The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

A foretaste of glory

To E. M, August 15, 1855.

"Your eyes shall see the King in His beauty." Isaiah 33:17

Ever-dear friend,
Although we have met so seldom lately, I am glad to find our hearts still beat in unison. When I read of your pleasant 'Highland tour', and its grand scenery, it made my heart bound, for I love the beauties of Nature. But my spirit quickly turned to its own anticipations; for, you know, dearest friend, I expect before long fully to enjoy High-land scenery too. I am looking forward to my eternal change, and delivered from the chilling damps of flesh and blood; to the being raised above the vapors of these lowlands, blissfully to range the mountains of myrrh and hills of frankincense in unclouded day; and, more steadily than the eagle, to gaze all the while upon the Sun!

O my glorious Christ, what will it be to see You, face to face, in Your own light! to see "the King in His beauty," and be absorbed in Your love! This is the climax of love's anticipations; these are the mountains of myrrh and hills of frankincense; even His perfections, His glory, and His transporting charms! Oh! methinks how riveted I shall be; eternal ages will roll on, but still my eyes and heart will have room for no other object but for Him, who died for my sake, but is alive again—my Lord, my life, my all!

Those love-prints in His hands, and feet, and side; that precious body broken for you and for me; we shall behold, we shall gaze upon them; and from the scars of those once bleeding wounds, unutterable radiations of glory will beam forth forever. There we shall eternally see that He was crucified for us—the slain Lamb! Truly, I feel that mortality could not bear it; such "new wine" would burst the "old skin" but mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and then shall I be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness.

Modern believers rebuke my deep longings to be "away in the land of praises;" yet in the works of the dear old writers I find warm-hearted companions, who step on far beyond me in foretasting the glory which is to be revealed. I am not afraid of walking in such company, because it is God, the Eternal Spirit, who enlarges my heart with desire for this land of Beulah, and gives me a sip of the ocean of love, which none can have without longing for the full draught—yes, to launch out into the ocean itself, and be ever filled!

I am very fond of 1 Cor. 2:10—"We know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit;" and verse 12: "we have received . . . the Spirit which is of God, so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us,"—not only possess them, which every believer does, but know them—have them opened and set out before our spiritual mind; and then out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak of heavenly treasures. I shall desire to be looking up to the Lord for you, that you may banquet with the King at the coming communion; and forget self with its poverty and misery, while He says, "Fear not, I have redeemed you! You are mine!"

Luke 24:29 has been very delightful to me; that word, "constrained," how wonderful! This 'constraining Jesus to abide' is still done by faith in the Spirit's operation. The King sweetly allows Himself to be held in the galleries of the new heart: "The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." But how unbelief weakens; it is like, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson;" and when his secret of faith is shorn away he is weak indeed.

Those words, "those who dwell under His shadow shall return," have also been very precious to me. That "shall return" is in some seasons worth more than words can express. Adieu! duty calls me away; but my heart would sit still at His dear feet, receiving the gracious words which fall from His lips!