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Selection from his Letters
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XIII. To LADY KENMURE

MY VERY HONORABLE AND DEAR LADY, — Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I cannot forget your Ladyship, and that sweet child. I desire to hear what the Lord is doing to you and him. To write to me were charity. I cannot but write to my friends, that Christ has trysted me in Aberdeen; and my adversaries have sent me here to be feasted with love banquets with my royal, high, high, and princely King Jesus. Madam, why should I smother Christ’s honesty? I dare not conceal His goodness to my soul; He looked fremed and unco-like upon me when I came first here; but I believe Himself better than His looks. God forgive them that raise an ill report upon the sweet cross of Christ. It is but our weak and dim eyes, and our looking only to the black side that makes us mistake. Those who can take that crabbed tree handsomely upon their back, and fasten it on cannily, shall find it such a burden as wings unto a bird, or sails to a ship. Madam, rue not of your having chosen the better part. Upon my salvation, this is Christ’s truth I now suffer for. If I found but cold comfort in my sufferings, I would not beguile others; I would have told you plainly. But the truth is, Christ’s crown, His sceptre, and the freedom of His kingdom, is that which is now called in question; because we will not allow that Christ should pay tribute and be a vassal to the shields of the earth, therefore the sons of our mother are angry at us. But it becometh not Christ to hold any man’s stirrup. It is little to see Christ in a book. They talk of Christ by the book and the tongue, and no more; but to come nigh Christ, and embrace Him, is another thing. Madam, I write to your honor, for your encouragement in that honorable profession Christ has honored you with. Ye have gotten the sunny side of the bras, and the best of Christ’s good things; and howbeit you get strokes and sour looks from your Lord, yet believe His love more than your own feeling, for this world can take nothing from you that is truly yours, and death can do you no wrong. Your rock does not ebb and flow, but your sea. That which Christ has said, He will bide by it.

Madam, I find folks here kind to me; but in the night, and under their breath. My Master’s cause may not come to the crown of the causeway. Others are kind according to their fashion. Many think me a strange man, and my cause not good; but I care not much for man’s thoughts or approbation. I think no shame of the cross. The preachers of the town pretend great love, but the prelates have added to the rest this gentle cruelty (for so they think of it), to discharge me of the pulpits of this town. The people murmur and cry out against it; and to speak truly (howbeit) Christ is most indulgent to me otherwise), my silence on the Lord’s day keeps me from being exalted above measure, and from startling in the heat of my Lord’s love. Some people affect me, for the which cause, I hear the preachers here purpose to have my confinement changed to another place; so cold is northern love; but Christ and I will bear it. I have wrestled long with this sad silence. I said, what aileth Christ at my service? And my soul has been at a pleading with Christ, and at yea and nay. But I will yield to Him, providing my suffering may preach more than my tongue did; for I give not Christ an inch but for twice as good again. In a word, I am a fool, and He is God. I will hold my peace hereafter.

Let me hear from your Ladyship, and your dear child. Pray for the prisoner of Christ, who is mindful of your ladyship.

ABERDEEN, Nov. 22, 1636

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