The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

The vicarious sufferings of Christ--the end of the law

To Miss C., May 22, 1849.
My dearest Anne,
Do you believe on the Son of God? Do you live believing? Is the very life and death, person and work of Jesus--the daily feast of your soul? Are you eating His flesh, and drinking His blood? For thus we shall dwell in Him, and He in us. Oh, it is healthy, lively living--to be eating and drinking Life. Christ is our life, and the blood is the life, and this is the food which our Father has wonderfully given us. Let us see to it, beloved one, that we are seeking spiritual health and strength in no other way than by the continual, daily feeding on Christ. It is a present act—"eats" and "drinks."

Truly, I am seeking for constant renewals in a life of simple faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. When thus anointed, there is to us an ever fresh, ever full, sweetness in heaven's precious Lamb; an everlasting bloom of beauty on this rich, ripe grape! And though often pressed into our cup, yet the juice remains undiminished. "Eat, O friends; drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved," is His invitation who says, "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." To accomplish this, He had death abundantly indeed; for all of the sting, the curse, and the wrath, which death and hell would have presented to His chosen--did He drink up. Oh! what a cup was this to be received in love from a Father's hand. Thus came our life.

Hearken, beloved, to these words: "Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame!" (Luke 16:24) That thirst, that heat, that torment I must have endured forever, had not Jesus Himself borne it, when for me under its heat He said, "I thirst!" Oh, what scorching did that precious Lamb suffer, when water was denied Him and vinegar given. This was unutterable love! Muse and marvel, O my soul!

I like in meditation to go over the very things which our Beloved went through, not viewing them only as a whole—but seeking to the Holy Comforter to unfold and show out every act separately, what it was to Him, what it would have been to me—the very reality of it. Truly, I could not have been plucked as a brand out of the fire, unless some other had stood the burning for me; and then clearly follows the sure escape. For if my accepted Surety, with my sin upon Him, (Isa. 53:6) stood the burning until all my sin was consumed, (which He did, for He made an end of sins,) upon what, then, in me are the fires of justice and wrath now to kindle? Their fuel is gone in the soul which believes in Jesus, for if He was made sin for me, who can or will make that sin over to me again? Jehovah will not! Others cannot!

Oh, this precious truth! it is gospel wine to my poor soul. I hope you, dear Anne, will drink it with me, and feel refreshed. I do love a thorough salvation, and my conscience has been so law-stricken that it never dare be satisfied with one who could not look at that law with open face. Here comes the experimental benefit of having much to do with Jesus; for look at Him where or how we will, He fits the law exactly. Yes, He outshines it, holy as it is, and, viewed in His transparent heart and life, it seems to gain new brilliancy and glory. What then? Why, when this Christ is ours, and we are "found in Him," then law and justice wear a continual smile, and we must smile too, when, looking right on to the end of the law, we find Jesus there--its full satisfaction and our righteousness.

Thus, too, we stop not short of perfection—but meet a holy law with a holy Jesus, rendering unto God the things that are God's. I sincerely hope, my dear friend, you will be happily constrained to smile away all your tears, finding yourself with most unworthy me in the blessed fold of this so great salvation, and in the blessed embrace of everlasting love. Are you tired of my same subject, dearest? I think I have hardly begun to learn it yet, for the Comforter still preaches in my soul. I greet you in the fresh fragrance of our Beloved, and His good ointments. To Him I commend you: may He bless and comfort you in Himself.

I am, your warmly-affectionate,