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Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Portrait Of A Man: Samuel Rutherford

Samuel Rutherford was born sometime in the year 1600, near the town of Nisbet, Scotland. He was given an extremely good education, culminating at Edinburgh University, where he joined the clergy. On this day in 1627 he became pastor of his first church in Anwoth. Truly understanding what it meant to redeem the time, it was said that "he was always praying, always preaching, always visiting the sick, always catechising, always writing, and always studying". Tragedy struck after the first year, as his wife and two of his children died. Throughout those trials, his faith in God never faltered. Although it is said that he was not a particularly good preacher, an English merchant, on a business trip to Scotland, once said: "I heard this little, fair man Rutherford and he showed me the loveliness of Christ."

Because of his unwavering dedication to principle, he was kicked out of his pulpit for nonconformity, in 1636, and exiled to Aberdeen. When persecution against Presbyterians quieted down, he was made Professor of Divinity at St. Andrews. After the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, between Scotland and England, the Westminster Assembly began, in 1643. Although the Scottish delegation had no votes, they had more influence than any other party there. It is thought that Rutherford wrote much of the Shorter Catechism. It was about this time that he also wrote Lex Rex, an argument for limited government and against the divine right of kings.

But with the restoration of the Stuart monarchy, even the possession of the book became a crime against the state. Rutherford was charged with treason and was summoned to appear before the court on his deathbed. Refusing to go, he said, "I must answer my first summons; and before your day arrives, I will be where few kings and great folks come."

He died a few days later.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Daniel said...

Thought you'd be interested to read the epitaph from his tombstone:

What tongue, what pen, or skill of men
Can famous Rutherford commend!
His learning justly rais'd his fame
True goodness did adorn his name.
He did converse with things above,
Acquainted with Immanuel's love.
Most orthodox he was and sound,
And many errors did confound.
For Zion's King, and Zion's cause,
And Scotland's covenanted laws,
Most constantly he did contend,
Until his time was at an end.
At last he won to full fruition
Of that which he had seen in vision.

September 9, 2008 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Thanks!

BTW, how was the dove hunt?

September 9, 2008 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Kinda slim pickings... Dr. Huie was disappointed that there weren't more birds flying, but we still managed to bring in about 10 total (none mine).

For all that the weather and the fellowship were both excellent, and I think we all had a good time!

September 9, 2008 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

I'm so sorry! I didn't see any out at all. It was definitely not cool enough.

September 9, 2008 at 6:49 PM  

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