Samuel Rutherford – An Extract

Based on my own reading Samuel Rutherford was a better preacher (or rather communicator) than James Durham.  Now, by that I don’t mean that his content is better, or that his theology is better, or more pastoral etc – if anything I think Durham’s content is better.  It is just that Rutherford has a gift of illustration and turn of phrase that Durham simply did not have – which makes him easier on the ear (or in this case the eye) and more memorable.  Here is a short extract from Rutherford preaching the gospel offer (bear in mind he was a supralapsarian!):

“For all things are now prepared” … Thus is mercy offered to the people of the Jews, where their God made all external means (as the word and sacrament) ready for them.  So he says, in Isaiah v. 4, What could I have done more to my vineyard, that I have not done.  (Isaiah lxv. 2), He stretches out His arms, and holds them out all the day long.  (Prov. i. 20). “Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets.”  Here God is crying shouting, and casting out His arms, Matt. xxii. 37, Luke xix. 40, crying and shedding tears.  He would have them turn and live.  But as it is true of the Jews, so it is of us…
Rutherford, Communion Sermons, 66-7.

Obviously Rutherford is using anthropomirphic/anthropopaphic language – God does not literally cry!  But in using these expressions he is simply being faithful to the language of scripture.  There should be more to come on Rutherford over the next few weeks.  Although having said that Rutherford is the better preacher I actually prefer Durham’s sermon on the wedding feast to Rutherford’s – though both are profoundly edifying.

PS It is a lot easier to stop blogging than start again!


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