Samuel Rutherford (Scottish Pastor in the 1600’s) has comforted me in my distress and confronted me about my sin through his writings for years. He accomplished both with skillful use of the gospel of Christ. Rutherford is the most poetic spiritual surgeon I have read. God uses him in astounding ways to cut and to heal the soul. He can speak so passionately about Christ Jesus that words can almost feel embarrassing. He can be so confronting that some would claim him to be harsh. By his own admission to a close friend he said, “I am made of extremes.” Rutherford’s self description is one of his most comforting statements to me. I too am a man of extremes. I have always felt this to be a weakness, especially for pastoral ministry. Huge emotional ups and downs, depressions, always fighting for self control all seemed out of place for a pastor. There were many times I felt second class as a pastor. What I mean is, I felt my temperament a bit feeble and lacking compared to the men I looked up to. There were even sometimes I felt I should not be a pastor; maybe you have felt that way too – but who would you ever admit that to? So, Rutherford has proved to be a true friend and helper. Below is some of his counsel. I hope you find it helpful.
On Self Awareness
Let me give you the full quote in which Rutherford claimed, “I am a man of extremes.” In a letter to his friend and colleague, David Dickson, he said, “I fear that you have never known me well. If you saw my inner side, it is possible that you would pity me, but you would hardly give me either love or respect. Men mistake me the whole length of the heavens. My sins prevail over me, and the terrors of their guiltiness. I am put often to ask if Christ and I did ever shake hands together in earnest.” I found such frankness frightening and refreshing. Here was a man who in his own time was esteemed to be godly but by his own confession challenged that thought. His honest self assessment is a strong contemporary challenge to pastors. Can our grasp of the grace of Christ sustain such talk of ourselves? Can our understanding of grace sustain such talk from a fellow pastor? For Rutherford such talk was common. His honest transparency and his radical dependence on Christ are the fountainheads of his ministry to my soul. It is good to have such a “friend”.
 Rutherford, Samuel. Letters of Samuel Rutherford, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1973, p. 81
 Ibid, p. 81