Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 1st, New Year's Morning.—My dearest mother seems somewhat better. But, while thankful for it, I dare not trust in it, or in anything short of the will of Jesus—that is my safe abiding place. And now, precious Christ, I come with a large request for 1842: it is that You would be the "Alpha and Omega" of it; do You not say, "Ask what I shall give you?" Yourself, Lord! You have most blessedly given Yourself to me. But I find sweet liberty to entreat more unfolding, revealing, and opening of Your glorious person, amazing work, and matchless love, than I have yet had; and more losing and treading down of self, too--that I may be lost in the fullness of You, and forgotten and forsaken in Your soul-absorbing glories. Oh! raise me higher, draw me nearer, that I may daily die, and You in me more manifestly live. I just give myself to You, to live on You, to live in You, to live for You, more and more than heretofore, and that by the power of the Spirit resting on me, through union to You; for You had the Divine anointing, without measure, that all Your members, in measure, might receive the sacred unction. I humbly ask that mine may be a large and still-increasing portion; that, under fresh anointings, You, most lovely Jesus, may be more fully known, more loved, more served; for it is to You the Holy Spirit leads, of You He testifies; and as, by Him, we are brought to honor You, the Father too is honored, and thus the Holy Three-in-One adored and worshiped. Oh, do make this a large, rich, full year! You being increasingly honored in me, and I increasingly lost in You, and made an increasing blessing to Your dear people. An Ebenezer for past mercies becomes me; large and magnificent have been Your bestowments; bountiful and constant Your favors to me, a poor worthless nothing! "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name."
January 2nd.—The extreme selfishness of one of my friends has of late pressed heavily upon me. But something this morning has said within me, "Is it not my own selfishness that makes me feel it?" Were I in the proper spirit, should I not be ready to distribute, willing to communicate to her, all the attentions of Christian friendship, even without receiving much in return, especially as I am receiving so much from Christ? Oh, precious Jesus, pardon me, and make the very pain I have felt a corrective to my own self-love, seeing that is the hateful principle which has been grumbling about the lack of attention from my friend; so that what I have condemned in her, has, in the very condemnation, been prevailing in myself. Oh! kill and crucify this SELF in me—this hateful, hated idol. Come in, O precious Christ, and make it fall before You. To Your own discipline I yield myself. I would be Yours, to serve and honor You, in comforting and profiting Your members. But without You, I can do nothing. Oh! use me for Your glory, and this new year let self be lower laid, and You exalted more: and Yours shall be the praise!
January 8th.—A full cup of love and glory have I enjoyed in Christ today; it has been one of the days of heaven to my soul, a foretaste of glory and high tide of bliss--and all in Christ, who is the boundless, fathomless, fullness of it, and all to His praise; for I am a most undeserving--or rather hell-deserving nothing. But He, my Head and Surety, has had my deserts, and I most blessedly have His. He has endured my hell, and I enjoy His heaven; and in Himself, my heaven of heavens, do I find substantial bliss. Oh! why am I so favored? why taste so sweetly, drink so largely, of overwhelming joy? It is so because my Father wills it, in "holy sovereignty." To Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be all the glory, and endless, boundless praises, evermore. Victory! victory is mine, through the blood of the Lamb!
January 9th.—Eternally freed from sin, as one with Jesus; what a liberty! what a freedom! It is so, and so forever—it cannot be undone. "Wonder, O heavens! be astonished, O earth." I myself do wonder, with great admiration, at the glorious blast of the jubilee trumpet, which has just reached my ear, and touched my heart. It was the voice of my Beloved, which said, "You are absolutely beautiful, my darling, with no imperfection in you." Free from sin, being dead with Christ to it, "In that He died, He died unto sin once" (Rom. 6:10), and we died to it in Him—free from sin, in being risen with Him, to live unto God forever. Paul knew this freedom (Rom. 6:7). Rom. 8:1, 2: "There is therefore no condemnation [then there can be no sin, for where sin is, condemnation is] to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh—but after the Spirit." John knew it (1 John 3:6): "Whoever abides in Him sins not;" and 4:17: "As He is, so are we in this world"—that is, must be perfect, and without sin; not in our nature-self—but in Christ, and in that which is born of God and sins not (3:9). But why, then, do I so often feel myself a transgressor? Because I build again, by my legality, what I had destroyed by faith, namely, justification by my own doings; and thus make myself a transgressor (Gal. 2:18). This is not walking after the Spirit—but after the flesh, and it tends to bondage. The Spirit points to Christ--the flesh leans to self. In Christ we have perfection, without spot, in which we can lift up our head with joy; in self we have spots and no perfection, which must needs make us ashamed!
January 30th.—As I was this evening, and mourning my shortcomings, it struck me that there was sufficiency in Christ to make up for all deficiency in me; and then it came, "Divers weights are an abomination to the Lord," and I saw very plainly that I was not acting uprightly—but was attempting to put divers weights into the scale—namely, Christ AND self. "A false balance is an abomination to the Lord" (Prov. 11:1, and 16:2). What is a just weight in God's account? Only righteousness in which there is no defect; an obedience which reaches to every jot and tittle of the law, and an atonement which fully satisfies for every breach of it. These are the weights of the bag, which are His work, and His delight (Prov. 11:1), and are only to be found in His Christ, who is not to be put into the scale to make up our deficiencies, for He is the one full weight and just measure; and it must be a whole Christ, and Christ only. Nor are the fruits brought forth in us, by Him, to be added. These are for His honor, not for our justification, HE is that—made so of God unto us, "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30). Oh, what a full-weight Christ has the Father given, and the Spirit revealed in us: so that, being made to feel our nothingness, we need not fear, for CHRIST is all we need. But, truly, it is one thing to confess we are nothing, and another to be content to be nothing, and make no account of ourselves. I see plainly that I am more frequently engaged in fraudulent practices than I was aware of. The Lord give me to forsake them, and hold fast Christ (my integrity and uprightness), since self has been weighed, and found lacking—yes, proved to be less than nothing and vanity.
January 11th.—I am finding the Proverbs of Solomon exceedingly rich, they being full of Christ, and describing, blessedly, a life of faith upon Him, with its benefits. But it is the Holy Spirit alone that can unlock these secrets, and bring out the hidden treasure. Once I knew them not, and never thought to find them here; I am now only beginning to discover their fullness. The best is all to come.
March 5th.—Rich and full have been the bestowments I have received in my soul last evening and this; proving, blessedly, that the religion of Jesus is one of power; and that in Him is an inexhaustible fullness of love, blood, and free-grace salvation. How near have I been drawn, and how intimate and endearing has been the communion I have enjoyed; it is wonderful, most wonderful! "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" "Grace, grace unto it!" I am nothing, have nothing. Christ is all and in all. My heaven has begun, and the eternal Sabbath has dawned on my wondering soul, while dwelling in mortality. The days of darkness may yet be many, for God has set prosperity and adversity, the one over against the other. But the full consummation will come, "as sure as the pledge is given," whatever may lie between. Eternal praises to the great Three-One!
March 23rd.—I, through free and sovereign grace, shall leave the ante-room of faith-communion, and enter the presence-chamber of sight-beholding and love-unfolding.
April 3rd.—A good day, and day of goodness--and all in Christ. He is the fullness of my enjoyment, which has been most sovereignly vouchsafed by the power of the Holy Spirit, without instrumentality, except that the minister spoke of our being chosen in Christ before we fell in Adam. And then my soul was led away in views, most glowing and glorious, of the life we have in "second Adam," as infinitely superior to that we lost in the first. It was, indeed, an ecstacy of triumph in Christ, which made poor weak mortality shed tears of joy; and if such be the glory of a little apprehension and revelation of that eternal life, just gleaming through the crevices of our prison, what—oh, what—will be the full unfoldings and open beholdings thereof? I cannot tell what it will be; mortality, I am sure, could not endure it—but "mortality shall be swallowed up of life." And, when at these high entertainments, I think it will be soon, and am ready to say, Surely I cannot. Bless the Lord, for more heaven on earth, this blessed 1842.
My sole desire now is to honour Him who has done so much for me—but, poor feeble worm, I can do nothing; He must, He will, work all my works in me, and glorify Himself in the work of His own hands. I feel, with others of the living family, the achings, sinkings, sinnings, and sufferings of the flesh. But I do find in Christ support, pardon, deliverance, and victory. No tongue can tell what we have in Him, in whom "eternal fullness" dwells. Oh! for more entrance into Him, by the power of the Spirit, and more abiding in Him, by faith, by the same Almighty power. The more power we have, the more we want; for power seeks power, and never, never can be satisfied with form.
April 10th.—The day my dear father was emancipated from a body of death and a world of sorrow; and, though nineteen years have rolled away, I still cherish his memory with affectionate tenderness and lively interest. But oh, what mercy have I to tell of since we lost him; truly, our God has been the Husband of the widow, and the Father to the fatherless. To His name be the praise for all the spiritual and temporal favors we have received. I feel a desire spring up afresh, to commit myself unto the Lord this day, for all that yet awaits me in providence and grace, humbly desiring, more than ever, to be devoted to His service; more than ever to live upon His Christ; and more than ever to reflect His image and glory.
April 21st.—Last evening heard, with much unction, a minister of the Spirit. How clearly did he describe a form of godliness without the power, and how forcibly did he speak of the power also. But oh! the wonder of wonders is, that I had, most blessedly, the witnessing of the Spirit with my spirit, that I am in the power, and the power in me. And this morning my soul is on the wing for glory, longing "to leave dull mortality behind, and fly beyond the grave." Oh, what can I render, for such sovereign displays of sovereign love and favor? How do I feel it has been put into me, without any act of my own, and how am I amazed that I should be taken, and others left. To the Holy Three-One, by whom I have been loved, chosen, and saved, be all the praise!
May 8th.—A day of extreme depression; it has not been reaping—but sowing--and that "in tears."
May 17th.—I have just seen the clay tabernacle of a dear sister laid in the dust, and that "in sure and certain hope of the joyful resurrection." Glorious prospect! when this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruptible incorruption; then shall "death be swallowed up in victory," and all to come, be endless, blissful life, for evermore. I love that term, "swallowed up;" it is so triumphant and expressive. The believer's life is victory, his death is victory, and his eternity is victory—but not in himself; himself is all defeat and loss, CHRIST is his gain, and crown, and never-ending triumph. Hail! liberated sister, happy spirit! from clog and fetter free, you know the joys of presence, and do behold Him, without a veil or cloud to intercept His glory. Well—
"But a little, and we know,
Happy entrance shall be given;
All our sorrows left below,
And earth exchanged for heaven."
June 19th.—"Mortality swallowed up of life," has just been very sweet to me in this way—I am mortality, Jesus is life; I want to be swallowed up of Him, in Him, with Him—not merely at death, not merely when I wake up in His glorified likeness—but now, now, precious Jesus, absorbed and lost in You! yes, "swallowed up." Strange as it might sound to the natural man, my spirit glows at the thought, and longs to launch out into, and blend with, eternal fullness: and thus be absorbingly lost, yet blessedly and joyfully found, in God, the great Ocean of love.
July 3rd.—On this last Sabbath in my thirty-seventh year, I do desire most solemnly to dedicate, or yield up, myself afresh unto the Lord, for more particular and complete devotedness than heretofore; to be more blessed, and make a greater blessing. Nehemiah 11:2, seems what I want, to dwell in Jerusalem; to forsake all earthly interests; to give up all earthly and fleshly delights and self-pleasing; so that, in all I do, I may be seeking the Lord's glory—and that thus even my lawful engagements and avocations may be sanctified. It is a great and blessed thing I seek. But He who has given Himself to me, can do it for me. Oh, precious Jesus, grant me this request; I do not honor You, love You, praise You, serve You--half enough. Oh! what unworthy returns have I made for Your great kindness towards me! What pride, baseness, foolishness, and worldliness, have prevailed in me; do anoint me afresh with the Spirit that descended and remained on You, that I, in union to You, might receive thereof. I ask a large, large measure of Your glory—my deeper abasement and Your people's good.
July 6th.—Thirty-seven years have I sojourned in this wilderness, and would now solemnly erect an Ebenezer, and thankfully say, "Goodness and mercy have followed me hitherto." Under the Spirit's power, may I, afresh, renew my trust in the Lord for all the future; still seeking, most earnestly, to live more to His glory. I long that I may, by faith, again take hold of that blessed covenant, which suits me so well: "I will not depart from doing them good. But will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Lord, fulfill it in me. I painfully see how much I have lived in and for self. May I henceforth come to be nothing, and Jesus to me be all in all! Ebenezer!
July 7th.—Glory, glory has, this morning, filled my soul. Last Sabbath I "sowed in tears," today I "reap in joy," and long for the fullness of the glorious harvest in eternal glory. The first three months of this year were most glowing, so that I named it the blessed 1842. It began with this, on New Year's day: "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart." Christ is my righteousness and uprightness, and in Him I have it all. The second three months I had much blessedness and many blessings—but not such positive, close, and soul-ravishing communion; also, more mingled with chilliness of soul, and depression of spirit. I am now getting on in the third three months; and what—oh, what—am I waiting for? The Lord to "crown this year with His goodness." Yes, crown it, precious Jesus! crown it now with Yourself; and give me again to "crown You Lord of all." More love, more joy, more heaven; for truly, this last two or three days, I have at times had heaven upon earth in my soul, and it does seem as if I must soon burst mortality, and "be ever with the Lord!" I long to behold You "with eyes made strong to bear the sight." Come, come quickly, You dear Lord Jesus! in Your own good time. But come, do not send. Oh, I cannot meet death without You! You are indeed "the death of death." Oh! come, then, eternal life, and be honored and glorified in this body until, and when, it falls asleep in You. Be crowned with shouts of triumph, victory, and praise--while You begin to crown me—poor little me—with glory. Hallelujah! Amen.
August 27th, Evening.—Precious Jesus! I embrace You as my Way, my Strength, and my Guide for the coming week; it looks very dark—but in darkness You will be light about me.
September 4th.—What am I now learning? Methinks, how to be abased, for most painfully is now being developed my selfish and crooked nature, so that I am hateful to myself, and sick of myself, and seem unfit for society; so ignorant, weak, unamiable, and timid, unlike all around me, and I just seem more fit than ever to be secluded from all but my Jesus. A good deal of shade during the last, week, and my Beloved not present in manifestation. Oh that I could honor Him in all states! This is the great grief, that He is in me so much dishonored.
September 18th.—A high look and a proud heart the Lord will not allow, and yet these two abominations met in me this morning; and where? Ah! monster that I am--on entering the house of God! I felt the evil, and the rebuke of conscience; the Lord pardon. It is said, "He knows the proud afar off," but this I cannot bear. I must press near--even if it is to receive the stripes of love, and have my pride beaten out of me.
September 27th.—A good deal depressed in spirits today—a time of weeping. I feel I am preparing to go down into the valley of humiliation, in outward circumstances; all things seem tending that way. May Jesus support, and be glorified--and it shall be well. It is astonishing how everything I have to do with, both great and small, seems blighted by my touch; and I have constantly contrarities and crosses in the flesh. I have thought of Job. Perhaps the enemy has envied my happiness, and obtained leave to afflict me. But, if so, I know he is bounded, and cannot go one step farther than he is permitted. Almighty love is overruling; and, if but my Jesus be honored, it is worth the smart. I cannot, yet, feel anything like wrath in all that befalls me—but believe I am in the arms and heart of love; and, "though He slays me, yet I trust in Him."
October 2nd.—My beloved mother again very ill; seized with an unusual coldness yesterday. It lasted all day, and during the night she was so ill that I was much distressed, and feared the dreaded period of separation was really come; and, what was most agonizing, she was rambling in her mind. I dare not sleep—but kept painful and solitary watch. But the Lord heard prayer, and my dear mother is this morning herself again, though very poorly; still, I hope, a little better. Dearest Lord, spare, oh, spare her a little longer, if it may be Your will and for Your glory; and, above all, shine upon the soul of my loved parent.
October 12th, Wednesday.—My dear mother gradually improving. What shall I render for such mercies? But still I wait for more power and light in her soul.
October 13th, Thursday.—My dear mother was taken this morning with sickness. But the Lord is still my confidence, and, though He slays, I must trust in Him.
October 16th.—I rather think the above-mentioned relapse was for the trial of faith; and a fiery trial it was, for my beloved mother was so ill, and my faith so weak, that I really thought my former expectations were quite cut off. He has, however, taken care of His own honor, and, though shaken, we are not destroyed. Again she is better, and has this morning gone up to the Lord's house, to praise Him for His great mercy. I feel now to "rejoice with trembling," and to walk fearfully, and carefully, as if it were uncertain ground—I mean as regards my dear mother's life. I wish to hold it in and for Jesus, not, not for myself. I trust her recovery may be perfected, that unbelief and Satan may get another throw-down, and we be encouraged to trust and pray more and more; and, also, I would be seeking submission. I fear that I have been too much distressed; for my heart seemed really almost broken, when I thought how she was declining. The Lord pardon any dishonor I have done Him in this matter, and bring me to perfect absorption in His will. I think there is a little breaking in my beloved parent's mind, and have strong hope that the light will come. I have borne my dear mother before the Lord in supplication, and have carried her heavily in my heart, many, many years, very long before I knew liberty myself—yes, even in my childhood, I have groaned and cried to the Lord for her; and I think the reaping time will come. I am sure the breathing of the Lord's Spirit will be answered. May all mine that has been fleshly, be forgiven. Ebenezer! Jehovah-Rophi!
November 18th, Friday.—A blessed prayer-meeting this evening, and a season of power, very great power, in pleading for J. B. R—, with sweet whispers in my soul of future good things to come for him (Mark 5:19, 20; 1 Sam. 9:25-23, 24; Acts 27:25). Oh, precious Jesus, Your name is wonderful, Your ways are wonderful, and the instruments You use are wonderful; for they are very little, and very base in themselves. Go on to be glorious in the eyes of your own servants, and still do wondrously before them.
November 20th, Sabbath.—My beloved mother is better, and has gone to chapel alone today, for the first time. "What shall I render?" I feel just now like Esther 5:1-4, venturing into the presence of King Jesus, and supplicating Him to come and banquet with me. And what for? Oh, that I may plead with Him against that enemy which has caused lately a distance between Him and me. I know not yet what it was—but He can discover it; or, I can plead against an unknown foe, and say, "Let Your enemies perish, O Lord." Come, Beloved, let the King come to the banquet, bringing His royal dainties and royal state with Him. The dark cloud has gone. On Friday evening it was removed. All day I kept fearing, lest Jesus should not come, and this word seemed to answer me, "Be not faithless—but believing;" and He did come, and the shadows of darkness fled at His presence. Oh, then, come again, precious Christ, if it may please Your Divine Majesty, and explain the cause of Your absence, and let the Haman be destroyed at Your commandment. Afresh, I do this morning make a full resignation of myself and my all to Your disposal, that you should be honored in me in Your own way, even as Your love and wisdom dictate.
November 22nd.—I rather think the darkness I was under last week might be covenant discipline, and the stripes of love, for the inordinate distress I felt in prospect of losing my dearest mother in her late illness. Perhaps precious Jesus has been saying, "You shall try whether your mother's presence will make up for My absence." Ah! no, dear Lord, it would not. But Your presence would, I know, supply the place of every creature, and make up the loss of them. Oh, pardon, pardon me, in that I have dishonored You; and restore me to the simplicity of living to, and for, You. Destroy this propensity of overrating and clinging to the creature--along with every other which separates me from Your manifested love.
December 26th.—The Lord, my Lord, is indeed crowning the year to me with His love and with Himself! Much darkness have I felt the last few months—that is, at times—but it is all gone; my soul is now light in the Lord, and I have so much of Christ, that I long to be away to full fruition. "Bless the Lord, O my soul."
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