These letters were put out by Covenanters, for Covenanters, in defense of the Covenanted Reformation -- to strengthen the hands of the suffering covenanted servants (and martyrs) of Christ.
Robert M'Ward, who was banished to Holland (where he co-ministered with John Brown of Wamphray), specifically notes in his preface that his purpose in publishing the first edition of Rutherford's Letters (1664) was to bring comfort and encouragement to those 2000 ministers recently ejected for faithfulness to the Solemn League and Covenant.
This was to be accomplished by setting forth Rutherford's example of faithfulness, courage and zeal, as seen throughout these letters, under similar circumstances of suffering.
This book was also intended to minister to the myriads of faithful Covenanters who were at that time experiencing increasingly violent persecution and opposition.
M'Ward was a persecuted and exiled Protester (exiled for preaching, in 1661, 'against the overturning of the Covenanted Reformation by Parliament,' -- Dictionary of Scottish Church History & Theology, p. 538), who 'collected and arranged the papers of his preceptor, Samuel Rutherford, and gave the world his (Rutherford's--RB) Letters.'
For additional information or resources about Samuel Rutherford, please visit SWRB's home page at the 'Outside Web Link' below.
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