The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
Glowing anticipations of the joy of heaven
To Miss C., August 21, 1849.
I am at school. Yet I am very dull, but happy scholar, with such love upon love and line upon line from such a blessed Teacher, who says, "I am the Lord your God who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way that you should go." Oh, this is a sacred place! I am receiving many private lessons bearing immediately upon my own experience, conflicts, and mistakes--in which the Lord my God faints not, neither is weary. I listen for Him, I listen to Him, and marvel greatly, concluding most certainly that there never was such an unworthy creature, who was so favored. I think one result of every new lesson is, "Behold, I am vile!" "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes!" I see much wrong in all the past, and desiring afresh to forsake all and follow Jesus only.
My earnest cry now is for guidance--to have any home where the Lord will bless me, and I may not be corroded with worldly care. The most humble place, with a quiet mind and the Lord's presence, seems just what I want—to serve Him in lowliness on earth until the welcome hour when He shall say, "Enter into the joy of your Lord!" Indeed it must be without a "Well done, good and faithful servant." It is with me--all mercy and no merit.
May the Lord give us still to commune freely in that love which passes knowledge, and changes not. Oh, the blissful heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths which are ever here to be enjoyed. Love is the dear element in which I delight to live. I long to be unloosed from mortality, and get absorbingly into its pleasurable abyss and fullness of joy—but until then must seek above all things to live in love—I mean in that sense in which it is said, "God is love; and he who dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16) All that would interrupt or interfere with this must I cast away, counting all things but dross that I may win Christ and wear Christ, and be found in Him, and find Him in me. He is the manifestation that God is love; He is the love of God in living power and revelation. Oh that saints would leave the many things which are behind, and press on towards simplicity and love.
"Tis love that makes our cheerful feet
In swift obedience move."
"Love is the grace that lives and sings
When faith and hope shall cease;
'Tis this shall strike our joyful strings
In the sweet realms of bliss."
Oh to breathe only and ever in the pure, sweet element of holiness and love! That will be congenial with the inner man, which will then no longer be the hidden man; for we shall be all outside. I mean there will be nothing in us or about us obscure or concealed. Body and spirit will be pure transparent light, as you know I once saw in a glorious dream such as mortal words can never fully describe. That glory is brighter than the noonday sun, fairer than the moon--and quite too dazzling for mortal sight. Oh that we could disperse these mists of flesh and sense, and our freed spirits range those fields of light of which the Lord God and the Lamb are the brightness and glory. Oh to see as we are seen, to know as we are known, to understand each other fully, without needing the dull imperfect medium of words. That would indeed be living all on fire, and glowing as we would wish.
What you say of loving the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles reminded me of 1 John 3:14: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." Truly, love will flow to all the members of the living family if we are begotten of God in a new life; and methinks the most so to those who have most of love, because there will be most of Him. Oh, indeed, a glorious throng of glorified ones await the consummation, and are saying, "Your kingdom come." How they welcome each dear pilgrim who puts off the traveling dress, and comes to rest with them, until that morning without clouds--when all the redeemed shall at once put on the full court robes! What high company awaits us! It is almost past belief for poor unlovely me. I need enlarging to take in the wonder more thoroughly.
Ah, my beloved friend, all will end well at last, though the conflict is now often severe. After a toilsome night, and nothing caught, the morning often brings deliverance—a net full of fish, and a meal prepared. (John 21:6, 17) Oh, turn in, Beloved, and tarry with us, for the evening shadows draw on. Come, risen Lord, and sup with us, and we with You. Stay until the night of this world's woe be past, then take us up where suns never rise and set—but You are endless day. Quite spoilt for earth, we must have much of You, until we shall come where You are all in all. I would have dear saints on fire with His love, vying who can love Him most whom none can love enough.
To Him I affectionately commend you for keeping and teaching, and am in Him yours warmly,
"And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God." Ephesians 3:17-19
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