7 Benefits of Measuring Your One Brief Life

7 Benefits of Measuring Your One Brief Life

7 Benefits of Measuring Your One Brief Life

​In a 24/7 world, time is a precious commodity. We live our lives by the clock, assessing how much time we have till the next item on the schedule. It’s a 24/7 world because to many, this life and this world is all that matters. Time is short but there is an eternal world to come. This makes time precious in an altogether different way. True wisdom compels us to measure our lives for our enduring benefit.

As Moses shows, our lives are so short they can be compared to a single day (Psalm 90:6). Jacob lived longer than the oldest person now alive but he assessed his years as “few and evil” (Genesis 47:9). Andrew Gray gives valuable counsel on the benefit of measuring our days in order to know the brevity of time. He says that it would be desirable that “the thoughts of it were deeply engraven on our hearts, as with a pen of iron and the point of a diamond”. Thus, “they might rise with us in the morning and lie down with us at night, and be continually with us”.  It would be “a spur in our side” reminding us of what concerns our soul’s everlasting benefit. It is worth noting that Andrew Gray died very young, at the age of only 22 years. The following is an updated extract from one of his sermons.

 

1. Measuring Our Life Brings Heavenly-mindedness

It is clear that “we have here no continuing city”. What should this produce?  “Therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:14-15).  Considering the brevity of our life is good for the very same reason, to remind us of eternity. Since it is so, we should  set our affections and desires on things that are above. We should set our whole hearts on that glorious and precious pearl of our crown that shines so bright: when “we shall meet Christ in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). O long for that day and let your hearts covet more the excellent things that are above in heaven.

 

2. Measuring Our Life Makes Us Moderate in the Pleasures of this Life

It will cause great sobriety and moderation in pursuit after the worldly pleasures and delights of this present life. This is clear from that command given 1 Thessalonians 5:8, “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breast-plate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation”. If the thoughts of the brevity of our life were engraven on our hearts, why then should we vex ourselves with the torturing cares of this life, which does not profit us at all? O why do we weary ourselves in the fire, which is but vexation of spirit and surely vanity? O Christians, let  your moderation in the pursuit of the things in this world be made known to all men. For behold! The Lord is at hand, to take vengeance and revenge on the wicked, with furious rebukes of flaming fire, and eternal excommunication from the righteous Judge.

 

3. Measuring Our Life Makes Us Serious and Diligent in Duties

It makes us diligent and watchful in going towards that blessed rest that is prepared for all the redeemed of the Lord. Our blessed Lord Jesus reasoned, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4) Then, O Christians, while it is called today, stir up yourselves for working out the work of your salvation. We do not know how suddenly the shadows of that everlasting evening may be stretched out over us and we receive that summons from God to remove from here and be gone. Are you not afraid lest you be banished? Lest the night approach before your work is perfected? I am afraid that many will still not have begun that great work of their soul’s salvation when death summons them to appear before God’s terrible tribunal and judgment-seat.

Be afraid and stand in awe, lest the night is hard by and at hand. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die,” say the Epicureans. They make use of this argument to stir up delight in fulfilling their lusts; but let us be watchful and diligent for we do not know but it may be tomorrow that we must die.

Take more time to consider the things that are before you than the things that are behind. Think more on what is before than what is past: “press forward toward the mark, for the prize of the high-calling of God, in Christ Jesus”.

 

4. Measuring Our Life Makes Us Understand Why We Were Created

Adam was created according to the most blessed and glorious image of God. But having a woeful and cursed design to be as God and like Him, fell from that blessed condition and all his posterity in him. He made us and himself subject to God’s wrath and eternal indignation for evermore. But blessed be God eternally that He has found out that new and living way by which we may escape that curse on all mankind for sin.

 

5. Measuring Our Life is a Great Help to Put Idols to Death

Thoughts of the brevity of our life and appointed time would put to death the following great idols which have us so much under their power:

(a) It helps put to death the idol of false trust. This is when we trust in anything more than in God. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man” in whom there is no help (Psalm 146:3).
(b) It helps put to death the idol of false love. This is when we love anything more than God. We are to cease from man “whose breath is in his nostrils” (Isaiah 2:22).
(c) It helps put to death the idol of false fear. This is when we fear anything more than God. Particularly when we are “afraid of a man that shall die and of the son of man which shall be made as grass?” ( Isaiah 51:12)

 

6. Measuring Our Life Creates Wonder at the Love of Christ

One who measures their life may attain to a holy admiration and divine astonishment at the condescending love of Jesus Christ. “Man that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). What a wonder it is to see God delighting Himself in the dust of His feet. God makes those who dwell in the dust an object of His love! Surely this is a mystery which we cannot comprehend.

 

7. Measuring Our Life Makes Us Compassionate

God makes use of the brevity of our live to provoke Him to have compassion and mercy. Surely this is God’s way and we must wonder at it rather than inquire and debate why it is so. This is clear from Psalm 78:38-39: “But being full of compassion, he forgave their iniquities, and turned away his anger; for he remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.”

 

Conclusion

Gray notes that God has appointed our time and numbered our days (Job 14:14-16). God has done all things well. The brevity and shortness of our life declares the great love and matchless delight that God has to sinners. He is longing for the day when all the redeemed of the Lord shall be with Him, to remain there forever to enjoy all delights and all soul-pleasures. Long for that day, but be submissive to God’s will. Those who have made use of their life to enjoy communion and fellowship with God will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

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The Antidote to Discouragement

The Antidote to Discouragement

The Antidote to Discouragement

Many things may seem to conspire easily to cast us down. Discouragement is a temptation that robs us of our blessings and spiritual strength. How can we rise above our fears and concerns? The great danger is when discouragement dissuades us from prayer and makes God seem distant. God is the source of life, strength and hope and we are truly debilitated when not consciously trusting Him. When David was in the worst of circumstances – distressed, having lost everything and his life in danger – he encouraged himself in God (1 Samuel 30:6). This is the antidote to discouragement. But how do we apply it?

John Dickson (c.1629-1700) preached a sermon on this verse that gives valuable counsel. It is important to remember that it was preached by one suffering persecution to those suffering persecution. The distress they faced was not only hardship but also potentially losing everything, being imprisoned and executed.

Dickson was minister of Rutherglen. Almost as soon as Charles II came to the throne he was imprisoned for “seditious” sermons against the government. When he was removed from his charge by the government he continued his work by preaching in the fields, mostly at night. Hunted by government troops, he was eventually arrested in 1680. He was sentenced to imprisonment on the Bass Rock. This is a very high rock in the sea off the Scottish coast purchased by the government expressly for imprisoning presbyterian ministers. Along with many others he suffered much in those fearful conditions. Yet, he also experienced spiritual blessing in fellowship with Christ in this dismal place. In fact he wrote various letters full of spiritual joy from prison.

The following is extracted and updated from Dickson’s sermon, which was preached at Little Govan in 1675. Dickson says that “God is the best foundation of encouragement for the people of God in time of distress. ‘God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in the time of trouble: we will not fear though the earth be removed’ (Psalm 46:1). I will not be afraid. Why? Because the Lord is the sure shelter of His church and people”. He gives three main helps for the discouraged to encourage themselves in God:

 

1. Look to God’s Gracious Dealings

O Christian, you must cast your back on your former and past experiences. Think on the way the Lord communicated His kindness and love to you, or think of His power exerted to advance your journey heavenward.

David encounters growing enemies and adversaries, namely Goliath who defies the armies of the living God. The armies of the living God are ready to faint for fear of him. David comes and ventures a strange attempt in order to condemn the adversaries and raise up his own spirit. What does he do? He says, “I will venture”. “O”, says the king of Israel, “you are but a stripling, what can you do?” “But”, says David, “I will venture, O king. I was feeding my father’s flock: and there came a lion and a bear; and I slew them both. And the Lord that delivered me out of the paws of the lion and the mouth of the bear, will also deliver me out of the hands of this uncircumcised Philistine”. This former experience was a declaration of the Lord’s regard for him. “Upon that”, he says, “I will venture my blood for him”.

Afterwards, he challenges Goliath. He said unto David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with staves?” And he cursed him by his god and said he you give him flesh to be meat to the beasts of the earth etc.  “But” says David, “hear me one word. You come to me with a sword and a spear, but I come to you in the name of the living God, whose armies you have defied”. He came in the strength of an old experience.

So, in a distressed condition, when the people of God are brought very low, they may yet insure themselves, and venture on difficulties by recapitulating former experiences. “There was once a day when Christ met with my soul and I was once obliged to say: ‘The Lord is my God’.  I will now venture, my life and all I have on that, if the Lord calls me to do that”. “I was once at such and such a communion, and His loving kindness broke in on my soul so greatly that I did not care for anything”. Reflect on that old experience. Look back to the one whom you have avouched to be your God in the past. Why may He not be your God now also?

 

2. Look to God

The people of God ought to relieve their spirits in distress in these days by casting their eyes on Him instead of all relations. He is your father, husband, elder brother and best friend. He is the sympathiser with His people in all their afflictions. What a privilege to be related in this way to the king of saints and the glory of the Church! Not only this but old experiences show that He is your own God. Take Him therefore in all the relations in which He is given to your soul. This will give great encouragements against all distress.

David greatly encouraged himself with a consideration of these relations, when he says: “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psalm 18:2).  He encourages himself in this to bless and magnify the Lord.

 

3. Look to God’s Attributes

A view of the Lord in His divine attributes may help to hold up your soul, O believer. He is mighty to save, and to save you in all your distresses and complex difficulties. He is also infinite in counsel and can set your foot on a rock and establish your way before you. You cannot tell what will become of your own condition or the affairs of the Church of Christ.  Cast it all on an infinite God.  He sits at the helm of affairs, and steers the rudder and so points the ship wherever she is to go.

Even though we were overclouded with the greatest number of discouragements, yet God is the Lord.  Psalm 97 and Psalm 99 both begin: “The Lord reigneth”. They speak of the earth rejoicing, the people trembling and God’s hand lifted up. If you consider His attributes in the right way you will see His mercy in them. He pities those that fear Him as a father pities his children (Psalm 103:13).  Do you think He will put more on them than they are able to bear? He may lay troubles and trials on them but what does that matter? This is His way with the Church. What follows such trials? He relieves His people and delivers Jacob “out of all his troubles”. O, if we were rightly fortified against the distress of these times the children of God might have a pleasant life at this time. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?” Let Him then give His kindness to His people and secure their right for them. It is God that justifies me you may say.

You are happy, O believers that a right to benefit from such a powerful and wise God. He is one that guides His own with His everlasting arms around them. As the walls are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord encompasses His Church. He that neither slumbers nor sleeps watches over her. I’ll tell you, that your faintness of spirit arises from your lack of faith.  “O ye of little faith, how long shall I be with you?” “When the centurion came to me”, says the Saviour about the condition of his servant, “I bade him go home, his servant would be healed. He did so, and found him whole at the set hour. But now, you doubt of my power and abilities. How long will you be without faith? If you had faith but as a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this mountain, be removed and cast into the sea and it shall be done”. This seems to be the worst disaster that many Christians meet with – they will not venture their soul’s case on Him. Ye of little faith, why do you doubt?

Some Christians will venture their soul’s salvation on Him, but do not have confidence in Him concerning His Church and cause in the world. But do you not think He has an equal interest in both? Has he not promised to build the walls of his Jerusalem, and to put on the top stone with shouting, saying  “Grace, grace unto it?” There are no grounds to doubt that Antichrist and all his anti-Christian crew shall yet be brought under the feet of the living God. And all these anti-Christian doctrines now taught and applauded by men, shall yet be trodden under foot.

He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (see 1 Corinthians 15:25-26). He shall tread under His feet the nations, piercing unto their very heart with the soles of His feet, driving them to pieces, as a potsherd is broken to shivers. If you were acquainted with Him aright, you would have faith in this. Though we are under a cloud for a time by the present discouragements, what does that matter? We cannot mistrust the Lord, who has promised that He shall reign in spite of all His enemies.

There are glorious days coming O Christians when that which concerns Himself shall be accomplished. The days are coming when these poor despised people that are now weeping, sighing, sobbing, and disheartened shall be raised up. Poor mean-spirited folk with no faith in God think that religion consists entirely in sighing and drooping. But this does not matter; it is the responsibility of the people of God to look up to the captain of their salvation, who through suffering was made perfect. He has promised to do all things for you that have this sure benefit in Him.

David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. Follow this example, and all shall be well.

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The Future is Certain

The Future is Certain

The Future is Certain

Although it is uncertain to us, the future is still certain. Everything that will take place is certain. It will happen at the right time and in the right way. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose, under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). There are many mysteries in God’s Providence. Yet, this truth about a certain future provides us with hope and comfort. It also imparts wisdom about how to respond to God’s Providence.

Alexander Nisbet expands on this verse, drawing out its full meaning and application. The following is an updated extract from his commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes.

1. How Do We Know the Future is Certain?

Nisbet says that this verse helps to calm the hearts of the godly. Especially when faced with the many sad changes that take place in this world. It helps to wean their hearts from seeking happiness in earthly things. It encourages us all to observe the most appropriate opportunity for our actions and purposes. It teaches us to depend on the One who has the times in His power.

This verse includes every event. It does not merely include the daily operation of God’s Providence in creation. Voluntary and other actions that seem to be most within human power are also involved. The verse says: “To everything there is a season”. The examples in the verses that follow relate to both human actions and events in creation. The word “season” literally means a fixed, appointed or predetermined time. It is translated in this way in Esther 9:27 and Ezra 10:14.

The fact that the suitable time (season) for everything is fixed refers to God’s eternal decree which foreordained all events. This is clear by comparing it with verse 11 which says that God has made everything beautiful in his season. This also applies to men’s purposes or resolutions (particularly those in which they delight). This is what the word translated “purpose” literally means (see Genesis 34:19). There is a time for these, literally, a set time (Nehemiah 2:6). Men cannot even conceive or resolve to do anything outside the set time, much less put it into action. The words may also point us to our duty to observe the most appropriate time for all our actions.

2. How Should We Respond to A Certain Future?

(a) Future events are uncertain to us

We do not know the time in which they will happen by natural causes (Proverbs 27:1). Yet they are all clearly foreseen and certainly foreordained from eternity (Acts 15:18) by the infinitely wise Lord. They cannot happen sooner or later than the time that He has appointed for them. It is mainly in relation to His eternal counsel that it is said: “To everything there is a season”.

(b) Man’s will is not independent

Man is not absolute master of his purposes. The Lord does not try to see what will happen in the future depending on the inclination of man’s free will. In His eternal counsel, God has wisely ordered every purpose. “There is a time for every purpose”. The word “purpose” means volition or the act of the will. Thus, it means human purposes, as several of the examples in the following verses show.

(c) Wicked men cannot will or act outside of God’s purpose

What God’s law forbids it forbids in any moment of time. Thus, there is no approved season or time for sinful actions or purposes. Despite this, wicked men are able neither to act nor purpose wickedness, except in the time in which God has resolved to permit it. He can withdraw His restraining grace (which He is not obliged to give). Every purpose even includes wicked men’s plots and actions (such as persecuting the godly). “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose”.

(d) We are not required to do every duty at every season.

The right opportunity should be identified carefully. This is done by considering the general rules of the Word. Especially considering what duties those circumstances require (James 5:13). We also need to pray for the Lord’s teaching to understand the times (1 Chronicles 12:32). We must consider seriously the solemn rebuke to those who are ignorant of this (Jeremiah 8:7). If we seek to enjoy true happiness, our duty is to observe opportune seasons. “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose”.

(e) We can have peace even in the worst of times

This helps greatly to calm the hearts of the godly in all the sad changes of circumstances in this world. They consider that all these happen in the times and seasons set and fixed for them in God’s eternal counsel. God considered the welfare of His own from all eternity (Jeremiah 31:3). He is occupied in bringing their good out of the worst that can happen in time (Romans 8:28). In particular, they must believe that enemies cannot even plot, much less stir up trouble or persecution against them except at the time in which God has permitted it for their good (1 Peter 4:17). Neither can their trials continue longer than the set time comes for expressing His favour again in delivering them (Psalm 102:13). This helps to keep vexation from the hearts of the godly. It helps to keep them in cheerful possession of spiritual happiness. “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven”.

(f) Our heart cannot find happiness in earthly things

This also helps to wean men’s hearts from seeking happiness in anything besides God Himself. This is because God appoints when and how long they will enjoy these things. Besides, they can only enjoy anything beneath the sun for a season. “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven”.

(g) God’s Providence extends to everything

God’s providence does not only extend to all events and purposes within the Church (although it exercised here in a special way (Psalm 76:1). It also extends all corners of the earth and even to hell. Neither men, nor devils, Heathen nor unbelievers can act or plot against Him or His blessed people except at the best times for His glory and the good of His own. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven”.

(h) The same truth can be applied in various ways

The fact that there is season and time for everything is foreordained by God helps to calm the hearts of the godly and make them carefully observe the right time. Yet as it also means many changes in time it helps to wean men’s hearts from earthly things which can only be enjoyed for a time.

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New Year Revolutions

New Year Revolutions

New Year Revolutions

New Year’s resolutions tend to be drowned in motivational and self-centred hype. Perhaps it’s no surprise that many quickly disappear without trace. No doubt we all need to change, but the change we really need is a revolution. We need our attitudes and perspectives turned upside down. That is where reformation begins.

1. Christ’s Way, Not Ours

Samuel Rutherford wrote two letters on the 1 January 1637. He lamented the prevailing spirit of comfortable apathy. Everyone wanted “moderation in God’s way”. Being strict or extreme was the worst fault. They didn’t want God to demand too much from them in terms of how they lived and how they served God.  He spoke of how rare “the power of godliness” was in the land. It was a cheap form of Christianity. But heart-work is hard work and so it is neglected.

a bed watered with tears, a throat dry with praying, eyes as a fountain of tears for the sins of the land, are rare to be found among us.

Life and religion was both easy and self-centred. So it is today. What prevails is what fits best with own preferences and assumptions. Rutherford says: “how soon are we pleased with our own shadow in a glass [mirror]!”

Time, custom, and a good opinion of ourselves, our good meaning, and our lazy desires, our fair shows, and the world’s glistering lustres, and these broad passments and buskings [expensive decoration and attire] of religion, that bear bulk [carry weight] in the kirk [church], is that wherewith most satisfy themselves.

Few wish to offend. They like the status quo. They need approval from others and popularity. Rather than what pleases the flesh we need to seek the right way from God in Scripture. “It were good to be beginning in sad earnest to find out God, and to seek the right tread of Christ [the right path from Christ]”.

Rutherford was hardly to know that by the summer of that year revolutionary events would begin to unfold.  Events that would release him from his enforced banishment in Aberdeen and bring about the Second Reformation in Scotland.  The nation would be turned upside down. Truly, we do not know what a year may bring forth. As Rutherford expressed to Hugh Kennedy on that New Year’s day, Christ “can, in a month, make up a year’s losses”.

To Hugh Kennedy, he also expressed his contentment despite the trials he was experiencing. “I am every way in good case [condition], both in soul and body; all honour and glory be to my Lord. I want nothing but a further revelation of the beauty of the unknown Son of God”.

 

2. Christ’s Will, Not Ours

Rutherford had struggled with submitting to Christ’s will. Through his trials he had to learn how to abandon his own ideas of how his Lord should act. “I, like a fool, once summoned [as in a court summons] Christ for unkindness, and complained of His fickleness and inconstancy, because He would have no more of my service nor preaching, and had cast me out of the inheritance of the Lord”.

At first, he had been ready to challenge Christ’s Providence in removing him from his congregation and pulpit. He loved preaching Jesus Christ. Could it be right, good and wise? It turned all his expectations and hopes upside down. This seemed to render him useless at a time when the Church seemed to need its defenders most. Why did Christ’s will not recognise this? So he was contradicting Christ because “His whole providence was not yea and nay to my yea and nay”. It didn’t rubber stamp his own expectations. This is quite often why we take difficulties and changes in our lives so hard. We had a different plan and the Saviour has cut right across it.

Yet he learned to submit to Christ’s will. His Master could have responded in chastisement to these “weak apprehensions of His goodness”. But Christ was patient with him. He considered what his weak servant had a “desire to be, and not to what I am”. Instead of chastisement, Rutherford found that his experience of Christ’s love entered far greater depths.

He hath paid me my hundred-fold in this life, and one to the hundred. This prison is my banqueting-house; I am handled as softly and delicately as a dawted [fondled] child.

He had learned to judge things other than they appeared. Previously, he had “believed Christ’s outward look better [more] than His faithful promise”. “I hope to over-hope and over-believe my troubles. I have cause now to trust Christ’s promise more than His gloom [frown]”.

 

3. Christ’s Purpose, Not Ours

He had been grieved at the events that banished him far from his sphere of usefulness. He couldn’t see a purpose in the afflictions that Christ was laying on him. Yet he came to understand that there was a purpose why he must pass through the fire of affliction. Christ was purifying him. He “will see to His own gold, and save that from being consumed with the fire”.

Oh, what owe I to the file, to the hammer, to the furnace of my Lord Jesus! who hath now let me see how good the wheat of Christ is, that goeth through His mill, and His oven, to be made bread for His own table. Grace tried is better than grace, and it is more than grace; it is glory in its infancy. I now see that godliness is more than the outside, and this world’s passments and their buskings [expensive decoration and attire].

Grace is shown to be genuine when it is tried. There is a purpose of spiritual fruitfulness in such trials. Though it was painful to have the barren ground ploughed up, it would result in a spiritual harvest.

Why should I start at the plough of my Lord, that maketh deep furrows on my soul? I know that He is no idle Husbandman [farmer], He purposeth a crop. O that this white, withered lea-ground [untilled ground] were made fertile to bear a crop for Him, by whom it is so painfully dressed [painstakingly tended to]; and that this fallow-ground were broken up!

Christ owed him nothing. But neither had he lost anything by this experience. It was not the punishment that his enemies intended after all.

How blind are my adversaries, who sent me to a banqueting-house, to a house of wine, to the lovely feasts of my lovely Lord Jesus, and not to a prison, or place of exile!

4. Christ’s Glory, Not Ours

Christ’s glory was greater by this affliction, while Rutherford was humbled. He wanted to praise and glorify the grace and love of Christ. To Robert Gordon he says: “I charge you before God, that ye speak to others, and invite them to help me to praise!” He was in debt to Christ. It was a debt of glory and praise so great he could not estimate it.

Oh, my debt of praise, how weighty it is, and how far run up! O that others would lend me to pay, and learn me to praise! Oh, I am a drowned dyvour [debtor submerged in debts]! Lord Jesus, take my thoughts for payments.

5. Christ’s People, Not Ourselves

It must be clear to us that Rutherford was exiled for a purpose. He was to enter into a writing ministry there. Just as the Lord had a purpose in putting the Apostle Paul into a prison from which many letters were sent. Most of the letters we have from Rutherford’s pen were written during his time in Aberdeen.

Others were on his mind and heart. He wrote to strengthen them with the strength he himself had received. He sought to encourage them with fresh views of Christ and His love, to know that it was worth suffering. These and other spiritual influences encouraged many ministers and nobles to stand fast and embrace the Second Reformation. Certainly, Robert Gordon of Knockbrex would later be very useful, steadfast and active in Christ’s cause.

There was real affection towards the people of God. “Dear brother, ye are in my heart, to live and to die with you”. Rutherford realised the value of the prayers of Christ’s people. “Visit me with a letter. Pray for me”, he says to Robert Gordon. To Kennedy he writes, “Remember my love to your wife. Grace, grace be with you; and God, who heareth prayer, visit you, and let it be unto you according to the prayers of Your own brother, and Christ’s prisoner”.

He could not stop thinking about Christ’s people. How were some of them faring, he wondered. He mentions one individual. “Write to me your mind anent [about] Y. C.: I cannot forget him; I know not what God hath to do with him”. His prayerful thoughts and longings also went out to his flock at Anwoth. How were they “served in preaching”? Was there “a minister as yet thrust in upon them”? “I desire greatly to know, and…much fear”.

 

Conclusion

Rutherford was a moving preacher and writer of deep Christian experience. He is both exuberant and sublime in his commendation of communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet uniquely homely in the powerful imagery also flow from his pen. Only the Bible exceeds his letters in spirituality. This was the opinion of both C H Spurgeon and Richard Baxter. There are 365 of Rutherford’s letters available and, of course, this means that you could read one of his letters every day. Starting today, in fact. There is an online edition which has each day of the year against each letter. Here are some spiritual priorities for the coming year. 

Although written more than 380 years ago, we can glean some spiritual priorities from these two letters for the coming year. If we embraced them fully…they would turn our lives upside down.

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