Samuel Rutherford was a Scottish Presbyterian theologian and author. He was one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly.
Born in the village of Nisbet, Roxburghshire, Rutherford was educated at Edinburgh University, where he became in 1623 Regent of Humanity (Professor of Latin). In 1627 he was settled as minister of Anwoth in Galloway, from where he was banished to Aberdeen for nonconformity. His patron in Galloway was John Gordon, 1st Viscount of Kenmure. On the re-establishment of Presbytery in 1638 he was made Professor of Divinity at St. Andrews, and in 1651 Rector of St. Mary's College there. At the Restoration he was deprived of all his offices.
Rutherford's political book Lex, Rex (meaning "the law [and] the king" or "the law [is] king") presented a theory of limited government and constitutionalism. It was an explicit refutation of the doctrine of "Rex Lex" or "the king is the law." Rutherford was also known for his spiritual and devotional works, such as Christ Dying and drawing Sinners to Himself and his Letters.
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Crying Unto Jesus
'Behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him' (Matt. 15:22, KJV).
In this prayer the Syro-Phoenician woman cried with intense feeling. Would it not have been more modest for her to speak gently to this soul-redeeming Savior, who hears before we pray, than to cry or shout? Was Christ so hard to be entreated? The disc ...read
Preparations Before Conversion: Part I
Excerpts from Samuel Rutherford, Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, London 1647, pp. 239-61.
Question. But are there no preparations either of nature or at least of grace going before saving grace, and the soul's being drawn to Christ?
Answer. That we may come to consider preparations or previous qualifications to conversion, let ...read
Preparations Before Conversion: Part II
Objection by Saltmarsh. But others bid the troubled soul believe, but he must first seek in himself qualifications or conditions. But this is to will them to walk in the light of their own sparks.
Answer. If to bid men abstain from flagitious sins, and from seeking glory of men, that are both neck-breaks of faith, John 5:44, and bring men under ...read
Preparations Before Conversion: Part III
Assertion. That the promises of the gospel are holden forth to sinners as sinners, hath a twofold sense. 1. As that they be sinners and all in a sinful condition to whom the promises are holden forth. This is most true and sound. The kingdom of grace is an hospital and guest house of sick ones, fit for the art and mercy of the Physician Christ. 2. ...read
Selected Letters Foreward
A Selection from his Letters
Samuel Rutherford nearly ended his days on a scaffold. But he was already on his deathbed when he was summoned to appear at the bar of the Scottish House to answer a charge of treason. Tell them,' he said to the officers, that I have a summons already from a superior Judge and i ...read
Selected Letters 1 - 5
I. To LADY KENMURE, at a time of illness and spiritual depression
Lady Jane Campbell, Viscountess of Kenmure, was the third daughter of Archibald Campbell, seventh Earl of Argyle, and sister to the Marquis of Argyle who was beheaded in 1661. She was remarkable for ability and Christian devotion, and for her generous help to those who suffered ...read
Selected Letters 6 - 10
VI. To MARION MCNAUGHT, when persecuted for her principles
WELL-BELOVED SISTER, -- I have been thinking, since my departure from you, of the pride and malice of your adversaries; and ye may not (since ye have had the Book of Psalms so often) take hardly with this; for David's enemies snuffed at him, and through the pride of their heart said, T ...read
Selected Letters 11 - 15
XI. To lady KENMURE, when he expected to be removed from Anwoth
MAIDAM, -- My humble obedience in the Lord remembered. Know it has pleased the Lord to let me see, by all appearance, that my labours in God's house here are at an end; and I must now learn to suffer, in the which I am a dull scholar. By a strange providence, some of my papers, an ...read
Selected Letters 16 - 20
XVI. To MR ROBERT BLAIR
Blair became minister of Bangor in Northern Ireland in 1623. But after nine years there he was deposed for nonconformity with a number of other ministers. A group of them took ship to emigrate to America in search of religious liberty but were forced by the weather to return, which is the occasion of this letter. In 163 ...read
Selected Letters 21 - 25
XXI. To MR WILLIAM DALGLEISH, minister of the Gospel
Dalgleish was minister of a neighbouring parish and was responsible for the parish of Anwoth also until Rutherford took charge of it. He later became minister of Cramond, from which he was ejected in 1662. See also Letter XXXVIII.
REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER, -- Grace, mercy, and peace be t ...read
Selected Letters 26 - 30
XXVI. To JOHN GORDON OF RUSSO in the parish of Anwoth
MY WORTHY AND DEAR BROTHER, -- Misspend not your short sand-glass, which runneth very fast, seek your Lord in time. Let me obtain of you a letter under your hand, for a promise to God, by His grace, to take a new course of walking with God. Heaven is not at the next door; I find it hard to ...read
Selected Letters 31 - 35
XXXI. To NINIAN MURE, a parishioner
LOVING FRIEND, -- I received your letter. I entreat you now, in the morning of your life, to seek the Lord and His face. Beware of the follies of dangerous youth, a perilous time for your soul. Love not the world. Keep faith and truth with all men in your covenants and bargains. Walk with God, for He seeth y ...read
Selected Letters 36 - 40
XXXVI. To JOHN GORDON OF CARDONESS, the elder
MUCH HONORED AND DEAREST IN MY LORD, Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. My soul longeth exceedingly to hear how matters go betwixt you and Christ; and whether or not there be any work of Christ in that parish, that will bide the trial of fire and water. Let me be weighed of my Lord in a just balanc ...read
Selected Letters 41 - 45
XLI. To LADY GAITGIRTH
Her husband, to whom Rutherford expresses his obligations at the close of the letter, was Sheriff of Ayrshire and represented it in the Scottish Parliament. He was one of three commissioners sent by Parliament on behalf of the Covenant to Newcastle in 1641. In 1649 he commanded a troop of Horse.
MISTRESS, -- I long to ...read
Selected Letters 46 - 50
XLVI. To JOHN GORDON OF CARDONESS, the younger
DEARLY-BELOVED IN THE LORD, -- I long exceedingly to hear of the case of your soul, which has a large share both of my prayers and careful thoughts. Sir, remember that a precious treasure and prize is upon this short play that ye are now upon. Even the eternity of well or wo to your soul standeth ...read
Selected Letters 51 - 55
LI. To MR FULK ELLIS
Ellis was an Irish Presbyterian serving as a captain in the Scottish army.
WORTHY AND MUCH HONOURED IN OUR LORD, -- Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.
1. I am glad of our more than paper acquaintance. Seeing we have one Father, it reckoneth the less, though we never see one another's face. I profess myself most unwor ...read
Selected Letters 56 - 60
LVI. To EARLSTON, the younger
MUCH HONORED SIR, -- Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I am well. Christ triumpheth in me, blessed be His name. I have all things. I burden no man. I see that this earth and the fatness thereof is my Father's. Sweet, sweet is the cross of my Lord. The blessing of God upon the cross of my Lord Jesus! My enemies ha ...read
Selected Letters 61 - 65
LXI. To MR JAMES WILSON
DEAR BROTHER, -- Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied upon you. -- I bless our rich and only wise Lord, who careth so for His new creation that He is going over it again, and trying every piece in you, and blowing away the motes of His new work in you. Alas! I am not so fit a physician as your disease requireth. Sweet, ...read
Selected Letters 66 - 71
LXVI. To MR. TAYLOR, on her son's death
MISTRESS, -- Grace, mercy, and peace be to you -- Though I have no relation worldly or acquaintance with you, yet (upon the testimony and importunity of your elder son now at London, where I am, but chiefly because I esteem Jesus Christ in you to be in place of all relations) I make bold, in Christ, to s ...read
The Trial & Triumph of Faith: Introduction to Sermons
TRYAL & TRIVMPH
An Exposition of the History of Christs
dispossessing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan.
Delivered in SERMONS;
In which are opened,
The Victory of Faith;
The condition of those that are tempted;
The excellency of Jesus Christ and Free-Grace;
Some speciall Grounds and Princ ...read