Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 28th.—I have found that I have been beguiled from the "simplicity which is in Christ," and have been grieved and troubled. This morning I was seeking for Christ to come on my soul like rain, and like the showers that water the earth; and, some time after, this word sweetly breathed upon my spirit, "I will be as the dew unto Israel." The Lord fulfill and restore!
February 4th.—Much entreating for restoration this week, and I trust the Lord is granting my desire, and showing me where I have got wrong—in seeking to have, in myself, what my Father wills I shall have in Christ. Much blessedness now in being made willing to have and enjoy ALL IN JESUS alone. This morning I opened these words, "You shall eat bread at my table continually" (2 Sam. 9:7). Precious Jesus! this is just what I want; then it will not matter who preaches or talks against living upon You, above feeling. I shall prove it a reality—yes, I do now—and prove also, that to live above feelings is not to live without them; for then they flow most blessedly, when kept in their proper place as effects, and I living upon Christ Himself, for His own glory. The Lord further restore and unfold the secrets of liberty!
February 18th.—I find Jesus my wisdom, my life, and my all. "He restores my soul;" and that not to rejoice or rest in the restoration—but in Himself alone. It is safe to live in the cause; then effects are sure to follow.
February 28th.—"Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace." A light seemed to beam on my mind which I had never seen in this passage before. It appeared to allude to those who are perfect in Christ, and to those who are walking uprightly in Him, their perfection. It was a comfort to my heart; for, since the Lord has brought me into liberty, it has been very often suggested to my mind that, having so much joy in life, I certainly should have darkness in death. But the Lord make me upright, knowing nothing but Christ, and keep me so: for the end of such is peace. Evening.—I have just seen a new beauty in Gen. 49:11, the first clause. May the Lord open it more fully.
March 17th.—I am proving, blessedly, by experience, the liberty, privilege, and triumph of a life of simple faith, and also enjoying sweet communion with dear M. C—, who is indeed brought into the good land, flowing with milk and honey; her enlargement has been a blessing to me. "Bless the Lord, O my soul." Would that I could bless and praise my Jesus. How do I long for more triumphant strains! My heaven is begun, and yet my notes so low, my praise so poor and inadequate. Lord, if You will it, grant me enlargement in praise.
March 22nd.—"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is safe." Never did I enjoy the fullness of this word so much as this morning, at the family altar. When my soul had felt convicted of lightness of spirit and heart-wanderings from Jesus, the above word came, and I saw this was the name, "Jehovah our Righteousness;" and I was then running into it, and found safety, in the midst of my own sin and shortcoming.
April 3rd, Good Friday.—Some melting sense of the wonderful cross and glorious Sufferer who endured my death, and who is my eternal life. My precious Jesus is more and more precious, as faith goes out upon Him, by the power of the Spirit. Dearest mother is better—but much weakened. A good Friday to me.
April 7th.—Sorry to find that many dear friends object to have Mr. T— to preach for us, because they think he is getting beyond the truth of God and the experience of His people. But they misjudge. The perfection, glory, and continued happiness which he speaks of are in Christ, and as we are one with Him. And did ever sin and death touch that life and union? or can it ever do so? I trow not. Our brethren admit this as a doctrine; they own we have a completeness in Christ which can never be marred, a life in Him not subject to death or change. But when the Lord makes this glorious doctrine present EXPERIENCE, and brings us to rejoice continually in the triumph and liberty of it, immediately they are afraid and offended, and think we go too far. But how can we, when the Lord Himself has brought us here? Truly, I can say from my heart, that what little I know of this glory was not taught me by any man—but it came by the revelation of Jesus Christ in my soul; and the light and glory increases in the same way. I am not moved as to the triumph of faith above flesh, sense, and circumstances; I know it, I feel it, and long for more; and "I cannot but speak the things which I have heard and seen." May the Lord be pleased to make the doctrine of complete perfection, safety, and victory IN CHRIST, one of daily experience to our dear friends; then will they not fear to say, with joy, that in Christ they are experimentally raised, even now, above sin, Satan, the world, and themselves, and do triumphantly sit with Him in heavenly places.
April 10th.—Twenty-one years since my beloved father was removed from us by death, and how faithful and forbearing has our covenant God been with us, during that period, cannot be told; truly, "goodness and mercy have followed us," and we have lacked no "good thing." My father was dearer to my heart than words can express—but Jesus has more than made up the loss; and I have much greater reason to praise than to repine. My dear mother still remains to me, and that is a great favor; she is my earthly all—but I must not, I would not, withhold her from Jesus. If He call her away, He can then support and comfort me. Although I do seem the most unfit in all the world to stand alone, perhaps I shall then see great miracles. What do I want for the future? Only more faith to apprehend and know more of Jesus; to be continually going out upon Him, never resting on or in self one moment, nor in the creature either—but Christ be all in all. May the Holy Spirit work thus in me by His power, for the glory of the Three-One Jehovah. Amen. For mercies past, "praise the Lord, O my soul."
April 29th.—"Grace, grace unto it." To the Lord be all the glory of my salvation, and my present enjoyment of it too. It is wholly unmerited by me; I have not procured my enjoyments, I do not deserve them, and I cannot by my own power retain them. Sovereignly, as the rain descends upon the unconscious earth, even so, sovereignly, does the Holy Spirit descend in showers of blessing upon my conscious, wondering soul, which, surprised by love, sinks into abasement, crying again, "Grace unto it." "Not unto me, O Lord—but unto Your name be all the glory." Glory to God in the highest; for on earth His peace is felt, and His goodwill enjoyed by the very least of His chosen ones.
May 9th.—Sweet Jesus! lovely Jesus! what do I find in You? You are all fair, all glorious, all loving; and You are mine, and I am Yours. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" I cannot express what Jesus is to me.
May 14th, Tuesday.—I have been the subject of very sharp, though short affliction, the last few days. During the extreme pain, I had not the triumph of faith, or inflowings of love and peace, although not in darkness or soul distress. I trust the exercise has been salutary, and very humbling. I have learned afresh that, after all I have received and enjoyed—that I am as helpless as ever, and cannot bear or do anything without Divine power. My soul says, with renewed feeling, "Without You I can do nothing," and "it is good to be afflicted."
May 17th, Afternoon.—2 Cor. 5:1, has been very sweet to me this day. "We know," by the revelation of Christ, by the witnessing of the Spirit, by the word of God, by the testimony of love in our conscience—"We know" that if this earthly house were dissolved, and when it shall be, we have a building of God, an eternal house, a house provided and prepared. Blessed, comforting knowledge! Short the storms of life, the inconveniences of the lodging-house, and the coldness of this foreign climate; soon the welcome sound from our Beloved, "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away!" Even so, come, sweet Lord Jesus, quickly come.
May 19th—Dearest Lord, if You will restore me to health, oh, let it be double health—let my soul prosper as well; let me come forth in You, walk in You, abide in You always, during the rest of my journey. Let me be lost and hidden, and You only seen; let me be dead, and You alone my life. Oh, let me not again be defiled with my own works or inventions, or myself (Psalm 106:39)—but You be all in all. This only can reconcile me to the wilderness—that I should be nothing, and Jesus only seen, and heard, and exalted.
May 27th.—Prov. 8:21, "I will fill their treasures" has been very sweet to me this afternoon, and it came in this sense: I, Wisdom—or Jesus—I, MYSELF, will fill their treasures; not merely putting in something valuable—but MYSELF will be the fullness of their treasures; so, whether we have much or little outwardly, if Christ fills it, and is the fullness of it, we are rich indeed. Precious Christ! fill my heart, my life, my lips, for You are all I want; and, having You, I am rich, if stripped of all beside.
June 12th.—"All things work together for good to those who love God."
"You fearful saints, fresh courage take!
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
With blessings on your head."
Very solid and consolatory has the above been to my mind this morning. A good deal of outward storm, and from such a quarter—that I can open my heart-ache and sorrow to none upon earth. But Jesus is enough—He knows it all. His glory I humbly desire, and also strength and patience to carry my daily cross, deny myself, and follow Him; yes, and to triumph in Him, too, all the while. "It is well," and a mercy, to feel thorns where we try to nestle on earth. How plainly is the Lord showing me, that when we cling too closely, and hold any outward comforts too fast, we shall be pierced by them. Seeing where I was wrong, surely the deepest humility and submission become me, now that I am smarting.
June 16th.—A little more of the wonders of love and of union to Jesus breaking upon my soul, with some insight, in a little measure, into our separation from the first Adam, and the evils of his fall. Yes, it seems to me real joy (perhaps more than I should express), that the creature bank did fail, and the shadow give way to the Substance, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, our own dear Treasure, in whom our all is stored. But the millions who had all their stock in the creature-head! Ah, there is mystery deep and unfathomable! But the Judge of all does right. To His sovereignty I bow, wondering much that He provided amply for me in Jesus Christ the Righteous. To God be all the glory! As an instrument of His own forming, may I be tuned to sound His praise.
July 7th.—Yesterday I completed my thirty-ninth year. So long have I sojourned in this dreary wilderness; and, indeed, have abundant reason to erect an Ebenezer, and confess that very abundant have been the Lord's mercies to me. The future is shut up in mystery, nor would I lift the veil—but renew my trust upon the Lord, and live upon Him by the moment. It is truly wonderful to feel that He is my portion, and that, for time and eternity, I am provided for in Jesus. To "live Christ" is blissful indeed, whatever be the outward circumstances. When He is all, we have all, even though we should seem to have nothing.
[Reader, this is the only solid and really happy way of living "upon the Lord, and by the moment." Strictly speaking, we have nothing whatever to do with the morrow. Distinctly we are told to "take no thought" for it—but "let the morrow take thought for the things of itself."
"Tis enough that HE should care;
Why should we the burden bear?"]
July 28th.—A feast this morning from one word—"Passover." It broke into many parts with much sweetness, and I see how Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us, and how He is our Passover, as I never saw it before.
August 8th.—Our morning reading was in Nehemiah, and very plainly did I see from thence that one great aim of our enemy is to put us in fear, while our Lord continually says, fear not, dread not, nor be afraid. "You shall not be afraid of them," etc. I see that fear often goes before fainting, and that our souls are thereby much weakened, and the Lord also dishonored, who says, "Fear not, I will be with you." Surely that is enough, let what will betide. Oh for more of the confidence of love, and trust of faith! I feel my soul energized and encouraged.
August 25th.—Memorable day thus far, five o'clock, happy Sabbath, and such a feast of love at sacrament as I rarely enjoy on that occasion—it was all Jesus. Oh! sweetest, dearest Lord, I cannot tell a tithe of what I find in You: death to death, and life to live eternally. You did take my nature, that my poor, fallen creature-life might die with You upon the cross; and You have given me Your life, that I may never die—but live in You, and with You, my Life, forever and ever; a joyful, never-ending "forever!" Hosannahs to You, my glorious Deliverer! I would praise You if I could. Oh, when shall it once be? The golden harp, the immortal strains of love and harmony, will never reach Your worth, You wondrous, glorious Savior. Immanuel, the name so dear, so fragrant to my ravished soul!
September 19th.—I have lately thought much, and somewhat with melting, of the condescension of our Divine Redeemer, in His act of washing His disciples' feet, and I see how we are to follow this, by ministering to the comfort of His people; and I see it to be a greater honor to minister to the lowest of His members, than to rule an empire. Oh, for humility and ability to be thus engaged; my heart weeps, and I loathe myself that I do it so little.
September 29th.—"My cup runs over." "His paths drop fatness," and He rewards me "according to my cleanness in His eyesight;" not according to my own doings and deservings—but the doings and merits of my glorious Surety. It is marvelous in my sight!
October 14th.—"He turns the shadow of death into the morning!" Very great fullness and power beam upon my soul in this precious word, of which I do, experimentally, feel the truth, and find such joy and blessedness, and love and glory in Jesus, as words cannot describe.
October 19th.—How mysterious are the ways of my dearest Lord. Our friends consented to invite Mr. T— to preach when he came to Leicester; this evening to my extreme disappoint, I was informed that he had been to Leicester. I do believe that my precious wonder-working Lord will somehow turn this shadow of death into the morning. Perhaps He saw me too much anticipating this enjoyment, with my eye upon the creature; and so He kindly cut off the creature-stream, to oblige me to go away to the Fountain. I thank You, oh, my precious Christ, that You will be nearer than the nearest, and dearer than the dearest, and that nothing shall be between me and You. But You will be "All in all." Even so, for "so it seems good in Your sight." I humbly take You anew as my all, and I shall have no lack in You. Oh that more of Your loved ones were lifted up in love, and found the heaven of delights which is in You! But why me? Here is the unanswerable question, the wonder of wonders! I, a weak, low, vile, wandering worm, filled with Your love! ravished with Your beauty, and absorbed in Your glory, and finding that Your very chastenings are infinite, boundless love! It is all of grace! To God be all the glory!
October 20th.—Surely such a poor worm—and such rich mercy; great glory—and sweet love, did never meet together before!
October 25th.—"To the upright there arises light in the darkness." This word was on my mind this morning, and, I think, has been fulfilled today. What! do I call myself upright? Nay, verily—but Christ is my uprightness, and in Him I am so dealt with.
October 27th.—Oh, my precious Lord, I am overwhelmed in, and by, Your love! You have freed me from my sin and its punishment, by taking them upon Yourself; and You have prepared me for Yourself, by putting Your perfect loveliness upon me. You have overcome me, You ravish my heart!
November 10th.—How precious You are, my Jesus, no word can tell. All empty, poor, and nothing in myself; how free, how blessed I am in You, I cannot find out. I know a little, a very little. Oh! teach me more. Anew, this Sabbath evening, I cast myself on You, to care for me, that I may only care for Your honor, and seek Your glory. My cup does indeed run over. You load me with benefits. But it is Yourself that are my glory and joy. I would crown You, my precious Jesus, with glad Hosannahs, Lord of all. I expect dear Mr. T— shortly, and wish not to think of it—but to think only of Jesus. I am sure that, at first, I anticipated it too much; it was, therefore, kind of the Lord to disappoint me. My Jesus must, and shall be, all in all. "Bless Him, O my soul."
"And when I see You as You are,
I'll give You nobler praise."
November 16th.—My Jesus, my absorbing, all-lovely, loving Savior! how precious are You to Your poor handmaiden. Sharp have been my temptations this week. But the Lion of the tribe of Judah does, and will, prevail. You know all, and You only. Let not Satan succeed; let not the flesh conquer; let not creatures deceive. But rule in the midst of Your and my enemies. My cup still runs over with love and mercy, and I richly prove that "Godliness with contentment is great gain." You, dearest Lord, are more precious to me this morning than the gold of Ophir.
November 18th, Monday.—No morning is so dreary to me as Monday morning. I love to feel the Sabbath coming—but cannot bear to awake and find it gone. But yet, Jesus is my every-day Sabbath. Oh, yes! indeed He is, and in Him I find happiness and peace all the week, and all the year, when I am kept abiding. This is all I want, never to wander more, or expect any good from anything or anybody—but look for all in Jesus, in whom I now find heaven begun.
[Reader, can you say, with Ruth, "Jesus is my every-day Sabbath?"]
November 19th.—Happy in Jesus! more so than tongue can express. It is, indeed, heaven begun. My Beloved is to me a "Fountain of gardens, a well of living waters and streams from Lebanon." What awaits me I know not; perhaps much that is dark and dreary. But that will not be in Jesus. He is all light, and "in Him is no darkness at all;" and the joy and gladness I now have in Him is wonderful. "Grace! grace! unto it." Yours, O Lord, be all the glory.
November 23rd, Sabbath.—The chief part of last week has been very glowing and triumphant. But all in Jesus, and He is above it all. "Bless Him, O my soul," and rise into Himself, above all His bestowments. Dear Mr. T— comes on Tuesday. My heart trembles, and something would persuade me my feast is over. But this cannot be, for Jesus is the substance of it, and "He is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Something threatens to be contrary—but I fly to Jesus; in Him all will be well.
November 28th.—Our dear Mr. T— is here, and what a blessing we have had; what a feast! what loves! what a Jesus! Praise Him! praise Him! Our beloved friend goes tomorrow. I do feel it painful to part with him—but it is well; for Jesus must be all, and He shall be; and He shall take His own way to accomplish it. Hallelujah to God and the Lamb!
November 29th.—What a night was the last! Very little sleep—but such inflowings into the soul, as were ten thousand times better; teaching me more how Jesus must be all. The Holy Remembrancer brought back very much of what dear Mr. T— has been telling us; it was a second benefit. "Bless the Lord, O my soul."
November 30th.—My spirit thirsts with intense and increased ardency, for unfoldings of the personal glories of my precious Christ, who is, indeed, "more precious than rubies."
December 2nd.—This seems to be my word today, "The peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus;" and my dear Lord seems to say, "Fly to my bosom for peace: expect it nowhere else, desire it nowhere else, seek nowhere to rest your head and your heart but here." Precious Lord, You are my rest, my happiness, and You are all-sufficient. Hold me to You, nor let me wander more.
December 13th.—What a Jesus! what grace, love, glory, and liberty I find in Him; and yet I know but as nothing of what He has, and what He is; still He says, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." Ah! precious Christ, nothing but YOURSELF can fill this mouth, this heart, which You have made to thirst and long for You.
December 23rd.—My soul is intensely longing to be led, as the Eastern sages were, to the place where Jesus lay. The wonders of the incarnation I long to be led into, in meditation deep and sweet. Much blessed in Jesus, who is to me more excellent than "mountains of prey" or "hills of frankincense and myrrh." Himself is my glory—Himself is my happiness; and He makes me rejoice with exceeding great joy. To God be all the glory. Amen and amen.
December 29th.—Sabbath, and a glowing one, too, a crowning one, at the closing of this blessed 1844. "Bless the Lord, O my soul," for the wonders, the secrets of love, made known to love's object—in love and by love, for love's own glory. "God is love," and He my blissful dwelling-place for evermore.
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