The Loveliness of Christ: Extracts from the Letters of Samuel Rutherford

THE LOVELINESS OF CHRIST

A contemporary minister said [of Rutherford], “He seemed to be always praying, always visiting the sick, always catechizing, always writing and studying.  He had two quick eyes, and when he walked it was observed that he held aye his face upward.  He had a strange

Ruins of Rutherford’s church in Anwoth, Scotland

utterance in the pulpit – a kind of skreigh (screech) that I never heard the like.  Many times I thought he would have flown out of the pulpit when he came to speak of Jesus Christ.  He was never his right element but when he was commending him.”  – xii

…when we think we are going backward, because we feel deadness, we are going forward; for the more sense the more life, and no sense argueth no life. – 3

I find it most true, that the greatest temptation out of hell, is to live without temptations; if my waters should stand, they would rot.  – 4

Grace withereth without adversity.  The devil is but God’s master fencer, to teach us to handle our weapons.  – 5

Ye will not get leave to steal quietly to heaven, in Christ’s company, without a conflict and a cross.  – 5

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“Lord cut, Lord carve, Lord wound, Lord do anything that may perfect thy Father’s image in us, and make us meet for glory.”    – 7
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So narrow is the entry to heaven, that our knots, our bunches and lumps of pride, and self-love, and idol-love, and world-love must be hammered off us, that we may throng in, stooping low, and creeping through that narrow and thorny entry.  – 7

“I see grace grow best in winter.”

Why should I start (be startled) at the plough of my Lord, that maketh deep furrows on my soul?  I know he is no idle husbandman, he purposeth a crop.  – 8

I see grace growth best in winter. – 12

Let him make anything out of me, so being he be glorified in my salvation: for I know I am made for him.  – 12

I think it the Lord’s wise love that feeds us with hunger, and makes us fat with wants and desertion. – 15

I think I see more of Christ than I ever saw; and yet I see but little of what may be seen.  – 20

Whether God come to his children with a rod or a crown, if he come himself with it, it is well.  Welcome, welcome Jesus, what may soever thou come, if we can get a sight of thee: and sure I am, it is better to be sick, providing Christ come to the bedside and draw the curtains, and say, Courage I am thy salvation, than to enjoy health, being lusty and strong and never need to be visited of God. – 21

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“…it is better to be sick, providing Christ come to the bedside and draw the curtains, and say, Courage I am thy salvation, than to enjoy health, being lusty and strong and never need to be visited of God.”
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Our love to him should begin on earth, as it shall be in heaven; for the bride taketh not by a thousand degrees so much delight in her wedding-garment as she doth her bridegroom; so we, in the life to come, howbeit clothed with glory as with a robe, shall not be so much

“the bride taketh not by a thousand degrees so much delight in her wedding-garment as she doth her bridegroom”

affected with the glory that goeth about us, as with the Bridegroom’s joyful face and presence.  – 23

Live on Christ’s love while ye are here, and all the way. – 24

If contentment were here, heaven were not heaven.  – 32

Put Christ in his own room in your love; it may be he hath either been out of his own place, or in a place of love inferior to his worth.  – 33

If Christ Jesus be the period, the end lodging-home, at the end of your journey, there is no fear, ye go to a friend…ye may look death in the face with joy.  – 44

I am sure that the saints at their best are but strangers to the weight and worth of the incomparable sweetness of Christ.  – 45

Our spoilt works, losses, deadness, coldness, wretchedness, are the ground which the good Husbandman laboureth.  – 47

Our pride must have winter weather to rot it.  – 47

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“Christ is a well of life, but who knoweth how deep it is to the bottom?”  – 52
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I am in a 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. – 56

We love to carry heaven to heaven with us, and would have two summers in one year, and no less than two heavens; but this will not be for us: one, and such an one, may suffice us well enough.  The man Christ got but one only, and shall we have two?  – 61

“Only let us not weary: the miles to that land are fewer and shorter than when we first believed…”

Ye must take a house beside the Physician: it shall be a miracle if ye must be the first man he put away uncured, and worse than he found you.  – 68

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“Christ chargeth me to believe his daylight at midnight.”  – 69
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It were a well-spent journey, to creeping hands and feet, through seven deaths and seven hells, to enjoy him up at the well-head.  Only let us not weary: the miles to that land are fewer and shorter than when we first believed: strangers are not wise to quarrel with their host, and complain of their lodging; it is a foul way, but a fair home.  – 70

Not one ounce, not one grain-weight more is laid on me than he hath enabled me to bear… – 72

I find Christ to be Christ, and that he is far, far, even infinite heaven’s height about man.  And that is all our happiness.  Sinners can do nothing but make wounds that Christ may heal them; and make debts, that he may pay them; and make falls, that he may raise them; and make deaths, that he may quicken them; and spin out and dig hells to themselves, that he may ransom them.  – 83

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“I am most gladly content that Christ breaketh all my idols in pieces: it hath put a new edge upon my blunted love to Christ.  I see he is jealous of my live, and will have all to himself.”  – 86
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I have a lover, Christ, and yet I want (lack) love for him.  I have a lovely and desirable Lord, who is love-worthy, and who beggeth my love and heart, and I have nothing to give

“Dry wells send us to the fountain”

him.  Dear brother, come further in on Christ, and see a new treasure in him: come in, and look down and see angel’s wonder, and heaven and earth’s wonder of love, sweetness, majesty, and excellency in him.  – 88

Dry wells send us to the fountain.  – 88

…ye are no loser, having himself; and I persuade myself if ye could prize Christ, nothing could be bitter to you.  – 96

Be not cast down: if you saw him, who is standing on the shore, holding out his arms to welcome you to land, you would not only wade through a sea of wrongs, but through hell itself, to be at him: and I trust in God you see him sometimes.  The Lord Jesus be with your spirit, and all yours.  – 103

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