The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
Encouragement to a burdened soul
To E. M., November 14, 1851.
My Very Dear,
Grace, mercy, and peace be with you, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, by the anointing and teaching of the Holy Comforter. "For," said our Lord, "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto you." "He will guide you into all truth." "He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me." The Holy Spirit is the living guide to Jesus. It is He who says, with power, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." It is He who convinces of sin, who wounds, and probes the wound, and lays open the evil of our nature, causing us to know that we are corrupt within and without. But He not only thus discovers the malady, He also applies the remedy. He abases the sinner; and exalts the Savior. He gives the deep sense of sin--that the great salvation may be more appreciated and enjoyed. We are as bad as we can be, and it is needful to know it; but the knowledge of our depravity will not save us. It is, "Look unto ME, and be saved, all the ends of the earth." Some seem to glory in their deep discoveries of depravity; but nay, rather "let him that glories, glory in the Lord."
The end of a thing is better than the beginning: the beginning of the Lord's teaching is to know ourselves; the end to know Him, whom to know is life eternal, and happy is it for those who tarry not in all the plain, but amidst all the sense of sin and the loathing of self, are kept pressing on, crying, "That I may know Him;" "that I may find Him;" "that I may be found in Him;" "I press towards the mark;" "I long for the prize."
We read, Luke 6:19, "The whole crowd was trying to touch Him, because power was coming out from Him and healing them all." Their miseries pressed them on to seek His mercies; and so the poor woman with the issue of blood; it seemed incurable; it made her unclean. How dare she approach the Holy Jesus? How dare she presume to touch His unspotted garment? Ah, but she believed that He had power, and that that power was to be received by faith; and thus she obtained the cure. "Somebody did touch Me, I know that power has gone out from Me." She had believed with the heart, and thus He drew her on to confess with the mouth, and then He openly gave her the full reward of her faith—"Daughter, be of good comfort: your faith had made you whole; go in peace." (Luke 8:43-48.)
Ah, many are now thronging and pressing Jesus by noisy profession, but only a few are getting the healing virtue, and those are unclean diseased ones who think themselves most unlikely of all. But of Him they hear; and "faith comes by hearing." To Him they are brought, for "all that the Father gives me shall come to me." And they do not come in vain, for "he who comes to me I will never cast out." "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Yes, power to forgive sins also. Yes, my precious Savior, with hand and heart do I subscribe thus--You have power to save those whom none else could or would; for You have clothed such a vile sinner as I am with the garments of salvation. You have covered me with the robe of righteousness. Therefore my soul does greatly rejoice in the Lord, and is joyful in my God. Oh, those words, "My God!" when lawfully and feelingly uttered, have in them a world of blessedness!
Well, you see how it is with me. I am still delighting in the love of the altogether lovely Jesus; but not half enough. What do you think of Christ? Surely my heart's desire is, that He may be enthroned in your affections, for "He is worthy," and the more unworthy you feel, the better He will suit you! In your flesh "dwells no good thing." While you dwell in that tent you will find evil, only evil. Like the father of the faithful, you will have to go forth into the land (Deut. 8:7-9.) which the Lord will show you; but He must order all your journeying, as He says, "I will guide you with my eye, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go."
It seems, however, that at present you are under the ministry of condemnation, because you are resting in your own righteousness, which you will never establish, as it is contrary to the law of faith. (Rom. 10:3.) The contrast is, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not alter the flesh, but after the Spirit." This is the ministry of righteousness which follows the other and exceeds in glory; for the work of righteousness is peace, "and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever." Here is that which establishes us. "You have set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be established." (2 Chron. 20:20.) "In righteousness shall you be established." (Isa. 54:14.) "He that establishes us in Christ and has anointed us is God, (2 Cor. 1:21,) who also seals us with that Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance." (Eph. 1:13, 14.)
All the operations of that Spirit in the soul are either to make known or make way for Christ; the latter seems at present His work in your heart. He is discovering your evil, and shaking your movable things. (Heb. 12:27.) Like John, He goes before the Lord to prepare His way. Be of good cheer, this Divine Messenger betokens that the Lord is at hand. He would not have showed you all these things if He meant to destroy you. "I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" "through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
The Lord bless you, and grant you the instructions of wisdom for the training of your dear child, and all else you are called to. And now, farewell! May you be brought home at the appointed season in safety, and with dew resting upon your branch. As your husband is a lover of husbandry, he perhaps will not be offended with the Christian love and greeting of a gleaner, who can feelingly say, "The Lord bless you," (Ruth 2:4,) and make you a blessing. (Mic. 5:7.) This is the true wish of my heart for you both.
Your very affectionately,
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