Reflections on January's Letters of Samuel Rutherford

by on February 4, 2009

rutherfordWe are now through the first month of using the Letters of Samuel Rutherford as a devotional in 2009. If you are reading along, I pray you have been as blessed as I have been. I would like to take some time to reflect back on some quotes as well as some overall thoughts regarding the letters in general from the previous month’s set of letters. Finally, at the bottom I will give the list for which letters to read for the next month—in this case, February.

General Reflections

If you have been reading these letters, then you surely have been struck by the Christ-centered tone of them. When we think of a pastor who is saturated with the glory of Christ today, many of us think of a man like John Piper. However, Samuel Rutherford exudes a passion for Christ that, if alive today, would rock this world. His passion for everything Christ is contagious. I have found myself, in much smaller snippets, thinking like Samuel Rutherford.

I can’t help but think that this love for Christ is not like a switch that can be turned on or off. This is something that must be cultivated through daily communion with Him in prayer and Scripture reading and meditation. Some things I am sure we would all say we could do more of each day. I have been challenged by Rutherford to be the kind of Christ exalting, Christ loving minister that he was for the sake of those whom I have been given the responsibility for spiritual shepherding.

Quotes

“Ye cannot, ye must not, have a more pleasant or more easy condition here, than He had, who ‘through afflictions was made perfect’(Heb. 2:10).
–Letter XI

What can be said about this quote other than to just sit back in silent rebuke. I do not know about you, but that quote stings. How often have we thought that we were “suffering for the sake of the gospel” by living in a smaller house or driving an old beater of a car? Not many in America have truly suffered for the gospel. Certainly none of us think that we ought not have a more pleasant than Christ!

”wait as long upon the favour and turned hearts of your enemies as you Christ waited upon you, and as dear Jesus stood at your soul’s door, with dewy and rainy locks, the long cold night.”
–Letter XII

How often have we given up on sharing the gospel with someone because they were a “lost cause?” Here, Samuel is giving pastoral advice to a lady who is dealing with an unbeliever and telling her to persevere with patience and love because Christ did the same for her. Consequently, he is talking about you in this passage if you are one who quickly gives up on sharing the gospel with an unbeliever. If Christ didn’t give up on you, you should not give up on the person with whom you have been witnessing to.

”Sure I am, brother, that Satan will leave no stone unrolled, as the proverb is, to roll you off your Rock, or at least to shake and unsettle you”
–Letter XXII

We do not talk much about the spiritual battles these days, but they are real and they are choking the faith of many saints today. This quote helps to make us aware that Satan is ever on the lookout for ways to shake our faith. To think of the efforts that Satan is willing to go through to shake your faith should be something we are conscious especially in the culture we live in today where sin is used to entice you at every turn. (How many Christians own one of those enV cell phones?)

There are so many quotes from which to choose that selecting just these three does a disservice to Samuel Rutherford’s letters. However, for the sake of space, I must only discuss these three. If you have any quotes or insights that you would like to share, please do so below.

February

The letters for February consist of letters XXXII through LIX (32-59). You can read letter 37 online at Puritan Sermons