resolve
to wait till I see what my Lord Jesus will do with me. I dare not now
nickname, or speak one word against, the all-seeing and over-watching
providence of my Lord. I see that providence runneth not on broken
wheels. But I, like a fool, carved a providence for my own ease, to
die in my nest, and to sleep still till my grey hairs, and to lie on
the sunny side of the mountain, in my ministry at Anwoth. But now I
have nothing to say against a borrowed fireside, and another man's
house, nor Kedar's tents, where I live, being removed far from my
acquaintance, my lovers, and my friends. I see that God hath the world
on His wheels, and casteth it as a potter doth a vessel on the wheel.
I dare not say that there is any inordinate or irregular motion in
providence. The Lord hath done it. I will not go to law with Christ,
for I would gain nothing of that.

_3rdly_, I have learned some greater mortification; and not to mourn
after, or seek to suck, the world's dry breasts. Nay, my Lord hath
filled me with such dainties, that I am like to a full banqueter, who
is not for common cheer. What have I to do to fall down upon my knees,
and worship mankind's great idol, the world? I have a better God than
any claygod: nay, at present, as I am now disposed, I care not much to
give this world a discharge of my life-rent of it, for bread and
water. I know that it is not my home, nor my Father's house; it is but
His foot-stool, the outer close of His house, His out-fields and
muir-ground. Let bastards take it. I hope never to think myself in
its common, for honour or riches. Nay, now I say to laughter, "Thou
art madness."

_4thly_, I find it to be most true, that the greatest temptation out
of hell is to live without temptations. If my waters should stand,
they would rot. Faith is the better of the free air, and of the sharp
winter storm in its face. Grace withereth without adversity. The devil
is but God's master fencer, to teach us to handle our weapons.

_5thly_, I never knew how weak I was, till now when He hideth Himself,
and when I have Him to seek, seven times a day. I am a dry and
withered branch, and a piece of dead carcass, dry bones, and not able
to step over a straw. The thoughts of my old sins are as the summons
of death to me, and my late brother's case hath stricken me to the
heart. When my wounds are closing, a little ruffle[240] causeth them
to bleed afresh; so thin-skinned is my soul, that I think it is like a
tender man's skin that may touch nothing. Ye see how short I would
shoot of the prize, if His grace were not sufficient for me.

  [240] It is written "rifle" in old editions.

Wo is me for the day of Scotland! Wo, wo is me for my harlot-mother;
for the decree is gone forth! Women of this land shall call the
childless and miscarrying wombs blessed. The anger of the Lord is gone
forth, and shall not return, till He perform the purpose of His heart
against Scotland. Yet He shall make Scotland a new, sharp instrument,
having teeth to thresh the mountains, and fan the hills as chaff.

The prisoner's blessing be upon you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 14, 1637_.



CLVIII.--_To the_ LADY BUSBIE. [See Letter CXXXIII.]

(_CHRIST ALLWORTHY AND BEST AT OUR LOWEST--SINFULNESS OF THE
LAND--PRAYERS._)


MISTRESS,--I know that ye are thinking sometimes what Christ is doing
in Zion, and that the haters of Zion may get the bottom of our cup,
and the burning coals of our furnace that we have been tried in, those
many years bygone. Oh, that this nation would be awakened to cry
mightily unto God, for the setting up of a new tabernacle to Christ
in Scotland. Oh, if this kingdom knew how worthy Christ were of His
room! His worth was ever above man's estimation of Him.

And for myself I am pained at the heart, that I cannot find myself
disposed to leave myself and go wholly into Christ. Alas! that there
should be one bit of me out of Him, and that we leave too much liberty
and latitude for ourselves, and our own ease, and credit, and
pleasures, and so little room for all-love-worthy Christ. Oh, what
pains and charges it costeth Christ ere He get us! and when all is
done, we are not worth the having. It is a wonder that He should seek
the like of us. But love overlooketh blackness and fecklessness; for
if it had not been so, Christ would never have made so fair and
blessed a bargain with us as the covenant of grace is. I find that in
all our sufferings Christ is but redding marches, that every one of us
may say, "Mine, and thine;" and that men may know by their crosses,
how weak a bottom nature is to stand upon in trial; that the end which
our Lord intendeth, in all our sufferings, is to bring grace into
court and request amongst us. I should succumb and come short of
heaven, if I had no more than my own strength to support me; and if
Christ should say to me, "Either do or die," it were easy to determine
what should become of me. The choice were easy, for I behoved to die
if Christ should pass by with straitened bowels; and who then would
take us up in our straits? I know we may say that Christ is kindest in
His love, when we are at our weakest; and that if Christ had not been
to the fore, in our sad days, the waters had gone over our soul. His
mercy hath a set period, and appointed place, how far and no farther
the sea of affliction shall flow, and where the waves thereof shall be
stayed. He prescribeth how much pain and sorrow, both for weight and
measure, we must have. Ye have, then, good cause to recall your love
from all lovers, and give it to Christ. He who is afflicted in all
your afflictions, looketh not on you in your sad hours with an
insensible heart or dry eyes.

All the Lord's saints may see that it is lost love which is bestowed
upon this perishing world. Death and judgment will make men lament
that ever their miscarrying hearts carried them to lay and lavish out
their love upon false appearances and night-dreams. Alas! that Christ
should fare the worse, because of His own goodness in making peace and
the Gospel to ride together; and that we have never yet weighed the
worth of Christ in His ordinances, and that we are like to be
deprived of the well, ere we have tasted the sweetness of the water.
It may be that with watery eyes, and a wet face, and wearied feet, we
seek Christ, and shall not find Him. Oh, that this land were humbled
in time, and by prayers, cries, and humiliation, would bring Christ in
at the church-door again, now when His back is turned towards us, and
He is gone to the threshold, and His one foot, as it were, is out of
the door! I am sure that His departure is our deserving; we have
bought it with our iniquities; for even the Lord's own children are
fallen asleep, and, alas! professors are made all of shows and
fashions, and are not at pains to recover themselves again. Every one
hath his set measure of faith and holiness, and contenteth himself
with but a stinted measure of godliness, as if that were enough to
bring him to heaven. We forget that as our gifts and light grow, so
God's gain and the interest of His talents, should grow also; and that
we cannot pay God with the old use and wont (as we use to speak) which
we gave Him seven years ago; for this were to mock the Lord, and to
make price with Him as we list. Oh, what difficulty is there in our
Christian journey, and how often come we short of many thousand things
that are Christ's due! and we consider not how far our dear Lord is
behind with us.

Mistress, I cannot render you thanks, as I would, for your kindness to
my brother, an oppressed stranger; but I remember you unto the Lord as
I am able. I entreat you to think upon me, His prisoner, and pray that
the Lord would be pleased to give me room to speak to His people in
His name.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord and Master,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLIX.--_To JOHN FLEMING, Bailie of Leith._ [Letter LXVIII.]

(_DIRECTIONS FOR CHRISTIAN CONDUCT._)


WORTHY AND DEARLY BELOVED IN THE LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be
unto you. I received your letter. I wish that I could satisfy your
desire in drawing up, and framing for you, a Christian directory. But
the learned have done it before me, more judiciously than I can;
especially Mr. Rogers,[241] Greenham,[242] and Perkins.[243]
Notwithstanding, I shall show you what I would have been at myself;
howbeit I came always short of my purpose.

  [241] Dr. Daniel Rogers, a Puritan divine, author of a treatise called
  "David's Cost; or, What it will cost to serve God aright," "Naaman the
  Syrian," and others. He was born in 1573, educated at Cambridge,
  suffered from the persecution of Laud, and died in 1652 at the age of
  eighty. He was a man of great talents, deep humility and devotion, but
  of a temper so bold that a friend said of him, "He had grace enough
  for _two_ men, but not enough for himself."

  [242] Richard Greenham, a Puritan, who was born in 1531, and died of
  the plague 1591. He was the author of several sermons and practical
  treatises. (See Brooke's "Lives of the Puritans," vol. ii.)

  [243] Dr. Wm. Perkins, an English divine, who lived in the end of the
  sixteenth century, and was the author of several practical and
  doctrinal treatises; among others, the one here referred to, "A Case
  of Conscience, and Thirteen Principles of Religion," published after
  his death. He was a strict Calvinist, and took part in the controversy
  against Arminianism. He used so to apply the terrors of the law to the
  conscience, that oftentimes his hearers fell down before him. It was
  also said that he pronounced the word "_Damnation_" with such an
  emphasis and pathos as left a doleful echo in the ear long after. He
  wrote on all his books, "Thou art a minister of the Word: mind thy
  business."

1. That hours of the day, less or more time, for the word and prayer,
be given to God; not sparing the twelfth hour, or mid-day, howbeit it
should then be the shorter time.

2. In the midst of worldly employments, there should be some thoughts
of sin, death, judgment, and eternity, with at least a word or two of
ejaculatory prayer to God.

3. To beware of wandering of heart in private prayers.

4. Not to grudge, howbeit ye come from prayer without sense of joy.
Down-casting, sense of guiltiness, and hunger, are often best for us.

5. That the Lord's-day, from morning to night, be spent always either
in private or public worship.

6. That words be observed, wandering and idle thoughts be avoided,
sudden anger and desire of revenge, even of such as persecute the
truth, be guarded against; for we often mix our zeal with our
wild-fire.

7. That known, discovered, and revealed sins, that are against the
conscience, be eschewed, as most dangerous preparatives to hardness of
heart.

8. That in dealing with men, faith and truth in covenants and
trafficking be regarded, that we deal with all men in sincerity; that
conscience be made of idle and lying words; and that our carriage be
such, as that they who see it may speak honourably of our sweet Master
and profession.

9. I have been much challenged--1. For not referring all to God as the
last end; that I do not eat, drink, sleep, journey, speak, and think
for God. 2. That I have not benefited by good company; and that I left
not some word of conviction, even upon natural and wicked men, as by
reproving swearing in them; or because of being a silent witness to
their loose carriage; and because I intended not in all companies to
do good. 3. That the woes and calamities of the kirk, and of
particular professors, have not moved me. 4. That at the reading of
the life of David, Paul, and the like, when it humbled me, I (coming
so far short of their holiness) laboured not to imitate them, afar off
at least, according to the measure of God's grace. 5. That unrepented
sins of youth were not looked to, and lamented for. 6. That sudden
stirrings of pride, lust, revenge, love of honours, were not resisted
and mourned for. 7. That my charity was cold. 8. That the experiences
I had of God's hearing me, in this and the other particular, being
gathered, yet in a new trouble I had always (once at least) my faith
to seek, as if I were to begin at A, B, C again. 9. That I have not
more boldly contradicted the enemies speaking against the truth,
either in public church meetings, or at tables, or ordinary
conference. 10. That in great troubles I have received false reports
of Christ's love, and misbelieved Him in His chastening; whereas the
event hath said, "All was in mercy." 11. Nothing more moveth me, and
weighteth my soul, than that I could never from[244] my heart, in my
prosperity, so wrestle in prayer with God, nor be so dead to the
world, so hungry and sick of love for Christ, so heavenly-minded, as
when ten stone-weight of a heavy cross was upon me. 12. That the cross
extorted vows of new obedience, which ease hath blown away, as chaff
before the wind. 13. That practice was so short and narrow, and light
so long and broad. 14. That death hath not been often meditated upon.
15. That I have not been careful of gaining others to Christ. 16. That
my grace and gifts bring forth little or no thankfulness.

  [244] Should probably be "_from_;" though it is "for" in other
  editions.

There are some things, also, whereby I have been helped, as--1. I have
been benefited by riding alone a long journey, in giving that time to
prayer. 2. By abstinence, and giving days to God. 3. By praying for
others; for by making an errand to God for them, I have gotten
something for myself. 4. I have been really confirmed, in many
particulars, that God heareth prayers; and, therefore, I used to pray
for anything, of how little importance soever. 5. He enabled me to
make no question, that this mocked way, which is nicknamed, is the
only way to heaven.

Sir, these and many more occurrences in your life, should be looked
into; and, 1. Thoughts of Atheism should be watched over, as, "If
there be a God in heaven?" which will trouble and assault the best at
some times. 2. Growth in grace should be cared for above all things;
and falling from our first love mourned for. 3. Conscience made of
praying for the enemies, who are blinded.

Sir, I thank you most kindly for the care of my brother, and of me
also. I hope it is laid up for you, and remembered in heaven.

I am still ashamed with Christ's kindness to such a sinner as I am. He
hath left a fire in my heart, that hell cannot cast water on, to
quench or extinguish it. Help me to praise, and pray for me, for ye
have a prisoner's blessing and prayers.

Remember my love to your wife. Grace be with you.

  Yours in Christ Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _March 15, 1637_.



CLX.--_To ALEXANDER GORDON of Earlston._

(_HUNGERING AFTER CHRIST HIMSELF RATHER THAN HIS LOVE._)


MUCH HONOURED AND WORTHY SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you.--I
long to hear from you. I have received few letters since I came
hither; I am in need of a word. A dry plant should have some watering.

My case betwixt Christ my Lord, and me, standeth between love and
jealousy, faith and suspicion of His love; it is a marvel He keepeth
house with me. I make many pleas with Christ, but He maketh as many
agreements with me. I think His unchangeable love hath said, "I defy
thee to break Me and change Me." If Christ had such changeable and new
thoughts of my salvation as I have of it, I think I should then be at
a sad loss. He humoureth not a fool like me in my unbelief, but
rebuketh me, and fathereth kindness upon me. Christ is more like the
poor friend and needy prisoner begging love, than I am. I cannot, for
shame, get Christ said "nay" of my whole love, for He will not want
His errand for the seeking. God be thanked that my Bridegroom tireth
not of wooing. Honour to Him! He is a wilful[245] suitor of my soul.
But as love is His, pain is mine, that I have nothing to give Him. His
account-book is full of my debts of mercy, kindness, and free love
towards me. Oh that I might read with watery eyes! Oh that He would
give me the interest of interest to pay back! Or rather, my soul's
desire is, that He would comprise my person, soul and body, love, joy,
confidence, fear, sorrow, and desire, and drive the poind, and let me
be rouped, and sold to Christ, and taken home to my creditor's house
and fireside.

  [245] In the sense of not to be turned from His purpose.

The Lord knoweth that, if I could, I would sell myself without
reversion to Christ. O sweet Lord Jesus, make a market, and overbid
all my buyers! I dare swear that there is a mystery in Christ which I
never saw; a mystery of love. Oh, if He would lay by the lap of the
covering that is over it, and let my greening soul see it! I would
break the door, and be in upon Him, to get a wombful of love; for I am
an hungered and famished soul. Oh, sir, if you, or any other, would
tell Him how sick my soul is, dying for want of a hearty draught of
Christ's love! Oh, if I could dote (if I may make use of that word in
this case) as much upon Himself as I do upon His love! It is a pity
that Christ Himself should not rather be my heart's choice, than
Christ's manifested love. It would satisfy me, in some measure, if I
had any bud to give for His love. Shall I offer Him my praises? Alas!
He is more than praises. I give it over to get Him exalted according
to His worth, which is above what can be known.

Yet all this time I am tempting Him, to see if there be both love and
anger in Him against me. I am plucked from His flock (dear to me!),
and from feeding His lambs; I go, therefore, in sackcloth, as one who
hath lost the wife of his youth. Grief and sorrow are suspicious, and
spew out against Him the smoke of jealousies; and I say often, "Show
me wherefore Thou contendest with me. Tell me, O Lord: read the
process against me." But I know that I cannot answer His allegations;
I shall lose the cause when it cometh to open pleading. Oh, if I could
force my heart to believe dreams to be dreams! Yet when Christ giveth
my fears the lie, and saith to me, "Thou art a liar," then I am glad.
I resolve to hope to be quiet, and to lie on the brink on my side,
till the water fall and the ford be ridable. And, howbeit there be
pain upon me, in longing for deliverance that I may speak of Him in
the great congregation, yet I think there is joy in that pain and
on-waiting; and I even rejoice that He putteth me off for a time, and
shifteth me. Oh, if I could wait on for all eternity, howbeit I should
never get my soul's desire, so being He were glorified! I would wish
my pain and my ministry could live long to serve Him; for I know that
I am a clay vessel, and made for His use. Oh, if my very broken sherds
could serve to glorify Him! I desire Christ's grace to be willingly
content, that my hell (excepting His hatred and displeasure, which I
put out of all play, for submission to this is not called for) were a
preaching of His glory to men and angels for ever and ever! When all
is done, what can I add to Him? or what can such a clay-shadow as I
do? I know that He needeth not me. I have cause to be grieved, and to
melt away in tears, if I had grace to do it (Lord, grant it to me!),
to see my Well-beloved's fair face spitted upon by dogs, to see loons
pulling the crown off my royal King's head; to see my harlot-mother
and my sweet Father agree so ill, that they are going to skail and
give up house. My Lord's palace is now a nest of unclean birds. Oh, if
harlot, harlot Scotland would rue upon her provoked Lord, and pity her
good Husband, who is broken with her whorish heart! But these things
are hid from her eyes.

I have heard of late of your new trial by the Bishop of Galloway.[246]
Fear not clay, worms' meat. Let truth and Christ get no wrong in your
hand. It is your gain if Christ be glorified; and your glory to be
Christ's witness. I persuade you, that your sufferings are Christ's
advantage and victory; for He is pleased to reckon them so. Let me
hear from you. Christ is but winning a clean kirk out of the fire; He
will win this play. He will not be in your common for any charges ye
are at in His service. He is not poor, to sit in your debt; He will
repay an hundred-fold more, it may be, even in this life.

The prayers and blessings of Christ's prisoner be with you.

  Your brother, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [246] The Bishop of Galloway held this year a High Commission Court in
  Galloway, in which, besides fining some gentlemen, and confining the
  magistrates of Kirkcudbright to Wigtown, for matters of nonconformity,
  he fined Gordon of Earlston for his absence, five hundred merks, and
  banished him to Montrose. (Baillie's "Letters and Journals.") This, no
  doubt, is the "new trial by the Bishop of Galloway," to which
  Rutherford refers. See Letter LIX.



CLXI.--_To JOHN STUART, Provost of Ayr._

[JOHN STUART, Provost of Ayr, is described by Livingstone as "a godly
and zealous Christian of a long standing," and from his earliest
years. Inheriting, after the death of his father, considerable
property, he largely applied it to benevolent purposes. Such was his
disinterested love to those who were the friends of Christ and His
truth, that he called a number of them whose straitened condition he
knew, to meet with him in Edinburgh; and after some time spent in
prayer, told them he had brought a little money to lend to each of
them, which they were not to offer to pay back till he required it, at
the same time requiring them to promise not to make this known during
his life. Not long after (the plague raging with severity in Ayr, and
trade becoming, in consequence, much depressed) he himself fell into
pecuniary difficulties, which made him at that time remove from the
country. Borrowing a little money, he went over to France, and coming
to Rochelle, loaded a ship with salt and other commodities, which he
purchased at a very cheap rate. He then returned the nearest way to
England, and thence to Ayr, in expectation of the ship's return. After
waiting long, he was informed that it was taken by the Turks, which,
considering the loss which others in that case would sustain, much
afflicted him. But it at last arrived in the Road. It was on this
occasion that his friend John Kennedy, going out to the vessel in a
small boat, was driven away by a storm. (See notice of Kennedy, Letter
LXXV.) Stuart having sold the commodities which he brought from
France, not only was enabled by the profits to pay all his debts, but
cleared twenty thousand merks. (Fleming's "Fulfilling of the
Scriptures.") He joined with Mr. Blair, Mr. Livingstone, and others,
in their plan of emigrating to New England, though they were forced to
give it up. This good man was much afflicted on his death-bed, so that
one day he said, "I testify, that except when I slept, or was in
business, I was not these ten years without thoughts of God, so long
as I would be in going from my own house to the cross; and yet I doubt
myself, and am in great agony, yea, at the brink of despair." But a
day or two before he died, all his doubts were dispelled; and to Mr.
Ferguson, the pious minister of Ayr, he said, referring to his
struggle with temptations at that time, "I have been fighting and
working out my salvation with fear and trembling, and now I bless God
it is perfected, sealed, confirmed, and all fears are gone."]

(_COMMERCIAL MISFORTUNES--SERVICE-BOOK--BLESSEDNESS OF TRIAL._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you. I long to
hear from you, being now removed from my flock, and the prisoner of
Christ at Aberdeen. I would not have you to think it strange that your
journey to New England hath gotten such a dash.[247] It indeed hath
made my heart heavy; yet I know it is no dumb providence, but a
speaking one, whereby our Lord speaketh His mind to you, though for
the present ye do not well understand what He saith. However it be, He
who sitteth upon the floods hath shown you His marvellous kindness in
the great depths. I know that your loss is great, and your hope is
gone far against you; but I entreat you, sir, expound aright our
Lord's laying all hindrances in the way. I persuade myself that your
heart aimeth at the footsteps of the flock, to feed beside the
shepherds' tents, and to dwell beside Him whom your soul loveth; and
that it is your desire to remain in the wilderness, where the Woman is
kept from the Dragon. (Rev. xii. 14.) And this being your desire,
remember that a poor prisoner of Christ said it to you, that that
miscarried journey is with child to you of mercy and consolation; and
shall bring forth a fair birth on which the Lord will attend. Wait on;
"He that believeth maketh not haste" (Isa. xxviii. 16).

  [247] See note at Letter LXIII.

I hope that ye have been asking what the Lord meaneth, and what
further may be His will, in reference to your return. My dear brother,
let God make of you what He will, He will end all with consolation,
and will make glory out of your sufferings; and would you wish better
work? This water was in your way to heaven, and written in your Lord's
book; ye behoved to cross it, and, therefore, kiss His wise and
unerring providence. Let not the censures of men, who see but the
outside of things, and scarce well that, abate your courage and
rejoicing in the Lord. Howbeit your faith seeth but the black side of
providence; yet it hath a better side, and God will let you see it.
Learn to believe Christ better than His strokes, Himself and His
promises better than His glooms. Dashes and disappointments are not
canonical Scripture; fighting for the promised land seemed to cry to
God's promise, "Thou liest." If our Lord ride upon a straw, His horse
shall neither stumble nor fall. "For we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God" (Rom. viii. 28); _ergo_,
shipwreck, losses, etc., work together for the good of them that love
God. Hence I infer, that losses, disappointments, ill-tongues, loss of
friends, houses, or country, are God's workmen, set on work to work
out good to you, out of everything that befalleth you. Let not the
Lord's dealing seem harsh, rough, or unfatherly, because it is
unpleasant. When the Lord's blessed will bloweth across your desires,
it is best, in humility, to strike sail to Him, and to be willing to
be led any way our Lord pleaseth. It is a point of denial of yourself,
to be as if ye had not a will, but had made a free disposition of it
to God, and had sold it over to Him; and to make use of His will for
your own is both true holiness, and your ease and peace. Ye know not
what the Lord is working out of this, but ye shall know it hereafter.

And what I write to you, I write to your wife. I compassionate her
case, but entreat her not to fear nor faint. This journey is a part of
her wilderness to heaven and the promised land, and there are fewer
miles behind. It is nearer the dawning of the day to her than when
she went out of Scotland. I should be glad to hear that ye and she
have comfort and courage in the Lord.

Now, as concerning our kirk; our Service-Book is ordained, by open
proclamation and sound of trumpet, to be read in all the kirks of the
kingdom.[248] Our prelates are to meet this month about our
Canons,[249] and for a reconciliation betwixt us and the Lutherans.
The Professors of Aberdeen University are charged to draw up the
Articles of an uniform Confession; but reconciliation with Popery is
intended. This is the day of Jacob's visitation; the ways of Zion
mourn, our gold is become dim, the sun is gone down upon our prophets.
A dry wind, but neither to fan nor to cleanse, is coming upon this
land; and all our ill is coming from the multiplied transgressions of
this land, and from the friends and lovers of Babel among us. "The
violence done to me and to my flesh be upon thee, Babylon, shall the
inhabitant of Zion say; and, My blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,
shall Jerusalem say."[250]

  [248] The Service-Book, or Liturgy, at this time imposed upon
  Scotland, was that of England, but with numerous alterations. The Act
  of Privy Council, enjoining the use of the Service-Book, is dated 20th
  December 1636; and it was next day proclaimed at the cross of
  Edinburgh: but it was not published till towards the end of May 1637.
  Its title is, "The Booke of Common Prayer and Administration of the
  Sacraments and other parts of Divine Service, for the use of the
  Church of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1637." This book was extremely
  obnoxious to the great body of the ministers and people of Scotland,
  both from the manner of its introduction, which was by the sole
  authority of the King, without the Church having been even consulted
  in the matter, and from the doctrines which it contained, in which it
  approached nearer to the Roman Missal than the English liturgy. It was
  drawn up by James Wedderburn, Bishop of Dunblane, and John Maxwell,
  Bishop of Ross, with the assistance of Sydserff, Bishop of Galloway,
  and Ballenden, Bishop of Aberdeen. It was revised by Archbishop Laud,
  and Wren, Bishop of Norwich. Kirkton mentions that he saw the original
  copy corrected by Laud's own hands, and that all his corrections
  approached towards Popery and the Roman Missal. (Kirkton's "History,"
  p. 30.)

  [249] "The Book of Canons" was, in obedience to the King's orders,
  drawn up by four of the Scottish bishops,--Sydserff of Galloway,
  Maxwell of Ross, Ballenden of Aberdeen, and Whiteford of Dunblane. It
  received the Royal sanction, and became law in 1635. This book, like
  the Service-Book which followed it, was extremely obnoxious to the
  people of Scotland, because it was imposed solely by Royal authority,
  and from the nature of the canons themselves, which prescribed a
  variety of ceremonial and superstitious rites in the observance of
  baptism and the Lord's Supper; invested bishops with uncontrollable
  power; inculcated the doctrine of the King's supremacy in matters
  ecclesiastical as well as civil,--affirming that no meeting of General
  Assembly could be held unless called by the King's authority; with
  other unscriptural innovations.

  [250] Jer. li. 35.

Now for myself: I was three days before the High Commission, and
accused of treason preached against our King. (A minister being
witness, went well nigh to swear it.) God hath saved me from their
malice. _1stly_, They have deprived me of my ministry; _2ndly_,
Silenced me, that I exercise no part of the ministerial function
within this kingdom, under the pain of rebellion; _3rdly_, Confined my
person within the town of Aberdeen, where I find the ministers working
for my confinement in Caithness or Orkney, far from them, because some
people here (willing to be edified) resort to me. At my first entry, I
had heavy challenges within me, and a court fenced (but I hope not in
Christ's name), wherein it was asserted that my Lord would have no
more of my services, and was tired of me; and, like a fool, I summoned
Christ also for unkindness. My soul fainted, and I refused comfort,
and said, "What ailed Christ at me? for I desired to be faithful in
His house." Thus, in my rovings and mistakings, my Lord Jesus bestowed
mercy on me, who am less than the least of all saints. I lay upon the
dust, and bought a plea from Satan against Christ, and He was content
to sell it. But at length Christ did show Himself friends with me, and
in mercy pardoned and passed my part of it, and only complained that a
court should be holden in His bounds without His allowance. Now I pass
from my compearance; and, as if Christ had done the fault, He hath
made the mends, and returned to my soul; so that now His poor prisoner
feedeth on the feasts of love. My adversaries know not what a courtier
I am now with my Royal King, for whose crown I now suffer. It is but
our soft and lazy flesh that hath raised an ill report of the cross of
Christ. O sweet, sweet is His yoke! Christ's chains are of pure gold;
sufferings for Him are perfumed. I would not give my weeping for the
laughing of all the fourteen prelates; I would not exchange my sadness
with the world's joy. O lovely, lovely Jesus, how sweet must Thy
kisses be, when Thy cross smelleth so sweetly! Oh, if all the three
kingdoms had part of my love-feast, and of the comfort of a dawted
prisoner!

Dear Brother, I charge you to praise for me, and to seek help of our
acquaintance there to help me to praise. Why should I smother Christ's
honesty to me? My heart is taken up with this, that my silence and
sufferings may preach. I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, to help
me to praise. Remember my love to your wife, to Mr. Blair, and Mr.
Livingstone, and Mr. Cunningham. Let me hear from you, for I am
anxious what to do. If I saw a call for New England, I would follow
it. Grace be with you.

  Yours in our Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLXII.--_To_ JOHN STUART, _Provost of Ayr_.

(_THE BURDEN OF A SILENCED MINISTER--SPIRITUAL SHORTCOMINGS._)


MUCH HONOURED AND DEAREST IN CHRIST,--Grace, mercy, and peace from God
our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, be upon you.

I expected the comfort of a letter to a prisoner from you, ere now. I
am here, Sir, putting off a part of my inch of time; and when I awake
first in the morning (which is always with great heaviness and
sadness), this question is brought to my mind, "Am I serving God or
not?" Not that I doubt of the truth of this honourable cause wherein I
am engaged; I dare venture into eternity, and before my Judge, that I
now suffer for the truth--because that I cannot endure that my Master,
who is a freeborn King, should pay tribute to any of the shields or
potsherds of the earth. Oh that I could hold the crown upon my
princely King's head with my sinful arm, howbeit it should be struck
from me in that service, from the shoulder-blade. But my closed mouth,
my dumb Sabbaths, the memory of my communion with Christ, in many
fair, fair days in Anwoth, whereas now my Master getteth no service of
my tongue as then, hath almost broken my faith in two halves. Yet in
my deepest apprehensions of His anger, I see through a cloud that I am
wrong; and He, in love to my soul, hath taken up the controversy
betwixt faith and apprehensions, and a decreet is passed on Christ's
side of it, and I subscribe the decreet. The Lord is equal in His
ways, but my guiltiness often overmastereth my believing. I have not
been well known: for except as to open outbreakings, I want nothing of
what Judas and Cain had; only He hath been pleased to prevent me in
mercy, and to cast me into a fever of love for Himself, and His
absence maketh my fever most painful. And beside, He hath visited my
soul and watered it with His comforts. But yet I have not what I
would. The want of real and felt possession is my only death. I know
that Christ pitieth me in this.

The great men, my friends that did[251] for me, are dried up like
winter-brooks of water. All say, "No dealing for that man; his best
will be to be gone out of the kingdom." So I see they tire of me. But,
believe me, I am most gladly content that Christ breaketh all my
idols in pieces. It hath put a new edge upon my blunted love to
Christ; I see that He is jealous of my love, and will have all to
Himself. In a word, these six things are my burden: 1. I am not in the
vineyard as others are; it may be, because Christ thinketh me a
withered tree, not worth its room. But God forbid! 2. Woe, woe, woe is
coming upon my harlot-mother, this apostate kirk! The time is coming
when we shall wish for doves' wings to flee and hide us. Oh, for the
desolation of this land! 3. I see my dear Master Christ going His lone
(as it were), mourning in sackcloth. His fainting friends fear that
King Jesus shall lose the field. But He must carry the day. 4. My
guiltiness and the sins of youth are come up against me, and they
would come into the plea in my sufferings, as deserving causes in
God's justice; but I pray God, for Christ's sake, that he may never
give them that room. 5. Woe is me, that I cannot get my royal,
dreadful, mighty, and glorious Prince of the kings of the earth set on
high. Sir, ye may help me and pity me in this; and bow your knee, and
bless His name, and desire others to do it, that He hath been pleased,
in my sufferings, to make Atheists, Papists, and enemies about me say,
"It is like that God is with this prisoner." Let hell and the powers
of hell (I care not) be let loose against me to do their worst, so
being that Christ, and my Father, and His Father, be magnified in my
sufferings. 6. Christ's love hath pained me: for howbeit His presence
hath shamed me, and drowned me in debt, yet He often goeth away when
my love to Him is burning. He seemeth to look like a proud wooer, who
will not look upon a poor match that is dying of love. I will not say
He is lordly. But I know He is wise in hiding Himself from a child and
a fool, who maketh an idol and a god of one of Christ's kisses, which
is idolatry. I fear that I adore His comforts more than Himself, and
that I love the apples of life better than the tree of life.

  [251] Acted for me; as Ps. cix. 21.

Sir, write to me. Commend me to your wife. Mercy be her portion. Grace
be with you.

  Yours, in his dearest Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLXIII.--_To JOHN STUART, Provost of Ayr._

(_VIEW OF TRIALS PAST--HARD THOUGHTS OF CHRIST--CROSSES--HOPE._)


WORTHY AND DEARLY BELOVED IN OUR LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you.--I was refreshed and comforted with your letter. What I wrote to
you, for your comfort, I do not remember; but I believe that love will
prophesy homeward,[252] as it would have it. I wish that I could help
you to praise His great and holy name who keepeth the feet of His
saints, and hath numbered all your goings. I know that our dearest
Lord will pardon and pass by our honest errors and mistakes, when we
mind His honour; yet I know that none of you have seen the other half,
and the hidden side, of your wonderful return home to us again. I am
confident ye shall yet say, that God's mercy blew your sails back to
Ireland again.

  [252] The ministers, after their return to this country, were settled
  in various parishes; Messrs. Blair at Ayr, Livingstone at Stranraer,
  M'Clelland at Kirkcudbright, and Hamilton at Dumfries. They were
  zealous promoters of all the measures by which the triumph of the
  Presbyterian Church in Scotland was ultimately secured; and all of
  them were members of the celebrated Assembly held at Glasgow in 1638.
  Speaking of their return, Row of Ceres says: "Neither the prelates and
  conformists, nor they themselves, knew that within a year the Lord
  would not only root out the prelates in Scotland, and, after that, out
  of England and Ireland, but make some of them, especially Messrs.
  Blair, Livingstone, and M'Clelland, to be very instrumental in the
  work of reformation" ("Life of Robert Blair," Wodrow Society).

Worthy and dear Sir, I cannot but give you an account of my present
estate, that ye may go an errand for me to my high and royal Master,
of whom I boast all the day. I am as proud of His love (nay, I bless
myself, and boast more of my present lot) as any poor man can be of an
earthly king's court, or of a kingdom. _First_, I am very often
turning both the sides of my cross, especially my dumb and silent
Sabbaths; not because I desire to find a crook or defect in my Lord's
love, but because my love is sick with fancies and fear. Whether or
not the Lord hath a process leading against my guiltiness, that I have
not yet well seen, I know not. My desire is to ride fair, and not to
spark dirt (if, with reverence to Him, I may be permitted to make use
of such a word) in the face of my only, only Well-beloved; but fear of
guiltiness is a talebearer betwixt me and Christ, and is still
whispering ill tales of my Lord, to weaken my faith. I had rather that
a cloud went over my comforts by these messages, than that my faith
should be hurt; for, if my Lord get no wrong by me, verily I desire
grace not to care what become of me. I desire to give no faith nor
credit to my sorrow, that can make a lie of my best friend Christ.
Woe, woe be to them all who speak ill of Christ! Hence these thoughts
awake with me in the morning, and go to bed with me. Oh, what service
can a dumb body do in Christ's house! Oh, I think the word of God is
imprisoned also! Oh, I am a dry tree! Alas, I can neither plant nor
water! Oh, if my Lord would make but dung of me, to fatten and make
fertile His own corn-ridges in Mount Zion! Oh, if I might but speak to
three or four herdboys[253] of my worthy Master, I would be satisfied
to be the meanest and most obscure of all the pastors in this land,
and to live in any place, in any of Christ's basest outhouses! But He
saith, "Sirrah, I will not send you; I have no errands for you
thereaway." My desire to serve Him is sick of jealousy, lest He be
unwilling to employ me. _Secondly_, This is seconded by another. Oh!
all that I have done in Anwoth, the fair work that my Master began
there, is like a bird dying in the shell; and what will I then have to
show of all my labour, in the day of my compearance before Him, when
the Master of the vineyard calleth the labourers, and giveth them
their hire? _Thirdly_, But truly, when Christ's sweet wind is in the
right airth, I repent, and I pray Christ to take law-burrows of my
quarrelous unbelieving sadness and sorrow. Lord, rebuke them that put
ill betwixt a poor servant like me and his good Master. Then I say,
whether the black cross will or not, I must climb on hands and feet up
to my Lord. I am now ruing from my heart that I pleasured the law (my
old dead husband) so far as to apprehend wrath in my sweet Lord Jesus.
I had far rather take a hire to plead for the grace of God, for I
think myself Christ's sworn debtor; and the truth is (to speak of my
Lord what I cannot deny), I am over head and ears, drowned in many
obligations to His love and mercy.

  [253] Boys, like David, keeping the sheep or cattle.

He handleth me some time so, that I am ashamed almost to seek more for
a four-hours, but to live content (till the marriage-supper of the
Lamb) with that which He giveth. But I know not how greedy and how ill
to please love is. For either my Lord Jesus hath taught me ill
manners, not to be content with a seat, except my head lie in His
bosom, and except I be fed with the fatness of His house; or else I am
grown impatiently dainty, and ill to please, as if Christ were
obliged, under this cross, to do no other thing but bear me in His
arms, and as if I had claim by merit for my suffering for Him. But I
wish He would give me grace to learn to go on my own feet, and to
learn to do without His comforts, and to give thanks and believe, when
the sun is not in my firmament, and when my Well-beloved is from home,
and gone another errand. Oh, what sweet peace have I, when I find that
Christ holdeth and I draw; when I climb up and He shuteth me down;
when I grips Him and embrace Him, and He seemeth to loose the grips
and flee away from me! I think there is even a sweet joy of faith, and
contentedness, and peace, in His very tempting unkindness, because my
faith saith, "Christ is not in sad earnest with me, but trying if I
can be kind to His mask and cloud that covereth Him, as well as to His
fair face." I bless His great name that I love His vail which goeth
over His face, whill God send better; for faith can kiss God's
tempting reproaches when He nicknameth a sinner, "A dog, not worthy to
eat bread with the bairns" (Mark vii. 27, 28). I think it an honour
that Christ miscalleth me, and reproacheth me. I will take that well
of Him, howbeit I would not bear it well if another should be that
homely; but because I am His own (God be thanked), He may use me as He
pleaseth. I must say, the saints have a sweet life between them and
Christ. There is much sweet solace of love between Him and them, when
He feedeth among the lilies, and cometh into His garden, and maketh a
feast of honeycombs, and drinketh His wine and His milk, and crieth,
"Eat, O friends: drink, yea, drink abundantly, O well-beloved." One
hour of this labour is worth a shipful of the world's drunken and
muddy joy; nay, even the gate[254] to heaven is the sunny side of the
brae, and the very garden of the world. For the men of this world have
their own unchristened and profane crosses; and woe be to them and
their cursed crosses both; for their ills are salted with God's
vengeance, and our ills seasoned with our Father's blessing. So that
they are no fools who choose Christ, and sell all things for Him. It
is no bairns' market, nor a blind block; we know well what we get, and
what we give.

  [254] Before we come to heaven, the very way (gate) to heaven is
  pleasant.

Now, for any resolution to go to any other kingdom, I dare not speak
one word.[255] My hopes of enlargement are cold, my hopes of re-entry
to my Master's ill-dressed vineyard again are far colder. I have no
seat for my faith to sit on, but bare omnipotency, and God's holy arm
and good-will. Here I desire to stay, and ride at anchor, and winter,
whill God send fair weather again, and be pleased to take home to His
house my harlot-mother. Oh, if her husband would be that kind, as to
go and fetch her out of the brothel-house, and chase her lovers to the
hills! But there will be sad days ere it come to that. Remember my
bonds. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in our Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [255] Rutherford appears sometimes to have entertained the idea of
  removing abroad, should he succeed in obtaining his liberty. In a
  preceding letter to Stuart, he names New England; and some of his
  friends thought that he might be honourably and usefully employed
  abroad. Robert Baillie, in a letter to Mr. William Spang, minister at
  Campvere, dated January 29, 1637, says: "Alwayes I take the man
  [Rutherford] to be among the most learned and best ingynes of our
  nation. I think he were verie able for some profession in your
  colledges of Utrecht, Groningen, or Rotterdam; for our King's
  dominions, there is no appearance he will ever gett living into them.
  If you could quietly procure him a calling, I think it were a good
  service to God to relieve one of his troubled ministers; a good to the
  place he came to, for he is both godlie and learned; yea, I think by
  time he might be ane ornament to our natione" (Bailie's "Letters and
  Journals," vol. i. p. 9).



CLXIV.--_To_ NINIAN MURE [see Letter CXCI.], _one of the family of
Cassincarrie_.

     [We do not know more of _Ninian Mure_ than that he was a
     parishioner of Anwoth. The name "_Mure_" is found on several
     tombs in the old churchyard, of which the oldest and most
     interesting is the following, on the east side of the enclosed
     pile:--

    "Walking with God in purity of life,
    In Christ I died, and endit all my strife.
    For in my saul Christ here did dwell by grace;
    Now dwells my saul in glory of His face.
    Therefore my body shall not here remain,
    But to full glory surely rise again."
      "_Marion Mure_, goodwife of Cullindock,
        Departed this life, anno 1612."]

(_A YOUTH ADMONISHED_.)


LOVING FRIEND,--I received your letter. I entreat you now, in the
morning of your life, to seek the Lord and His face. Beware of the
follies of dangerous youth, a perilous time for your soul. Love not
the world. Keep faith and truth with all men in your covenants and
bargains. Walk with God, for He seeth you. Do nothing but that which
ye may and would do if your eye-strings were breaking, and your breath
growing cold. Ye heard the truth of God from me, my dear heart, follow
it, and forsake it not. Prize Christ and salvation above all the
world. To live after the guise and course of the rest of the world
will not bring you to heaven; without faith in Christ, and repentance,
ye cannot see God. Take pains for salvation; press forward toward the
mark for the prize of the high calling. If ye watch not against evils
night and day, which beset you, ye will come behind. Beware of lying,
swearing, uncleanness, and the rest of the works of the flesh; because
"for these things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of
disobedience." How sweet soever they may seem for the present, yet the
end of these courses is the eternal wrath of God, and utter darkness,
where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Grace be with you.

  Your loving pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLXV.--_To_ MR. THOMAS GARVEN.

     [THOMAS GARVEN, one of the ministers of Edinburgh. "R. Blair's
     Life," by Row, tells of his being banished from the town by the
     King in 1662, for his adherence to Presbytery.]

(_PERSONAL INSUFFICIENCY--GRACE FROM CHRIST ALONE--LONGINGS AFTER
HIM._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I am
sorry that what joy and sorrow drew from my imprisoned pen in my
love-fits hath made you and many of God's children believe that there
is something in a broken reed the like of me. Except that Christ's
grace hath bought such a sold body, I know not what else any may think
of me, or expect from me. My stock is less (my Lord knoweth that I
speak truth) than many believe. My empty sounds have promised too
much. I should be glad to lie under Christ's feet, and kep and receive
the off-fallings, or the old pieces of any grace, that fall from His
sweet fingers to forlorn sinners. I lie often, unco-like, looking at
the King's windows. Surely I am unworthy of a seat in the King's
hall-floor; I but often look afar off, both feared and fremmed-like,
to that fairest face, fearing He bid me look away from Him. My
guiltiness riseth up upon me, and I have no answer for it. I offered
my tongue to Christ, and my pains in His house: and what know I what
it meaneth, when Christ will not receive my poor propine? When love
will not take, we expone that it will neither take nor give, borrow
nor lend. Yet Christ hath another sea-compass which He saileth by,
than my short and raw thoughts. I leave His part of it to Himself. I
dare not expound His dealing as sorrow and misbelief often dictate to
me. I look often with bleared and blind eyes to my Lord's cross; and
when I look to the wrong side of His cross, I know that I miss a step
and slide. Surely, I see that I have not legs of my own for carrying
me to heaven: I must go in at heaven's gates, borrowing strength from
Christ.

I am often thinking, "Oh, if He would but give me leave to love Him,
and if Christ would but open up His wares, and the infinite plies, and
windings, and corners of His soul-delighting love, and let me see it,
backside and foreside; and give me leave but to stand beside it, like
a hungry man beside meat, to get my fill of wondering, as a preface to
my fill of enjoying!" But, verily, I think that my foul eyes would
defile His fair love to look to it. Either my hunger is over humble
(if that may be said), or else I consider not what honour it is to get
leave to love Christ. Oh, that He would pity a prisoner, and let out a
flood upon the dry ground! It is nothing to Him to fill the like of
me; one of His looks would do me meikle world's good, and Him no ill.
I know that I am not at a point yet with Christ's love: I am not yet
fitted for so much as I would have of it. My hope sitteth neighbour
with meikle black hunger: and certainly I dow not but think that there
is more of that love ordained for me than I yet comprehend, and that I
know not the weight of the pension which the King will give me. I
shall be glad if my hungry bill get leave to lie beside Christ,
waiting on an answer. Now I should be full and rejoice, if I got a
poor man's alms of that sweetest love; but I confidently believe that
there is a bed made for Christ and me, and that we shall take our fill
of love in it. And I often think, when my joy is run out, and at the
lowest ebb, that I would seek no more than my rights passed the King's
great seal, and that these eyes of mine could see Christ's hand at the
pen.

If your Lord call you to suffering, be not dismayed; there shall be a
new allowance of the King for you when you come to it. One of the
softest pillows Christ hath is laid under His witnesses' head, though
often they must set down their bare feet among thorns. He hath brought
my poor soul to desire and wish, "Oh that my ashes, and the powder I
shall be dissolved into, had well-tuned tongues to praise Him!"

Thus in haste, desiring your prayers and praises, I recommend you to
my sweet, sweet Master, my honourable Lord, of whom I hold all. Grace
be with you.

  Your own, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLXVI.--_To CARDONESS, the Elder._

(_A GOOD CONSCIENCE--CHRIST KIND TO
SUFFERERS--RESPONSIBILITY--YOUTH._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--I long to hear how your soul prospereth. I wonder
that ye write not to me; for the Holy Ghost beareth me witness, that I
cannot, I dare not, I dow not,[256] forget you, nor the souls of those
with you, who are redeemed by the blood of the great Shepherd. Ye are
in my heart in the night-watches; ye are my joy and crown in the day
of Christ. O Lord, bear me witness, if my soul thirsteth for anything
out of heaven, more than for your salvation. Let God lay me in an
even-balance, and try me in this.

  [256] Letter CIV. might suggest "do not" to be the right word.

Love heaven; let your heart be on it. Up, up, and visit the new Land
and view the fair City, and the white Throne, and the Lamb, the
bride's Husband in His Bridegroom's clothes, sitting on it. It were
time that your soul cast itself, and all your burdens, upon Christ. I
beseech you by the wounds of your Redeemer, and by your compearance
before Him, and by the salvation of your soul, lose no more time; run
fast, for it is late. God hath sworn by Himself, who made the world
and time, that time shall be no more (Rev. x. 6). Ye are now upon the
very border of the other life. Your Lord cannot be blamed for not
giving you warning. I have taught the truth of Christ to you, and
delivered unto you the whole counsel of God; and I have stood before
the Lord for you, and I will yet still stand. Awake, awake to do
righteously. Think not to be eased of the burdens and debts that are
on your house by oppressing any, or being rigorous to those that are
under you. Remember how I endeavoured to walk before you in this
matter, as an example. "Behold, here am I, witness against me, before
the Lord and His Anointed: whose ox or whose ass have I taken? Whom
have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed?" (1 Sam. xii. 3). Who knoweth
how my soul feedeth upon a good conscience, when I remember how I
spent this body in feeding the lambs of Christ?

At my first entry hither, I grant, I took a stomach against my Lord,
because He had casten me over the dyke of the vineyard, as a dry tree,
and would have no more of my service. My dumb Sabbaths broke my heart,
and I would not be comforted. But now He whom my soul loveth is come
again, and it pleaseth Him to feast me with the kisses of His love. A
King dineth with me, and His spikenard casteth a sweet smell. The Lord
is my witness above, that I write my heart to you. I never knew, by my
nine years' preaching, so much of Christ's love, as He has taught me
in Aberdeen, by six months' imprisonment. I charge you in Christ's
name to help me to praise; and show that people and country the
loving-kindness of the Lord to my soul, that so my sufferings may
someway preach to them when I am silent. He hath made me to know now
better than before, what it is to be crucified to the world. I would
not now give a drink of cold water for all the world's kindness. I owe
no service to it: I am not the flesh's debtor. My Lord Jesus hath
dawted His prisoner, and hath thoughts of love concerning me. I would
not exchange my sighs with the laughing of adversaries. Sir, I write
this to inform you, that ye may know that it is the truth of Christ I
now suffer for, and that He hath sealed my suffering with the comforts
of His Spirit on my soul; and I know that He putteth not His seal upon
blank paper.

Now, sir, I have no comfort earthly, but to know that I have espoused,
and shall present a bride to Christ in that congregation. The Lord
hath given you much, and therefore He will require much of you again.
Number your talents, and see what you have to render back. Ye cannot
be enough persuaded of the shortness of your time. I charge you to
write to me, and in the fear of God to be plain with me, whether or
not ye have made your salvation sure. I am confident, and hope the
best; but I know that your reckonings with your Judge are many and
deep. Sir, be not beguiled, neglect not your one thing (Phil. iii.
13), your one necessary thing (Luke x. 42), the good part that shall
not be taken from you. Look beyond time: things here are but
moonshine. They have but children's wit who are delighted with
shadows, and deluded with feathers flying in the air.

Desire your children, in the morning of their life, to begin and seek
the Lord, and to remember their Creator in the days of their youth
(Eccles. xii. 1), to cleanse their way, by taking heed thereto,
according to God's word (Ps. cxix. 9). Youth is a glassy age. Satan
finds a swept chamber, for the most part, in youthhood, and a
garnished lodging for himself and his train. Let the Lord have the
flower of their age; the best sacrifice is due to Him. Instruct them
in this, that they have a soul, and that this life is nothing in
comparison of eternity. They will have much need of God's conduct in
this world, to guide them by[257] those rocks upon which most men
split; but far more need when it cometh to the hour of death, and
their compearance before Christ. Oh that there were such an heart in
them, to fear the name of the great and dreadful God, who hath laid up
great things for those that love and fear Him! I pray that God may be
their portion. Show others of my parishioners, that I write to them my
best wishes, and the blessings of their lawful pastor. Say to them
from me, that I beseech them, by the bowels of Christ, to keep in mind
the doctrine of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which I taught
them; that so they may lay hold on eternal life, striving together for
the faith of the Gospel, and making sure salvation to themselves. Walk
in love, and do righteousness; seek peace; love one another. Wait for
the coming of our Master and Judge. Receive no doctrine contrary to
that which I delivered to you. If ye fall away, and forget it, and
that Catechism which I taught you, and so forsake your own mercy, the
Lord be Judge betwixt you and me. I take heaven and earth to witness,
that such shall eternally perish. But if they serve the Lord, great
will their reward be when they and I shall stand before our Judge. Set
forward up the mountain, to meet with God; climb up, for your Saviour
calleth on you. It may be that God will call you to your rest, when I
am far from you; but ye have my love, and the desires of my heart for
your soul's welfare. He that is holy, keep you from falling, and
establish you, till His own glorious appearance.

  Your affectionate and lawful pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [257] Guide them past.



CLXVII.--_To my_ LADY BOYD. [Letter CVII.]

(_LESSONS LEARNED IN THE SCHOOL OF ADVERSITY._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord
Jesus Christ, be multiplied upon you.

I have reasoned with your son[258] at large; I rejoice to see him set
his face in the right airth, now when the nobles love the sunny side
of the Gospel best, and are afraid that Christ want soldiers, and
shall not be able to do for Himself.

  [258] Lord Boyd. See Letter LXXVIII.

Madam, our debts of obligation to Christ are not small; the freedom of
grace and of salvation is the wonder of men and angels. But mercy in
our Lord scorneth hire. Ye are bound to lift Christ on high, who hath
given you eyes to discern the devil now coming out in his whites, and
the idolatry and apostasy of the time, well washen with fair
pretences; but the skin is black and the water foul. It were art, I
confess, to wash a black devil, and make him white.

I am in strange ups and downs, and seven times a day I lose ground. I
am put often to swimming; and again my feet are set on the Rock that
is higher than myself. He hath now let me see four things which I
never saw before: _1st_, That the Supper shall be great cheer, that is
up in the great hall with the Royal King of glory, when the
four-hours, the standing drink,[259] in this dreary wilderness, is so
sweet. When He bloweth a kiss afar off to His poor heart-broken
mourners in Zion, and sendeth me but His hearty commendations till we
meet, I am confounded with wonder to think what it shall be, when the
Fairest among the sons of men shall lay a King's sweet soft cheek to
the sinful cheeks of poor sinners. O time, time, go swiftly, and
hasten that day! Sweet Lord Jesus, post! come, flying like a young
hart or a roe upon the mountains of separation. I think that we should
tell the hours carefully, and look often how low the sun is. For love
hath no "Ho!" it is pained, pained in itself, till it come into grips
with the party beloved.

  [259] When even the slight afternoon meal and the cup handed to one at
  the door is so sweet.

_2ndly._ I find Christ's absence to be love's sickness and love's
death. The wind that bloweth out of the airth where my Lord Jesus
reigneth is sweet-smelled, soft, joyful, and heartsome to a soul burnt
with absence. It is a painful battle for a soul sick of love to fight
with absence and delays. Christ's "Not yet" is a stounding of all the
joints and liths[260] of the soul. A nod of His head, when He is under
a mask, would be half a pawn. To say, "Fool, what aileth thee? He is
coming," would be life to a dead man. I am often in my dumb Sabbaths
seeking a new plea with my Lord Jesus (God forgive me!), and I care
not if there be not two or three ounce-weight of black wrath in my
cup.

  [260] "Joist" was in some old editions.

_3rdly._ For the third thing, I have seen my abominable vileness; if I
were well known, there would none in this kingdom ask how I do. Many
take my ten to be a hundred, but I am a deeper hypocrite, and
shallower professor, than every one believeth. God knoweth I feign
not. But I think my reckonings on the one page written in great
letters, and His mercy to such a forlorn and wretched dyvour on the
other, to be more than a miracle. If I could get my finger-ends upon a
full assurance, I trow that I would grip fast; but my cup wanteth not
gall. And, upon my part, despair might be almost excused, if every one
in this land saw my inner side. But I know that I am one of them who
have made great sale, and a free market, to free grace. If I could be
saved, as I would fain believe, sure I am that I have given Christ's
blood, His free grace, and the bowels of His mercy, a large field to
work upon; and Christ hath manifested His art, I dare not say to the
uttermost (for He can, if He would, forgive all the devils and damned
reprobates, in respect of the wideness of His mercy), but I say to an
admirable degree.

_4thly._ I am stricken with fear of unthankfulness. This apostate kirk
hath played the harlot with many lovers. They are spitting in the face
of my lovely King, and mocking Him, and I dow not mend it; and they
are running away from Christ in troops, and I dow not mourn and be
grieved for it. I think Christ lieth like an old forcasten[261]
castle, forsaken of the inhabitants; all men run away now from Him.
Truth, innocent truth, goeth mourning and wringing her hands in
sackcloth and ashes. Woe, woe, woe is me, for the virgin daughter of
Scotland! Woe, woe to the inhabitants of this land! for they are gone
back with a perpetual backsliding.

  [261] Not used; cast off.

These things take me so up, that a borrowed bed, another man's
fireside, the wind upon my face (I being driven from my lovers and
dear acquaintance, and my poor flock), find no room in my sorrow. I
have no spare or odd sorrow for these; only I think the sparrows and
swallows that build their nests in the kirk of Anwoth, blessed birds.
Nothing hath given my faith a harder back-set[262] till it crack
again, than my closed mouth. But let me be miserable myself alone; God
keep my dear brethren from it. But still I keep breath; and when my
royal, and never, never-enough-praised King returneth to His sinful
prisoner, I ride upon the high places of Jacob. I divide Shechem (Ps.
lx. 6), I triumph in His strength. If this kingdom would glorify the
Lord in my behalf! I desire to be weighed in God's even balance in
this point, if I think not my wages paid to the full. I shall crave no
more hire of Christ.

  [262] A thrust back. In a sermon at Anwoth, 1630, on Zech. xiii. 7, he
  says, "God gives a back-set and fall under temptation."

Madam, pity me in this, and help me to praise Him; for whatever I be,
the chief of sinners, a devil, and a most guilty devil, yet it is the
apple of Christ's eye, His honour and glory, as the Head of the
Church, that I suffer for now, and that I will go to eternity with.

I am greatly in love with Mr. M. M.;[263] I see him stamped with the
image of God. I hope well of your son, my Lord Boyd.

  [263] Mr. Matthew Mowat, minister of Kilmarnock. See notice of him,
  Letter CXX.

Your Ladyship and your children have a prisoner's prayers. Grace be
with you.

  Your Ladyship's, at all obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _May 1, 1637_.



CLXVIII.--_To his reverend and dear Brother_, MR. DAVID DICKSON.

(_CHRIST'S INFINITE FULNESS._)


MY REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--I fear that ye have never known me
well. If ye saw my inner side, it is possible that ye would pity me,
but you would hardly give me either love or respect: men mistake me
the whole length of the heavens. My sins prevail over me, and the
terrors of their guiltiness. I am put often to ask, if Christ and I
did ever shake hands together in earnest. I mean not that my
feast-days are quite gone, but I am made of extremes. I pray God that
ye never have the woful and dreary experience of a closed mouth; for
then ye shall judge the sparrows, that may sing on[264] the church of
Irvine, blessed birds. But my soul hath been refreshed and watered,
when I hear of your courage and zeal for your never-enough-praised,
praised Master, in that ye put the men of God, chased out of Ireland,
to work.[265] Oh, if I could confirm you! I dare say, in God's
presence, "That this shall never hasten your suffering, but will be
David Dickson's feast and speaking joy (viz.), that while he had time
and leisure, he put many to work, to lift up Jesus, his sweet Master,
high in the skies." O man of God, go on, go on; be valiant for that
Plant of renown, for that Chief among ten thousands, for that Prince
of the kings of the earth. It is but little that I know of God; yet
this I dare write, that Christ will be glorified in David Dickson,
howbeit Scotland be not gathered.

  [264] _On_, not "_in_," as in old editions.

  [265] When Mr. Robert Blair and Mr. John Livingstone, who had been
  deposed in Ireland by the Bishop of Down, were obliged to leave that
  country, they came over to Irvine in 1637, to Mr. Dickson. Dickson had
  been advised by some respectable gentlemen not to ask them to preach,
  lest the bishops should thereby take occasion to remove him from his
  ministry. But his reply was: "I dare not be of their opinion, nor
  follow their counsel, so far as to discountenance these worthies, now
  when they are suffering for holding fast the name of Christ, and every
  letter of that blessed name, as not to employ them as in former times.
  Yea, I would think my so doing would provoke the Lord, so that I might
  upon another account be deposed, and not have so good a conscience"
  ("Life of Robert Blair").

I am pained, pained, that I have not more to give my sweet Bridegroom.
His comforts to me are not dealt with a niggard's hand; but I would
fain learn not to idolise comfort, sense, joy, and sweet, felt
presence. All these are but creatures, and nothing but the kingly
robe, the gold ring, and the bracelets of the Bridegroom; the
Bridegroom Himself is better than all the ornaments that are about
Him. Now, I would not so much have these as God Himself, and to be
swallowed up of love to Christ. I see that in delighting in a
communion with Christ, we may make more gods than one. But, however,
all was but bairns' play between Christ and me till now. If one would
have sworn unto me, I would not have believed what may be found in
Christ. I hope that ye pity my pain that much, in my prison, as to
help me yourself, and to cause others help me, a dyvour, a sinful
wretched dyvour, to pay some of my debts of praise to my great King.
Let my God be judge and witness, if my soul would not have sweet ease
and comfort, to have many hearts confirmed in Christ, and enlarged
with His love, and many tongues set on work to set on high my royal
and princely Well-beloved. Oh that my sufferings could pay tribute to
such a king! I have given over wondering at His love; for Christ hath
manifested a piece of art upon me, that I never revealed to any
living. He hath gotten fair and rich employment, and sweet sale, and a
goodly market for His honourable calling of showing mercy, on me the
chief of sinners. Every one knoweth not so well as I do, my
wofully-often broken covenants. My sins against light, working[266] in
the very act of sinning, have been met with admirable mercy: but,
alas! He will get nothing back again but wretched unthankfulness. I am
sure, that if Christ pity anything in me next to my sin, it is pain of
love for an armful and soulful of Himself, in faith, love, and begun
fruition. My sorrow is, that I cannot get Christ lifted off the dust
in Scotland, and set on high, above all the skies, and heaven of
heavens.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _May 1, 1637_.

  [266] The sense may be, "My sins against light which was at work even
  when I was in the act of sinning."



CLXIX.--_To the_ LAIRD OF CARLETON.

(_GOD'S WORKING INCOMPREHENSIBLE--LONGING AFTER ANY DROP OF CHRIST'S
FULNESS._)


WORTHY SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I received your
letter, and am heartily glad that our Lord hath begun to work for the
apparent delivery of this poor oppressed kirk. Oh that salvation would
come for Zion!

I am for the present hanging by hope, waiting what my Lord will do
with me, and if it will please my sweet Master to send me amongst you
again, and keep out a hireling from my poor people and flock. It were
my heaven till I come home, even to spend this life in gathering in
some to Christ. I have still great heaviness for my silence, and my
forced standing idle in the market, when this land hath such a
plentiful, thick harvest. But I know that His judgments, who hath done
it, pass finding out. I have no knowledge to take up the Lord in all
His strange ways, and passages of deep and unsearchable providences.
For the Lord is before me, and I am so bemisted that I cannot follow
Him; He is behind me, and following at the heels, and I am not aware
of Him; He is above me, but His glory so dazzleth my twilight of short
knowledge, that I cannot look up to Him. He is upon my right hand, and
I see Him not; He is upon my left hand, and within me, and goeth and
cometh, and His going and coming are a dream to me; He is round about
me, and compasseth all my goings, and still I have Him to seek. He is
every way higher, and deeper, and broader than the shallow and ebb
handbreadth of my short and dim light can take up; and, therefore, I
would that my heart could be silent, and sit down in the
learnedly-ignorant wondering at the Lord, whom men and angels cannot
comprehend. I know that the noon-day light of the highest angels, who
see Him face to face, seeth not the borders of His infiniteness. They
apprehend God near hand; but they cannot comprehend Him. And,
therefore, it is my happiness to look afar off, and to come near to
the Lord's back parts, and to light my dark candle at His brightness,
and to have leave to sit and content myself with a traveller's light,
without the clear vision of an enjoyer. I would seek no more till I
were in my country, than a little watering and sprinkling of a
withered soul, with some half out-breakings and half out-lookings of
the beams, and small ravishing smiles of the fairest face of a
revealed and believed-on Godhead. A little of God would make my soul
bank-full. Oh that I had but Christ's odd off-fallings; that He would
let but the meanest of His love-rays and love-beams fall from Him, so
as I might gather and carry then with me! I would not be ill to please
with Christ, and vailed visions of Christ; neither would I be dainty
in seeing and enjoying of Him: a kiss of Christ blown over His
shoulder, the parings and crumbs of glory that fall under His table in
heaven, a shower like a thin May-mist of His love, would make me
green, and sappy, and joyful, till the summer-sun of an eternal glory
break up (Song ii. 17). Oh that I had anything of Christ! Oh that I
had a sip, or half a drop, out of the hollow of Christ's hand, of the
sweetness and excellency of that lovely One! Oh that my Lord Jesus
would rue upon me, and give me but the meanest alms of felt and
believed salvation! Oh, how little were it for that infinite sea, that
infinite fountain of love and joy, to fill as many thousand thousand
little vessels (the like of me) as there are minutes of hours since
the creation of God! I find it true that a poor soul, finding half a
smell of the Godhead of Christ, hath desires (paining and wounding the
poor hearts so with longings to be up at Him) that make it sometimes
think, "Were it not better never to have felt anything of Christ, than
thus to lie dying twenty deaths, under these felt wounds, for the want
of Him?" Oh, where is He? O Fairest, where dwellest Thou? O
never-enough admired Godhead, how can clay win up to Thee? how can
creatures of yesterday be able to enjoy Thee? Oh, what pain is it,
that time and sin should be so many thousand miles betwixt a loved and
longed-for Lord and a dwining and love-sick soul, who would rather
than all the world have lodging with Christ! Oh, let this bit of love
of ours, this inch and half-span length of heavenly longing, meet with
Thy infinite love! Oh, if the little I have were swallowed up with the
infiniteness of that excellency which is in Christ! Oh that we little
ones were in at the greatest Lord Jesus! Our wants should soon be
swallowed up with His fulness.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _May 10, 1637_.



CLXX.--_To_ ROBERT GORDON _of Knockbrex_.

(_LONGING FOR CHRIST'S GLORY--FELT GUILTINESS--LONGING FOR CHRIST'S
LOVE--SANCTIFICATION._)


DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I received your
letter from Edinburgh.

I would not wish to see another heaven, whill I get mine own heaven,
but a new moon like the light of the sun, and a new sun like the light
of seven days shining upon my poor self, and the Church of Jews and
Gentiles, and upon my withered and sunburnt mother, the Church of
Scotland, and upon her sister Churches, England and Ireland; and to
have this done, to the setting on high of our great King! It
mattereth[267] not, howbeit I were separate from Christ, and had a
sense of ten thousand years' pain in hell, if this were. O blessed
nobility! O glorious, renowned gentry! Oh, blessed were the tribes in
this land to wipe my Lord Jesus' weeping face, and to take the
sackcloth off Christ's loins, and to put His kingly robes upon Him!
Oh, if the Almighty would take no less wager of me than my heaven to
have it done! But my fears are still for wrath once upon Scotland. But
I know that her day will clear up, and that glory shall be upon the
top of the mountains, and joy at the voice[268] of the married wife,
once again. Oh that our Lord would make us to contend, and plead, and
wrestle by prayers and tears, for our Husband's restoring of His
forfeited heritage in Scotland.

  [267] _Mattereth?_ In other editions it is "_maketh_."

  [268] "_Noise_," in old editions.

Dear brother, I am for the present in no small battle, betwixt felt
guiltiness, and pining longings and high fevers for my Well-beloved's
love! Alas! I think that Christ's love playeth the niggard to me, and
I know it is not for scarcity of love. There is enough in Him, but my
hunger prophesieth of in-holding and sparingness in Christ; for I have
but little of Him, and little of His sweetness. It is a dear summer
with me; yet there is such joy in the eagerness and working of hunger
for Christ, that I am often at this, that if I had no other heaven
than a continual hunger for Christ, such a heaven of ever-working
hunger were still a heaven to me. I am sure that Christ's love cannot
be cruel; it must be a ruing, a pitying, a melting-hearted love; but
suspension of that love I think half a hell, and the want of it more
than a whole hell. When I look to my guiltiness, I see that my
salvation is one of our Saviour's greatest miracles, either in heaven
or earth. I am sure I may defy any man to show me a greater wonder.
But, seeing I have no wares, no hire, no money for Christ, He must
either take me with want, misery, corruption, or then want me. Oh, if
He would be pleased to be compassionate and pitiful-hearted to my
pining fevers of longing for Him; or then give me a real pawn to keep,
out of His own hand, till God send a meeting betwixt Him and me! But I
find neither as yet. Howbeit He who is absent be not cruel nor unkind,
yet His absence is cruel and unkind. His love is like itself; His love
is _His_ love; but the covering and the cloud, the vail and the mask
of His love, is more wise than kind, if I durst speak my
apprehensions. I lead no process now against the suspension and delay
of God's love; I would with all my heart frist till a day ten heavens,
and the sweet manifestations of His love. Certainly I think that I
could give Christ much on His word; but my whole pleading is about
intimated and borne-in assurance of _His_ love. Oh, if He would
persuade me of[269] my heart's desire of His love at all, He should
have the term-day of payment at His own cowing.[270] But I know that
raving unbelief speaketh its pleasure, while it looketh upon
guiltiness and this body of corruption. Oh how loathsome and
burdensome is it to carry about a dead corpse, this old carrion of
corruption! Oh how steadable a thing is a Saviour, to make a sinner
rid of his chains and fetters!

  [269] Convince me that He intends to gratify my heart's desire.

  [270] Carving.

I have now made a new question, whether Christ be more to be loved,
for giving Sanctification or for free Justification. And I hold that
He is more and most to be loved for sanctification. It is in some
respect greater love in Him to sanctify, than to justify; for He
maketh us most like Himself in His own essential portraiture and
image, in sanctifying us. Justification doth but make us happy, which
is to be like angels only. Neither is it such a misery to lie a
condemned man, and under unforgiven guiltiness, as to serve sin, and
work the works of the devil; and, therefore, I think sanctification
cannot be bought: it is above price. God be thanked for ever, that
Christ was a told-down price for sanctification. Let a sinner, if
possible, lie in hell for ever, if He make him truly holy; and let him
lie there burning in love to God, rejoicing in the Holy Ghost, hanging
upon Christ by faith and hope,--that is heaven in the heart and bottom
of hell!

Alas! I find a very thin harvest here, and few to be saved.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours, in his lovely and longed-for Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLXXI.--_To the_ LAIRD OF MONCRIEFF.

[SIR JOHN MONCRIEFF, of that ilk, was the eldest son of William
Moncrieff of that ilk, by his wife Anne, daughter of Robert Murray of
Abercarnie, who was his second wife. He was a zealous Covenanter, and
a ruling elder in the parish of Carnbee, in which he resided. His name
appears in the list of the General Assembly's Commission for the
public affairs of the Church, in the years 1646 and 1648; and he was
an active member of the Presbytery of St. Andrews. He died about the
close of the year 1650. Lady Leyes, to whom reference is made in this
letter, was his third sister Jean, married to Hay of Leyes, in
Aberdeenshire (Douglas' "_Baronage of Scotland_," p. 46).]

(_CONCERT IN PRAYER--STEDFASTNESS TO CHRIST--GRIEF MISREPRESENTS
CHRIST'S GLORY._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. Although not
acquainted, yet at the desire of your worthy sister, the Lady Leys,
and upon the report of your kindness to Christ and His oppressed
truth, I am bold to write to you, earnestly desiring you to join with
us (so many as in these bounds profess Christ), to wrestle with God,
one day of the week, especially the Wednesday, for mercy to this
fallen and decayed kirk, and to such as suffer for Christ's name; and
for your own necessities, and the necessities of others who are by
covenant engaged in that business. For we have no other armour in
these evil times but prayer, now when wrath from the Lord is gone out
against this backsliding land. For ye know we can have no true public
fasts, neither are the true causes of our humiliation ever laid before
the people.

Now, very worthy Sir, I am glad in the Lord, that the Lord reserveth
any of your place, or of note, in this time of common apostasy, to
come forth in public to hear Christ's name before men, when the great
men think Christ a cumbersome neighbour, and that religion carrieth
hazards, trials, and persecutions with it. I persuade myself that it
is your glory and your garland, and shall be your joy in the day of
Christ, and the standing of your house and seed, to inherit the earth,
that you truly and sincerely profess Christ. Neither is our King, whom
the Father hath crowned in Mount Zion, so weak, that He cannot do for
Himself and His own cause. I verily believe that they are blessed who
can hold the crown upon His head, and carry up the train of His robe
royal, and that He shall be victorious, and triumph in this land. It
is our part to back our royal King, howbeit there was not six in all
the land to follow Him. It is our wisdom now to take up, and discern,
the devil and the antichrist coming out in their whites, and the
apostasy and idolatry of this land washen with foul waters. I confess
that it is art to wash the devil till his skin be white.

For myself, Sir, I have bought a plea against Christ, since I came
hither, in judging my princely Master angry at me, because I was cast
out of the vineyard as a withered tree, my dumb Sabbaths working me
much sorrow. But I see now that sorrow hath not eyes to read love
written upon the cross of Christ; and, therefore, I pass from my rash
plea. Woe, woe is me, that I should have received a slander of
Christ's love to my soul! And for all this, my Lord Jesus hath
forgiven all, as not willing to be heard[271] with such a fool; and is
content to be, as it were, confined with me, and to bear me company,
and to feast a poor oppressed prisoner. And now I write it under my
hand, worthy Sir, that I think well and honourably of this cross of
Christ. I wonder that He will take any glory from the like of me. I
find when He but sendeth His hearty commendations to me, and but
bloweth a kiss afar off, I am confounded with wondering what the
supper of the Lamb will be, up in our Father's dining-palace of glory,
since the four-hours in this dismal wilderness, and (when in prisons
and in our sad days), a kiss of Christ, are so comfortable. Oh, how
sweet and glorious shall our case be, when that Fairest among the sons
of men will lay His fair face to our now sinful faces, and wipe away
all tears from our eyes! O time, time, run swiftly and hasten this
day! O sweet Lord Jesus, come flying like a roe or a young hart! Alas!
that we, blind fools, are fallen in love with moonshine and shadows.
How sweet is the wind that bloweth out of the airth where Christ is!
Every day we may see some new thing in Christ; His love hath neither
brim nor bottom. Oh, if I had help to praise Him! He knoweth that if
my sufferings glorify His name, and encourage others to stand fast for
the honour of our supreme Lawgiver, Christ, my wages then are paid to
the full. Sir, help me to love that never-enough-praised Lord. I find
now, that the faith of the saints, under suffering for Christ, is fair
before the wind, and with full sails carried upon Christ. And I hope
to lose nothing in this furnace but dross; for Christ can triumph in a
weaker man than I am, if there be any such. And when all is done, His
love paineth me, and leaveth me under such debt to Christ, as I can
neither pay principal nor interest. Oh, if He would comprise myself,
and if I were sold to Him as a bondman, and that He would take me home
to His house and fireside; for I have nothing to render to Him! Then,
after me, let no man think hard of Christ's sweet cross; for I would
not exchange my sighs with the painted laughter of all my adversaries.
I desire grace and patience to wait on, and to lie upon the brink,
till the water fill and flow. I know that He is fast coming.

  [271] Not willing to be heard disputing with such a fool.

Sir, ye will excuse my boldness: and, till it please God that I see
you, ye have the prayers of a prisoner of Christ; to whom I recommend
you, and in whom I rest.

  Yours, at all obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _May_ 14, 1637.



CLXXII.--_To_ JOHN CLARK (_supposed to be one of his Parishioners at
Anwoth_).

(_MARKS OF DIFFERENCE BETWIXT CHRISTIANS AND REPROBATES._)


LOVING BROTHER,--Hold fast Christ without wavering, and contend for
the faith, because Christ is not easily gotten nor kept. The lazy
professor hath put heaven as it were at the very next door, and
thinketh to fly up to heaven in his bed, and in a night-dream; but,
truly, that is not so easy a thing as most men believe. Christ Himself
did sweat ere He wan this city, howbeit He was the freeborn heir. It
is Christianity, my Heart, to be sincere, unfeigned honest, and
upright-hearted before God, and to live and serve God, suppose there
was not one man nor woman in all the world dwelling beside you, to
eye you. Any little grace that ye have, see that it be sound and true.

Ye may put a difference betwixt you and reprobates, if ye have these
marks:--1. If ye prize Christ and His truth so as ye will sell all and
buy Him; and suffer for it. 2. If the love of Christ keepeth you back
from sinning, more than the law, or fear of hell. 3. If ye be humble,
and deny your own will, wit, credit, ease, honour, the world, and the
vanity and glory of it. 4. Your profession must not be barren, and
void of good works. 5. Ye must in all things aim at God's honour; ye
must eat, drink, sleep, buy, sell, sit, stand, speak, pray, read, and
hear the word, with a heart-purpose that God may be honoured. 6. Ye
must show yourself an enemy to sin, and reprove the works of darkness,
such as drunkenness, swearing, and lying, albeit the company should
hate you for so doing. 7. Keep in mind the truth of God, that ye heard
me teach, and have nothing to do with the corruptions and new guises
entered into the house of God. 8. Make conscience of your calling, in
covenants, in buying and selling. 9. Acquaint yourself with daily
praying; commit all your ways and actions to God, by prayer,
supplication, and thanksgiving; and count not much of being mocked;
for Christ Jesus was mocked before you.

Persuade yourself, that this is the way of peace and comfort which I
now suffer for. I dare go to death and into eternity with it, though
men may possibly see another way. Remember me in your prayers, and the
state of this oppressed church. Grace be with you.

  Your soul's well-wisher,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN.



CLXXIII.--_To CARDONESS, the Younger._ [Letter CXXIII.]

(_WARNING AND ADVICE AS TO THINGS OF SALVATION._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--I long to hear whether or not your soul be
hand-fasted with Christ. Lose your time no longer: flee the follies of
youth: gird up the loins of your mind, and make you ready for meeting
the Lord. I have often summoned you, and now I summon you again, to
compear before your Judge, to make a reckoning of your life. While ye
have time, look upon your papers, and consider your ways. Oh that
there were such an heart in you, as to think what an ill conscience
will be to you, when ye are upon the border of eternity, and your one
foot out of time! Oh then, ten thousand thousand floods of tears
cannot extinguish these flames, or purchase to you one hour's release
from that pain! Oh, how sweet a day have ye had! But this is a
fair-day that runneth fast away. See how ye have spent it, and
consider the necessity of salvation! and tell me, in the fear of God,
if ye have made it sure. I am persuaded that ye have a conscience that
will be speaking somewhat to you. Why will ye die, and destroy
yourself? I charge you in Christ's name, to rouse up your conscience,
and begin to indent and contract with Christ in time, while salvation
is in your offer. This is the accepted time, this is the day of
salvation. Play the merchant; for ye cannot expect another market-day
when this is done. Therefore, let me again beseech you to "consider,
in this your day, the things that belong to your peace, before they be
hid from your eyes." Dear brother, fulfil my joy, and begin to seek
the Lord while He may be found. Forsake the follies of deceiving and
vain youth: lay hold upon eternal life. Whoring, night-drinking, and
the misspending of the Sabbath, and neglecting of prayer in your
house, and refusing of an offered salvation, will burn up your soul
with the terrors of the Almighty, when your awakened conscience shall
flee in your face. Be kind and loving to your wife: make conscience of
cherishing her, and not being rigidly austere. Sir, I have not a
tongue to express the glory that is laid up for you in your Father's
house, if ye reform your doings, and frame your heart to return to the
Lord. Ye know that this world is but a shadow, a short-living
creature, under the law of time. Within less than fifty years, when ye
look back to it, ye shall laugh at the evanishing vanities thereof, as
feathers flying in the air, and as the houses of sand within the
sea-mark, which the children of men are building. Give up with
courting of this vain world: seek not the bastard's moveables, but the
son's heritage in heaven. Take a trial of Christ. Look unto Him, and
His love will so change you, that ye shall be taken with Him, and
never choose to go from Him. I have experience of His sweetness, in
this house of my pilgrimage here. My Witness, who is above, knoweth
that I would not exchange my sighs and tears with the laughing of the
Fourteen Prelates.[272] There is nothing that will make you a
Christian indeed, but a taste of the sweetness of Christ. "Come and
see," will speak best to your soul. I would fain hope good of you. Be
not discouraged at broken and spilled resolutions; but to it, and to
it again! Woo about Christ, till ye get your soul espoused as a chaste
virgin to Him. Use the means of profiting with your conscience; pray
in your family, and read the word. Remember how our Lord's day was
spent when I was among you. It will be a great challenge to you before
God, if ye forget the good that was done within the walls of your
house on the Lord's day; and if ye turn aside after the fashions of
this world, and if ye go not in time to the kirk, to wait on the
public worship of God, and if ye tarry not at it, till all the
exercises of religion be ended. Give God some of your time both
morning and evening, and afternoon; and in so doing, rejoice the heart
of a poor oppressed prisoner. Rue upon your own soul, and from your
heart fear the Lord.

  [272] The Bishops whom the King sought to thrust on Scotland.

Now He that brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of His
sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, establish your heart with
His grace, and present you before His presence with joy.

  Your affectionate and loving pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLXXIV.--_To my_ LORD CRAIGHALL. [Letter LXXXVI.]

(_IDOLATRY CONDEMNED._)


MY LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I am not only content,
but I exceedingly rejoice, that I find any of the rulers of this land,
and especially your Lordship so to affect Christ and His truth, as
that ye dare, for His name, come to yea and nay with monarchs in their
face. I hope that He who hath enabled you for that, will give more, if
ye show yourself courageous, and (as His word speaketh), "a man in the
streets," for the Lord (Jer. v. 1). But I pray your Lordship, give me
leave to be plain with you, as one who loveth both your honour and
your soul. I verily believe that there was never idolatry at Rome,
never idolatry condemned in God's word by the prophets, if religious
kneeling before a consecrated creature, standing in room of Christ
crucified, in that very act, and that for reverence of the elements
(as our Act cleareth), be not idolatry.[273] Neither will your
_intention_ help, which is not of the essence of worship; for then,
Aaron saying, "To-morrow shall be a feast for Jehovah," that is, for
the golden calf, should not have been guilty of idolatry: for he
_intended_ only to decline the lash of the people's fury, not to
honour the calf. Your intention to honour Christ is nothing, seeing
that religious kneeling, by God's institution, doth necessarily import
religious and divine adoration, suppose that our intention were both
dead and sleeping; otherwise, kneeling before the image of God and
directing prayer to God were lawful, if our intention go right. My
Lord, I cannot in these bounds dispute; but if Cambridge and Oxford,
and the learning of Britain, will answer this argument, and the
argument from active scandal, which your Lordship seemeth to stand
upon, I will turn a formalist, and call myself an arrant fool (by
doing what I have done) in my suffering for this truth. I do much
reverence Mr. L.'s[274] learning; but, my Lord, I will answer what he
writeth in that, to pervert you from the truth; else repute me, beside
an hypocrite, an ass also. I hope ye shall see something upon that
subject (if the Lord permit), that no sophistry in Britain shall
answer. Courtiers' arguments, for the most part, are drawn from their
own skin, and are not worth a straw for your conscience. A Marquis' or
a King's word, when ye stand before Christ's tribunal, shall be
lighter than the wind. The Lord knoweth that I love your true honour,
and the standing of your house; but I would not that your honour or
house were established upon sand, and hay, and stubble.

  [273] See Letter XCII.

  [274] Probably Mr. Loudian. Letter LXXXVI., note.

But let me, my very dear and worthy Lord, most humbly beseech you, by
the mercies of God, by the consolations of His Spirit, by the dear
blood and wounds of your lovely Redeemer, by the salvation of your
soul, by your compearance before the awful face of a sin-revenging and
dreadful Judge, not to set in comparison together your soul's peace,
Christ's love, and His kingly honour now called in question, with your
place, honour, house, or ease, that an inch of time will make out of
the way. I verily believe that Christ is now begging a testimony of
you, and is saying, "And will ye also leave Me?" It is possible that
the wind shall not blow so fair for you all your life, for coming out
and appearing before others to back and countenance Christ, the
fairest among the sons of men, the Prince of the kings of the earth.
"Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their
revilings: for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm
shall eat them like wool" (Isa. li. 7, 8). When the Lord will begin,
He will make an end, and mow down His adversaries; and they shall lie
before Him like withered hay, and their bloom be shaken off them.
Consider how many thousands in this kingdom ye shall cause to fall
and stumble, if ye go with them; and that ye shall be out of the
prayers of many who do now stand before the Lord for you and your
house. And further; when the time of your accounts cometh, and your
one foot shall be within the border of eternity, and the eyestrings
shall break, and the face wax pale, and the poor soul shall look out
at the windows of the house of clay, longing to be out, and ye shall
find yourself arraigned before the Judge of quick and dead, to answer
for your putting to your hand, with the rest confederated against
Christ, to the overturning of His ark, and the loosing of the pins of
Christ's tabernacle in this land, and shall certainly see yourself
mired in a course of apostasy--then, then, a king's favour and your
worm-eaten honour shall be miserable comforters to you! The Lord hath
enlightened you with the knowledge of His will; and as the Lord
liveth, they lead you and others to a communion with great Babel, the
mother of fornications. God said of old, and continueth to say the
same to you, "Come out of her, My people, lest ye be partakers of her
plagues." Will ye, then, go with them, and set your lip to the whore's
golden cup, and drink of the wine of the wrath of God Almighty with
them? Oh, poor hungry honour! Oh, cursed pleasure! and, oh, damnable
ease, bought with the loss of God! How many will pray for you! what a
sweet presence shall ye find of Christ under your sufferings, if ye
will lay down your honours and place at the feet of Christ. What a
fair recompense of reward! I avouch before the Lord that I am now
showing you a way how the house of Craighall may stand on sure
pillars. If ye will set it on rotten pillars, ye cruelly wrong your
posterity. Ye have the word of a King for an hundred-fold more in this
life (if it be good for you), and for life everlasting also. Make not
Christ a liar, in distrusting His promise. Kings of clay cannot back
you when you stand before Him. A straw for them and their hungry
heaven, that standeth on this side of time! A fig for the day's-smile
of a worm! Consider who have gone before you to eternity, and would
have given a world for a new occasion of avouching that truth. It is
true they call it not substantial, and we are made a scorn to those
that are at ease, for suffering these things for it. But it is not
time to judge of our losses by the morning; stay till the evening, and
we will count with the best of them.

I have found by experience, since the time of my imprisonment (my
witness is above), that Christ is sealing this honourable cause with
another and a nearer fellowship than ever I knew before; and let God
weigh me in an even balance in this, if I would exchange the cross of
Christ or His truth, with the fourteen prelacies, or what else a King
can give. My dear Lord, venture to take the wind on your face for
Christ. I believe that if He should come from heaven in His own
person, and seek the charters of Craighall from you, and a demission
of your place, and ye saw His face, ye would fall down at His feet and
say, "Lord Jesus, it is too little for Thee." If any man think it not
a truth to die for, I am against him. I dare go to eternity with it,
that this day the honour of our Lawgiver and King, in the government
of His own free kingdom (who should pay tribute to no dying king), is
the true "state of the question."[275] My Lord, be ye upon Christ's
side of it, and take the word of a poor prisoner (nay, the Lord Jesus
be surety for it), that ye have incomparably made the wisest choice.
For my own part, I have so been in this prison, that I would be
half-ashamed to seek more till I be up at the Well-head. Few know in
this world the sweetness of Christ's breath, the excellency of His
love, which hath neither brim nor bottom. The world hath raised a
slander upon the cross of Christ, because they love to go to heaven by
dry land, and love not sea-storms. But I write it under my hand (and
would say more, if possibly a reader would not deem it hypocrisy),
that my obligation to Christ for the smell of His garments, for His
love-kisses these thirty weeks, standeth so great, that I should (and
I desire also to choose to) suspend my salvation, to have many tongues
loosed in my behalf to praise Him. And, suppose in person I never
entered within the gates of the New Jerusalem, yet so being Christ may
be set on high, and I had the liberty to cast my love and praises for
ever over the wall to Christ, I would be silent and content. But oh,
He is more than my narrow praises! O time, time, flee swiftly, that
our communion with Jesus may be perfected!

  [275] "_Status quæstionis_," a phrase in logical works--the way of
  stating a matter to be discussed.

I wish that your Lordship would urge Mr. L. to give his mind in the
ceremonies; and be pleased to let me see it as quickly as can be, and
it shall be answered.

To His rich grace I recommend your Lordship, and shall remain,

  Yours, at all respectful obedience in Christ,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 8, 1637_.



CLXXV.--_To_ JOHN LAURIE (_probably some one at a distance, like Lady
Robertland in Stewarton_).

(_CHRIST'S LOVE--A RIGHT ESTIMATE OF HIM--HIS GRACE._)


DEAR BROTHER,--I am sorry that ye, or so many in this kingdom, should
expect so much of me, an empty reed. Verily I am a noughty[276] and
poor body; but if the tinkling of the iron chains of my Lord Jesus on
legs and arms could sound the high praises of my royal King, whose
prisoner I am, oh, how would my joy run over! If my Lord would bring
edification to one soul by my bonds, I am satisfied. But I know not
what I can do to such a princely and beautiful Well-beloved; He is far
behind with me.[277] Little thanks to me, to say to others that His
wind bloweth on me, who am but withered and dry bones; but, since ye
desire me to write to you, either help me to set Christ on high, for
His running-over love, in that the heat of His sweet breath hath
melted a frozen heart; else I think that ye do nothing for a prisoner.

  [276] Worthless; good for nothing. It is, however, written "naughty,"
  evil, in old editions.

  [277] He has so fully paid me.

I am fully confirmed, that it is the honour of our Lawgiver which I
suffer for now. I am not ashamed to give our letters of recommendation
of Christ's love to as many as will extol the Lord Jesus and His
Cross. If I had not sailed this sea-way to heaven, but had taken the
land-way, as many do, I should not have known Christ's sweetness in
such a measure. But the truth is, let no man thank me, for I caused
not Christ's wind to blow upon me. His love came upon a withered
creature, whether I would or not; and yet by coming it procured from
me a welcome. A heart of iron, and iron doors, will not hold Christ
out. I give Him leave to break iron locks and come in, and that is
all. And now I know not whether pain of love for want of possession,
or sorrow that I dow not thank Him, paineth me the most; but both work
upon me. For the first: oh that He would come and satisfy the longing
soul, and fill the hungry soul with these good things! I know indeed
that my guiltiness may be a bar in His way; but He is God, and ready
to forgive. And for the other: woe, woe is me, that I cannot find a
heart to give back again my unworthy little love for His great
sea-full of love to me! Oh that He would learn me this piece of
gratitude! Oh that I could have leave to look in through the hole of
the door, to see His face and sing His praises! or could break up one
of His chamber-windows, to look in upon His delighting beauty, till my
Lord send more! Any little communion with Him, one of His love-looks,
should be my begun heaven. I know that He is not lordly, neither is
the Bridegroom's love proud, though I be black, and unlovely, and
unworthy of Him. I would seek but leave, and withal grace, to spend my
love upon Him. I counsel you to think highly of Christ, and of free,
free grace, more than ye did before; for I know that Christ is not
known amongst us. I think that I see more of Christ than ever I saw;
and yet I see but little of what may be seen. Oh that He would draw by
the curtains, and that the King would come out of His gallery and His
palace, that I might see Him! Christ's love is young glory and young
heaven; it would soften hell's pain to be filled with it. What would I
refuse to suffer, if I could get but a draught of love at my heart's
desire! Oh, what price can be given for Him. Angels cannot weigh Him.
Oh, His weight, His worth, His sweetness, His overpassing beauty! If
men and angels would come and look to that great and princely One,
their ebbness could never take up His depth, their narrowness could
never comprehend His breadth, height, and length. If ten thousand
thousand worlds of angels were created, they might all tire themselves
in wondering at His beauty, and begin again to wonder of new. Oh that
I could win nigh Him, to kiss His feet, to hear His voice, to feel the
smell of His ointments! But oh, alas! I have little, little of Him.
Yet I long for more.

Remember my bonds, and help me with your prayers; for I would not
niffer or exchange my sad hours with the joy of my velvet adversaries.
Grace be with you.

  Yours in His sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 10, 1637_.



CLXXVI.--_To_ CARLETON.

(_A CHRISTIAN'S CONFESSION OF UNWORTHINESS--DESIRE FOR CHRIST'S
HONOUR--PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES._)


WORTHY AND MUCH HONOURED,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I
received your letter from my brother, to which I now answer
particularly.

I confess two things of myself: _1st_, Woe, woe is me, that men should
think there is anything in me! He is my witness, before whom I am as
crystal, that the secret house-devils that bear me too often company,
and that this sink of corruption which I find within, make me go with
low sails. And if others saw what I see, they would look by[278] me,
but not to me.

  [278] Look past me.

_2ndly_, I know that this shower of His free grace behoved to be on
me, otherwise I should have withered. I know, also, that I have need
of a buffeting tempter, that grace may be put to exercise, and I kept
low.

Worthy and dear brother in the Lord Jesus, I write that from my heart
which ye now read. _1st_, I avouch that Christ, and sweating and
sighing under His cross, is sweeter to me by far, than all the
kingdoms in the world could possibly be. 2_ndly_, If you, and my
dearest acquaintance in Christ, reap any fruit by my suffering, let me
be weighed in God's even balance, if my joy be not fulfilled. What am
I, to carry the marks of such a great King! But, howbeit I am a sink
and sinful mass, a wretched captive of sin, my Lord Jesus can hew
heaven out of worse timber than I am; if worse can be. _3rdly_, I now
rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorious, that I never purposed to
bring Christ, or the least hoof or hair-breadth of truth, under
trysting.[279] I desired to have and keep Christ all alone; and that
He should never rub clothes with that black-skinned harlot of Rome. I
am now fully paid home, so that nothing aileth me for the present, but
love-sickness for a real possession of my fairest Well-beloved. I
would give Him my bond under my faith and hand, to frist heaven an
hundred years longer, so being He would lay His holy face to my
sometimes wet cheeks. Oh, who would not pity me, to know how fain I
would have the King shaking the tree of life upon me, or letting me
into the well of life with my old dish, that I might be drunken with
the fountain here in the house of my pilgrimage! I cannot, nay, I
would not, be quit of Christ's love. He hath left the mark behind
where He gripped. He goeth away and leaveth me and His burning love to
wrestle together, and I can scarce win my meat of His love, because of
His absence. My Lord giveth me but hungry half-kisses, which serve to
feed pain and increase hunger, but do not satisfy my desires; His
dieting of my soul for this race maketh me lean. I have gotten the
wale and choice of Christ's crosses, even the tithe and the flower of
the gold of all crosses, to bear witness to the truth; and herein
find I liberty, joy, access, life, comfort, love, faith, submission,
patience, and resolution to take delight in on-waiting. And withal, in
my race, He hath come near me, and let me see the gold and crown.
What, then, want I but fruition and real enjoyment, which is reserved
to my country?[280] Let no man think he shall lose at Christ's hands
in suffering for Him. _4thly_, As for these present trials, they are
most dangerous; for people are stolen off their feet with well-washen
and white-skinned pretences of indifferency. But it is the power of
the great antichrist working in this land. Woe, woe, woe be to
apostate Scotland! There is wrath, and a cup of the red wine of the
wrath of God Almighty in the Lord's hand, that they shall drink and
spue, and fall and not rise again. The star called "Wormwood and gall"
is fallen into the fountains and rivers, and hath made them bitter.
The sword of the Lord is furbished against the idol-shepherds of the
land. Women shall bless the barren womb and miscarrying breast; all
hearts shall be faint, and all knees shall tremble. An end is coming;
the leopard and the lion shall watch over our cities; houses great and
fair shall be desolate without an inhabitant. The Lord hath said,
"Pray not for this people, for I have taken My peace from them." Yet
the Lord's third part shall come through the fire, as refined gold for
the treasure of the Lord, and the outcasts of Scotland shall be
gathered together again, and the wilderness shall blossom as the
flower, and bud, and grow as the rose of Sharon; and great shall be
the glory of the Lord upon Scotland. _5thly_, I am here assaulted with
the learned and pregnant wits of this kingdom. But, all honour be to
my Lord, truth but laughs at bemisted and blind scribes, and disputers
of this world; and God's wisdom confoundeth them, and Christ
triumpheth in His own strong truth, that speaketh for itself. _6thly_,
I doubt not but my Lord is preparing me for heavier trials. I am most
ready at the good pleasure of my Lord, in the strength of His grace,
for anything He will be pleased to call me to; neither shall the
black-faced messenger, Death, be holden at the door, when it shall
knock. If my Lord will take honour of the like of me, how glad and
joyful will my soul be! Let Christ come out with me to a hotter battle
than this, and I will fear no flesh. I know that my Master shall win
the day, and that He hath taken the ordering of my sufferings into His
own hand. _7thly_, As for my deliverance that miscarrieth; I am here,
by my Lord's grace, to lay my hand on my mouth, to be silent, and wait
on. My Lord Jesus is on His journey for my deliverance; I will not
grudge that He runneth not so fast as I would have Him. On-waiting
till the swelling rivers fall, and till my Lord arise as a mighty man
after strong wine, will be my best. I have not yet resisted to blood.
_8thly_, Oh, how often am I laid in the dust, and urged by the tempter
(who can ride his own errands upon our lying apprehensions) to sin
against the unchangeable love of my Lord! When I think upon the
sparrows and swallows that build their nests in the kirk of Anwoth,
and of my dumb Sabbaths, my sorrowful, bleared eyes look asquint upon
Christ, and present Him as angry. But in this trial (all honour to our
princely and royal King!) faith saileth fair before the wind, with
topsail up, and carrieth the passenger through. I lay inhibitions upon
my thoughts, that they receive no slanders of my only, only Beloved.
Let Him even say out of His own mouth, "There is no hope;" yet I will
die in that sweet beguile, "It is not so, I shall see the salvation of
God." Let me be deceived really, and never win to dry land; it is my
joy to believe under the water, and to die with faith in my hand,
gripping Christ. Let my conceptions of Christ's love go to the grave
with me, and to hell with me; I may not, I dare not quit them. I hope
to keep Christ's pawn: if He never come to loose it, let Him see to
His own promise. I know that presumption, howbeit it be made of
stoutness, will not thus be wilful in heavy trials.

  [279] To bring under man's appointment the smallest part of Christ's
  truth.

  [280] Till I reach the heavenly country?

Now my dearest in Christ, the great Messenger of the Covenant, the
only wise and all-sufficient Jehovah, establish you to the end. I hear
that the Lord hath been at your house, and hath called home your wife
to her rest. I know, Sir, that ye see the Lord loosing the pins of
your tabernacle, and wooing your love from this plastered and
over-gilded world, and calling upon you to be making yourself ready to
go to your Father's country, which shall be a sweet fruit of that
visitation. Ye know, "to send the Comforter," was the King's word when
He ascended on high. Ye have claim to, and interest in, that promise.

Remember my love in Christ to your father. Show him that it is late
and black night with him. His long lying at the water-side is that he
may look his papers ere he take shipping, and be at a point for his
last answer before his Judge and Lord.

All love, all mercy, all grace and peace, all multiplied saving
consolations, all joy and faith in Christ, all stability and
confirming strength of grace, and the good-will of Him that dwelt in
The Bush, be with you.

  Your unworthy brother, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 15, 1637_.



CLXXVII.--_To_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_CHRIST SUFFERING IN HIS CHURCH--HIS COMING--OUTPOURINGS OF LOVE FROM
HIM._)


WORTHY AND DEAREST IN THE LORD,--I ever loved (since I knew you) that
little vineyard of the Lord's planting in Galloway; but now much more,
since I have heard that He who hath His fire in Zion, and His furnace
in Jerusalem, hath been pleased to set up a furnace amongst you with
the first in this kingdom. He who maketh old things new, seeing
Scotland an old, drossy, and rusted kirk, is beginning to make a new,
clean bride of her, and to bring a young, chaste wife to Himself out
of the fire. This fire shall be quenched, so soon as Christ has
brought a clean spouse through the fire! Therefore, my dearly beloved
in the Lord, fear not a worm. "Fear not, worm Jacob" (Isa. xli. 15).
Christ is in that plea, and shall win the plea. Charge an unbelieving
heart, under the pain of treason against our great and royal King
Jesus, to dependence by faith, and quiet on-waiting on our Lord. Get
you into your chambers, and shut the doors about you. In, in with
speed to your stronghold, ye prisoners of hope. Ye doves, fly into
Christ's windows till the indignation be over, and the storm be past.
Glorify the Lord in your sufferings, and take His banner of love, and
spread it over you. Others will follow you, if they see you strong in
the Lord. Their courage will take life from your Christian carriage.
Look up and see who is coming! Lift up your head, He is coming to
save, in garments dyed in blood, and travelling in the greatness of
His strength. I laugh, I smile, I leap for joy, to see Christ coming
to save you so quickly. Oh, such wide steps Christ taketh! Three or
four hills are but a step to Him; He skippeth over the mountains.
Christ hath set a battle betwixt His poor weak saints and His enemies.
He waleth the weapons for both parties, and saith to the enemies,
"Take you a sword[281] of steel, law, authority, parliaments, and
kings upon your side; that is your armour." And He saith to His
saints, "I give you a feckless tree-sword in your hand, and that is
suffering, receiving of strokes, spoiling of your goods; and with your
tree-sword ye shall get and gain the victory." Was not Christ dragged
through the ditches of deep distresses and great straits? And yet
Christ, who is your Head, hath won through with His life, howbeit not
with a whole skin. Ye are Christ's members, and He is drawing His
members through the thorny hedge up to heaven after Him. Christ one
day will not have so much as a pained toe. But there are great pieces
and portions of Christ's mystical body not yet within the gates of the
great high city, the New Jerusalem; and the dragon will strike at
Christ, so long as there is one bit or member of Christ's body out of
heaven. I tell you, Christ will make new work out of old, forcasten
Scotland, and gather the old broken boards of His tabernacle, and pin
them and nail them together. Our bills and supplications are up in
heaven; Christ hath coffers full of them. There is mercy on the other
side of this His cross; a good answer to all our bills is agreed upon.

  [281] In old editions, "_word_;" but the contrast, "tree-sword" (sword
  of _wood_, instead of _steel_), shows the true reading.

I must tell you what lovely Jesus, fair Jesus, King Jesus hath done to
my soul. Sometimes He sendeth me out a standing drink,[282] and
whispereth a word through the wall; and I am well content of kindness
at the second hand: His bode[283] is ever welcome to me, be what it
will. But at other times He will be messenger Himself, and I get the
cup of salvation out of His own hand (He drinking to me), and we
cannot rest till we be in other's arms. And oh, how sweet is a fresh
kiss from His holy mouth! His breathing that goeth before a kiss upon
my poor soul is sweet, and hath no fault but that it is too short. I
am careless, and stand not much on this, howbeit loins, and back, and
shoulders, and head should rive in pieces in stepping up to my
Father's house. I know that my Lord can make long, and broad, and
high, and deep glory to His name, out of this bit feckless body; for
Christ looketh not what stuff He maketh glory out of.

  [282] It is like the stirrup-cup.

  [283] Offer made in order to bargain.

My dearly beloved, ye have often refreshed me. But this is put up in
my Master's account; ye have Him debtor for me. But if ye will do
anything for me (as I know ye will) now in my extremity, tell all my
dear friends that a prisoner is fettered and chained in Christ's love
(Lord, never loose the fetters!); and ye and they together take my
heartiest commendations to my Lord Jesus, and thank Him for a poor
friend.

I desire your husband to read this letter. I send him a prisoner's
blessing. I will be obliged to him, if he will be willing to suffer
for my dear Master. Suffering is the professor's golden garment; there
shall be no losses on Christ's side of it. Ye have been witnesses of
much joy betwixt Christ and me at communion feasts, the remembrance
whereof (howbeit I be feasted in secret) holeth my heart; for I am put
from the board-head and the King's first mess to His by-board. And His
broken meat is sweet unto me; I thank my Lord for borrowed crumbs, no
less than when I feasted at the communion table at Anwoth and
Kirkcudbright. Pray that I may get one day of Christ in public, such
as I have had long since, before my eyes be closed. Oh that my Master
would take up house again, and lend me the keys of His wine-cellar
again, and God send me borrowed drink till then!

Remember my love to Christ's kinsmen with you. I pray for Christ's
Father's blessing to them all. Grace be with you; a prisoner's
blessing be with you. I write it and abide by it, God will be glorious
in Marion M'Naught, when this stormy blast shall be over. O woman
beloved of God, believe, rejoice, be strong in the Lord! Grace is thy
portion.

  Your brother, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 15, 1637_.



CLXXVIII.--_To_ LADY CULROSS. [Letter LXXIV.]

(_CHRIST'S MANAGEMENT OF TRIALS--WHAT FAITH CAN DO--CHRIST NOT
EXPERIENCE--PRAYERS._)


MADAM,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I dare not say that I
wonder that ye have never written to me in my bonds, because I am not
ignorant of the cause; yet I could not but write to you.

I know not whether joy or heaviness in my soul carrieth it away.
Sorrow, without any mixture of sweetness, hath not often love-thoughts
of Christ; but I see that the devil can insinuate himself, and ride
his errands upon the thoughts of a poor distressed prisoner. I am
woe[284] that I am making Christ my unfriend, by seeking pleas against
Him, because I am the first in the kingdom put to utter silence, and
because I cannot preach my Lord's righteousness in the great
congregation. I am, notwithstanding, the less solicitous how it go,
if there be not wrath in my cup. But I know that I but claw my wounds
when my Physician hath forbidden me. I would believe in the dark upon
luck's head, and take my hazard of Christ's good-will, and rest on
this, that in my fever my Physician is at my bedside, and that He
sympathizeth with me when I sigh. My borrowed house, and another man's
bed and fireside, and other losses, have no room in my sorrow; a
greater heat to eat out a less fire, is a good remedy for some
burning. I believe that when Christ draweth blood, He hath skill to
cut the right vein; and that He hath taken the whole ordering and
disposing of my sufferings. Let Him tutor me, and tutor my crosses, as
He thinketh good. There is no danger nor hazard in following such a
guide, howbeit He should lead me through hell, if I could put faith
foremost, and fill the field with a quiet on-waiting, and believing to
see the salvation of God. I know that Christ is not obliged to let me
see both the sides of my cross, and turn it over and over that I may
see all. My faith is richer to live upon credit, and Christ's borrowed
money, than to have much on hand. Alas! I have forgotten that faith in
times past hath stopped a leak in my crazed bark, and half filled my
sails with a fair wind. I see it a work of God that experiences are
all lost, when summons of improbation, to prove our charters of Christ
to be counterfeits, are raised against poor souls in their heavy
trials.

  [284] Sad.

But let me be a sinner, and worse than the chief of sinners, yea, a
guilty devil, I am sure that my Well-beloved is God. And when I say
that Christ is God, and that my Christ is God, I have said all things,
I can say no more. I would that I could build as much on this, "My
Christ is God," as it would bear. I might lay all the world upon it. I
am sure, that Christ untried, and untaken-up in the power of His love,
kindness, mercies, goodness, wisdom, long-suffering, and greatness, is
the rock that dim-sighted travellers dash their foot against, and so
stumble fearfully. But my wounds are sorest, and pain me most, when I
sin against His love and mercy. And if He would set me and my
conscience by the ears together, and resolve not to red the plea, but
let us deal it betwixt us, my spitting upon the fair face of Christ's
love and mercies by my jealousies, unbelief, and doubting, would be
enough to sink me. Oh, oh, I am convinced! O Lord, I stand dumb before
Thee for this! Let me be mine own judge in this, and I take a dreadful
doom upon me for it. For I still misbelieve, though I have seen that
my Lord hath made my cross as if it were all crystal, so as I can see
through it Christ's fair face and heaven; and that God hath honoured a
lump of sinful flesh and blood the like of me, to be Christ's
honourable lord-prisoner. I ought to esteem the walls of the thieves'
hole (if I were shut up in it), or any stinking dungeon, all hung with
tapestry, and most beautiful, for my Lord Jesus; and yet, I am not so
shut up but that the sun shineth upon my prison, and the fair wide
heaven is the covering of it. But my Lord, in His sweet visits, hath
done more; for He maketh me to find that He will be a confined
prisoner with me. He lieth down and riseth up with me; when I sigh, He
sigheth; when I weep, He suffereth with me; and I confess that here is
the blessed issue of my sufferings already begun, that my heart is
filled with hunger and desire to have Him glorified in my sufferings.

Blessed be ye of the Lord, Madam, if ye would help a poor dyvour, and
cause others of your acquaintance in Christ to help me to pay my debt
of love, even real praises to Christ my Lord. Madam, let me charge you
in the Lord, as ye shall answer to Him, to help me in this duty (which
He hath tied about my neck with a chain of such singular expressions
of His loving-kindness), to set on high Christ; to hold in my honesty
at His hands[285]; for I have nothing to give to Him. Oh that He would
arrest and comprise my love and my heart for all! I am a dyvour, who
have no more free goods in the world for Christ save that; it is both
the whole heritage I have, and all my moveables besides. Lord, give
the thirsty man a drink. Oh, to be over the ears in the well! Oh, to
be swattering and swimming over head and ears in Christ's love! I
would not have Christ's love entering into me, but I would enter into
it, and be swallowed up of that love. But I see not myself here; for I
fear I make more of His love than of Himself; whereas Himself is far
beyond and much better than His love. Oh, if I had my sinful arms
filled with that lovely one Christ! Blessed be my rich Lord Jesus, who
sendeth not away beggars from His house with a toom dish. He filleth
the vessels of such as will come and seek. We might beg ourselves rich
(if we were wise) if we could hold out our withered hands to Christ,
and learn to suit and seek, ask and knock. I owe my salvation for
Christ's glory, I owe it to Christ; and desire that my hell, yea, a
new hell, seven times hotter than the old hell, might buy praises
before men and angels to my Lord Jesus; providing always that I were
free of Christ's hatred and displeasure. What am I, to be forfeited
and sold in soul and body, to have my great and royal King set on high
and extolled above all? Oh, if I knew how high to have Him set, and
all the world far, far beneath the soles of His feet? Nay, I deserve
not to be the matter of His praises, far less to be an agent in
praising of Him. But He can win His own glory out of me, and out of
worse than I (if any such be), if it please His holy majesty so to do.
He knoweth that I am not now flattering Him.

  [285] To keep up my character with Him.

Madam, let me have your prayers, as ye have the prayers and blessing
of him that is separated from his brethren. Grace, grace be with you.

  Your own, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 15, 1637_.



CLXXIX.--_To his reverend and loving Brother_, MR. JOHN NEVAY.

     [MR. JOHN NEVAY, or NEAVE, was minister of Newmills, in the
     parish of Loudon, and chaplain to the Earl of Loudon. In all the
     questions which divided the Covenanters in his day, he adhered to
     what may be called the strict party, being opposed to the Public
     Resolutions. After the restoration of Charles II., Nevay, in
     1662, was obliged to subscribe an engagement to remove forth of
     the king's dominions before the 1st of February, and not to
     return under pain of death. He reached Holland, and lived for
     some time in Rotterdam. On the 26th of July 1670, a letter of
     Charles II. was laid before the assembled States of Holland,
     accusing Nevay and other two ministers, Mr. Robert Trail and Mr.
     Robert M'Ward (who was secretary to Rutherford at the Westminster
     Assembly, and who first edited his "Letters"), all residing
     within the jurisdiction of the States, of writing and publishing
     _pasquils_ against his Majesty's Government. However, it would
     appear that he still continued at Rotterdam, and died there.
     Wodrow describes him as "a person of very considerable parts, and
     bright piety." Robert M'Ward, in 1677, thus writes: "Oh! when I
     remember that burning and shining light, worthy and warm Mr.
     Livingstone, who used to preach as within the sight of Christ,
     and the glory to be revealed; _acute and distinct Nevay_;
     judicious and neat Simson; fervent, serious, and zealous
     Trail;--when I remember, I say, that all these great luminaries
     are now set and removed by death from our people, and out of our
     pulpit, in so short a time, what matter of sorrow presents itself
     to my eye!" Nevay cultivated the art of poetry, and is the author
     of a paraphrase (called by Wodrow "a handsome paraphrase") of the
     Song of Solomon in Latin verse. The General Assembly entertained
     so high an opinion of his poetical talents, that they appointed
     him, in August 1647, along with three other ministers, to revise
     Rons' metrical version of the Psalms. The portion assigned to him
     for revisal was the last thirty psalms of that version. After his
     death, a volume of sermons, preached by him on "the Covenant of
     Grace," was published at Glasgow in 1748, 12mo. His son married
     Sarah Van Brakel, whose poetical compositions are favourably
     exhibited in her elegy upon a popular preacher, and who was a
     kind friend to the British refugees.]

(_CHRIST'S LOVE SHARPENED IN SUFFERING--KNEELING AT THE
COMMUNION--POSTURES AT ORDINANCES._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I
received yours of April 11, as I did another of March 25, and a letter
for Mr. Andrew Cant.[286]

  [286] Mr. Andrew Cant was at this time minister of Pitsligo, in
  Buchan, Aberdeenshire. He had been previously minister of Alford. In
  1639 he was removed from Pitsligo to Newbottle, and in 1640 to the New
  Town of Aberdeen, where he became Professor of Theology in Marischal
  College. In this situation he continued till the year after the
  restoration of Charles II. Rutherford's "Lex Rex" having then, by the
  orders of the State, been publicly burnt, and the author himself
  summoned before Parliament to answer an accusation of high treason,
  Cant, indignant at such ungenerous treatment of a great and good man,
  condemned it in one of his sermons. For this he was accused of treason
  before the magistrates. Whereupon he demitted his charge, and came to
  dwell with his son at Liberton. In 1663 he was formally deposed by the
  Bishop and Synod of Aberdeen, and died not long after, aged
  seventy-nine. He is the author of a treatise on "The Titles of our
  Blessed Saviour."

I am not a little grieved that our mother church is running so quickly
to the brothel-house, and that we are hiring lovers, and giving gifts
to the Great Mother of Fornications (Rev. xvii. 5). Alas, that our
Husband is like to quit us so shortly! It were my part (if I were
able) when our Husband is departing, to stir up myself to take hold of
Him, and keep Him in this land; for I know Him to be a sweet
second,[287] and a lovely companion to a poor prisoner.

  [287] Helper.

I find that my extremity hath sharpened the edge of His love and
kindness, so that He seemeth to divise new ways of expressing the
sweetness of His love to my soul. Suffering for Christ is the very
element wherein Christ's love liveth, and exerciseth itself, in
casting out flames of fire, and sparks of heat, to warm such a frozen
heart as I have. And if Christ weeping in sackcloth be so sweet, I
cannot find any imaginable thoughts to think what He will be, when we
clay-bodies (having put off mortality) shall come up to the
marriage-hall and great palace, and behold the King clothed in his
robes royal, sitting on His throne. I would desire no more for my
heaven beneath the moon, while I am sighing in this house of clay, but
daily renewed feasts of love with Christ, and liberty now and then to
feed my hunger with a kiss of that fairest face, that is like the sun
in his strength at noon-day. I would willingly subscribe an ample
resignation to Christ of the fourteen prelacies of this land, and of
all the most delightful pleasures on earth, and forfeit my part of
this clay god, this earth, which Adam's foolish children worship, to
have no other exercise than to lie on a love-bed with Christ, and fill
this hungered and famished soul with kissing, embracing, and real
enjoying of the Son of God; and I think that then I might write to my
friends, that I had found the Golden World, and look out and laugh at
the poor bodies who are slaying one another for feathers. For verily,
brother, since I came to this prison, I have conceived a new and
extraordinary opinion of Christ which I had not before. For, I
perceive, we frist all our joys to Christ till He and we be in our own
house above, as married parties, thinking that there is nothing of it
here to be sought or found, but only hope and fair promises; and that
Christ will give us nothing here but tears, sadness, and crosses; and
that we shall never feel the smell of the flowers of that high garden
of paradise above, till we come there. Nay, but I find that it is
possible to find young glory, and a young green paradise of joy, even
here. I know that Christ's kisses will cast a more strong and
refreshful smell of incomparable glory and joy in heaven than they do
here; because a drink of the well of life, up at the well's head, is
more sweet and fresh by far than that which we get in our borrowed,
old, running-out vessels, and our wooden dishes here. Yet I am now
persuaded it is our folly to frist all till the term-day, seeing
abundance of earnest will not diminish anything of our principal sum.
We dream of hunger in Christ's house while we are here, although He
alloweth feasts to all the bairns within God's household. It were
good, then, to store ourselves with more borrowed kisses of Christ,
and with more borrowed visits, till we enter heirs to our new
inheritance, and our Tutor put us in possession of our own when we are
past minority. Oh that all the young heirs would seek more, and a
greater, and a nearer communion with my Lord Tutor, the prime heir of
all, Christ! I wish that, for my part, I could send you, and that
gentleman who wrote his commendations to me, into the King's innermost
cellar and house of wine, to be filled with love. A drink of this love
is worth the having indeed. We carry ourselves but too nicely with
Christ our Lord; and our Lord loveth not niceness, and dryness, and
unconess in friends. Since needforce that we must be in Christ's
common, then let us be in His common; for it will be no otherwise.

Now, for my present case in my imprisonment: deliverance (for any
appearance that I see) looketh cold-like. My hope, if it looked to or
leaned upon men, would wither soon at the root, like a May flower. Yet
I resolve to ease myself with on-waiting on my Lord, and to let my
faith swim where it loseth ground. I am under a necessity either of
fainting (which I hope my Master, of whom I boast all the day, will
avert), or then to lay my faith upon Omnipotency, and to wink and
stick by my grip. And I hope that my ship shall ride it out, seeing
Christ is willing to blow His sweet wind in my sails, and mendeth and
closeth the leaks in my ship, and ruleth all. It will be strange if a
believing passenger be casten overboard.

As for your master, my lord and my lady,[288] I shall be loath to
forget them. I think my prayers (such as they are) are debt due to
him; and I shall be far more engaged to his Lordship, if he be fast
for Christ (as I hope he will) now when so many of his coat and
quality slip from Christ's back, and leave Him to fend for Himself.

  [288] John Campbell, first Earl of Loudon, and his lady, Margaret
  Campbell, Baroness of Loudon, daughter of George Campbell, master of
  Loudon.

I entreat you to remember my love to that worthy gentleman, A. C., who
saluted me in your letter: I have heard that he is one of my Master's
friends, for the which cause I am tied to him. I wish that he may more
and more fall in love with Christ.

Now for your question:--As far as I rawly conceive, I think that God
is praised two ways: _1st_. By a _concional_[289] profession of His
highness before men, such as is the very hearing of the word, and
receiving of either of the sacraments; in which acts by profession, we
give out to men, that He is our God with whom we are in covenant, and
our Lawgiver. Thus eating and drinking in the Lord's Supper, is an
annunciation and profession before men, that Christ is our slain
Redeemer. Here, because God speaketh to us, not we to Him, it is not a
formal thanksgiving, but an annunciation or predication of Christ's
death--_concional_, not _adorative_--neither hath it God for the
immediate object, and therefore no kneeling can be here.

  [289] An act in which we address men, not God.

_2ndly._ There is another praising of God, _formal_, when we are
either formally blessing God, or speaking His praises. And this I take
to be twofold:--1. When we directly and formally direct praises and
thanksgiving to God. This may well be done kneeling, in token of our
recognizance of His Highness; yet not so but that it may be done
standing or sitting, especially seeing joyful elevation (which should
be in praising) is not formally signified by kneeling. 2. When we
speak good of God, and declare His glorious nature and attributes,
extolling Him before men, to excite men to conceive highly of Him. The
former I hold to be worship every way immediate, else I know not any
immediate worship at all; the latter hath God for the subject, not
properly the object, seeing the predication is directed to men
immediately, rather than to God; for here we speak _of_ God by way of
praising, rather than _to_ God. And, for my own part, as I am for the
present minded, I see not how this can be done kneeling, seeing it is
_prædicatio Dei et Christi, non laudatio aut benedictio Dei_. [A
preaching of God and Christ, and not a praising or blessing of God.]
But observe, that it is formal praising of God, and not merely
concional, as I distinguished in the first member; for, in the first
member, any speaking of God, or of His works of creation, providence,
and redemption, is indirect and concional praising of Him, and
formally preaching, or an act of teaching, not an act of predication
of His praises. For there is a difference betwixt the simple relation
of the virtues of a thing (which is formally teaching), and the
extolling of the worth of a thing by way of commendation, to cause
others to praise with us.

Thus recommending you to God's grace,[290] I rest, yours, in his sweet
Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 15, 1637_.

  [290] In some editions it is "sweet grace;" but not so in the
  earliest.



CLXXX.--_To the much Honoured JOHN GORDON of Cardoness, the Elder._

(_LONGINGS FOR THOSE UNDER HIS FORMER MINISTRY--DELIGHT IN CHRIST AND
HIS APPEARING--PLEADING WITH HIS FLOCK._)


MUCH HONOURED AND DEAREST IN MY LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you. My soul longeth exceedingly to hear how matters go betwixt you
and Christ; and whether or not there be any work of Christ in that
parish, that will bide the trial of fire and water. Let me be weighed
of my Lord in a just balance, if your souls lie not weighty upon me.
Ye go to bed and ye rise with me: thoughts of your soul, my dearest in
our Lord, depart not from me in my sleep. Ye have a great part of my
tears, sighs, supplications, and prayers. Oh, if I could buy your
soul's salvation with any suffering whatsoever, and that ye and I
might meet with joy up in the rainbow, when we shall stand before our
Judge! Oh, my Lord, forbid that I have any hard thing to depone
against you in that day! Oh that He who quickeneth the dead would give
life to my sowing among you! What joy is there (next to Christ) that
standeth on this side of death, which would comfort me more, than that
the souls of that poor people were in safety, and beyond all hazard of
being lost!

Sir, show the people this; for when I write to you, I think I write to
you all, old and young. Fulfil my joy, and seek the Lord. Sure I am,
that once I discovered my lovely, royal, princely Lord Jesus to you
all. Woe, woe, woe shall be your part of it for evermore, if the
Gospel be not the savour of life to you. As many sermons as I
preached, as many sentences as I uttered, as many points of dittay
shall there be, when the Lord shall plead with the world, for the evil
of their doings. Believe me, I find heaven a city hard to be won. "The
righteous shall scarcely be saved." Oh, what violence of thronging
will heaven take! Alas! I see many deceiving themselves; for we
will[291] all to heaven now! Every foul dog, with his foul feet, will
in at the nearest, to the new and clean Jerusalem. All say they have
faith; and the greatest part in the world know not, and will not
consider, that a slip in the matter of their salvation is the most
pitiable slip that can be; and that no loss is comparable to this
loss. Oh, then, see that there be not a loose pin in the work of your
salvation; for ye will not believe how quickly the Judge will come.
And for yourself, I know that death is waiting, and hovering, and
lingering at God's command. That ye may be prepared, then, ye had need
to stir your time, and to take eternity and death to your riper
advisement. A wrong step, or a wrong stot, in going out of this life,
in one property is like the sin against the Holy Ghost, and can never
be forgiven, because ye cannot come back again through the last water
to mourn for it. I know your accounts are many, and will take telling
and laying, and reckoning betwixt you and your Lord. Fit your
accounts, and order them. Lose not the last play, whatever ye do, for
in that play with death your precious soul is the prize: for the
Lord's sake spill not the play, and lose not such a treasure. Ye know
that, out of love which I had to your soul, and out of desire which I
had to make an honest account of you, I testified my displeasure and
disliking of your ways very often, both in private and public. I am
not now a witness of your doings, but your Judge is always your
witness. I beseech you by the mercies of God, by the salvation of your
soul, by your comfort when your eye-strings shall break, and the face
wax pale, and the soul shall tremble to be out of the lodging of clay,
and by your compearance before your awful Judge, after the sight of
this letter to take a new course with your ways, and now, in the end
of your day, make sure of heaven. Examine yourself if ye be in good
earnest in Christ; for some are partakers of the Holy Ghost, and taste
of the good word of God, and of the powers of the life to come, and
yet have no part in Christ at all. Many think they believe, but never
tremble: the devils are farther on than these (James ii. 19). Make
sure to yourself that ye are above ordinary professors. The sixth part
of your span-length and hand-breadth of days is scarcely before you.
Haste, haste, for the tide will not bide. Put Christ upon all your
accounts and your secrets. Better it is that you give Him your
accounts in this life, out of your own hand, than that, after this
life, He take them from you. I never knew so well what sin was as
since I came to Aberdeen, howbeit I was preaching of it to you. To
feel the smoke of hell's fire in the throat for half an hour; to stand
beside a river of fire and brimstone broader than the earth; and to
think to be bound hand and foot, and casten into the midst of it
quick, and then to have God locking the prison door, never to be
opened for all eternity! Oh how it will shake a conscience that hath
any life in it! I find the fruits of my pains to have Christ and that
people once fairly met, now meet my soul in my sad hours. And I
rejoice that I gave fair warning of all the corruptions now entering
into Christ's house; and now many a sweet, sweet, soft kiss, many
perfumed, well-smelled kisses, and embracements have I received of my
royal Master. He and I have had much love together. I have for the
present a sick dwining life, with much pain, and much love-sickness
for Christ. Oh, what would I give to have a bed made to my wearied
soul in His bosom! I would frist heaven for many years, to have my
fill of Jesus in this life, and to have occasion to offer Christ to my
people, and to woo many people to Christ. I cannot tell you what sweet
pain and delightsome torments are in Christ's love; I often challenge
time, that holdeth us sundry. I profess to you, I have no rest, I have
no ease, whill I be over head and ears in love's ocean. If Christ's
love (that fountain of delight) were laid as open to me as I would
wish, oh, how I would drink, and drink abundantly! oh, how drunken
would this my soul be! I half call His absence cruel; and the mask and
vail on Christ's face a cruel covering, that hideth such a fair, fair
face from a sick soul. I dare not challenge Himself, but His absence
is a mountain of iron upon my heavy heart. Oh, when shall we meet? Oh,
how long it is to the dawning of the marriage-day! O sweet Lord Jesus,
take wide steps! O my Lord, come over mountains at one stride! O my
Beloved, be like a roe or a young hart on the mountains of Separation
(Song ii. 17). Oh, if He would fold the heavens together like an old
cloak, and shovel time and days out of the way, and make ready in
haste the Lamb's wife for her Husband! Since He looked upon me, my
heart is not mine own; He hath run away to heaven with it. I know that
it was not for nothing that I spake so meikle good of Christ to you in
public. Oh, if the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, were paper, and
the sea ink, and the multitude of mountains pens of brass, and I able
to write that paper, within and without, full of the praises of my
fairest, my dearest, my loveliest, my sweetest, my matchless, and my
most marrowless and marvellous Well-beloved! Woe is me, I cannot set
Him out to men and angels! Oh, there are few tongues to sing
love-songs of His incomparable excellence! What can I, poor prisoner,
do to exalt Him? or what course can I take to extol my lofty and
lovely Lord Jesus? I am put to my wits' end, how to get His name made
great. Blessed they who would help me in this! How sweet are Christ's
back parts? Oh, what then is His face? Those that see His face, how
dow they get their eye plucked off Him again! Look up to Him and love
Him. Oh, love and live! It were life to me if you would read this
letter to that people, and if they did profit by it. Oh, if I could
cause them to die of love for Jesus! Charge them, by the salvation of
their souls, to hang about Christ's neck, and take their fill of His
love, and follow Him as I taught them. Part by no means with Christ.
Hold fast what ye have received. Keep the truth once delivered. If ye
or that people quit it in an hair, or in a hoof, ye break your
conscience in twain; and who then can mend it, and cast a knot on it?
My dearest in the Lord, stand fast in Christ; keep the faith; contend
for Christ. Wrestle for Him, and take men's feud for God's favour;
there is no comparison betwixt these. Oh that the Lord would fulfil my
joy, and keep the young bride that is at Anwoth to Christ!

  [291] Insist on being admitted to.

And now, whoever they be that have returned to the old vomit since my
departure, I bind upon their back, in my Master's name and authority,
the long-lasting, weighty vengeance and curse of God. In my Lord's
name I give them a doom of black, unmixed, pure wrath, which my
Master will ratify and make good, when we stand together before Him,
except they timeously repent and turn to the Lord. And I write to
thee, poor mourning and broken-hearted believer, be thou who thou
wilt, of the free salvation, Christ's sweet balm for thy wounds, O
poor, humble believer! Christ's kisses for thy watery cheeks! Christ's
blood of atonement for thy guilty soul! Christ's heaven for thy poor
soul, though once banished out of paradise! And my Master will make
good my word ere long. Oh that people were wise! Oh that people were
wise! Oh that people would speer out Christ, and never rest whill they
find Him. Oh, how my soul will mourn in secret, if my nine years'
pained head, and sore breast, and pained back, and grieved heart, and
private and public prayers to God, will all be for nothing among that
people! Did my Lord Jesus send me but to summon you before your Judge,
and to leave your summons at your houses? Was I sent as a witness only
to gather your dittays? Oh, may God forbid! Often did I tell you of a
fan of God's word[292] to come among you, for the contempt of it. I
told you often of wrath, wrath from the Lord, to come upon Scotland;
and yet I bide by my Master's word. It is quickly coming! desolation
for Scotland, because of the quarrel of a broken covenant.

  [292] Perhaps this should be _wind_, not "_word_;" alluding to Jer.
  iv. 12.

Now, worthy Sir, now my dear people, my joy, and my crown in the Lord,
let Him be your fear. Seek the Lord, and His face: save your souls.
Doves! flee to Christ's windows. Pray for me, and praise for me. The
blessing of my God, the prayers and blessing of a poor prisoner, and
your lawful pastor, be upon you.

  Your lawful and loving pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 16, 1637_.



CLXXXI.--_To_ EARLSTON, _the Younger_.

(_DANGERS OF YOUTH--CHRIST THE BEST PHYSICIAN--FOUR REMEDIES AGAINST
DOUBTING--BREATHINGS AFTER CHRIST'S HONOUR._)


MUCH HONOURED AND WELL-BELOVED IN THE LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace
be to you. Your letters give a dash to my laziness in writing.

I must first tell you, that there is not such a glassy, icy, and
slippery piece of way betwixt you and heaven, as Youth; and I have
experience to say with me here, and to seal what I assert. The old
ashes of the sins of my youth are new fire of sorrow to me. I have
seen the devil, as it were, dead and buried, and yet rise again, and
be a worse devil than ever he was; therefore, my brother, beware of a
green young devil, that hath never been buried. The devil in his
flowers (I mean the hot, fiery lusts and passions of youth) is much to
be feared: better yoke with an old grey-haired, withered, dry devil.
For in youth he findeth dry sticks, and dry coals, and a hot
hearth-stone; and how soon can he with his flint cast fire, and with
his bellows blow it up, and fire the house! Sanctified thoughts,
thoughts made conscience of, and called in, and kept in awe, are green
fuel that burn not, and are a water for Satan's coal. Yet I must tell
you, that the whole saints now triumphant in heaven, and standing
before the throne, are nothing but Christ's forlorn and beggarly
dyvours. What are they but a pack of redeemed sinners? But their
redemption is not only past the seals, but completed; and yours is on
the wheels, and in doing.

All Christ's good bairns go to heaven with a broken brow, and with a
crooked leg. Christ hath an advantage of you, and I pray you to let
Him have it; He will find employment for His calling in you. If it
were not with you as ye write, grace should find no sale nor market in
you; but ye must be content to give Christ somewhat to do. I am glad
that He is employed that way. Let your bleeding soul and your sores be
put in the hand of this expert Physician; let young and strong
corruptions and His free grace be yoked together, and let Christ and
your sins deal it betwixt them. I shall be loath to put you off your
fears, and your sense of deadness: I wish it were more. There be some
wounds of that nature, that their bleeding should not be soon stopped.
Ye must take a house beside the Physician. It will be a miracle if ye
be the first sick man whom He put away uncured, and worse than He
found you. Nay, nay, Christ is honest, and in that is flyting-free
with sinners. "Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out"
(John vi. 37). Take ye that. It cannot be presumption to take that as
your own, when you find that your wounds stound you. Presumption is
ever whole at the heart, and hath but the truant sickness, and
groaneth only for the fashion. Faith hath sense of sickness, and
looketh, like a friend, to the promises; and, looking to Christ
therein, is glad to see a known face. Christ is as full a feast as ye
can have to hunger. Nay, Christ, I say, is not a full man's leavings.
His mercy sendeth always a letter of defiance to all your sins, if
there were ten thousand more of them.

I grant you that it is a hard matter for a poor hungry man to win his
meat upon hidden Christ: for then the key of His pantry-door, and of
the house of wine, is a-seeking and cannot be had. But hunger must
break through iron locks. I bemoan them not who can make a din, and
all the fields ado, for a lost Saviour. Ye must let Him hear it (to
say so) upon both sides of His head, when He hideth Himself; it is no
time then to be bird-mouthed and patient. Christ is rare indeed, and a
delicacy to a sinner. He is a miracle, and a world's wonder, to a
seeking and a weeping sinner; but yet such a miracle as shall be seen
by them who will come and see. The seeker and sigher, is at last a
singer and enjoyer; nay, I have seen a dumb man get alms from Christ.
He that can tell his tale, and send such a letter to heaven as he hath
sent to Aberdeen, it is very like he will come speed with Christ. It
bodeth God's mercy to complain heartily for sin. Let wrestling be with
Christ till He say, "How is it, sir, that I cannot be quit of your
bills, and your misleared cries?" and then hope for Christ's blessing;
and His blessing is better than ten other blessings. Think not shame
because of your guiltiness; necessity must not blush to beg. It
standeth you hard to want Christ; and, therefore, that which idle
on-waiting cannot do, misnurtured crying and knocking will do.

And for doubtings, because you are not as you were long since with
your Master: consider three things. _1st_, What if Christ had such
tottering thoughts of the bargain of the new covenant betwixt you and
Him, as you have? _2ndly_, Your heart is not the compass which Christ
saileth by. He will give you leave to sing as you please, but He will
not dance to your daft spring. It is not referred to you and your
thoughts, what Christ will do with the charters betwixt you and Him.
Your own misbelief hath torn them; but He hath the principal in heaven
with Himself. Your thoughts are no parts of the new covenant; dreams
change not Christ. _3rdly_, Doubtings are your sins; but they are
Christ's drugs, and ingredients that the Physician maketh use of for
the curing of your pride. Is it not suitable for a beggar to say at
meat, "God reward the winners"?[293] for then he saith that he knoweth
who beareth the charges of the house. It is also meet that ye should
know, by experience, that faith is not nature's ill-gotten bastard,
but your Lord's free gift, that lay in the womb of God's free grace.
Praised be the Winner! I may add a _4thly_, In the passing of your
bill and your charters, when they went through the Mediator's great
seal, and were concluded, faith's advice was not sought. Faith hath
not a vote beside Christ's merits: blood, blood, dear blood, that came
from your Cautioner's holy body, maketh that sure work. The use, then,
which ye have of faith now (having already closed with Jesus Christ
for justification) is, to take out a copy of your pardon; and so ye
have peace with God upon the account of Christ. For, since faith
apprehendeth pardon, but never payeth a penny for it, no marvel that
salvation doth not die and live, ebb or flow, with the working of
faith. But because it is your Lord's honour to believe His mercy and
His fidelity, it is infinite goodness in our Lord, that misbelief
giveth a dash to our Lord's glory, and not to our salvation. And so,
whoever want (yea, howbeit God here bear with the want of what we are
obliged to give Him, even the glory of His grace by believing), yet a
poor covenanted sinner wanteth not. But if guiltiness were removed,
doubtings would find no friend, nor life; and yet faith is to believe
the removal of guiltiness in Christ. A reason why ye get less now (as
ye think) than before, as I take it, is, because, at our first
conversion, our Lord putteth the meat in young bairns' mouths with His
own hand; but when we grow to some further perfection, we must take
heaven by violence, and take by violence from Christ what we get. And
He can, and doth hold, because He will have us to draw. Remember now
that ye must live upon violent plucking. Laziness is a greater fault
now than long since. We love always to have the pap put in our mouth.

  [293] Those who got this meat for us.

Now for myself; alas! I am not the man I go for in this nation; men
have not just weights to weigh me in. Oh, but I am a silly, feckless
body, and overgrown with weeds; corruption is rank and fat in me. Oh,
if I were answerable to this holy cause, and to that honourable
Prince's love for whom I now suffer! If Christ should refer the matter
to me (in His presence I speak it), I might think shame to vote my own
salvation. I think Christ might say, "Thinkest thou not shame to claim
heaven, who doest so little for it?" I am very often so, that I know
not whether I sink or swim in the water. I find myself a bag of light
froth. I would bear no weight (but vanities and nothings weigh in
Christ's balance) if my Lord cast not in borrowed weight and metal,
even Christ's righteousness, to weigh for me. The stock I have is not
mine own; I am but the merchant that trafficketh with other folks'
goods. If my creditor, Christ, should take from me what He hath lent,
I should not long keep the causeway; but Christ hath made it mine and
His. I think it manhood to play the coward, and jouk in the lee-side
of Christ; and thus I am not only saved from my enemies, but I obtain
the victory. I am so empty, that I think it were an alms-deed in
Christ, if He would win a poor prisoner's blessing for evermore, and
fill me with His love. I complain that when Christ cometh, He cometh
always to fetch fire; He is ever in haste, He may not tarry; and poor
I (a beggarly dyvour) get but a standing visit and a standing kiss,
and but, "How doest thou?" in the by-going. I dare not say He is
lordly, because He is made a King now at the right hand of God; or is
grown miskenning and dry to His poor friends: for He cannot make more
of His kisses than they are worth. But I think it my happiness to love
the love of Christ: and when He goeth away, the memory of His sweet
presence is like a feast in a dear summer. I have comfort in this,
that my soul desireth that every hour of my imprisonment were a
company of heavenly tongues to praise Him on my behalf, howbeit my
bonds were prolonged for many hundred years. Oh that I could be the
man who could procure my Lord's glory to flow like a full sea, and
blow like a mighty wind upon all the four airths of Scotland, England,
and Ireland! Oh, if I could write a book of His praises! O Fairest
among the sons of men, why stayest Thou so long away? O heavens, move
fast! O time, run, run, and hasten the marriage-day! for love is
tormented with delays. O angels, O seraphims, who stand before Him, O
blessed spirits who now see His face, set Him on high! for when ye
have worn your harps in His praises, all is too little, and is
nothing, to cast the smell of the praise of that fair Flower, the
fragrant Rose of Sharon, through many worlds!

Sir, take my hearty commendations to Him, and tell Him that I am sick
of love.

Grace be with you.

  Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 16, 1637_.



CLXXXII.--_To his honoured and dear Brother_, ALEXANDER GORDON _of
Knockgray_.

(_JOY IN GOD--TRIALS WORK OUT GLORY TO CHRIST._)


DEAREST AND TRULY HONOURED BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you. I have seen no letter from you since I came to Aberdeen. I will
not interpret it to be forgetfulness. I am here in a fair prison:
Christ is my sweet and honourable fellow-prisoner, and I His sad and
joyful lord-prisoner,[294] if I may speak so. I think this cross
becometh me well, and is suitable to me in respect of my duty to
suffer for Christ, howbeit not in regard of my deserving to be thus
honoured. However it be, I see that Christ is strong, even lying in
the dust, in prison, and in banishment. Losses and disgraces are the
wheels of Christ's triumphant chariot. In the sufferings of His own
saints, as He intendeth their good, so He intendeth His own glory, and
that is the butt His arrows shoot at. And Christ shooteth not at
rovers, He hitteth what He purposeth to hit; therefore He doth make
His own feckless and weak nothings, and those who are the contempt of
men, "a new sharp threshing instrument, having teeth, to thresh the
mountains, and beat them small, and to make the hills as chaff, and to
fan them" (Isa. xli. 15, 16). What harder stuff, or harder grain for
threshing out, than high and rocky mountains? But the saints are God's
threshing instruments, to beat them all into chaff. Are we not God's
leem vessels? and yet when they cast us over a house we are not broken
into sherds. We creep in under our Lord's wings in the great shower,
and the water cannot come through those wings. It is folly then for
men to say, "This is not Christ's plea, He will lose the wad-set; men
are like to beguile Him:" that were indeed a strange play. Nay, I dare
pledge my soul, and lay it in pawn on Christ's side of it, and be
half-tiner, half-winner with my Master! Let fools laugh the fool's
laughter, and scorn Christ, and bid the weeping captives in Babylon
"sing us one of the songs of Zion, play a spring to cheer up your
sad-hearted God!" We may sing upon luck's-head beforehand, even in our
winter-storm, in the expectation of a summer sun, at the turn of the
year. No created powers in hell, or out of hell, can mar the music of
our Lord Jesus, nor spoil our song of joy. Let us then be glad, and
rejoice in the salvation of our Lord; for faith had never yet cause
to have wet cheeks, and hanging down brows, or to droop or die. What
can ail faith, seeing Christ suffereth Himself (with reverence to Him
be it spoken) to be commanded by it, and Christ commandeth all things?
Faith may dance because Christ singeth; and we may come into the
choir, and lift our hoarse and rough voices, and chirp, and sing, and
shout for joy with our Lord Jesus. We see oxen go to the shambles,
leaping and startling; we see God's fed oxen, prepared for the day of
slaughter, go dancing and singing down to the black chambers of hell;
and why should we go to heaven weeping, as if we were like to fall
down through the earth for sorrow? If God were dead (if I may speak
so, with reverence of Him who liveth for ever and ever), and Christ
buried, and rotten among the worms, we might have cause to look like
dead folks; but "the Lord liveth, and blessed be the Rock of our
salvation" (Ps. xviii. 46). None have right to joy but we; for joy is
sown for us, and an ill summer or harvest will not spill the crop. The
children of this world have much robbed joy that is not well-come. It
is no good sport they laugh at: they steal joy, as it were, from God;
for He commandeth them to mourn and howl (James v. 1). Then let us
claim our leal-come and lawfully conquessed joy.

  [294] In Luther's style, he playfully speaks of himself as if raised
  to nobility among prisoners.

My dear brother, I cannot but speak what I have felt; seeing my Lord
Jesus hath broken a box of spikenard upon the head of His poor
prisoner, and it is hard to hide a sweet smell. It is a pain to
smother Christ's love; it will be out whether we will or not. If we
did but speak according to the matter, a cross for Christ should have
another name; yea, a cross, especially when He cometh with His arms
full of joys, is the happiest hard tree that ever was laid upon my
weak shoulder. Christ and His cross together are sweet company, and a
blessed couple. My prison is my palace, my sorrow is with child of
joy, my losses are rich losses, my pain easy pain, my heavy days are
holy and happy days. I may tell a new tale of Christ to my friends.
Oh, if I could make a love song of Him, and could commend Christ, and
tune His praises aright! Oh, if I could set all tongues in Great
Britain and Ireland to work, to help me to sing a new song of my
Well-beloved! Oh, if I could be a bridge over a water for my Lord
Jesus to walk upon, and keep His feet dry! Oh, if my poor bit heaven
could go betwixt my Lord and blasphemy, and dishonour! (Upon condition
He loved me.) Oh that my heart could say this word, and abide by it
for ever! Is it not great art and incomparable wisdom in my Lord, who
can bring forth such fair apples out of this crabbed tree of the
cross? Nay, my Father's never-enough admired providence can make a
fair face[295] out of a black devil. Nothing can come wrong to my Lord
in His sweet working. I would even fall sound asleep in Christ's arms,
and my sinful head on His holy breast, while He kisseth me; were it
not that often the wind turneth to the north, and whiles my sweet Lord
Jesus is so that He will neither give nor take, borrow nor lend with
me. I complain that He is not social; I half call Him proud and lordly
of His company, and nice of His looks, which yet is not true. It would
content me to give, howbeit He should not take. I should be content to
want His kisses at such times, providing He would be content to come
near-hand, and take my wersh, dry, and feckless kisses. But at that
time He will not be entreated, but let a poor soul stand still and
knock, and never let-on him that He heareth; and then the old
leavings, and broken meat, and dry sighs, are greater cheer than I can
tell. All I have then is, that howbeit the law and wrath have gotten a
decreet against me, I can yet lippen that meikle good in Christ as to
get a suspension, and to bring my cause in reasoning again before my
Well-beloved. I desire but to be heard, and at last He is content to
come and agree the matter with a fool, and forgive freely, because He
is God. Oh, if men would glorify Him, and taste of Christ's sweetness!

  [295] "Feast" is in most editions.

Brother, ye have need to be busy with Christ for this whorish kirk; I
fear lest Christ cast water upon Scotland's coal. Nay, I know that
Christ and His wife will be heard: He will plead for the broken
covenant. Arm you against that time.

Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 16, 1637_.



CLXXXIII.--_To_ MR. J---- R----.

     [It is highly probable that the individual to whom this letter is
     addressed was John Row, son of John Row, minister of Carnock, a
     grandson of John Row the reformer, and contemporary of Knox. In
     1632 he was appointed master of the Grammar School of Perth, in
     which situation he continued for some years. The year after his
     appointment, he was in some danger of expulsion, for refusing to
     join in the observance of the Lord's Supper after the manner
     enjoined by the Perth Articles. At the time when this letter was
     written, he appears to have been exposed to a similar danger. In
     1641 he was ordained minister of St. Nicholas Church, Aberdeen;
     and in 1652 was elevated to be Principal of King's College. Row
     was a man of learning, and was the author of the first Hebrew
     grammar printed in Scotland. He died in 1646.]

(_CHRIST THE PURIFIER OF HIS CHURCH--SUBMISSION TO HIS WAYS._)


DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you. Upon the report
which I hear of you, without any further acquaintance, except our
straitest bonds in our Lord Jesus, I thought good to write unto you,
hearing of your danger to be thrust out of the Lord's house for His
name's sake. Therefore, my earnest and humble desire to God is, that
ye may be strengthened in the grace of God, and, by the power of His
might, to go on for Christ, not standing in awe of a worm that shall
die. I hope that ye will not put your hand to the ark to give it a
wrong touch,[296] and to overturn it, as many now do, when the archers
are shooting sore at Joseph, whose bow shall abide in its strength. We
owe to our royal King and princely Master a testimony. Oh, how blessed
are they who can ward a blow off Christ, and His borne-down truth! Men
think Christ a gone man now, and that He shall never get up His head
again; and they believe that His court is failed, because He suffereth
men to break their spears and swords upon Him, and the enemies to
plough Zion, and make long and deep their furrows on her back. But it
would not be so, if the Lord had not a sowing for His ploughing. What
can He do, but melt an old drossy kirk, that He may bring out a new
bride out of the fire again? I think that Christ is just now repairing
His house, and exchanging His old vessels with new vessels, and is
going through this land, and taking up an inventory and a roll of so
many of Levi's sons, and good professors, that He may make them new
work for the Second Temple; and whatsoever shall be found not to be
for the work, shall be casten over the wall. When the house shall be
builded, He will lay by His hammers, as having no more to do with
them. It is possible that He may do worse to them than lay them by;
and I think the vengeance of the Lord, and the vengeance of His
temple, shall be upon them.

  [296] In old editions, "totch;" and explained to be a sudden push,
  such a push, too, as sets the object in motion. The allusion is to 2
  Sam. vi. 6.

I desire no more than to keep weight when I am past the fire; and I
can now, in some weak measure, give Christ a testimonial of a lovely
and loving companion under suffering for Him. I saw Him before, but
afar off. His beauty, to my eyesight, groweth. A fig, a straw for a
ten worlds' plastered glory, and for childish shadows, the idol of
clay (this god, the world) that fools fight for! If I had a lease of
Christ of my own dating (for whoever once cometh nigh-hand, and taketh
a hearty look of Christ's inner side, shall never wring nor wrestle
themselves out of His love-grips again), I would rest contentedly in
my prison, yea, in my prison without light of sun or candle, providing
Christ and I had a love-bed, not of mine, but of Christ's own making,
that we might lie together among the lilies, till the day break and
the shadows flee away. Who knoweth how sweet a drink of Christ's love
is! Oh, but to live on Christ's love is a king's life! The worst
things of Christ, even that which seemeth to be the refuse of Christ,
His hard cross, His black cross, is white and fair; and the cross
receiveth a beautiful lustre and a perfumed smell from Jesus. My dear
brother, scaur not at it.

While ye have time to stand upon the watch-tower and speak, contend
with this land. Plead with your harlot-mother, who hath been a
treacherous half-marrow to her husband Jesus. For I would think
liberty to preach one day the root and top of my desires; and would
seek no more of the blessings that are to be had on this side of time,
till I be over the water, than to spend this my crazy clay-house in
His service, and saving of souls. But I hold my peace, because He hath
done it. My shallow and ebb thoughts are not the compass which Christ
saileth by. I leave His ways to Himself, for they are far, far above
me: only I would contend with Christ for His love, and be bold to make
a plea with Jesus, my Lord, for a heart-fill of His love; for there is
no more left to me. What standeth beyond the far end of my sufferings,
and what shall be the event, He knoweth, and I hope, to my joy, will
make me know, when God will unfold His decrees concerning me. For
there are windings, and tos and fros, in His ways, which blind bodies
like us cannot see.

Thus much for farther acquaintance; so, recommending you, and what is
before you, to the grace of God, I rest,

  Your very loving brother in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 16, 1637_.



CLXXXIV.--_To_ MR. WILLIAM DALGLEISH. [Letter CXVII.]

(_THE FRAGRANCE OF THE MINISTRY--A REVIEW OF HIS PAST AND PRESENT
SITUATION, AND OF HIS PROSPECTS._)


REVEREND AND WELL-BELOVED BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be unto
you. I have heard somewhat of your trials in Galloway. I bless the
Lord, who hath begun first in that corner to make you a new kirk to
Himself. Christ hath the less ado behind, when He hath refined you.

Let me entreat you, my dearly beloved, to be fast to Christ. My
witness is above, my dearest brother, that ye have added much joy to
me in my bonds, when I hear that ye grow in the grace and zeal of God
for your Master. Our ministry, whether by preaching or suffering, will
cast a smell through the world both of heaven and hell (2 Cor. ii. 15,
16). I persuade you, my dear brother, that there is nothing out of
heaven, next to Christ, dearer to me than my ministry; and the worth
of it, in my estimation, is swelled, and paineth me exceedingly. Yet I
am content, for the honour of my Lord, to surrender it back again to
the Lord of the vineyard. Let Him do with it, and me both, what He
thinketh good. I think myself too little for Him.

And, let me speak to you, how kind a fellow-prisoner is Christ to me!
Believe me, this kind of cross (that would not go by my door, but
would needs visit me) is still the longer the more welcome to me. It
is true, my silent Sabbaths have been, and still are, as glassy ice,
whereon my faith can scarce hold its feet, and I am often blown on my
back, and off my feet, with a storm of doubting; yet truly, my bonds
all this time cast a mighty and rank smell of high and deep love in
Christ. I cannot, indeed, see through my cross to the far end; yet I
believe I am in Christ's books, and in His decree (not yet unfolded to
me), a man triumphing, dancing, and singing, on the other side of the
Red Sea, and laughing and praising the Lamb, over beyond time, sorrow,
deprivation, prelates' indignation, losses, want of friends, and
death. Heaven is not a fowl flying in the air (as men use to speak of
things that are uncertain); nay, it is well paid for. Christ's
comprisement lieth on[297] glory for all the mourners in Zion, and
shall never be loosed. Let us be glad and rejoice, that we have
blood, losses, and wounds, to show our Master and Captain at His
appearance, and what we suffered for His cause.

  [297] "To lie on" is for a thing to be a matter of duty or obligation,
  or of legal security. Christ has laid His comprisement on glory; He
  hath taken care that the mourners in Zion be secured in possession of
  glory.

Woe is me, my dear brother, that I say often, "I am but dry bones,
which my Lord will not bring out of the grave again;" and that my
faithless fears say, "Oh, I am a dry tree, that can bear no fruit; I
am a useless body, who can beget no children to the Lord in His
house!" Hopes of deliverance look cold and uncertain, and afar off, as
if I had done with it. It is much for Christ (if I may say so) to get
law-borrows of my sorrow, and of my quarrelous heart. Christ's love
playeth me fair play. I am not wronged at all; but there is a tricking
and false heart within me, that still playeth Christ foul play. I am a
cumbersome neighbour to Christ: it is a wonder that He dwelleth beside
the like of me. Yet I often get the advantage of the hill above my
temptations, and then I despise temptation, even hell itself, and the
stink of it, and the instruments of it, and am proud of my honourable
Master. And I resolve, whether contrary winds will or not, to fetch
Christ's harbour; and I think a wilful and stiff contention with my
Lord Jesus for His love very lawful. It is sometimes hard to me to win
my meat upon Christ's love, because my faith is sick, and my hope
withereth, and my eyes wax dim; and unkind and comfort-eclipsing
clouds go over the fair and bright Sun, Jesus; and then, when I and
temptation tryst the matter together, we spill all through unbelief.
Sweet, sweet for evermore would my life be, if I could keep faith in
exercise! But I see that my fire cannot always cast light; I have even
a "poor man's hard world," when He goeth away. But surely, since my
entry hither, many a time hath my fair sun shined without a cloud: hot
and burning hath Christ's love been to me. I have no vent to the
expression of it; I must be content with stolen and smothered desires
of Christ's glory. Oh, how far is His love behind the hand with
me![298] I am just like a man who hath nothing to pay his thousands of
debt: all that can be gotten of him is to seize upon his person.
Except Christ would seize upon myself, and make the readiest payment
that can be of my heart and love to Himself, I have no other thing to
give Him. If my sufferings could do beholders good, and edify His
kirk, and proclaim the incomparable worth of Christ's love to the
world, oh, then would my soul be overjoyed, and my sad heart be
cheered and calmed!

  [298] Far from receiving what I owe to it.

Dear brother, I cannot tell what is become of my labours among that
people! If all that my Lord builded by me be casted down, and the
bottom be fallen out of the profession of that parish, and none stand
by Christ, whose love I once preached as clearly and plainly as I
could (though far below its worth and excellence) to that people; if
so, how can I bear it! And if another make a foul harvest, where I
have made a painful and honest sowing, it will not soon digest with
me. But I know that His ways pass finding out. Yet my witness, both
within me and above me, knoweth. And my pained breast upon the Lord's
Day at night, my desire to have had Christ awful, and amiable, and
sweet to that people, is now my joy. It was my desire and aim to make
Christ and them one; and, if I see my hopes die in the bud, ere they
bloom a little, and come to no fruit, I die with grief. O my God, seek
not an account of the violence done to me by my brethren, whose
salvation I love and desire. I pray that they and I be not heard as
contrary parties in the day of our compearance before our Judge, in
that process, led by them against my ministry which I received from
Christ. I know that a little inch, and less than the third part of
this span-length and hand-breadth of time, which is posting away will
put me without the stroke, and above the reach, of either brethren or
foes; and it is a short-lasting injury done to me, and to my pains in
that part of my Lord's vineyard. Oh, how silly an advantage is my
deprivation to men, seeing that my Lord Jesus hath many ways to
recover His own losses, and is irresistible to compass His own
glorious ends, that His lily may grow amongst thorns, and His little
kingdom exalt Himself, even under the swords and spears of contrary
powers!

But, my dear brother, go on in the strength of His rich grace, whom ye
serve. Stand fast for Christ. Deliver the Gospel off your hand, and
your ministry to your Master, with a clean and undefiled conscience.
Loose not a pin of Christ's tabernacle. Do not so much as pick with
your nail at one board or border of the ark. Have no part or dealing,
upon any terms, in a hoof (Exod. x. 26), in a closed window (Dan. vi.
10), or in a bowing of your knee, in casting down of the temple. But
be a mourning and speaking witness against them who now ruin Zion. Our
Master will be on us all now in a clap, ere ever we wit. That day will
discover all our whites and our blacks, concerning this controversy of
poor oppressed Zion. Let us make our part of it good, that it may be
able to abide the fire, when hay and stubble shall be burned to ashes.
Nothing, nothing, I say, nothing, but sound sanctification can abide
the Lord's fan. I stand to my testimony that I preached often of
Scotland.--"Lamentation, mourning, and woe abideth thee, O Scotland! O
Scotland! the fearful quarrel of a broken covenant standeth good with
thy Lord!"

Now, remember my love to all my friends, and to my parishioners, as if
I named each of them particularly. I recommend you, and God's people,
committed by Christ to your trust, to the rich grace of our
all-sufficient Lord. Remember my bonds. Praise my Lord, who beareth me
up in my sufferings. As ye find occasion, according to the wisdom
given you, show our acquaintance what the Lord hath done to my soul.
This I seek not, verily, to hunt my own praise, but that my sweetest
and dearest Master may be magnified in my sufferings. I rest,

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 16, 1637_.



CLXXXV.--_To_ MARION M'NAUGHT.

(_LONGING TO BE RESTORED TO HIS CHARGE._)


DEARLY BELOVED IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,--Grace, mercy, and peace be
to you. Few know the heart of a stranger and prisoner. I am in the
hands of mine enemies. I would that honest and lawful means were
essayed for bringing me home to my charge, now when Mr. A. R. and Mr.
H. R. are restored. It concerneth you of Galloway most, to use
supplications and addresses for this purpose, and try if by fair means
I can be brought back again. As for liberty, without I be restored to
my flock, it is little to me; for my silence is my greatest prison.
However it be, I wait for the Lord; I hope not to rot in my
sufferings: Lord, give me submission to wait on. My heart is sad that
my days flee away, and I do no service to my Lord in His house, now
when His harvest and the souls of perishing people require it. But His
ways are not like my ways, neither can I find Him out. Oh that He
would shine upon my darkness, and bring forth my morning light from
under the thick cloud that men have spread over me! Oh that the
Almighty would lay my cause in a balance and weigh me, if my soul was
not taken up, when others were sleeping, how to have Christ betrothed
with a bride, in that part of the land! But that day that my mouth was
most unjustly and cruelly closed, the bloom fell off my branches, and
my joy did cast the flower. Howbeit, I have been casting myself under
God's feet, and wrestling to believe under a hidden and covered Lord;
yet my fainting cometh before I eat, and my faith hath bowed with the
sore cast, and under this almost insupportable weight! Oh that it
break not! I dare not say that the Lord hath put out my candle, and
hath casten water upon my poor coal, and broken the stakes of my
tabernacle; but I have tasted bitterness, and eaten gall and wormwood,
since that day on which my Master laid bonds upon me to speak no more.
I speak not this because the Lord is unco to me, but because
beholders, that stand on dry land, see not my sea-storm. The witnesses
of my sad cross are but strangers to my sad days and nights. Oh that
Christ would let me alone, and speak love to me, and come home to me,
and bring summer with Him! Oh that I might preach His beauty and
glory, as once I did, before my clay-tent be removed to darkness! and
that I might lift Christ off the ground! and my branches might be
watered with the dew of God, and my joy in His work might grow green
again, and bud, and send out a flower! But I am but a short-sighted
creature, and my candle casteth not light afar off. He knoweth all
that is done to me; how that when I had but one joy, and no more, and
one green flower that I esteemed to be my garland, He came in one hour
and dried up my flower at the root, and took away mine only eye, and
my one only crown and garland. What can I say? Surely my guiltiness
hath been remembered before Him, and He was seeking to take down my
sails, and to land the flower of my delights, and to let it lie on the
coast, like an old broken ship, that is no more for the sea. But I
praise Him for this waled stroke. I welcome this furnace; God's wisdom
made choice of it for me, and it must be best, because it was His
choice. Oh that I may wait for Him till the morning of this benighted
kirk break out! This poor, afflicted kirk had a fair morning, but her
night came upon her before her noon-day, and she was like a traveller,
forced to take house in the morning of his journey. And now her
adversaries are the chief men in the land; her ways mourn; her gates
languish: her children sigh for bread; and there is none to be instant
with the Lord, that He would come again to His house, and dry the face
of His weeping spouse, and comfort Zion's mourners, who are waiting
for Him. I know that He will make corn to grow upon the top of His
withered Mount Zion again.

Remember my bonds, and forget me not. Oh that my Lord would bring me
again amongst you with abundance of the Gospel of Christ! But, oh,
that I may set down my desires where my Lord biddeth me! Remember my
love in the Lord to your husband; God make him faithful to Christ! and
my blessing to your three children. Faint not in prayer for this kirk.
Desire my people not to receive a stranger and intruder upon my
ministry. Let me stand in that right and station that my Lord Jesus
gave me.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord and Master,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLXXXVI.--_To_ ROBERT STUART.

     [This ROBERT STUART was probably the son of Provost Stuart of
     Ayr, to whom several letters are addressed. Allusion is made to
     his early conversion.]

(_CHRIST CHOOSES HIS OWN IN THE FURNACE--NEED OF A DEEP WORK--THE
GOD-MAN, A WORLD'S WONDER._)


MY VERY DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. Ye are
heartily welcome to my world of suffering, and heartily welcome to my
Master's house. God give you much joy of your new Master. If I have
been in the house before you, I were not faithful to give the house an
ill name, or to speak evil of the Lord of the family; I rather wish
God's Holy Spirit (O Lord, breathe upon me with that Spirit!), to tell
you the fashions of the house (Ezek. xliii. 11). One thing I can say,
by on-waiting ye will grow a great man with the Lord of the house.
Hang on till ye get some good from Christ. Lay all your loads and your
weights by faith upon Christ; take ease to yourself, and let Him bear
all. He can, He dow,[299] He will bear you, howbeit hell were upon
your back. I rejoice that He is come, and hath chosen you in the
furnace; it was even there where ye and He set tryst. That is an old
gate of Christ's: He keepeth the good old fashion with you, that was
in Hosea's days: "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her
into the wilderness, and speak to her heart" (Hos. ii. 14, margin).
There was no talking to her heart, while He and she were in the fair
and flourishing city, and at ease; but out in the cold, hungry, waste
wilderness, He allured her, He whispered news into her ear there, and
said, "Thou art Mine." What would ye think of such a bode? Ye may soon
do worse than say, "Lord, hold all; Lord Jesus, a bargain be it, it
shall not go back on my side."

  [299] Should we not read "_doth_?"

Ye have gotten a great advantage in the way of heaven, that ye have
started to the gate in the morning. Like a fool, as I was, I suffered
my sun to be high in the heaven, and near afternoon, before ever I
took the gate by the end. I pray you now keep the advantage ye have.
My heart, be not lazy; set quickly up the brae on hands and feet, as
if the last pickle of sand were running out of your glass, and death
were coming to turn the glass. And be very careful to take heed to
your feet, in that slippery and dangerous way of youth that ye are
walking in. The devil and temptations now have the advantage of the
brae of you, and are upon your wand-hand, and your working-hand. Dry
timber will soon take fire. Be covetous and greedy of the grace of
God, and beware that it be not a holiness which cometh only from the
cross; for too many are that way disposed. "When He slew them, then
they sought Him, and they returned and inquired early after God."
"Nevertheless, they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied
unto Him with their tongues" (Ps. lxxviii. 34, 36). It is part of our
hypocrisy, to give God fair, white words,[300] when He hath us in His
grips (if I may speak so), and to flatter Him till He win to the fair
fields again. Try well green godliness, and examine what it is that ye
love in Christ. If ye love but Christ's sunny side, and would have
only summer weather and a land-gate, not a sea-way to heaven, your
profession will play you a slip, and the winter-well will go dry again
in summer.

  [300] Plausible speeches.

Make no sport nor bairn's play of Christ; but labour for a sound and
lively sight of sin, that ye may judge yourself an undone man, a
damned slave of hell and of sin, one dying in your own blood, except
Christ come and rue upon you, and take you up. And therefore, make
sure and fast work of conversion. Cast the earth deep; and down, down
with the old work, the building of confusion, that was there before;
and let Christ lay new work, and make a new creation within you. Look
if Christ's rain goeth down to the root of your withered plants, and
if His love wound your heart whill it bleed with sorrow for sin, and
if ye can pant and fall aswoon, and be like to die for that lovely
one, Jesus. I know that Christ will not be hid where He is; grace will
ever speak for itself, and be fruitful in well-doing. The sanctified
cross is a fruitful tree; it bringeth forth many apples.

If I should tell you by some weak experience, what I have found in
Christ, ye or others could hardly believe me. I thought not the
hundredth part of Christ long since, that I do now, though, alas! my
thoughts are still infinitely below His worth. I have a dwining,
sickly, and pained life, for a real possession of Him; and am troubled
with love-brashes and love-fevers; but it is a sweet pain. I would
refuse no conditions, not hell excepted (reserving always God's
hatred), to buy possession of Jesus. But, alas! I am not a merchant,
who have any money to give for Him: I must either come to a good-cheap
market, where wares are had for nothing, else I go home empty. But I
have casten this work upon Christ to get me Himself. I have His faith,
and truth, and promise, as a pawn of His, all engaged that I shall
obtain that which my hungry desires would be at; and I esteem that the
choice of my happiness. And for Christ's cross, especially the garland
and flower of all crosses, to suffer for His name, I esteem it more
than I can write or speak to you. And I write it under mine own hand
to you, that it is one of the steps of the ladder up to our country;
and Christ (whoever be one) is still at the heavy end of this black
tree, and so it is but as a feather to me. I need not run at
leisure,[301] because of a burden on my back; my back never bare the
like of it; the more heavily crossed for Christ, the soul is still the
lighter for the journey.

  [301] I am not obliged to run slowly.

Now, would to God that all cold-blooded, faint-hearted soldiers of
Christ would look again to Jesus, and to His love; and when they look,
I would have them to look again and again, and fill themselves with
beholding of Christ's beauty; and I dare say then that Christ would
come into great court and request with many. The virgins would flock
fast about the Bridegroom; they would embrace and take hold of Him,
and not let Him go. But when I have spoken of Him, till my head rive,
I have said just nothing. I may begin again. A Godhead, a Godhead is a
world's wonder. Set ten thousand thousand new-made worlds of angels
and elect men, and double them in number, ten thousand, thousand,
thousand times; let their heart and tongues be ten thousand thousand
times more agile and large, than the heart and tongues of the seraphim
that stand with six wings before Him (Isa. vi. 2), when they have said
all for the glorifying and praising of the Lord Jesus, they have but
spoken little or nothing; His love will abide all possible creatures
praise. Oh, if I could wear this tongue to the stump, in extolling His
highness! But it is my daily-growing sorrow, that I am confounded with
His incomparable love, and that He doeth so great things for my soul,
and hath got never yet anything of me worth the speaking of. Sir, I
charge you, help me to praise Him; it is a shame to speak of what He
hath done for me, and what I do to Him again. I am sure that Christ
hath many drowned dyvours[302] in heaven beside Him; and when we are
convened, man and angel, at the great day, in that fair last meeting,
we are all but His drowned dyvours: it is hard to say who oweth Him
most. If men could do no more, I would have them to wonder: if ye
cannot be filled with Christ's love, we may be filled with wondering.

  [302] Drowned over head and ears in His debt.

Sir, I would that I could persuade you to grow sick for Christ, and to
long after Him, and be pained with love for Himself. But His tongue is
in heaven who can do it. To Him and His rich grace I recommend you.

I pray you, pray for me, and forget not to praise.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, _June 17, 1637_.



CLXXXVII.--_To the_ LADY GAITGIRTH.

[LADY GAITGIRTH, or ISABEL BLAIR, daughter to John Blair of that ilk,
by Grizel his wife, daughter to Robert, Lord Semple, was the wife of
James Chalmers of Gaitgirth. To him she had five sons and five
daughters. Mr. Fergushill of Ochiltree resided in the vicinity; see
Letter CXII. Her husband, to whom Rutherford expresses his obligations
in the close of this letter, was a man of worth. He was made
Sheriff-Principal of Ayrshire in 1632; and in 1633, he and Sir William
Cunningham of Cunninghamhead represented Ayrshire in Parliament.
Embracing the cause of the Covenant, he, in 1641, with Cassilis and
Caprington, were sent as commissioners from the Scottish Parliament to
Newcastle; and in 1649 he had a troop in Colonel Robert Montgomery's
Horse (Robertson's "Ayrshire Families"). His great-grandfather, James
Chalmers of Gaitgirth, who lived at the time of the Reformation, was a
very zealous reformer, and is described by Knox, Calderwood, and
Spottiswood, as one of the boldest and most daring men of any who took
part in that important revolution.

The name is often written Gathgirth and Gadgirth. It is in the parish
of Coylton, about four miles from Monkton. The modern mansion occupies
the fine site of the old, on a wooded knoll that overhangs the river
Ayr, at one point commanding a view of ARRAN and Goatfell. It is a
small estate.]

(_CHRIST UNCHANGEABLE, THOUGH NOT ALWAYS ENJOYED--HIS LOVE NEVER YET
FULLY POURED OUT--HIMSELF HIS PEOPLE'S CAUTIONER._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I long to know how
matters stand betwixt Christ and your soul. I know that ye find Him
still the longer the better; time cannot change Him in His love. Ye
may yourself ebb and flow, rise and fall, wax and wane; but your Lord
is this day as He was yesterday. And it is your comfort that your
salvation is not rolled upon wheels of your own making, neither have
ye to do with a Christ of your own shaping. God hath singled out a
Mediator (Ps. lxxxix. 19), strong and mighty: if ye and your burdens
were as heavy as ten hills or hells, He is able to bear you, and save
you to the uttermost. Your often seeking to Him cannot make you a
burden to Him. I know that Christ compassionateth you, and maketh a
moan for you, in all your dumps, and under your downcastings; but it
is good for you that He hideth Himself sometimes. It is not niceness,
dryness, nor coldness of love, that causeth Christ to withdraw, and
slip in under a curtain and a vail, that ye cannot see Him; but He
knoweth that ye could not bear with upsails, a fair gale, a full moon,
and a high spring-tide of His felt love, and always a fair summer-day
and a summer-sun of a felt and possessed and embracing Lord Jesus. His
kisses and His visits to His dearest ones are thin-sown. He could not
let out His rivers of love upon His own, but these rivers would be in
hazard of loosening a young plant at the root;[303] and He knoweth
this of you. Ye should, therefore, frist Christ's kindness, as to its
sensible and full manifestations, till ye and He be above sun and
moon. That is the country where ye will be enlarged for that love
which ye dow not now contain.

  [303] The river Ayr flows close to Gaitgirth; so that, in time of
  flood, Lady Gaitgirth would often see an exemplification of what is
  alluded to,--the water loosening the tree's roots.

Cast the burden of your sweet babes upon Christ, and lighten your
heart, by laying your all upon Him: He will be their God. I hope to
see you up the mountain yet, and glad in the salvation of God. Frame
yourself for Christ, and gloom not upon His cross. I find Him so
sweet, that my love, suppose I would charge it to remove from Christ,
would not obey me: His love hath stronger fingers than to let go its
grips of us bairns, who cannot go but by such a hold as Christ. It is
good that we want legs of our own, since we may borrow from Christ;
and it is our happiness that Christ is under an act of cautionary for
heaven, and that Christ is booked in heaven as the principal debtor
for such poor bodies as we are.

I request you to give the laird, your husband, thanks for his care of
me, in that he hath appeared in public for a prisoner of Christ. I
pray and write mercy, and peace, and blessings to him and his.

Grace, grace be with you for ever.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CLXXXVIII.--_To MR. JOHN FERGUSHILL of Ochiltree._

(_DESPONDING VIEWS OF HIS OWN STATE--MINISTERIAL DILIGENCE--CHRIST'S
WORTH--SELF-SEEKING._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy and peace be to you. My
longings and desires for a sight of the new-builded tabernacle of
Christ again in Scotland, that tabernacle that came down from heaven,
hath now taken some life again, when I see Christ making a mint to sow
vengeance among His enemies. I care not, if this land be ripe for such
a great, wonderful mercy; but I know He must do it, whenever it is
done, without hire. I find the grief of my silence, and my fear to be
holden at the door of Christ's house, swelling upon me; and the truth
is, were it not that I am dawted now and then with pieces of Christ's
sweet love and comforts, I fear I should have made an ill browst of
this honourable cross, that I know such a soft and silly-minded body
as I am is not worthy of. For I have little in me but softness, and
superlative and excessive apprehensions of fear, and sadness, and
sorrow; and often God's terrors do surround me, because Christ looketh
not so favourably upon me as a poor witness would have Him. And I
wonder how I have past a year and a quarter's imprisonment without
shaming my sweet Lord, to whom I desire to be faithful; and I think I
shall die but even[304] minting and aiming to serve and honour my Lord
Jesus. Few know how toom and empty I am at home; but it is a part of
marriage-love and husband-love, that my Lord Jesus goeth not to the
streets with His chiding against me. It is but stolen and concealed
anger that I find and feel, and His glooms to me are kept under roof,
that He will not have mine enemies hear what is betwixt me and Him.
And, believe me, I say the truth in Christ, that the only gall and
wormwood in my cup, and that which hath filled me with fear, hath
been, lest my sins, that sun and moon and the Lord's children were
never witness to, should have moved my Lord to strike me with dumb
Sabbaths. Lord, pardon my soft and weak jealousies, if I be here in an
error.

  [304] Only just attempting.

My very dear brother, I would have looked for larger and more
particular letters from you, for my comfort in this; for your words
before have strengthened me. I pray you to mend this; and be thankful
and painful, while ye have a piece or corner of the Lord's vineyard to
dress. Oh, would to God that I could have leave to follow you, to
break the clods! But I wish I could command my soul to be silent, and
to wait upon the Lord. I am sure that while Christ lives, I am well
enough friend-stead. I hope that He will extend His kindness and power
for me; but God be thanked it is not worse with me than a cross for
Christ and His truth. I know that He might have pitched upon many more
choice and worthy witnesses, if He had pleased; but I seek no more (be
what timber I will, suppose I were made of a piece of hell) than that
my Lord, in His infinite art, hew glory to His name, and enlargement
to Christ's kingdom, out of me. Oh that I could attain to this, to
desire that my part of Christ might be laid in pledge for the
heightening of Christ's throne in Britain! Let my Lord redeem the
pledge; or, if He please, let it sink and drown unredeemed. But what
can I add to Him? or what way can a smothered and borne-down prisoner
set out Christ in open market, as a lovely and desirable Lord to many
souls? I know that He seeth to His own glory better than my ebb
thoughts can dream of; and that the wheels and paces of this poor
distempered kirk are in His hands; and that things shall roll as
Christ will have them:--only, Lord, tryst the matter so, as Christ may
be made a householder and lord again in Scotland, and wet faces for
His departure may be dried at His sweet and much-desired welcome-home!
I see that, in all our trials, our Lord will not mix our wares and His
grace overhead through other; but He will have each man to know his
own, that the like of me may say in my sufferings, "This is Christ's
grace, and this is but my coarse stuff: This is free grace, and this
is but nature and reason." We know what our legs would play us, if
they should carry us through all our waters. And the least thing our
Lord can have of us, is to know we are grace's dyvours, and that
nature is of a base house and blood, and grace is better born, and of
kin and blood to Christ, and of a better house. Oh that I were free of
that idol which they call _myself_; and that _Christ_ were for
_myself_; and _myself_ a decourted cypher, and a denied and forsworn
thing! But that proud thing, _myself_, will not play, except it ride
up side for side with Christ, or rather have place before Him. O
_myself_ (another devil, as evil as the prince of devils!), if thou
couldst give Christ the way, and take thine own room, which is to sit
as low as nothing or corruption! Oh, but we have much need to be
ransomed and redeemed by Christ from that master-tyrant, that cruel
and lawless lord, _ourself_. Nay, when I am seeking Christ, and am out
of myself, I have the third part of a squint eye upon that vain, vain
thing, _myself, myself_, and something of mine own. But I must hold
here.

I desire you to contribute your help, to see if I can be restored to
my wasted and lost flock. I see not how it can be, except the lords
would procure me a liberty to preach; and they have reason. 1. Because
the opposers and my adversaries have practised their new canons upon
me, whereof one is, that no deprived minister preach, under the pain
of excommunication. 2. Because my opposing of these canons was a
special thing that incensed Sydserff against me.[305] 3. Because I was
judicially accused for my book against the Arminians, and commanded by
the Chancellor to acknowledge that I had done a fault in writing
against Dr. Jackson, a wicked Arminian.[306] Pray for a room in the
house to me.

Grace, grace be (as it is) your portion.

  Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [305] Thomas Sydserff, now Bishop of Galloway, was the chief
  instrument in procuring Rutherford's banishment to Aberdeen. He was
  minister of the College Church, Edinburgh; and afterwards successively
  Bishop of Brechin, Galloway, and Orkney. He early imbibed Arminian
  principles, and promoted the measures of Archbishop Laud, and was
  supposed to lean to Popery, it being generally believed that he wore
  under his coat a crucifix of gold. All this rendered him so unpopular,
  that, on appearing in the streets of Edinburgh in 1637, when great
  excitement existed on account of the Service-Book, he was attacked by
  the matrons of the city. He had equal reason to "cry to the gentlemen
  for help" under similar attacks in other places. At the Restoration of
  Charles II. he was the only surviving bishop in Scotland. He was then
  nominated to the see of Orkney, but survived his promotion little more
  than a year.

  [306] Dr. Thomas Jackson, Dean of Peterborough, first held Calvinistic
  sentiments, but afterwards became an Arminian,--a change which
  recommended him to the favour and patronage of Archbishop Laud. He was
  a man of talent, and the author of various theological works, of which
  his "Commentary on the Apostles' Creed" is the most important.
  Rutherford's book against the Arminians, here referred to, in which he
  treated Jackson with little ceremony, and which was one cause of his
  banishment by the High Commission Court, is entitled, "Exercitationes
  Apologeticæ pro Divinâ Gratiâ." It was published at Amsterdam in the
  beginning of the year 1636, and gained the author no small reputation
  abroad. Baillie, in giving an account of Rutherford's trial before the
  High Commission Court, says: "They were animate also against him for
  taxing Cameron in his book; and most, for his indiscreet railing at
  Jackson" ("Letters and Journals").



CLXXXIX.--_To JOHN STUART, Provost of Ayr._ [Letter CLXIII.]

(_HOPE FOR SCOTLAND--SELF-SUBMISSION--CHRIST HIMSELF IS SOUGHT FOR BY
FAITH--STABILITY OF SALVATION--HIS WAYS._)


WORTHY SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I long for the time
when I shall see the beauty of the Lord in His house; and would be as
glad of it as of any sight on earth, to see the halt, the blind, and
the lame, come back to Zion with supplications (Jer. xxxi. 8, 9),
"Going and weeping, and seeking the Lord; asking the way to Zion, with
their faces thitherward" (Jer. l. 4, 5); and to see the Woman
travailing in birth, delivered of the man-child of a blessed
reformation. If this land were humbled, I would look that our skies
should clear, and our day dawn again; and ye should then bless Christ,
who is content to save your travel, and to give Himself to you, in
pure ordinances, on this side of the sea. I know the mercy of Christ
is engaged by promise to Scotland, notwithstanding He bring wrath, as
I fear He will, upon this land.

I am waiting on for enlargement, and half content that my faith bow,
if Christ, while He bow it, keep it unbroken; for who goeth through a
fire without a mark or a scald? I see the Lord making use of this
fire, to scour His vessels from their rust. Oh that my will were
silent, and "as a child weaned from the breasts"! (Ps. cxxxi.). But,
alas! who hath a heart that will give Christ the last word in flyting,
and will hear and not speak again? Oh! contestations and quarrelous
replies (as a soon-saddled spirit, "I do well to be angry, even to the
death") (Jonah iv. 9) smell of the stink of strong corruption. O
blessed soul, that could sacrifice his will, and go to heaven, having
lost his will and made resignation of it to Christ! I would seek no
more than that Christ were absolute King over my will, and that my
will were a sufferer in all crosses, without meeting Christ with such
a word, "Why is it thus?" I wish still, that my love had but leave to
stand beside beautiful Jesus, and to get the mercy of looking to Him,
and burning for Him, suppose that possession of Him were suspended,
and fristed till my Lord fold together the leaves and two sides of the
little shepherds' tents of clay. Oh, what pain is in longing for
Christ, under an over-clouded and eclipsed assurance! What is harder
than to burn and dwine with longing and deaths of love, and then to
have blanks and uninked paper for[307] assurance of Christ in real
fruition or possession? Oh how sweet were one line, or half a letter,
of a written assurance under Christ's own hand! But this is our
exercise daily, that guiltiness shall overmist and darken assurance.
It is a miracle to believe; but, for a sinner to believe, is two
miracles. But oh, what obligations of love are we under to Christ, who
beareth with our wild apprehensions, in suffering them to nickname
sweet Jesus, and to put a lie upon His good name! If He had not been
God, and if long-suffering in Christ were not like Christ Himself, we
should long ago have broken Christ's mercies in two pieces, and put an
iron bar on our salvation, that mercy should not have been able to
break or overleap. But long-suffering in God is God Himself; and that
is our salvation; and the stability of our heaven is in God. He knew
who said, "Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col. i. 27) (for our
hope, and the bottom and pillars of it, is Christ-God!), that sinners
are anchor-fast, and made stable in God. So that if God do not change
(which is impossible), then my hope shall not fluctuate. Oh, sweet
stability of sure-bottomed salvation! Who could win heaven, if this
were not so? and who could be saved, if God were not God, and if He
were not such a God as He is? Oh, God be thanked that our salvation is
coasted, and landed, and shored upon Christ, who is Master of winds
and storms! And what sea-winds can blow the coast or the land out of
its place? Bulwarks are often casten down, but coasts are not removed:
but suppose that were or might be, yet God cannot reel nor remove. Oh
that we go from this strong and immoveable Lord, and that we loosen
ourselves (if it were in our power) from Him! Alas! our green and
young love hath not taken with Christ, being unacquainted with Him. He
is such a wide, and broad, and deep, and high, and surpassing
sweetness, that our love is too little for Him. But oh, if our love,
little as it is, could take band with His great and huge sweetness,
and transcendent excellency! Oh, thrice blessed, and eternally
blessed are they, who are out of themselves, and above themselves,
that they may be in love united to Him!

  [307] _For_; _i.e._ instead of.

I am often rolling up and down the thoughts of my faint and sick
desires of expressing Christ's glory before His people. But I see not
through the throng of impediments, and cannot find eyes to look
higher; and so I put many things in Christ's way to hinder Him, that I
know He would but laugh at, and with one stride set His foot over them
all. I know not if my Lord will bring me to His sanctuary or not; but
I know that He hath the placing of me, either within or without the
house, and that nothing will be done without Him. But I am often
thinking and saying within myself, that my days flee away, and I see
no good, neither yet Christ's work thriving; and it is like that the
grave shall prevent[308] the answer of my desires of saving souls as I
would. But, alas! I cannot make right work of His ways; I neither
spell nor read my Lord's providence aright. My thoughts go away that I
fear they meet not God; for it is likely that God will not come the
way of my thoughts. And I cannot be taught to crucify to Him my wisdom
and desires, and to make Him King over my thoughts; for I would have a
princedom over my thoughts, and would boldly and blindly prescribe to
God, and guide myself in a way of my own making. But I hold my peace
here; let Him do His will.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweetest Lord and Master,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [308] Come before.



CXC.--_To_ CARSLUTH (_Kirkmabreck_).

     [The name of the person to whom this letter is addressed, was
     Robert Brown of Carsluth. He was a man of considerable property
     in the part of the country where Rutherford's lot was cast
     previous to his imprisonment. He must have died about the
     beginning of the year 1658, as on the 27th of April, that year,
     Thomas Brown of Carsluth is retoured heir of Robert Brown of
     Carsluth, his father, in the 7 merkland of Carsluth, etc. ("Inq.
     Retor. Abbrev. Kirkcud."). Brown of Carsluth was an ancient
     family. Gilbert Brown, abbot of New Abbey, near Dumfries, who
     disputed with John Welsh, was of the family.

     On the shore of Wigtown Bay, not far from Creetown, you see the
     old tower-like house, with a farm, well wooded. It is near the
     modern residence of Kirkdale.]

(_NECESSITY OF MAKING SURE OF SALVATION--VANITY OF THE WORLD--NOTHING
WORTH HAVING BUT CHRIST--FLIGHT OF TIME._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--I long to hear how your soul prospereth. I
earnestly desire you to try how matters stand between your soul and
the Lord. Think it no easy matter to take heaven by violence.
Salvation cometh now to the most part of men in a night-dream. There
is no scarcity of faith now, such as it is; for ye shall not now light
upon the man who will not say he hath faith in Christ. But, alas!
dreams make no man's rights.

Worthy Sir, I beseech you in the Lord to give your soul no rest till
ye have real assurance, and Christ's rights confirmed and sealed to
your soul. The common faith, and country-holiness, and week-day zeal,
that is among people, will never bring men to heaven. Take pains for
your salvation; for in that day, when ye shall see many men's labours
and conquests and idol-riches lying in ashes, when the earth and all
the works thereof shall be burnt with fire, oh how dear a price would
your soul give for God's favour in Christ! It is a blessed thing to
see Christ with up-sun, and to read over your papers and soul-accounts
with fair day-light. It will not be time to cry for a lamp when the
Bridegroom is entered into His chamber, and the door shut. Fy, fy upon
blinded and debased souls, who are committing whoredom with this
idol-clay, and hunting a poor, wretched, hungry heaven, a hungry
breakfast, a day's meat from this hungry world, with the forfeiting of
God's favour, and the _drinking over_ their heaven (_over the board_,
as men used to speak), for the laughter and sports of this short
forenoon! All that is under this vault of heaven, and betwixt us and
death, and on this side of sun and moon, is but toys, night-visions,
head-fancies, poor shadows, watery froth, godless vanities at their
best, and black hearts, and salt and sour miseries, sugared over and
confected with an hour's laughter or two, and the conceit of riches,
honour, vain, vain court, and lawless pleasures. Sir, if ye look both
to the laughing side and to the weeping side of this world, and if ye
look not only upon the skin and colour of things, but into their
inwards, and the heart of their excellency, ye shall see that one look
of Christ's sweet and lovely eye, one kiss of His fairest face, is
worth ten thousand worlds of such rotten stuff, as the foolish sons of
men set their hearts upon. Oh, Sir, turn, turn your heart to the
other side of things, and get it once free of these entanglements, to
consider eternity, death, the clay bed, the grave, awsome judgment,
everlasting burning quick in hell, where death would give as great a
price (if there were a market, wherein death might be bought and sold)
as all the world. Consider heaven and glory. But, alas! why speak I of
considering those things, which have not entered into the heart of man
to consider? Look into those depths (without a bottom) of loveliness,
sweetness, beauty, excellency, glory, goodness, grace, and mercy, that
are in Christ; and ye shall then cry down the whole world, and all the
glory of it, even when it is come to the summer-bloom; and ye shall
cry, "Up with Christ, up with Christ's Father, up with eternity of
glory!" Sir, there is a great deal less sand in your glass than when I
saw you, and your afternoon is nearer even-tide now than it was. As a
flood carried back to the sea, so doth the Lord's swift post, Time,
carry you and your life with wings to the grave. Ye eat and drink, but
time standeth not still; ye laugh, but your day fleeth away; ye sleep,
but your hours are reckoned and put by hand. Oh how soon will time
shut you out of the poor, and cold, and hungry inn of this life! And
then what will yesterday's short-born pleasures do to you, but be as a
snow-ball melted away many years since? Or worse! for the memory of
these pleasures useth to fill the soul with bitterness. Time and
experience will prove this to be true; and dying men, if they could
speak, would make this good. Lay no more on the creatures than they
are able to carry. Lay your soul and your weights upon God. Make Him
your only, only Best-beloved. Your errand to this life is to make sure
an eternity of glory to your soul, and to match your soul with Christ.
Your love, if it were more than all the love of angels in one, is
Christ's due: other things worthy in themselves, in respect of Christ,
are not worth a windlestraw, or a drink of cold water. I doubt not but
in death ye shall see all things more distinctly, and that then the
world shall bear no more bulk than it is worth, and that then it shall
couch and be contracted into nothing; and ye shall see Christ longer,
higher, broader, and deeper than ever He was. O blessed conquest, to
lose all things, and to gain Christ! I know not what ye have, if ye
want Christ! Alas! how poor is your gain, if the earth were all yours
in free heritage, holding it of no man of clay, if Christ be not
yours! Oh, seek all midses, lay all oars in the water, put forth all
your power, and bend all your endeavours, to put away and part with
all things, that ye may gain and enjoy Christ. Try and search His
word, and strive to go a step above and beyond ordinary professors;
and resolve to sweat more and run faster than they do, for salvation.
Men's midway, cold, and wise courses in godliness, and their
neighbour-like, cold, and wise pace to heaven, will cause many a man
to want his lodging at night, and to lie in the fields. I recommend
Christ and His love to your seeking; and yourself to the tender mercy
and rich grace of our Lord.

Remember my love in Christ to your wife. I desire her to learn to make
her soul's anchor fast upon Christ Himself. Few are saved. Let her
consider what joy the smiles of God in Christ will be, and what the
love-kisses of sweet, sweet Jesus, and a welcome home to the New
Jerusalem from Christ's own mouth will be to her soul, when Christ
will fold together the clay tent of her body, and lay it by His hand
for a time, till the fair morning of the general resurrection. I
avouch before God, man, and angel, that I have not seen, nor can
imagine, a lover to be comparable to lovely Jesus. I would not
exchange or niffer Him with ten heavens. If heaven could be without
Him, what could we do there? Grace, grace be with you.

  Your soul's eternal well-wisher,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXCI.--_To_ CASSINCARRIE.

     [The mansion of Cassincarrie is a mile from Creetown, in
     Kirkmabreck parish. It stands near the road, just after you pass
     the stone quarries that help to build Liverpool. It is so
     directly opposite Wigtown, that from the windows we might suppose
     the godly proprietor looking across, and praying for the martyrs
     Margaret Wilson and Margaret M'Lachlan, in 1685.[309] This
     correspondent of Rutherford was probably the son of John Mure of
     Cassincarrie, who was the second son of John Mure of Rowallan.
     Had he been John Mure of Cassincarrie, elder, he would now have
     been on the borders of ninety years of age, as his eldest
     brother, William Mure of Rowallan, died in 1616, aged sixty-nine;
     and in that case, Rutherford would doubtless have enforced his
     solemn admonitions by pointed allusions to his advanced period of
     life. His son, therefore, is very likely the person to whom this
     letter is addressed (Robertson's "Ayrshire Families," vol. iii.
     p. 361).]

  [309] The exact historical truth of these two martyrdoms is attested
  beyond denial by the full record, entered only a few years after the
  event, in the Minutes of the Kirk-Session of Penningham, with which
  the martyrs were connected.

(_EARNESTNESS ABOUT SALVATION--CHRIST HIMSELF TO BE SOUGHT._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I have been too
long in writing to you. I am confident that ye have learned to prize
Christ, and His love and favour, more than ordinary professors who
scarce see Christ with half an eye, because their sight is taken up
with eyeing and liking the beauty of this over-gilded world, that
promiseth fair to all its lovers, but in the push of a trial, when
need is, can give nothing but a fair beguile.

I know that ye are not ignorant that men come not to this world, as
some do to a market, to see and to be seen; or as some come to behold
a May-game, and only to behold, and to go home again. Ye come hither
to treat with God, and to tryst with Him in His Christ for salvation
to your soul, and to seek reconciliation with an angry, wrathful God,
in a covenant of peace made to you in Christ; and this is more than
ordinary sport, or the play that the greatest part of the world give
their heart unto. And, therefore, worthy Sir, I pray you, by the
salvation of your soul, and by the mercy of God, and your compearance
before Christ, do this in sad earnest, and let not salvation be your
by-work or your holy-day's talk only, or a work by the way. For men
think that this may be done on three days' space on a feather bed,
when death and they are fallen in hands together, and that with a word
or two they shall make their soul-matters right. Alas! this is to sit
loose and unsure in the matters of our salvation. Nay, the seeking of
this world, and of the glory of it, is but an odd[310] and by-errand
that we may slip, so being we make salvation sure. Oh, when will men
learn to be that heavenly-wise as to divorce from and free their soul
of all idol-lovers, and make Christ the only, only One, and trim and
make ready their lamps, while they have time and day! How soon will
this house skail, and the inn, where the poor soul lodgeth, fall to
the earth! How soon will some few years pass away! and then, when the
day is ended, and this life's lease expired, what have men of world's
glory but dreams and thoughts? Oh how blessed a thing is it to labour
for Christ, and to make Him sure! Know and try in time your holding of
Him, and the rights and charters of heaven, and upon what terms ye
have Christ and the Gospel, and what Christ is worth in your
estimation, and how lightly ye esteem other things, and how dearly
Christ! I am sure, that if ye see Him in His beauty and glory, ye
shall see Him to be all things, and that incomparable jewel of gold
that ye should seek, howbeit ye should sell, wadset, and forfeit your
few years' portion of this life's joys. O happy soul for evermore, who
can rightly compare this life with that long-lasting life to come, and
can balance the weighty glory of the one with the light golden vanity
of the other! The day of the Lord is now near-hand, and all men shall
come out in their blacks and whites, as they are; there shall be no
borrowed lying colours in that day, when Christ shall be called
Christ, and no longer nicknamed. Now men borrow Christ and His white
colour, and the lustre and farding of Christianity; but how many
counterfeit masks will be burned, in the day of God, in the fire that
shall burn the earth and the works that are on it? And howbeit Christ
have the hardest part of it now, yet in the presence of my Lord, whom
I serve in the spirit, I would not niffer or exchange Christ's prison,
bonds, and chains, with the gold chains and lordly rents, and smiling
and happy-like heavens of the men of this world. I am far from
thoughts of repenting because of my losses and bonds for Christ. I
wish that all my adversaries were as I am, except my bonds. Worthy,
worthy, worthy for evermore is Christ, for whom we should suffer pains
like hell's pains; far more the short hell that the saints of God have
in this life. Sir, I wish that your soul may be more acquainted with
the sweetness of Christ. Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours in his only Lord and Master,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [310] To be attended to at a leisure moment.



CXCII.--_To the_ LADY CARDONESS.

(_GRACE--THE NAME OF CHRIST TO BE EXALTED--EVERYTHING BUT GOD FAILS
US._)


MISTRESS,--I beseech you in the Lord Jesus to make every day more and
more of Christ; and try your growth in the grace of God, and what new
ground ye win daily on corruption. For travellers are day by day
either advancing farther on, and nearer home, or else they go not
right about to compass their journey.

I think still the better and better of Christ. Alas! I know not where
to set Him, I would so fain have Him high! I cannot set heavens above
heavens till I were tired with numbering, and set Him upon the
highest step and storey of the highest of them all; but I wish I could
make Him great through the world, suppose my loss, and pain, and shame
were set under the soles of His feet, that He might stand upon me.

I request that you faint not; because this world and ye are at yea and
nay, and because this is not a home that laugheth upon you. The wise
Lord, who knoweth you, will have it so, because He casteth a net for
your love, to catch it and gather it in to Himself. Therefore, bear
patiently the loss of children, and burdens, and other discontentments,
either within or without the house: your Lord in them is seeking you,
and seek ye Him. Let none be your love and choice, and the flower of
your delights, but your Lord Jesus. Set not your heart upon the world,
since God hath not made it your portion; for it will not fall to you
to get two portions, and to rejoice twice, and to be happy twice, and
to have an upper heaven, and an under heaven too. Christ our Lord, and
His saints, were not so; and, therefore, let go your grip of this
life, and of the good things of it: I hope that your heaven groweth
not hereaway. Learn daily both to possess and miss Christ, in His
secret bridegroom-smiles. He must go and come, because His infinite
wisdom thinketh it best for you. We shall be together one day. We
shall not need to borrow light from sun, moon, or candle. There shall
be no complaints on either side, in heaven. There shall be none there,
but He and we, the Bridegroom and the bride; devils, temptations,
trials, desertions, losses, sad hearts, pain, and death, shall be all
put out of play; and the devil must give up his office of tempting.
Oh, blessed is the soul whose hope hath a face looking straight out to
that day. It is not our part to make a treasure here; anything, under
the covering of heaven, which we can build upon, is but ill ground and
a sandy foundation. Every good thing, except God, wanteth a bottom,
and cannot stand its lone; how then can it bear the weight of us? Let
us not lay a load on a windlestraw. There shall nothing find my
weight, or found my happiness, but God. I know that all created power
would sink under me, if I should lean down upon it; and, therefore, it
is better to rest on God, than to sink or fall; and we weak souls must
have a bottom and a being-place, for we cannot stand our lone. Let us
then be wise in our choice, and choose and wale our own blessedness,
which is to trust in the Lord. Each one of us hath a whore and idol,
besides our Husband Christ; but it is our folly to divide our narrow
and little love; it will not serve two. It is best then to hold it
whole and together, and to give it to Christ; for we get double
interest for our love, when we lend it to, and lay it upon Christ; and
we are sure, besides, that the stock cannot perish.

Now I can say no more. Remember me. I have God's right to that people;
howbeit by the violence of men, stronger than I, I am banished from
you, and chased away. The Lord give you mercy in the day of Christ. It
may be that God will clear my sky again; howbeit there is small
appearance of my deliverance. But let Him do with me what seemeth good
in His own eyes. I am His clay; let my Potter frame and fashion me as
He pleaseth. Grace be with you.

  Your lawful and loving pastor,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXCIII.--_To_ SIBYLLA MACADAM. [See notice, Letter CXLI.]

(_CHRIST'S BEAUTY AND EXCELLENCE._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I can bear witness in my
bonds, that Christ is still the longer the better; and no worse, yea,
inconceivably better than He is (or can be) called. I think it half a
heaven to have my fill of the smell of His sweet breath, and to sleep
in the arms of Christ my Lord, with His left hand under my head and
His right hand embracing me. There is no great reckoning to be made of
the withering of my flower, in comparison of the foul and manifest
wrongs done to Christ. Nay, let never the dew of God lie upon my
branches again, let the bloom fall from my joy, and let it wither, let
the Almighty blow out my candle, so being the Lord might be great
among Jews and Gentiles, and His oppressed church delivered. Let
Christ fare well, suppose I should eat ashes. I know that He must be
sweet Himself, when His cross is so sweet. And it is the part of us
all, if we marry Himself, to marry the crosses, losses, and reproaches
also, that follow Him. For mercy followeth Christ's cross. His prison,
for beauty, is made of marble and ivory; His chains, that are laid on
His prisoners, are golden chains; and the sighs of the prisoners of
hope are perfumed with comforts, the like whereof cannot be bred or
found on this side of sun and moon. Follow on after His love; tire not
of Christ, but come in, and see His beauty and excellency, and feed
your soul upon Christ's sweetness. This world is not yours, neither
would I have your heaven made of such metal as mire and clay. Ye have
the choice and wale of all lovers in heaven or out of heaven, when ye
have Christ, the only delight of God His Father. Climb up the mountain
with joy, and faint not; for time will cut off the men who pursue
Christ's followers. Our best things here have a worm in them; our
joys, besides God, in the inner half are but woes and sorrows. Christ,
Christ is that which our love and desires can sleep sweetly and rest
safely upon.

Now the very God of peace establish you in Christ. Help a prisoner
with your prayers, and entreat that our Lord would be pleased to visit
me with a sight of His beauty in His house, as He has sometimes done.
Grace be with you.

  Yours, in his sweet Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXCIV.--_To_ MR. HUGH HENDERSON, _Minister of Dalry, Ayrshire_.

(_THE WAYS OF PROVIDENCE--BELIEVING PATIENCE._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Who knoweth but the wind may turn into the
west again, upon Christ and His desolate bride in this land; and that
Christ may get His summer by course again? For He hath had ill-weather
this long time, and could not find law or justice for Himself and His
truth these many years. I am sure the wheels of this crazed and broken
kirk run all upon no other axle-tree, nor is there any other to roll
them, and cog them, and drive them, than the wisdom and good pleasure
of our Lord. And it were a just trick and glorious of never-sleeping
Providence, to bring our brethren's darts, which they have shot at us,
back upon their own heads. Suppose they have two strings to their bow,
and can take one as another faileth them, yet there are more than
three strings upon our Lord's bow; and, besides, He cannot miss the
white that He shooteth at. I know that He shuffleth up and down in His
hand the great body of heaven and earth; and that kirk and
commonwealth are, in His hand, like a stock of cards, and that He
dealeth the play to the mourners of Zion, and to those that say, "Lie
down, that we may go over you," at His own sovereign pleasure: and I
am sure that Zion's adversaries, in this play, shall not take up their
own stakes again. Oh how sweet a thing is it to trust in Him! When
Christ hath sleeped out His sleep (if I may speak so of Him who is the
Watchman of Israel, that neither slumbereth nor sleepeth), and His
own are tried, He will arise as a strong man after wine, and make bare
His holy arm, and put on vengeance as a cloak, and deal vengeance,
thick and double, amongst the haters of Zion. It may be that we may
see Him sow and send down maledictions and vengeances as thick as
drops of rain or hail upon His enemies; for our Lord oweth them a
black day, and He useth duly to pay His debts. Neither His friend and
followers, nor His foes and adversaries shall have it to say, "That He
is not faithful and exact in keeping His word."

I know of no bar in God's way but Scotland's guiltiness; and He can
come over that impediment, and break that bar also, and then say to
guilty Scotland, as He said, "Not for your sakes" (Ezek. xxxvi. 22,
23), etc. On-waiting had ever yet a blessed issue; and to keep the
word of God's patience, keepeth still the saints dry in the water,
cold in the fire, and breathing and blood-hot in the grave. What are
prisons of iron walls, and gates of brass, to Christ? Not so good as
fail dykes, fortifications of straw, or old tottering walls. If He
give the word, then chains will fall off the arms and legs of His
prisoners. God be thanked, that our Lord Jesus hath the tutoring of
king, and court, and nobles; and that He can dry the gutters and the
mires in Zion, and lay causeways to the temple with the carcases of
bastard lord-prelates and idol shepherds. The corn on the housetops
got never the husbandman's prayers, and so is seen[311] on it, for it
filleth not the hand of mowers. Christ, and truth, and innocency,
worketh even under the earth; and verily there is hope for the
righteous. We see not what conclusions pass in heaven anent all the
affairs of God's house. We need not give hire to God to take vengeance
of His enemies, for justice worketh without hire. Oh that the seed of
hope would grow again, and come to maturity! and that we would
importune Christ, and double our knocks at His gate, and cast our
cries and shouts over the wall, that He might come out, and make our
Jerusalem the praise of the whole earth, and give us salvation for
walls and bulwarks! If Christ bud, and grow green, and bloom, and bear
seed again in Scotland, and His Father send Him two summers in one
year, and bless His crop, what cause have we to rejoice in the free
salvation of our Lord, and to set up our banners in the name of our
God! Oh that He would hasten the confusion of the leprous strumpet,
the mother and mistress of abominations in the earth, and take graven
images out of the way, and come in with the Jews in troops, and agree
with His old outcast and forsaken wife, and take them again to His bed
of love. Grace be with you.

  Yours, in our Master and Lord,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.

  [311] Is left there unreaped; Ps. cxxix. 8.



CXCV.--_To the_ LADY LARGIRIE.

     [She was wife of the proprietor of Castermadie, in the Stewartry
     of Kirkcudbright. The place was called also _Largero_, or
     Largerie, in the parish of Twynholm, near Kirkcudbright.]

(_CHRIST THE EXCLUSIVE OBJECT OF LOVE--PREPARATION FOR DEATH._)


MISTRESS,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I exhort you in the
Lord, to go on in your journey to heaven; and to be content with such
fare by the way as Christ and His followers have had before you; for
they had always the wind on their faces, and our Lord hath not changed
the way to us for our ease, but will have us following our sweet
Guide. Alas, how doth sin clog us in our journey, and retard us! What
fools are we, to have a by-good, or any other love, or match, to our
souls, beside Christ! It were best for us, like ill bairns, who are
best heard at home, to seek our own home, and to sell our hopes of
this little clay inn and idol of the earth, where we are neither well
summered nor well wintered. Oh that our souls would so fall at odds
with the love of this world, as to think of it as a traveller doth of
a drink of water, which is not any part of his treasure, but goeth
away with the using! for ten miles' journey maketh that drink to him
as nothing. Oh that we had as soon done with this world, and could as
quickly despatch the love of it! But as a child cannot hold two apples
in his little hand, but the one putteth the other out of its room, so
neither can we be masters and lords of two loves. Blessed were we, if
we could make ourselves master of that invaluable treasure, the love
of Christ; or rather suffer ourselves to be mastered and subdued to
Christ's love, so as Christ were our "all things," and all other
things our nothings, and the refuse of our delights. Oh let us be
ready for shipping, against the time our Lord's wind and tide call for
us! Death is the last thief, that will come without din or noise of
feet, and take our souls away, and we shall take our leave of time,
and face eternity; and our Lord will lay together the two sides of
this earthly tabernacle, and fold us, and lay us by, as a man layeth
by clothes at night, and put the one half of us in a house of clay,
the dark grave, and the other half of us in heaven or hell. Seek to be
found of your Lord in peace, and gather in your flitting, and put your
soul in order; for Christ will not give a nail-breadth of time to our
little sand-glass.

Pray for Zion, and for me, His prisoner, that He would be pleased to
bring me amongst you again, full of Christ, and fraughted and loaden
with the blessing of His Gospel.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours, in his only Lord and Master,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXCVI.--_To EARLSTON, the Younger._

(_SUFFERINGS--HOPE OF FINAL DELIVERANCE--THE BELIEVER IN SAFE
KEEPING--THE RECOMPENSE MARRED BY TEMPTATIONS._)


WORTHY AND DEARLY BELOVED IN OUR LORD,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to
you.--I long to hear from you. I remain still a prisoner of hope, and
do think it service to the Lord to wait on still with submission, till
the Lord's morning sky break, and His summer day dawn. For I am
persuaded that it is a piece of the chief errand of our life (on which
God sent us for some years, down to this earth, among devils and men,
the firebrands of the devil, and temptations), that we might suffer
for a time here amongst our enemies; otherwise He might have made
heaven to wait on us, at our coming out of the womb, and have carried
us home to our country, without letting us set down our feet in this
knotty and thorny life. But seeing a piece of suffering is carved to
every one of us, less or more, as infinite Wisdom hath thought good,
our part is to harden and habituate our soft and thin-skinned nature
to endure fire and water, devils, lions, men, losses, wo hearts, as
those that are looked upon by God, angels, men, and devils. Oh, what
folly is it, to sit down and weep upon a decree of God, that is both
deaf and dumb to our tears, and must stand still as unmoveable as God
who made it! For who can come behind our Lord, to alter or better what
He hath decreed and done? It were better to make windows in our
prison, and to look out to God and our country, heaven, and to cry
like fettered men who long for the King's free air, "Lord, let Thy
kingdom come! Oh, let the Bridegroom come! And, O day, O fair day, O
everlasting summer day, dawn and shine out, break out from under the
black night sky, and shine!" I am persuaded that, if every day a
little stone in the prison-walls were broken, and thereby assurance
given to the chained prisoner, lying under twenty stone of irons upon
arms and legs, that at length his chain should wear into two pieces,
and a hole should be made at length as wide as he might come safely
over to his long-desired liberty; he would, in patience, wait on, till
time should hole the prison-wall and break his chains. The Lord's
hopeful prisoners, under their trials, are in that case. Years and
months will take out, now one little stone, then another, of this
house of clay; and at length time shall win out the breadth of a fair
door, and send out the imprisoned soul to the free air in heaven. And
time shall file off, by little and little, our iron bolts which are
now on legs and arms, and outdate and wear our troubles threadbare and
holey, and then wear them to nothing; for what I suffered yesterday, I
know, shall never come again to trouble me.

Oh that we could breathe out new hope, and new submission every day,
into Christ's lap! For, certainly, a weight of glory well weighed,
yea, increasing to a far more exceeding and eternal weight, shall
recompense both weight and length of light, and clipped, and
short-dated crosses. Our waters are but ebb, and come neither to our
chin, nor to the stopping of our breath. I may see (if I would borrow
eyes from Christ) dry land, and that near. Why then should we not
laugh at adversity, and scorn our short-born and soon-dying
temptations? I rejoice in the hope of that glory to be revealed, for
it is no uncertain glory which we look for. Our hope is not hung upon
such an untwisted thread as, "I imagine so," or "It is likely;" but
the cable, the strong towe of our fastened anchor, is the oath and
promise of Him who is eternal verity. Our salvation is fastened with
God's own hand, and with Christ's own strength, to the strong stoup of
God's unchangeable nature, "I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye
sons of Jacob are not consumed" (Mal. iii. 6). We may play, and dance,
and leap upon our worthy and immoveable Rock. The ground is sure and
good, and will bide hell's brangling, and devils' brangling, and the
world's assaults.

Oh, if our faith could ride it out against the high and proud waves
and winds, when our sea seemeth to be all on fire! Oh, how oft do I
let my grips go! I am put to swimming and half sinking. I find that
the devil hath the advantage of the ground in this battle; for he
fighteth on known ground, in our corrupt nature. Alas! that is a
friend near of kin and blood to himself, and will not fail to fall
foul upon us. And hence it is, that He who saveth to the uttermost,
and leadeth many sons to glory, is still righting my salvation; and
twenty times a-day I ravel my heaven, and then I must come with my
ill-ravelled work to Christ, to cumber Him (as it were) to right it,
and to seek again the right end of the thread, and to fold up again my
eternal glory with His own hand, and to give a right cast of His holy
and gracious hand to my marred and spilled salvation. Certainly it is
a cumbersome thing to keep a foolish child from falls, and broken
brows, and weeping for this and that toy, and rash running, and
sickness, and bairns' diseases; ere he win through them all, and win
out of the mires, he costeth meikle black cumber and fashery to his
keepers. And so is a believer a cumbersome piece of work, and an
ill-ravelled hesp (as we use to say), to Christ. But God be thanked;
for many spilled salvations, and many ill-ravelled hesps hath Christ
mended, since first He entered Tutor to lost mankind. Oh, what could
we bairns do without Him! How soon would we mar all! But the less of
our weight be upon our own feeble legs, and the more that we be on
Christ the strong Rock, the better for us. It is good for us that ever
Christ took the cumber of us; it is our heaven to lay many weights and
burdens upon Christ, and to make Him all we have, root and top,
beginning and ending of our salvation. Lord, hold us here.

Now to this Tutor, and rich Lord, I recommend you. Hold fast till He
come; and remember His prisoner.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Yours, in his and your Lord Jesus,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXCVII.--_To_ MR. WILLIAM DALGLEISH. [Letter CXVII.]

(_THOUGHTS AS TO GOD'S ARRANGEMENTS--WINNING SOULS TO BE SUPREMELY
DESIRED--LONGINGS FOR CHRIST._)


REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I
received your letter. I bless our high and only wise Lord, who hath
broken the snare that men had laid for you; and I hope that now He
will keep you in His house, in despite of the powers of hell. Who
knoweth, but the streets of our Jerusalem shall yet be filled with
young men, and with old men, and boys, and women with child? and that
they shall plant vines in the mountains of Samaria? I am sure that the
wheels, paces, and motions of this poor church are tempered and ruled,
not as men would, but according to the good pleasure and infinite
wisdom of our only wise Lord.

I am here, waiting in hope that my innocency, in this honourable
cause, shall melt this cloud that men have casten over me. I know that
my Lord had His own quarrels against me, and that my dross stood in
need of this hot furnace. But I rejoice in this, that fair truth,
beautiful truth (whose glory my Lord cleareth to me more and more),
beareth me company; that my weak aims to honour my Master, in bringing
guests to His house, now swell upon me in comforts; that I am not
afraid to want a witness in heaven; and that it was my joy to have a
crown put upon Christ's head in that country. Oh, what joy would I
have, to see the wind turn upon the enemies of the cross of Christ,
and to see my Lord Jesus restored, with the voice of praise, to His
own free throne again! and to be brought amongst you, to see the
beauty of the Lord's house!

I hope that country will not be so silly as to suffer men to pluck you
away from them; and that ye will use means to keep my place empty, and
to bring me back again to the people to whom I have Christ's right,
and His church's lawful calling.

Dear brother, let Christ be dearer and dearer to you. Let the conquest
of souls be top and root, flower and bloom of your joys and desires,
on this side of sun and moon. And in the day when the Lord shall pull
up the four stakes of this clay tent of the earth, and the last pickle
of sand shall be at the nick of falling down in your watch-glass, and
the Master shall call the servants of the vineyard to give them their
hire, ye will esteem the bloom of this world's glory like the colours
of the rainbow, that no man can put into his purse and treasure. Your
labour and pains will then smile upon you.

My Lord now hath given me experience (howbeit weak and small) that our
best fare here is hunger. We are but at God's by-board in this lower
house; we have cause to long for supper-time, and the high table, up
in the high palace. This world deserveth nothing but the outer court
of our soul. Lord, hasten the marriage-supper of the Lamb! I find it
still peace to give up with this present world, as with an old
decourted and cast off lover. My bread and drink in it is not so much
worth, that I should not loathe the inns, and pack up my desires for
Christ, whom[312] I have sent out to the feckless creatures in it.

  [312] Pack up for Christ the desires which I used to send out to the
  worthless things of earth.

Grace, grace be with you.

  Your affectionate brother, and Christ's prisoner,

  S. R.

  ABERDEEN, 1637.



CXCVIII.--_To the_ LAIRD OF CALLY.

[Of JOHN LENNOX, Laird of Cally, near Girthon, in the Stewartry of
Kirkcudbright, to whom this letter is addressed, little is now known.
He must have died previous to the 26th of January 1647, as at that
date John Lennox of Cally is retoured heir of John Lennox of Cally,
his father, "in the 20 pound land of Caliegertown, the 10 merk land of
Burley, with mill and fishings of the same, within the parish of
Girthon."

The modern mansion of Cally may be said, with its woods, to overhang
the village of _Gatehouse_, which also is entirely modern, and got its
name from the fact that the lodge, or gatehouse, of Cally was the
first house built on that spot. The old house has disappeared, any
remnant of it being quite hid by the fine old trees of the mansion. It
is properly in the parish of Girthon, but borders on Anwoth. The land
of "Calie-gerton," mentioned in the above extract, is evidently "Cally
in Girthon." _Gatehouse_ is one-half in Anwoth, and one-half in
Girthon. The old parish church of Girthon is very like that of Anwoth,
and more ivy-covered. It is in shape the same, 64 feet by 20. The
martyr _Lennox_ is buried close to the door; a slab marks the spot. It
is 2½ miles from Gatehouse. The Free Church of Anwoth is in
Gatehouse, the church being on the _Girthon_ side of the stream (the
Fleet), and the manse on the _Anwoth_ side. The Fleet (which is
navigable by very small vessels thus far) was formerly called Avon,
"the water;" and this is the syllable that appears in both Girth-ON
and An-WOTH,--the former signifying "the village (or enclosure) on the
water;" and the latter, "the _ford_ of the water;" unless "woth" be
for "_worth_," village. The meaning of "Cally" seems to be "wood,"
from the Gaelic, "coille."]

(_SPIRITUAL SLOTH--DANGER OF COMPROMISE--SELF, THE ROOT OF ALL
SIN--SELF-RENUNCIATION._)


MUCH HONOURED SIR,--Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.--I long to hear
how your soul prospereth. I have that confidence that your soul
mindeth Christ and salvation. I beseech you, in the Lord, to give more
pains and diligence to fetch heaven than the country-sort of lazy
professors, who think their own faith and their own godliness, because
it is their own, best; and content themselves with a coldrife custom
and course, with a resolution to summer and winter in that sort of
profession which the multitude and the times favour most; and are
still shaping and clipping and carving their faith, according as it
may best stand with their summer sun and a whole skin; and so breathe
out hot and cold in God's matters, according to the course of the
times. This is their compass which they sail towards heaven by,
instead of a better. Worthy and dear Sir, separate yourself from
such, and bend yourself to the utmo