The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

A seeking soul encouraged to come to the Lord's Table

"Don't be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified." Matthew 28:5

To E. M.

You are, indeed, on my heart as regards the coming solemnity of the Lord's Supper. I feel that it is a matter between the Lord and the soul, and dare not press your attendance lest I bring you further into bonds. But I may venture to say that the Lord's table is a feast for the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind; also for such as feel they are outside, wandering in the highways and hedges. It was for such the true Paschal Lamb was slain; surely then such are welcome to the emblems of His death and sufferings, of His body broken and His blood shed. If a sense of sin and unworthiness is not to keep us from Jesus the substance of the feast, should it prevail to hold us back from the shadow and type thereof? Would any self-improvement or self-delight be a suitable preparation for this ordinance? Are we not rather to come with the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves--and so to embrace the Rock for lack of a shelter? Are we not thus to come, feeling that we deserve death, and showing forth that we have no hope of escape but by the obedience, blood-shedding, and death of the worthy Lamb? The woman who was a sinner came to weep at the feet of Jesus before she had sense of forgiveness; and though she presumed to wash those holy feet with her polluted tears, He did not rebuke her, but sent pardon sweetly home to her heart, and she went away with all her sins forgiven. (Luke 7:48)

True, it is sweet to come to the table under a sense of pardoning love, but I believe it is safe to come hungering and thirsting for this assurance. "He fills the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away." It is sweet to come with the sacrifice of praise, singing, "Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood;" but it is safe to come with the sacrifice of a broken spirit, for such the Lord will not despise. (Psalm 51:17) Surely those who come with the blessing, and those who come for the blessing, are each bidden guests, for who could make a soul hungry and thirsty but the master of the feast? Christ is the only passover from sin to salvation, from condemnation to justification; therefore to be knocking at this door, in every appointed means, seems a suitable exercise for those who are feeling their sin and condemnation. To take the bread and wine clinging and crying to a crucified Savior, does not look like receiving unworthily, since He has said, "Do this in remembrance of me;" and what better response than "Dear Lord, remember me."

May the Divine Spirit guide you in this matter; and if, like Esther, you are led to venture without a positive call from the King, I shall desire to pray as he of old, "May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God--the Lord, the God of his fathers--even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary," (has not free exercise of that faith which purifies the heart, or sweet application of that blood which cleanses from all sin.) "And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people." (2 Chron. 30:18-20) "What, do you think that He will not come to the feast?" Let us invite Him, and ask Him to make our new heart manifestly His guest-chamber, where the passover shall be truly eaten in His presence. Who can tell but we may have to say that He was known of us in breaking of bread. But if not, be it ever with us as Hab. 2:1-3, and the Lord (the Spirit) "direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ." (2 Thess. 3:5) He is worth waiting for, and says, "those who wait for me shall not be ashamed." May that be your privilege, whether you come to the feast, or whether you be absent (Rev. 22:17; John 7:37)

Excuse all this in true affection, from your unworthy,