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III. To MARION MCNAUGHT, when his wife was ill

Marion McNaught, a niece of Viscount Kenmure, married William Fullerton, Provost of Kirkcudbright. She was a close and lifelong friend of Rutherford. The manner in which he discusses with her the most profound questions of Christian doctrine and personal religion, as well as the tangled affairs of Church and State, are sufficient evidence of her outstanding gifts and graces. Forty-five letters to her have survived. Letters VI and XXXIX below are also to her.

LOVING AND DEAR SISTER, — If ever you would pleasure me, entreat the Lord for me, now when I am so comfortless, and so full of heaviness, that I am not able to stand under the burthen any longer. The Almighty hath doubled His stripes upon me, for my wife is so sore tormented night and day, that I have wondered why the Lord tarrieth so long. My life is bitter unto me, and I fear the Lord be my contrair party. It is (as I now know by experience) hard to keep sight of God in a storm, especially when He hides Himself, for the trial of His children. If He would be pleased to remove His hand, I have a purpose to seek Him more than I have done. Happy are they that can win away with their soul. I am afraid of His judgments. I bless my God that there is a death, and a heaven. I would weary to begin again to be a Christian, so bitter is it to drink of the cup that Christ drank of, if I knew not that there is no poison in it. Pray that God would not lead my wife into temptation. Woe is my heart, that I have done so little against the kingdom of Satan in my calling; for he would fain attempt to make me blaspheme God in His face. I believe, I believe, in the strength of Him who hath put me in His work, he shall fail in that which he seeks. I have comfort in this, that my Captain, Christ, hath said, I must fight and overcome the world, and with a weak, spoiled, weaponless devil, ‘the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me’. Desire Mr Robert to remember me, if he love me. Grace, grace be with you, and all yours.

Remember Zion. Hold fast that which you have, that no man take the crown from you. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

ANWOTH, Nov. 17, 1629

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