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Christ's Prisoner (Letter 104)
by Samuel Rutherford
Greetings - Thanksgiving for Recovery
To Lady Kenmure
Madam, grace, mercy, and peace be to you. Your letter refreshed me. The right hand of Him who has authority over life and death have been gracious to that sweet child. I dare not, I do not, forget him and your ladyship in my prayers.
How to Respond to Failure
Madam, in regard to yourself. I am encouraged when people complain about their failures, so long as they are trying to do something about them. This is because I see many people who think that holiness is satisfied, if they merely complain, and then do nothing. It is as if saying "I am sick" could cure an invalid. These people seem to think that complaining about failure was a magic charm to eradicate guilt! I am glad that you are wrestling and struggling on in this dead age, when many have lost tongue, arms, and legs for Christ.
Labour for Communion with Christ
I urge you, Madam, a nearer communion with Christ, and a growing communion. There are curtains to be opened in Christ that we have never seen before, and new layers of love in Him. I despair that I will ever make it to the far end of that love, there are so many layers in it. Therefore dig deep, and sweat, and labour. Take pains for Him, and set aside as much time as you can in each day for Him. Christ will be won with labour.
Christ's Love for a Prisoner
I, His exiled prisoner, sought Him, and He has taken pity on me, and made a moan for me, as he does for His own. I do not know what to do with Christ. His love surrounds me and overwhelms me. I am burdened by it; but oh, how sweet and lovely is that burden! I dare not keep it inside me. I am so in love with His love, that if His love were not in heaven, I would not be willing to go there. Oh, what pondering, what telling there is in Christ's love!
Love at No Cost
I fear nothing now so much as losing Christ's cross, and the showers of love that accompany it. I wonder how it could be that such a slave could be exalted to a place of honour, at His own elbow. O that I should ever kiss such a fair, fair, fair face as Christ's! But I dare not refuse to be loved. There is nothing within me, that is the cause for Him to look upon me and love me. God never gained anything from me. His love cost me nothing. Oh, the many pounds of His love under which I am sweetly pressed!
Now, Madam, let me tell you that most people only have a stage Christianity. They consider it to be a mask easily put on or taken off. I myself thought it would be an easy thing to be a Christian, and that seeking God would only be like a jaunt next door. But O the windings, the turnings, the ups and downs that He has led me through! And even so, it still seems as if it will be a long way to the shore.
Arrows of Love
He speaks in my inmost being during the night. 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 flood of challenges will come in at midsummer, and question me. But it is only to keep a sinner in order.
How to Consider the World
As for friends, I would not think the world to properly be the world if friends did not leave me. Using God's wisdom, I hope to use the world as an intelligent employer uses an untrustworthy employee. He does not trust him with money or anything important that he might steal. I pray to God that I will not trust this world with my joys, comforts, or confidence. If I did, it would put Christ out of His proper place in my heart. Indeed, Madam, from my few experiences I counsel you to give Christ the authority over all the business of your life. Fasten all your burdens on the Peg fastened in David's house (Isa. 22:23). Woe to me, if ever the world should teach me anything about consolation. Away, away, with any such false teachers. Christ then would laugh at me and say, "Now you're warned. Be careful who you trust."
A Wail for Scotland
Woe is me, for my mother the prostitute, the Kirk of Scotland! Oh, who will wail for her!
Farewell - Family Concerns
Now the presence of the great Angel of the Covenant be with you and that sweet child.
Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,
Aberdeen, Scotland March 7, 1637
A Brief Life and Times of Samuel Rutherford
An Index to the Letters of Samuel Rutherford at Fire and Ice.
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