The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

The patience of the heavenly Farmer

To E. M., Nottingham, May 10, 1850.

My Dear,
All health and peace to you in our glorious Covenant-Head. My soul desires that yours may prosper, and greets you affectionately in that dear name which, when breathed into the soul by the Holy Spirit, is truly precious. (1 Pet. 2:7) Precious indeed He is, but not to the carnal mind; to such He has no loveliness, no beauty, that they should desire Him. There must be spiritual life, spiritual sight, and spiritual appetite, before a glorious Christ can be appreciated in His preciousness and suitability!

These gifts, my beloved friend, I believe you have received through rich sovereign grace; and it can be truly said, "You has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." This one mercy of quickening, this first communication of grace, is a sure pledge of glory, according to Phil. 1:6. Eternal life is the same in kind, though not in development, in "the blade," "the ear," and "the full corn in the ear." The great Farmer is watching over all, giving sun and rain as well as storms and frosts in due season. We like the showers and sunshine, but would rather go on without the cold and stormy weather, which is likewise needful, and often very conducive to our spiritual growth. I have often said before the Lord, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23, 24) But when a cutting north wind has come, I have complained, little thinking that it was just an answer to my prayer. Perhaps you may pass through some such experience, and in these wintry seasons you may think that growth is stopped, and life will soon be gone; but no, it is "incorruptible seed" of which you are born, which lives and abides forever. (1 Pet. 1:23) Amidst our many changes, how encouraging is this thought; and also the knowledge that the great Farmer has more interest in the seed, than it has in itself. "You are not your own," but His who bought you with His blood. You are His portion, His inheritance, in whom He will be glorified.

Truly the gospel of the blessed God, while it is most strengthening as showing all the work to be His; is most humbling, as showing all weakness and sin to be ours. Had it not been so, such mighty cost and pains would not have been needful for our redemption. I pray that the oil and wine of gospel grace may flow into your soul, for this makes us nothing, and Jesus all. I hope you are well, and that the Lord is making your holiday a holy day unto Himself by His own presence and power. The Lord be with your spirit, and strengthen your faith, and make all needed grace abound towards you.

So desires, with much love, your very affectionate, but very unworthy,