Samuel Rutherford eBook

Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.

3.  And, still looking into his own heart and writing straight out of it, Rutherford says to Fleming, ’I have been much challenged in my conscience, and still am, for not referring all I do to God as my last and chiefest end.’  Which is just Samuel Rutherford’s vivid way of taking home to himself the first question of the Shorter Catechism which he had afterwards such a deep hand in drawing up.  I do not know any other author who deals so searchingly with this great subject as that prince among experimental divines, Thomas Shepard, the founder of Yale in New England.  His insight is as good as his style is bad.  His English is execrable, but his insight is nothing short of divine.  ’The pollution of the whole man, and of all his actions,’ he says in his Parable of the Ten Virgins, ’consists chiefly in his self-seeking, in making ourselves our utmost end.  This makes our most glorious actions vile; this stains them all.  And so the sanctification of a sinner consists chiefly in making the Lord our utmost end in all that we do.  Every man living seeks himself as his last end and chiefest good, and out of this captivity no human power can redeem us. . . .  Make this your last and best end—­to live to Christ and to do His will.  This is your last end; this is the end of your being born again—­nay, of your being redeemed by His blood—­that you may live unto Christ.’  And in the same author’s Meditations and Spiritual Experiences, he says, ’On Sabbath morning I saw that I had a secret eye to my own name in all that I did, and I judged myself to be worthy of death because I was not weaned from all created glory, from all honour and praise, and from the esteem of men. . . .  On Sabbath, again, when I came home, I saw into the deep hypocrisy of my own heart, because in my ministry I sought to comfort and quicken the people that the glory might reflect on me as well as on God. . . .  On the evening before the sacrament I saw it to be my duty to sequester myself from all other things and to prepare me for the next day.  And I saw that I must pitch first on the right end.  I saw that mine own ends were to procure honour to myself and not to the Lord.  There was some poor little eye in seeking the name and glory of Christ, yet I sought not it only, but my own glory, too.  After my Wednesday sermon I saw the pride of my heart acting thus, that when I had done public work my heart would presently look out and inquire whether I had done it well or ill.  Hereupon I saw my vileness to be to make men’s opinions my rule, and that made me vile in mine own eyes, and that more and more daily.’  ’I have been much challenged,’ writes Rutherford to Fleming, ’because I do not refer all I do to God as my last end:  that I do not eat and drink and sleep and journey and speak and think for God.’  And, the fanatic that he is, he seems to think that that is the calling and chief end not only of ministers like himself and Shepard, but of the bailies and timber-merchants of Edinburgh and Leith also.

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Samuel Rutherford from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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