Sunday, August 15

Samuel Rutherford Sunday

Today let's consider another of the great pastors of Scottish Presbyterianism, Samuel Rutherford. One of the things Rutherford is known for is the collection of letters he wrote to the members of his congregation in Anwoth when he was banished from them for writing a book that was contrary to the doctrine of the authorities of the Church of Scotland. The sermon excerpt for today is taken from The Weeping Mary at the Sepulchre.
Thank God for any good thing that thou hast, and that thou art kept in a good estate. They never kent [knew] Christ's help well who put man in such a tutor's hand as free-will, to be kept by it; who say that Christ has conquershed [acquired] salvation to all, and when He has conquershed [acquired] it, He puts it in the hand of free-will to be disposed of as it pleases, to keep or not to keep it. This is to make Christ a fool merchant, and not to take accompt [account] whether it be misspent or not; but Christ is not so. He knows what shall become of all whom He has bought. You know it is evermore the happiness of the weaker to depend upon the stronger. So it is the happiness of the poor soul to depend upon Christ and upon free grace. The happiness of the ship stands in that to have a good pilot; the happiness of the lost weak sheep depends on a good shepherd to seek it in again, and to keep it from the enemies thereof; the happiness of the weak, witless orphans depends in a good, wise tutor. Even so the happiness of lost and tint [perishing] souls depend on this, to lippen [trust] to Christ and His strength for their salvation, and not to such a changing tutor as their free-will is.
Can you guess from this little quote from the sermon the nature of the disagreement for which his ministry was taken from him?

This Sunday's hymn is not written by Samuel Rutherford, but by Anne R. Cousin two hundred years after Rutherford's time. It is based on Rutherford's reported last words and on excerpts from his letters.
The Sands of Time Are Sinking
The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks;
The summer morn I've sighed for--the fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love!
The streams of earth I've tasted more deep I'll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

Oh! Well it is forever, Oh! well forevermore,
My nest hung in no forest of all this death doomed shore:
Yea, let the vain world vanish, as from the ship the strand,
While glory--glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

There the Red Rose of Sharon unfolds its heartsome bloom
And fills the air of heaven with ravishing perfume:
Oh! To behold it blossom, while by its fragrance fanned
Where glory--glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

The King there in His beauty, without a veil is seen:
It were a well spent journey, though seven deaths lay between:
The Lamb with His fair army, doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory--glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

Oft in yon sea beat prison My Lord and I held tryst,
For Anwoth was not heaven, and preaching was not Christ:
And aye, my murkiest storm cloud was by a rainbow spanned,
Caught from the glory dwelling in Immanuel's land.

But that He built a Heaven of His surpassing love,
A little new Jerusalem, like to the one above,
"Lord take me over the water" hath been my loud demand,
Take me to my love's own country, unto Immanuel's land.

But flowers need nights cool darkness, the moonlight and the dew;
So Christ, from one who loved it, His shining oft withdrew:
And then, for cause of absence my troubled soul I scanned
But glory shadeless shineth in Immanuel's land.

The little birds of Anwoth, I used to count them blessed,
Now, beside happier altars I go to build my nest:
Over these there broods no silence, no graves around them stand,
For glory, deathless, dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

Fair Anwoth by the Solway, to me thou still art dear,
Even from the verge of heaven, I drop for thee a tear.
Oh! If one soul from Anwoth meet me at God's right hand,
My heaven will be two heavens, In Immanuel's land.

I've wrestled on towards Heaven, against storm and wind and tide,
Now, like a weary traveler that leaneth on his guide,
Amid the shades of evening, while sinks life's lingering sand,
I hail the glory dawning from Immanuel's land.

Deep waters crossed life's pathway, the hedge of thorns was sharp;
Now, these lie all behind me Oh! for a well tuned harp!
Oh! To join hallelujah with yon triumphant band,
Who sing where glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

With mercy and with judgment my web of time He wove,
And aye, the dews of sorrow were lustered with His love;
I'll bless the hand that guided, I'll bless the heart that planned
When throned where glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

Soon shall the cup of glory wash down earth's bitterest woes,
Soon shall the desert briar break into Eden's rose;
The curse shall change to blessing the name on earth that's banned
Be graven on the white stone in Immanuel's land.

O I am my Beloved's and my Beloved's mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner into His "house of wine."
I stand upon His merit--I know no other stand,
Not even where glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.

I shall sleep sound in Jesus, filled with His likeness rise,
To love and to adore Him, to see Him with these eyes:
'Tween me and resurrection but Paradise doth stand;
Then--then for glory dwelling in Immanuel's land.

The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom's face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel's land.

I have borne scorn and hatred, I have borne wrong and shame,
Earth's proud ones have reproached me for Christ's thrice blessed Name:
Where God His seal set fairest they've stamped the foulest brand,
But judgment shines like noonday in Immanuel's land.

They've summoned me before them, but there I may not come,
My Lord says "Come up hither," My Lord says "Welcome home!"
My King, at His white throne, my presence doth command
Where glory--glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land.
This is one of the men whose shoulders we stand on in the communion of the saints.
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