January 1st.—"I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward." "Walk before me, and be perfect." "Unto Hannah He gave a worthy portion;" and He said unto her, "Am not I better to you than ten sons?" And so my glorious Beloved is Himself the worthiest part of my portion. Lam. 3:24: Yes, I will triumph in Him, too, as the summer of my year, the sun of my day, the glory of my life. These are the thoughts of this New Year's morning: "When your eye is single, your whole body also is full of light."
Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 6th, Sabbath.—"Looking unto Jesus" has been the prevailing position of my soul during the last week, and I long for continual renewings therein by the Holy Spirit. Surely, when looking by faith away from all, to Jesus only—He does become, in soul experience, "all in all." I cannot describe in words how earthly cares and interest have melted away before this glorious Sun of Righteousness, who is "all my salvation and all my desire."
This word has just struck me, "In the way of Your judgments have we waited for You, O God." I seem to see that when we are brought to walk in the way of the Lord's judgments, we are sometimes looking more for the deliverance we hope the Lord will work, than for Himself. I fear it has been so with me in my present straitness. Just as the lame man looked at Peter and John, expecting an alms, so I have looked at my dear Lord for the wonders of His hand in making a plain path for my feet. But He has royally outdone me, in giving me Himself in new revealings—with which my heart is satisfied, and my mouth stopped, and I leave all outside things to His will. Oh, to look on, to look ever. I look nowhere else, though Satan and the flesh fight against it mightily.
January 13th, Sabbath.—Peculiarly held down in spirit, the last week. Just now, while wondering how it was, Psalm 62:4, came to my mind with power, "They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me. They are friendly to my face, but they curse me in their hearts." I think it may be that Satan, who delights in lies, is stirring up carnal reasonings, to cast me down from my high privileges in Christ; and, though the words spoken seem fair to the flesh, they are, indeed—but a curse within. Yesterday and today these words have been often sounding in my ears, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."
January 21st.—This morning I opened upon Numb. 22:7, 8; and then it followed me, "Lay up the rods before the Lord;" and I said, "I lay up myself and my circumstances before the Lord;" and I besought that, though so dry, they might be made fruitful.
January 28th.—My exercise this evening is renouncing self entirely—good self, bad self, self pleased, self displeased, self in its complainings, beseechings, enticings, desirings, self entirely. Oh that it may be once and forever! I embrace my all-lovely, soul-satisfying Christ--instead of myself! Blissful exchange! Christ's perfect purity and beauty--for my ugliness and vileness!
January 29th.—I have thought I have surely been as happy this evening as I could be in mortality; such blissful rest in my glorious Well-Beloved, and nearness to a Triune Jehovah in Him. Praise Him, you multitudes above! Praise Him, you saints below! You heavens, praise Him! Earth, praise Him! All animate creation, praise Him! and the inanimate works of His hands, re-echo the sound of His well-deserved praise; while worthless I, in happy nothingness and sweet absorption, listen with glad delight, and lisp the lovely name of Him whom my soul adores, my God, my glory! Bless, O my happy soul, the God of love; and in the love of God forever dwell. Yes, dwell in God, for "God is love;" and they who dwell in love divine, dwell in Him. O my glorious Lord, I wonder at my mercy, and at Your great condescension; and tremble extremely, lest I should lose, by any means, the precious treasure of Your manifested self. Oh, stay with me. In You I find treasures of holiness, happiness, and love—past all description. O Holy Spirit, enable me ever to renounce self, forsake creatures, and embrace Jesus.
February 3rd.—I have this week been somewhat tossed in mind to find Christians of many years' standing very jealous of anyone having too much enjoyment. This very thing has grieved me ever since I was brought out of bondage. Its seems marvelous; for if I am saved, and positively know it, how can I but be joyful, and sing aloud of His righteousness who was "made sin for me?" My sorrow is, that I do not rejoice more. Lord, what is for Your glory, increase; what is of the flesh, take away. Creature opinions confuse me—but my soul understands Your teachings. I do marvel to hear so little of You, and Your finished salvation, from believers of forty years' standing. "Lord, increase our faith," and simplicity.
February 7th.—"And they sang as it were a new song before the throne;" and my soul longs to join them, being this morning filled with His praise, who alone is worthy, and whose mercies are ever new.
"If but the Spirit touch my soul,
And grace her mean abode,
Oh, with what peace, and joy, and love,
She communes with her God."
February 10th.—May not my shallow entrance into the blessed mystery of the Holy Trinity be owing to my expecting to receive it with my natural powers of intellect? And just now it seemed to be whispered, "Be still, and know that I am God;" be still in yourself, to know me in Christ, the only way of beholding and receiving unfoldings of ineffable Deity. In Christ alone, the Holy Ones, the Three who bear record in heaven, are revealed. You, O Beloved, are my nearness; quiet my creature-powers, that I may receive in You, and be filled with all the fullness of God.
February 18th.—This evening Mr. S— preached much about a precious Jesus as a tried stone, and after saying who tried Him in various ways, he said, "God the Father tried Him." "Then," thought I, "if He tried the Living Stone, which is the foundation, He will also try the living stones, which are laid upon it; so I need not wonder at the unlooked-for ways in which He tries me;" and my mind is much relieved. It is better to be tried now than rejected and destroyed hereafter. The will of the Lord be done. Surely I have often said Psalm 139:23, 24. And surely the Lord does sometimes to His lively stones as 2 Chron. 32:31; Deut. 8:2, 3; Psalm 105:19; 1 Peter 4:12, 13.
February 24th, Sacrament-day.—A blessed month has passed away. I must write upon it, Ebenezer! for surely "the Lord has triumphed gloriously." In Him "have I righteousness and strength," and His service is "perfect freedom." May I go into it heartily and cheerfully, in His name. Unexpected trials have arisen. But they have been the Lord's opportunity, and hitherto He has graciously helped. Oh, my precious Christ! You are my life—I was Your death; may I weep, love, and praise You evermore.
March 17th.—Surely Jehovah-Jesus is my gold, and He will be unto me instead of silver. By His help I will look away from all which has entangled and bewildered me, unto Himself alone, to which trust I feel renewings by the power of the Holy Spirit in my soul this night. Oh, my precious, all-loving Savior! there is in You such an infinitude of blessedness as will fill and delight my perfected capabilities through all eternity! Oh! why do I ever wander, ever look away from You? You will overrule and manage my lowly affairs; and I may safely be absorbed in You. Oh, grant it even now, among threatening straits. O lovely, glorious Immanuel! my soul burns with new ardor in intense longings after You; all else sinks into nothingness. You, and none but You Yourself, does my soul desire.
March 24th.—Our dear brother in Christ, Mr. Harvey, is just waiting at the portals of celestial bliss; perhaps, before another morning dawns upon the earth, he will have made his glad escape from the fetters of clay. I have had much sweetness of spirit in bearing him before the Lord. It seems he is entering glory very triumphantly, and in the very article of death testifying that it is but a shadow. Bless the Lord for leaving testimony with dying breath. This is proof positive that Jesus has "abolished death," and left it stingless and harmless for the redeemed; He having gone before, and made way for them to pass safely over. My soul, praise the Lord. Dear brother, I could envy you; the conflict seems over, and already your victory begun; the cloud of mortality will not long intervene between you and Your Lord—but soon You will behold Him face to face. Oh, that You could come and tell me of the glory, and chant me one note or two in pure celestial harmony, to cheering my longing soul, which has been spoiled for earth by little foretastes of the eternal weight of glory. Dear brother, I have not known you much—but deeply feel your removal; your life was useful, and much desired, and your death is blessed indeed. I trust I have had some reproof, instruction, and encouragement this week about my outward path. Reproof, Isaiah 48:18; instruction, James 1:5; and encouragement to go forward in faith.
March 26th.—Mr. Harvey was received into the presence of God this morning, at nine o'clock. I have not yet heard full particulars—but it seems his departure was most triumphant, and that rays of glory were visible on his dying countenance. I think dear friends must look at poor me, and wonder why I should be spared, while such a saint, and one so useful, is taken away, of whom it may be said, "For my name's sake he has labored, and has not fainted." Truly I blush, and am ashamed to lift up my head.
March 31st, Sacrament-day .—I have this afternoon attended the feast—but I "sought Him, and found Him not," and returned home sad and sorrowful. But surely, "though He slays me, yet will I trust Him." I seem to see nothing but gloom in outward things—but feel sweetness in confiding. The trial of faith grows very sharp, and I greatly fear dishonoring my Lord. Oh! strengthen Your poorest child, or grant some relief. Help, Lord, lest the enemy triumph. I feel a vile, unworthy, unholy being. I loathe myself beyond expression. But the blood and righteousness of Jehovah-Jesus is my confidence, and here I have a place of refuge. "What a wretched man I am!" Romans 7:24. "Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6.
I give myself to You, for the unknown events of the coming month; Your will be done. This frail tabernacle suffers much—but I would wait only on You. Oh! increase faith. My poor heart trembles, and seems at the sinking-point. Oh, let me not listen to carnal reason, and dishonor You. "Save, Lord, for the waters have come into my soul." I do not fear sinking into hell, Your love prevents that. But I fear sinking into a life of sight and sense, and thus judging Your providential dealings after the flesh. Lord, prevent it, and be better to me than all my fears. My Savior, I call upon You amidst the water-floods; I hear You not—but You are precious in presence, and in absence too.
"Why, then, my soul, these sad complaints,
Since Christ and you are one?
Your God is faithful to His saints,
Is faithful to His Son.
Beneath His smiles my heart has lived,
And part of heaven possessed:
Then praise His name for grace received,
And trust Him for the rest."
April 16th.—Wonderful! Again privileged to behold the Lord's wonders, as a Hearer and Answerer of prayer. Two or three months ago, an aged female, who has been very respectable—but is now in very reduced circumstances, applied to me to intercede for an almshouse. I feared to do this—but I could plead in the Highest Court, and I did; for, though this person was quite a stranger to me, I felt much interested in her cause; and I have seen her several times since. She had applied before, and has been waiting two years. Well, the Lord has worked, and given me the privilege to look on. A vacancy occurring, she obtained an interview with Mr. S— which she never could get before. The Lord touched his heart. He thought she was the right person, and today I had the pleasure of going, with a friend, to present it to the poor woman, who was overjoyed. "It is the Lord's doing, and marvelous in our eyes." Oh, for many such blessed errands; it is the delight of my life. What encouragement to go to the Lord about everything, and still wait—though He tarries long. Ebenezer!
April 21st, Sabbath.—Heard Mr. C—. He advanced some weighty and solemn things, which I was glad to hear, and to be searched by. I trust I was edified with what he said about the Person of Christ, and also about the Lord's choice of His people, on which my mind has been much exercised lately. But on one point I differed with him. He seemed to speak against full assurance. Now, I find it in the Scriptures, and the Lord has put it into my soul. He also maintains it there by the renewings or witnessings of the Holy Spirit.
Night.—I have not been out this evening. My Beloved has surprised me with a visit, and "or ever was I aware, my soul became like the chariots of Amminadib." How has the precious Gospel flowed, like oil and wine, into my soul!
April 28th, Sacrament-day.—I humbly trust the Lord is deepening His work in my poor soul, and renewing me in faith. But it is wonderful how He works by contraries; and I seem just now to see, that where a thing is evidently set for me with a cross in it, I may safely take it up, expecting a blessing. I am not a Romanist, I do not mean a literal mark of the cross. But I mean something which crosses, and is contrary to—my fleshly will, choice, ease, or gratification. Dear Lord, help me! It is a hard lesson to flesh and sense. But light and glory now beam upon it. How I must have loved self and its ease—for it to be yet so hard to welcome its crucifixion!
May 3rd.—"But He answered her not a word." These words very sweet and encouraging this morning; for, on one pressing point, my gracious Lord answers me not. But I am sweetly enabled to wait still upon Him, and feel an assurance in His love, that to me also He will vouchsafe an answer, in the right time, as well as to the poor woman mentioned above. My soul glows with desire to praise and trust my faithful God, though my way be dark.
May 12th.—The trial of faith sharp recently. I often groan before the Lord, and feel overweighted. But there are two staffs in His word, on which at times I am brought to lean, and then get rested. They are these: "Father, glorify Your name." "Your will be done." I long for a more single eye, and more triumph in Christ—amidst many perplexities.
May 23rd.—Psalm 45:11. What words are these! and how sweetly did they smile upon me, above all the rest in the Psalm, "So shall the King greatly desire your beauty." How? In forgetfulness of all but Himself; for when we are experimentally, with single eye, beholding Him, then is His glory visibly reflected in us; we are beautiful in His beauty. But it is like an eclipse, when we get taken up with self and creatures. Oh, for this happy forgetfulness! My glorious Well-Beloved, my soul desires Your beauty, with intense longing. You have ravished my heart! No creature can fill the place You have occupied. Oh, come and bless me again with Your overwhelming love and loveliness! The Spirit in me says, "Come;" Your poor gleaner says, "Come;" yes, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."
You still closely hedge me up in outward circumstances; and this, with other pressures, has entangled and turned my heart from You. But I come, I return by Your own sweet drawings in my soul. I desire You; I invite You. I would forget all I inherit in the first Adam; I would resign myself and my circumstances to Your will; and by faith embrace Yourself, and, in Your glorious Person, find everlasting bliss!
"Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne." Revelation 5:6. Alas! those wondrous wounds. Have they left immortal scars? Will You, through all eternity, wear those marks of Your matchless love? And will You, in those blissful realms, dissolve our souls in holy rapture and adoring love, by saying, "Look at My hands and My feet—it is I Myself!" Surely, if anything could add beauty to that glorious form, it would be, in the eyes of love, those deep engravings, "I have engraved you upon the palms of my hands." And surely You, O Beloved, are engraved on the table of this longing heart. Set, oh, "set me as a seal upon Your heart, as a seal upon Your arm," too. Oh, grant another glimpse of Your surpassing charms! Let me—
"Behold the God who died for man;
And praise You more than angels can."
You did not take their nature into union with Yourself—but mine, for evermore: amazing mystery! Oh, give me deeper entrance into, sweeter experience of, my oneness with You, O lovely Immanuel! Give me to abide in my perfection and completeness in You; so will You greatly desire Your own beauty in me! I would sink into Your arms, and recline on the bosom of Your love. "He is your Lord," O my soul; "worship you Him."
May 26th, Sacrament-day.—I am again almost overcome with love, my Beloved is so precious. And this is quite old-fashioned; for when the spouse, in the banqueting-house, embraced by her Beloved, cried, "Oh, feed me with Your love--Your 'raisins' and Your
'apples'--for I am utterly lovesick!" Canticles 2:5. She was lovesick; that is, overwhelmed with the amazing love and loveliness of Immanuel! And such is somewhat my happy case. Oh, I long to be away in the land of spices, to see Him as He is—
"Nothing but the Fountain Head above
Can satisfy the thirst of love."
I can find few kindred spirits; all seem afraid of being too warm.
June 14th.—"How unsearchable are Your judgments, O Lord; and Your ways past finding out." I have been advised to sink most of my ready money for a life annuity. This might make me a comfortable income—but I cannot do it with a good conscience. It seems taking my affairs out of the hands of the Lord, and preferring human security to Divine. And, looking at it in a more natural light, it seems selfish; for then all would die with me. Thus feeling, I have concluded to take money from the stock, when I cannot get on, and trust the Lord for the future.
June 23rd.—My health indifferent again, on which account it was suggested, yesterday, that I should go to Matlock for for two weeks, at the expense of some friends, who paid all for me at Ockbrook. I feel utterly unworthy of these great favors—but I commit it to the Lord, and wait now for a heavenly gale in my soul, which has somewhat been becalmed. And, oh, what a solid Rock have I felt Him to be in my soul!
June 28th.—"In the light of the King's countenance is life; and His favor is as a cloud of the latter rain." So my soul finds it this evening. Our little Friday evening meeting has been very refreshing. My mind was in much confusion—but the Lord has allayed it. This word is very sweet, "There the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams."
June 30th, Sacrament-day.—Not favored with sensible enjoyment—but for past mercies I would give thanks; and my heart longs to go forth afresh in His name, who loved me, and gave Himself for vile, unworthy me, all holy, and all lovely as He was.
"Oh! for this love, let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break;
And all redeemed human tongues
The Savior's praises speak."
Oh, all-glorious Well-Beloved! reveal Yourself afresh, and eclipse all other objects! If I am to behold the works of Your hands in creation as I never saw them before, let me feel the love of Your heart as I never before did. Let me not turn away from high or low, where I may speak of You for the good of souls; and, oh, grant that unfolding of Your glorious Person for which this spirit pants.
July 1st.—Surely the language of my soul this Monday morning is, with felt humble solemnity, "Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand, like a servant girl's eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the Lord our God until He shows us favor." Psalm 123:2. Watching Your eye to guide me, and Your hand to provide for my need.
July 6th.—It is late, and I am weary. But I cannot let this day pass away without some little memorial of the Lord's goodness to unworthiest me. The past has been a year of much trial. But often have I worn the crown of loving-kindness, and tender mercy, and often testified, "He does all things well." Forty-five years have I now spent in this great and terrible wilderness, and up to now the Lord has wonderfully helped me. "Praise Him, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits;" and trust Him still—trust Him with all.
"My soul, repeat His praise,
Whose mercies are so great."
And record it, too, that again you may look to the hill Mizar on some future day, and remember your God from thence. The heavenly dew fell upon my weary soul very refreshingly this morning in the house of the Lord. Before the service began, Hab. 3:17-19 seemed suitable to my outward state—"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."
How encouraging that it is lawful to rejoice in the Lord, even when His providences wear a stern aspect towards us. Truly it was rejoicing and reproving, for how have I failed; how have I hardly dared to trust at times, because of the dark cloud which has kept thickening around me, until I seemed enveloped in mists of perplexity; and how have my praises been choked with anxiety. Pardon me, O Lord, and renew me by Your Spirit. They sang, "God moves in a mysterious way," and my own verse, "You fearful saints . . ." Oh! that the clouds may break in blessings: they have often looked very dark. "Lord, if your presence goes not with me, carry me not up hence." I commit all to You, and beg You to bless us and make us a blessing. I hope to journey hence in the morning; the Lord preserve our going out and coming in, and be glorified in all.
July 8th, Matlock—Through the tender mercy of our Lord, we arrived here safely last evening. I never saw anything so enchanting as the view from our windows. The thought that the Lord specially guided me here, makes me glad; and then to look constantly at the majestic works of creation, elevated my heart very much. Bless the Lord, O my soul, for His wonders to such a worm!
July 13th, Saturday.—We have been seeing some of the wonders of nature—such wild, romantic scenery. Wood, hill, and water, ever varying, enrich the lovely scene. I have much enjoyed it—but want more Christian communion, to hear more of the love of Jesus.
July 27th.—We all returned home yesterday. Through mercy, we traveled safely, and the Lord did sweetly presence Himself as we passed through the long, dark tunnels. His word was a light and a comfort: I trust and believe it was ministered to my soul by the Holy Spirit. The first portion was Micah 7:8 "Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord himself will be my light." The second was Psalm 139, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to know! I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there." I desired to come home with my eyes shut—that is, the eyes of flesh, sense, and carnal reason; just to walk through the dark, and the difficult, and the pleasing also—looking only to Jesus, and trusting only in the Lord.
August 18th, Sabbath.—A rich feast this evening in hearing Mr. —. He preached Christ—not in the letter, but in the Spirit; not in the history, but in the mystery of godliness, and under that anointing by which alone He is revealed. He preached Christ up—and me down. He seemed to batter me into happy nothingness, so that afresh I lost all identity out of Him, and came home, feeling myself the happy bride, and gladly finding that I could afford to lose self and creatures for, and in, so rich a Husband.
August 30th, Friday.—The Lord has been very gracious to unworthy me today, in taking me to the Refuge. I had much trembling about it yesterday—but I have been mercifully helped. I felt much power, and there seemed much melting among the girls. Oh! that it may not be like "the morning cloud," which soon passes away. May the Holy Spirit deepen conviction, and seal impressions. Ah! indeed, what is of Him shall endure, for He will have respect to the work of His own hands, and make it prosper.
September 6th, Friday.—Yesterday, as I was walking, the thought came to me, Why do those who have been brought to count all things loss for Christ, find a double desolation in turning back again to any sort of beggarly elements—to anything but Christ—for satisfaction? Blessed be the Lord that it is so, though keen be the smart. Afterwards, as I came home, another "blink" was let into my soul, teaching me that I had been too much living upon feelings, and less than formerly upon Christ by faith. With this word, "His paths drop fatness," showing me it was my own paths which were so dry.
September 19th.—I have had sharp exercises this week, concerning what many would think a trifle. On Monday, a tenant gave me half-a-sovereign, which was lost I know not how. It appeared most mysterious, for I much needed it. My soul sank within me, because I feared my Father must be angry, or He would not so constantly smite me in providential matters. It seemed as if my Lord would speak there would be a calm; and I know He will, although I cannot see how He can be glorified in this thing. I felt much encouraged by reading "Burroughs on Contentment." It is to encourage dependence on the Lord when ways and means seem most shut up. He quotes 2 Kings 3:17: "You shall not see wind, neither shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water." I never saw the passage in this light before. My God, You are able. My soul was afresh encouraged to supplicate, notwithstanding long delays and straitenings.
September 24th.—I have been much harassed on account of my temporal affairs—but in the conflict have been brought to close dealing with the Lord; faith has afresh taken hold of His faithfulness; to fulfill His promises. Psalm 37:5, and Proverbs 3:6. "Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you." "Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths." I have been enabled to "commit my way unto the Lord;" and, after strong crying and tears, have at length found peace and calmness in what I call my little corner. "Your will be done."
Evening .—A large demand for half-a-year's poor-rate has drawn the providential knot still tighter. Through Divine mercy and power, I am enabled to bless the Lord, assured He does all things well!
September 25th.—Yesterday came tax for highway rate, which, with the other, only left me a few shillings in my purse. I cried to the Lord to have pity, and before noon was sent £1 2s., which was owing for needlework that I have done. How timely! how merciful! What a ray across my dark path. It is like a gift from the Lord. Thanks and praise be to the Lord for this great mercy. He is dealing wondrously with me for some wise purpose.
September 29th, Sacrament day.—I have felt great jealousy lately, lest, being alone in the wilderness, I should, by the pressure of time and things upon me, get one inch further from my God. God forbid! My Father prevent, by Your own Almighty power. Draw me nearer, much nearer. I cannot endure the thought of "following afar off." Lord, draw me, and keep me very close to You.
Evening.—I have not had the sensible presence of my Beloved at His table, as I expected—but have felt some earnest seeking there, that I may have as much of Him as can be had in mortality. Glorious Redeemer, come to me in further and fuller developments of Your personal glories; and, in the warmth of Your love, make me a live coal to many hearts, for nothing have I here but to live for You and Your people. Let me see Your heart laid open by the sword of justice, and read there the deep inscription of Almighty love.
I have presented a cheque to You, as my banker, for a certain sum of money. I have asked the Father in Your name. I wait the reply. If it be of the flesh, Your name will be as a knife to cut up, or a fire to burn up my cheque. But, if it be for the Divine glory, Your name will secure the bestowment. You know all the secret. Help me to wait, and patiently hope for Your salvation. In the meantime breathe, sacred Spirit, into this heart, quickening there desires more ardent after Jesus.
October 1st.—Sweet breathings and bedewings of the Spirit in my soul last evening and today, bringing sweet odors of my precious Jesus, after whom my soul has been eagerly pursuing for some time. Outward straits continue—but it is as if the Beloved were between them and me just now, seeming to say, "Am not I enough?" and my heart answers, "Yes, Lord, You are—without anything else." I just present my cheque day after day, not knowing yet whether it was drawn up under promptings of the flesh, or anointings of the Spirit. But this I know, my Jesus is sweetly all to me, unworthy though I be. I long to walk more erect in Christ. Blessed are those who dwell in Him by faith. "They will be still praising You."
There are few rejoicing souls now; emotion is thought dangerous. I want more of it day by day. Our Head has "the Spirit without measure;" He has "the oil of gladness above His fellows;" but He can bestow upon them a large measure, for in Him is no straitness or scarceness of either gift or grace. Lord, overrule all, and, when You have tried me sufficiently, bring me forth like gold purified. But must I wait until then to praise You? Paul and Silas sang Your praises in the stocks, and we read of "being joyful in tribulation." My God, my flesh writhes under Your present circumstantial dealings. But my spirit longs to praise You, and walk closely with you, even when You walk contrary to me in outward things.
November 3rd.—Earnest longings for more of Christ, and pleadings to be renewed in the "simplicity which is in Him." Unbelief struggles; faith wrestles. O Lord, increase my faith. You are the land of plenty, where we eat bread without scarceness, and have no lack of anything. Oh renew, restore my longing soul, which this night "counts all things loss" for You. I feel, if You gave me a mountain of gold, I would turn from it, or climb over it—to get at Your precious self, if it could not find You in it. "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ!" Philippians 3:8
November 12th.—A morning stormy indeed. My poor heart aches because needed relief comes not, and fearing there must be something wrong and displeasing to the Lord; also fearing to dishonor Him by tears and anguish, and struggling to look to Jesus above it all.
Noon.—A mercy-drop, in a small sum for work done, with one shilling and sixpence over pay.
Evening.—Just a gleam in hearing Mr. D. F— speaking of the resurrection of Jesus as a pledge of ours. And, thought I, "Shall I trust Him with this body, to raise it up at the last day, and not trust Him with time things, with my present debt and difficulty?" My heart seemed to melt into trust, and I could only say, "Precious Jesus."
November 16th.—On Wednesday evening I heard Mr. D. F—. He spoke much of love to the saints, and of doing them good, to our inconvenience. I had a clear sight why I had not had so much bright shining lately, and what I should be without Jesus, by whom all the fruits of righteousness come. I saw also what a vile wretch He had loved: and how did this melt my soul, and enhance His matchless love. I could only bless Him for the very withholding, which had been so painful—but laid me low at His feet. I should remember, that on Friday I thought I should never have another temporal Ebenezer to raise—but soon after came a ton of coals as a present. I was astonished. It seems the Lord will supply the house, though so much trying me about the rent. May He pardon all my mistrust.
November 21st.—I have decided to sell sufficient stock to pay my rent, feeling it will be better to be reduced, and have Jesus, than to keep stock in hand, without His company. Dear Lord, You must come in, if all else goes out. I do love You, and long for You, You know.
November 22nd.—I have been to the Refuge this afternoon—a hallowed place to me. I was peculiarly blessed in prayer. The Word also appeared to open in reading, and there was some deep feeling in the girls. Lord, breathe upon the dry bones, or all the prophesying will be in vain. "Can these bones live?" "O Lord God, You know."
The change in my spiritual feelings is great indeed; the mountains seem removed; and now that I am come cheerfully to lessen my earthly store, my heavenly one is more freely and fully opened. My blessed Jesus seems more free of access; and nothing on earth, or in heaven, is like communion with Him. I am longing exceedingly for souls to be quickened, or liberated. Oh! to know that I am of use to one soul, would be to me more than a mountain of wealth!
November 24th, Sacrament-day.—The Israelites came to the impassable place, and the enemy behind kept them from turning back; they must go forward. But the sea is there, and no bridge; and, when the strange command is given by their leader, the waters shall wonderfully withdraw to either side, and between the liquid walls they shall safely pass over, to the honor of their God. This seems like me. I have come to the place of hedging up. I have looked all ways for an outlet, and cried to the Lord for it—but in vain. I find deliverance in the trial, not out of it; and now, while going through the deeps, my sighs are changed for songs.
December 16th.—Rich, full, glorious Christ! how near have You come; how precious have You been to this poor heart tonight; and now the desire is, "I beseech You, show me Your glory!" Let it shine through surrounding gloom. Now, in these eventful times, when Popery is putting forth fresh power, be the wall of fire round about Your Church, and the glory in the midst of her. Shine in us, shine on us, shine through us; and be glorified, and gloriously revealed.
December 22nd, Sabbath.—The Lord very gracious. Ten thousand thanks, dear Lord, for all Your mercies. I only want more revelation of the personal glories of Jesus, and more power to speak of Him to fellow-saints and fellow-sinners. Surely with joy I have payed that I have vowed, and triumphantly sing, "Salvation is of the Lord."
December 29th.—Our little church is sending a petition to our dear Sovereign, against Popery. Everyone may sign it; and surely with heart and hand I subscribe for Christ against Antichrist.
December 31st.—Psalm 26:8. At our prayer meeting today, my soul cried to the Lord for a blessing upon the coming year, with some poor praise for the past. While there, these words seemed sweetly given me for 1851: "You are not your own. You are mine." Dear Lord, "You are mine, and I am Yours." This is my glory and joy.
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Middletown, DE 19709 USA