Mourning correctly

Discussion in 'Daily Devotional Forum' started by greenbaggins, Mar 4, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Samuel Rutherford has an interesting point to make, warning us thereby not to sin when we mourn.

    ndeed it is self-love in us that maketh us mourn for them that die in the Lord. Why? Because for them we cannot mourn, since they are never happy till they be dead; therefore we mourn for our private respect. Take heed, then, that in showing your affection in mourning for your daughter, ye be not, out of self-affliction, mourning for yourself (Letters of Samuel Rutherford, p. 35).
     
  2. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Puritan Board Sophomore

    Oh, these letters of Rutherford are such a great blessing.

    I've been wanting to go back and read them again, but have hesitated as I didn't want to bring back the memory of the sorrow that led me to them quite yet.

    The astounding tone of kindness and rigorous counsel found in them is something I've not found elsewhere.
     
  3. Johnathan Lee Allen

    Johnathan Lee Allen Puritan Board Freshman

    I had to send this to my wife. It was a good reminder for us.
     
  4. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    That whole letter is incredible.
     
  5. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I believe this quote is from the fuller Banner of Truth Hardcover edition, not the Puritan paperback.

    This Hardcover edition has 365 letters so one can use the "Letters of Samuel Rutherford" for a years devotions. A blessed way to learn piety from a spiritual giant.
     
  6. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    That may be; but this particular letter is in the paperback edition as well.
     
  7. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I disagree with Samuel Rutherford here; he is binding an unnatural burden upon people in their grief. Paul says we are not to sorrow as those without hope, but he does not tell us not to sorrow, which is basically what Rutherford is doing in very pious terms. Of course the person is mourning out of a sense of loss to themselves; I suppose that, following this logic, Jesus should not have wept at the grave of Lazarus.
     
  8. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Daniel, I don't think that is what Rutherford is doing. From the tenor of the letter as a whole (and yes it is from the hardcover BoT edition), he is warning against certain dangers that face those who mourn. I don't think he is saying to cut off all mourning. He is basically saying, "In your mourning, do not sin."
     
  9. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    The last sentence, "Take heed, then, that in showing your affection in mourning for your daughter, ye be not, out of self-affliction, mourning for yourself" is assuming that the recipient should indeed mourn for the daughter as a manifestation of affection for her, so he certainly isn't implying that they not sorrow at all. I think we all experience that in sorrow there is a great temptation towards overmuch introspection and preoccupation with ourselves and our feelings. That selfishness is the sin he is warning against.
     
  10. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Same page number?
     
  11. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I grant that he is not saying "don't mourn" (I realise that my post gave that impression). My point is merely that it is unreasonable to expect someone not to mourn out of a sense of loss to themselves.

    My impression of Samuel Rutherford's letters is that they are outstanding when the speak of Christ, but perhaps not always so good when it comes to his practical advice to his readers. I recall when, as a 19 year old, I was out doing evangelism in Belfast and a man came up to me and told me how his life had been a disaster since getting saved a few years earlier. I responded with a line out of Rutherford's letters, which I was reading at the time, to the effect that "you cannot expect to be carried to heaven on a bead of feathers." I have felt bad about it ever since.
     
  12. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    In the paperback version it's the first letter and the quote is pp14-15.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  13. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    I also love about this particular letter how he reminds her that her daughter was in fact "leased" to her. What an important reminder for us parents! God doesn't actually "give" us children; He "leases" them to us for a particular time (and He determines the length of the lease).
     
  14. Potter

    Potter Puritan Board Freshman

    This point was brought up when my extended family did a study of the letters.

    Remember that these are letters to specific, individual people that he knew. We do not know the circumstances or his relationship to the person he was writing to. Nor do we know what other correspondence they had.

    They were also much more acquainted with grief and loss than we are today. We are much "softer" in many respects.

    Was Rutherford's advice good? Personally I would need to hear much of what Rutherford has to say if I went through some intense trial and I am very glad to have read the book before I have had to experience a major loss.

    I agree that it is a bad idea to quote Rutherford as if it is a counseling book.
     
  15. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I was thinking about the first point you made myself earlier, which is definitely worth bearing in mind. The point about it not being a counselling book is very judicious.
     
  16. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    First he defines what mourning over a dead believer is.....self love. He argues that this is based on a rational thought that it's irrational to mourn in the dead person's place because they are in heaven or on their way there. They have nothing to mourn over. They are happy. This is very true. But no one tries to mourn in place of the dead or dying person who is saved that's just a strange thought. Why do we mourn? Because we, the living, have suffered a loss. Basically, he is saying that you shouldn't mourn in the dead person's stead because they don't need you to mourn in their place for they are happy. But then he turns around and says don't mourn out of self love. So on what basis do we mourn? If we don't mourn for them which is just weird and we can't mourn for ourselves, then we can't mourn at all. This super unbiblical.

    Paul states, "Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow."
     
  17. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Perhaps a distinction could made between something you read while you are going through a trial versus something you read while you aren't. I have not read him, but based on what you are saying, maybe he is useful to read when you are dispassionate and can store up some wisdom for a trial.

    The example @JTB.SDG gave of children being on lease is a concept better absorbed before a trial hits.
     
  18. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes, I think that is true.
     
  19. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks, Sarah. You have stated very clearly what I was trying to say. With all due respect to the great Samuel Rutherford, I think that he got this one wrong.
     
  20. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think you have to just read this in the context of the entire letter. It's only two or three pages. It's incredibly rich. Rutherford is writing out of the depths of compassion with a pastor's heart for his dear friend. He gives both comforts and exhortations. The letter on the whole is incredibly edifying, and one of the best single resources I would point someone to in dealing with the death of a loved one.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page