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Three launched and Fifty-Two
By the late Eminently Piou3
Mr, SAMUEL RUTHERFOORD,
Profeflbr of Divinity, at St. Andrews.
Containing those which were
SECOND And THIRD,
Containing some which were
,To which is added,
The Author's Testimony to the covenanted Work of Reformation,
//large Preface and Fostcript, which were left out in some of
THE NINTH EDITION,
1 rT^HE Editor of this presenc edition of the Rev. Mr. -*- Rutherfoord's Letters, does not propose to entertain the reader with any encomiums upon the worthy Author, whose praise is already in the churches; or any commendation of his unparalleled Letters, which have already been so well relished by the religious part of mankind: all that is intended, is only to point out the superior excellence of this Edition to any of the former ones. It will appear obvious to every one, upon the smallest attention and reflection, that most of the former impressions of this part of our Author's performances, have been printed both upon a very small type, and an extreme coarse paper, which made the perusing of them, (though excellent in themselves) very unpleasant to the reader, and often mar that edification that might otherwise have arisen from them. To remedy which, was the design of the Editor in offering the following edition of Mr. Rutherfoord's Letters to the public: an edition which, he hopes, from the largeness of the type, goodness of the paper, and elegancy of print, -will do justice to the Author, be a credit to himself, and at the fame time yield pleasure and satisfaction to the reader.
Most of the late editions of these Letters have been considerably curtailed, in looping off a large PREFACE from the beginning of them, tending to cast light upon the Book, and the transactions of those times; and alio some of the late impressions have left out the POSTSCRIPT, usually subjoined to the end of them; both supposed to be wrote by the Rey. Mr. M'ward. As the suppressing these was complained of by the public1, they are both retained in this impression. And to render this edition still more acceptable to the public, the publisher has added Mr. Rutherfoord's Testimony to the covenanted -work of Reformation, between 163 S and 1649. And also his Using JVords, containing several advices to some minister? and near relations.
That nothing might be wanting that has a tendency to reflect honour upon the justly esteemed Author, or gratify 'a 2 thp ( )
the candid reader, the editor begs leave to conclude, with subjoining the account and character given of rjirrt, by the late Rev. Mr. RofeiRT Wodrow, author of the History' of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, never before published with any former edition.
That bright and shining light of his time, Mr. Samuel Rw tberfoard, May justly come, in among the sufferers, during this session of parliament, \yit. in thd year 1661] To be sure he was a martyr, both in his own resolution, and in men's designs and determination, . He is so well known to the learned and pious world, that I need say little of him. Such who knew him best were in a strait whether to admire him most for his sublime genius in the school, and peculiar exactness in matter of dispute and controversy; or his samiliar condescensions in the pulpit, where he was one of the most moving and affectionate preachers in his time, or perhaps in any age of the church.
"But he seems to have outdone himself, as well as every body elscin his admirable, and every way singular Letters, which, tho' jested upon by prosane wits, because of some samiliar expressions, yet, will be owned, by all who have any relish of piety, to contain such sublime flights of devotion, and to be fraughted with such massy thoughts, as loudly speak a soul united to Jesus Christ in the closest embraces, and must needs at once ravish and edify every serious reader.
"The parliament were to have had an indictment laid before them against this holy man, if his death had not prevented it. After his book, intitled LEX REX, had been ordered to be burnt at the cross of Edinburgh, and the gate of the new college of St. Andrews, where he was divinity professor; in their great humai)ity they were pleased, when every body knew Mr. Rutherfoord to be in a dying condition, to cause cite him to appear before them at Edinburgh, to answer a charge of high treason. But he had a higher tribunal to appear before, where his judge was his friend.
"Mr. Rutherfoord died in March 1661, the very day before the Act Recijfory was passed in the parliament. This eminent saint, and saithful servant of Jesus Christ, lamented, when near his end, That he was withheld from beai ing witness to the work of Reformation, since the year 1638, and giving his public testimony against the evil courses of the present time ; otherwise he was full of peace and joy in believing.—I have a copy before me of what could be gathered up of his dying -words, and the expressions this great man had during his sickness *."
* See this Copy subjoined at the end, P. 5«.
P R E F A C E
Ilnterided at first, to have given thee the trouble of a larger preface to these Epistles; but I perceived upon second thoughts, that as thou (houldest be at a loss in being thereby kept up too long at the entry, so I should gain but little by following my first look, and therefore j have on purpose forborn what I intended: wherein, as I have pleased myself no worse, so I am sure I have pleased thee much better, than if I had followed forth a design, whereby thou couldest have reaped so little advantage; and therefore leaving and laying it aside, I shall confine my self to what doth more peculiarly relate to this great, little book.
In the' entry give me leave to tell thee, th at as there.are many of (he author's papers, both polemic and practical, which hs intended for public use and advantage, that will never see the light, because (being like Apelles' picture, which was either to be perfected by his own pencil, or wholly laid aside) he carried his pen away with himself, leaving few in the generation that would undertake to follow his notion and finish it, or if they should essay it, it would be in the issue, bumani capiti, cervicem jungere equinam: upon which account the church of God may lament theloss of such a Master in Israel: as the world, I fay, is, at no small loss, by being robbed of so rich a treasure, which was intended for them; so, these few, which the author did not at all intend for public use, are here sent abroad: he did violence to the desires of many in refusing to publish them, (howbeit he was known to consult the satissaction and advantage of the truly godly, more than his own contentment or ease) not because he thought them unworthy of a Scholar, as not being stuffed with a great many steril notions. If any alledge this, 'tis non causa pro causa; but the true reason why he endeavoured to suppress and conceal them from the world, was, lest any man mould think of him above what was meet; because (if not of the abundance of revelation, which yet God did indeed give his suffering servant, as will be clear by comparing what he forsaw,, both as to the work in general, and as to some particular persons, with the event; yet) of the abundance of foul-refreshing manifestations that he had: this is the true reason which made him inexorable, and kept him from listening to the most pressing and assiduous entreaties of his friends: he had many things which commended him to the people of God, but his covering his great attainments as a Christian, and the pregnancy of his parts as a scholar, with the vail of humility, (which Is the chief ornament of a gracious spirjt) as it did render him peculiarly and deservedly dear to them, so it made both the one and the other shine more brightly, and did, besides their native and intrinsic beauty, give an adventitious brightness and Justre to all that great stock of grace, and store of