The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

Getting near the light

To Miss W,
, 1857.

"Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the refiner."

"The refining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold—but the Lord tries the heart."

Beloved in Jesus—Your dear line rejoiced my heart; because it shows that the blessed Refiner is dealing with you to take away the dross, and bring you forth again from all besides to Himself, and for Himself. Oh! fear not the process which may be needful; fear not to see and feel the worst of your case. Cry for faith and patience to endure, while He turns His hand upon you to purge away your dross, and take away your tin (Isaiah 1:25). You will keenly feel the smart, and be truly shocked at your own treachery and unfaithfulness. But, oh, it is worth anything to be restored to the simplicity which is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:2, 3), again to live in endearing communion and fellowship as bosom friends. Tell Him daily that nothing but this will satisfy you. He can easily do it, as He so lovingly showed you on Wednesday. It was gracious of Him so to draw near, and say to you, "Fear not." He gave you afresh the savor of His good ointments (Song 1:3, 4) to draw you on in following Him; and, although, since that, you have seemed to walk in a barren land, allow me to remind you how kindly He takes it when we follow Him "in the land not sown." He condescends to say He remembers it (Jer. 2:2); and, though He speaks this in reproof, it is a reproof in such tender love, that it has often cheered and strengthened my fainting heart to follow Him amidst all felt desolations; while it has also laid me very low, in feeling that I had "left my first love." But "faithful are the wounds of a friend." Oh! may we be enabled to open our bosoms to receive them, and yield ourselves fully to the Lord; entreating Him to separate us from all which separates between our souls and Him. The same dear hand which wounds will heal, and whatever He removes to reveal more of Himself, will be, indeed, a gainful loss. May we each be brought to the spirit of the dear apostle, who counted all things loss and rubbish (Phil. 3:8) for a precious Christ; and may we not only be brought to it—but kept to it, for we are ever prone to turn again unto folly.

You do not know how unworthy I am, dearest Miss W., and also "of low degree;" but we are one in Jesus, and that is very sweet.

I must remember you before Him: I seem to get hold of your heart, and present it to Him, that afresh He may "entomb it deeply in His," that you may know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I do so long for dear Christians to be brought to walk closely with God, and to live up to their high privileges. May I say that this will not be attained by looking at self or at each other—but by "looking unto Jesus?" When your eye is single, your whole body is full of light. The single eye has but one object—"Jesus only" (Matt. 17:8). Oh, may you, by the Spirit's power, so lift up your eyes from all but Jesus, that you will be conformed to His image (2 Cor. 3:18). I shall be most happy to hear from you. But do not expect to receive any better account of yourself—rather a worse one; for, as you get nearer the light, you will see more of your own sinfulness. I do hope, however, to hear you speak well of Him, and that, as you feelingly cry out, "Behold, I am vile," He will melt your heart by responding, "You are absolutely beautiful, my darling, with no imperfection in you." May the Spirit be richly poured out upon you, that under His holy anointing you may experience Heb: 12:1, 2; Col. 2:6, 7.

R. B.