Audio Book Samples

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rutherford, Samuel 1600?-1661

Rutherford (1600? – 1661) was a Scottish Presbyterian theologian and author. He was one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly.

Born in the village of Nisbet, Roxburghshire, Rutherford was educated at 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 where 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, and in 1651 Rector of St. Mary's College there. At the Restoration he was deprived of all his offices.


Rutherford's political book Lex, Rex (meaning "the law [and] the king" or "the law [is] king") presented a theory of limited government and constitutionalism. It was an explicit refutation of the doctrine of "Rex Lex" or "the king is the law." His argument against "Rex Lex" was based on Deuteronomy, and it supported the rule by law rather than rule by men, based on such concepts as the separation of powers and the covenant, a precursor to the social contract. It laid the foundation for later political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and thus for modern political systems such as that of the United States. After the English Restoration, the authorities burned Lex, Rex and cited the author for high treason, which his death prevented from taking effect.
Rutherford was also known for his spiritual and devotional works, such as Christ Dying and drawing Sinners to Himself and his Letters. 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". Published versions of the Letters contain 365 letters and fit well with reading one per day.

Rutherford was a strong supporter of the divine right of Presbytery, the principle that the Bible calls for Presbyterian church government. Among his polemical works are Due Right of Presbyteries (1644), Lex, Rex (1644), and Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience.
The Life of Samuel Rutherford by Robert McCurley
Samuel Rutherford (1884) by Andrew Thomson
Letters of the Rev. Samuel Rutherford ... (1834)
Letters of Samuel Rutherford : with a sketch of his life and biographical notices of his correspondents (1894)
Quaint sermons of Samuel Rutherford : hitherto unpublished (1885)

The Due Right of Presbyteries - 1644
Lex, Rex, or The Law and the Prince - 1843
The Divine Right of Church-Government and Excommunication - 1646
A Sermon Preached to the Honourable House of Commons: At their late solemne Fast, Wednesday, January 31, 1644. - 1644

Christ's Napkin: or, a Sermon preached in Kirkcubright at the communion, May 12, 1633

A Sermon Preached before the Right Honorable House of Lords, In the Abbey Church at Westminster, Wednesday the 25th day of June, 1645. Being the day appointed for solemne and publique humiliation. - 1645

The Trial and Triumph of Faith: Or, An Exposition of the History of Christ's dispossessing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan. Delivered in Srmons; In which are opened; The Victory of Faith; The Condition of Those That are Tempted; The Excellency of Jesus Christ and Free-Grace; and Some Special Grounds and Principles of Libertinisme and Antinomian Errors, discovered. - 1659 (1648 edition)

SERMON: The Weeping Mary at the Sepulcre. A complete sermon, part of a manuscript found in the 1880's. Andrew Bonar, upon examining it, found the sermons to be genuine and this one the best of the series.
SERMON: The Deliverance of the Kirk of God. A complete sermon which includes remarks on private religious meetings.

Exercitationes apologeticae pro divina gratia : in quibus vindicatur doctrina orthodoxa de divinis decretis, & Dei tum aeterni decreti, tum gratiae efficacis operationis, cum hominis libertate consociatione & subordinatione amicâ : adversus Jacobum Arminium ejusque asseclas, & Jesuitas, inprimis vero Fran. Suarezium, Gabri. Vasquezium, Lovid. Molinam, Leonard. Lessium, Pet. Fonsecam & Robertum Bellarminum  - 1651 - Rutherford,Samuel1600?-1661
Pages 538-539 incorrectly numbered p. 528-529

The Last and heavenly Speeches, and Glorious Departure of John Viscount Kenmure - Newly set type of the 1649 (original) edition - Anonymous, attributed to Samuel Rutherford
Publisher's Commentary: Fourteen years after Lord Kenmure's death, Rutherford published this little tract in an apparent attempt to rouse the nobility of Scotland to defend the Covenant against continued incursions by the Crown. This is interesting in itself, being published the same year that Charles I is executed. However, of even greater interest is the blow-by-blow account of the battle for Kenmure's soul on his deathbed, useful as a contrast with Arminian easy-believism.

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