It took two men to carry back the cluster of grapes the spies cut down at Eshcol, and there is sweetness and strength and ecstasy enough for ten men in any one of Rutherford’s inebriated Letters. ’See what the land is, and whether it be fat or lean, and bring back of the fruits of the land.’ This was the order given by Moses to the twelve spies. And, whether the land was fat or lean, Moses and all Israel could judge for themselves when the spies laid down their load of grapes at Moses’ feet. ‘I can report nothing but good of the land,’ said Joshua Redivivus, as he sent back such clusters of its vineyards and such pots of its honey to Hugh Mackail, to Marion M’Naught, and to Lady Kenmure. And then, when all his letters were collected and published, never surely, since the Epistles of Paul and the Gospel of John, had such clusters of encouragement and such intoxicating cordials been laid to the lips of the Church of Christ.
Our old authors tell us that after the northern tribes had tasted the warmth and the sweetness of the wines of Italy they could take no rest till they had conquered and taken possession of that land of sunshine where such grapes so plentifully grew. And how many hearts have been carried captive with the beauty and the grace of Christ, and with the land of Immanuel, where He drinks wine with the saints in His Father’s house, by the reading of Samuel Rutherford’s Letters, the day of the Lord will alone declare.
Oh! Christ He is the Fountain,
The deep sweet Well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above.
There to an ocean fulness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.
II. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD AND SOME OF HIS EXTREMES
’I am made of extremes.’—Rutherford.
A story is told in Wodrow of an English merchant who had occasion to visit Scotland on business about the year 1650. On his return home his friends asked him what news he had brought with him from the north. ’Good news,’ he said; ’for when I went to St. Andrews I heard a sweet, majestic-looking man, and he showed me the majesty of God. After him I heard a little fair man, and he showed me the loveliness of Christ. I then went to Irvine, where I heard a well-favoured, proper old man with a long beard, and that man showed me all my own heart.’ The little fair man who showed this English merchant the loveliness of Christ was Samuel Rutherford, and the proper old man who showed him all his own heart was David Dickson. Dr. M’Crie says of David Dickson that he was singularly successful in dissecting the human heart and in winning souls to the Redeemer, and all that we know of Dickson bears out that high estimate. When he was presiding on one occasion at the ordination of a young minister, whom he had had some hand in bringing up, among the