The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
The fullness of Christ
"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."
"I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto you, O Lord, will I sing."
To E. M., May 1856.
My tenderly loved friend,
I cannot tell you with what mingled feelings I read your last note. It is a solace in this desert land, "when spirit can with spirit blend," in Him and His precious love; but I have reason to believe that Sovereignty shines even in this. May we not safely conclude that our gracious Lord keeps the "fellowship of hearts" under His own control, for His own glory as much as anything else? I am fond of that saying: "True friendship is one soul in two bodies." This explains being understood without effort, and in spiritual things is both helpful and delightful; for in trying to make others understand we sometimes get into confusion ourselves, and almost mystify to our own minds what before was simple and plain.
How sweet was that portion of Scripture which was applied to you—how precious that covenant word "yet," which bears down all creature unworthiness. Oh! what free love, free grace, free mercy flows to poor sinners through the bleeding heart of a crucified Savior--all without money and without price! It is wine and milk indeed. Whatever crooks and twists I find in self, creatures, or circumstances--Jesus is always my only remedy, and in Him I discover something just to fit my case. Yet how it seems hidden from us for a season, to keep us sensible that power belongs unto God; and when the revealing comes, how plain it is that all we need is treasured up in Jesus! "The unsearchable riches of Christ!"
We think we never can so lose sight of this again, when we have such riches in Him; but ah! we truly need hourly renewings of the Holy Spirit to keep us in "the simplicity which is in Christ." Oh! most blessed Spirit, keep us from grieving You, keep us from slighting Your still small voice in our souls, which yet is full of majesty. Oh! testify of Jesus, tell us of Him, and take of those things which are His, and so show them unto us that we may forget our own. Awake, O divine north wind, and come O south south wind--blow upon our souls continually to keep them from a dangerous calm. Oh! cause the spices of our Beloved to flow in, and then flow out--that He and we may be both regaled with His own, for we have no entertainment for so royal a guest. Precious Beloved, we would have our poor heart Your guest-chamber, daily and nightly too; we would constrain You to abide with us, and beg You to turn all out that is an offence. Nothing on earth can compensate Your absence, for You are to us the chief among ten thousand, and the only altogether lovely. You will not forsake us because it has pleased You to make us Your Bride, and you hate divorce. "I will make you My wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you Mine, and you will finally know Me as Lord." Hosea 2:19-20
How sweet is the free grace promise: "This people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise." We can say from our hearts, "He is worthy to be praised, from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof." It is well to be looking at these riches of our Surety when our debts are in view, and we shall find there is no default of payment—but such abundance, such ample satisfaction, that "our souls can make their boast in the Lord," and say, "in the Lord have I righteousness and strength." Jesus is made unto us "wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption." Oh! may He be more and more revealed to us by the blessed Spirit.
I remain, with very tender love and sympathy, your ever affectionate,
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