The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
Christ is everything
To Mrs. H., September 1849.
My very dear Amelia,
I sit at my window, and look towards Castle Donnington, and though it is just now too hazy to discern it as I often do, yet my heart rejoices that there lives one who warmly loves my Jesus, and whose soul thrills affectionately towards unworthy me in Him and in His sweet love, and for His dear sake alone. It is this, my dear Amelia, which gives your love such a warm reception in my poor heart, as none merely for my own sake could receive. Your letter caused tears of love--to Him who is so very near and precious in all our conflicts and sorrows. Ah! my dear friend, how does our vigilant foe lie in wait to spoil us of our "Resting-place," and to cast us down from Christ, our Excellency. How does he work upon our natural sensibilities, and our present circumstances, to produce first disquiet, then discontent, and then urge us, if possible, to some carnal mode of relief! But the Lord "will keep the feet of His saints," "He does not allow our feet to be moved." Therefore, "in your patience possess you your soul." Abiding in Him, there shall not a hair of your head perish," and possessing Him, you cannot lack anything.
Remember, your life is consecrated to the Lord, and in whatever circumstances you must seek and serve Him only. Already have you proved that His reward is with Him, and a rich one too, nothing less than Himself in present possession, and delights in Him beyond expression. Ah! and His work is before Him, and He will do it, nor shall any hinder; but He will "let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing."
On Thursday I had the pleasure of an interview with your beloved friend, and Mr. and Mrs. J. H—. The conversation of Mr. H— was, I think, solidly edifying to the poor gleaner. When they were gone, my soul was in a most blessed state of Sabbatism, and I could only weep tears of the most serene and peaceful joy, willing to be baptized into the death, as well as crowned with the glory of my Lord, my Life, my ALL. You speak of "things new and old;" thus it was with Mr. H—, he spoke of some things new to me, and entered into others which my soul loves, and which it was taught by the Lord alone, without the intervention of any human instrument. As usual, my heart failed a good deal at the thought of meeting a stranger, and I also thought he would be so allegorical that I would not understand him—but it was not so. I suppose he accommodated his mode to my usage and simplicity. I am quite convinced, that where there is the one true life there will be union, whatever be the difference in outward form. I fear dear Mrs. B— did not share our profit, as she had to go and see someone at the school, and such distraction of the mind lessens real benefit. I think, too, in our meetings for spiritual communion, the more there is of closeness of thought, and the less of indifferent subjects, the better. "Little foxes spoil the vines."
I expect to leave this sacred retreat next week, and return to my little Bethel Home. Genesis 35:3 seems to be the word on my mind on this subject--"We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has stayed with me wherever I have gone." May it also be as verse 9--"God appeared to Jacob once again when he arrived at Bethel after traveling from Paddan-aram. God blessed him." May the Lord bless you, my beloved, and "keep you in all your ways;" and give us both to live in sweet simplicity, "rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having no confidence in the flesh." I must send you Deut. 30:20, it is so very sweet to me--"Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life. Then you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Our "Christ is our life!" To Him may we cleave, that in Him, the good Lamb, we may dwell, and willingly let the flesh go to the cross and death He has appointed for it.
"I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
"As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago, and the world's interest in me is also long dead." Galatians 6:14
"And now, I commend you to God, who is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Excuse this poor letter.
Accept warm love in our best Beloved, and believe me in Him, our bond of union, your ever-affectionate,
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