Apparently Lady's Kenmure's son had been seriously ill, but
his life was spared in answer to prayer.
Imagine, Rutherford wrote this before instant coffee and instant
"No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after
I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for
the prize." 1 Cor 9:27 (NIV)
In other words, many people retreated into formalism, rather
than stand up for the Gospel, either privately or publicly. Notice
how Rutherford sees a close connection between the two.
"Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make
your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you
will never fall." 2 Pet 1:10 (NIV)
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not
only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue
to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is
God who works in you to will and to act according to his good
purpose." Phil 2:12,13 (NIV)
"Cross" means his suffering for the cause of Christ.
He sees that suffering for the cross, and the blessings that
accompany the cross, are inseparable.
An allusion to the Song of Solomon, "Let him kiss me
with the kisses of his mouth-- for your love is more delightful
than wine." Song 1:2 (NIV). The Song of Solomon was a favourite
book of many of the Puritans, which they interpreted as an allegory
of Christ and His Church.
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in
love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how
wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Eph
This might be a pun by Rutherford. God's love didn't cost
him anything (he couldn't pay for it), so it could not be valued
in money (pounds sterling, £). Nevertheless God's love constrains
him to live according to that love, a weight (i.e. pounds) he
"Shore" is a common image for death. Here Rutherford
thinks of death as the culmination of God's purposes for him.
When he is with Christ in heaven, all the turnings of his life
will be shown to be meaningful.
"He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows.
He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver. I became the
laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long."
Lam 3:12-14 (NIV)
Rutherford is saying that although he is conscious of God's
love at night, he awakes to see that in God's providence he is
being persecuted. He sees himself alone in the struggle for the
purity of Christ's church. (Although in fact powerful forces
were gathering that would soon set him free.)
Certain powerful men had recently taken even greater powers
to themselves. In all probability, during the next summer Rutherford
would be tried and sentenced to death. However, God would bring
confusion to their plans, and Rutherford would return to his beloved
congregation in Anwoth.
That is to say, a Christian's greatest joys, comforts, and
confidence are to be found in Christ alone. All other joys, etc.,
are to be put in a lower priority.
"I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will
be a seat of honour for the house of his father." Isa 22:23
He sorrows for the Church of Scotland, which had been so
recently blessed with Revival, but now threatens to be accommodated
to English alterations. Specifically Rutherford sees the changes
introduced by the English as the beginning of a return to Roman
Catholicism. In Rutherford's mind, a church that is faithful
to the Bible cannot be associated with Catholicism.
"'See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the
way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come
to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire,
will come,' says the LORD Almighty." Mal 3:1 (NIV) (Apparently
the version of the Bible Rutherford used, the Geneva Bible, used
the word "Angel" in this verse.)
That is, the son mentioned in the first paragraph.