The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

Heart-searching suitable to a birthday

So remember your Creator in the days of your youth--before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say, "I have no delight in them." Ecclesiastes 12:1

"May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace." Numbers 6:24-26

To Miss F., March 31, 1859.
My beloved,
I have been told that you this day attain your twenty-first year. Will you accept an affectionate greeting from a pilgrim friend? and will you allow me to express the feelings of my heart, though they be not so lively or so congratulatory as may seem to comport with a birthday.

You have reached another milestone on the pathway of life, and where does it find you? In a medium path between the world and Christ? Ah! there is no middle path. Consider it, and then "consider your ways;" for either you are serving the Lord or serving His enemies—the world, the flesh, and the devil. I do think you sometimes long to be on the Lord's side, and that your heart says of His people—

"Numbered with them may I be,
 Here and in eternity."

My heart says— Amen; and may it be soon, that I may have joy over you in the Lord, and that He may have the cream of your life, the flower of your days--for He is worthy. He who bled and died for sinners such as you and I, is worthy of all our powers, and of a thousand hearts if we had them. May the blessed Spirit make you feel deeply your need of Him, and this very day, if it be His holy will, may your language be—

"Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
 Seal it in Your courts above."

Most heartily I desire for you a spiritual birthday in the fulfillment of that precious promise—"A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Then will you say, "My Father, you are the guide of my youth;" and only then will you find true happiness, for

"Fading is the worldling's treasure,
 All his boasted pomp and show;
 Solid joys and lasting pleasure,
 None but Zion's pilgrims know!"

Though not with you, I am bearing you on my heart before the Lord. May He guide you every step in life, and grant you the blessings of the upper and the nether-springs. Forgive the intrusion of these poor lines from one who watches for your never-dying soul; and, with tender love, remains your affectionate friend,
Ruth Bryan

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalms 90:12