The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
Deep draughts drawn with joy from the wells of salvation
"Eat, O friends; drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved." Song 5:1.
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10.
"There is a riveróits streams delight the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High." Psalm 46:4.
"You visit the earth, and water it: you greatly enrich it with the river of God, which is full of water." Psalm 65:9.
To Mrs. H., 1849.
My dear Amelia,
And so your earth seems at this time to be watered and enriched, for "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor. 4:7) And you need not fear to drink largely, for after all your tiny draughts the "river of God" will be still full of water. It is a "pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." Neither should you fear to go forward into its blissful depths, for they are from the ankles to the knees, from the knees to the waist, and when these are gone through they are waters to swim in. (Ezek. 47:3-5) If you are a spiritual swimmer, hear the glad tidings--it is a river that cannot be passed over. Therefore fear notóbut live in life and dwell in the river of God's love!
"Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation." (Isa. 12:3) In this new-creation world there is not only a flowing into the new creature, (for the new wine of the spiritual kingdom is put into the new bottles,) but there is also a flowing out, for, says He who is the beginning of this creation of God, (Rev. 3:14) "The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him!" (John 7:38)
As for your gladsome notes under love's thrilling power, they are according to the direction: "Let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains." (Isa. 42:11) If all on earth seems too dull to respond to your strains, methinks they will find an echo in the very rock itself. For it is said of Him who is our rock, "The Lord your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy!" (Zeph. 3:17) Surely we, who are the children and partakers of such mighty love, must rejoice also as its precious fullness inundates our souls with a full tide of ecstasy!
Ah, my dear Amelia, the precious love of our glorious "Well-Beloved" is indeed overpowering. I wonder not at your raptures, and do much rejoice that in this cold region there are yet a few who are glowing in that heavenly fire which God himself has kindled and will never extinguish. I attempt not to pour into your already full soulóbut just pen these feeble lines lest I should appear indifferent, which indeed I am not. I delight to listen to your song of love, and rejoice in your joy, the substance of which I well understand. It is "Christ in us the hope of glory." Ah, and the foretaste of glory too! The Lord make and keep us faithful to Himself.
You well know that I also am at school. I have been in the very suburbs of the Celestial City, and have seen the King in His beauty, and thought the everlasting doors were opening to receive my happy soul; but returning bodily strength convinces me that my wilderness work and warfare are not ended. I think the lesson now before me is, that we must be a constant sacrifice to Him who was so rich and willing a sacrifice for us, that all our wishing and willing must give place to a dissolving into the divine will, and our constant prayer be, "Father, glorify your name." Many things tend to make me feel that henceforth I must live an earthly life, not in any wise "seeking my own thingsóbut the things which are Jesus Christ's;" doing which, the flesh must be constantly sacrificed. Having willingly laid it upon God's altar in spite of its own struggling, may He keep me from ever withdrawing it or conferring with it again, remembering that "no man having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Oh, in very deed I believe I must be more than ever a stranger and pilgrim on this earth. I have deeply loved my happy home and sweet domestic endearments; but my Lord has broken up the one, and taken me from the other; and, having thus at His command left the shore, I must not wish to regain itóbut ever embrace Him as my glorious "all in all," worthy of a thousand hearts and lives if I had them to give. Plead, oh, plead, that I may "stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." For I must say, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect," "but, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark."
I can but write to you with a heart kindled in the blissful flames of love divine, having had much, very much forgiven; and feeling that I can never love half enough, for I owed millions--and the rich blood of my Beloved cancelled all the mighty sum! Now the rich love of the same dear heart flows into mine with more power and sweetness than words can tell. The Lord be with your spirit, and your spirit confidingly and rejoicingly with the Lord.
So desires, with much love, your warmly-affectionate, but unworthy,
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