The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

The blessedness of separation from the world

To E. M., May 5, 1856.

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

"The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

Much-beloved friend,
How welcome was your letter; and how does my heart feel for you in the stand which you are called to make at this time for the Lord. May you be filled with the Spirit to testify plainly that such things come of the flesh, in which no good thing dwells, and that they lead to evil, even to walking after the flesh, which brings death into the experience, according to Romans 8:13. Mark how strong is the expression—"Mortify the deeds of the body." The carnal mind would like to mix with the world, and to compromise a little, desiring not to seem singular—but to let religion appear pleasant and agreeable to all, enjoying innocent amusements and recreations, serving God in this way as well as by other means, and letting both the old man and the new man have their part.

How very many are now deluding themselves with such a profession as this, which is a mere false light leading them on to the pit of perdition. But we "have not so learned Christ." We know experimentally, that if the old man feeds--the new man starves, and that they cannot both fatten and strengthen at the same time. Moreover, we solemnly fear that those who can willingly mix with the world, and find no painful effects from it, have not the true life which feels where death is, or the true light which discovers darkness and evil deeds. They may "chew the cud," (Lev. 11:3-8) in a lower sense by talking of the things of God; but they do not "divide the hoof" by separating from the enemies of God; for "friendship with the world is enmity with God." What strong language! We are taught that none are clean in God's account but such as spiritually "chew the cud" and "divide the hoof" also. His word is a separating word, His Spirit is a separating spirit, His command is to "Come out and be separate," and the love of Christ constrains those who are spiritually alive to live not "unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again." "The Lord has set apart him who is godly for Himself;" and in whatever measure or manner such "mingle themselves with the seed of men" (Dan. 2:43) they must suffer experimental hindrance and loss, for they will find it like being clogged with "miry clay"--and who then can be healthily "running the race," "fighting the good fight," or using the dove's wings. (Psalm 68:13)

This will never answer, my beloved friend; and whoever would persuade you to such things, less or more, it must be said, "This persuasion comes not of Him that calls you," for He persuades Japheth to "dwell in the tents of Shem," not with the children of Ham. Your love will bear with me in saying this, though you know these things, and are fully persuaded of this present truth—and likely it is that you will be called more and more to carry it out in a practical way as you go on. Perhaps the Lord may even require of you to separate more from those who oppose your separation from the world, for He has said, "Bad company corrupts good character." And if these people profess not to be of the world--yet they do not "hate the garments spotted with the flesh," which He has told us to do.

Do not be alarmed, my dear friend; it is most blessed to forsake all for Christ; and when He calls you to any new forsaking, He will command your strength for it; yes, the more He circumcises your heart to love Him, and your lips to witness of and for Him, the more will you find mere professors to forsake you. They do not like such warm-hearted company, and if they cannot win you over to their cold-water system, they will get tired of the effects of your spiced wine, which causes the lips of those who are asleep to speak of Him whom the soul loves. Nor should I think you an object of pity—but rather of congratulation, if, from the above cause, these compromising ones should go out, one by one, and leave you alone with Jesus and His despised remnant.

The more we lose for him--the more we find in Him; and to get rid of anything that is between us and Him is a gainful loss. Fear not. "His reward is with Him," and a rich one it is, even the unfolding and enjoyment of Himself. Hear Him say, "Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." (Psalm 45:10-11) It seems as if cleaving to the first Adam family is like a cloud or veil over the beauty of the spouse—forsake them, so shall the king desire, yes greatly desire, your beauty, which they cannot see or appreciate. How encouraging are these things for you, though many may rise up against you.

How I have run on! Love oils the wheels and moves the pen—love to Jesus, and love to you, and earnest longing that you may never be drawn into the "doubtful territory," or listen to those who "only consult to cast you down from your excellency." You may remember that true saying, "Those who will needlessly mix with the world and worldly professors shall only enjoy a partial Christ." Oh, may you never rest without enjoying a whole Christ and the fullness of Christ, and ever fresh revealings of Him.

I am proving this a place of tribulation—but am joyful in Him, and desire to live by the moment within that small safe enclosure--"Your will be done." Self is, indeed, a loathsome object, and all its words and deeds have a very ill savor; but He is our place of refuge from it all. The fountain of His blood, the robe of His righteousness, the arm of His power, and the bosom of His love just suit us as we travel through this dreary, dusty desert, encumbered with "the body of this death." And so while one makes us groan, the other makes us sing, "Thanks be unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Farewell, my dear friend. Soon will the shadows of time flee away, and we shall see our Beloved face to face.

With much warm love in Him, I remain, your ever affectionate but unworthy,

I wish you the experience of Numbers 14:24. "But since My servant Caleb has a different spirit and has followed Me completely, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it."