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Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.
or John Livingstone.  Indeed, the expert author of the Therapeutica himself would have been put to it to answer fully and satisfactorily those two so acute and so searching letters.  The Kilmacolm people had heard about the famous answers that Samuel Rutherford, now home again in Anwoth, had written both from Anwoth and from Aberdeen to all classes of people and on all kinds of subjects; copies, indeed, of some of those now already widespread letters had come to Kilmacolm itself, till, at one of their private meetings for conference and prayer, it was resolved that a small committee of their elders should gather up their painful experiences in the spiritual life that got no help from the parish pulpit, and should set them by way of submission and consultation before the great spiritual casuist.  Everybody else was getting what counsel and comfort they needed from the famous adviser of Anwoth, and why not they, the neglected parishioners of Kilmacolm?  And thus it was that two or three of the oldest and ablest men in the kirk-session so wrote to Rutherford, as, after some delay, to get back the elaborate letter from Anwoth numbered 286 in Dr. Bonar’s edition.

I am tempted to think it possible that the old, long-experienced, and much-exercised saints of Kilmacolm may have demanded a little too much of their minister:  at any rate, I am quite as anxious to hear what Rutherford shall say to them as they can be to hear from him themselves.  And all that leads me to believe that not only must there have been some quite remarkable people in the parish church at that date, but that they must also have had some very special pulpit and pastoral work expended on them in former years.  Or, if not that, then their case is just another illustration of what Rutherford says in his reassuring answer, namely, that the life of grace among a people is not at all tied up to the lips of their minister.  Which, again, is just another way of putting what the Psalmist says of himself in his humble and happy boast:  ’I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts.’

1.  The first complaint that came to Anwoth from Kilmacolm was expressed in the quaint and graphic language natural to that day.  ’Security, strong and sib to nature, is stealing in upon us.’  The holy law of God, they mean, was never preached in their parish; at any rate, it was never carried home to any man’s conscience.  Nobody was ever disturbed.  Nobody’s feelings were ever hurt.  Nobody in all the parish had ever heard a voice of thunder saying, Thou art the man.  Toothless and timid generalities made up all the preaching they ever heard either on the ethical or on the evangelical side:  and generalities disturb no man’s peace of mind.  The pulpit of Kilmacolm was but too sib to the pew, and both pulpit and pew slept on together in undisturbed security.  And that supplied Samuel Rutherford with an excellent

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