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Three Hundred and Fifty-Two
By the late Eminently Pious
MR. SAMUEL RUTHERFOORD,
DIVIDED INTO THREE PART S.
SECOND AND THIRD,
Containing fome which were
To which is added,
The Author's TESTIMONY to the covenanted Work of Reformation,
Alarge PREFACE and POSTCRIPT, which were left out in some of
THE NINTH EDITION,
Printed by JOHN BRYCE, and fold at his Shop, SALT-MARKET,
M, DCC, LXV.
'HE Editor of this prefent edition of the Rev. Mr. RUTHERFOORD'S LETTERS, does not propofe to entertain the reader with any encomiums upon the worthy Author, whofe praise is already in the churches; or any commendation of his unparalleled LETTERS, which have already been fo well relifhed 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 finalleft attention and reflection, that most of the former impreffions of this part of our Author's performances, have been printed both upon a very fmall type, and an extreme coarse paper, which made the perufing of them, (though excellent in themfelves) very unpleasant to the reader, and often mar that edification that might otherwife have arisen from them. To remedy which, the defign of the Editor in offering the following edition of Mr. RUTHERFOORD'S LETTERS to the public: an edition which, he hopes, from the largenefs of the type, goodness of the paper, and elegancy of print, will do juftice to the Author, be a credit to himself, and at the fame time yield pleasure and fatisfaction to the reader.
Moft of the late editions of thefe LETTERS have been confiderably curtailed, in looping off a large PREFACE from the beginning of them, tending to caft light upon the
Book, and the tranfactions of thofe times; and, fome
of the late impreffions have left out the POSTSCRIPT, ufually fubjoined to the end of them; both fuppofed to be wrote by the Rev. Mr. M'WARD. As the fuppreffing thefe was complained of by the public, they are both retained in this impreffion. And to render this edition still more acceptable to the public, the publifher has added Mr. RUTHERFOORD's Teftimony to the covenanted work of Reformation, between 1638 and 1649. And alfo his Dying Words, containing feveral advices to fome mini
fters and near relations.
That nothing might be wanting that has a tendency to reflect honour upon the justly esteemed Author, or gratify
the candid reader, the editor begs leave to conclude, with fubjoining the account and character given of him, by the late Rev. Mr. ROBERT WODROw, author of the Hiftory of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, never before published with any former edition.
"That bright and fhining light of his time, Mr. Samuel Ru therford, may juftly come in among the fufferers, during this feffion of parliament, [viz. in the year 1661.] To be fure he was a martyr, both in his own refolution, and in men's defigns and determination. He is fo well known to the learned and pious world, that I need fay little of him. Such who knew him beft were in a strait whether to admire him moft for his fublime genius in the school, and peculiar exactness in matter of difpute and controverfy; or his familiar condefcenfions 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 feems to have outdone himself, as well as every body elfein his admirable, and every way fingular LETTERS, which, tho' jefted upon by profane wits, because of fome familiar expreffions, yet, will be owned, by all who have any relish of piety, to contain fuch fublime flights of devotion, and to be fraughted. with fuch maffy thoughts, as loudly speak a foul united to Jefus Christ in the closest embraces, and muft 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 profeffor; in their great humanity they were pleafed, when every body knew Mr. Rutherfoord to be in a dying condition, to caufe cite him to appear before them at Edinburgh, to answer a charge of high treafon. 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 At Reciffory was paffed in the parliament. This eminent faint, and faithful fervant of Jefus Chrift, lamented, when near his end, That he was withheld from bearing witnefs to the work of Reformation, fince the year 1638, and giving his public teftimony againft the evil courfes of the prefent time; otherwife 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 expreffions this great man had during his fickness *."
* See this Copy fubjoined at the end, P. 522.
Intended at firft, to have given thee the trouble of a larger preface to thefe Epiftles; but I perceived upon fecond thoughts, that as thou fhouldeft be at a lofs in being thereby kept up too long at the entry, fo I fhould gain but little by following my first look, and therefore I have on purpofe forborn what I intended: wherein, as I have pleafed myfelf no worfe, fo I am fure I have pleafed thee much better, than if I had followed forth a defign, whereby thou couldeft have reaped fo little advantage; and therefore leaving and laying it afide, I fhall 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 ufe and advantage, that will never fee the light, becaufe (being like Apelles' picture, which was either to be perfected by his own pencil, or wholly laid afide) he carried his pen away with himself, leav ing few in the generation that would undertake to follow his notion and finish it, or if they fhould effay it, it would be in the issue, humani capiti, cervicem jungere equinam: upon which account the church of God may lament the lofs of fuch a Mafter in Ifrael; as the world, I fay, is, at no fmall lofs, 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 ufe, are here fent abroad: he did violence to the defires of many in refufing to publish them, (howbeit he was known to confult the fatisfaction 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 fteril notions. If any alledge this, 'tis non caufa pro caufa; but the true reafon why he endeavoured to fupprefs and conceal them from the world, was, left any man fhould think of him above what was meet; because (if not of the abundance of revelation, which yet God did indeed give his fuffering fervant, as will be clear by comparing what he forfaw, both as to the work in general, and as to fome particular perfons, with the event; yet) of the abundance of foul-refrething manifestations that he had: this is the true reafon which made him inexorable, and kept him from liftening to the moft preffing and affiduous entreaties of his friends: he had many things which commended him to the people of God, but his covering his great attainments as a Chriftian, and the pregnancy of his parts as a fcholar, with the vail of humility, (which is the chief ornament of a gracious fpirit) as it did render him peculiarly and defervedly dear to them, fo it made both the one and the other fhine more bright ly, and did, befides their native and intrinfic beauty, give an adventitious brightness and luftre to all that great stock of grace, and ftore of