Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 12th, Sabbath.—"Bless the Lord, O my soul," for more mercies in the wilderness, for another sip of the brook by the way. We have heard Mr. R— this morning. The text was, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." The word itself was suitable to my outward case; for there have been many burglaries in the town of late, especially during the Sabbath services. Having always left my house in the morning, I have gone out as usual, just committing all to the Lord, who once told me, "No man shall desire your land when you go up to worship the Lord;" and who has lately often said, "According to your faith, be it unto you." I cried to the Lord to know the right way. It was a trial of faith, and a sharp struggle. I thought the enemy was consulting to cast me down from the simplicity of faith in Christ. I was encouraged by "Whoever puts his trust in the Lord, shall be safe." I concluded to go, telling the Lord, if this trusting in Him were presumption, I was willing to know it; and if it were true, living faith, I would have the token of a safe house; and so has it come to pass, to my furtherance and great joy of faith. Therefore, I testify to all whom it may concern, that it is "better to trust in the Lord, than to put any confidence in man."
January 14th.—"I will cause those who love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures." Most precious Lord Jesus! this soul does inherit substance in possessing and enjoying You, who are substantial.
"O! to grace how great a debtor!"
February 1st, Saturday.—Isaiah 12:1. "My cup runs over; I am full with the blessing of the Lord." It seems as though the Lord would again turn my captivity, and a second time restore unto me the years the locusts, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar had eaten, renewing the blessedness of 1839. "I am a wonder to myself;" few conceive the happiness I enjoy. My soul, praise you the Lord.
February 13th.—My soul has been clouded for a day or two. This morning I was desiring communion with the Holy Trinity, when my precious Immanuel shone forth as the Morning Star to me. He seemed the coming forth of Jehovah from behind the cloud. Oh! for more of the glory shining in my soul, in the Person of Jesus Christ!
February 17th.—I have again been exercised about writing so many letters, thinking it was "labor in vain, and wasting my strength for nothing."* But the Lord has graciously, this week, sent me two messages to the contrary. Blessed Jesus! I only live for You and Yours. You pour into my heart what is poured out by my pen. All the goodness is Yours, bless it; all the badness is mine, forgive it.
* Many of these letters have been collected, and are so valuable, that it is hoped in due time they may be published.
February 23rd.—My life seems all miracle and mercy. I am a miracle of mercy, and a vessel of mercy! The Lord's goings are very stately, and His ways very majestic to His unworthy worm. It is wonderful how He answers me in little things, proving my "desire is before Him, and my groaning not hid from Him." It does truly look as though my temporal straitness was passing away. Lord, keep me from evil this month, and from any snare that may be laid for me.
February 26th.—I plainly see that neither my old man nor my new man can be mended: the one is too bad, the other too good. There is no patching or painting the old man to advantage; it will still be "corrupt, according to its deceitful lusts;" and the new man needs neither patching nor painting, for it is "created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:24). There is nothing for the old man but the cross, and for the new—but to "grow up into Christ in all things." Most Holy Comforter, exercise my spiritual senses to discern between good and evil, not seeking to confound or blend them—but understanding that what "is born of the flesh is flesh," and will act after its nature; and "what is born of the Spirit is spirit," and will aspire to its source!
March 17th.—Precious Jesus! I embrace You as all-sufficient for me, and as all I need for work and welfare. You are the Rock of my heart; I feel You to be so. My hopes rest in You; my faith centers in You; my love has its repose in You, and by You goes forth to the Father. From my sins You are the Deliverer; under my trials You are my support; and of my joys the sweetness and crown! I long for dear saints to know You more, enjoy You more, and have less to do with self, which is all loss and misery.
April 1st.—A sweet outflowing of the Spirit of adoption, in bed; so that I could sweetly say, "Abba, Father."
April 2nd.—I have just been to the Refuge, and found it a privilege. I had a very wrestling spirit in prayer, much longing for some soul to be benefitted, though feeling I am truly an unprofitable servant! But work, dear Lord, for Your great name's sake. Oh, "awake, arm of the Lord!" come forth, as in former days. We have felt power, even in that place! and have had seasons never to be forgotten. Do renew former mercies. "Revive Your work," where begun; and quicken Your dead, who have never felt before. My soul is afresh enkindled with desires for these young women.
April 3rd.—I have this evening heard Mr. C—, with much unction and sweetness, from Isaiah 61:10, "I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels." It was a time of sweet refreshing to my soul, and Jesus was all in all. Oh for renewings in the "simplicity which is in Christ!"
Mr. C— is a father in Christ, and seems almost ripe for glory. He spoke sweetly on the fitness, beauty, and fullness of Christ—fullness of grace, and fullness of glory. And he spoke of the joy, the clothing, and of the ornaments of the Church—"the things which accompany salvation," a meek and quiet spirit. And I now see, as I never saw before, how many think it will do to be clothed, and through soul-sloth neglect the ornaments, which are to the Lord's glory. Lord, quicken me, I pray, and give soul-diligence; and "let the beauty of the Lord my God be upon me."
April 6th.—I have had great profit from Mr. C—. Jesus is very precious; and a life of faith in Him, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is very blessed, world-conquering, Satan-overcoming, and sin-subduing. But surely, "My feet had almost gone, my steps had wellnigh slipped."
Almost all around are so engrossed with the workings of self, that I was almost beguiled to turn away from the holy commandment delivered unto me, and look there too. But for this "there has been deep searchings of the heart." I was many years sinking into the pit of corruption, and passing through the valley of the shadow of death. But the Lord has brought me out; and why should I wish to return? I would not palm my experience upon any one; nor will I, by God's help, try to conform to theirs. But leave myself in the molding hand of my God, who has called me into liberty. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Those whom the Son makes free, are free indeed; I feel it, let who will gainsay it. "Jehovah has triumphed;" His prisoner is "free." Precious Jesus! keep me from entanglement in any yoke of bondage (Job 17:9).
April 8th.—Some dear friends kindly propose that I should go from home again. I feel abased and ashamed. The Lord reward them; and lay and keep me low. Malvern is the place thought of—I suppose it is very lovely. I committed it all to the Lord.
April 17th, Thursday.—O my Savior, my soul melts this morning in remembrance of You, and of Your sufferings; ten thousand thanks for Your amazing love! We are busy cleaning this house—but You must cleanse this heart! We use water and much soap for the house—but only blood, Your own precious blood, will avail for the heart. Grant a fresh sense of its efficacy; and let my meditations of You be sweet this day. I do, in love, commemorate the death of our great High Priest, my Brother and my Friend.
April 20th, Sabbath.—Through a very fatiguing week, the Lord has graciously brought me, by Divine power; granting sweet bedewings of His Spirit, in the midst of domestic engagements. I am trusting that the Lord will clear my way as regards expense of house cleaning, begun in faith. While thinking over this matter and my London house rent, which is due, this word came to me: "those who wait for me shall not be ashamed;" and has been a stay to my soul. In the evening I went to pay for the painting, etc., of my house, when I found a kind friend had already done it for me. Here was an unexpected token; to the Lord be the glory! Surely, He is "with me in the way that I go."
April 29th.—A morning of gloominess. Dear Lord, "I am oppressed: undertake for me." You did provide a piece of money in the mouth of the fish for the tax; oh! send the needed sum for my rent, which the event of this morning has so pressed upon me afresh. If I am right, grant me again this token, and defeat unbelief and Satan. "You have known my soul in adversities." "You have been my help." Therefore, I come again to You in the day of trial. Oh! hear and help me, my Lord and my God!
May 3rd.—The Lord has heard and answered, by sending rent from town—so I have this day paid my rent here. Ebenezer.
May 4th, Sacrament Sabbath.—I have partaken of the Lord's supper, in loving remembrance of Him whose mortal "vesture was dipped in blood." Surely He has kissed me with the kisses of His mouth. His love is most sweet. The fire of jealousy has been kindled in my soul this week, for lack of personal communion with my Beloved. And, since He has heard the cry of my distress, and sent me some outward help, and thus given me another token about this house, I began to fear, lest He would withdraw still further, as some say He has done, when their trials have been lessened, and the outward path made smoother. But I could not bear it; and I told Him yesterday that I could walk cheerfully in the path of trial with Him—but not in the path of prosperity without Him. He did give us a good unctuous season on Friday evening—then yesterday He was gone again. But today He has been known, in the breaking of bread. Most precious Savior, I would hold You, and not let You go. What in heart, or lip, or life, or friends, offends You, discover to me, for You I must have. You are essential to my life, my peace, my happiness, my holiness, my usefulness—all are bound up in You. You know this is the true confession of my heart. I give myself to You, my best Beloved, for the events—it may be important events—of the coming month. "If Your presence go not with me, carry me not up hence." Keep this Bethel safe in Your absence, or let me not leave it. Amen.
May 18th.—The past week has been one of much fatigue, sharp conflict, trial and much mercy. I feel today faint and low. But the Lord can revive me. My heart sinks at going from this quiet home: we expect to go tomorrow morning, if the Lord will. May He preserve us, and bring us back in peace, to erect another pillar in His name, to His praise. I was encouraged this morning from Jeremiah 24:5, 6, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. I have sent them into captivity for their own good. I will see that they are well treated, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them." I again commend myself and friends to Your care. Most glorious Three-One Jehovah! You will be faithful still, I humbly believe. I again record Your praise.
May 20th.—Great Malvern.—Through mercy, we arrived safely at this place last evening. The Lord's mercy was very manifest while traveling.
May 20th.—The loveliness and beauty of this place quite exceeds my expectation. Its majestic hills, and extensive scenery around, are very striking, and delight me much. This morning I had a very early visitor. 'Mr. Godlyfear' knocked loudly at my heart before I was up: instituting inquiry, and commanding a watch, lest, having more society, and so much change of scene, a trifling spirit should unawares intrude. Lord, prevent it, and keep me in Your fear all the day long.
June 8th.—Surely it becomes me to record the mercies of my covenant God, to a most unworthy creature. On Friday, June 6th, we journeyed safely home, preserved by Israel's God and Guide. I found this Bethel-home quite safe, which is another proof that it is good "to trust in the Lord." The ministry of Mr. — very savory to my soul; and I had some precious visits from my dear Lord. The beauties of His creation delighted me—but the love of His heart was the crown of the whole. And to feel that I am enclosed in His everlasting covenant of peace, fills me with wonder and delight.
July 6th.—"Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands." (Deut. 8:2). So I would do this day, which is my birthday. "Marvelous are Your works, O Lord; and that my soul knows right well." In Your great mercy You have led me hitherto, and no others seem to have so much cause to praise You. The past year has been rich in bestowment; and, to my surprise, I find myself much relieved from the so long distressing outward straitness. "I have waited for Your salvation, O Lord," and I have not waited in vain. How I would encourage all tried souls to wait on the Lord, and wait for Him, though He tarries long—and not turn to carnal means for relief. But wait for His bidding, though in the most trying circumstances. "The way of the Lord is strength to the upright." The enlargement of my spirit, in this respect, has been very striking. What can I render? My whole self, a living sacrifice for the Lord's glory. For the coming year I humbly ask, in the name of Jesus, spiritual increase and enlargement, and that prayer, the Bible, and ordinances may be more blessed to my soul; my friends more blessed to me, and I to them; and Jesus more glorified in all.
[Reader, how sweet, and full, and comprehensive, this prayer! Is it in your heart to plead the same? How comforting the thought, then, that you can and do appeal to the same gracious Listener!]
July 20th.—I heard Mr. J— this morning from John 5:3-4, "Within these lay a multitude of the sick—blind, lame, and paralyzed—waiting for the moving of the water because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had." Oh, mighty, matchless Jesus—Angel of the everlasting covenant, my earnest cry is unto You, to "stir the waters," and put virtue into them. Stir the waters of instruction at the Refuge; stir also the waters of ordinances, the waters of adversity, and the waters of friendship. Oh, come in all, to put power into them, for Your glory and our profit.
July 22nd.—"My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth does praise You with joyful lips." I can feelingly say, "Worthy is the Lamb!" He is my worthiness! Praise Him, O my soul.
July 28th, Monday.—The Lord, I humbly trust, gave me two portions yesterday: Phil. 4:19, "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." and Hosea 6:1, 2 "Come, let us return to the Lord! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence." They were reviving. But the heart continues heavy. "They feared as they entered the cloud;" and my soul trembles at the return of former straitness. "Lord, help me!"
July 30th.—"The Lord has put a new song in my mouth" today. Hab. 3:17, 18 "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." I have often sung it before—but it is new every time the Spirit's power is in it, and especially under fresh trial.
August 3rd, Sacrament-day.—I had some soul exercise and sweetness at the Lord's table. But I want more unfolding of the "unspeakable gift." My circumstantial calm was short. A letter brought heavy tidings, which makes the future look dark. I commit all, with myself, to Him who rules the winds: and, when the waves are high, He stills them. Lord, I wait for Your salvation—but more for Yourself, in manifested love. Oh, come, my glorious Redeemer, skipping over the mountains of difficulty, and over the worse mountains of my sins. The moments of Your absence are as days of tedious gloom. Shame upon me, that my trust is not always triumph; for whether You smite or smile, whether You come with sword or with the horn of plenty, You are my Savior still, and my portion.
August 25th.—Much pain of body—but my soul strengthened afresh to trust my glorious Lord, and venture upon Him for time and eternity. My outward things are a cloud of perplexity to me—but not to my God. He sees the end from the beginning, and He will clear my way.
August 27th.—I am far from well. The winter of last week's buffeting is over and gone, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in my soul, proclaiming the love of the Holy Ones. Ezek. 1:28, very sweet, "All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining through the clouds. This was the way the glory of the Lord appeared to me. When I saw it, I fell face down in the dust." The glory of the Lord is, indeed, in my soul, "as the appearance of the bow in the cloud in the day of rain;" it looks peace, and betokens safety. Also Lam. 3:22, and Isa. 54:8, 9, have smiled upon me. "The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction." "In a moment of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth and destroy its life, so now I swear that I will never again pour out my anger on you." I could only weep tears of love and praise before my God. I could not ask anything, nor promise anything. But seemed a happy nothing in the glorious river of life, having nothing to do but to be absorbed in the wonders done for me by the great Three-One—the salvation planned, accomplished, and applied to my soul.
August 29th.—I had a tooth extracted last evening. It was rather severe. But the strong cordial of Divine love was a preparative. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!"
September 5th.—How unexpected the events of this week! My kind friends, seeing me so much out of health, propose to take me with them to the sea-side next Monday. This great kindness has quite overcome me. I have committed it to the Lord.
September 7th, Sabbath.—I am ready to depart on the morrow. "Not knowing what shall befall me there," I commit all to my covenant God and covenant Head, in whom I am chosen unto life and salvation, knowing all will be well. I have felt my thread of life may be short. Well, to depart and be with Jesus will be "far better."
September 10th.—Bridlington Quay.—Arrived here quite safely, through Divine mercy. The God of Bethel had made provision.
September 14th.—The Lord is truly gracious. He has met me here over and over again, and blessed me. He is the God of our Bethels, and of our Peniels; and we come to these places when we so little expect it. Truly, You are a God doing wonders.
October 12th.—We arrived home safely on Friday, the 10th, with abundant cause for thanksgiving, on my part, to the God of my mercies.
October 25th, Saturday.—In the past week I have had much spiritual darkness; and felt this evening that I was, as it were, in "the lion's den," and in the "mountain of leopards," through the felt evils of my fallen nature. When the Lord makes it night, all the beasts of the forest creep forth. But, when the blessed Sun of Righteousness rises again, they creep into their dens, and hide themselves. How evil things do dislike the light.
October 26th, Sacrament Sabbath.—Again have I sat at the Lord's table with my own people. I can only plead the blood and righteousness of my Surety, and, by faith, cast all my debts upon Him. Most Holy Spirit, by Your anointings, renew me in the simplicity which is in Christ. I wait for fresh power from on high. Much mercy since my last communion season. I want more melting of soul under what I receive. Lord, be pleased to guide my future path. Keep me from creature-snares of all sorts.
"Weaker than a bruised reed,
Help I every moment need."
Lord, renew faith, to live in emptiness upon Your fullness; and oh, my precious Beloved, be revealed again in power as my all in all.
October 30th.—I was much blessed tonight, in reading "Letters, etc., of Oliver Cromwell." "He, being dead, yet speaks" to my heart, showing me how Christ must be all in all. He was but a man, and therefore not perfect. But evidently, to the spiritual mind, he was a "man in Christ," and hence the sweet savor that breathed in much that he said and wrote. This must be discernible to all who are in the secret of the Lord.
December 6th.—I am much pleased with Eph. 1:3, which is very full and precious to my soul. Blessed and praised indeed be our Father for such a store, and for such a store-house, and most of all for experience therein, or enjoyment thereof, under the anointings of the Holy Spirit.
December 14th.—A few days ago, I discovered in this frail tabernacle a new sentence of death, the symptoms of which have, for the last few years, been lulled to sleep. Under these circumstances, I desire to give myself into Your loving hands, my best Beloved, for all Your will. To leave this sinful body is joyous, not grievous. But, oh! I feel piercing pain, that You have been so little glorified in me. I fall blushingly at Your dear feet, and loathe myself for my many abominations and shortcomings. And yet my heart seems to trust You, without fear, in the fearful disease which threatens me. I wonder at what I feel. But it is Your perfect love which casts out tormenting fear. For life You are mine! For death You are mine! For eternity You are mine! Though I tremble at the article of death, You will order all about it, and will not fail or forsake me at the time of undressing. Oh! grant me renewings of faith by the Holy Spirit. Exceeding praise to You, my covenant God, for the great relief in my mind about temporal things; so that I can use what You have provided, and leave the future to You. You brought me to this before I knew of this mortal disease. Oh! that I could praise You. Further, my gracious Lord, there seemed in Your house, this morning, a sentence upon my soul-case, that I should now have to walk in darkness and felt distance. I ask if it was from You? If so, get glory to Yourself in the change. If it was not, I beseech You to "turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness." Let my sentence come forth from Your mouth. "I appeal unto Caesar;" I mean unto You, my God, the highest authority.
December 21st.—This afternoon I have been reading a translation of the Psalms, by Romaine, which is very cordial-like to my soul, because therein my glorious Lord has so sweetly the pre-eminence. I do praise my God and King, who condescended to be born in the city of David, in the Church, His spiritual Zion. Most glorious One, I love You with Your own love, the fire of which You have kindled in my new heart. You, the First-born, are formed in the heart of all Your younger children. "Christ in us the hope of glory." Because I feel this, I welcome You into this world of woe, into this flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14); and rejoice that "all my springs are in You," "the Word made flesh," in whom "all fullness dwells." "Crown Him Lord of all."
Christmas-day.—Surely this is the happiest Christmas-day I ever had, though there is a thorn in my flesh.
December 28th, Sacrament-day.—A softened spirit and melted heart at the Lord's table. My tears freely flowed under a sense of my unfaithfulness. But I trust my Lord's fruit was "sweet to my taste." Dearest Jesus! I find the leprosy in every part of my house, and therefore I desire to dwell in You, the House of the Lord, every day. Some high mountains are before me. But before you, O Zerubbabel, they shall have become a plain! "Not by might, nor by power—but by Your Spirit, O Lord Almighty." For the mercies lately received, and that the dark sentence in my experience is not come to pass at present, I must erect a thankful Ebenezer! How do I long to be more fruitful to the praise of my redeeming Lord. Matt. 15:30 was very sweet last night, "A vast crowd brought him the lame, blind, crippled, mute, and many others with physical difficulties, and they laid them before Jesus. And he healed them all." There are many spiritual cases I would thus bring by faith, and lay before my all-healing Savior.
December 31st.—Another year is closing. To You, my God, be praise for all the peculiar mercies of 1851. But, oh! I want a touch of Divine power to put my heart in tune.
"Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
With all Your quickening powers."
Set my mercies in a bright light before me, that my heart may dissolve in love and thankfulness. None can have greater cause than I to praise my gracious God. But yet my spirit is a little drooping, not for lack of anything on earth—but I want a fresh blessed anointing from the Holy One, our sacred High Priest, from whose head it descends to me, the lowest of His members. Oh, adorable Lord, do anoint Your worm with "fresh oil." May the beauty of the Lord our God be upon His Church. "Peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your living palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within you."
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