The precious Sufferer on that middle cross

(Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan)

I have been looking much at the last hours of my
precious Lord, this morning. I have been somewhat
beholding the precious Sufferer on that middle

Both the thieves railed on Him. But one of these thieves,
by the power Spirit, was brought to confess his own
sinfulness, and by the same Spirit to call Jesus "Lord."
Then how sweet was the answer of peace, "Today you
shall be with Me in paradise." Thus did redeeming love
break forth in a refreshing stream from that suffering
heart and those parched lips--to give drink to that other
sufferer, who was, indeed, "ready to perish."

After this, came the cry of agony, "My God, my
God, why have You forsaken Me?" Oh! that was
the climax of woe!

And then those mysterious words, "I thirst!" Mere bodily
suffering was not all which was couched in these words.
But that righteous One was dwelling with the devouring
fire, and enduring what would have been "everlasting
burnings" to us.  The wrath of the Lawgiver was going
forth upon the sin which was found upon Him. He thirsted,
as in hell--that He might "lead us to fountains of living
waters" in heaven!

And those tender looks and words to His mother and His
beloved John, do indeed manifest a heart without an atom
of that selfishness which we inherit by the fall.

Then came the end, when, after receiving the vinegar, Jesus
said, "It is finished!" Then bowing His head, He gave up His
spirit. What amazing weight and fullness is in those three
words, "It is finished!" Finished for me, the vilest of the vile,
whom You have privileged to stand, with dear Mary Magdalene,
at the foot of Your cross, and listen to Your dear lips, which,
even there, drop as the honeycomb. If these 'sips in grace'
are so sweet--what will those 'draughts in glory' be?

Truly, I have almost seemed to stand with Mary Magdalene
beside Your cross, and gathered up these precious fragments
with wondering love, and mingled joy and grief.

Oh, precious Christ, eclipse all earthly vanities, by revealing
Yourself more fully!