The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

(The following letter was received under peculiar circumstances. The friend to whom it was addressed had been asked to attend some Highland games, and complied, notwithstanding many doubts whether by so doing she should dishonor her Lord and bring a cloud upon her own soul. On her return home she found this letter lying on her table, written by Ruth without any knowledge of the circumstances, but which truly came as a seasonable word of reproof. It was like an arrow from the bow of the King, drawn at a venture, but directed by the Spirit himself.)

A word of warning against worldly conformity

"Adam, where are you?" Genesis 3:9

"What are you doing here, Elijah?" 1 Kings 19:9

To E. M., August 5, 1854.

My Beloved Friend,
The above questions came to my mind for my beloved friend, I know not why. This evening I have heard a sermon from the last of these passages, and I must send you the substance of a few remarks, though not in the exact words. "What are you doing here, Elijah?" It may be said to some believers, "What are you doing here--inactive and indolent in your Lord's cause? You were very lively in the service of Satan and the world. Why are you so lethargic in the service of Him who bought you with His blood, and knew what it was to be weary in working for you?"

Again, it may be said to some, "What are you doing here--in a place, or in society, where your Lord is not loved, honored, or known?" Your soul will suffer, your spirituality will be withered, for it is a very tender plant; and it is easily injured. If the believer will be in worldly society, uncalled by Providence, his spirituality is sure to suffer blight. Ah! What are you doing here, Elijah?

"What are you doing here?" it may be said again, when the believer is in the midst of mist and gloom, which hide the Savior from his view. What are you doing here?—you whom I have ransomed—you to whom I have manifested myself—you whom the Spirit has sealed—whom I have loved with an everlasting love—what are you doing here with darkened evidences? Is it not because you are looking into your own heart instead of looking unto Me, and coming unto Me, who am made unto you wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption?

The Spirit may discover to us what is in our hearts to abase us and lay us low; but if we look into our hearts to find comfort or encouragement, then our evidences will be darkened, the clouds will gather quickly around us, and our dreariness will grow yet more dreary! What are you doing here, Elijah? We must look away from self, and learn that we are not to live upon past experience, however real, or upon past manifestations, however bright; but we must be seeking for fresh incomings of grace. It is a great lesson which we are very slow in learning, not to live upon grace received. . . . . . . .