And then, like the true and sure guide to heaven that Rutherford was, he led his young correspondents on from strength to strength, and from one degree and one depth of grace to another, as thus, ’Common honesty will not take a man to heaven. Many are beguiled with this, that they are clear of scandalous sins. But the man that is not born again cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The righteous are scarcely saved. God save me from a disappointment, and send me salvation. Speer at Christ the way to heaven, for salvation is not soon found; many miss it. Say, I must be saved, cost me what it will.’ And to a nameless young man, supposed to be one of his Anwoth parishioners, he writes, ’So my real advice is that you acquaint yourself with prayer, and with searching the Scriptures of God, so that He may shew you the only true way that will bring rest to your soul. Ordinary faith and country holiness will not save you. Take to heart in time the weight and worth of an immortal soul; think of death, and of judgment at the back of death, that you may be saved.—Your sometime pastor, and still friend in God, S. R.’ The civility of the New Jerusalem, he is continually reminding his genteel and correct-living correspondents, is a very different thing from the civility of Edinburgh, or Aberdeen, or St. Andrews. And so it is, else it would not be worth both Christ and all Christian men both living and dying for it.
And this leads Rutherford on, in the last place, to say what Earlston, and Cardoness, and Lord Boyd, while yet in their unconversion and their early conversion, would not understand. For, writing to Robert Stuart, the son of the Provost of Ayr, Rutherford says to him, ’Labour constantly for a sound and lively sense of sin,’ and to the Laird of Cally, ’Take pains with your salvation, for without much wrestling and sweating it is not to be won.’ A sound and lively sense of sin. As we read these sound and lively letters, we come to see and understand something of what their writer means by that. He means that Stuart and Cally, Cardoness and Earlston, young laymen as they were, were to labour in sin and in their own hearts till they came to see something of the ungodliness of sin, something of its fiendishness, its malignity, its loathesomeness, its hell-deservingness, its hell-alreadyness. ’All his religious illuminations, affections, and comforts,’ says Jonathan Edwards of David