The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
The joy of union and communion with Christ
"Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." Psalm 45:10-11
"The king has brought me into his chambers." Song 1:4.
"Never again will you be called the Godforsaken City or the Desolate Land. Your new name will be the City of God's Delight and the Bride of God, for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his own." Isaiah 62:4
"Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. She was permitted to wear fine linen, bright and pure." Revelation 19:7-8
"And this is the name whereby He shall be called--the Lord our righteousness." Jer. 33:16.
"And you are complete in Him." Colossians 2:10
To Mrs. H., February 26, 1848.
All hail my precious sister,
I greet you with a sincere heart; welcome to the unspeakable delights of union with the King of kings, the most high and mighty Prince, Emmanuel, the Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory! Your song of love has made my heart as an open fountain, so that I have wept abundantly, in sincere joy, to find another love-stricken soul who, separated from all besides, shall know the blissfulness of absorption in the Beloved. Surely this Well-Beloved has "put in his hand by the hole of the door," and my affections are moved for Him and for you; so that I must respond, though in feeble strains, to love's own language, which my heart knows right well, triumphantly exclaiming, "It is the voice of my Beloved, He is "white and ruddy, the chief among ten thousand," "Yes, he is altogether lovely!" (Song 5:10, 16) He has borne away my heart and my heart's affections; and, now, love and the Beloved are my most delightful theme.
I had not time, my dearest Amelia, to pour out all my heart's fullness this morning, and whether there will be a renewal of it is known to Him who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens, who can turn water into wine, and poverty into plenty. This has been a blissful day to me, heaven begun, and glory antedated. At times you have been very near me, and perhaps, if I knew more of spirit blending with spirit, and soul communing with soul, we might have enjoyed it more fully. I wish to wait quietly upon the Lord for the further unfolding of His blissful secrets, and revealing of His glorious Person. And here my heart bounds with delight, for it is the Person of Christ that ravishes my soul, and has made me a willing captive to His matchless charms!
"All human beauties, all divine,
In my Beloved meet and shine."
Perfect humanity, ineffable divinity, one glorious Person, our all-lovely Emmanuel. The union between this matchless One and ourselves is double: we are joined to Him by one Spirit, so that when born of the Spirit we partake of His nature, and He for very love took a body like our own. "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same," and thus "we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones," and it is blessedly written, "They are no more two—but one flesh." "This is a great mystery—but I speak concerning Christ and the Church."
This morning I had not heard your letter to dear Anne. She has this evening read it to me. It is delicious to my spiritual taste, savory meat, such as my soul loves. The Lord your God brought it unto you and me, to Him therefore be all the glory. Fear not the loss of joyous sensations, my very dear friend; your precious Husband and His love will be ever the same, and you will come in sweet reciprocal love to such devotedness to Himself, that you will, as it were, lay down His smile, and His shine, and His kiss, and His benefits at His dear feet, and seek His glory above them, and say--Honor Yourself by me, rather than please me with these. When you have thus left them for Him, you will find them most richly and continuously in Him. To take Christ for His own sake is a secret worth worlds, and has in it that other secret, "rejoicing in the Lord always." I know not whether I am clear to you—but must finish.
Accept warm love from the warmed heart of your dearly affectionate,
Ruth, the happy gleaner.
P.S.—I should tell you, my beloved Amelia, that I have had rich enjoyment in dear Madame Guyon. I do not think her views quite correct in some points; but in others I have been astonished to find her speak my very secrets, known only between the beloved and my soul. She was a kindred spirit, and drank deeply of Love's pure stream; yes, she at length lived at the Fountainhead. After going quite through, I regaled myself with delight here and there among her precious things. At times I was enraptured to find one in mortality pouring forth such pure strains of divine love, until at length one evening, while thus engaged, it was as if the Beloved of my soul gently beckoned me away from her, saying--Come to Me, and receive it first hand. You will be sure the invitation was welcome. I immediately closed the book, and have not opened it since; for "His lips are like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh;" "the law of his mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver," and to hear of Himself from Himself is better than any instrumentality whatever.
Do you know, beloved friend, this is the way the Lord has ever dealt with me--He Himself has been my dear instructor; most frequently without any creature. Gal. 1:12, is my very own verse, "For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it—but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." He has powerfully spoken to me, too, from 2 Sam. 9:7, "You shall eat bread at my table continually." How blessed to sit at the King's table, to see Him, to hear Him, to learn of Him. Oh! indeed, I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell and fare sumptuously in the tents of wickedness. My heart says, "Let your handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord."
I have thought of you in your last bereavement; you now know a little of my anguish—the lonely bed, the lonely meal, the vacant chair, etc. But Jesus makes up for all these, does He not? To His dear heart of love, and arm of power, I now commend you, and in Him rest in bonds indissoluble.
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