Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 1st.—Precious Jesus, be manifestly with me in each flood and fire of tribulation, and in the swellings of Jordan. Oh! ripen me to be gathered in. Do sanctify all present and future trials. I do not mellow and mature under Your much discipline as I desire. I see others so much more profiting by it than I. Blessed Spirit, exercise me thereby, and cause the peaceable fruits of righteousness to be yielded. I have been thinking of the prayer of Jabez. Dear Lord, so let it be; and on Mount Gerizim be my dwelling-place. Amen. Amen.
January 27th, Sacrament-day.—A season of peculiar temptation. James 1:12. Oh! for grace to endure; and to have the blessing. Sweet are the thoughts of a once-tempted Savior. He will not leave me in the enemy's hands. Oh! no, my Lord; You will conquer in me as You have for me. Oh! strengthen my faith to cleave to You through all, and to cleave to Your will, however contrary to my own sense and reason.
February 6th.—The first chapter of "Thoughts in Suffering" has proved quite a balm to my wearied soul this evening. To the Lord be the praise for this streamlet in my wilderness! I do love anything that tends to encourage faith, and to discover any corner of unbelief in which I am hiding. That which makes manifest is light.
February 24th, Sacrament-day.—Afresh have I presented a hard case to the King at His table today, and watch for an answer of peace. I do long to be all-absorbed in love Divine. This is my own dear element, where only my soul can thrive and be happy. Praise and thanksgiving for the mercies and teachings of the past month. Oh! to spend this one in Gethsemane and Calvary. An Ebenezer for our dear country, in that our rulers have prevented the desecration of the Sabbath which some desired to bring about; in vain the heathen rage, when the Lord is on our side.
March 14th.—"Do you see yonder shining light?" said Evangelist to Christian. "I think I do," said the other. "Then towards it you must run." And surely this morning the shining light of glory beams in the distance; and, through the crevices of this decaying body, I behold it, and towards it I must run, leaving my mortal interests behind. "To depart to be with Christ" is far better; and these gleams are tokens to me of that joy's approach.
March 16th.—Very feeble—but happy in Jesus, the blessed "Sun of Righteousness," who is chasing away some mists that have for some time in a measure bedimmed my soul. Oh! how glorious, how loving He is. I do wonder why dear saints do not talk with more ardor about Him who has, in love to our souls, brought them up from the pit of corruption. But oh! what it cost Him. Price beyond all computing. Heaven's richest treasure paid for worms of earth!
Precious Lord, Your dealings in providence the last year have been mysterious—but all blessed. You have dried up streams to bring me nearer to You, the Fountain. I have formerly been too anxious, and Your way of lessening the care is just leaving me less of earth's store to be anxious about. Beautiful and wonderful is Your working. Blessed are You!
March 21st, Good Friday.—I went to the house of God this morning. It is said of our dear Lord's crucifixion, that "there were women beholding afar off." I have today been like one of these as to feeling, for I have been looking after a crucified Savior, and the scene of His sufferings. But have not been standing at His cross, and hearing His precious words, as I did last Good Friday. My blessed Lord, "Your will be done."
March 27th.—O Lord, You have this morning fully proved that You know the thoughts of the heart, and have kindly answered the little weak faith which went out upon Your all-fullness. Oh! the wonders and blessedness of union to such a rich Husband, who thought not His own precious blood too much for my ransom! Eternal praises to the worthy Lamb!
March 28th.—I praise You and bless You, O Lord God of my Father, and my God in covenant forever and ever. I humbly and heartily thank You that You have heard my voice out of the depths, and this day have granted me relief. I must still lift up my eyes unto You, for You the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are "the everlasting hills" from whence comes my help.
March 30th, Morning.—Acts 9:6 was shown to me spiritually and experimentally last evening, as referring to Jesus. He is my city "of refuge," "of habitation," "of defense;" and, entering into Him by faith, and there abiding, I shall be told by the Lord what He will have me do for His glory. Oh! it is in the city, even in Jesus, that we hear the King's voice, and see the King's face. Afterwards, in Isa. 66:13, I saw the city again. Jerusalem was the city of the great King; it was the place of worship, and of sacrifice; and in the holy life, sufferings, and death of Jesus is our city and temple; in Him we find most acceptable sacrifice! Ps. 40:8; Luke 22:42; Heb. 9:14.
Also, as brought experimentally into Him, we get the sacrifice of a broken heart; Ps. 51:17; Matt. 21:44; and of a resigned will, which is one part of true spiritual worship, besides the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving; Ps. 22:22; 84:4; and the power to do good and to share—with which sacrifices, God is well pleased. Oh! what a city of store and blessing is our precious Jesus. Dwelling in Him, the "lofty city" of self is brought down and laid low. Isa. 25:12. He makes us poor in spirit, and then causes the feet of the poor to tread it down. Isa. 26:Oh! to dwell by faith in the spiritual Jerusalem in daily self-sacrifice. My very soul says, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after," etc. Ps. 27:4.
What a wonderful book is God's Bible, as opened to the heart by the Spirit! Christ is the key which fits every lock, both in the book and in the heart. My soul is satisfied with marrow and fatness. How I long to open to other dear ones the secret of joy in the Lord. But they are affrighted at the rough way to it, for we must "pass through the valley of the shadow of death," yes, self must be crucified with Christ; and they are afraid to die, and "venture to be nothing." But oh! the eternal sweets which open in resurrection glory, when the lofty city is laid in the dust, when He lives in me, and I in Him.
April 20th.—I have had much conflict the past week; sorely cast down, on account of my useless, unprofitable life. This morning was favored again to go up to the Lord's house, and I trust the sermon was edifying and humbling; there was much to suit my case; text, 2 Peter 3:18. Blessed Lord, I fear I am not growing in grace. Oh! search and see my case, and minister thereto for Your own glory. I do seem to see today that Satan has been consulting to cast me down from Christ my excellency. I cry to You, my Lord, against him! Oh! renew my faith.
April 27th, Sacrament-day.—I am too weak to write much. I have been to the table spread for the poor, and have given myself afresh to the Lord, with earnest desires to be nothing at all. The last month full of mercy—but shaded as to actual communion. For this to be restored, I do, my dear Lord, anxiously plead; nothing can compensate for it. Oh! hear and answer, to the joy of my heart and the glory of Your name. For the love, blood, sufferings, and death of my Savior, eternal thanks to my covenant God. I fall my whole weight on You, my precious Jesus.
May 4th, Sabbath.—Dear A— and I have had letters of perplexity. We spread them together before the King, and found Him come as the dew upon our souls. It was a time of refreshing.
May 8th.—Surely I ought to record as a waymark that this passage, "He who endures to the end shall be saved," has been verified the last few weeks, upon the matter for which they were given, April 15th, 1855. To the Lord be all the praise! He only can enable us to endure, and He must bring the salvation.
May 10th.—"O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endures forever." This morning favored to hear the Word preached with profit to my soul; text, Rom. 2:21, 22. Bless the Lord for such a joyful sound! the righteousness of God for poor sinners like me, whom the law has killed, and Christ has made alive, by the power of His resurrection. I had a blessed time on Friday evening. I was panting and pining for Jesus, and how welcome was His dear presence to my heart, which again He condescended to make His guest-chamber. Oh, come dearest Lord, and dwell forever there. You alone must be my companion and solace, and You must be my veil and covering from all besides. Strange and mysterious is my path. Afresh my heart has said, "None but Jesus!"
May 13th.—Local rejoicings on account of peace restored. The God of peace be praised for this great blessing to the nations of the earth. He surely has heard the cry of His own elect. The 53rd of Isaiah has been sweet to me. I can just see that there are great glories within it, and I am knocking for opening into them. Oh! I must follow hard after Him who is "our peace." My soul pants to be all-absorbed in that once-suffering now glorified Savior. I have seen much in these two passages, Ps. 45:2; and Isa. 52:14. "You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace." "His appearance was so disfigured that He did not look like a man, and His form did not resemble a human being." Love unutterable! Wonders inconceivable! From all the sights and sounds of earth I gladly turn, to seek for new beholdings of this wonder "done under the sun."
Oh, my Father, grant me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Your beloved Son, in whose face You give us the knowledge of Your glory. Oh, bless all my loved ones with like favor. "How greatly I long after them all in the affections of Jesus Christ." Oh, draw us, quicken us, call us onward; for how slowly and feebly do we press after the prize. Thanks and praise for this day of peace in Jesus, with some "joy in the Lord." This is a drop. But oh! there is an ocean-fullness yet to be enjoyed! Oh! pour out Your Spirit. Ebenezer!
May 18th, Sacrament-day.—I have had a blessed communion season, and have seen afresh what a glorious shelter and hiding-place is our precious Christ; how the vials of wraths must have long since been poured on a guilty world—but for His covenant undertakings and accomplishments. I have felt much glory in these words, "Your life is hidden with Christ in God." The enemy aims at this precious life—but he can never touch it. This is a cordial to my soul. I do enjoy this sacred ordinance. It is to me one of those gates at which many pleasant fruits have been laid up by my Beloved, and all flowing through His bleeding heart. The well of Bethlehem was opened on Calvary for thirsty souls—
"There Jesus' blood in rivers flowed,
For love of worthless me."
Eternal praises to the Lamb who was slain! Oh, what a banquet we shall have above! Even here we have precious sips from the streams of salvation. But there will be an eternal draught of the river of life! The poorest of all Your living creatures humbly sues for more outflowing of faith, and inflowing of Your love this month in near communion, making me much less, and exalting You more and more. And oh, my precious Lord, while touching the scepter, I beg to plead for my loved ones who are sick, tried, or tempted, and for those dead ones for whom I travail in birth. Oh, quicken them, and increase soul-communion with saints in You. Ps. 71:16.
June 1st, Sabbath.—I have been thinking how natural things are types of spiritual. Before noon, our black shadow is seen in front of us. When the sun is vertical, there is no shadow. And, after noon, it is cast behind us. So before Christ, our Sun of Righteousness, was fully revealed in my soul, though walking towards Him, sin and self were ever before me. Ps. 51:3. When He was revealed in His glory, sin and self disappeared, and all was love, joy, and peace. Now, in the afternoon of my experience, they are in measure cast behind me; they are not between me and my Beloved, for I have "set the Lord always before me;" and, looking unto Him by faith, I am lightened. The dark shadow, or old man—is behind, though still it follows closely; and, alas! at times, I turn to it from my glorious Sun, and then all is gloom indeed.
June 5th.—Have I sinned, O Lord? If so, pardon me, I humbly beseech You, and bring Your glory out of all that concerns me, while I in the dust am lower and lower laid. I do commit all to You, who judges righteously, and tries the thoughts and the heart. Help me to endure, and let precious blood cleanse away what is wrong in this matter.
June 6th.—I have spoken unadvisedly with my lips, and fly to the blood of atonement. Oh, that I could have endured all meekly and silently! Let Your multiplied pardons be felt in all my transgressions. Through rich mercy my heart has just been melted, at the thought of Peter wanting to make tabernacles on the mount for Moses and Elijah with Jesus. But no, they must pass away—type, shadow, prophecy, and law service must give place to the substance. And oh, how favored to be found with "Jesus only!" yet we fear to enter into the cloud of separation through which we arrive at it. I see more than I can express in the withdrawing of Moses and Elijah. Things which have been highly prized and made real blessings must give place to Jesus. "Hear Him!"
June 16th.—Very full blessings has the Lord vouchsafed to me during the past week, and my glorious Christ has been to me "a place of broad rivers and streams" in this dry and thirsty land. He has sweetly manifested Himself to me on Mount Ebal, in reading Deut. 27. The blessed Spirit seemed to show me that Calvary was Mount Ebal to me, where I sit in the dust at the foot of the cross, hearing the solemn thunderings of the law, "Cursed, cursed, cursed," which I have thoroughly deserved. But beholding them fall short of me, and rest upon my adorable Surety—the suffering Lamb sacrificed for us. Oh, what blessedness flowed into my soul! it seemed as if Mount Ebal had become Mount Gerizim. My precious Bridegroom was made a curse for me, and every open vein seemed as a mouth proclaiming to me "Blessed, blessed, blessed," in time and eternity. Then did I feelingly understand how on Mount Ebal we eat and drink by faith the flesh and blood of our Paschal Lamb, and rejoice before the Lord, and find the peace-offering in the place of curses (verse 6, 7), which is just where we need it. Truly, here our Father supplies our need "according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
I have also been richly enjoying those two expressive words, "in Christ." Throughout eternity, we shall never fathom the depth or reach the height of that blessedness. O Lord, grant me further entrance into it now. Exercise me in the written Word by the Spirit, showing me therein the Incarnate Word. Adorable Immanuel, Moses wrote of You, the Psalms and prophets speak of You. Open my dull understanding to discern You through the types and through the shadows. Show Yourself through these lattices, and open my heart to receive You experimentally in all, and my mouth to show forth Your praise everywhere. Bodily strength increases, I do long to devote it to You. "Eternity will be too short to utter half Your praise." Oh, cause me to lisp it more constantly and feelingly in the low notes of the wilderness!
July 6th, Sabbath.—Heard dear Mr. H— most blessedly from Prov. 12:9. The saints, the despised—Christ their Servant. Oh, the wonder of wonders, that such a worm as I should have such a Royal Servant! It was a time of love and praise!
July 13th.—Received much blessing in hearing Mr. G— from Ps. 119:41, "Let Your faithful love come to me, Lord, Your salvation, as You promised." I felt I was under the wing, under the skirt, and under the arm of my Beloved. The wing to heal and nourish (Mal. 4:2); the skirt of righteousness to cover (Ezek. 16:8); and the arm to protect—and that arm looked so strong that it would ward off anything. It was a blessed season in a time of trial. He may try sharply—but I believe He will preserve and bless. He never will put faith to shame. Mine is very weak. But oh, I cannot tell what sweet assurances the Lord puts into my heart; and, while some dear saints condemn me because I speak so little of corruptions, and am ready to think I have no exercises, the Lord is exercising me touchingly in His own way. Oh, my blessed Lord, I praise You for Your sweet supporting and delivering mercies, which come even unto me. "Guide me, O great Jehovah!"
July 22nd, Tuesday.—"Mary sat still in the house;" but when she heard that Jesus was come, and called for her, "she arose quickly, and came unto Him." I am sorely distressed about doing so little for the Lord. But this morning He has graciously opened to me the Word in Jer. 35:7. There I saw how the Rechabites were unlike all the rest of the Israelites, just as I feel unlike the Lord's people around me; yet they had a blessing in obeying their father. Afterwards, He showed me the Martha and the Mary character, both in the living family—but so opposite. I saw there must always be Maries at the feet of Jesus, and that there was my place, and when I stray from it, I mar my usefulness instead of increasing it; for I am just to be a savor of Him to the two or three He may send, and to be much in supplications for many. Oh, this teaching did take a weight from my heart, whereby I believe Satan was consulting to cast me down from my excellency; and through this lattice my precious Lord revealed Himself a little to this longing heart.
July 26th, Sacrament-day.—I have had some blessing in the Lord's house today, some Divine dew at the King's table; and liberty to present petitions, and to confess my sins upon the head of the precious Scapegoat. O Lord, I cast myself and my weights upon You. Oh, rebuke Satan, where he has been so oppressing me. Make me look unto Jesus more singly and simply, then would Satan be oftener defeated. And now, my blessed Lord, manifest Your precious Self to Your poor weary pilgrim, for You are my rest and my refreshing!
August 3rd, Sabbath-morning.—"Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me." I have just found some support in the above words as regards my experimental case, which is like "the valley of the shadow of death;" but my precious Lord is with me, though unseen.
August 13th.—Last evening I was favored to hear with power a sermon from these words, "Yet has He devised means that His banished should not be expelled from Him." The subject was handled in a threefold way—the banished by the fall—brought back in regeneration; the banished by backsliding—brought back by healing them; and the body banished in the grave—brought back at the resurrection.
August 15th.—"Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof," has truly been my feeling this morning. Yesterday I was much tried, and longed for the sensible presence of my Beloved. But this morning I feel more like Peter, when he said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Nothing but Jesus can satisfy me, and without Him all is dreary. But to lie with my mouth in the dust seems more fitting for me, than to banquet with the King. Oh, my Lord, lay me low, and keep me there. You know my abasings. I desire to serve You—but cannot attain to it.
August 16th.—I am experimentally passing over a boggy place, where continually I sink into some evil of my fallen nature—into sins and evil propensities which seemed crucified—but now come forth again very boldly. It is most trying, and deeply abasing. I can only cleave to my crucified Surety, who has borne all my "sins in His own body on the tree," and whose precious blood cleanses from it all. Blessed Lord, You know all I suffer, and how I loathe the evil. Let it be for Your exaltation, a fresh crowning You Lord of all, while I lie low in the dust at Your dear pierced feet. I have had some melting of heart about the "bitter herbs" of sin, of which my precious Jesus partook. If He had not, there would have been no Paschal Lamb for me. But now, even I eat that wondrous food. "That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast." Exodus 12:8
August 31st, Sacrament-day.—I had a refreshing communion season today—but not a full banquet, and was brought to resign frames and feelings to my precious Lord, to give me what will most honor Him, and to
"Keep me still in faith abiding—
Life deriving from His death."
I "bless God for Jesus Christ," and long for more revealings of His glorious Person and matchless love. My mind is perplexed about going to Filey. Lord, make Your way plain before my face.
September 3rd.—Many sweet words have been given me about going to Filey (Isaiah 65:8; Exod. 33:15; Psalm 121:8). But there are mountains of difficulty. Father, accomplish Your will, and glorify Your Name.
September 7th.—The past week has been one of mountains and mercies. O my Lord, I cannot praise You enough, for You have done wonderful things. You have put it into the heart of kind friends to take me to the sea, having Yourself provided for it. Oh, do get glory out of it, for You have turned my captivity and blessed my soul, since I was made willing to go.
September 14th.—"He blessed him there," is written of Jacob, and so it may be truly said of us at Filey. Oh, what blessed heavenly lessons have we had from the Spirit, and how have our hearts burned within us in fresh enjoyment of a precious Jesus, and His all-fullness! Oh that my mouth may be opened to testify of Him to the profit of some redeemed soul!
September 17th, Wednesday.—Filey is to us, indeed, in difficulties and deliverances, "a land of hills and valleys," and truly it drinks water of the rain of heaven, for here our precious Lord has come down as the rain upon our souls.
September 25th.—Yesterday we went to see what is called the Bridge—but it is more like a natural pier. It is composed of immense rough pieces of rock, jutting far out into the sea, which dashes its waves on and over it, so that at high-water much of it is covered. In one place there is a mass of huge stones, over which we have to scramble. While looking at one of these with a rough surface, like a large honeycomb, in the cavities of which water was standing, and at another next to it quite smooth, I thought they were an emblem of two believers, one constantly tried with waters of a fall cup wrung out to him, the other less exercised—but both placed by covenant love upon the same Rock. I enjoyed this. But, while walking back again, the rough stone was strikingly placed before my mind, with these words, "His visage was marred more than any man's." Here I saw my blessed Jesus having the preeminence in suffering. The waters came in unto His soul. "All Your waves and Your billows" went over Him. Hence the Church is, in comparison with Him, like the smooth stone, for all her sorrows are lightened and sweetened by His having gone before in the tribulated path, and taken away all the curse. My soul melted under this teaching. This morning I have had fresh honey from the Rock in several passages of the word (John 15:5, last clause; Heb. 7:25; Acts 2:18). Truly this Filey journey is a wonderful dispensation. It has been to me both a place of straits and of deliverances.
October 15th.—It is ten years today since my dear mother's sleeping dust was committed to the tomb, and there it rests, part of the dust of the spiritual Zion to which Jehovah has an eternal favor; and He has set a time when He will visit it again, and raise it up in the incorruptible image and perfect likeness of the glory-Man, the precious second Adam, who will awaken His sleeping bride to be with Him forever. My dear mother, these are your prospects and mine, through free grace and everlasting love. I sorrow not as those without hope—but while lovingly remembering you, I look soon to be where you are, not to gaze upon you—but upon Jesus forever and ever.
October 19th.—Very great blessedness do I find in a life of faith. I quite marvel at what my dear Lord does for unworthy me in each new dispensation of Providence. My precious Jesus is just what suits me in every case and every place. Oh, what a gift has my Father bestowed! Never, in all eternity, shall we fully learn His glories, beauty, and love. He will be ever revealing Himself more and more, and filling all our enlarging powers with ineffable and now inconceivable bliss! How I long that dear saints were more completely enamored and taken up with Him. Oh, beloved Bridegroom, take us wholly and absorb us with Yourself, and use us for Your glory. You have lived, died, and risen again for us. You have bought us with Your precious blood, and we are altogether Your own. To the glorious Triune Jehovah be endless, boundless praise!
October 26th, Sacrament-day.—"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." The blessed "Man Christ Jesus," seen by faith in the sanctuary or elsewhere, does so enliven his poor sinner friend. "It is good for me to draw near to God," entering "into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise." I seem to have more cause for praise than anything else. I cannot recount a tenth of the blessedness enjoyed. It is not that all is smooth to flesh and blood—but it is abiding in Jesus, instead of conferring with flesh. It is not that flesh grows more holy—but it is apprehending Christ as my holiness, and in His death finding its crucifixion. Oh, the life of faith is wonderful. Blessed Spirit, lead me on in this path of life, so hidden that nature's keen eye never saw it—but "the new man" joyfully walks in it while "the old man" is crucified with Christ. All praise to my Lord that I know the experience of this new-covenant secret. Hold up my steps in this "highway of holiness," until I leave the body and mortality.
My natural health improves by sea-air—but the disease slowly progresses. My precious Lord seemed today to ask me if I could accept longer life cheerfully for His sake. I hesitated, longing to take anything He pleases—but wishing also to be absent from this leprous house of clay, and present with the Lord. I have felt afraid because I could not joyfully take the cup of life—but am now comforted by the words of Paul (Phil. 1:23). Dear, precious Lord, I am willing to tarry Your time, if to me to live may be Christ, and all my powers of mind and body be filled with Him and used for Him. Oh! the superabounding mercies which have been mine for the last two months, the last ten years—yes, during my whole life. Dark things and bright, painful and pleasing, have been made to "work together for good" by my gracious God. I marvel and adore. Oh, why am I in the covenant of life and peace? Why am I in Christ? chosen to salvation and brought to sanctification of the Spirit, and saving belief of the truth? Why am I shut in and not shut out? "Even so, Father; for so it seems good in Your sight." Oh, let me be a ten-stringed instrument, tuned and touched by the Spirit to praise You below and above.
November 9th, Sabbath.—
"What is this which absorbs me quite?
Steals my senses [from earth], shuts my sight [on creatures],
Drowns my spirits [in love], draws my breath [in adoration and praise]?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death?"
Yes! Crucifixion with Jesus, which kills to all but Himself, and through which His resurrection glories beam upon me in love and loveliness, taking my heart away. Such were my thoughts and feelings while sitting in the house of God this morning. I had also some little beam of the glories of the divine Trinity. Jehovah, as a Spirit, did break through the crust of flesh into "the new man." I long for further revelation therein—but it is sovereignly bestowed, and quite out of the reach of human intellect. My glorious Jesus is to me a land of delights. I have this day had experience of those words, "I bore you on eagle's wings, and brought you unto myself."
December 7th, Sacrament-day.—At His holy table today, my faith seemed fed and strengthened by the precious flesh and blood of Jesus. How did I realize His finished work, sin made an end of, and righteousness brought in. The way of faith seemed opened afresh. I could only weep at His dear feet, who was pierced for me. He is my own vine and fig-tree, and, sitting under His shadow, none can make me afraid. Dear Lord, keep me there.
"Bruised Bridegroom, take me wholly,
Take and make me what You will."
December 14th.—"The oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat good grain, its chaff having been blown away by the wind." Isaiah 30:24. These words have been a good deal on my mind lately, and today I see that the Lord gave the desire, and is fulfilling it, by sending me the teaching and preaching of Christ, "with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven." Ten thousand thanks be unto You, my blessed Lord; this is the instruction which is food to my soul. Oh! continue it to us, that "we may grow up into Him [our living Head], in all things." Lord, pour out Your Spirit largely upon my dear people. Oh! grant us a blessed personal revival.
December 18th.—The Spirit leads into all truth (John 15:13, 14) and makes us to know the things which are freely given to us of God (1 Cor. 2:10, 12); therefore, when we are rejoicing in the truth, and walking in it, delighting in Christ and His benefits, which are the things freely given to us of God, then are we walking in the Spirit who has made them known unto us.
SELF-EXAMINATION—when the leper first discovers his miserable malady, he will be examining himself and his symptoms continually. But when cured, the command is, "Go, show yourself to the priest," and from thenceforward his health will be most promoted by examining the wonders of his cure, and the person and work of his healing Savior. Jesus is our life, health, and strength, and when He is revealed in the soul, then begins a life of faith, not in the miseries of self—but in Him.
ACCEPTANCE IN CHRIST.—This is a fact and blessing sure to all the chosen seed, from eternity. The sense or enjoyment of it is brought into the soul when the blessed Spirit makes the fact known, and brings home the blessing. But when the sense of it is gone for a time, then is faith to go out upon the fact, which remains still the same. Faith has to do with fact; sense cannot go beyond feeling. There is much contrariety of opinion working at this time in some whom I know on these subjects; they are contending that faith is only passive, and can only act when the soul is enjoying sensible manifestation: while a few believe that where Christ is revealed, the soul is to abide in Him by faith, and that so abiding, the Spirit is plentifully enjoyed, and thereby faith goes out upon Jesus amidst all the changes in self and feeling.
December 21st.—Rom. 12:1, with Judges 6:20, 26. Ps. 20:3. Christ is our Rock; on Him we must present our bodies a living sacrifice. And this fire will consume the power of the flesh in its carnal workings; sin shall not have dominion over us. Oh! precious Jesus, as I see more and more the great blessedness of abiding in You and walking in You—then do I abundantly realize the privileges of union, and that all my weights are even Yours (we two—being one). I praise You for fresh opening in the blissful secrets of union. You have seen my anguish for lack of it. You have seen some beguiling from the simplicity which is in You, through some aged and experienced ones of Your children urging me to look into self, although You have taught me the contrary. I was somewhat turning back to this folly, through a feeling of their superiority, and fearing to be too bold. Oh! pardon Your vilest worm, and fully restore me to the dear losing place where self is forsaken, and You are all in all.
The last three or four months You have been graciously working towards this end, giving me much wrestling and travail of soul for it, with increasing blessedness in You. I cannot be thankful enough, and would still press on towards the mark. As the Eolian harp vibrates to the wind, so may every chord in my soul vibrate to the breath of the Spirit who testifies of Jesus. And as Echo repeats the sound given, so may my inmost soul receive and reverberate the Spirit's testimony of my Beloved; and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shall be honored in me. My temporal strait continues—but You, my precious Lord, are so precious, that I seem as if I must abide in You, and lovingly wait Your will.
December 25th, Christmas-day, Morning.—I have had a restless night—my soul seeking earnestly to praise my precious Savior, and Satan at my right hand to resist me. Oh, what an awful fiery dart did he cast against my God about permitting sin to need such cost for its remission. Oh it was fearful. I could only keep saying, "I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker," and "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh."
Afternoon.—Heard Mr. H— this morning from Matt. 21:5. Many things suitable to me, especially James 1:12, which he quoted. My precious Lord will rebuke Satan, and in Him I shall be more than conqueror. It has been sharp work today—songs and sighs mingling with my prayers. When Mr. H— said "Christ came to do the Father's will," great glory beamed in my soul, in seeing how the image of God in our nature was lost, when the first Adam acted in his own will contrary to the revealed will of God, "You shall not eat of it." Then how the Word "was made flesh;" how He passed by the nature of angels, and took hold of our nature to do therein the will of His Father, and restore the image of God—but much more gloriously than it was possessed by the first man, even in his innocence, and I saw that He must do the will of God in us as He has done it for us. Adam had the image of God passively, if I may so speak. But when that image had to be carried out actively in doing His will, so that every action should be a reflection of God's glory, herein he failed, preferring the image of himself, even his wife and her will, to the image and will of God. He sought his food in doing the will of the creature—but it proved deceitful food; so that instead of being "as Gods" they became as devils, thenceforward having a disposition to do Satan's works rather than the works of God. Thus was human nature in the first Adam spoiled to good and prone to evil, and in this state it has been communicated from the parents to the children ever since; so that "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags."
But oh! how precious it is to my heart to see the second Adam, who is the image of God again in human flesh, taking up our nature by a conception immediately of God, thereby showing that HE can be clean who is born of woman, because He is not the seed of fallen man—but of God alone. Into that stable at Bethlehem He comes, even through the lowly door of the virgin's womb, "made under the law." Under it He was to work, and walk, and think, and speak. In His circumcision He acknowledged Himself a debtor to keep the whole law, and that not in a compulsory but in a voluntary way. So that if He had failed in one point, His Church, for whom He stood, must have been lost forever. One feeling or thought of sin, would have brought condemnation to Bridegroom and bride, for He had so married her and her interests, that they must stand or fall together. He must be justified by the Lawgiver for her. "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."
Oh, what a burden did He take on His shoulders, what a work in His hands, when He came, as the second man—not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it! Oh, wondrous birthday this which we commemorate, when God Himself came down to do the will of God in human flesh, and thus to raise to His Throne the objects of His choice, for whom He thus a Servant would become. I marvel and adore; and oh, my Lord, I lovingly beg for deeper entrance into this deep "mystery of godliness." Blessed Spirit, lead me on in meditation, while You testify of Christ Jesus, for only in union to Him can I live in the Divine will, doing that will from the heart in my life below.
Another beam of glory I see in that as He, the Head and Husband, was born of God and of His will; so also are all His members (which are His bride), "born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man—but of God."
Nothing is a greater hindrance than the creature-will; for whatever (in this sense) "is born of the flesh, is flesh." Hence the apostle denounces all "will-worship;" and the more we are enabled by the Spirit to walk in Him who did the will of God perfectly, the more clearly shall we discover what is the working of the creature-will, and the more hateful will it be. We shall then see how many strange children it has begotten us, which were not fruit unto God, and we shall cry, "Rid me and deliver me from the hand of strange children" etc. (Psalm 144:11). Oh, I see there is no self-glorying here. But as the First-begotten of God sought not His own glory—but His Father's, so His seed in us will do the same, and the more so, the more it thrives and grows.
I can heartily join one who has said something like this, "I would that Your love in me should judge and consume all that is not of You." I see what creature-will has done for me to Your dishonor. Oh, turn me fully, wholly to Yourself, my most precious Immanuel! Words cannot express the heavenly lessons of these silent hours with You. Wherein my enemies have dealt proudly, You have been above them, and spread me a royal table in their presence. To Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be endless praises!
December 28th, Sacrament-day.—It is a time of storms—but oh, what mercies! Help me to trust You in the dark, and in Your own time open to me the treasures of this darkness, and the hidden riches of Your "secret places." I believe You are with me, my most glorious and precious Lord, though You do not fully show Yourself. I am in the valley—but I desire to be sowing there in faith and prayer by the power of the Spirit, and I believe You will make "the fruits of the valley" to flourish—though now You will me to follow You "in a land not sown." Amen.
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