The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

The Lord's service perfect freedom

To Mrs. H., 1857.
My own dear Amelia,
It was sweet to meet in His name, whose love is our bond of union, and who is Himself the sweetness of our communion. How stately have been His steps towards each of us! how has He drawn us away from all others, to reveal Himself more fully and gloriously! But, oh, that He should have looked upon so vile a one as myself with love and favor! Oh, that He should have brought me "under the rod, into the bond of the new covenant;" this is a marvel in my eyes! How well do the provisions of that new covenant suit my soul: "I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear into their hearts that they shall not depart from me." Blessed Redeemer, let me ever be set as a seal upon Your arm, as a seal upon Your heart, for love is strong as death, and jealousy is cruel as the grave; and be daily sealed anew in my warmest love, that our delights may be ever new and mutual.

I must now thank you for the precious epistle so full of heavenly teaching. You have indeed repaid my long silence with a rich outpouring, which must have cost much time; but I believe as it is refreshing and instructive in reading, so it would be also in writing, and that you would prove the Lord's service perfect freedom. His reward is with Him whether in doing or suffering, according to His will. With me you have no doubt proved that it is better to labor and endure in His will, than to rest in our own, and thus I doubt not your long epistle was more enriching than exhausting. I rejoice in its Divine lessons, hoping to ponder them in my heart.

That the Lord sent you living truth through me, to nourish His own life in you, is a favor of which I am most unworthy: "Not unto us, not unto us—but unto Your name, give glory." Where there is a pot of oil in the house, (2 Kings 4:2-4) it will be poured out into empty vessels at the command of our great prophet—but, like the poor widow's cruse, there shall be no wasting by such using. (1 Kings 17:16)

I rejoice that you have been having communion with our Beloved, and feeding on the Tree of Life; nothing else can nourish the inner man or satisfy living faith. This is the true bread, of which if a man eats, he shall live forever. "He who comes to me shall never hunger; and he who believes on me shall never thirst." I love to mark the present tense of Scripture which teaches the continuousness of a life of faith—it is not said, He that has come, and has believed—but comes, believes, etc., and even to the end "the just shall live by faith."

Farewell, my beloved one—every blessing be with you, and the Lord lead you in a plain path because of your enemies.

With tender love, your ever-affectionate,