Samuel Rutherford eBook

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

Not only does true grace grow best in winter, but winter is the best season for planting grace.  ‘I was to be married, and she died,’ was a young man’s explanation to me the other day for proposing to sit down at the Lord’s Table.  The winter cold that carried off his future wife saw planted in his ploughed-up heart the seeds of divine grace; and, no doubt, all down the coming winters, with such short interludes of summers as may be before him in this cold climate, the grace that was planted in winter will grow.  It is not a speculation, it is a personal experience that hundreds here can testify to, that the Bible, the Sabbath, the Supper, all became so many means of grace to them after some great affliction greatly sanctified.  The death of a bride, the death of a wife, the death of a child; some blow from bride or wife or child worse than death; a lost hope quenched for ever—­these, and things like these, are needful, as it would seem, to be suffered by most men before they will wholly open their hearts to the grace of God.  ’Before I was afflicted I went astray:  but now have I kept Thy word.’

At the same time, good and necessary as all such wintry experiences are, their good results on us do not last for ever.  In too many cases they do not last long.  It is rather a start in grace we take at such seasons than a steady and deep growth in it.  The growth in grace that comes to us in connection with some sore affliction is apt to be violent and spasmodic; it comes and it goes with the affliction; it is not slow, constant, steady, sure, as all true and natural growth is.  If one might say so, an unbroken winter in the soul, a continual inward winter, is needed to keep up a steady, deep and fruitful growth in grace.  Now, is there anything in the spiritual husbandry of God that can be called such a winter of the soul?  I think there is.  The winter of our outward life—­trials, crosses, sickness and death are all the wages of sin; and it is among these things that grace first strikes its roots.  And what is the continual presence of sin in the soul but the true winter of the soul, amid which the grace that is planted in an outbreak of winter ever after strikes deeper root and grows?  Once let a man be awakened of God to his own great sinfulness; and that not to its fruits in outward sorrow, but to its malignant roots that are twisted round and round and through and through his heart, and that man has thenceforth such a winter within him as shall secure to him a lifelong growth in the most inward grace.  Once let a poor wretch awake to the unbroken winter of his own sinfulness, a sinfulness that is with him when he lies down and when he rises up, when he is abroad among men and when he is at home with himself alone:  an incessant, increasing, agonising, overwhelming sense of sin,—­and how that most miserable of men will grow in grace, and how he will drink in all the means of grace!  How he will hear the word of grace preached, mixing

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Samuel Rutherford from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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