Friday, December 4, 2009

Delight Yourselves in Christ Alone

A letter by James Renwick, a Covenanter known as the last Scottish martyr, to a company of believers that had been condemned to banishment for their faith. He himself would be put to death by the enemies of Gospel in 10 months. His letter is filled with encouragement for those who stood for Christ and Scottish liberty. The letter was written April, 1687.

Beloved Friends,

As my time will not allow me to write largely unto you, so you must accept this short and insignificant line, as a token of my consideration of your lot, and concernedness with it.

Your case is somewhat singular, for banishment will readily be looked upon as a great trial for you, through the prospect of many snares, fears and distresses, whereunto you may be subjected. Howbeit, you may have no small peace and consolation from the consideration that you could not evade it, unless you had denied truth. Whatever sufferings you may meet with from your countrymen, for the seas, and from foreigners, you may reckon it all upon the honorable account of your duty.

But, my friends, O do not fear the difficulties and perplexities that sense and reason may apprehend to be abiding you. For the Lord’s children have often found it by experience, that their present fears have been greater than their future troubles, and that they have oftentimes been more frightened than hurt. He that made a passage for His chosen through the Red Sea and the swellings of Jordan can give you a dry foot passage through all the waters and floods of your afflictions.

Take your eyes off the vain things of this world. Look not back on old lovers, but delight yourselves in Christ alone, who is your exceeding rich reward, your satisfying and everlasting portion. Take Him with you. O, He is sweet company! And He ‘will never leave you, nor forsake you.’ Yea, in the time of your greatest trouble He will be most near you, and in your greatest distresses He will be most kind. Be careful of nothing but how to please Him, and to honour Him in all places whither you may be scattered.

Now, commending you to His grace, which I pray may be sufficient for you, I am, your sympathizing friend and servant in the Lord,

James Renwick

The Life and Letters of James Renwick: The Last Scottish Martyr, by Rev. W. H. Carslaw, published by Solid Ground Christian Books, taken from the 1893 edition, pp. 224-25.

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