Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
Letter to Jean Brown
By Samuel Rutherford (1600?1661)
From the Letters
MISTRESSgrace, mercy, and peace be to you. I am glad that ye go on at Christs back in this dark and cloudy time. It were good to sell other things for Him; for when all these days are over, we shall find it our advantage that we have taken part with Christ. I confidently believe His enemies shall be His footstool, and that He shall make green flowers, dead, withered hay, when the honour and glory shall fall off them, like the bloom or flower of a green herb shaken with the wind. It were not wisdom for us to think that Christ and the Gospel will come and sit down at our fireside; nay, but we must go out of our warm houses and seek Christ and His Gospel. It is not the sunny side of Christ that we must look to, and we must not forsake Him for want of that; but must set our face against what may befall us in following on, till He and we be through the briars and bushes on the dry ground. Our soft nature would be borne through the troubles of this miserable life in Christs arms. And it is His wisdom, who knoweth our mould, that His bairns go wet-shod and cold-footed to heaven. Oh how sweet a thing were it for us to learn to make our burdens light by framing our hearts to the burden, and making our Lords will a law! I find Christ and His cross not so ill to please, nor yet such troublesome guests as men call them. Nay, I think patience should make Christs water good wine, and this dross good metal; and we have cause to wait on, for ere it be long our Master will be at us, and bring this whole world out before the sun and the daylight in their blacks and whites. Happy are they who are found watching. Our sand-glass is not so long as we need to weary: time will eat away, and root out our woes and sorrow: our heaven is in the bud, and growing up to an harvest, why then should we not follow on, seeing our span-length of time will come to an inch? Therefore, I commend Christ to you, as your last living and longest living Husband, and the staff of your old age: let Him have now the rest of your days; and think not much of a storm upon the ship that Christ saileth in; there shall no passenger fall overboard; but the crazed ship and the sea-sick passenger shall come to land safe. I am in as sweet communion with Christ as a poor sinner can be; and am only pained that He hath much beauty and fairness, and I little love; He great power and mercy, and I little faith; He much light, and I bleared eyes. O, that I saw him in the sweetness of His love, and in His marriage clothes, and were over head and ears in love with that Princely One, Christ Jesus my Lord! Alas, my riven dish and running-out vessel can hold little of Christ Jesus! I have joy in this, that I would not refuse death before I put Christs lawful heritage in mens trysting;1 and what know I, if they would have pleased both Christ and me? Alas! that this land hath put Christ to open rouping, and to an Any man more bids? Blessed are they who would hold the crown on His head, and buy Christs honour with their own losses. I rejoice to hear your son John is coming to visit Christ and taste of His love. I hope he shall not lose his pains, or rue of that choice. I had always (as I said often to you) a great love to dear Mr. John Brown, because I thought I saw Christ in him more than in his brethren; fain would I write to him, to stand by my sweet Master, and I wish ye would let him read my letter, and the joy I have, if he will appear for, and side with my Lord Jesus. Grace, grace be with you.Yours, in his sweet Lord Jesus.