Born in the village of Nisbet, Roxburghshire, in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland, Rutherford was educated at Jedburgh Grammar School and Edinburgh University, where he became in 1623 Regent of Humanity (Professor of Latin). In 1627 he was settled as minister of Anwoth in Galloway, from whence he was banished to Aberdeen for nonconformity. His patron in Galloway was John Gordon, 1st Viscount of Kenmure. On the re-establishment of Presbytery in 1638 he was made Professor of Divinity at St. Andrews. He was one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly of Divines in London, and after his return to Scotland he became Rector of St. Mary’s College at St. Andrews in 1651. At the Restoration of Charles II he was deprived of all his offices.
Rutherford’s political book Lex, Rex was written in response to John Maxwell’s “Sacro-Sanctum Regus Majestas” and presented a theory of limited government and constitutionalism. After the Restoration, the authorities burned Lex, Rex and cited Rutherford for high treason, but his death intervened before the charge could be tried.
Rutherford was vehemently opposed to liberty of conscience and his A Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience raised the ire of John Milton, who named Rutherford in his sonnet on the forcers of conscience in the Long Parliament. Rutherford also was a strong supporter of the divine right of Presbyterianism (the idea that the Presbyterian form of church government is mandated in the Bible).
Rutherford was also known for his spiritual and devotional works, such as Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, The Trial and Triumph of Faith and his posthumously published Letters (1664). Concerning his Letters, Charles Spurgeon wrote: “When we are dead and gone let the world know that Spurgeon held Rutherford’s Letters to be the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere men.” [More via Wikipedia] [A longer biography of Rutherford can be found here.]
The Works of Samuel Rutherford:
- A sermon on Revelation 19:11-14 – pdf, 20 pp.
- A sermon on Zechariah 13:7-9 (part 1) – pdf, 19 pp.
- A sermon on Zechariah 13:7-9 (part 2) – pdf, 14 pp.
- A sermon on Luke 14:16-17 – pdf, 29 pp.
- A sermon on Hebrews 12:1-5 – pdf, 26 pp.
- A sermon on Isaiah 49:1-4 – pdf, 29 pp.
- A sermon on Zechariah 11:9-13 – pdf, 31 pp.
- A sermon on John 20:13-18 – pdf, 25 pp.
- A sermon on Song of Solomon 5:1-2 – pdf, 23 pp.
- Christ’s Napkin. (Revelation 21:4-7) – pdf, 25 pp.
- Christ and the Dove. (Song of Solomon 2:14-17) – pdf, 30 pp.
- Christ’s Love and Loveliness – pdf, 13 pp.
- The Lamb’s Marriage. (Revelation 19:7-11) – pdf, 24 pp.
- A sermon on Song of Solomon 2:8-12 – pdf, 48 pp.
The Letters of Samuel Rutherford. (586 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Google Books/Internet Archive]
[pdf from Portage Publications] here.
CCEL also has an abridgement here: [pdf txt web]
Contains 352 of his letters, plus a 24-page biographical sketch.
A New Epistle (140 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]
A twentieth-century collection of the sayings of Samuel Rutherford, addressing doubt and affliction. Compiled and edited by G. Hembert Westley.
The Power of Faith and Prayer. (191 pages)
Can you help me find this?
The Trial and Triumph of Faith. (371 pages)
[pdf web via Google Books]
[pdf txt web via CCEL – better]
27 sermons on the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30), in which she is illustrated as an example of Christ’s new creation, and which shows Christ’s love overflowing to the Gentiles. An addendum repudiates the error ofantinomianism.
- Fear Not, Thou Worm Jacob, part 1 (Isaiah 41:14-16) – pdf, 26 pp.
- Fear Not, Thou Worm Jacob, part 2 (Isaiah 41:14-16) – pdf, 16 pp.
- A Charge to the Lord’s Prophet (Hosea 8:1-8) – pdf, 23 pp.
- The Weeping Mary at the Sepulchre (John 20:9-18) – pdf, 18 pp.
- The Spouse’s Longing for Christ (Song of Solomon 5:3-6) – pdf, 32 pp.
- The Church Seeking Her Lord (Song of Solomon 5:7-10) – pdf, 37 pp.
- The Deliverance of the Kirk of God (Jeremiah 1:4-5) – pdf, 26 pp.
- The Kirk’s Holy Resolution (Jeremiah 1:4-5) – pdf, 19 pp.
- The Forlorn Son (Luke 15:11-12) – pdf, 20 pp.
- The Forlorn Son Seeks Away From His Father (Luke 15:11-13) – pdf, 16 pp.
- The Forlorn Son—The Grounds Why He Came Home, and His Prayer (Luke 15:14-19) – pdf, 16 pp.
- The Forlorn Son—The Father’s Welcome (Luke 15:20-21) – pdf, 19 pp.
- The Forlorn Son—The Father’s Expressed Welcome (Luke 15:22-23) –pdf, 17 pp.
- The Forlorn Son—He Was Lost and Is Found (Luke 15:24-28) – pdf, 18 pp.
- The Forlorn Son (Luke 15:29-32) – pdf, 20 pp.
- The Worth and Excellence of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) – pdf, 25 pp.
- The Apostle’s Choice, part 1 (Philippians 3:7-8) – pdf, 20 pp.
- The Apostle’s Choice, part 2 (Philippians 3:7-8) – pdf, 17 pp.