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Choice Gleanings


August 2013

  from John, Viscount Kenmure

John, Viscount Kenmure, was the husband of Lady Kenmure, a noble Christian lady to whom Samuel Rutherford wrote many of his letters. He was born John Gordon of Lochinvar in 1599 and took the title Viscount Kenmure when given a peerage in 1633. He died in 1634, a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, after a varied life and experience. The following extracts are taken from The Last and Heavenly Speeches, and Glorious Departure, of John, Viscount Kenmure, which is widely accepted as having been written by Rutherford himself and first published in 1649..

It was told him that letters were come from some of his friends to him; he caused deliver them to his Lady, saying, ‘I have nothing to do with them: I had rather hear of news from heaven concerning my eternal salvation’ … When he was wearing weaker, he fell in a swoon; and being awaked, he said, with smiling and signs of joy, to all about him, ‘I would not exchange my life with you all, nay, not with you who are ministers. I feel the smell of the place where I am going to’.

Upon the Friday, in the morning, 12 September, which was the day of his departure, he said to the pastor, ‘This night must I sup with Jesus Christ in Paradise’. … Being asked what he thought of the world, he answered, ‘It is bitterer than gall or wormwood’. Being demanded [asked] if now he feared death, he answered, ‘I have tasted death now: it is not a whit bitter; welcome the messenger of Jesus Christ’. He never left off to mourn for his sins …

He said often, ‘I will not let go the grip that I have gotten of Christ: though he should slay me, I will trust in him, and lie at his feet, and die there; and lie at his door like a beggar waiting on; and if I may not knock, I shall scrape’ … When he had been deep in a meditation of his change of life, he made this question, ‘What will Jesus Christ be like when he comes?’ It was answered, ‘All lovely’.

The day of his change [passing] .. he was heard pray divinely; on which day he said to the doctor, ‘I thought to have been dissolved ere now’. The pastor answered, ‘My Lord, weary not of the Lord’s yoke; Jesus Christ is posting fast to be at you; he is within few miles’. He answered mildly, ‘This is my infirmity; I will wait on; he is worthy the on-waiting. Though he be long in coming, yet I dare say he is coming, leaping over the mountains, and skipping over the hills ...’

Another said, ‘Cast back your eyes, my Lord, upon that which you have received, and be thankful’; at the hearing whereof, he presently broke forth in praising God; and finding himself weak, and his speech failing, some more than an hour before death, he desired the pastor to pray, which he did … a little after, the pastor asked, ‘Have you any sense of the Lord’s love?’ He answered, ‘I have sense’. The pastor said, ‘Do you not enjoy?’ He answered, ‘I do enjoy’…

The pastor asked if he should pray. He turned his eye towards the pastor. In the time of that last prayer he was observed joyfully smiling, and looking up with glorious looks, as was observed by the beholders; and with a certain beauty his visage was beautified as beautiful as ever he was in his life. He expired …, of the age of five and thirty years. The expiring of his breath, the ceasing of the motion of his pulse .. trysted [met] all precisely with the ‘Amen’ of his prayer; and so died he sweetly and holily, and his end was peace. He departed, about the setting of the sun, September 12, 1634.