The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

Victory over SELF by abiding in Christ

To E. M., August 14, 1854.

My Dear Friend,
You have been rambling among the wonders of nature, but you find, as I have always done, that the works of our Lord's hands, however lovely, will not do without the love of His heart. If that spring be not open to us, it is all as a dry and thirsty land; but when we have freedom there, then every place is cheerful, and "December is as pleasant as May."

I see, more and more, that we live very far below our privileges in Christ. Some say that they want to hear more of duty and precept; but truly I find duty and precept very dry--and all condemnation without privilege in Christ--that is oil to the wheels. And if we are living by faith in a fulfilled law, and in the Law-fulfiller--the fruits of righteousness will as surely flow out as effect follows cause--for those fruits are only by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:11) Precious things are put forth by the moon, (the Church,) as she receives by faith the precious things brought forth by the sun, (Christ,) and in no other way. Hence we often weary ourselves in vain, because we are looking more after the fruit than the abiding in Him from whom alone it can come. "From Me is your fruit found."

It has been well said, that "in a mere legal way, many believers have toiled all their time for power over some corruptions, who, like Peter and the rest, have caught little or nothing--because Jesus Christ was not in the company." That, you know, is self-effort; and if any fruit were to spring from thence, it would only be to self-pleasing and self-praise—all "wild gourds," which bring "death in the pot!" If we want good fruit--it must spring from the true vine. If we want plenty of fish--it must be by casting on the right side of the ship. If we desire close walking, holy living, much victory, communion, enjoyment--it must come by abiding in Jesus. Hear what Himself says, "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

O precious Christ-exalting, self-abasing grace of faith--be it ours in lively exercise by the blessed Spirit's operation, and may Christ be "all in all." It seems to me that we know nothing of His "unsearchable riches;" and yet how we often turn to toys and trifles of time. He is such a precious and full Christ. There is enough in Him to occupy and satisfy all our powers in time and eternity! Oh! send out Your light and Your truth into our hearts; let them lead us and guide us to this Your holy hill; and when our heart is overwhelmed, lead us to this Rock, which is higher than self!

Now, farewell! Every covenant blessing be with you and yours. "They shall be mine--says the Lord Almighty--in that day when I make up my jewels." We tread a thorny desert, but

"Judah's Lion guards the way,
And guides His pilgrims home!"

There we shall meet, from clog and fetter free, to behold our Beloved without a cloud between. Having sipped of the rivers of His pleasure below, we shall drink full draughts above--and in His love and glory be absorbed forever and ever!

Ever most affectionately yours,