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Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.
that, out of love to your souls, and out of the desire I had to make an honest account of you, I often testified my dislike of your ways, both in private and in public.  Examine yourselves.  I never knew so well what sin is as since I came to Aberdeen, though I was preaching about it every day to you.  It would be life to me if you would read this letter to my people, and if they would profit by it.  And now I write to thee, whoever thou art, O poor broken-hearted believer of the free salvation.  Let Christ’s atoning blood be on thy guilty soul.  Christ has His heaven ready for thee, and He will make good His word before long.  The blessing of a poor prisoner be upon you.’

Salvation was all this time proving itself to be a hard and ever harder task to John Gordon, with his proud neck, with his past life to read, with his debts and bonds and increasing expenditure, and with old age heavy upon him and death at his door.  And Lady Cardoness was not finding her salvation to be easy either in all these untoward circumstances.  ‘Think it not easy,’ wrote Rutherford to her.  And to make her salvation sure, and to lead her to help her burdened husband with his hard task, Rutherford made bold to touch, though always tenderly and scripturally, upon the family cross.  Their burdened and crowded estate lay between the whole Cardoness family and their salvation.  Rutherford had seen that from the first day he arrived in Anwoth, and Cardoness and its difficulties lay heavy upon his heart in his prison in Aberdeen.  And he could not write consolations and comforts and promises to Lady Cardoness till he had told her the truth again as he had told her husband.  ’The kingdom of God and His righteousness is the one thing needful for you and for Cardoness and for your children,’ wrote Rutherford.  ’Houses, lands, credit, honour may all be lost if heaven is won.  See that Cardoness and you buy the field where the pearl is.  Sell all and buy that field.  I beseech you to make conscience of your ways.  Deal kindly with your tenants.  I have written my mind at length to your husband, and my counsel to you is that, when his passion overcometh him, a soft answer will turn away wrath.  God casteth your husband often in my mind; I cannot forget him.’

What a power for good is in Samuel Rutherford’s pen!  At a few touches it carries us across Scotland to the mouth of the Fleet, and back two hundred and fifty years, and summons up Cardoness Castle, and peoples the hoary old keep again with John Gordon and his wife and children.  We see the castle; we see the rack-rented farms lying around the rock on which the castle stands; we see Anwoth manse and pulpit empty and silenced; and then we see Rutherford dreaming about Cardoness as he sleeps in his far-off prison.  The stout old laird rises before our eyes with more than his proper share of human nature—­a mass of sinful manhood, strong in will, hot in temper, burdened with debt—­debt in Edinburgh, and

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