The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

Sweet fruit gathered from a bitter root

To Mrs. H., August 1857.
My dearest Amelia,
"Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap." He who sows to the wind shall reap the whirlwind. He who sows to the flesh shall reap corruption. He who sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. "Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" Faith often sows in tears; but he that thus goes forth and weeps, "bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

In this our precious Christ has the pre-eminence. He was the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He sowed the seed of the kingdom in tears when He wept over Jerusalem; but before long He will joyfully see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, when He shall say, "Here am I, and the children whom You have given me." Thus also it often is with His people; they sow and water and watch with tearsóbut reap in joy; while the carnal man sows with laughter and reaps disappointment. These things we have both known by experience, for when our deceived heart has turned us aside to the flesh, we had to feed on ashes, as our daily sorrowful food.

May it be given you to stand still and see the salvation of God, proving that the battle is the Lord's who will in very wonderful ways fight against the flesh and its schemes, and disappoint its enterprisesóbut will even in all these things make the new man more than conqueror through Him that loves us. May your flesh have a new death, and your spirit enjoy more glowingly the crown of life, through this sharp exercise, and may the Lord bring out of the snare of the devil him who seems now led captive by him.

You are doubtless compassing the walls by faith through keeping silence until the day He shall bid you shout as Joshua 6:10, and "lift up your voice," to "show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sin." (Isaiah 58:1) The Lord make you faithful to His word, both in silence and in utterance, and enable you to care only for His honor, leaving your own honor entirely in His hands, since He has said, "He that touches you touches the apple of his eye."

Moreover, dear friend, this dark dispensation will be "as a cloud with rain," if, by His power, it brings about a fresh lifting up of yourself from all creatures, to see no man except "Jesus only." "Was I ever a barren wilderness, to Israel a land of drought?" No, never! He is our straight way through crooked circumstances, and our pleasant way through the vexations of self and others. He keeps us alive in time of famine, for He is our plenty in the midst of poverty.

The things which I taste and handle declare I unto you, for deep abasings and continued emptiness are my experience. When I would gather anything besides Him--most kind, most tender is it of Him to scatter it; indeed I have cause to praise Him for heights and for depths, for in both He has dealt wondrously for His holy name's sake.

I am glad to hear of your affairs, for though you be as a "lily among thorns," yet they shall not really harm you. Our Beloved was crowned with thorns, thus showing that He had gained the victory over them for His bride, and now He just teaches her with the briers and thorns of the wilderness. Many of your teachings and quotations are very sweet to me. I have had the same view of love which passes knowledge, "for knowledge puffs upóbut love edifies."

I rejoice to hear that your beloved Aó Mó is a comfort to you, and much more that she is brought under the easy yoke and light burden of our blessed Savior. May she be whole-hearted with Him and for Him, making no reserves; then will she largely foretaste that blessedness in Him which the natural eye has not seen, or ear heardóbut He has revealed it unto us by His Spirit. Kind love to her.

The Lord bless you, make His way plain before you, and grant that your cruse and barrel be daily renewed as your needs require. "Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of these things." May your erring friend be restored. (James 5:19, 20) Power belongs unto God, and His kingdom is not in wordóbut in power. May a new day of power come to his soul, for Your people shall be willing in the day of Your power. Fare you well; may your place of defense be the munitions of rocks, where your bread shall be given, and your water shall be sure.

With affectionate love in our one Beloved, yours ever in Him,