Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 5th.—This word seems very sweet and wonderful to me just now; "When my enemies and my foes came upon me, to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell."
January 13th.—Outward things as dark as midnight. I do look up, and at times feel an indescribable confidence that deliverance is not far distant; although, when I judge by sight, it seems impossible; and my flesh would think there is no way for the Lord to help me; faith alone sustains me, and faith in a faithful God will not prove a broken reed.
January 23rd.—I know not what the Lord intends to do with me. But, in the midst of present desolation, I desire to go forth in the name of Jesus, which is all-conquering. But all the hardness of my case is nothing with my dear Lord. He is faithful still, and I shall not wait upon Him in vain. Oh, to triumph in Him, all the while the flesh is sinking, and the enemy taunting. Lord, increase my faith; and keep me from dishonoring You. "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains." Habakkuk 3:17-19
January 27th, Thursday.—"Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the 5,000 and how many baskets you collected? Or the seven loaves for the 4,000 and how many large baskets you collected?" (Matt. 16:9). Yes, dear Lord, I now remember, and am encouraged. "It is nothing with You to help by many or few." "My eyes are unto You," and, though sorely buffeted, faith does at times arise and triumph. I thank You, You have said, "According to your faith be it unto you." Not according to unbelief, which so violently struggles, and seems at times to preponderate. That vile abomination sinks like lead in the red sea of a Savior's blood; for though it darkens and distresses, it shall not prevail in those for whom His precious blood was shed.
January 30th, Sacrament-day.—I felt at the Lord's table today that "His flesh is food indeed, His blood is drink indeed." Outward things have become darker this last month. But the Lord has been peculiarly with me, and I think faith has more prevailed. It seems to me as if the rod had budded and blossomed; if it be really so from the Lord, fruit will follow, and faith will have fulfillment. I desire to inquire of Him on this matter, as Rebekah did. Lord, bring to perfection Your own, and crush all the rest while in embryo. Let what is of the flesh never see the light. Oh, be not dishonored in the dearly-bought purchase of Your precious blood. Fill me with Yourself! Use me for Yourself! Absorb me in Yourself! Sweetly encouraging to my soul is that word, "The way of the Lord is strength to the upright." "He who walks in the night stumbles."
February 3rd.—In the midst of all, I have an increasing confidence in the Lord; and, at times, a firm belief that there is an order given forth from above, for a blessing for me, though to sense every way seems hedged up. But I thought, yesterday, that the Lord will "open the windows of heaven," rather than that the expectation of faith shall be cut off. To which thought I had afterwards a kind response from the Lord. We had a delightful visit at W—. Saw again the Scripture emblems. Had sweet communion with saints; and heard of one most deeply tried, and most manifestly blessed. This encouraged me, though no one there knew my case.
February 6th, Sabbath.—"The way of the Lord is strength to the upright." I feel it so. Christ is the "way" of the Lord, and He is our strength; and, walking uprightly in Him, we walk surely. It is just now a most important crisis with me. But I feel greatly strengthened in the Lord, and a sweet, loving confidence that He will appear for me, and be my guide and my glory. I never was so clearly cut off from outward ways and means. I must, I do, venture my whole weight upon the Lord. Deut. 11:24: "Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours." I do now believe that wherever true faith treads in expectation at God's command, divine love and power will put in possession in God's time, according to His own promise (Matt. 21:22). As also in the case of Caleb, who followed the Lord wholly: had the promise of the land that his feet trod upon, claimed it in faith, possessed it in power, and gave the Lord the glory of the conquest (Josh. 14.)
February 10th.—Some close fighting today. The enemy very taunting, and my flesh in league with him. But the Lord is on my side, why should I "fear what flesh can do unto me?" I desire to cleave closely to my Captain, and He will overcome. Most blessed Jesus, You are on my side; oh, confirm Your word unto Your handmaid, upon which You have caused me to hope. Again I cast the burden of all expenses upon You; You can sustain them, though they seem unavoidably to increase. If I am right, establish me in Yourself, and in Your way; if my flesh and foe have beguiled me, discover them, and deliver me, I beseech You. Love will not let me cry in vain; my glorious Lord will arise for my help.
February 13th. "Master," Simon replied, "we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets."—Luke 5:5. And what followed this obedience of faith, for it could not be sight? Plenty, instead of poverty. I have been for months toiling, and have not taken what I needed. I believe it is my dear Lord who has now bid faith let down the net—not on the old, wrong side of creature effort and expectation—but on the right side of the Lord's purpose and power. And here is the gleaner, just happy in the Lord, waiting His will; and, though often taunted by the enemy with the thought that He has not spoken, yet, believing that He has, she is saying, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Your word." Surely the net is let down. I would bless my precious Jesus. Oh, what a present heaven do I find in Jesus! No tongue can count half His beauties and His sweetness! Oh, to live ever by simple faith upon Him, until called up to live in open vision with Him. Flesh gets most complete starvation--when Christ is all in all!
February 15th.—"My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver." Thus speaks Jesus, the true, eternal wisdom; and sweet are His words to my soul this evening.
February 18th, Friday.—To my astonishment, the Lord sent an answer about temporal things to the faith He had given. It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in my eyes. Thus has He fulfilled those words He gave me on this matter: on October 9th, Isa. 54:17; and on January 9th, Exod. 14:13. I am surprised and thankful—but fear to look too much at the gifts. I desire to have a single and loving eye upon the Giver, who directed how the net should be let down. I believe the Lord will employ and provide for unworthy me, without engrossing me in worldly cares, for which I have no spirit left in me, by reason of the love and loveliness of Jesus, whom alone I desire to serve. This word has been powerful the last day or two, "If you can believe; all things are possible to him who believes." "Power belongs unto God." To the Lord be glory! Amen.
February 20th, Sabbath.—The Lord was very gracious to me at the Refuge on Friday. I had a melting-time; I thought of that precious Jesus, who wept over Jerusalem; and my heart and my eyes wept, too, over those poor girls. Surely, there are among them vessels of mercy; they are most attentive, and some of them weep under the Word. I have to go twice this week, if the Lord permits. I tremble—but my "sufficiency is of God."
February 26th.—I have been to the Refuge. I know not whether any of it is natural feeling—but my very heart seems to yearn over those girls. More of them were present today, and there seemed real feeling. Dear Lord, do seal home Your Word upon some of their hearts, and give a token where You are working. Make us faithful; and may they fall down wounded under the arrows of King Jesus!
February 27th, Sacrament Sabbath.—A memorable day. My soul has bathed in bliss. At our little meeting on Friday evening, I was led solemnly to renew my vow before the Lord, to live for Him alone; and, laying down enjoyments and delights at His feet, to seek His glory only, and by what means He should see best. On retiring to rest, I joyfully felt that "the vows of God were upon me;" and was privileged with heavenly and ineffable delights; in the midst of which was great yearning over the souls of the poor girls in the Refuge, for whom I seem to "travail in birth until Christ be formed" in them; and also to believe that all will not be in vain in the Lord.
This morning I was mourning the loss of dear Mrs. A—, because she only and M— know fully what it is to lose self and be absorbed in Jesus. And then, on my knees, I besought the Lord for such a companion. It was very striking, that before I had risen from my knees, a letter came from A—, to say how the Beloved had just revealed Himself to her soul, as her blessed Bridegroom; and she used love's own language; and my soul was as liquid love while I read and wondered. I must wait the Lord's further mind. This has been a blessed month, indeed. At its commencement I thought the rod had bloomed and blossomed; it has since borne fruit. I am astonished at the Lord's love and loving-kindness. What will heaven be, where, without interruption or intermission--we shall love, adore, and praise?
"Oh, for a thousand tongues to tell
My dear Redeemer's worth."
I long that my dying lips might sound His praise, and tell His love, who will be my life in death. But He knows best. Friends do not think it will be so, because I enjoy so much now; and I have thought so, too, and trembled. But "All things are possible to him that believes." Yes, my blessed Jesus, a happy life, and a happy death, are in Your power to give; for You have made an end of sin, and conquered death; You have also drunk up all my hell. What can I render? Only my whole self, with all I have and am. It is not worth Your picking up. But love puts a value upon its object. My Lord, my life, my happiness, my heaven, my all! You have loved and chosen me; You will not turn away. But, filling me with Yourself, You will use me for Yourself, and You shall have all the praise! I would now go forth in Jesus, and all will be well.
March 5th.—Oh, keep me believing, and let not my enemies prevail to set me reasoning. I was lately thinking of my temporal matters, when something within seemed to say, "You must not sit still, and expect the food to drop into your mouth." And directly, with power and sweetness, came this in answer, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." It has melted me to tears more than once since. He has filled, and will fill, I believe, in spite of my taunting foes. Oh, sweet and happy life of faith! May I know more of its privilege and power.
March 12th.—This afternoon I opened upon 1 Sam. 8:5, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not follow your example. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have"--from whence I read forward, and can truly say, "Your words were found, and I did eat them," and they are refreshment to my spirit. How plainly I see Saul, a man in the flesh, continually acting from fleshly expediency, thereby dishonoring and displeasing God. And as I read, it made me tremble, lest I should, under my present straits, turn again to folly. And now I have just come to David, and my soul is melted where he says, "I cannot go in these, for I have not proved them." They seem to me like creature ways and means, as if they were not to be my ways; for, like David, I can tell my experience of the Lord's wonders by the hand of faith, when He delivered me out of the paw of the lion and the bear. I see that, as is the man, so is his strength; if he be a man in the flesh, his strength will be in ways, and means, and fleshly contrivances; if he be a man in Christ, his strength will be in the Lord his God.
March 14th.—Much shut up in spiritual feelings, striving to pray—but only "chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!" Isaiah 38:14. While reading the cruel treatment of our gracious Lord, when He was "made sin," I was grieved that my heart did not melt. But I thought that sensation might be withheld, that I might be taken up with Christ and His sufferings, and not with my own feelings. Then I longed for Christ to be all, and was enabled to come before God with Jesus only, just pleading Christ. In this way I found my soul strengthened; afterwards, our Friday evening meeting was sweet and powerful. So this day of storm closes in peace, and I am anew in love with my new creation, in Christ Jesus, longing to know more of it.
March 19th, Sabbath Evening.—I trust I have this evening heard to edification a sermon from Ps. 37:4, "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desires"--in which the Person of Christ was set forth. This is savory meat, such as my soul loves. Although I know, to my shame, that I have been often unfaithful to my glorious Husband, yet my heart yearns for full restoration to its whole privileges; and I think my Beloved has this evening whispered, "I will restore you." Oh! wondrous, matchless love! "He hates putting away." "To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white." Away with every idol! May Christ be all in all!
March 26th, Sabbath.—I am going to the Lord's supper, it being "our solemn feast day." Oh! that I may have the privilege to appear before the Lord, and present some bills of promise at heaven's bank, and either get present payment, or renewal of faith on my part, and acknowledgment on that of the King's. And, if they be not His own—but the inventions of Satan, may the King tear such forgeries in pieces, and burn them, that I may never see them again! Thus may I either get confirmation or confutation; and do real business with heaven, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
[Blessed and profitable trading this, reader! Do you know what it is thus to be engaged?]
April 2nd.—The times look threatening. Great commotions abroad! Rulers dethroned! The reins of government seized by the people; and mighty overturnings going on. At home, a great moving in the minds of men towards a republican form of government; and an apparent effort to bring it about. Many hearts are failing for fear; many are agitated and perplexed; and a remnant is crying to the Lord in secret, and rejoicing that He is reigning in the midst of all. For myself, though alone and unprotected, my confidence is in the Lord Almighty; and if I dare record anything of my soul estate, it is, that He is strengthening my faith in Himself; and I do indeed feel Him to be a rock—yes, the rock of my heart, and my portion forever. Oh! for more faith.
April 9th.—We have had A— here. And sweet it is to hear her speak of the secrets of love, and the mysteries of the kingdom. Political events assume a portentous aspect. The disaffected are very threatening, and the civil and military powers are making preparations for the defensive. This very week is the time expected to be eventful. My felt security and peace is in the thought that the Lord Jehovah reigns. Last Sabbath evening, I was seized with a very nervous panic during the service, thinking I heard the noise of a mob; I have since been kept in solid peace, with a sweet inward assurance of safety. This word is very powerful: "Whoever puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe." And, although I have no human protector, I feel the power of Omnipotence around me for defense. It is sweet; to the Lord be all the glory. In pleading for my own country, I blush to lift up my face to heaven, on account of our great sins. But I beg deliverance for the sake of the remnant that is left therein. May the salt be full of savor, and preserve this corrupt land from complete corruption.
April 23rd.—Through mercy, the country has been kept in peace; and, during the time of threatening, the Lord has made me happy in Himself, although I have no human defender.
May 7th.—In reading a sermon of Mr. T.—'s today, in which he quoted, "He was manifested to take away our sins," that word AWAY had particular power, and I saw how free I am from a thing that is taken away. It remains in the flesh. But I am to walk in the Spirit, reckoning the "old man" dead, being crucified with Christ; in which mystery I wish to be renewed. Sin can never attach to me, as a new creature in Christ Jesus; then, indeed, would God's creation be marred, of which Christ is the beginning (Rev. 3:14). Then I saw how free I am from sin, in union to my Beloved; "because He was made sin" for me, and then put to death (1 Pet. 3:18). Now, if my sin was put to death, what remains but eternal triumph in Him, who rose again without sin? I rose with Him, and He is my resurrection and my life; and in that resurrection-life sin never was, sin never shall be. It is almost too much for me while I write and feel it. So real, so true, so rich, so full of marrow and fatness.
May 14th, Sabbath.—"Our Father in heaven," I beseech and entreat renewing in the "mystery of Christ." In Him may I abide; thus will much fruit be brought forth, and I not filled with it—but with Him. O Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit--Israel's one Lord--renew faithless me in the simplicity which is in Christ. I am perplexed by creatures; clear teaching comes from You alone and is by "that anointing which teaches all things, and is truth, and is no lie;" for this I humbly ask, in Jesus's name. I feel unfit for the world, and unlike everybody else--weak, ignorant, and stupid. Of whatever use I am, it is only "Christ in me" not I at all. Oh, for more of Jesus--in heart, lip, and life!
May 18th.—Sighs and tears are my daily portion. "Help, Lord, for vain is the help of man." The enemy rages, my heart sinks, and my spirits are truly weighted down. Lord, renew my faith, I earnestly beseech You, and do plainly appear for me. I am ashamed of my anguish—but cannot help it. Surely it is sharp work to live so closely, incurring expenses beforehand, and not daring to stir, for fear of doing wrong. My dear Lord, You have not in Your family such a poor creature as I.
Oh! do tell me what I must do. Do not let me dishonor You, nor let my enemy triumph. I am yours alone. Oh! save me, for I sink in the mire! This has been a heavy week. But I do not forget Your mercy of the five pounds. You hear my heavy groaning. I want again to be filled with Christ; and this sore financial pressure seems to hold me down. O Lord, my Lord, You must help. I am sure I cannot exist thus. You will not look on indifferently. "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief."
May 1st, Monday Night.—Mr. D— expounded this evening 2 Sam. 23:1-5, and preached from Psalm 89:34--"I will not violate My covenant or change what My lips have said." My soul has, indeed, had a rich, large blessing under his preaching. I have fed and feasted on royal dainties. Bless, O my soul, the living Lord. He spoke of the 39th and the following verses—His covenant, His hedges, His stronghold, His glory, etc., as being not the Lord's covenant—but David's, so ours also; the covenant we cleave so fast to--that we should be something, do something, improve something. But the Lord breaks it all up, and plunges us in the ditch, so that our own clothes abhor us; and He says, "I will not violate My covenant or change what My lips have said."
Mr. D— said, it is good to remind the Lord of what He has said; not that He forgets—but He loves us to plead it with Him. "Put me in remembrance; let us plead together." He has "cast our sins behind His back," and says, "He will remember them no more;" so, if the devil likes to remember them, he may go behind, and feed upon them. We love to sit down before the Lord, and feast with Him. My soul was full to overflowing. He did speak so gloriously of our precious Jesus, and of our privileges in Him. The word came into my soul in the power of the Holy Spirit, and I can say, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace." Surely, I am too happy, and shall either have some great trouble, or I shall soon be taken home. The feeling of my soul has been today—
"To Your glory take me in,
For there I long to be."
The overflowings of heavenly joy and glory unfit one for earth, except for Christ's sake, that He may be glorified in us.
May 24th.—I rather expect to go to the Refuge tomorrow. Oh, that I might be a guide-post, pointing to Christ, and saying, "Refuge, refuge!"
May 25th, Friday.—I have been wonderfully helped at the Refuge. The Word flowed freely and very solemnly, showing the only refuge for guilty sinners; the awful consequences of sin to those out of Christ; and the dreadful "forever" of fiery wrath which awaits them dying thus. O Lord, acknowledge Your own word. I go, because You sent me. Oh, I beseech You for souls, as my hire; not in way of payment—but of free grace bestowment. I believe the feeblest worm in Your family will not go on that errand in vain. I was mourning last week, that I do not know that one soul was ever awakened from a death in sin, by a message through me. But the Lord has His chosen instruments for all His work; and afresh, this night, I cast my whole unworthy self into His service, as He deigns to use me.
May 27th, Sacrament Sabbath.—A day of jubilee. Enjoying rest and peace in Jesus. I tremble; every day thinking that some terrible trial will follow this holy baptism of love and joy.
July 23rd.—For some weeks I have been much straitened in spirit. No felt access in prayer; often much wandering. No power in reading or hearing; and many jealousies, because of the seeming stillness of my Beloved. He has kindly given me needful supply for special seasons, with others. But then afterwards no spending money: I mean, no sweet indulgences in that intimate fellowship I am accustomed to enjoy. Oh, it has been trying work.
July 30th, Sacrament Sabbath.—Still in much debility, and my flesh wasting. The Lord renew the "inner man." I have not had enjoyment in public ordinances today. Instead of feasting, faith was constrained to be embracing Christ as my victory, in felt conflict; and that exercise shall not be in vain. I long for renewal in the mystery of Christ; and feel at times that anything and everything must go, that I may be absorbed in Christ. Love in my soul says, "Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth; for His love is better than wine." Faith in my soul says, let Him do with me as He sees best, so that He may be glorified.
August 27th Sabbath.—I did not hear with any power this morning. But much refreshed at the Lord's Supper, I trust from faith in a precious Savior. I took Him for my all for this month. Something whispered, "You only do it in the hope of gain." Still my soul would not be hindered—but, pressing forward, I gave all my things to Him to manage, desiring not to touch them—but press after Himself. O all-lovely source of my delights, You overfill and over-match this poor soul of mine. And now, my Beloved, let me ask You for souls at the Refuge. I look at those who have begun to weep. Oh, may I prove them to be Yours, and others too. Let there be joy in heaven and joy on earth over repenting sinners. Precious Lord, my love, my life, my Christ--deny me not. Oh, use me in Your Church, unworthy to keep the door, or wash the feet of Your saints. But, in Your own dear bosom, perfume me with Your own fragrance; then cast me among Your loved ones, to be to them of You, a pleasant aroma.
September 17th, Sabbath.—On Friday went to the Refuge. The matron told me that of the inhabitants, one whom she had thought most under soul concern, was not so much so this week. She has wished me to speak to each of the three alone. I so fear to touch the Lord's work with a fleshly finger; and this has kept me back at present. I feel considerable anxiety, and am looking to the Lord. O Lord, I beseech You for souls in that place. At our evening meeting, I had rich experience of the love of God shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit.
September 19th.—I have for some days been attending the death-bed of a poor blind pilgrim, to whom I generally read on a Saturday; in doing which we both have had sweet refreshment. A week ago, she said, "I would not be without my Saturday mornings for all the world." She is dying, and unable to speak; while she could do so, she said she had no fear, and was sure the Lord would receive her to Himself. Such scenes are profitable.
September 20th.—The aged pilgrim departed at three o'clock this morning.
September 21st.—One Friday I went to the Refuge, and spoke separately to one girl, whose heart we hope the Lord has touched. Oh, that it may prove a work of grace indeed! I was much blessed at our evening meeting. I saw transcendent glories in the incarnation of our blessed Lord.
October 6th, Friday.—Went to the Refuge trembling. But Jesus was very precious, and many tears were shed. Oh, that impressions may not pass away like early dew. Dear Lord, quicken those souls into spiritual life. This word sweetly applied today, "Your Maker is your Husband; the Lord Almighty is His name."
October 24th—A case is pending. Friends think this house is too much for me, and that I ought to lessen my expenses. I am willing—but want the word of the Lord; feeling a belief that He holds me here, and has promised to bless in temporal things. Well, the rent is now due for half a year. I have not enough in hand. To sense, this seems against me. But my eyes are "up unto the Lord." And I beseech You, Lord, who have been my Helper, either to supply my present real need, and send sufficiency for what is now pressing, or to let Your withholding it be a sure token that I am wrong, and thus show me what is the right way. Though driven very near to the time, I believe the answer will come, and will not be too late. I have fears of presuming. But, dearest Lord, to whom can I go? Your mind I want, even more than the supply I so much need. I must trust You, and thus test You. Oh, pardon me, I pray. I wait, I hope, I believe, and still tremble. No creature knows my strait or present conflict. Creature friends would help—but that will not do. My Husband, my Banker, alone, I must draw upon; and from Him learn whether I overdraw. It is a crisis! Oh, for more faith, to get it put right clearly into the hands of my dear Lord. If the Lord pays my rent without my borrowing, it is a token for me to stay here.
["No creature knows my strait or present conflict." So writes this beloved one, and it is a most remarkable feature in her character, proving in itself the simplicity and the ardor of her faith, that those who were most intimate with her, and loved her for both her natural and spiritual worth, had not the very slightest conception of her straitened circumstances. She had many who deeply valued her friendship, and who would have felt it the richest privilege to have ministered to her necessities. But her extreme modesty as to anything that related to herself, led her most scrupulously to avoid the subject. Now that she is gone, and these facts have become known to those whose privilege it has been to read these sacred records, there has been much weeping of heart, that they had not been permitted to know somewhat of the unbosoming of her sorrows, and to aid her in regard to them. But most evident it is, that Jesus, her best Beloved, had reserved this unbosoming to, and for Himself, in order that He, personally and sovereignly, might Himself bestow the support of which she thus stood in need.]
October 25th.—An evening all alone, producing much calmness. The word today has been, "do you believe that I am able to do this?" Yes, Lord, indeed I do. Carnal reason and unbelief assail me sorely at times, as to whether You will, and whether I am not presumptuous in expecting it. But this word comes ever and anon, "Fear not, O land; the Lord will do great things." Something very much amiss in this poor tabernacle this last week or more. Prepare me for life or death; and do, dear Lord, be honored in both. "Hallelujah to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!" And so shall we sing, without tiring, forever and ever! Amen.
October 29th, Sacrament-day.—I have feasted at the King's table with delight. Heavily pressed in the night, and before service this morning; because the very crisis concerning my rent is come, and no supply to meet it. My eyes and my cries are up unto the Lord. Satan, the flesh, and unbelief thrust severely. Faith pleads hard, and the Lord will arise, I believe, though I can see nothing; and I tremble while I write it. At the Lord's supper I had the substance of the feast, my very Christ; who is more precious than words can tell. His obedience delights me; His blood over-matches my sinful heart; His love overwhelms my soul. But He Himself is the glory of it all: and I feel that His Person is mine. Oh, bliss inexpressible! Of Christ, Jehovah, Immanuel, I can sing with a good conscience and warm heart, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His"—unworthy I. But so it is, Heaven's own signet has made it sure upon my heart, and that pledge of eternal love I shall wear forever. Precious, over-matching, all-lovely Jesus! You have made me full with the blessing of the Lord; and I would bless, and adore, and praise the great Three-One in You.
Happy Sabbath-day! sweet foretaste of everlasting bliss. At the table of my glorious Well-Beloved, I did pledge myself to Him afresh, in the bread and in the cup, to be His, in weal or woe, in His giving or withholding, in sickness or health, in life or death. I did give my whole self to Him in love, for what He wills, only claiming that He will guide me aright about this house, rent, expenses, and everything. But, precious Lord, give me a true token. My soul is so happy in the Lord, I think some great trial must be coming. He may test my pledge as I little expect. But, blessed Jesus, I must be all Your own.
"Oh, happy day, that fixed my choice
On You, my Savior and my God!"
Great mercies during the past month; Jesus more solidly sought after. In a great strait now—but I believe I shall have to record a deliverance; and yet it seems almost like presumption to say so.* Lord, I look to You to do great things. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" for the favors of this day—but most for my precious Jesus Himself, who will be the same, and the same to me, when my feelings are at low-water mark. Again, Hallelujah, and praise from the heart, to my covenant God. Your kingdom come, O You Most High. "Take to Yourself Your great power, and reign" manifestly, and among Your people gloriously. We long for Your kingdom, where all is holiness and love. This is an uncongenial climate. Dear Lord, "Your kingdom come." Come, Jesus, blessed Lord Jesus, quickly come! Your bride, in love, says, "Come!"
* Indorsed with these words: "Sacrament-day, November.—It is now proved faith, not presumption."
October 31st, Tuesday.—No supply yet. A sharp struggle between flesh and faith. To sense, it is vain and presumptuous to trust now. But faith struggles through all, and, taking hold of the promise, says, "You said, I will do you good." Lord, I renew my trust; oh! increase my faith.
November 2nd, Thursday.—While at my lonely breakfast, I read about David and Goliath; and how did it fire my soul to hear the stripling defy the giant, who had defied Israel and reviled Israel's God. I saw quite plainly, that I was taking side with the enemies of my God, when giving way to distrust. My faith arose, my soul triumphed, and I did in spirit praise God for the deliverance He would bring, though yet unseen. I did believe I would yet pay my rent with joy. Oh, yes! the Lord will appear! has He said, and will He not do it? He will, He will. And, moreover, after reading the chapter, it seemed to me, that as David went forth with such unlikely things as five smooth stones, so I, in faith, went forth to pay my rent, not really in the act—but solidly in confidence, while, as yet, I had not the means to do it.*
* Indorsed, "November 16th.—I have now paid my rent, with joy indeed. Ebenezer!"
November 4th.—Yesterday, while looking at the Word, in much heaviness, it met my eye that one of the kings of Judah "proclaimed a fast." The words, "proclaimed a fast," struck me at once as if for me; and I wish to taste nothing until tea-time tomorrow, in token of humiliation before the Lord in my present circumstances, and for close waiting upon Him for manifest guidance, which I so much feel to need. As I so stand in the court of the King's house, may I find favor in His eyes, and be granted an audience, with an answer also to my urgent request. My case is pressing but not hopeless.
Evening, 10 o'clock.—Some entrance with my petition tonight. My heart just melted and encouraged, in remembering how many of the Lord's servants are spoken of in His Word, as fasting and praying when in great trouble and perplexity; and I do not call to mind one who had not an answer. Oh! it will be a wonderful deliverance, indeed, if the Lord condescends to arise for my help now, makes a plain path for my feet. No creature knows my exercise; I desire to wait on the Lord alone. Thanks and praise for some liberty already, in spreading out my case.
November 5th, Sabbath morning.—When going to bed last night, I remembered that David did fast and pray about his child, and did not obtain his request. But, however, there are so many on record who did succeed, that I must wait on, in hope of an answer of peace. My requests are, that the Lord will pay my rent and expenses; that He will please thus to grant me a sure token of the way He would have me take; that He will grant me anointings of the Spirit, renewing me for His service, especially in the Refuge.
Afternoon, 4 o'clock.—I believe the Lord will answer. It is believing, not seeing; though faith in the Lord is no delusion. I cannot let You go without the blessing, though You should seem to hold back or deny. I desire a clear token of the Lord's mind, whether I stay in this house, giving myself up to do so, if His will; or to go into ever such a little one, if He will open the way; to rent lodgings if it pleases Him, or to live alone, if He wills it, and will provide; anything, so that the will of the Lord be done, and I kept from distraction about money. Great things I do not want—but desire greatly to live within my means.
Much pleading, also, for my friends. At times, heaviness of heart, with weeping, and my sorrows turned upon me. But, for the most part, both last night and this morning, great encouragement in pleading for Christ's sake, and a real believing in so doing that the answer will come, though to sense very unlikely. Upon the whole, a most profitable exercise, and very close dealing with God. My flesh always does dread and dislike fasting—but I find it so good, I wonder I do not practice it more; and, really, today I have been kept, in a great measure, from my usual bodily sinkings, although on my knees five hours or more, having since twelve last night, never moistened my lips until half-past four.
Oh! for more self-denial. I hate my self-love. I find how the Lord can keep the soul in vigor without food, through the power of Christ, and remember how He fasted forty days and forty nights for me, and was in sore temptations, too. But how stinted am I in all spiritual service. How far short of Him do I come! and how I must turn away from exercise, and look afresh to Jesus, my only perfection! I was kept so alive in prayer last night, that I afterwards felt condemned, that I did not sit up all night, or, at least, until the weariness came. But flesh is always ready to say, "it is enough." Last Sabbath was a high day in feasting! this a blessed day in fasting—both in nearness to my covenant God. I wait His answer, in answer to my requests. "Praise the Lord, O my soul!"
[It is next to impossible to read the foregoing without deep, deep humiliation and self-abasement! To think of one with so weak a frame, and yet upon her "knees for five hours or more." This is in very deed faith triumphing over flesh! What cannot a precious Christ effect in, as well as for, His people?]
November 6th, Monday.—Very weak and feeble today; also thrust at by the enemy. O Lord, establish my goings in Your paths; and my heart in Your faith and fear. Make me aware of the enemy, and not so easily moved. Give me patience to wait all Your time, and to be satisfied with all Your will. You hear every sigh, and see every fear; "All my desire is before You, and my groaning is not hidden from You." Often I believe firmly, that deliverance will come; then, again, it looks like fancy and delusion. But, in all, to You do I cry, "O You that dwell in the heavens!"
November 7th, Tuesday.—A very dark cloud. My dear sister has been to London; she has just returned, and brings me very bad tidings about the house, and no money. O my Lord, what will be the end of these wonders? My heart is truly overwhelmed—but longs to trust, and not dishonor, my dear Lord, who is, I am sure, doing all things well--though roughly. "Lord, help me!" Oh, that I did but know what way to take. Surely I have been deceived, and what I thought to be faith was but fancy; and what I thought a word from the Lord was only the imagining of my flesh. Dear Lord, discern for me, for I am distressed and confused.
Night.—Have been to the house of God this evening. A most suitable hymn was sung; also, this word mentioned, which was sweet to my soul: Isaiah 50:10, "Who among you fears the Lord, listening to the voice of His servant? Who among you walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord; let him lean on his God." My heart kept crying unto the Lord, and I felt that I would and must plead on, even if the Lord would not speak to me, and only seemed to deny me. Once, just before service, I thought things never looked so discouraging. But still I found that praying breath was not extinct, for my heart would talk to the Lord. Since then I have received intimation of a handsome present of coals. This will not pay my rent—but it is a welcome hint that the Lord does remember me. Ebenezer! in a dark place.
November 8th, Wednesday.—My soul much revived while busy this morning. I was looking at my case, and crying to the Lord, when the thought came that I must not be cast down, because all likely means dry up, and my set time is past. This is just like the Israelites, when they had no water. They were weary and thirsty, and there seemed to be no way of supply. But the Lord could smite a rock, and made the welcome streams flow out plentifully. I thought, there seems no way for my supply. But the Lord can smite a rock for me. It is not for me to find ways and means for His wonders—but to trust Him wholly, though seeing nothing but discouragement; and I really felt I could do so, and was refreshed. Something says, "All this is fleshly fancy, not faith." The event will decide.
November 9th, Thursday.—A day of bitterness and of conflict. The Lord grant me some real benefit from this fiery trial. I have opened two or three times at Dan. 10:12, "Don't be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer."
November 10th, Friday.—I have been to the Refuge, and not in vain, I trust. I was led to speak very solemnly to those who had once felt convictions, and seemed in real earnest about their souls. No. 7 was overwhelmed, and her eyes were as a flood of tears. Poor girl! my heart yearns over her. I remember, some time ago, how she seemed to cry for mercy, while I was in prayer. The Lord renew power, and seal her heart for His own.
November 11th, Saturday Night.—May the Lord be pleased to pardon me, in that I desire to wait before Him in prayer with fasting, in my poor little way, until tea-time tomorrow; and this because my case is urgent, and the answer yet delayed. Dear Lord, I beseech You, take not Your Holy Spirit from me—but enable me further to plead with You. Oh, why the delay? Why tarry, O my God! Do arise, that my enemies may be scattered. Do make me know Your mind concerning me; reveal Your will, and take mine away. I fear to offend You by being importunate, and repeating this exercise. Oh! do not be angry. I am much distracted by uncertainty, as to whether I am in the right way in outward things. O Lord, decide in my heart, and give the token in my conscience, I beseech You. "Lord, help me!"
November 12th, Sabbath Morning.—This is a peculiar time of trial. I have had some fears, lest I should offend the Lord by fasting before Him again, as it seems too importunate. But oh! what can I do? My case is pressing, and the vision tarries. Appearances grow darker; "My eyes fail with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me," and pardon this renewal of humiliation and pleading before You. I tremble lest I should fall into weariness of the flesh, and so lose my aim.
Afternoon, 4 o'clock.—"Bless the Lord, O my soul!" I wonder at the Lord's great mercies to unworthy me, in that my body has been kept vigorous nearly all the day, though without rest, until one this morning, and not feeling nearly so well as last week. I trust the wrestler will be the prevailer, through Divine power.
Evening.—I must again testify that the exercise of fasting, with supplication, is most truly profitable to the soul; and I wonder it is so cast out of the Church in the present day. It is good to spend the time set apart for fasting in close dealing with God, in prayer, confession, praise, reading the Scriptures, and, as much as possible, on the knees. If there is an interval of public worship, I find it helpful. From bodily weakness I trembled this day—but it ends with a Hallelujah! The spirit has gained more than the body has suffered. My petitions have been the same as last Sabbath. The King permitted me to press my suit both last night and this morning (for I like to begin the exercise the night before), and He did not seem offended. It was suggested this morning that I was like Saul, whom the Lord would answer no more. This was bitter. But I felt, in a little while, that I was not so, for I have the love of God revealed in my soul. And I firmly believe that the Lord is lovingly withholding, to try faith—but not to deny. I think, upon the whole, I have not felt so much confidence in expecting an answer from the Lord. But I desire to have the eye quite single, and to trust, praising Him, and seeking to lay on the top of all my petitions, "Your will be done." This exercise has closed with seeking, that after these sowing days, I might have reaping ones, and a glorious "harvest home," with thank-offerings to the Lord. I have sown in tears. May this memorandum be stirring, if ever I got too slothful and fleshly for fasting. It is not in vain. May Ezra 8:23, be my experience, "So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer."
November 14th, Tuesday Morning.—Wonderful! The giving is more wonderful than the withholding. My greatest joy is, that it was faith, and not fancy, that was working in my heart. I have been walking in converse with God, and not in my own imaginings. The sweet words and breathing of encouragement which I heard in my soul, were from Himself! This is even more to me than the deliverance, though that is almost the greatest I ever had. I have just received the half of a ten-pound note from Mr. F—, for rent of the London house. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" I can hardly believe it.
November 16th.—Yesterday I felt very ill. I think the sore conflict, and then the great joy, were too much for this feeble body. This morning I received the other half of the note. I have, indeed, paid my rent with joy, in accordance with the faith given me on the second of this month. I have, also, thank-offerings to lay upon the Lord's altar, which I do with gladness. Truly, the Lord's dealings are marvelous in my eyes; and, although the exercise has been deep and dark, I believe it was very profitable.
November 17th.—Having obtained my temporal token and mercy; the question now is—How can I return according to the benefits done unto me?—how can I spend and be spent for the Lord? And the plea is for the fresh spiritual anointing which I have sought.
November 18th, Saturday Night.—Here ends this blessed, wonderful week, to the Lord's praise, who has performed all things for me. I have very peculiar feelings, as though I were in the middle, and not at the end, of this dispensation. And this word keeps coming, "What is your petition? it shall be granted you; and what is your request? it shall be performed." Dear Lord, I fear to presume upon Your mercy in asking for the flesh. You know there is a stone for my dear mother's grave, and the five pounds I borrowed in my straits last year. You have enabled me to pay the interest with joy; and the sum itself You can easily give. These things I submit to You; if of faith, answer; if of the flesh, pardon. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" "You shall see greater things than these." Is this faith, or fancy, which works within my bosom? Lord, You know.
November 19th, Sunday Morning.—"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Your word."
Afternoon.—Psalm 103:2, "My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits." I thank and praise You, O my God, that I can now go about this dear house, and sit down in it without feeling that I am intruding, which I have constantly feared, for it seemed too good for me. Two long years have I watched and waited, with prayers and tears, to have my way made plain. I dared not stir without a token from the Lord: yet I stood still with the greatest trembling, lest I should be wrong; and had the most cruel taunts from the enemy, because I did not make some effort to improve my case, he showing me that everybody could do better than I. But rather would I die from the bitter anguish these suggestions cause me, than move an inch contrary to the Lord's will, or take a step in the flesh. Now, I find it is good to be thus obstinate in waiting only on the Lord. Now I have got my token, and can hardly believe, for joy. "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads me with benefits." And yet, ever and anon, it rings in my heart, "You shall see greater things than these."
Dear Lord, support me, for I tremble under the weight of these words, and Your great mercy. I know You can easily double the benefits, and perfect the miracle, though it seemed already most complete in my eyes, until this new feeling came. The other ten pounds are not so much to You as ten farthings are to me. And I remember that I did, in my pleading, mention before You, O my God, that twenty pounds would clear all, cover my dear mother's grave, and leave me some for present daily expenses. And I remember, after I got this ten pounds, You did gently say in my soul, "Did you not mention twenty?" and I said, "Yes, Lord;" and then, again and again, it sounded softly within, "Did not you say twenty?" and I just answered, "Yes, Lord." And now, while I am writing, a belief will come that You will make it twenty, that I may be out of debt, though I cannot see the way. Pardon me, blessed Jesus! You are so very kind, I tremble to presume; and my tears flow, yet I cannot help it. It seems so great a favor for such an insignificant worm as I to expect. But I expect it upon the ground of Your largeness, love, and liberality, which can easily come over my insignificance. What can all this mean? Is the Lord again drawing me out in faith? Is it the shadow of another ten pounds from Him, to stop all mouths that have questioned whether I was right? Pardon, pardon, gracious Lord. Establish Your own word, and take mine out of my mouth, and heart too. My flesh fears to go into such another conflict directly; it seems as if this frail body must sink under it. But You can sustain, and You will, if You call me to it. Hallelujah! oh, praise the Lord my God. Yes; and I praise You for the other ten pounds; for I believe it will come, and I cannot help it, though trembling all the while.
November 20th, Monday.—In very deed, I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies of the Lord our God. And yet has He done me this great favor, to show me He is with me in the way that I go, and that I am where and as He pleases. I wish to praise Him all this day; I cannot praise Him half enough.
November 21st, Tuesday.—Arose this morning under much heaviness of spirit, or rather dullness; and was greatly afraid, lest Divine breathings should be withheld. But I cried unto the Lord for new quickenings; for, in very truth, no outward relief will satisfy the soul. I want close walking with my God in Christ.
Night.—I have been favored, I trust, with much of the Spirit today. As it is now just a week since my mercy, I have sought that I may keep another seven days with gladness.
November 26th, Sacrament-day—Noon.—My heart seems to be urgently taking hold of my dear Lord Jesus, saying, "I cannot let You go;" and, like the disciples at Emmaus, would constrain Him to abide with me. Having Your leave and approval, O Beloved, to stay in this house of my dear parents, and of my childhood, I now beseech You to dwell with me in increased power. I tremble much, lest being a little more at ease, I should slip, and not walk closely with You. I ask importunately for more grace, and to know how to glorify You; and that You will outwardly "perfect that which concerns me," and fulfill "the word upon which You have caused me to hope." Oh, what cause have I for thankfulness! "What can I render to the Lord for all His benefits?"
Evening.—I have partaken of the Lord's supper, not with so much delight as last time. But earnestly desiring to discern the Lord's body, with thanksgiving for the past. This has been a month long to be remembered. The trials so great; the petitions so pressing; the answers so striking. Yes, it has included an answer to the anxious cries of two long years of suspense. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" I am so surprised, because this house looks too large for me. I have been looking for pulling down and breaking up. Lord, sanctify this mercy, I beseech You; and prepare me for the greater things of which You have spoken. I look at every room, and everything in this house, with wonder. Do teach me how to use them all for You. I heartily desire more grace for the Refuge, and souls to be born there. I have, dear Lord, these two years sought You about this house. You have given many sweet hints and encouragements. But never a positive token, until this crisis about my rent, when it was put into my heart to ask that You would pay my rent without borrowing; and, if You did not, it should be an assurance to me that I must make some change. But You have bountifully overpaid the demand. So now, the case is decided in the highest court, and there must be no more appeal about it—but a going on in faith.
December 2nd.—I was graciously helped yesterday at the Refuge. Three of the girls wept much, and another, who has been less hopeful, has shed some tears. I do really believe I shall meet some of them in glory. O my Lord, come in great power, and work very manifestly. Enlarge unworthy me in Your precious Gospel. I do not yet half speak its freeness and fullness. Do You Yourself give the certain, effectual sound, and make it reach their hearts.
December 6th.—Neh. 4:9, "So we prayed to our God and stationed a guard because of them day and night." This I desire to do at this time. O glorious Holy One of Israel! You must conquer; You must reign alone in me. What is of You, You must confirm and accomplish; what is not, You must break to pieces. Love holds You fast by Your own sweet power working within.
December 15th, Friday.—My heart and my mouth blessedly open at the Refuge. The Lord bless and save. My soul is happy in Jesus this night, and so filled with praise, that no words seem full enough. Much flowing of love toward my Beloved—
"If such the sweetness of the stream,
What must the fountain be!"
December 24th, Sabbath.—A week full of mercies, and much up-bearing under outward pressure and great bodily weakness; with abounding joy also in the Lord, which has made me feel that I may soon sleep with my dearest mother in the dust. Oh that my lamp may burn clearly and brightly at the last, to the glory of Him who lighted it! Greatly blessed at the Refuge on Friday. The matron has complained of some who are careless in their work, and of others who are deceitful; so I have been led to search for, and read to them passages of Scripture under different heads, as idleness, lying lips, deceitful tongue, dishonesty, and many others; together with passages showing God's strict justice, and how He is closely observing all the actions of men, as in Job 34, "He repays a man for what he has done; he brings upon him what his conduct deserves. It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice. His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step. There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide."
I desired, by the Word, to find out each of their prevailing faults, and to show their hatefulness in God's sight; with also the evil effects which must accrue to them as they pass through life: and then to encourage them by Scripture in seeking to strive against them. Afterwards, in case all were not found out, and perhaps some of them might be saying, I am not guilty of any of these, and feeling proud of their outward propriety, I turned them to Mark 10:18-21, showing they had one thing lacking, namely, to forsake all this, as nothing before God but filthy rags, and as vile sinners to follow Jesus only. I then told them I would take my stand with the worst and vilest; and both with them and for them at the mercy-seat. I do trust it was of the Lord, and that His word will not return void. Several wept; No. 13 sobbed aloud. The Lord break the heart!
December 25th, Christmas Day.—"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." Hosannah to the Prince of Peace! Welcome into our flesh, O glorious Prince of Life!
December 31st.—Oh, what a year has the past been! What a cup full of mercies I have had; and the bitter part how beneficial! My soul, praise the Lord! I desire fresh devotedness, in the Lord's own strength, to His service, if spared.
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