Gillespie died in 1648, at the age of 36. In spite of his youth he had been sent as one of the four ministerial Commissioners of the Church of Scotland to the Westminster Assembly in 1643, where his learning and effective speaking made a great impression. At the time of this letter he had been quite recently ordained.
REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER, — I received your letter. As for my case, brother, I bless His glorious name, that my losses are my gain, my prison a palace, and my sadness joyfulness. At my first entry, my apprehensions so wrought upon my cross, that I became jealous of the love of Christ, as being by Him thrust out of the vineyard, and I was under great challenges, as ordinarily melted gold casteth forth a drossy scum, and Satan and our corruption form the first words that the heavy cross speaketh, and say, ‘God is angry, He loveth you not.’ But our apprehensions are not canonical, they indite lies of God and Christ’s love. But since my spirit was settled, and the clay has fallen to the bottom of the well, I see better what Christ was doing. And now my Lord is returned with salvation under His wings. I see not how to be thankful, or how to get help to praise that Royal King, who raiseth up those that are bowed down. And, therefore, let no man scant at Christ’s cross, or raise an ill report upon Him or it; for He beareth the sufferer and it both.
Brother, remember our old covenant and pray for me, and write to me your case. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit.
ABRDEEN, March 13, 1637
Taken from Samuel Rutherford’s Letters.