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Three Hundred and Fifty-Two
By the late Eminently Pious
Professor of Divinity, at St. ANDREWS.
DIVIDED INTO THREE PAR T S.
THE FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD,
written from ABERDEEN, written from AnwOTH, be.
To which is added,
between 1638 and 1649. And also his DYING WORD3, containing
the former Editions. As also,
the late Editions, supposed to be wrote by the Rev. Mr. MʻWARD,
THE NINTH EDITION,
G 1 4 8 0 0 ;
M, DCC, LXY,
HE Editor of this present 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 fuperior excellence of this Edition to any of the former ones. It will appear obvious to every one, upon the finallest 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 uapleasant to the reader, and often mạr 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 same 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 caft light upon the Book, and the transactions of those times; and alo fome 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 public, 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 1638 and 1649. And also his Dying Words, containing several advices to some ministers and near relations.
That nothing might be wanting that has a tendency to reflect honour upon the justly esteemed Author, or gratify
(iv) the candid reader, the editor begs leave to conclude, with subjoining the account and character given of him, by the late Rev. Mr. ROBERT WOD Row, 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 Rutherford, may justly come in among the sufferers, during this session of parliament, (viz, in the year 1661.) To be sure he was a martyr, both in his own resolution, and in mea's Jeligosa 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 genia us in the school, and peculiar exactaess in matter of dispute and controversy; or his familiar 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 elsein his admirable, and every way fingular LETTERS, which, tho' jested upon by profane wits, because of some familiar 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 masly thoughts, as loudly speak a foul united to Jesús 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 burat at the cross of Edinburgh, and the gate of the new college of St. Andrews, where he was divinity profeffor; in their great humapity 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 Art Reciffory was passed in the parliament. This eminent faint, and faithful servant of Jesus Christ, lamented, when near his end, That he was withheld from bearing witness to the work of Reformation, since the year 1638, and giving his public teftimony 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 fickness *.” * See this Copy subjoined at the end, P. 522.
Intended at first, to have given thee the trouble of a larger preface to thefe Epiftles; but I perceived upon fecond thoughts, that
as thou shouldest be at a loss in being thereby kept up too long at the entry, fo I should gain but little by following my first look, and therefore I have on purpose forborn what I intended wherein, as I have pleased myfelf no worse, fo I am sure I have pleased thee much beiter, than if I had followed forth a design, whereby thou couldest have reaped fo little advantage; and therefore leaving and laying it alide, I shall confine my felf to what doth more peculiarly relate to this great, little book.
In the entry give me leave to tell thee, that as there are many of the author's papers, both polemic and practical, which he 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 owa pencil, or wholly laid aside), he carried his pen away with himself
, leave ing 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, humani capiti, cervicein jungere equinam : upon which account the church of God may lament the loss of fuch a Master in Israel; as the world, I fay, is, at no small loss, by being robbed of fo rich a treafure, 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 fátisfaction and advantage of the truly godly, more than his own contentment or eafe) 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 caufa pro caufa; but the true reason why he endeavoured to suppress and conceal them from the world, was, left any man should 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 forfaw, both as to the work in general, and as to some particular persons, with the event; yet) of the abundance of foul-refreshing manifeftations that he had : this is the true reason which made him inexorable, and kept him from liftens ing to the most presling 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 fpirit) as it did render him peculiarly and deservedly dear to them, so it made both the one and the other shine more bright, ly, and did, besides their native and intrinsic beauty, give an adventitis pus brightness and luftre to all that great stock of grace, and store of