Samuel Rutherford eBook

Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.
One of the enacted clauses forbade a plough to be yoked on Christmas Day, on pain of the forfeiture and public sale of the cattle that drew the plough.  Old Earlston, at once to protest against the persecution, and at the same time to save his draught-oxen, yoked ten of his stalwart sons to the mid-winter plough, and, after ploughing the whole of Christmas Day, openly defied both priest and bishop to distrain his team.  Christmas Day, whatever its claims and privileges might be, had no chance in Scotland till it came with better reasons than the threat of a Popish king and Parliament.  The Patriarch of Galloway, as the south of Scotland combined to call old Alexander Gordon of Earlston, lived to the ripe age of over a hundred years, and we are told that he kept family worship himself to the day of his death, holding his Wycliffe in his own hand, and yielding it and his place at the family altar over to none.

But it is with the name-son and great-grandson of this sturdy old saint that we have chiefly to do to-night.  And I may say of him, to begin with, that he was altogether worthy to inherit and to hand on the tradition of family grace and truth that had begun so early and so conspicuously with the head of the Earlston house.  ’Alexander Gordon of Earlston,’ says John Livingstone, in one of his priceless little etchings, ’was a man of great spirit, but much subdued by inward exercise, and who attained the most rare experiences of downcasting and uplifting.’  And in Rutherford’s first letter to this Earlston, written from Anwoth in 1636, he says, in that lofty oracular way of his, ’Jesus Christ has said that Alexander Gordon must lead the ring in Galloway in witnessing a good conscience.’  This, no doubt, refers to the prosecution that Gordon was at that moment undergoing at the hands of the Bishop of Glasgow for refusing to admit a nominee of the Bishop into the pulpit of a reclaiming parish.  It would have gone still worse with Earlston than it did had not Lord Lorne, the true patron of the parish, taken his place beside Earlston at the Bishop’s bar, and testified his entire approval of all that Earlston had done.  With all that, the case did not end till Earlston was banished beyond the Tay for his resistance to the will of the Bishop of Glasgow.  This all took place in the early half of the seventeenth century, so that Dr. Robert Buchanan might with more correctness have entitled his able book ‘The Two Hundred Years’ Conflict’ than ‘The Ten,’ so early was the battle for Non-Intrusion begun in Galloway.  Alexander Gordon was a Free Churchman 200 years before the Disruption, and Lord Lorne was the forerunner of those evangelical and constitutional noblemen and gentlemen in Scotland who helped so much to carry through the Disruption of 1843.  We find both Lord Lorne, and Earlston his factor, sitting as elders beside one another in the Glasgow Assembly of 1638, and then we find Earlston the member for Galloway in the Parliament of 1641.

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Samuel Rutherford from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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