By Macena Berry
Too often we are discouraged
in this life because we see "Truth forever on the scaffold, Error forever on the throne." As we see wrong again and again prevail--as we think, -- we begin to doubt the fact that right must
Samuel Rutherford was thrown in prison for many years because of his Christian beliefs.
Note the sweetness of the
following letter written from prison.
To Mr. Robert Cunninghame,
Minister of the Gospel, at Holywood, in Ireland
August 4, 1636
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 books out of our hands for a time, and so lay upon us 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 stately spirit, for your princely and royal Captain, Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the grace of God in the rest of our dear brethren with you.
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 eightscore 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 the kingdom, under the pain of rebellion.
The cause that ripened their hatred was my book against Arminians, wherefore they accused me, 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 grount on me by my heaviness, and inward challenges 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.
It is time to laugh when He laugheth, and seeing He is now pleased to sit 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 tentation, or to bud and bribe the cross.
It is little up or little down 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; for her husband hath a mind to sell her for her horrible transgression, and heavy will the hand of the Lord be upon this back-sliding nation.
The ways of our Zion mourn; her gold is become dim, her white Nazarites are black like a coal; how shall the children not weep, when the husband and the mother cannot agree; yet I believe Scotland's skies shall clear again, and that Christ shall build again the old waste places of Jacob, and that our dead and dry bones shall become an army of living men; and that our Well-beloved may yet feed among the lillies, until the day break, and the shadows flee away.
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; 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 has always been 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 look 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, often borne down, and hungry in waiting for the marriage-supper of the Lamb. Nevertheless, I think it is the Lord's wise love that feeds us with hunger, and makes us fat with wants desertions.
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 beloved brethren in the Lord, Mr. Blair, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Livingston, and Mr. M'Cleland, 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 breaks 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 seeds 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 Bother in Affliction, in our sweet Lord Jesus, S. R.
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