Samuel Rutherford eBook

Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.
sacred bench, were together fast poisoning the public enjoyments of England and of Scotland.  You will hear cheap, shallow, vinous speeches at public dinners and suchlike resorts about the Puritans, and about how they denounced so much of the literature and the art of that day.  When, if those who so find fault had but the intelligence and the honesty to look an inch beneath the surface of things they would see that it was not the Puritans but their persecutors who really took away from the serious-minded people of Scotland and England both the dance and the drama, as well as so many far more important things in that day.  Had the Puritans and their fathers always had their own way, especially in England, those sources of public and private enjoyment would never have been poisoned to the people as they were and are, and that cleft would never have been cut between the conscience and some kinds of culture and delight which still exists for so many of the best of our people.  Charles Kingsley was no ascetic, and his famous North British article, ‘Plays and Puritans,’ was but a popular admission of what a free and religious-minded England owes on one side of their many-sided service to the Puritans of that impure day.  Christina Rossetti is no Calvinist, but she puts the Calvinistic and Puritan position about the sin-poisoned enjoyments of this life in her own beautiful way:  ’Yes, all our life long we shall be bound to refrain our soul, and keep it low; but what then?  For the books we now forbear to read we shall one day be endued with wisdom and knowledge.  For the music we will not now listen to we shall join in the song of the redeemed.  For the pictures from which we turn we shall gaze unabashed on the beatific vision.  For the companionship we shun we shall be welcomed into angelic society and the companionship of triumphant saints.  For the amusements we avoid we shall keep the supreme jubilee.  For all the pleasure we miss we shall abide, and for ever abide, in the rapture of heaven.’

All through Rutherford’s lifetime preaching was his chiefest enjoyment and his most exquisite delight.  He was a born preacher, and his enjoyment of preaching was correspondingly great.  Even when he was removed from Anwoth to St. Andrews, where, what with his professorship and principalship together, one would have thought that he had his hands full enough, he yet stipulated with the Assembly that he should be allowed to preach regularly every Sabbath-day.  But sin, again, that dreadful, and, to Rutherford, omnipresent evil, poisoned all his preaching also and made it one of the heaviest burdens of his conscience and his heart and his life.  There is a proverb to the effect that when the best things become corrupt then that is corruption indeed.  And so Rutherford discovered it to be in the matter of his preaching.  Do what he would, Rutherford, like Shepard, could not keep the thought of what men would think out of his weak and evil mind, both before, and during, but more especially after his preaching.  And that poisoned and corrupted and filled the pulpit with death to Rutherford, in a way and to a degree that nobody but a self-seeking preacher will believe or understand.  Rutherford often wondered that he had not been eaten up of worms in his pulpit like King Herod on his throne, and that for the very same atheistical and blasphemous reason.

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Samuel Rutherford from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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