Rutherford Presses Duty & Privilege to a Magistrate

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Samuel Rutherford pressing a magistrate to his duty, and his privilege (Letters, pp. 529-530):

It must be, without all doubt, the greatest honour of your place and house, to kiss the Son of God, and for His sake to be kind to His oppressed and wronged Bride, who now, in the day of her desolation, beggeth help of you that are the shields of the earth. I am sure many kings, princes, and nobles, in the day of Christ’s Second Coming, would be glad to run errands for Christ, even barefooted, through fire and water. But in that day He will have none of their service. Now, He is asking if your Lordship will help Him against the mighty of the earth, when men are setting their shoulders to Christ’s fair and beautiful tent in this land, to loose its stakes and to break it down. And certainly such as are not with Christ are against Him: and blessed shall your Lordship be of the Lord, blessed shall your house and seed be, and blessed shall your honour be, if ye empawn and lay in Christ’s hand the Earldom of Cassillis (and it is but a shadow in comparison of the city made without hands!), and lay it even at the stake, rather than Christ and borne-down truth want a witness of you, against the apostacy of this land. 



Ye hold your lands of Christ; your charters are under His seal; and He who hath many crowns on His head, dealeth, cutteth, and carveth pieces of this clay-heritage to men, at His pleasure. It is little your Lordship hath to give Him; He will not sleep long in your common, but shall surely pay home your losses for His cause. It is but our bleared eyes that look through a false glass to this idol-god of clay, and think something of it. They who are past with their last sentence to heaven or hell, and have made their reckoning, and departed out of this smoky inn, have now no other conceit of this world, but as a piece of beguiling well-lustred clay. And how fast doth time (like a flood in motion) carry your Lordship out of it! And is not eternity coming with wings? Court goeth not in heaven as it doth here. Our Lord (who hath all you, the nobles, lying in the shell of His balance) esteemeth you according as ye are the Bridegroom’s friends or foes. Your honourable ancestors, with the hazard of their lives, brought Christ to our land; and it shall be cruelty to the posterity if ye lose Him to them. One of our tribes, Levi’s sons, the watchmen, are fallen from the Lord, and have sold their mother, and their father also, and the Lord’s truth, for their new velvet-world and their satin-church. If ye, the nobles, play Christ the slip now, when His back is at the wall (if I may so speak), then may we say that the Lord hath casten water upon Scotland’s smoking coal. But we hope better things of you. It is no wisdom (however it be the state-wisdom now in request) to be silent, when they are casting lots for a better thing than Christ’s coat. 



All this land, and every man’s part of the play for Christ, and the tears of poor and friendless Zion (now going dool-like in sackcloth), are up in heaven before our Lord; and there is no question, but our King and Lord shall be master of the fields at length. And we would all be glad to divide the spoil with Christ, and to ride in triumph with Him; but oh how few will take a cold bed of straw in the camp with Him! How fain would men have a well-thatched house above their heads, all the way to heaven! And many now would go to heaven the land-way (for they love not to be sea-sick), riding up to Christ upon foot-mantles, and rattling coaches, and rubbing their velvet with the princes of the land, in the highest seats. If this be the way Christ called strait and narrow, I quit all skill of the way to salvation. Are they not now rouping Christ and the Gospel? Have they not put our Lord Jesus to the market, and he who outbiddeth his fellow shall get Him? O my dear and noble Lord, go on (howbeit the wind be in your face) to back our princely Captain. Be courageous for Him. Fear not those who have no subscribed lease of days. The worms shall eat kings. Let the Lord Jehovah be your fear, and then, as the Lord liveth, the victory is yours.​
 

Jeri Tanner

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Staff member
Samuel Rutherford pressing a magistrate to his duty, and his privilege (Letters, pp. 529-530):

It must be, without all doubt, the greatest honour of your place and house, to kiss the Son of God, and for His sake to be kind to His oppressed and wronged Bride, who now, in the day of her desolation, beggeth help of you that are the shields of the earth. I am sure many kings, princes, and nobles, in the day of Christ’s Second Coming, would be glad to run errands for Christ, even barefooted, through fire and water. But in that day He will have none of their service. Now, He is asking if your Lordship will help Him against the mighty of the earth, when men are setting their shoulders to Christ’s fair and beautiful tent in this land, to loose its stakes and to break it down. And certainly such as are not with Christ are against Him: and blessed shall your Lordship be of the Lord, blessed shall your house and seed be, and blessed shall your honour be, if ye empawn and lay in Christ’s hand the Earldom of Cassillis (and it is but a shadow in comparison of the city made without hands!), and lay it even at the stake, rather than Christ and borne-down truth want a witness of you, against the apostacy of this land. 

​
Ye hold your lands of Christ; your charters are under His seal; and He who hath many crowns on His head, dealeth, cutteth, and carveth pieces of this clay-heritage to men, at His pleasure. It is little your Lordship hath to give Him; He will not sleep long in your common, but shall surely pay home your losses for His cause. It is but our bleared eyes that look through a false glass to this idol-god of clay, and think something of it. They who are past with their last sentence to heaven or hell, and have made their reckoning, and departed out of this smoky inn, have now no other conceit of this world, but as a piece of beguiling well-lustred clay. And how fast doth time (like a flood in motion) carry your Lordship out of it! And is not eternity coming with wings? Court goeth not in heaven as it doth here. Our Lord (who hath all you, the nobles, lying in the shell of His balance) esteemeth you according as ye are the Bridegroom’s friends or foes. Your honourable ancestors, with the hazard of their lives, brought Christ to our land; and it shall be cruelty to the posterity if ye lose Him to them. One of our tribes, Levi’s sons, the watchmen, are fallen from the Lord, and have sold their mother, and their father also, and the Lord’s truth, for their new velvet-world and their satin-church. If ye, the nobles, play Christ the slip now, when His back is at the wall (if I may so speak), then may we say that the Lord hath casten water upon Scotland’s smoking coal. But we hope better things of you. It is no wisdom (however it be the state-wisdom now in request) to be silent, when they are casting lots for a better thing than Christ’s coat. 

​
All this land, and every man’s part of the play for Christ, and the tears of poor and friendless Zion (now going dool-like in sackcloth), are up in heaven before our Lord; and there is no question, but our King and Lord shall be master of the fields at length. And we would all be glad to divide the spoil with Christ, and to ride in triumph with Him; but oh how few will take a cold bed of straw in the camp with Him! How fain would men have a well-thatched house above their heads, all the way to heaven! And many now would go to heaven the land-way (for they love not to be sea-sick), riding up to Christ upon foot-mantles, and rattling coaches, and rubbing their velvet with the princes of the land, in the highest seats. If this be the way Christ called strait and narrow, I quit all skill of the way to salvation. Are they not now rouping Christ and the Gospel? Have they not put our Lord Jesus to the market, and he who outbiddeth his fellow shall get Him? O my dear and noble Lord, go on (howbeit the wind be in your face) to back our princely Captain. Be courageous for Him. Fear not those who have no subscribed lease of days. The worms shall eat kings. Let the Lord Jehovah be your fear, and then, as the Lord liveth, the victory is yours.​
I hope that magistrate was persuaded!
 
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