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Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.
our own far happier time what a mark does a member of Parliament still make, or a speaker at public meetings, who is seen to be single in his heart, and is at constant pains with himself and with all his duties.  It is at bottom our doubleness of heart and our lack of sufficient pains with ourselves and with the things of truth and righteousness that so divide us up into bitter factions, hateful and hating one another.  And when all our public men are like Robert Gordon in the singleness of their aims and their motives, and when they are at their utmost pains to get at the truth about all the subjects they are called to deal with, party, if not parliamentary government, with all its vices and mischiefs, will have passed away, and the absolute Monarchy of the Kingdom of Heaven will have come.

So much, then, is told us of Robert Gordon in few words:  ’A single-hearted and painful Christian, much employed in parliaments and public meetings.’  To which may be added this extract taken out of the Minute Book of the Covenanters’ War Committee:  ’The same day there was delyverit to the said commissioners by Robert Gordoun of Knockbrax sex silver spoones Scots worke, weightan vi. unce xii. dropes.’  Had Knockbrex also, like the Earlstons, been fined by the bishops and harried by the dragoons till he had nothing left to deliver to the Commissioners but six silver spoons and a single heart?  It would seem so.  Like the woman in the Gospel, Gordon gave to the Covenant all that he had.  Had Robert Gordon been a Highlander instead of a Lowlander; had he been a Ross-shire crofter instead of a small laird in Wigtown, he would have been one of the foremost of the well-known ‘men.’  His temperament and his experiences would have made him a prince among the ministers and the men of the far north.  Were it nothing else, the pains he spent on the growth of the life of grace in his own soul,—­that would have canonised him among the saintliest of those saintly men.  He would have set the Question on many a Communion Friday, and the Question in his hands would not have concerned itself with surface matters.  Was it because Rutherford had now gone nearer that great region of experimental casuistry that he started that excellent Friday problem in a letter from Aberdeen to Knockbrex in 1637?  With Rutherford everything,—­the most doctrinal, experimental, ecclesiastical, political, all—­ran always up into Christ, His love and His loveableness.  ’Is Christ more to be loved for gaining for us justification or sanctification?’ Such was one of the questions Rutherford set to his correspondent in the south.  Did any of you north-country folk ever hear that question debated out before one of your Highland communions?  If you care to see how Rutherford the minister and Knockbrex the man debated out their debt to Jesus Christ, read the priceless correspondence that passed between them, and especially, read the 170th Letter.  But first, and before that, do you either know, or care to know, what either

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