Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 1st, Sacrament-day, Morning.—I am very suffering in body—but I hope the Lord will strengthen me to go up to the feast this evening. Precious Melchizedek, meet us with bread and wine, give it to us Yourself, and give Yourself in it. Let the dew of Hermon fall copiously today, and may many a dry fleece be refreshingly wet. Oh, remember and visit our souls daily with Your mercy this new year. I may be nearly at home—You only know. But be more honored in and by me. My strong desire this morning is more entire devotedness to You and Your service. Oh, grant it by Divine anointing, and let the grape gleanings of my death be more than the vintage of my life, for the glory of Your precious name, and for the good of precious souls. "The joy of the Lord is your strength," this is sweet, in my suffering state. Let nothing ever come between me and You. O, my precious Beloved, be manifestly with me in life and in death, and then receive me to be with You forever. To these poor petitions, may You be the dear "Amen." Praise the Lord, O my soul.
January 2nd.—I went up to the house of the Lord, and had some sweet inlet into the sufferings of our precious Lord and Savior. Oh, that this may be a Naphtali year, "full with the blessings of the Lord."
January 7th.—I am still in much bodily suffering—but helped on. Dear Lord, renew my faith in looking unto Jesus, and considering Him, instead of pitying myself.
January 8th.—For the last five or six weeks I have had acute and trying sufferings, with increasing weakness—but the Lord has graciously upheld me. I have not borne these trials as I would like; at times feeling fretful, and often crying out with pain, while my dear Lord was silent, and opened not His mouth, under far deeper anguish. I have asked the Lord that I might endure more to His glory. At times the enemy has thrust sore at me, and, when hearing of one who spoke sweetly of Jesus with her dying breath, it has darted through my mind, like a spear, that I should not so honor my Lord in death. Today, however, I feel encouraged that He will arise for my help, and that, though deeper sufferings seem coming on, He will enable me sensibly to triumph in Himself, and be more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. Yes, though faint and feeble, I humbly now believe that, through my God, I shall "run through this troop," "and by my God shall leap over this wall." I believe You will bruise Satan under my feet. "Rejoice not then against me, O my enemy; for, though I fall, I shall rise again." Hallelujah to God and the Lamb.
January 15th.—I will mention the mercies of the Lord, and the loving-kindness of the Lord, though in feeble strains. The Lord has fulfilled that good thing for which He caused me to hope. He has rebuked the enemy, and alleviated the severe suffering, giving a precious peace in Himself. I have felt increased weakness—but that is a favor in comparison of the fiery ordeal preceding it. Oh, do be glorified; do be honored; do let souls be edified, and sinners converted unto You; my life, my death, are Yours alone.
January 20th, Friday—A dark, winterly morning, "but the children of Israel had light in their dwellings." The light of life is here, and my soul is refreshed in Him. Precious Bible! how dear to this heart. How do those streams from the throne of God make me glad, when the blessed Spirit breathes and teaches. And how He does discover a glorious Christ in fresh places, thus dissolving my soul in "wonder, love, and praise." How full of Him are the types, Psalms, and Prophets. He is the joy of my heart, and my portion forever. Oh, my covenant God, You have given (not lent) me such a "pleasant place," such a "goodly heritage." Hallelujah!
January 29th.—I am still growing weaker in body. But I desire to look unto Jesus, and leave myself in His dear hands for life and death. Do help me to endure as seeing You. On Friday, a dear friend said to me that my heavenly Father would not lay upon me a stroke too much. I replied, "But I do not feel that He is beating me. I cannot feel so. He has put me into the furnace—but not as a punishment." Afterwards, it came sweetly into my mind, Did the Lord put the three children into the furnace because He was angry with them? No, no! It was for the trial of their faith. And for what else? For the manifestation of the Son of God. That the glorious "Fourth" might be seen by the king and his nobles, walking with His children, in heavenly calmness, amidst the fury of those flames. Oh, this did melt my heart, and make me long that my present furnace may be for the same blessed end. My dearest Lord, so let it be. Oh, come, Lord Jesus, and walk with me by day and by night. Down to the hour of dissolving nature be present, and manifested, and then be glorified in putting me to sleep in You. Not in death, as the wages of sin. No, no! You have abolished death for Your people, and only left the shadow of it as a covenant blessing. My flesh, therefore, shall rest in hope, for You are the resurrection and the life, and, through union to You, it shall be raised incorruptible. All hail! O risen Redeemer.
February 2nd.—I had a blessed season before I got up this morning, and enjoyed sweet realization of union to Jesus, as His bride. For a season I was so absorbed in the blessedness of this union, that all idea of distinct personality seemed swallowed up. The tiny spark seemed blissfully lost in the fire, and the drop in the ocean. The height of enjoyment did not continue long—but the glorious fact remains the same.
February 4th.—I have lately had some precious views of the richness and purity of the atoning blood of Jesus, by which I learn, that, though experiencing its efficacy, I know but as nothing of its intrinsic worth. The dignity of the pierced One—the holiness of His Person—and that flaming sword which awoke against Him, and smote His righteous soul in the garden, bringing through the pores of His sacred body drops of the richest blood which had ever flowed—all conspire to make it a wondrous scene to faith and love. I cannot express in words what surpassing value I saw in that blood, compared with which all the glory of creation seemed as nothing. My soul was dissolved in "wonder, love, and praise."
February 5th, Sacrament-day, Afternoon.—I had, this morning, a blessed view of the resurrection of our glorious Lord, remembering how that when the Philistines thought they had kept Samson safely enclosed in Gaza for destruction, he arose, and took away in triumph the gates of the city, with the posts and bars; and, in like manner, when the Jews and Romans thought they had got our glorious Head safe in the sepulcher, and had set their seal and their guard to retain Him there, He mightily arose, and opened the doors of the tomb, bearing away all the barriers which could have held Him or His people—not the puny seal and guard of poor mortals—but the arrest of Divine justice—the curse of the law—the sting of death—the power of the devil—so that His seed shall come forth from the grave in His own likeness, to be His glorious Hephzibah forever. All hail! O risen Head. Even now, we are virtually risen with You, seated in the heavenly places. May it be so experimentally. Oh! for more enlargement into the power of Your resurrection, not only believing the fact—but enjoying the privilege in union.
February 12th.—"How sweet to my heart is the communion of saints." This evening I have had some sweet views of a precious Jesus in the Word, and so I am helped on in the rugged path of suffering, for none but my Lord knows what I pass through.
March 5th.—Yesterday was Sacrament-day—but I was too ill to go up to the house of the Lord. I felt it a trial, for "I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your honor dwells." While reading the three last chapters of John, Jesus came in (the doors being shut) and gave me a blessed time. He was truly to me the Master of the feast, and the Substance of it, and I lacked nothing. "You have an annointing from the Holy One, and need not that any man teach you." The waters of affliction have risen higher this month—but, safe in my living Ark, I remain unhurt. It is painful to flesh and blood—but to faith all is well. I am not always light and bright in my feelings. But oh, what blessed security do I find in my precious Rock. The Lord has shut me in, into this Ark, and into the Rock forever. Happy, happy, though I am unworthy. Angels might envy our mighty joy, for they never knew what it is to rejoice in tribulation and suffering, and to feel safety, and peace, and joy in the flood and in the flame. Oh, it is so real, so very real, because contrary to every grain of the flesh. Hallelujah.
Sabbath, March 11th.—The flesh feels keenly the sufferings appointed it. But I am blessedly supported, and comforted, too. My times are in the Lord's hands, and therefore it shall be well. On Friday evening my dear friends came here for our usual prayer meeting. It did rejoice my heart to see them gathered round my bed to read the Word, and pray, and praise; it was a sacred season. Who am I, O Lord, and what is my Father's house, that You should deal thus bountifully with me? I am still in much suffering—but my glorious Head and Husband will cherish His own flesh. "Praise is lovely for the upright."
April 6th, Good Friday.—This day did my precious Lord hang on the dreadful cross, where He was made a curse for sinful me, where He had my hell, that I in Him might find eternal heaven. Now, at this time, were the precious drops flowing which were the price of my redemption—what a price! Not earthly gold, or pearls, or diamonds. But purest, richest blood—the blood of Jehovah's Fellow! Here was heaven's gold paid down on earth to ransom sinful worms! Not for angels were heaven's treasures thus poured out—but for worms. Oh! wonder of wonders! My soul marvels at such matchless love, and at the effects of it. I adore and worship You, my glorious Lord, and thank You for all Your sufferings, while I would afresh give myself to You for all Your will, and for more revelations of Yourself. My heart is full—but my body too suffering to go on. Worthy is the Lamb!
May 24th.—Hot, indeed, has been the furnace since I last wrote—but not too hot—I know the gold will not be harmed, it is the dross that does not like it, the flesh loves ease. Our dear Refiner loves us too well to give us all that the flesh desires. I can, from my heart, say, "He has done all things well," although suffering and weariness have at times made me weep before Him and beg some relief, especially when not seeing or feeling the presence of my Beloved, which has been the case lately. This morning, that word in 1 Peter 1:6-7, has been sweet, and I believe this is so with me. "You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." This poor body seems to be fast sinking into the tomb. But I sink to rise—I die to live—I sleep to wake forever!
June 11th.—I have toiled all night—but caught nothing, yet this morning my adorable Lord was pleased to draw near and refresh my spirit; and oh, what sweetness I felt in that word, Beloved—my Beloved! He put it afresh into my heart and mouth. Ever praise Him, O my soul.
June 17th.—I am quickly going down into the valley of the shadow of death, that I may rest from pain and weariness. Bodily weakness increases—but the new man is not touched. Jesus is my health, my life, my peace. I am empty and good for nothing, and yet am His fullness, and He is mine. I have a goodly heritage for time and for eternity. I often groan in spirit, and am greatly troubled concerning many of the saints of God who are so eager after the things of time. Oh! it is so sad, they do rob their souls, and know little of rejoicing in the Lord. O Lord, visit Your vine.
June 21st, Evening.—This has been a day of suffering, most trying to flesh and blood—but no cloud on the mind, although I feel quite unable to think, etc. Rather easier now, and I have just had a sweet honey-drop poured into my soul. In speaking of my sufferings now, and of what I am going to, I said, "I am going to be crowned," and then directly I thought, "What have I said?" To be crowned! Why, I never can think of my being crowned. I can love to think of seeing Jesus crowned—but never could I, a poor worm, wear a crown; so I thought, as have often done before.
But immediately the question arose, What is the crown? and the answer flowed into my soul: "The Lord Almighty shall be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to His people." Oh! I thought, the crown will be the likeness of my Lord, which I shall have. His beauty and glory shall be seen in me to His praise. My heart did leap for joy, and I thought, "Here is the Crown, none other than my glorious Lord." This crown I can wear, I long to wear it. "Then shall I be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness;" and by Your own glory in me and on me and shining through me, I shall be Your crown also. How wonderful this secret of union! It is very sweet to my poor soul.
July 1st.—"The light of the King's countenance is as a cloud of the latter rain." I have been asking for "the latter rain" according to that word in Zech. 10:1. Mr. C— used to say that time was at death; so now I seek it, and this evening my dear Lord is as dew to my soul. Precious Jesus, You are the rain, and the sun, and all we need. And shall I see You face to face? Will this veil of mortality be drawn aside, and Your open glories burst upon my freed spirit? Glorious prospect! And will sin be done away with forever? Shall pain and sorrow flee away? Then, Hallelujah to my covenant God! Happy state, though a very suffering one, for the storms of the wilderness are drawing to a close, and before me is eternal rest, in the embrace of my Beloved. I look back, and marvel at the tender mercies of my God all my life long, and now He fails me not—but is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.
July 6th.—Ebenezer! My birthday. And can it be that I still linger in the shades of mortality to see another birthday? Marvelous are Your ways, O Lord God of truth; and it is marvelous also to consider what the human frame can bear, when You afflict and sustain. But I have not a pain, or a wave too much. Flesh and blood is worn and weary many times. But You renew the "inner man," to "lie passive in Your hand, and to know no will but Yours." Blessed be Your Divine Majesty, for ever and ever, for your wonders of love to such a feeble worm! Fifty-five years have I journeyed in this great and terrible wilderness, and none could have borne with me but You! Neither could any have borne me up but You! I can never fully record Your goodness and mercy. "Eternity will not suffice to utter the half of Your praise." I wait until You shall fetch me to be with You--and behold Your glory forever! Oh! my adorable Lord, be manifestly with me in the last river. You have gone through death for me, and taken its sting away. Now let me feel You to be my eternal life. Ebenezer! Praise the Lord!
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