Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan


January 19th, Sunday.—My dear father preached this afternoon from "God is love;" evening, "Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

March 9th.—My dear father preached from the words, "But where are the nine?"

March 22nd.—My father has this week, again, been reduced very low, and little hope entertained of his recovery; but today he has revived, and our expectations are again raised. May the Lord continue the work He seems to have begun. The night before last, my dear father began to think "it was all over," and that he would soon be at rest; but we would wish, if it were possible, to keep him a little longer. May this affliction have its due influence on my mind. Hitherto, I have been very stupid, cold, and dead; prayer has been almost a burden; and at times all religious exercises could have been dispensed with. O Lord, arise and shine upon my benighted soul! arouse my sleeping powers! give me to see the multitude and magnitude of my crimes--and to fly to Jesus Christ for refuge! Tomorrow is the Sabbath; may the Divine blessing attend our engagements!

March 23rd.—My dear father is again very low and weak; the Lord only knows what will be the result of this long affliction. Talking to Mr. —, my father said, "Mercy! mercy! all is mercy on this side of hell; it is a mercy I am out of hell." Lord, restore him, hear and answer our prayer, if it is Your Divine will.

March 30th.—This hard heart! sometimes I cannot pray, and, when I do try, the heavens seem as brass to my petitions; surely there is no mercy for me. My dear, dear father gets weaker every day; he seems still to think he shall get better—Lord, grant he may! Oh, take him not away! leave, oh, leave me not fatherless! My father said to some friend, "I wonder at myself; for I have been thinking that I know the happiness and glory of heaven, and yet am not, as it were, rushing into it." At another time he said, "I would be happy to continue to work in the vineyard, if my Master would hire me." And must we part, my father, to meet no more? and shall I read this when I am a desolate orphan, and my father is singing the praises of the Lamb, and has joined the multitude which no man can number? I fear I shall. Oh, it is almost more than nature can bear! If we might meet at last, it would alleviate the pang; but, oh no, I fear we shall be forever separated.

April 1st.—Yesterday, my dear father was much worse. Kept to his bed all day. I was not at home until evening. About eight o'clock, he was seized with violent pain, which continued, I should think, two hours—when, enduring great agony, my dear father said, "Now for the Fountain!" I had read to him in the early part of the evening his favorite chapters, Psalm 51, Isaiah 43, 1 John 1 and 2. He feels much better this morning; he said to Mr. U—, "Farewell; if I never see you again (and waved his dear hand), I shall soar with the lark; may the Lord bless you!" Yes, my dear father, you will soar above us all; if we do but follow, it will be well. To Mrs. T— he said, "My dear, dear friend, whatever you do--let your soul be your chief concern."

Thursday.—My dear father has had a restless night; he told Mrs. C— that he now derived comfort from the truths he had preached; he said, "I am firm as a rock. I am a poor sinner falling into the arms of mercy. I think I may, with propriety, look HOME now." Seeing my mother weep, he said, "Do not give way, only pray that I may wield the sword to the last." Perhaps, this time next week, I may be an orphan! Oh, is it possible? is it not a dream? Ah, no! it is but too true! Surely, I cannot live.

Sunday Night.—My dear father is no better; the doctors give no more hope, but I cannot give him up. He said, when asked how he was, "Oh, I am going full gallop home!" To several he said, "I cannot say much, only look to Jesus, think of Jesus!" He remarked, "I could not have thought the frame could be so much reduced, as to shut the mouth of a Christian," alluding to his own weak frame, and inability to talk. When anyone prays with him, he says, "Pray for strength, that I may be kept fighting and wielding the sword to the last." My dear father said to me this evening, "The Scripture says, 'a threefold cord is not easily broken;' but you know it may be broken now; the Lord is about to break our threefold cord, and then it will be a twofold one. The happiness of life consists in unity; I commend to your care your dear mother. Make her life as happy as you can; she has been one of the best of wives and mothers. What a comfort it is nothing can dissolve the union between Christ and the soul." He often repeats Hebrews 6:18. "So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence."

Monday.—My dear father no better, but rather worse. To my mother he said, "We shall soon all see Jesus as He is." "To be a member of Christ, His body, His flesh, and His bones, is to be an INSEPARABLE member." "Today, Satan came in very slily, saying, 'You are not worthy.' I answered, 'Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I AM CHIEF,' and I was at liberty in a moment."

Tuesday.—My dear father is still alive; he laments very much that he cannot say more now, but hopes he shall be able before he goes. This afternoon he said to my uncle and myself, "The Lord is our King, the Lord is our Lawgiver, and the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior; we have affronted Him as our King, broken His law as our Lawgiver--but have access to Him as our Savior."

Wednesday.—My dear father appears to be going very fast; after taking some water, he said, "As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country--good news of salvation to poor sinners!"

Wednesday, 23rd.—Since I last wrote, death has entered our family. Yes, my father, my own dear father, is no more! The funeral solemnities are over, my brother gone, and we left to mourn our desolate condition. On Thursday, the 10th, his happy spirit took its flight, at five minutes past eleven, in the morning. My dear father was sensible to the last. We were both with him: about five minutes before his departure, my mother said, "Are you happy?" He replied, "Very! I was just wishing I could speak. Salvation is of the Lord and not from the hills and mountains of creatures; it is solid!" His voice was failing in death, and he spoke with much difficulty. About a minute after, my mother saying something to him, he said, "Don't talk JUST NOW." which were the last words he spoke.

My dear father's remains were interred on Monday, the 14th, in a vault beside the pulpit--where he has so often preached.

May 4th, Sabbath.—Have attended a prayer-meeting this morning, but without deriving benefit. I daily feel the loss of my dear, dear father, more and more; every place reminds me of him--whom I shall see no more. Oh, how shall I bear up under this heavy, overpowering weight? It is indeed too true, he is gone; he has taken his seat in the mansions of bliss; no more shall I hear his sweet voice encouraging me to look to Jesus, and assuring me I should not be cast out. Now that voice is silent in death, and I am indeed an orphan. May this solemn event be sanctified to my soul's good! A bitter cup!

[Here, of necessity, a break in the Diary occurs, as a number of pages are missing. From what follows, however, it will be seen that her conflicts between hope and fear—her warfare between flesh and faith—had by no means ceased. It was by a most gradual process, and only after the most prolonged contention between faith and feelings, she was brought to that blessed soul-establishment to which she was at length permitted and privileged to attain. It appears that Miss Bryan formed an attachment, in which it was difficult for her to trace the approving hand of God; and this, without doubt, led to much of her subsequent conflict, and to that strife between light and darkness, which is so observable in the annexed pages. The whole, however, issued in a considerable amount of self-knowledge, and a clearer apprehension of Christ's glorious person and work: thus she lived to prove, that "all things work together for good to those who love God, and who are the called according to His purpose."]