The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
The unchangeableness of Christ
in the midst of a changing world
To Mrs. H., May 1850.
My much-loved Amelia,
You will have wondered at my long silence, and that I should have allowed two precious letters to remain so long unanswered. Indeed I would have written; but when He shuts none can open, and when He binds none can walk at large. "Even so, Father, for so it seems good in your sight." "Good is the will of the Lord concerning me." "Not my willóbut Yours be done." Peace be unto you, my loved Amelia, and the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May the one holy Lord God of Israel dwell richly in your heart. It rejoiced me greatly to hear that the anointed One (Isa. 61:1) had proclaimed "liberty to the captive," and that your disentangled soul was again rejoicing in its best Beloved. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of (creature) bondage;" (Gal. 5:1) lest He say, "Let her alone; she has loved idols, after idols let her go." Instead of this, I the rather hope that you are still looking out of the "Dove's eyes," which are pure eyes, and do ever reject every attraction but the rightful one. Your letter upon the "Dove's eyes" was very precious, and that such a Beloved should condescend to be ravished (Song 4:9) with such a spouse is marvelous indeed; but, as you rightly observe, "it is His own loveliness reflected when she gazes steadfastly upon Him."
O my dear Amelia, for a steady, undiverted look of our Beloved! How do the contrarieties of the wilderness, working upon this corrupt flesh, seem to come between us and Him! In our experience there is an eclipse of His brightness who is our beauty; though still through all He loves, "and hates to put away." Praise Him, my poor, unstable soul, that He changes not, (Mal. 3:6) and therefore I am not consumed. Ah, no! Divine love prevents the consuming of its object in any other fire than its ownóbut in those fires is only a making fit to be more absorbed in its inexpressible blissfulness. This poor heart has had many a tossing latelyóbut it feels the security of love which, amidst all, does insure and assure that the union is eternal, and that no things of time shall dissever it.
"My everlasting song is thisó
Jesus is mine, and I am His."
Many of His dealings I do not understand, and I often feel myself a poor, weary pilgrimóbut His love and His bosom are the home of my new heart; and there it reposes in safety, while the tempest howls around and the storm beats upon the outer man. I do not mean you to think I have been in great trialsóbut I have had many little contrarieties in the path, and much exercise of soul.
I am more and more convinced the way upward is one of tribulation, and the high heads and trifling hearts of most professors look as if they were not in it. But honestly we say,
"Above their highest mirth,
Our saddest hours we prize;
For though our cup seems mixed with gall,
There's something secret sweetens all."
But the worst and roughest of our heavenward path is infinitely preferable to the best a worldling knows. And how came unworthy we into the secret? Oh, love would have it soólove would have His own, and made us "willing in the day of His power." "Not unto us, not unto usóbut unto Your name be the glory." So says my heart, as it freely ascribes all "to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved." And though my flesh wants an easy path--my spirit often feels the blessed benefit of the cross, and blesses Him who lovingly endured it with the curse for my unworthy sake.
I was thankful to find your mind so abstracted from earthly things when you last wrote, and I hope it continues by the Spirit's power to forsake all for Christ. You will find more than all in Him, the glories of whose person outmatches all beside. And now, dear Amelia, I commend you in body, soul, and circumstances to Him whose love first united us, and who will remain amid all fluctuations. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever," our Beloved, our Friend, our ALL IN ALL. His blessing be ever your enriching.
With dear love, believe me in Him your affectionate,
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