by Samuel Rutherford
Letter 103 to the Lady Cardoness
Greetings - Walk in the Truth
Worthy and well-beloved in the Lord,
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I long to read a letter from you, so that I may know how your soul prospers. My desire and longing is to hear that you walk in the truth, and that you are content to follow the despised but most lovely Son of God.
Visitations of Love
I cannot but recommend Him to you, as your Husband, your Well-beloved, your Portion, your Comfort, and your Joy. I say this of the Lovely One, because considering what He has done for me, I can say nothing else. He has watered with His sweet comforts an oppressed prisoner.** He was always kind to my soul; but never so kind as now, in my greatest extremities.** I dine and sup with Christ. He visits my soul with the visitations of love, even in the middle of the night.
The Value of a Clear Conscience
I am completely convinced that what I am now suffering for is nothing less than Christ's own truth, and Christ's own way to heaven.** I exhort you in the name of Christ to continue in the truth which I delivered to you. Make Christ sure to your soul; for your day draws near to the end. Many slide back now, who seemed to be Christ's friends, and prove themselves dishonest to Him.** Be faithful to the death, and you shall have the crown of life. This span-length of your days (of which the Spirit of God speaks, Psalm 39:5)** will, within a short time, come to a finger breadth, and at length to nothing. Oh, how sweet and comfortable will the feast of a good conscience be to you, when your eyes will be clouded, your face become pale, and your breath turn cold. Then your poor soul will come sighing to the windows of the house of clay of your dying body, and will long to be let out, and to have the jailer to open the door that the prisoner may be set free!** You draw close to the shore: look to your accounts; ask your Guide to take you to the other side.**
Think of Who You Are in Heaven
Don't let the world be your portion, who are you to be satisfied with dead clay? You are not an illegitimate child, but a rightful heir of the King.** Therefore set your heart on your inheritance. Go up beforehand, and see your lodging. Look through all your Father's rooms in heaven, because in your Father's house are many dwelling places.** Men take a sight of lands before they buy them.** I know that Christ has made the bargain already, but think kindly of the house you are going to, and see it often. Set your heart on things that are above, where Christ is at the right hand of God.
Stir up your husband to mind his own country at home. Counsel him to deal mercifully with the poor people of God under him. They are Christ's, and not his; therefore desire him to show them merciful dealing and kindness, and to be good to their souls. I desire you to write to me. It may be that my parish forget me; but my witness is in heaven that I dare not, I do not forget them. They are my sighs in the night and my tears in the day. I think myself like a husband plucked from the wife of his youth.** O Lord, be my judge: what joy would it be to my soul to hear that my ministry has left the Son of God among them, and that they are walking in Christ!
Family Concerns - Farewell
Remember my love to your son and daughter. Desire them from me to seek the Lord in their youth, and to give Him the morning of their days. Acquaint them with the word of God and prayer.
Grace be with you. Pray for the prisoner of Christ. In my heart I forget you not.
Your lawful** and loving pastor, in his only Lord Jesus.
Aberdeen, March 6, 1637.