Samuel Rutherford eBook

Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.
Rutherford, that a man like you should have any such opinion of me.  And, apologising for his delay in replying to a letter of Lady Boyd’s, he says that he is put out of all love of writing letters because his correspondents think things about him that he himself knows are not true.  ’My white side comes out on paper—­but at home there is much black work.  All the challenges that come to me are true.’  There was no man then alive on the earth so much looked up to and consulted in the deepest matters of the soul, in the secrets of the Lord with the soul, as Rutherford was, and his letters bear evidence on every page that there was no man who had a more loathsome and a more hateful experience of his own heart, not even Taylor, not even Owen, not even Bunyan, not even Baxter.  What a day of extremest men that was, and what an inheritance we extreme men have had left us, in their inward, extreme, and heavenly books!

Once more, hear him on the tides of feeling that continually rose and fell within his heart.  Writing from Aberdeen to Lady Boyd, he says:  ’I have not now, of a long time, found such high springtides as formerly.  The sea is out, and I cannot buy a wind and cause it to flow again; only I wait on the shore till the Lord sends a full sea. . . .  But even to dream of Him is sweet.’  And then, just over the leaf, to Marion M’Naught:  ’I am well:  honour to God. . . .  He hath broken in upon a poor prisoner’s soul like the swelling of Jordan.  I am bank and brim full:  a great high springtide of the consolations of Christ hath overwhelmed me.’ . . .  But sweet as it is to read his rapturous expressions when the tide is full, I feel it far more helpful to hear how he still looks and waits for the return of the tide when the tide is low, and when the shore is full, as all left shores are apt to be, of weeds and mire, and all corrupt and unclean things.  Rutherford is never more helpful to his correspondents than when they consult him about their ebb tides, and find that he himself either has been, or still is, in the same experience.

But why do we disinter such texts as this out of such an author as Samuel Rutherford?  Why do we tell to all the world that such an eminent saint was full of such sad extremes?  Well, we surely do so out of obedience to the divine command to comfort God’s people; for, next to their having no such extremes in themselves, their next best comfort is to be told that great and eminent saints of God have had the very same besetting sins and staggering extremes as they still have.  If the like of Samuel Rutherford was vexed and weakened with such intellectual contradictions and spiritual extremes in his mind, in his heart and in his history, then may we not hope that some such saintliness, if not some such service as his, may be permitted to us also?


   ’O woman beloved of God.’—­Rutherford.

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Samuel Rutherford from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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