Thursday, February 17

The Puritans: From Samuel Rutherford's Letters

Letter 233
To Fulk Ellis

Friends in Ireland - Difficulties in Providence - Faithfulness to Light - Constant Need of Christ

Worthy and Much Honoured in our Lord,-

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you,

1. I am glad of our more than paper acquaintance. Seeing we have one Father, it is less significant if we should never see one another's face. I profess myself most unworthy to follow the camp of such a worthy and renowned Captain as Christ. Oh, alas! I have cause to be grieved, that men expect anything of such a wretched man as I am. It is a wonder to me, if Christ can make anything of my good-for-nothing, short, and narrow love to Him; surely it is not worth the effort to try to understand it.

2. As for our lovely and beloved church in Ireland, my heart bleeds for her desolation; but I believe that our Lord is only lopping the vine-trees, not intending to cut them down, or root them out. It is true (seeing we are heart-atheists by nature, and cannot take providence aright, because we falter and deal crookedly ever since we fell), we dream of a faltering providence; as if God's yard, whereby He measures joy and sorrow to the sons of men, were crooked and unjust, because servants ride on horseback, and princes go on foot. But our Lord deals out good and evil, and some one portion or other to both, by ounce-weights, and measures them in a just and even balance. It is but folly to measure the Gospel by summer or winter weather: the summer-sun of the saints shines not on them in this life. How would we have complained, if the Lord had turned the same providence that we now complain about upside down? What if He had ordered matters thus, that first the saints should have enjoyed heaven, glory, and ease, and then Methuselah's days of sorrow and daily miseries? We would think a short heaven no heaven. Certainly His ways pass finding out.

Read the rest of this letter here.

Index to more of Rutherford's letters.

A short biography of Samuel Rutherford.
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