The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
A Christmas feast on Christmas-day
"My soul follows hard after You, Your right hand upholds me."
To E. M., December 23, 1855.
Is your heart with my heart this morning? If so, you will join me in following hard after Him who is our glory and joy, and who is the substance of every type. In finding Him, we do indeed inherit substance, whatever be the changes in our frames and feelings. My soul is longing after Him as my Christmas portion and my Christmas cheer; for the Lamb's flesh is heavenly food, and to be feeding upon Him by faith is a foretaste of heaven, where the Lamb Himself shall feed us and lead us to living fountains of water, and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes!
Now, therefore, in the wilderness let us be seeking HIM, not seeking merely pleasant sensations of His manifested love and presenceóbut Himself, for they who so seek shall not be ashamed.
Have you thought of Acts 10:11,12,16, and 11:5,10? All those ceremonially unclean creatures were let down from heaven and drawn up into heaven again, no doubt primarily referring to the Gentiles; but surely that sheet also typified the covenant in which the whole redeemed family were let down to earth, and all shall be drawn up again into heaven. It seems to be the same with the younger children as with the Elder Brother; He came from God and went to God.
Christmas-dayóI now must finish this in His name which is above every name, and which is truly at this time as ointment poured forth in my soul. I seem to be drinking living water from the well of Bethlehem, and would pour it out again unto the Lord by sending it to some of my loved ones for whom I intensely long--that they may have a Christmas blessing, being filled with the Holy Spirit.
I am all alone in the house, and have had a royal feast in the blessed company of the King, who drew near so lovingly that my soul melted, my tears flowed, and with a glad heart, though unmusical voice, I heartily sang--"Crown Him Lord of all!" I think much of that celestial concert in which a multitude of the heavenly host sing His worthy praise.
I once scarcely thought to have been here another Christmasóbut He who wills it is making it all up me, for surely this is the land of Beulah. He has brought me into His banqueting-house, and His banner over me is love. Love brought Him from the bosom of the Father. Love made Him take our nature into His own, and thus come under the law as our Husband, by circumcision acknowledging Himself a debtor to do it all, not for Himself but for us. We are dead to the law by the doings of Christ--as He fulfilled its every jot and tittle, and endured all its penalty. Since, therefore, we are now married to Him, whatever the law has to say about us must be said to Him. He has "redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." It was for this He took the prepared body; it was for the suffering of death He was made a little while lower than the angels. His "goings forth" towards this were from everlasting--and since time began, promise and prophecy, type and shadow, symbol and ceremony--have all been full of Him.
There is a veil over all these holy things which none but the Spirit can removeóbut when He does so, the soul in which Jesus has been revealed, leaps for joy, as David did before the Ark.
In His birth, too, there was a covering of lowliness, so that none but the Spirit-taught mind could discern the Savior-King or know the Lord of glory. But oh! the amazing privilege of those to whom this blessed Spirit has been as the star in the East--so that from the very ends of the earth they are brought, saying, "We have come to worship Him." That privilege is ours. We have felt the need of Him, have seen His suitability, and are brought to partake of the saving benefit. What can we render? We can only sink deeper in the debt of love by joyfully receiving more, as I, a most unworthy worm, do this happy Christmas-day.
The mystery of iniquity is greatóbut the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, is greater, and swallows the other up in the ocean of redeeming blood, so that when the iniquity of Jacob is sought for it shall not be found, and of Israel there shall be none. O precious Babe of Bethlehem, how wondrous was Your errand to this land of curse. Though so little and lowly, You traveled down to earth in the greatness of Your strength mighty to save. Sweetly has my heart been feeling of You, "This same shall comfort us." (Gen. 5:29.)
Fare-well! With much warm love, your ever affectionate,
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