Memoir of Samuel RutherfordSamuel Rutherford (1600-1661) - One of the most influential Scottish Presbyterians in the Westminster Assembly.
Today, many Christians are turning back to the puritans to, “walk in the old paths,” of God’s word, and to continue to proclaim old truth that glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no new theology. In our electronic age, more and more people are looking to add electronic books (ePubs, mobi and PDF formats) to their library – books from the Reformers and Puritans – in order to become a “digital puritan” themselves. Take a moment to visit Puritan Publications (click the banner below) to find the biggest selection of rare puritan works updated in modern English in both print form and in multiple electronic forms. There are new books published every month. All proceeds go to support A Puritan’s Mind.
“Christ’s honeycombs drop honey and floods of consolation upon my soul; my chains are gold. Were my blackness and Christ’s beauty carded through other, His beauty and holiness would eat up my filthiness. The secret formula of the saints: When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines.”
THIS greatly experienced Christian, and celebrated divine, was born of respectable parents in the parish of Tongueland, near Kirkcudbright. He was much admired, in his early life, for the brilliancy of his parts, and having taken the course of grammatical learning, was sent to the university of Edinburgh; where his proficiency was such, that, in a short time, and while he was yet very young, he was elected professor of philosophy in that university during the establishment of prelacy. Some time after this he was settled in the parish of Anworth, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, by means of the then viscount Kenmure, and without any acknowledgment of, or engagement to, the bishops. Here he was, in the true sense of the expression, a burning and a shining light. He labored with great diligence and success, usually rising by three o’clock in the morning, and spending his whole time in the various duties of the ministerial profession. In what year Mr. Rutherford was settled at Anworth we have no certain account, only that a letter of his, dated at Anworth, June 6th, 1624, seems to establish the fact, that he was inducted before that period. Having published his Exercitationes de Gratia, etc. he was summoned before the court of high commission at Edinburgh, in the year 1630, to answer for some passages which were understood to be leveled at the bishops; but the weather was so tempestuous, that the archbishop durst not venture the passage from Kinghorn; and Mr. Colvill, one of the judges, having befriended Mr. Rutherford, the diet was deserted. About this time he lost his first wife, after thirteen months of sore sickness, and was himself so ill of a tertian ague, that, for thirteen weeks together, he was scarcely able to preach. In April 1634, he was again summoned before the same court, and accused, by the bishop of Galloway, of nonconformity; but particularly for preaching against the articles of Perth, and writing the fore mentioned book; in which he had so cut up Arminianism, that the bishops found it convenient to have him silenced. He appeared before the court; but declining their jurisdiction as unlawful, and themselves as incompetent, and refusing to give the bishops their titles, lord Lorn and others befriended him to the utmost of their power on this occasion. But the bishop of Galloway, whose inveterate animosity against Mr. Rutherford, and the doctrines he had propagated, neither reason nor justice could modify, declared, that unless he was suffered to perform his duty with less opposition, he would immediately write to the king. Accordingly, Mr. Rutherford was silenced, deprived of his living, and charged henceforth to exercise no part of his ministerial calling in Scotland, under pain of rebellion; and commanded, within the space of six months, to confine himself to Aberdeen, and its immediate neighborhood, during the king’s pleasure. To this injunction Mr. Rutherford reluctantly yielded, and removed to the place of his confinement, where he remained upwards of a year and a half. Thus prevented from being publicly useful in the cause of Christ, he carried on an extensive correspondence with his religious friends and acquaintances, and many of his admirable letters were dated from this place of his confinement, strongly expressive of the consolations of the spirit reserved for those who suffer for the sake of righteousness. The bishops could deprive him of his living, and remove him from his ‘beloved flock, and his beloved employment; but all their malice and ingenuity could not interrupt that soulsolacing and heavenly intercourse he enjoyed with his God and Saviour. He delighted in preaching and declaring the grace of God, and the way of salvation to sinful and perishing men. His constrained silence on the Lord’s day was therefore so peculiarly distressing, that as soon as he understood that the privy council had received a declinature against the court of high1 commission in 1638, he adventured to return to his flock; where he was received with inexpressible joy, and attended, in his public exercises, not only by his own parishioners, but also by the principal part of the whole district, who considered themselves as a part of his pastoral charge.
At the famous assembly, held at Glasgow in 1638, Mr. Rutherford appeared as one of the commissioners from the presbytery of Kirkcudbright; where, having given a satisfactory account of all the, proceedings against him, with respect to his confinement, he was appointed one of the select committee for drawing up their objections to the Service book, the Book of Canons and Ordination, and the court of high commission. This was thought necessary, that the world might see that the petitions and remonstrances against these things had not been without just cause, and that some monuments of the wickedness and oppression of these times might be transmitted to posterity. On this occasion, he was also appointed, by the assembly, professor of divinity in the new college of St. Andrew’s, and colleague to the celebrated Mr. Blair, who, about this time, was in was transported thither from the town of Ayr. In this new situation, Mr. Rutherford, by his indefatigable labors, both teaching the class, and preaching in the congregation, made instrumental in changing this seat of the archbishop, and hotbed of superstition, error, and profanity, into a nursery of sound divinity and solid learning; from which the vacancies of the church were afterwards occasionally supplied with pastors, eminent for their piety, learning, and devotion to the cause of truth.
Mr. Rutherford was not a more strenuous advocate for the public order and exercises of religion, than for its private duties and devotions. In 1640 a charge was brought into the assembly, by Mr. Henry Guthrie, minister at Stirling, and afterwards bishop of Dunkeld, against private society meetings which then abounded in the land. This was the occasion of a warm discussion. Mr. Henderson had drawn up a paper concerning the order to be observed in these meetings; which one side of the House were anxious to have sanctioned by the assembly. This Mr. Guthrie, and his party, strongly opposed, and endeavored to obtain an act for dismissing all these private .meetings. But Mr. Rutherford, who was never forward to speak in judicatorial assemblies, threw in the following syllogism, and challenged the whole assembly to answer it: “What scripture warrants, no assembly can discharge; but private meetings, for. the exercise of religion, scripture does warrant, as appears from Mai. iii. 16. ‘They that feared the Lord, spake often one to another;’ and James v. 16. ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another;’ things which, he observed, could not be done in ,the public meetings of the church; besides, that the presence and blessing of Christ is promised wherever two or three are met together in his name.” The earl of Seaforth, and others of Guthrie’s faction, cast some sarcasms on Mr. Rutherford; yet his syllogism had such an influence on the assembly, that all they could procure was an act concerning the order of family worship; and Mr. Rutherford afterwards defended the lawfulness, propriety, and usefulness of these private religious meetings, in a treatise written for the express purpose.
In 1643 he was appointed one of the committee, for managing the negotiations between the general assembly at Edinburgh and the English commissioners; and in the course of the same year, he was also appointed one of the four commissioners sent to the Westminster assembly; where he and his brethren displayed their talents and zeal, especially in settling a Presbyterian church government; and Mr. Rutherford took his full share of these discussions, and exhibited much learning, and no small share of acquaintance with rabbinical writings. During his residence in London, he published his Lex Rex, and some other learned works, particularly against the Erastians and Arminians. Mr. Baillie, in a letter to Mr. Robert Blair, when speaking of Mr. Rutherford, says, “For the great parts God hath given him, and the special acquaintance he hath with the question in hand, Mr. Samuel is very necessary here at this time, especially because of his book, which will not come off the press for some time; and when it does, will most likely meet with some short affronting reply. Judge ye, therefore, if it be not highly necessary that he be here to answer for himself.”
When the principal business of the assembly was over, Mr. Rutherford, on the 24th October 1647, moved, that it be entered in the records, that the assembly had been assisted by the commissioners of the church of Scotland all the time they had been debating and perfecting the four following things mentioned in the solemn league, namely, a directory for worship, a uniform confession of faith, a form of church government and discipline, and a public catechism; which having been agreed to, he and his colleagues, in about a week after, returned to Edinburgh. On leaving the assembly, Mr. Herle, then the prolocutor, rose, and, in an appropriate speech, thanked the honorable and reverend commissioners, in name of the assembly, for the assistance they had so liberally contributed to the very important labors in which the assembly had been so long and so ardently engaged.
In the general assembly of 1649, it was moved to transport Mr. Rutherford from the university of St. Andrew’s to that of Edinburgh; “but this (says Mr. Baillie) was thought absurd.” In this assembly a warm debate took place respecting the election of ministers. Mr. David Calderwood peremptorily urged, that, according to the second Book of Discipline, the election belonged to the presbytery, with power to the major part of the people to dissent upon reasons given; which reasons were to be judged and determined by the presbytery. Mr. Rutherford and Mr. Wood were equally determined in supporting popular election; while the majority of the assembly were of opinion with Mr. Gillespie, in his Miscellanies, that the direction belonged to the presbytery, the election to the session, and the consent to the people.
Mr. Rutherford’s reputation for piety, learning, and sound theology, was so highly raised, both at home and abroad, by his writings against the Arminians and Jesuits, which were composed in Latin, that, upon the death of the learned Dematius in 1651, the magistrates of Utrecht in Holland invited him to the divinity chair in that university. This very kind and honor able invitation, however, he declined, from considerations of pure patriotism. He could not think of deserting his country in so critical a period, when, as he elsewhere expresses it, “The Lord had covered the whole land with a cloud in his anger.”
During the usurpation of Cromwell, Mr. Rutherford continued to labor, with unahating zeal and activity, in the various duties of his pastoral charge, preaching, catechizing, visiting the sick, and exhorting from house to house; besides teaching in the schools, and spending as much time with the students, and in fitting young men for the ministry, as if he had no other employment; and, after all, writing as much as could be expected from one constantly shut up in his study. When the unhappy difference took place between those denominated resolutioners and protesters in 1650 and 1651, he espoused the cause of the protesters, and faithfully warned the people against the sin and danger of countenancing these public resolutions, and joined with a number of the ministers, in the shires of Perth and Fife, in subscribing a testimony for the whole covenanted reformation of the church of Scotland, October 1658. But the restoration of Charles II. sadly altered the aspect of public affairs. The conscientious Presbyterians, who stood to their covenant engagements, in opposition to the public resolutions, became the objects of his bitter animosity, and were the first sufferers in the horrid persecution that ensued; and in a short time all the honest Presbyterians were sent to the furnace, as Wodrow expresses it, on purpose to unite their divisions; and Mr. Rutherford’s famous book Lex Rex, which Charles said, on seeing it, would scarcely ever be answered; and the Causes of God’s Wrath, said to have been written by Mr. James Guthrie, were prohibited by proclamation, and the copies called in; with certification, that whoever was found in possession of either, after the 15th October 1660, should be accounted enemies to the king, and punished as such, both in their persons and estates; and to save the trouble of refuting them, they were both publicly burnt, at the cross of Edinburgh, by the hands of the hangman, on the 17th of the same month. Lex Rex was also burnt at the gate of the new college of St. Andrew’s, where the author was professor of divinity. This barbarous policy has seldom or never answered the purpose for which it has been practiced; and few, but tyrants unacquainted with the human heart and the true principles of legislation, will hazard an experiment so fraught with danger and defeat. Charles II had the mortification to find, that this, and similar acts of unnecessary cruelty and injustice, alienated the hearts of a class of individuals, to whose conscientious loyalty he was most of all indebted for his restoration to a crown, which he degraded, and subjects whom he deceived, insulted, and persecuted, till, by the unsupportable tyranny of his family, the race of the Stuart’s had for ever forfeited their claim to the government of these lands.
The parliament, which met the following year, before whom he was to be indicted for high treason, had the cruelty, though they knew he was dying, to cite him before them at Edinburgh; and it has been commonly said, that when the summons came, he spake out of his bed, saying, “Tell them I have got a summons already to appear before a superior Judge and Jury, which I behove to answer first; and before their day come, I shall be beyond the bounds of their jurisdiction.” On the report of the messenger, it was put to the vote in parliament, Whether he should be suffered to die in the college? When it was carried, put him out, with but a few dissenting voices. Lord Burleigh said, “You have voted that honest man out of his college, but you cannot shut the gates of heaven against him.” One said, “He would never get there, that hell was too good for him.”
When on his deathbed, Mr. Rutherford lamented that he had been withheld from hearing witness to the work of reformation since 1638; and twelve days before his death, he subscribed a large and faithful testimony against the sinful courses then greatly prevailing in the land. During his last sickness, especially when the time of his departure drew near, he uttered many savory expressions in commendation of Christ and his honorable service, and of that everlasting salvation and unspeakable glory he hath purchased and prepared for all those who love his appearance. With regard to his own feelings, and glorious anticipations, he often broke out in a kind of seraphic rapture. A few days before his death, he said, “I shall sleep in Jesus, and be abundantly satisfied with his likeness when I awake. My Redeemer liveth, and shall stand on the earth in the latter day, and I shall see him as he is—I shall see him reign, and all his fair company with him—I shall shine. Mine eyes, these very eyes of mine, shall yet behold him in all his unspeakable glory, and I shall have my share; I know I shall ever be with him; and what could the most ambitious soul more desire? This is the end.” And stretching forth his hands, he repeated, “This indeed is the end of all perfection.” A little after, he said, “It is no easy matter to be a Christian; but thanks be to God, he hath given me the victory, and Christ is holding out both his arms to receive me. At the beginning of my sufferings, I had mine own fears lest I should faint, and not be carried honorably through. I laid this before the Lord, and as sure as ever he spoke to me in his word, his Spirit witnessed with my spirit, saying, ‘ Fear not, my grace is sufficient, and the outgate shall not be matter of prayer, but of praise.’“ A person who visited him, speaking concerning his faithfulness in the ministry, he cried out, “I disclaim all that ever he made me, either will or do in his service, as coming from myself. The port I would be in at is redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” In the afternoon of his last day, he said, “Oh! that all my brethren in the public knew what a gracious and loving Master I have served, and what peace and consolation he has bestowed upon me in this concluding part of his service. O for arms to embrace him! O for a well tuned harp! I shall live and adore him! Glory, glory to my Creator and Redeemer! Glory dwells in Emanuel’s land!” Thus died the famous Samuel Rutherford, in March 1661, the day before the act rescissory was passed in parliament.
Wodrow says concerning him, “That clear shining light, Mr. Samuel Rutherford, may very justly come in amongst the sufferers during this session of parliament. He was evidently a martyr, both in his own resolution, and also in the determined intention of the public functionaries. He is so well known to the learned and pious world, that I consider it unnecessary to enlarge on his merits. Those who knew him best, were at a loss which to admire the most—his sublime genius in the school, and peculiar powers of controversial disputation, or his ‘ familiar condescension in the pulpit, where he was one of the most moving and affectionate preachers in his time, or perhaps in any age of the church. He seems to have outdone himself, as well as every body else, in his admirable and every way singular letters, which, though jested upon by profane wits, because of some familiar expressions, will be admired and acknowledged, by all who have any relish of piety, to contain such sublime flights of devotion, and to be fraught with such massy thoughts, as strongly bespeak a soul closely united to Christ, and must needs at once ravish and edify every serious reader. In a word, few men have ever run so long in an undeviating course of holiness, and unyielding adherence to the laws of Christ, or contended more heroically for the faith once delivered to the saints.”
His Testimony.—” Though the Lord stands in no need of a testimony from such a worm as I, and although, should the whole world be silent, the very stones would cry out; yet is it more than debt that I should confess Christ before both men and angels. It would afford me unspeakable satisfaction were the throne of the Lord Jesus exalted above the clouds, the heaven of heavens, and on both sides of the sun; and that I, by his grace, might put my seal, poor as it is, to the song of those, who, with a loud voice, sing, (Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood;1 and blessed were I, could I but lay to my ear of faith, and listen to the psalm sung by the many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders, and the ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, who, with a loud voice, sing, ‘ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing;’ and if I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, and such as are in the sea (as John heard them), saying, ‘ Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be ascribed to him who sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.’ I do not, however, mean any such visible reign as the millenarians fancy. I believe (Lord help my unbelief) the doctrine of the holy prophets, and the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, contained in the books of the Old and New Testaments, to be the undoubted word of God, a perfect rule of faith, and the only way of salvation; and I do acknowledge the sum of the Christian religion, exhibited in the confessions and catechisms of the reformed protestant churches, and in the national covenant of Scotland divers times sworn by the king’s majesty, the state, and the church of Scotland, and sealed by the testimony and subscriptions of the nobles, barons, gentlemen, burgesses, ministers, and commons of all ranks in the land; likewise in the solemn league and covenant of the three kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland; from all which I do judge, and, in conscience, believe, that no power on earth can absolve and liberate the people of God.
“With respect to the power and purity of doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, the church of Scotland had once as much of the presence of Christ, as many churches we read of since the Lord took his ancient people to be his covenanted church. The Lord stirred up our nobles to make an attempt at reformation of the church during the last century; which they did in the face of many difficulties, and a powerful opposition from those in supreme authority. He made bare his holy arm, and his right hand got him the victory; the work went on gloriously, and the idolatry of Rome, with all her accursed masses and ridiculous mummery, were tro4den in the dust. A hopeful reformation was in some measure settled, and a sound confession of faith agreed upon by the lords of the congregation. The people of God, at that period, according to the laudable example of the protestants of France and Holland, the renowned princes of Germany, and other ancient churches, carried on the necessary work by an innocent and defensive warfare; which the Lord was pleased to bless with abundant success. While our land and church were thus contending for the faith of the gospel, not only did those in authority continue strenuously to oppose the work, but from among ourselves also did enemies arise, men of Prelatical spirits, who endeavored to sap the foundation, while the court threatened violently to break down the walls of God’s house; and we ourselves, doating too much upon sound parliaments, and lawfully constituted general assemblies, fell from our first love into self seeking and secret banding, lost our zeal, and became cold to the oath of God.
“Our work in public afterwards consisted too much in sequestrating estates, fining and imprisoning; while we ought to have compassionately mourned over those who stood in opposition to our work, and won them with Christian tenderness. In our assemblies, we were more bent upon forms, citations, leading of witnesses, and suspensions from benefices, than to work on their consciences, and persuade them in the meekness and gentleness of Christ. The glory and royalty of our princely Redeemer and King was obviously trampled down in our assemblies. Whatever way the army, the sword, and the countenance of nobles and officers seemed to point, in that way was the censures of the church principally directed. It had been much better had there been more days of humiliation, and that our adjourned commissions, new peremptory summonses, and new drawn up processes, had been much less numerous. Had the meekness and gentleness of our Master got so much place in our hearts, that we might have waited on gainsayers and opposing parties, we might have driven gently, like Christ, who loves not to overdrive his flock, but cames the lambs in his bosom, and gently leads them that are with young. If the scripture of the Old and New Testaments be a sufficient rule to ascertain what constitutes a Christian army, whether offensive or defensive, whether clean or foul, sinfully mixed or pure —then must we leave the question between our public brethren and us to be determined by that rule. But the confederacies and associations of the people of God, with the idolatrous apostate Israelites, with the Egyptians and Assyrians, such as that of Jehoshaphat with Ahab, and those of Israel and Judah with Egypt and Assyria, are often reproved and condemned in the scripture. We are not contending for an army of saints free of every mixture of ill affected men—in this world tares grow up with the wheat; but inasmuch as the scriptures of truth point out and determine what is a right constituted court, and what is not, Psal. x, ‘ What is a right constituted house, and what not,’ Josh. xxiv. 15. ‘What is a true church, and what is a synagogue of satan,’ Rev. ii. ‘ What is a clean camp, and what is an unclean”—what a prevaricating absurdity must it be for churchmen to counsel and advise, and preach up the propriety of confiding the management of the most important concerns of Christ’s kingdom, to men who have shown, and still show themselves enemies to the cause of the reformation, men who have acted, and still act, contrary to the word of God, the declarations, remonstrances, solemn warnings, and ‘serious exhortations of his church! whose public protestations the Lord did so admirably bless, to the encouragement of the godly, and the terror of all the opposers of that blessed work.
“Since we are very shortly to appear before our dread Master and Sovereign Lord, we cannot pass from our protestation, trusting we are therein accepted of him, although we should be considered of schismatical spirits, and unpeaceable mien. To the king’s majesty we acknowledge all due obedience in the Lord; but that ecclesiastical supremacy, in and over the church, which some ascribe to him, we must and do condemn: That power of commanding external worship, not appointed nor tolerated in the word, and that binding of men’s consciences, where Christ has made them free,: we most solemnly oppose, and leave our testimony against all infractions made or meditated against the prerogatives of the King of kings, and head of his spiritual body the church. We disown antichristian prelacy, bowing at the name of Jesus, saints’ days, canonising of the dead, and all such corrupt inventions of men, and consider them as opening a passage back to that idolatrous worship, from the thralldom of which God in his great goodness aforetime had delivered these lands. Alas! there is no need of the spirit of prophecy to declare what shall be the lamentable consequences of breaking our covenant, first practically, and then legally, confirmed with the Lord our God; and what shall be the day of scrutinizing visitation to all the negligent shepherds, and silent and unwarning watchmen, placed on the towers of Scotland? Where shall they leave their glory? And what if Christ should depart from our coast?
“We are verily persuaded, that they are the most loyal to the king’s majesty, who sincerely desire, and strenuously endeavor, to separate the dross from the silver, and establish the throne in righteousness and judgment. We are not (our witness is in heaven) against his majesty’s title by birth to the kingdom, and the rights of the royal family, but that the controversy of wrath against the royal family may be removed, that the enormous load of guilt that presses down the throne may be mourned over before the Lord, and that his majesty may stand steadfastly, all the days of his life, to the covenant of God, and his subjects, by oath, seal, and subscription, solemnly manifested to the world; so that peace, and the blessings of approving heaven, may attend his government; that the Lord may be his rock, shield, and supporter; that the just may flourish in his time; that men, fearing God, and hating covetousness, men of known integrity and godliness, may be judges and rulers under his majesty; and we believe, and are equally persuaded, that those who desire not, but oppose the propriety and use of such qualifications in the supreme magistrate, are neither friends to their country, nor loyal and faithful subjects to their prince. We are not in this particular contending, that a prince, who is not a convert, or a sound believer of the gospel, forfeits his title and claim to his kingly dominion on that account. The word of God warrants us to pray for, and obey princes and supreme magistrates, in the Lord, who are otherwise, and render them all due obedience in the Lord, Rom. xiii. 2, 5. 2 Tim. ii. 12. 1 Pet. ii. 18. The burning of ‘ The causes of God’s wrath too, like the burning of the roll by Jehudi, Jer. xxxvi. 22. was a lamentable and God provoking transaction, for which our souls should be afflicted before the Lord. In all these controversies we ought particularly to consider, that Christ is a free, independent, and Sovereign King and lawgiver. The Father hath appointed him his own King in mount Zion; and he will not, and he cannot endure, that the powers of the world should encroach upon his royal prerogatives, and prescribe laws for the government of his own house—a presumption of equal audacity with that of the citizens mentioned in Luke xix. 14. who hated him, and said, ‘This man shall not reign over us;’ and of those, who, in Psalm ii. 3. are for ‘ breaking asunder his bands, and casting away his cords.’ But this audacious presumption of the rulers of this world is aggravated above measure, from the consideration, that the man Christ has left the power of the civil magistrate free from all encroachments from the church, and not only refused to take upon himself the function of a Judge, Luke xii. 14. but discharged his disciples from exercising a civil lordship over their brethren. True it is, the godly magistrate may command the ministers of the gospel to do their duty, but not under the pain of ecclesiastical censure, as if he had the power of calling and uncalling, deposing and suspending, from the exercise of the holy ministry. The lordly spiritual government, in and over the church, is given to Christ, and to none beside. He, and he alone, is, was, and shall be the ecclesiastic lawgiver. It only belongs to him to smite with the rod of his mouth; nor is there another shoulder in earth or heaven able to bear up the weight of the government. As this hath been the great controversy between our Lord Jesus and the powers of this world from the beginning, so it has been the ruin of all who have attempted to oppose him. They have been greatly offended with Christ; but he has proved a rock of offence, against which they have dashed themselves to pieces; and all those, who may yet enter the lists with him, will assuredly find, that the stone, cut from the mountain without hands, will grind them to powder: That Christ is the only head of his own church, is as sure as that of his death, burial, and resurrection. Not only was this great truth greatly contended for by the ancient prophets, and the apostles of Christ, against the powers of this world, but the victorious and prevailing fact has been preached and attested by his ambassadors, in every age of the church, and attested by the blood and sufferings of innumerable precious saints, who accounted it an honor to suffer persecution, indignity, derision, and death, for the name of Jesus; and blessed are the souls who love not their lives unto death, for on such rests the spirit of glory and of God.
“The present is a sad and serious time to our church and land. It is a day of darkness, and rebuke, and blasphemy. The Lord hath covered himself with a cloud in his anger. We looked for peace, but behold evil. When his majesty had sworn, and affixed his seal and subscription to the covenant of God, the hearts of his subjects blessed the Lord, and rested with confidence on the healing word of a prince; but now, alas.! that solemn oath has been broken, and the violation sanctioned by a contrary law. The carved work has been broken down, ordinances are defaced, and we are again brought into the bondage and chaos of Prelatical power and superstition. The royal prerogative of Christ, his mediatorial crown, is pulled from his head; and after all the days of sorrow we have seen, we have every reason to fear that we shall yet be made to read, yea, to eat, that roll, wherein is written, mourning, lamentation, and woe. But notwithstanding all the evils under which the church of Christ in these lands is now pressed down, or has reason to apprehend, we are not called to mourn like them that have no hope. We believe that Christ will not so depart, but that a remnant shall be saved, and that he shall reign forever, and, in spite of all the powers of the world, and the malice of hell, victoriously conquer to the ends of the earth. Oh! that the nations, kindreds, tongues, and all the people of Christ’s habitable world, were encompassing his throne, with cries and tears, for the Spirit of supplication to this effect.
“Sic sub. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD. “February 28th, 1661.”
A Fabulous Covenant Theology Work:
Christian Directions by Rev. Samuel Rutherford
- That hours of the day, less or more time, for the Word and prayer, be given to God; not sparing the twelfth hour, or mid-day, howbeit it should then be the shorter time.
- In the midst of worldly employments, there should be some thoughts of sin, death, judgment, and eternity, with at least a word or two of ejaculatory prayer to God.
- To beware of wandering of heart in private prayer.
- Not to grudge if ye come from prayer without sense of joy. Downcasting, sense of guiltiness, and hunger, are often best for us.
- That the Lord’s Day, from morning to night, be spent always either in private or public worship.
- That words be observed, wandering and idle thoughts be avoided, sudden anger and desire of revenge, even of such as persecute the truth, be guarded against; for we often mix our zeal with our wild-fire.
- That known, discovered, and revealed sins, that are against the conscience, be avoided, as most dangerous preparatives to hardness of heart.
- That in dealing with men, faith and truth in covenants and trafficking be regarded, that we deal with all men in sincerity; that conscience be made of idle and lying words; and that our carriage be such, as that they who see it may speak honourably of our sweet Master and profession.