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The Letters of Samuel Rutherford (Puritan Paperbacks) Paperback – Abridged, May 1, 1973
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'When we are dead and gone let the world know that Spurgeon held Rutherford's letters to be the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere men.' --C.H. Spurgeon
'Surprising though it may seem in a world of large books, of all those owned by our family this may be the one we have most often lent or quoted to friends.' --Sinclair B. Ferguson
Apart form the Bible, 'such a book as Mr. Rutherford's Letters the world never saw the like.' --Richard Baxter
About the Author
Samuel Rutherford (1600 61) was born in the village of Nisbet, Roxburghshire, and educated at Jedburgh Grammar School and Edinburgh University (MA, 1621). From 1623 he acted as Regent of Humanity at the University, with responsibilities as a Latin tutor. There is a strong suggestion that 1624 was the date of his conversion, and he began reading theology at Edinburgh under Andrew Ramsay.
In 1627 he was settled as minister of Anwoth in Kirkcudbrightshire, and so began a ministry lasting only nine years, yet one 'whose fragrance and power has left the name of Anwoth forever stamped on the hearts of Christian people'. In July 1636 the High Commission brought his ministry in Anwoth to an end because of his nonconformity, barring him from preaching in Scotland and exiling him to Aberdeen for the duration of the King's pleasure. It was during his two years in Aberdeen that many of his much-loved Letters were written.
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Top Customer Reviews
"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. Faith is the better of the free air, and of the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withereth without adversity. The devil is but God's master fencer, to teach us to handle our weapons."
Author: Samuel Rutherford as selected by Andrew A. Bonar
First Copy Right: 1664
Type of Book: Hardback
General Subject: Inspiration, Christian Living
The purpose of this book is extremely difficult to nail down. A collection of Rutherford's letters were published 3 years after his death. This compilation was published in 1891 and these letters were selected by Andrew A Bonar. Bonar's purpose of selecting these letters seems to come from the book jacket where he is quoted as saying, "What a wealth of spiritual ravishment we have here! This edition is a noble volume and we shall measure the soundness of Scotch religion very much by the sale of this work. One page of Rutherford is worth a thousand tomes of the Downgrade frothiness."
It seems that the purpose of this volume is to inspire, instruct, and to inculcate the very grace of God to those who would read these letters. These letters serve as a very large door way into the heart of this great pastor. They show his knowledge and love of the Savior and his love and commitment to his people.
Rutherford wrote various letters that encouraged, edified, or engaged the recipients in the grace and knowledge of God. He wrote these letters from the view point of a pastor who was deeply aware of his charge and responsibility before his God to shepherd the sheep trusted to him. Rutherford made no attempt to be technical or dramatical. He wrote beautiful biblical theology which was coated by God's grace.
The author's style is homy, personal, parochial, and precious. He writes in the formal prose of his day, yet the letters flow informally from his heart to his people.
This book effected me very deeply. The heart and depth of this man's relationship with God is almost beyond comprehending. One cannot read these letters without grieving over one's sense of one's own lack of intimacy and yet a joy in knowing one can strive for this intimacy. Rutherford's language is almost heavenly, it was bathed in constant prayer. If Bonar's purpose was to inspire, edify, and demonstrate God's grace, that purpose was certainly accomplished. I would recommend this book to every believer who wants to know what it is like to walk in the shadow of God.
The theme of this book is inspirational letters of a pastor to his people. The thesis seems to be, pastors must comfort, instruct, and edify their people.
Rutherford develops this theme by simple narration. He also uses explanations and analytsis to present his various truths in various letters.
For example in letter four, he is writing to a parishioner whose infant daughter had died. He paints a tremendous picture of where a believer's affections should really be by writing:
"Build your nest upon no tree here; for ye see God hath sold the forest to death; and every tree whereupon we would rest is ready to be cut down, to the end we may fly and mount up, and build upon the Rock, and dwell in the holes of the Rock."
This book was extremely interesting and inspiring. It is an extremely valuable tool in Christian growth.
Samuel Rutherford was a Scottish pastor and theologian. He was a professor at Edinburgh College in Scotland. He was an author having published a book defending the Doctrines of Grace and his book Le Rex (The Law and the King) caused him to be charged with treason. He died before he could respond to a governmental summons.
My general conclusions is that is an extremely valuable addition to any believer's "library." This book will have a major impact on those who truly drink deep from the well of grace which each letter is bathed with.
Rutherford on his need for the prayers of his fellow Christians writes: "I do esteem nothing out of heaven, and next to a communion with Jesus Christ, more than to be in the hearts and prayers of the saints" (p. 176).
One of my favorite quotes declares: "But grace, grace, free grace, the merits of Christ for nothing, white and fair, and large Savior-mercy hath been and must be the rock that we drowned souls must swim to" (p. 130).
These inspiring letters lifted the hearts of Charles Spurgeon, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, and Richard Baxter. This outstanding volume makes a potent and stirring devotional tool for personal or for family use.
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Love the writings of these past, great saints!