The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
Earthly things bedimmed by clear
views of the glory of Christ
To E. M., Bethel Cottage, August 27, 1850.
My very dear,
In the precious Name which is above every name, I come to inquire--Is it well with you? Does the vine flourish, and the tender grape appear? (Song 6:11) and do you find the savor of the Beloved's ointments give a very good fragrance? Is Jesus increasingly precious, more than ever desirable? Is He, in your esteem, better than rubies, and all the things that may lawfully be desired not to be compared to Him? Is the Holy Spirit sharpening your appetite for this Bread of Life, so that with more ardent longings you are saying, "None but Jesus!" When He is in the right place, other things will be so; it is His rising in the soul that makes them sink to their proper level. And oh! He is so worthy, so suitable, so altogether lovely--we cannot prize Him too much, or hold Him too fast, or lean on Him too heavily. My highest praise of Him is far below His worth; but through rich grace, I, a vile sinner, have tasted and handled of this precious Word of life, and found such blessed benefit, such soul-invigoration, that I want to set others longing for these royal dainties!
Perhaps I might think that the Lord will do His own work, and I am only meddling in vain, if I did not read in His Holy Word about "exhorting one another," and "stirring up pure minds by way of remembrance." But, as these things are there, I venture; and if by many poor attempts I may be used to stir up but one warm loving remembrance of Him, I shall be thankful. Satan is ever striving to divert the mind from this blessed Object. He will allure or alarm, he will use what is pleasing or painful, anything to keep the soul from delighting in Jesus, from looking unto Jesus, and believing in Him for life and salvation. Nevertheless, all those who are ordained unto eternal life shall believe in spite of his efforts, and all those in eternal union with Christ shall close with Him by living faith. Cords of love shall entwine, and ropes of kindness shall draw--until the poor soul is brought into conscious union with the Beloved, and can say, "He loved me, and gave Himself for me!"
Oh, the blessed provisions and securities of the everlasting covenant, which is ordered in all things, and sure! Not only are all things made ready, but the soul is made willing to receive them; the appetite given, and the required garment put on. (Isa. 61:10) The precious Savior is a free gift, and the faith which receives Him is a free gift also; the blood which CLEANSES is Heaven's royal bounty, for freely did it flow from the veins of heaven's King, and the application of it is Heaven's sole prerogative. By mercy, not by merit, do all the blessings come. This salvation is for the poor, and the poor only--and they must be stripped even of their rags! It is not enough to confess that their rags are filthy and worthless--they must be parted with, and this necessity touches very closely the heart of the 'old Adam'. But all must go, that Christ may wear the crown—that he who glories may glory in the Lord our righteousness.
How is it with you, my beloved? Are you stripped of your own righteousness, emptied, and bankrupt? If so, I hail you blessed, for "the poor have the gospel preached to them;" and it is written, "When they had nothing to pay, he graciously forgave them both." Nothing to pay! how our proud flesh does murmur and complain, and only wish that it had something to bring! But why? "He has magnified the law and made it honorable." He has endured every stripe that justice required, paying every farthing the creditor demanded, and that in Heaven's own coin, for "without shedding of blood is no remission of sin." His pure blood was freely shed that sin might be honorably remitted. "The soul that sins--it shall die." He dies, "the just for the unjust, to bring us to God;" and when at the close of His work He cried aloud, "It is finished," there was not a voice heard in heaven, earth, or hell to contradict him. Take courage, then, my beloved; we can afford to be poor with such "unsearchable riches in Christ!" All He is and has is ours, for "my Beloved is mine, and I am His." "All things are yours, for you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." He is "Head over all things to His body the Church."
"Ah! but," say you, "I want to know more clearly that He is mine. I want personal application and appropriation." Well, this is not unlawful coveting; go on longing, for this very same Jesus "satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." You want to know your sonship? "We are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus;" faith is the manifestation of sonship, and by it we come to the enjoyment of family privileges. Living faith is the gift of God, and "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." While Rebekah was listening to Abraham's servant, there was a moving of her heart towards his master's son, for when asked if she would so quickly leave all for him, she said, "I will go." So, perhaps, while you are hearing of the "things which are Jesus Christ's," the Holy Spirit will be kindling love and longing in your soul, bringing it to believe and venture. May the blessed Comforter speedily make you as willing as Rebekah, and work in you the same obedience of faith. She went forth, and her faith was not in vain--she found her husband. So shall you; for eternity will never unfold all the love, loveliness, and glories of our wonderful Emmanuel! Oh, I do want to know more of them here, and thus have all the things of earth bedimmed!
Sweet Testifier of Jesus! O Wind Divine! "awake," and "come," and blow away the dust of earth, and clouds of flesh and sense, which seem to come between us and our souls' Beloved, revealing Him in warmer love, more manifested union, and more endeared communion. Oh, make us walk in Him!
"Closer and closer may we cleave
To His beloved embrace,
Expect His fullness to receive,
And grace to answer grace."
If for Jesus you pine, come and beseech Him for more of His love. Come, O Beloved! into the garden of our souls; breathe upon the graces of Your own Spirit there, that the spices may flow forth for Your regaling. Eat, O Beloved! Your own pleasant fruits, and give us, Your unworthy ones, to find Your fruits sweet to our taste—the fruits of Your love, of Your doing, of Your suffering! Give us to feast on Your rich fruits—to eat, by faith, Your flesh and blood, and thus live by You. (John 6:57) Say to us, "Eat, O friends! drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved!" for Your "biddings are enablings." Amen. (Eph. 20, 21.)
Now if there should be one drop of living water for your refreshment in this little vessel, give God the praise. To Him I commend you in love.
Your very affectionately, but in myself, very unworthy,
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