The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
Warnings to an unconverted friend
"Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How long are you going to waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!" 1 Kings 18:21
To Mr. J. A., December 1855.
What will you say to me for taking the liberty of writing to you? Perhaps you will feel indignant and offended; but I hope that will soon pass away, for Jesus says, "Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me." It is in His name, and for His sake I write to you, and for your soul's sake also. I feel constrained to write to you to remind you that He is "the friend of sinners." He still "receives sinners, and eats with them." He says, "If any man thirsts--let him come unto me and drink!" "Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Now I am sure you have not found rest; you are not happy. You have too much light on spiritual subjects to be easy in a course of vanity and worldliness. You may drink the poisoned sweetóbut it leaves a sting and void behind. You may think that if you had a home, and someone to love in it--the void would be filled up. But no--it would still be left.
"And let you try Whate'er you will;
Believe me, while you live,
A something will be lacking still,
This world can never give."
That something is Jesus. He only can give true happiness. He is the one thing which is needful to put all else into the right place. If you did but know His preciousness, you would think it worth forsaking all--to find Him. He gives just what you need, a heart to love Him, His ways, and His people. He says, "A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." He also gives true repentance and free pardon; for He is exalted "to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." He gives deliverance from the power and love of sin, saying, "I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." He washes crimson sins white as snow in His own precious blood, for hear Him say, "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." He puts the best robe on prodigals who have been vainly trying to find satisfaction in the husks of this world's pleasures. By His Spirit He brings them to their right mind, cleanses them in His blood, and clothes them in His righteousness.
Perhaps you will say, "And what is all this to me?" Why, it is this to you, belovedówithout these things you must perish forever! Should you ask, "What have you to do with it?" I answer, "I have a great concern for your soul's salvation." But you may object, "The things you have spoken of are for God's chosen people, and I do not know that I am one." You do not know that you are not one, and should rather say, "Why not, my soul? Why not for You?" And though they are a free gift not to be obtained by any creature power, yet ask God to give them to you. Ask Him to give you the Holy Spirit to make you feel your need of them. Oh may that Holy Spirit,
"Convince you of your sin,
Then lead to Jesus' blood;
And to your wondering soul reveal
The secret love of God."
That you may have an experimental knowledge and enjoyment of these things, is the earnest and affectionate desire of yours very sincerely,
Jeremiah 6:16óbut I hope not the last clause. "This is what the Lord says: Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient paths: Which is the way to what is good? Then take it and find rest for yourselves. But they protested: We won't!"
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