A LETTER FROM SAMUEL RUTHERFORD
Having recently had the pleasure of making a short visit to fair ‘Anwoth by the Solway’, I had the urge to read again something of the life and writings of Samuel Rutherford. Hence the cover-picture of this edition and the following pieces which give a brief and inadequate glimpse of the remarkable and godly man’s spirituality, a spirituality which is sadly rare today.
221 – For MARION M’NAUGHT
(HER PRAYERS FOR SCOTLAND NOT FORGOTTEN.)
WORTHY AND DEAREST IN THE LORD -I rejoice that you are a partaker of the sufferings of Christ. Faint not, keep breath, believe; howbeit men, and husband, and friends prove weak, yet your strength faileth not. It is not pride for a drowning man to grip to the rock. It is your glory to lay hold on your Rock. O woman greatly beloved! I testify and avouch it in my Lord, that the prayers ye sent to heaven these many years bygone are come up before the Lord, and shall not be forgotten. What it is that will come, I cannot tell: but I know that, as the Lord liveth, these cries shall bring down mercy. I charge you, and those people with you, to go on without fainting or fear, and still believe, and take no nay-say. If ye leave off, the field is lost; if ye continue, our enemies shall be a tottering wall, and a bowing fence. I write it (and keep this letter), utter, utter desolation shall be to your adversaries, and to the haters of the Virgin-daughter of Scotland. The bride will yet sing, as in the days of her youth. Salvation shall be her walls and bulwarks. The dry olive-tree shall bud again, and dry dead bones shall live; for the Lord will prophesy to the dry bones, and the Spirit shall come upon them, and we shall live.
I rejoice to hear of John Carson! I shall not forget him. Remember me to Grizel and Jean Brown. Your husband hath made me heavy; but be courageous in the Lord. I send blessings to Samuel and William. Show them that I will them to seek God in their youth.
Grace is yours.
Yours, in His sweet Lord Jesus,
Aberdeen, July 8, 1637
‘Faint not, keep breath, believe; howbeit men, and husband, and friends prove weak, yet your strength faileth not… It is your glory to lay hold on your Rock. O woman greatly beloved! 1 testify and avouch it in my Lord, that the prayers ye sent to heaven these, many years bygone are come up before the Lord, and shall not be forgotten… The bride will yet sing, as in the days of her youth.’
O woman greatly loved,
Your prayers are heard on high;
God reads the language of your tears,
And marks the earnest sigh.
Firm is the Rock to which you cleave,
Faint not, keep breath and still believe.
So shall your bow abide
Unshaken in its strength.
Hold fast in faith, though all prove weak
Or weary grow at length.
The field is lost if you should fail
But well-placed hope must soon prevail.
For prayers that rise to God,
Though many years pass by,
Remembered still, wait near His throne,
Beneath His kindly eye.
The God of glory must fulfill
His faithful promises and will.
And mercy shall come down;
For though the bush may burn,
Yet unconsumed it still remains,
Till Christ in mercy turn,
And by His Spirit’s quickening breath
Raise up His bride from dust and death.
And she shall sing once more
As in her youthful days,
High songs of praise to her fair King,
While men in wonder gaze.
Then shall the olive bud again
And all Christ’s enemies be slain.
To Marion N’Maught. Aberdeen, 1637. Letter 221.