Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rutherford's Christian Directions

Samuel Rutherford, Letter CLIX, in Letters of Samuel Rutherford, pp. 292-295:

To John Fleming, Bailie of Leith [Letter LXVIII.]

Worthy and Dearly Beloved in the Lord, -- Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you. I received your letter. I wish that I could satisfy your desire in drawing up, and framing for you, a Christian directory. But the learned have done it before me more judiciously than I can; especially Mr. [Daniel] Rogers, [Richard] Greenham and [William] Perkins. Notwithstanding, I shall show you what I would have been at myself; howbeit I came always short of my purpose.

1. That hours of the day, less or more time, for the word and prayer, be given to God; not sparing the twelfth hour, or mid-day, howbeit it should then be the shorter time.

2. In the midst of worldly employments, there should be some thoughts of sin, death, judgment, and eternity, with at least a word or two of ejaculatory prayer to God.

3. To beware of wandering of heart in private prayers.

4. Not to grudge, howbeit ye come from prayer without sense of joy. Down-casting, sense of guiltiness, and hunger, are often best for us.

5. That the Lord's-day, from morning to night, be spent always either in private or public worship.

6. That words be observed, wandering and idle thoughts be avoided, sudden anger and desire of revenge, even of such as persecute the truth, be guarded against; for we often mix our zeal with our wild-fire.

7. That known, discovered, and revealed sins, that are against the conscience, be eschewed, as most dangerous preparatives to hardness of heart.

8. That in dealing with men, faith and truth in covenants and trafficking be regarded, that we deal with all men in sincerity; that conscience be made of idle and lying words; and that our carriage be such, as that they who see it may speak honourably of our sweet Master and profession.
There are some things, also, whereby I have been helped, as -- 1. I have been benefited by riding alone a long journey, in giving that time to prayer. 2. By abstinence, and giving days to God. 3. By praying for others; for by making an errand to God for them, I have gotten something for myself. 4. I have been really confirmed, in many particulars, that God heareth prayers; and, therefore, I used to pray for anything, of how little importance soever. 5. He enabled me to make no question, that this mocked way, which is nicknamed, is the only way to heaven.


  1. Excellent words of encouragement and exhortation. Thanks for sharing them with us.