Lady Kenmure provided many comforts for Rutherford and his
family when they settled in Anwoth. She helped him during the
long illness of his wife, culminating in her death 4 years before
this letter was written.
"Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from
you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed
any tears." Ezek 24:16 (NIV)
That is, the sorrow for the death of his own wife and children.
"My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between
my breasts." Song 1:13 (NIV)
"You will forget the shame of your youth and remember
no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your
husband-- the LORD Almighty is his name-- the Holy One of Israel
is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth".
Isa 54:4,5 (NIV)
"Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth grieving for the husband
of her youth." Joel 1:8 (NIV)
The Puritans strongly believed that all the events of our
lives are part of God's providence. Therefore his holy purpose
and mercies can be found in every happening, both good and bad.
I know that the sound of this grates on the modern ear. Rutherford
himself had lost 2 children and his wife within the previous 4
years. He had no conception, as we do, that Jesus came so that
we might be happy, self-actualised, etc. Rutherford would even
say that the Bible knows nothing of these ideas. However, if
only we had a portion of Rutherford's tenacious faith in Jesus,
it would revolutionise our outlook. While our pains would perhaps
still be as bitter, surely our joys would be much, much greater.
Rutherford believes that suffering has a redemptive purpose.
It is part of God preparing us for heaven. He therefore exhorts
Lady Kenmure to show forth Christian character in her grief.
"Through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report;
genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown;
dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful,
yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing,
and yet possessing everything." 2 Cor 6:8-10 (NIV)
That is, as a widow she should realise that the world will
never be a faithful marriage partner. Only Christ will be forever.
"After this I looked and there before me was a great
multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people
and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in
their hands." Rev 7:9 (NIV)
"Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy
of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." Jude
"When these things begin to take place, stand up and
lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.""
-- Luke 21:28 (NIV)
That is, Lord Kenmure.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts
us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2
Cor 1:3,4 (NIV)