Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
New Year's Day.—"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever." "Looking unto Jesus."
January 8th.—The Lord has helped me in outward things; it is a chastened benefit; I feel abased in my own eyes. I am very unworthy. But I must, I do, praise the Lord that He has not shut up His tender mercies from me.
January 22nd.—"The way of the Lord is strength to the upright." This word has again been somewhat speaking in my experience. And what is the way of the Lord? None other than a precious Christ. Surely, "the Lord God is my strength; and He will make my feet like hinds' feet;" to tread lightly upon earth, to go safely over the mountains of difficulty and tribulation; and to have my footsteps ordered, and my goings established upon the rock of Christ. A good deal raised above outward trials, and Jesus precious the last week.
January 28th.—On Thursday evening I had deep soul-abasement and wrestlings with the Lord, on account of spiritual unfaithfulness to my heavenly Bridegroom. Oh, I was caused to hold Him by faith, and say, "I will not let You go"—frown, reprove, smite, wound—do anything You please. But I must have You. In Lev. 26, at our family reading, I saw my own case, and that of the living Church in this day. How was my soul humbled and broken under a sense of our declension and departures from our blessed Jesus. "Oh, that my eyes were a fountain of tears; I would weep forever! I would sob day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered." Jer. 9:1. Oh, He did lead me, "with weeping and supplication," desiring His holy presence to destroy all in me that offended Him, as the Ark, His ancient symbol, destroyed Dagon. Words cannot express what I find in Him. Oh! indeed there is a heaven of love and holiness in my glorious Christ. Abiding in Him is "as the days of heaven upon earth."
February 5th.—I was sorely distressed last night about dear Miss G—'s state. I have had great fear lest she should not be the Lord's. But this morning, in the house of God, her safety was sweetly sealed upon my heart. I believe she is among the redeemed. My soul rejoices over her salvation next to my own, and adores my God that through eternity I shall join her in praising Him for this wonder.
"Oh, for this love, let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break;
And this poor softened, gladdened heart,
My Savior's praises speak."
February 12th.—I heard Mr. F. this evening, with much soul profit, from Song of Solomon 4:8, 9. He said that the Hebrew word there rendered "ravished," is not used in all the Scripture beside; and it might be rendered, "You have taken possession of my heart for Yourself," as if the Holy Trinity were absorbed in delighting in the Church. Lord, enlarge my heart. I come with You, adorable Redeemer, to look away from all besides.
February 16th.—"Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, 'Who are these who are clothed in white? Where do they come from?' And I said to him, 'Sir, you are the one who knows.' Then he said to me, 'These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. That is why they are standing in front of the throne of God, serving him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will live among them and shelter them. They will never again be hungry or thirsty, and they will be fully protected from the scorching noontime heat. For the Lamb who stands in front of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away all their tears.'" Revelation 7:13-17. This passage has come before me again today beside the dying couch of a stranger whom I have been asked to visit. I went with trembling, fearing to find her in nature's darkness. But I believe she is one of the hidden jewels of Zion's casket—a gem to shine forever in the crown of the King of Glory.
March 8th.—For the immense favors in my unworthy soul I must raise an Ebenezer. When I speak of what I have been passing through this last few months, none but the Lord can understand me. Oh! what I have suffered in wandering thoughts; and, though having often sweet messages and communion with my Lord, it seems as if I got but a side view of Him, and not that open gaze and unreserved fellowship as before: whatever degree of communion we have been brought to, nothing less can satisfy us. I now feel all still in my soul, lest I should lose that sweet embrace of love Divine which begins my heaven.
Good Friday.—That lovely countenance of the suffering Savior! how it is marred more than any man's. But faith and love see beauty still. There is love's climax! the Bridegroom enduring for the Bride, and leaving her only a cup of blessing, although she, as well as He, must be a sufferer.
"Here it is I find my heaven,
While upon the cross I gaze:
Love I much? I've much forgiven;
I'm a miracle of grace!"
I would love to sit in this hallowed seclusion all day. But I must leave it. Sweet Savior, enfold me again in Your bleeding embrace; let me into the secrets of Your love and union; oh, absorb me forever in Yourself, my God, my glory!
April 26th.—A day of national humiliation and prayer. The Lord hear, and send peace to the kingdoms of the earth. But, oh! my soul says, "Your kingdom come."
May 13th.—I was richly blessed last evening from Isaiah 50; Rom. 8:33, 34. The justified Head and the justified members both say, "Who is he that condemns?" My dear Lord opened the door of my heart by that 50th of Isaiah, and revealed Himself gloriously: all praise to the Lamb!
June 15th.—Home. Peculiarly blessed in soul and strengthened in faith, during a recent visit to Brighton.
June 25th.—Since my return home I have found indescribable blessedness and fullness in Jesus. I cannot express what my soul finds in the realization that I am in Him. It is rest indeed; although blight has followed blight in outward things. But the rod of Jesse blooms in my experience; and "His fruit is sweet to my taste." The government also is upon His shoulders: so all will be well, however contrary to the flesh. Being in Christ, all is mercy. How astonishing, that there is so little praise in the living Church! We lie too much "among the pots."
July 6th, my Birthday.—Here I desire to give glory to God in the highest, that I was born in union with the Lamb. And because of this, I was, at the appointed time, quickened into spiritual life; and shall live through death, because united to Him, our living Head, who has for us "destroyed him who had the power of death, that is, the devil."
[Believing reader, mark the glorious mystery, "We shall live through death." Why? because we have a life in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life which death can never touch. It is in Him, and of Him, and through Him: hence, every soul in union with Christ may triumphantly say, "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."]
You know my request is this day for a closer walk with You, and deliverance from wandering thoughts; for more of the activity of that faith which purifies the heart; for the Spirit to be as springs of water in my soul; and for more realization of that perfection and glory which the Church had in Christ, before she fell in the first Adam. May I behold the Three divine Persons therein, with Their distinct love-acts; and thus live much more above the fogs of earth and vapors of fallen flesh.
I also long for an open heart to speak of the mysteries of Christ to some dear saints, by word of mouth, as well as by letter; that the well-spring of wisdom may be a flowing brook between us, and He a sweet savor through me, and to me, in life and in death. O Lord, these are my requests, with thanksgiving for all that You have done; to You be glory and everlasting praise. Let all my powers be Yours; and this affliction consecrated to You; so that, instead of an ill savor, there may be a sweet fragrance of Yourself! Ebenezer!
August 5th.—This week I have suffered great pain and weakness of body. But have most fully experienced that "He Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses." Most sweetly have I felt the suffering lightened, as if my dear Lord did bear the heavy part for me. Sweetly solemnized this morning by 1 Kings 8:5, where it speaks of sacrifices which could not be told or numbered for multitude. The glory and majesty of the holy Jehovah were there, and Solomon felt the need of blood, yes, an ocean of blood, as it were, to enter upon the worship of so holy, holy, holy a being. The ark was placed in the holiest place, in thick darkness, showing that Jehovah can only be seen in His own light. All light of nature must be shut out, for it only causes confusion in the things of God.
This evening, again instructed in 2 Sam. 6:1-8. Much zeal and praise are mentioned—but no blood; and it ends in death and condemnation. For (verse 13) the ark was only taken six paces when oxen and fatlings were sacrificed; so that blood was mingled with the praise, and the end was life and peace. There is no right prayer or praise on earth without blood. And what is it above? Oh! there the song of the redeemed is of blood, and praise to Him who shed it. Rev. 1:5: "Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood." This is most sweet to my soul.
August 6th, Sacrament-day.—I longed for my heart to be as a ten-stringed instrument, and every string swept into harmony by the touch of the Spirit, in praise of Him, my Beloved, whose heart was laid open for me. Oh, that I could praise Him, and cleave to Him with full purpose of heart. My soul afresh would "make her boast in the Lord." "Who is He that condemns? It is Christ who died." A Person so holy, so majestic, so glorious in Himself, though humbled to the death of the cross. It is He who died and is risen again. Here rests my soul; here hangs my salvation.
August 13th, Sabbath.—This morning I had a word in season. Mr. H— spoke from Psalm 104:21-23, "Then the young lions roar for their food, but they are dependent on God. At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest. Then people go off to their work; they labor until the evening shadows fall again." Speaking of faith, he said, "One work of faith is to lay hold of the Lord Jesus, to lay hold of eternal life, another is to hold Him fast. Hold that fast which you have, that no man take Your crown. Not the crown of life, for none can take that. But the crown of rejoicing, which we have when we lay hold of Christ; and, while so doing, none can take it from us."
September 3rd, Sacrament-day.—I have much enjoyed Psalm 126. The Spirit opened it to me about Christ and His Church. Surely they both "sow in tears and reap in joy." How bitter the cup He drank when the Lord was doing "great things for us," by laying upon Him "the iniquities of us all."
September 10th, Sabbath.—My heart cried to the Lord to keep me following on. In the midst of outward trial I have considerable inward peace and rest in the Lord, to my own astonishment; so that while flesh trembles at the little store emptying so fast, the inner man reposes in the Lord, and feels sure that in plenty or in straits He will be the same—a sufficient portion.
September 19th.—I have been in the deep today. The enemy and carnal reason strong, and my soul much distressed, I was greatly relieved by faith being again renewed. This evening we have had an exposition of Psalm 23, which was quite a word in season.
September 24th.—"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." The love of God, and God of love! here be my resting-place; this be my theme. How I wonder at the stupendous love. Not one drop of mercy to the suffering Redeemer, in His own precious body and soul, that He might receive all the mercy in His mystic members. No pity shown to Him, that the Lord might be very pitiful to us. No comforts to the Bridegroom, as He says in Psalm 69:20, that the Bride might receive the Comforter (John 15:26); yes, and Himself come, and comfort her too (John 14:18). Oh, the depth of infinite love laid up in the heart of Jehovah! I cannot fathom it—but would continually sink deeper and deeper into that bottomless abyss. "Keep yourselves in the love of God." "Continue in my love."
October 1st.—This is a thanksgiving-day for the plentiful harvest, and that the Lord has, in some measure, stayed the dreadful pestilence which has been raging in many parts of our land, though Nottingham has been mercifully preserved. The Lord give us humbled, grateful hearts, and accept in Jesus our poor thanks.
Evening.—Dearest Lord, what means this note of gladness in my heart? Is this Your voice, which speaks of brighter things approaching? O my Lord, You know all things: do not let me be deceived by the flesh, or the devil. Most lovely Savior, You are enough to fill the soul with rejoicing, whatever may be my outward state. I long more for the heaven of Your love, and the beamings in of Your glory and beauty. Oh, come to this longing heart, and let it be all taken up with You. You will—this is Your love burning in my bosom, and You will "rest in Your love."
October 20th.—Richly blessed yesterday in hearing dear Mr. H—, and have had as one of the days of the Son of man in my soul today. It is a most timely blessing, for my heart is peculiarly exercised. It has been singing with the thorn at my bosom, and the cross on my back. But the presence of my precious Jesus makes me sing, anywhere and anyhow. Oh, dearest Lord, do stay with me; do separate me from everything that grieves You; and do grant me the "Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge" of Jesus Christ.
October 23rd.—"Behold my hands and feet, that it is I myself." "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." A faith's view of Jesus does make the heart rejoice. Oh, open my understanding in the Scriptures, that I may see Jesus in every part. Oh, for much heart-burning, through His talking "with us by the way."
October 29th.—I thirst and long to be absorbed in You, and used for You, and must sing to Your praise of— "Sovereign grace o'er sin abounding."
Blessed Spirit, ever give me lively actings of faith upon the glorious Person and finished work of this Immaculate Lamb. Feeding upon Him, I shall grow more and more out of love with self, and all that is not of the Father. And now I go forth "up and down in the name of the Lord," by the anointing of the Spirit of truth.
November 5th.—Ebenezer! "He gives food in due season." He touches the upper springs, and the heart runs over; He touches the nether springs, and the cup runs over. "He has remembered me in my low estate: for His mercy endures forever." He first delivered me in the trouble by His own love and presence, and then delivered me in a measure out of the trouble, that is, as to present straitness. I must sing of the mercies of the Lord, which are forever and ever. Precious Lord, You have revealed Yourself in me, the last few weeks, and taken away all strangeness. Oh, stay, ever stay, and keep me from dishonoring You in any way.
November 12th.—My heart mourns for my country. It is a time of war, and hundreds of our fellow-countrymen are slain. O Lord, if You are on our side, give success to our armies, and end the bloody strife.
November 19th.—Romaine says, "The way to live for Jesus is to live on Him." This is a true witness, and is what I seek.
November 26th, Sacrament-day.—I am much abased in my own sight, because of sin. "O Lord, You know my foolishness, and my sins are not hidden from You." I know that the precious blood of my Surety has atoned for them all. But I loathe the evil working of my nature. Dearest Lord, hear the cry of my heart, which cannot be put in words, and with precious blood purge my conscience, and fully restore my soul to the simplicity which is in You. You alone did teach me the life of faith. Oh, renew that teaching amidst all discouragements! Work for your own glory. Lord, hear the groaning for our country and soldiers. Lord, pardon, spare, save, and restore peace. Lord, humble us as a nation before You.
December 10th.—For a week after the above "I sunk in the mire where there was no standing." My case grew very heavy. Then came Psalm 126:5, with a little power and sweetness, "Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy." Jesus whispered in my heart the precious words, "Child, your sins are forgiven." Thus has the Lord brought me up out of the depths little by little, feeding me with spiritual "food convenient for me." Ever praised be Your holy name, whose right hand and holy arm has gotten the victory over all my foes.
December 16th.—Last evening Isaiah 25:5, came to my mind very sweetly: "The noise of strangers," that tumult of thoughts within, which hinders quiet meditation and communion. But it says here, the Lord will bring it down, "like the heat in a dry place." Lord, "do as You have said," Let it be so experimentally in my soul. Let strangers' voices by You be silenced,
"And You alone be heard to speak,
And Jesus reign alone."
December 24th.—Happy Christmas-eve! Welcome, thrice welcome, into our flesh, O glorious Prince of Peace. What a moist root You are in our dry ground: what a bright Sun in our shadow of death, which You have, indeed, turned into the morning. Oh, for privilege to come by faith to Bethlehem, and afresh to see You arise upon our dark world: to see You coming from the virgin's womb, as a bridegroom coming from his chamber, to claim for himself his betrothed bride. For this You came from the heaven of heavens to Bethlehem's manger—made royal by Your presence. You were born to die! You did die to redeem; You did redeem to possess and to enjoy. I, worthless as I am, am part of Your purchase, "to make mention of Your righteousness, even of Yours alone," for "it is finished" and complete. So I henceforth would cease from my own broken works, and by faith be searching into these unsearchable riches of You, my glorious Christ. Oh, blessed Jesus, deign to spend Christmas with me. Come, and make the feast. I am sure we follow You too far off. Draw us to Your feet, to Your bosom. Bless and comfort each precious son and daughter in Zion who may be in affliction or perplexity. Make this night bright with Your presence.
Christmas-day.—Was not well enough to go to W—. The tabernacle shakes—but I have "a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Precious Jesus, again I rejoice in Your lowly birth, which was the first step to Your wondrous death. Oh! come nearer; be more and more fully revealed in this heart, which longs to be filled with the fullness of You. Order every step in the wilderness; cause me to speak of You in life and in death. Oh, demonstrate to the living in Jerusalem that a life of faith in You is to Your praise. Embalm me for the death and burial of the body; or rather, perfume me, that I may be a sweet savor of You, as You are to me.
December 26th.—It has been a great trial to me for my illness to be known. But my health has so failed, that I have thought it necessary, and the Lord has truly blessed me in the deed, as He said, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you." Again I beg You to consecrate this affliction all to Yourself, and grant a rich blessing to all concerned in it, that Your joy may swallow up creature-sorrow. Be seen, heard, felt; be praised and crowned by me, and my companions, in drinking Marah's stream.
December 27th.—I am very happy in my precious Lord. If You will be glorified through this trial, I will, for Your sake, forget the shame, and "rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." I did not expect such rich cordials, after all my unfaithfulness to You. Surely You have "kept the best wine until now." Oh, grant that my beloved friends and I may drink together of the spiced wine of Your love. I do sing with love and wonder, "Grace, grace unto it!"
December 31st, Sacrament-day.—My glorious Lord, You have crowned this year with Your loving-kindness to my soul. My remaining steps may be few. The sentence of death is openly declared in my leprous house. I humbly and confidingly embrace You as my life, and peace, and pardon; my purity, my joy, and my all. I ask to be led by the blessed Spirit afresh into the love scenes of solemn Gethsemane and Calvary. May I see You baptized in suffering for me; and may I, by Your Spirit, be baptized into Your death, as my only victory over self. You have gone through the dark river when its waters were at their highest. Lord, comfort me when I follow You there; and may the blessed Spirit write the last pages of my life with CHRIST in Your own living characters—that He may be exalted and honored, and I lost sight of in Him.
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