The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860
Faith overcomes impossibilities
"Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
To Miss. M., March 21, 1852.
My beloved friend,
I am often thinking about you, and wondering how you are traveling. But wherever you are, the Lord is saying, "O Israel, you shall not be forgotten by me." You are safe in His keeping, whether the "door of faith has been opened unto you," or you are yet crying, "Bring my soul out of prison!" Jesus knows all about you. He will not allow you to pass the bounds He has appointed—but in the favored moment will say, "Loose her and let her go!" He is anointed to preach liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; not for price nor reward. He wants nothing at your hands. You are to receive all from Him, not bring anything to Him. He bestows His gifts freely upon the empty, the needy, the destitute, and freely forgives those His debtors who have "nothing to pay." Those who have spent all their living, "wasted their substance," and are "discontented" also; these shall come to the spiritual David, in the cave of Adullam, and He will receive them; neither their debt nor discontent shall hinder. (1 Sam. 22:1, 2) "All who the Father gives me shall come to me, and him who comes to me I will never cast out." "He is exalted to give repentance unto Israel, and the remission of sins."
These are precious gifts to such as know their own sore, and the plague of their own hard heart. They do even feel it a privilege to sit and weep at Jesus's feet, under a sense of "much forgiven," having proved, too, that without power from on high they "could not repent, though they endeavored oft," nor exercise that faith by which the soul has experimental access into a justified state. (Rom. 5:1, 2) "For by Him all who believe are justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." "He that believes is not condemned."
O you tossed with tempest, and not comforted! He will keep you; He will enable you to cast your soul and your sins upon the sin-bearing Surety, who will, with His own blood, blot out all guilt from your conscience, and with His own righteousness robe your naked soul. Believing in Him you shall not be made ashamed—but shall by faith "inherit substance," even "durable riches and righteousness." What a possession for a poor, feelingly unrighteous, law-condemned bankrupt—inherit righteousness! This is good news, indeed, to one whose best righteousness is as filthy rags. Oh that faith might come in the hearing of it, and she who has dwelt in the dust awake by the Spirit's power to her privilege, and put on her beautiful garments! Ah! indeed, "faith is a precious gift," which seems to apprehend and take hold of all that God has to bestow upon us in the wilderness. Unbelief puts the blessing away for lack of creature worthiness—but faith pleads on in the face of unworthiness. "True, Lord! yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the master's table." Do not our hearts say, "Lord, increase my faith?"
But, perhaps, my beloved is traveling heavily, and though I talk of these good things, can hardly listen to me "for anguish of spirit and cruel bondage." Well, I once was there, and in my Bible, Exodus 6:9, is marked—and it was done feelingly, in bitter moments—"But though we believe not, he abides faithful, he cannot deny himself." The children of Israel were brought out of bondage according to promise, although their spirit was too heavy to receive the glad tidings; and I, though so unworthy, have also been brought from under the galling yoke; though at the time named I could not lay hold of, or hearken to, the hope set before me in the gospel. And deliverance will come to dear Miss M—, even if she also be as weak in faith, and as grieved in spirit. But oh! would that she might be able to receive the consolation, and not dishonor the Lord by unbelief, as I did; but in the face of all improbabilities, and human impossibilities, just say, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to your word."
May you, my dear one, look expectingly to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think--and not look into yourself for encouragement. "David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." May the Holy Spirit so testify to your soul of the glorious person and finished work of Emmanuel, that you may be encouraged there too. "He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him."
We had an encouraging sermon last week from Psalm 106:7-8, "Our fathers in Egypt did not grasp the significance of Your wonderful works or remember Your many acts of faithful love; instead, they rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them because of His name, to make His power known." Mr. H— said, "We could not understand the sweetness of that word 'nevertheless,' unless we painfully knew the experience of the seventh verse." You will know the truth of this, and with all your crooked ways and crooked things, within and without, there is a precious nevertheless attached to you; such an one as verse forty-four, and the end will be, nevertheless He saved her for His mercy's sake, His name's sake, His love's sake, and we will unite to sing, "Grace, grace, unto it."
I fear you are much afflicted, as I have not heard from you. The Lord support and comfort you, and bring you to be passive and quieted as a weaned child; there is "a needs be," though unseen by us. May it be truly with you as Heb. 12:6-11. And now farewell; peace be with you.
Accept affectionate love from your attached but unworthy,
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