The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
The preciousness of Christ unfathomable and ever new
To E. M., September 23, 1858.
Much-beloved in Jesus,
I rejoice to hear you have been guided to such a good pasture, and favored with such a good spiritual appetite. Though we have had so many feasts upon a precious Jesus, we find each time as much freshness as though we had never partaken before! This has been very striking to me. Things of earth often repeated grow staleóbut the same view of a precious Jesus a thousand times over is ever new! How often has the Divine Spirit testified in our souls "of the sufferings of Christ--and the glory that would follow." How often have we by faith beheld His bloody sweat in the garden, and spent sweet solemn moments at the foot of the Cross. Yet, when Jesus shows Himself again to us in either of those sacred positions--is He not as a lamb newly slain? And is not His sacrifice a sweet smelling aroma--as fragrant as though but just offered, without spot unto God? Oh yes, He is ever the same--without sameness--and will be to all eternity! The glories, beauties, and excellencies of His person are infinite! And from these boundless sources our finite minds will be feasted forever and ever! "You feed them from the abundance of Your own house, letting them drink from Your rivers of delight!" Psalm 36:8 Oh that my poor contracted heart were more enlarged into this our fathomless ocean of love and loveliness! Oh to abide in Him forever!
"I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple." (Psalm 27:4) Christ is our true temple. In Him we may inquire of the Lord concerning all our hard cases--and have an answer of peace. In Him we see the beauty of the Lord, even all his Divine attributes harmonizing and glorified in saving poor sinners! This is seeing the King in His beauty! And beauty indeed it is, in the eye of a sin-sick soul--to see the holy Jehovah "a just God, and a Savior" too. He was most just in punishing our sin in Jesus! He is most just also in letting us go free! Yes, accepting us in the Beloved.
"For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory!" (2 Corinthians 3:9) The ministry of condemnation was glorious, when it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. But the ministry of righteousness exceeds in glory--when the blessed Spirit brings near His righteousness, yes, puts it on the soul, saying, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him!" It is also exceedingly glorious when the righteous Father welcomes the prodigal with the kiss of everlasting love, being well pleased for His righteousness' sake; and when "the Lord our righteousness sees of the travail of His soul and is satisfied," saying, "You are all beautiful, my love! There is no spot in you!" Then also is the poor soul richly satisfied, saying, "In the Lord I have righteousness and strength!" "I will make mention of your righteousness, even of yours alone." This is, indeed, a glorious ministry of righteousness, and is part of the abundance of Your house, my King and my God. Here is food for hungry souls who have long been starving on the husks of self; and here is clothing for the naked soul, who has been into the "stripping-room," and had the filthy rags, and all the adornments of self stripped off!
O my precious friend, it is a mercy to be made and kept poor enough for Jesus to be all.
You know how fond I am of Isaiah 29:19, "The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord. Those who are poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." and "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Lord, make us inwardly poor, and keep us so--that Christ and nothing else but Christ may reign for evermore. O Lord, increase our faith; and increase its lively goings forth on the precious person, work, and love of Jesus! So shall we inherit substance, in the midst of our own felt poverty, and be content to have nothing in self, yet possess all things in Christ, which is one of the dear secrets of love, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him."
I have been much enjoying Hosea 12:9, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. I will yet make you to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast." We know that in the days of our spiritual feasts we feel the tabernacle nature of all below, and feel ready to depart, and be with Christ, which is far better. Coming out of self, we dwell in that true tabernacle which the Lord pitched--and not man. May He fulfill His promise, and bring us so to dwell.
"May He be like rain that falls on the cut grass, like spring showers that water the earth." (Psalm 72:6) This verse also has been very sweet to me--and I trust it has been fulfilled in my dry soul. How welcome the showers on the dry land, or on the mown grass! The waters from our smitten rock run in His dry places like a river. The Lord grant us daily the renewings of the Holy Spirit, and cause His Word to do us good like a medicine, that we may be kept from a dry, barren spirit, though feeling that in ourselves we are very dry. May the blessed Spirit exalt Jesus more and more in your experience, that all your casting down, may be for His lifting up!
With much tender love, your warmly-affectionate but unworthy,
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