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Samuel Rutherford eBook

Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.

Lady Kenmure was one of the Campbells of Argyll, a family distinguished for the depth of their piety, their public spirit, and their love for the Presbyterian polity; and Lady Jane was one of the most richly-gifted members of that richly-gifted house.  But, with all that, Lady Jane Campbell had her own crosses to carry.  She had the sore cross of bad health to carry all her days.  Then she had the sad misfortune to make a very bad marriage in the morning of her days; and, partly as the result of all that, and partly because of her peculiar mental constitution, her whole life was drenched with a deep melancholy.  But, as we are told in John Howie and elsewhere, all these evils and misfortunes were made to work together for good to her through the special grace of God, and through the wise and wistful care of her lifelong friend and minister and correspondent, Samuel Rutherford.  Lady Jane Campbell had very remarkable gifts of mind.  We would have expected that from her distinguished pedigree; and we have abundant proof of that in Rutherford’s sheaf of letters to her.  His dedication of that most remarkable piece, The Trial and Triumph of Faith, is sufficient of itself to show how highly Rutherford esteemed Lady Kenmure, both as to her head and her heart.  Till our theological students have been led to study The Trial and Triumph of Faith:  Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself—­which, to my mind, is by far the best of Rutherford’s works—­The Covenant of Grace and The Influences of Grace, they will have no conception of the intellectual rank of Samuel Rutherford himself, or of the intelligence and the attainments of his hearers and readers and correspondents.  Thomas Goodwin was always telling the theological students of Oxford in those days to thicken their too thin homilies with more doctrine:  Rutherford’s very thinnest books are almost too thick, both with theology and with thought.

How ever a woman like Jane Campbell came to marry a man like John Gordon will remain a mystery.  It was not that he was a man of no mind; he was a man of no worth or interest of any kind.  He was a rake and a lick-spittle, the very last man in Scotland for Jane Campbell to throw herself away upon.  And she was too clever and too good a woman not to make a speedy and a heart-breaking discovery of the fatal mistake she had committed.  Poor Jane Campbell soon wakened up to the discovery that she had exchanged the name and the family of a brave and noble house for the name and the house of a poltroon.  No wonder that Rutherford’s letters to her are so often headed:  ’To Lady Kenmure, under illness and depression of mind.’  Could you have kept quite well had you been a Campbell with John Gordon for a husband?  Think of having to nurse your humbug of a husband through a shammed illness.  Think of having to take a hand in sending in a sham doctor’s certificate because your husband was too much of a time-server to go to Edinburgh to give

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