The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
The inward witness
To Mrs. H., October 6, 1849.
My own dear Amelia,
"Christ has liberated us into freedom. Therefore stand firm and don't submit again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1) The more liberty in Christ, the less in self and creatures; the more in them, the less in Him. They cannot exist together; one will destroy the other; and if we are really living in the liberty of love and privileges of union with Jesus, we shall hold and use all creatures, and creature good, only in the Beloved, and for His glory. In so far as Jesus is our all, selfish ends and aims will be lost. Just as the rod of Aaron swallowed up the rods of the magicians of Pharaoh, so will all those powers which were once instruments of unrighteousness in self-love, be swallowed up in Christ, by Whose power in us they will be used as instruments of righteousness unto God.
How little, my beloved friend, is this liberty of love known in the present day, and how soon are we counted mystic if we speak of its delights; but having the precious secret within, we are in that sense independent of human opinions. We feel the love burn, we hear the Beloved speak, and we know the oil flows, because our souls are afresh and afresh anointed therewith, and because of which anointing, every yoke of bondage is destroyed. (Isa. 10:27) We are no longer the "servants of men;" but being amenable at a higher bar, to that alone we appeal for judgment in every case, and by that decision we abide, let who will condemn or cast us out as evil. Oh, it is precious that we are "free born," and not in bondage to any man. "The Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us." "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God." And we shall not trust in vain; "though faith, even the smallest, shall surely be tried." I know it, for I prove it constantly.
I have met with some circumstantial contrarieties to try faith, which make me cry for more grace. Sometimes providences seem to contradict promises, that there may be a death put upon our fleshly expectations, and the blessing be enjoyed in the Lord's way and at the Lord's time. Do not our souls exclaim, "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" Well, dearest friend, all is well. The Lord is leading me, a poor, blind creature, by a way I knew not, according to a precious sermon I heard the last Sabbath at Ockbrook, from Isa. 42:16, which just described what I was coming into. But my Beloved has sweetly whispered, "I am with you, trust Me in the dark."
I wonder how you are traveling on. I was happy to receive your last sweet note, and to learn that you were again disentangled by Love's own power; may you be preserved by the same power with single eye, simple faith, and love pure and fervent. Fail not to write to me when you feel the prompting thereto, though this letter deserves no reply. And now, my dear Amelia, may your garments be always white, and your head lack no ointment. Keep yourself pure by abiding in Him who is your purity. To His warm love I commend you. He is our bond of union, and since He changes not it cannot be broken. Adieu in the sweet love of our heavenly Friend and best Beloved.
Ever yours affectionately, His gleaner,
"I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them, and rough places into level ground. This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16
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