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Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.

It makes us think when we find two such men as Samuel Rutherford and John Fergushill falling back for their own souls on a Scripture like this.  We naturally think of Scriptures like this as specially sent out to the chief of sinners; to those men who have sold themselves for naught, or, at least, to new beginners in the divine life.  We do not readily think of great divines and famous preachers like Rutherford, or of godly and able pastors like Fergushill, as at all either needing such Scriptures as this, or as finding their own case at all met in them.  But it is surely a great lesson to us all—­a great encouragement and a great rebuke—­to find two such saintly men as the ministers of Anwoth and Ochiltree reassuring and heartening one another about the poor man’s market as they do in their letters to one another.  And their case is just another illustration of this quite familiar fact in the Church of Christ, that the preachers who press their pulpits deepest into the doctrines of grace, and who, at the same time, themselves make the greatest attainments in the life of grace, are just the men, far more than any of their hearers, both to need and to accept the simplest, plainest, freest, fullest offer of the Gospel.  If the men of the house of Israel will not accept the peace you preach to them, said our Lord to His first apostles, then take that peace home to yourselves.  And how often has that been repeated in the preaching of the Gospel since the days of Peter and John!  How often have our best preachers preached their best sermons to themselves!  ‘I preached the following Lord’s Day,’ says Boston in his diary, ’on “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” and my sermon was mostly on my own account.’  And it was just because Boston preached so often in that egoistical way that the people of Ettrick were able to give such a good account of what they heard.  Weep yourselves, if you would have your readers weep, said the shrewd old Roman poet to the shallow poetasters of his Augustan day.  And the reproof and the instruction come up from every pew to every pulpit still.  ’Feel what you say, if you would have us feel it.  Believe what you say, if you would have us believe it.  Flee to the refuge yourselves, if you would have us flee.  And let us see you selling all in the poor man’s market, if you would see us also selling all and coming after you.’  The people of Anwoth and Ochiltree were very well off in this respect also that their ministers did not bid them do anything that they did not first do themselves.  The truest and best apostolical succession had come to those two parishes in that their two pastors were able, with a good conscience before God and before their people, to say with Paul to the Philippians:  ’Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me do; and the God of peace shall be with you.’

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