The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
Encouragements to venture on Christ
To E. M., May 1854.
My Very Dear,
I have wished to write a line of inquiry, but having been far from well, had not energy enough to do so. When the people of Israel came to Marah, the waters were bitter, so that they could not drink of them, but the Lord showed Moses a tree, which when he had cast into the waters they were made sweet. "So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he threw it into the water, the water became drinkable. He made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah and He tested them there." (Exodus 15:25) Thus have I found it many a time. Christ in the trial has taken away the bitterness, and it has been as an "ordinance" to my soul, which has fed upon Him and been strengthened to endure. He has also tested me by these things. Praise, O my soul, Your ever-loving Lord, who changes not. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
I desire to speak to you in love of our glorious Christ, who "has been mindful of us, and will bless us." He will be with us through life in six troubles, and in death, the seventh, He will not forsake us. He is full of pity and of tender mercy to everyone who knows and feels the plague of plagues—that of his own heart. "Go, show yourself to the priest," however bad it be, for "Him has God exalted to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." He sweetly invites all who labor and are heavy laden to come to Him, and says, "I will give you rest." Are you weary of SELF, and heavy laden with your sins--and are you coming to Jesus? "Come just as you are," come to Jesus, who says, "Him that comes to me I will never cast out." Not for hardness, coldness, darkness, wandering, past sin, present sin, the guilt which presses at this very moment, nor for any other--will Jesus cast out a coming sinner. The Spirit convinces of sin, the Father draws the sinner, and the Son "receives sinners." So the holy Three in One are engaged in this great work of bringing souls to Jesus; and who or what shall prevent their coming? Shall the world or Satan without, or sin within? Nay, verily, "All that the Father gives me--shall come to me."
But, you say--am I given by the Father? Coming to Jesus is a proof of it; desiring after Jesus is a proof of it; hungering and thirsting for Jesus is a proof of it. Listen not to unbelief and Satan, who would keep you away from the only place of victory. Fall down at His dear feet and tell Him all the truth—the very worst of it; and it may be your heart will melt and your spirit soften into contrition in the doing of it; and it may be He will hold out the scepter and say, "Return unto me, O backsliding daughter; for I am married unto you." But if not so just now, it is better to wait at His threshold than wander; it is better to follow a 'frowning Jesus' than to parley with a 'smiling world'! And however roughly He may answer, or however long keep silence, He will not cast you out.
But why write I thus? It may be you are walking in the light of His countenance, and finding Him near, though in a far off country and a barren land. If so, my heart shall rejoice, and you will forgive any remark that seems out of place. I wish you to draw nearer and nearer to the dear Friend of sinners, and to drink still larger draughts of the river of the water of life, which makes glad the city of God.
The Lord bless you, and be not silent to you, and keep you from idols. May your children be kept in their proper place, blessed of the Lord, held in the Lord, and consecrated to the Lord. You will not wish to gain for them the admiration of the world, because you would shudder if they would hereafter be embraced by it, and embosomed in it. A mother in this vicinity lately lost a precious daughter of sixteen. As she stood over the coffin, she said, "There lies my beautiful girl. Oh, I have been proud of her!" And, turning to a minister who stood beside, "Do you think, sir, the Lord has taken her away on my account, because I was proud of her? I have been too proud of her." I do not know the minister's reply, but that which we are to learn from the mother's deep anguish is very plain—"Flee from idolatry!" The Lord make all grace abound towards you.
Your ever affectionately, unworthy,
Isaiah 49:14, 16. How striking is Isaiah 43:22-26.
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