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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

British Calvinists: Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)

Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) was born near Jedburg in the Scottish Borders. He graduated with an MA from Edinburgh University in 1621. In 1623 he became the Regent Professor of Humanity, teaching Latin. During bis time at Edinburgh he was involved with radical presbyterians. He had to resign his Edinburgh post when he got his future wife pregnant. 

He became the minister of Anworth in 1627. Here he was involved with and organised presbyterian campaigns against royal ecclesiastical policy for which he was deprived of his charge in 1636. He was forbidden to preach and confined to the city of Aberdeen. 

In 1638 the National Covenenat was signed and Rutherford became a leading Covenanter. he was appointed professor of Divinity at New College. St Andrews. 

He was one of the main Scottish representatives at the Westminster Assembly (1643-1647). Other Scots included: Alexander Henderson, Robert Bailie, George Gillespie and John Maitland. During this time Rutherford wrote  Lex, Rex: or the Law and the Prince (1644)  The Due Right of Presbyteries (1644) and The Divine Right of Church Government and Excommunication (1646)

On return to Scotland he sided with the more radical Covenanters, the 'Remonstrants', against the more moderate 'Engagers'. 

In 1650 when Charles II came to Scotland Rutherford addressed him on the duty of kings. In 1660 with the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II copies of Rutherford's Lex, Rex were burned, he was deprived of his university post and confined to his home. In 1661 he fell ill and died. His Letters were published posthumously. 

Some of his writings are available here:

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