Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 1st, Sabbath.—"Here I raise my Ebenezer." Thus far the Lord has brought me. Though the past has been a year of multiplied transgressions and backslidings, I trust, through His abundant mercy, my face is still Zionward, and that my prevailing desire is to be devoted entirely to His service. Take me, dearest Lord, and form me for Your own glory. I feel much bodily weakness, and writing seems more laborious than I ever knew it. Oh, that through the crevices of this frail tabernacle, I may see some of the glories of the eternal world!
March 4th.—I am like a mariner on a tempestuous ocean, without any haven to think of; or a traveler in a dreary wilderness, without any home to anticipate at the end of it, having no assurance that I am in the way to the home of believers. Dark, dark is the night—but, if an eternal day dawns at the end of it--it will be worth a life of darkness here below!
May 10th.—"Satan goes about like a roaring lion," and last night he seemed to have permission to worry my poor soul almost to death. I was very weak and ill in body, and the agony of my mind was indescribable. It seemed to me my hope was quite cut off, and I must perish forever. I lay weeping most bitterly, nor could I obtain any gleam of comfort. It was indeed passing through the fire. May the Lord bring spiritual good out of the gloom and horror which so frequently surround me--for they cannot be without His permission. I feel this morning very poorly, and have still to mourn the absence of Him whom I desire to love above all created objects. Come, precious Jesus! chase away these thick clouds, and let me behold Your lovely countenance, and be so captivated with Your charms, that I may never more give my heart to earthly objects!
"In darkest shades, if You appear,
My dawning is begun;
You are my soul's sweet morning Star,
And You my rising Sun."
During the past night I have again been called to suffer much bodily affliction and very severe pain—but was favored with such sweet comfort from my precious Savior that it seemed light; nay, I thought I could willingly bear a life of such suffering--if I might constantly enjoy His presence. Oh, how delightful was the hope of an eternity of glory, and how sweet the thought that when life's journey was ended, the veil would be drawn aside, and no cloud ever again intervene to hide from my soul, even for one moment, the lovely countenance of my adorable Jesus! Ten thousand thanks to you, dearest Savior, for this love-glimpse! I long for more tokens of Your love, and thirst for more constant communion with You. Be pleased to preserve me from resting in my feelings. Such is my frailty, that I am ever prone to sin. Oh! lead me to see that darkness and light are both alike with You; and, that though You do hide Yourself, Your love is unchangeable, and, "You will perfect that which concerns me."
May 28th.—A friend this morning reminded me of the following sentiment of Legh Richmond's: "Never impute a bad motive to a person, if you can find a good one." May I not only remember it—but act in accordance therewith.
June 2nd.—Very weak and languid in body. I know not how it will terminate.
June 23rd.—My bodily health much improved yesterday and today.
July 6th.—Again the Lord has brought me to the morning of my birthday, and through the past year has followed me with loving-kindness and tender mercies; for, though I have been visited with bereaving strokes and personal affliction, I believe it is all in covenant love; and, during my own illness, I have enjoyed more spiritual comfort and calmness of mind than I have known before. The Lord make me grateful, and, as He is about to restore my health, oh, that I may be devoted to His service, and live more constantly sensible of my weakness and dependence upon Him!
August 13th, Monday.—Through the kind protection of my Heavenly Father I arrived safely at Normanton, the day before yesterday. I was much fatigued, and still feel very poorly, much more so than before I left home. But I am favored with more calmness and serenity than I have lately known. I hope, while enjoying this secluded retreat from the world and its bustle, to be favored with the presence of my Savior, and cheered with the whispers of His love. May my visit be a profitable one!
Oh, Divine and Almighty Spirit, be pleased to descend and exercise me in spiritual things; open the sacred Scriptures to my understanding; take of the things of Jesus, and reveal them to my soul! And grant, oh, grant, that while in retirement I may have delightful foretastes of the joys above, and ravishing views of the glory of the celestial world! Have you not said unto me since I left home, "According to your faith be it unto you"? I must reply, "Lord, increase my faith!"
[The reader will observe, not merely the simplicity—but the earnestness, with which the beloved Ruth pleads with the Lord. She ventures to remind Him of His promise, and to entreat for its fulfillment, and such is in perfect accordance with the Lord's mind and will, for He says, "Put me in remembrance; let us plead together." Reader, be it yours, in common with Ruth, thus to plead; be assured that every wrestling Jacob shall, in due time, become a prevailing Israel!]
September 4th.—I have the last few days been very uneasy about my dear mother, understanding that that dreadful disease, the cholera, is proving very fatal in Nottingham. I long to be at home, and I trust the Lord will bring me there in peace and safety. Oh, for stronger faith! I am never so happy as when I can give all my concerns into the Lord's hands. May I be humbled and penitent on account of the sins, the aggravated sins, of our country--which are bringing upon us the signal chastisements of the Almighty. Oh, that the people may learn righteousness, and turn to the Lord with weeping, fasting, and supplication. But, alas! at present His voice is disregarded. I desire to be among the number of those who sigh and cry for the abominations committed. Surely, surely, if ever we had cause to be spiritually-minded, and to be upon our watchtower, it is now. Almighty Spirit, be pleased to vouchsafe Your powerful influences; solemnize my mind, and enable me to live every day as if my last!
September 10th.—Bless the Lord, O my soul! for His loving-kindness and tender mercy to one so unworthy. He has in His abundant goodness brought me in safety to my own dear home, and restored me to my friends, in peace. Oh, that He would, as He has heard the voice of my supplication, and been better to me than all my fears, now enable me to give to Him my whole heart as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, graciously accepting the same, and forming it entirely for His own glory! Do, dearest Savior, be pleased to make me live to You alone, and vouchsafe much of Your delightful presence.
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