Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 6th.—I have had a rich feast this evening in hearing Mr. S—, from Song of Solomon chapter 4. Gladly would I have returned to earth no more. My soul did glow as he described the glory of my beloved Lord; and did swell with rapture while he described the harmony above echoing and re-echoing, "Worthy is the Lamb! worthy is the Lamb!" Again I feel the blessedness of union, and that I dwell in the married land: "Your Maker is your Husband; the Lord Almighty is His name."
January 18th, Sabbath.—On Friday evening I was informed that the French were likely to invade our dear country. My heart was much moved at the thought of a Popish power, or, perhaps, an infidel one, I knew not which. Our little evening meeting was solemn. We pleaded with the Lord that He would be on our side. But oh, how I felt our guiltiness, in giving liberty to Papists in the midst of us. For this I "blush to lift up my face to You, my God." We do deserve judgment—but ask for mercy, in the name of Jesus.
February 1st.—My heart much comforted concerning the threatened invasion of our country. My eyes are up to the Lord; and, if He is for us, it will not matter what thousands are against us. "Whoever puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe." I trust the peace of God is caused to rule in my heart through Christ Jesus.
March 7th, Sabbath.—My soul has been convicted by my Lord of heart-wanderings. He used Ezek. 16, turning me to it again and again. I pleaded guilty—but was not broken down until this morning, when my soul was melted, and humbled, and ashamed beyond expression. Oh! to dishonor such love, or ever turn from such a Savior. Glorious Lord, pardon and restore vile, vile me! I fall into Your arms of injured love, to accept whatever punishment You shall appoint.
March 8th.—Noah, and those with him, entered into the Ark, because of the waters of the flood; and so I desire by faith to go into Christ, because of the waters of temptation which now assail me.
March 21st, Sabbath.—My mind has been much exercised this last week by a remark about the liberty of soul which I enjoy. What anguish has this caused, with "strong crying and tears" to the Lord, not to condemn me to experimental banishment from His presence. I may deserve it. But I plead for Jesus' sake. Surely there is grace and liberty enough in Jesus. Dear Lord, save me from what I fear. Outward things I leave with You, only asking that situation and those circumstances in which I can have most of You. Oh, pardon what is wrong! I do not covet trials. But I do covet Your sweet, blessed company. I have had some words of encouragement from Rom. 14:4, "the Lord is able to make him stand." O Lord, to You have I revealed my cause.
March 25th.—I have been walking in much heaviness from the remark made, which has entered like iron into my soul. But I was comforted this morning from Psalm 81:9, 10, 15, 16; Isaiah 58:17, 18. Attended a prayer-meeting, last evening, at —, for one who is near death, and in great distress of soul. The brethren pleaded very sweetly. I think the power of the Lord was present. May the bound one be loosed.
March 28th, Sacrament-day.—A day of conflict. But my precious Jesus is the same in the battle as at the banquet. In Jesus I may triumph, though my enemy thrust sorely at me. Reading the "Letters of Anne Dutton" has been very confirming to me. She was taught the way of faith, which the Lord alone taught me. I want renewing in it, by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have been sorely harassed by wandering thoughts, so that I could get no fixedness of meditation. At the table of the Lord I cast myself upon Jesus for deliverance. He performs all things for me. If He puts me in the furnace, there is a needs be; it will be all love, and I may safely welcome it. And if He slays me, I may safely trust Him still. The enemy suggests, "But perhaps it is for sin." Well, if it is for sin, still I must trust Him, who alone can remove it. Sin must not make me hide myself and my case from the Sin-Bearer. That were the way to let sin grow strong, and give Satan an advantage. I must walk openly with my Beloved, in my worst moments as well as in my best. The dying person is brought again into joy and peace by the faithful God. When I heard it, these words came with power, "Not for your sakes do I this." Ah! no; it is for His holy name's sake. How this does lay all creatures in the dust. The painful words to which I have referred are still like a barbed arrow in my heart. Only Jesus, my sweet Savior, can extract it, and heal the wound. Mr. B— departed this life at a quarter to seven this evening. Thus one pilgrim after another lays the staff and sandals down—to sleep quietly in their bed of dust until the morning without clouds, when they shall awake up with His likeness, and be satisfied.
March 31st, Evening.—Much trial of soul these three days. Wind and tide contrary. Much crying to the Lord about the remark of my friend. How could I live if banished from Christ. Same melting this morning from 2 Kings 8, concerning the Shunammite, who has her land restored; verses 5 and 6. Jesus is my land, and I am crying for full restoration to Him. My glorious Redeemer, I cannot believe You will condemn me to absence and gloom, when my whole soul, and every particle of happiness, is bound up in You. I do deserve the worst You can inflict. But, oh! for love's sake, let me see Your loving frown, and feel Your loving stripe—but not find You gone. Your absence is hell to the heart that has seen Your glorious charms, and felt Your matchless love. Oh, do not, do not leave me; and do not let me leave You!
April 3rd, Saturday.—I have been much edified by again reading "Anne Dutton;" and, though still much in the dark, I have great longings for the activity and strengthening of faith. I feel as if the Lord dare not trust me with much manifestation at present. But my soul has been arrested by Luke 23:17, "Therefore, I will punish him and then release him." I thought, tomorrow is the Gospel feast. Oh, for the release of the prisoner! I then saw who was released; not the holy, immaculate Jesus—but the guilty Barabbas. Ah! and it is guilty I who wants to be released from felt-bonds, on the very ground that the guiltless Savior suffered in my stead. Pilate might strive to release Him, because of His personal innocence. But He stood under responsibilities which neither Pilate nor the Jews knew anything about. He was Surety for debts; and now was the time of payment—the price His precious blood and His precious life.
"What wondrous love—what mysteries,
In this appointment shine:
My breaches of the law are His,
And His obedience mine!"
April 4th, Sabbath.—My soul laid in the dust this morning. I went to the house of the Lord, saying, "I am the guilty Barabbas;" and, feeling as vile as he, I could not plead for sweet indulgences of Divine favor, fearing I would misuse them. But my heart just felt, "Your will be done." I heard Mr. J— this morning, from John 15:1, 2, with profit. He spoke of the need of pruning the branches and I felt it very good.
"When on the cross my Lord I see,
Bleeding to death for wretched me,
Satan and sin no longer move,
For I am all transfixed with love."
March 9th, Good Friday Morning .—I have tender remembrances of You, O holy Redeemer, my suffering, atoning Lord. May I be closeted with You this day, and learn more of Your matchless love, in Your bitter agonies for my vile sin.
Afternoon.—A few mornings since I awoke with Hosea 2:15, "I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt." And this morning Mr. — pleaded it in his prayer. My soul has a hope that the conflict, tears, and prayers, which have been caused by the late painful trial, may result thus. I think there has been profit therefrom. Dear Lord, You read all my heart; pity, compassionate, and renew in me a life of faith.
April 14th.—A day of conflict. Someone says, "Walking beside a smooth stream, on a bright day, we may see the sun clearly reflected. But throw a stone into the water, and it will no longer faithfully reflect the image of the sun." It is thus when temptations or trials suddenly disturb the soul. This heart has felt the truth of it. But Jesus remains unchanged, however our views and thoughts of Him may be obscured.
April 18th, Sabbath.—I went to the house of God in much fear of being turned from faith to sense by the ministry I expected. I was led to plead two words which the Lord gave me years ago on this subject. One was Ruth 2:9, "See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to bother you. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well." The young men are the reapers, or ministers. The other word was 2 Sam. 9:7, "Don't be afraid Mephibosheth! I've asked you to come so that I can be kind to you because of my vow to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the land that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you may live here with me at the palace!" How earnestly did my soul desire the dear Lord to remember these words, "upon which He caused me to hope," and to which He has indeed been faithful.
When there, I opened upon Isaiah 54, and found power in the four last verses as an answer to my cry. I am sure the Lord has brought me into liberty; and, although it be a bondage-day, my soul pants and longs to be kept from entanglement. Those who are in Egypt, or in the wilderness experience, are not under the same rule as those that have crossed the Jordan, and are dwelling in Christ by faith. Therefore, let us not judge one another. But "whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule," living in love, and pressing after the things which are before.
Night.—I have had much close waiting upon the Lord for my own soul-case. Psalm 81:10, seems to have been given several times, "For it was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things." Thus have I encouragement to faith, though not the response of love from my Beloved. Lord, enlarge me to open my mouth wider.
April 19th.—This word very sweet this afternoon: "I will make the dry tree to flourish." It just fits me. But this morning, at family prayer, a blessed gleam came, turning my soul to Christ, and showing that He is to be the plea, not my emptiness and need. This evening these words very sweet: "And the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory." The glory of Jesus sparkling in all its vessels, sacrifices, and services; He being the fullness of all. "Moses wrote of me."
April 22nd.—I heard Mr. C— this evening, from Prov. 22:20, 21. How very precious was the word to my soul. The redeemed earth did "drink water of the rain of heaven." Mr. C— does not turn us back into our own feelings for comfort—but leads straight out, and straight on, to the Person and work of Jesus.
The other day, when reading Luke 24:31, where I always regret that Jesus should depart the moment His disciples knew Him, a sweet beam shone into my soul, showing that His departure was to teach them that they were not to live by sight now—but by faith, and that manifestations were to be short and occasional. But that faith was to continue, being constantly renewed by the Holy Spirit. He came, that they might see and be comforted; then went, that they might believe and be established.
April 25th, Sacrament-day.—I heard Mr. P— this evening, from Isaiah 22:20. He spoke of Zion in the sufferings and death of her King; in the call, work, and soul-travail of her ministers, and in the heart-experience of her children. Then of the "quiet habitation," peace in the soul with God, through the blood of the Lamb. Then the tabernacle, which, he said, was the humanity of Jesus. Our tabernacle will be taken down—but that will remain forever. 2 Cor. 5:1 was quoted. He also spoke of the stakes as believers, and of the cords as the love of the Triune Jehovah. This I blessedly feel.
Oh, make my eye single, that my whole body may be full of light. Make me follow You wholly, that I may "not walk in darkness—but have the light of life." Sanctify the pain and weakness I constantly feel in my body; let all that befalls me glorify You. Oh, reveal Yourself; for this I long, more than words can express. Your rising glories in Bethlehem, the bright glories of Your holy life, Your setting glory in Gethsemane and Calvary. Oh! how I long to re-visit the sacred scenes under Divine anointings. Oh! bow the heavens, and rend all that is a cloud between me and You. I ask it for Your great name and love's sake.
April 27th.—I again feel the sentence of death in my body, as on December 14th. Let it be a medium of communion with You and my soul, and be You magnified in my body, by life or death.
May 9th.—I have been much longing to lean on Jesus' bosom experimentally, as John did literally. Divine love is the very element of my soul.
May 12th.—Some kind friends propose a journey to Beaumaris. The Lord reward them, and show us the right way.
May 23rd.—It just beams powerfully upon my mind, that the more we live upon things seen, the more we shall be filled with worldliness; the more we live upon self, the more we shall be perplexed with its workings; the more we live upon Christ, the more we shall be filled with Christ, and the two former will be subdued. The Lord has ordained laws—as in natural so in spiritual life. He has appointed that food shall be received to strengthen the body, and Christ to strengthen the soul that has been quickened into life by the Spirit. All our victory over the first Adam nature is in the second Adam—Christ. Therefore, no health or vigor of soul, except as faith has much to do with Him! Faith is certainly not in the power of the creature. But He who gives spiritual life, gives power also to perform the functions of that life: as in eating, John 6:53, 56; looking, Heb. 12:2; working, John 6:29, Eph. 2:10; walking, Col. 2:6; fighting, Eph. 6:11, 12, etc.; in all of which exercises, the Scriptures show the activity of faith on and upon a precious Jesus.
It is true, indeed, the babe in Christ cannot eat, walk, etc.; therefore, for them, is Gospel milk of precious promises, and the "breasts of her consolation;" and when the enjoyment for a time of these is withheld, there is much fretting; knowing only the life of spiritual sense at present. As there is growth into Christ--He increasing, we decreasing—we come to live upon Christ Himself, by faith in Him, under the renewings of the Holy Spirit. And, though our fallen flesh, like the city of Jericho, is under the curse, yet Christ is like the salt cast into the spring, to bring forth health and fruitfulness, by subduing the works of the flesh, and bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit (Phil. 1:11).
Friday, May 28th.—Matt. 28:7 and 10 were specially applied, in reference to our journey. Lord, "do as You have said." Meet us in that strange place, and let us see You there, to the joy of our hearts.
May 30th.—I am encouraged in the love of a Triune Jehovah: the Father giving the Son, and bruising Him; the Son giving Himself to the bruising; and the Holy Spirit testifying of Him, and applying His merits and blood. Here my soul feeds in green pastures with thanksgiving and praise. Lord, enlarge poor Japheth further to dwell in the tents of this glorious Shem. Let who will condemn, the Lord has taught me the privilege and victory of living out of self by faith, and by faith living in Christ, the good Land. Ready to depart on the morrow for Wales. I would lovingly go forth in the name and strength of my glorious Husband, and seek that He would be "a covering of the eyes to me," to those with me, and to all others I may meet. Thus veiled, I would go forth to know nothing but my glorious Christ, and Him crucified for me.
Beaumaris, June 1st.—Last evening we arrived safely, through the tender mercies of our covenant God. The first word that was given me here was, "He has been mindful of us: He will bless us." Lord, "do as You have said."
June 6th, Afternoon.—We cannot hear the sound of the Gospel this day, for all the preaching is in Welsh. But the Lord has made it a blessed day. I had deep soul exercise in the night, and much humbling work, under which I pleaded guilty; and this morning have felt sweetly how the Lord does dwell in the broken and contrite heart, and how He alone can give the brokenness. As I gazed upon the mountains just opposite our window, I had sweet musings upon a precious Christ, whose immaculate feet trod the mountains of Judea. I was favored with nearness and communion, and realized the fulfillment of the Lord's promise, given the Friday before we came. Matt. 28:7, 10. This word was sweet this morning, "The Lord Your God turned the curse into a blessing;" and, "He that has the bride is the bridegroom." How thankful I am to meet my Beloved in this strange place.
June 18th.—In great mercy we were safely brought home yesterday. Oh! for more gratitude and power to praise!
June 23rd.—"And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in You." Returned home in peace, I now want fresh anointings of the Spirit for work or warfare, as You shall appoint. I am a poor creature. Oh, keep me looking to Jesus, and following closely after Him!
June 27th, Sabbath Morning.—"The diligent soul shall be made fat." "Those who seek me early shall find me." Dear Lord, please to give me the grace of diligence, and of early seeking You.
Five o'clock.—It is Sacrament-day. I have had some dear remembrance of a crucified Savior. "My body broken for you." "My blood shed for you." Here is individuality. Much savor in Ruth 4:10, "And with the land I have acquired Ruth, the Moabite widow of Mahlon, to be my wife." Jesus, the heavenly Boaz; and I the gift of His Father, the purchase of His blood, and the conquest of His love.
July 25th, Sacrament-day.—A day of humiliation before the Lord, and deep abasement on account of sin. I fly to Your blood, and cleave to the crucified One. Union remains unaltered. But, indeed, I abhor myself, in dust and ashes, for "I have fallen by my iniquity." Some close soul exercise at the table. Only in Your sight have I committed evil; oh! make me to hear the forgiving word, and give me to receive instruction by this thing. Much blessing during the past month: to the Lord be praise: "shame and confusion of face" belong to unworthy me.
July 30th, Friday.—Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!" I have been to the Refuge; and oh! what a pleading spirit was given me with those girls: "my mouth was filled with arguments." Since I was last there, one girl has been removed by death, of whose eternal safety the matron had no doubt; she had been in the house about two years, and was quite dark, spiritually, when she came in. "Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" To the Lord be the praise!
August 15th.—Yesterday I was much cast down in not hearing any tidings of dear C—, who has been paying me a nice visit. He had gone away by a fresh railway, and I feared all was not right. But, after looking up to the Lord, there was sealed upon my heart a sweet assurance that all was well, and this morning I have a letter to say all is well. I call it only an echo of the Lord's message, for He brought the tidings first, and set my heart at rest. This is a dreary land, and I a trembling traveler. But the Lord is very gracious to His "sparrow alone." I need supporting, like the ivy which clings round the oak. Lord, lead me—but do not leave me. "I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top." Psalm 102:7
September 5th, Sabbath Morning.—I have been much tried lately how to know and do the Lord's will in little things. As, for instance, when a friend wants me to go anywhere, and I feel pre-occupied. Must I consider my own convenience? or must I quite give it up, and take every invitation, or wish of others, as from the Lord? or how must I discern? I earnestly desire to walk with God—but seem to make many mistakes. While waiting before the Lord just now, these words came with sweetness, "Commit your way unto the Lord, and He shall bring it to pass." Also Psalm 55:22, Prov. 10:29, and Psalm 56:13, which were very applicable. I wait for further light.
September 12th.—A friend was conversing with me last evening, and spoke of the many different denominations of Christians in this day. Soon after came to my mind, with guiding power, "God has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son." It was timely and sweet, showing I must cleave closely to Jesus, and leave outward religious forms alone. By Him my Father has spoken to me, and said in my soul, "Hear Him." Lord, keep me from every strange voice.
September 26th.—I have been suffering in a very unusual way from headache, and am quite unable to grasp a subject, or meditate with clearness. It has distressed me—but "I know whom I have believed." And however, through infirmity I may not be able to apprehend Him, He apprehends me still, in love and power, for salvation; and is able and willing to "keep that which I have committed unto Him until that day" when He will "present me faultless in the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy." Trust Him, O my soul!
October 6th.—I have been praising the Lord for tribulation. I do feel it good, though not pleasant to the flesh. But how Revelation 7:14, reconciles to John 16:33! "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." I am earnestly longing for more outgoings of faith upon Jesus by the power of the Spirit.
October 31st.—On Friday evening we had a choice meeting. Isaiah 55 was read, and verse 13 sweetly sealed upon my heart as my portion; that, through union to Him, Jesus will bring the evergreens, instead of the thorns, which have lately distressed me so much. "Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. This miracle will bring great honor to the Lord's name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love." Satan fights hard against me, to turn my eye from Jesus. It is a sore struggle—but the Lord is on my side, and He will prevail. He has often, the last week, made my cup run over with spiritual joy—still keeping me empty in myself, and glorying only in Him.
November 14th.—Surely I know something of recumbency in Divine love. I am "dead to the law, by the body of Christ." "Sin is not imputed where there is no law." "He who is dead is freed from sin." Here is the blessedness of one "to whom the Lord will not impute sin;" "you are complete in Him." Can anything be added to such loveliness? Here is ugliness gone, and beauty come—through union to the Lamb. My feelings are indescribable; such stillness pervades the soul in finding all in Christ.
November 24th.—No rent money yet. I am still kept in suspense about it; every post-time seems a fresh disappointment; and this morning it has been sharp, and my heart sinks anew. I cried to be kept from a murmuring feeling, knowing all is right. And, surely, my soul has been brought to kiss the hand that holds the rod, and cleave closer to Him who is thus trying me.
November 26th.—I saw a dying saint yesterday, lingering on the banks of Jordan. But, though in a painful state of body, she is kept very peaceful. She said, "I have been thinking—the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage." My own temporal case is still pending; my eyes are up unto the Lord; the vision tarries long; things are very pressing. Dearest Lord, be pleased to make Your meaning plain in the present trial; and make my heart perfect with You through all wilderness discipline.
November 30th.—The Lord is faithful; and what He promised, that He does perform; nor can all our fears and faintings hinder it. This day the rent money has come from town, and I have paid mine here—to the Lord be all the glory! It is not in vain to wait for Him. But, oh! how hard to flesh and blood. Ebenezer! And now, my dear Lord, I crave more revealings of Your precious, glorious Person. I find today a fresh sentence of death in my mortal frame. I consecrate this threatening malady to You; let it be Your chariot, in which You will come to me, and I to You; let it be—
"An opening door; and let me fly,
And build my happy nest on high."
December 15th.—Yesterday I saw the dying sister; she was sensible—but breathing painfully, and could not speak. I left her about half-past three; and, between six and seven, her spirit was released.
December 16th.—Dear departed one, how little can we conceive your joy. "Present with the Lord." Probably, I too, before very long, shall cross the Jordan. My Savior, come then, or how shall I do in the swellings thereof? Jesus is felt to be very precious in believing this week: no praise to me. The actings of a living faith are by Divine power; be it mine to entreat for them: all the glory, Lord, be yours.
Mr. H— has again put a letter of mine into the "Gospel Magazine," without my knowing. A sharp cross to my flesh is this—but I dare not draw back; having done so in 1842, in the same thing, to my cost. Dear Lord, it seems impossible You can speak through me to any profit. But here I am, Your very own; if You please to bring me forth only to abase me, it shall be well, if You will be glorified.
Christmas-day.—I have had sweetness in Isaiah 60:19, 20, "No longer will you need the sun or moon to give you light, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and he will be your glory. The sun will never set; the moon will not go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end." Oh! what a narrow path I have to walk in. Lord, hold me up, and I shall be safe! Let me not fear to acknowledge what You have done for me.
"Behold! my soul at freedom set:
My surety paid the dreadful debt."
December 26th, Sacrament-day.—I heard Mr. H— most preciously this morning, from these words, "Jesus only" (Matt. 17:8). Surely, I could experimentally subscribe to all he said; my soul was satisfied with marrow and fatness. This afternoon I had a blessed time at the Lord's table; and do desire to go forth with "Jesus only." It is safe and blessed, although many who admit it in their judgment that He is all in salvation, do, in experience, seem to put it away as a thing not to be known here below. Well, my blessed Lord, the secret is between my soul and You. It was Yourself taught me this privilege of love; and afresh I give myself to You, that the last little inch of my life may be "Jesus only." What glory I see herein! I do experimentally find that nothing is so subduing, humbling, and emptying to me, as going on with Jesus all, and "Jesus only." I have had great mercies the past month. The painful have been profitable—and for many things mortifying to the flesh I have feelingly thanked the Lord. Am I coming to Marah? Blessed Spirit, cast into the bitter waters a branch of the "tree of life," and I shall then drink with praise. Christ in the affliction will be a blessing.
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