The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

A harassed soul pointed to the Blood

To Miss M., December 2, 1850.
Very dear Miss M—,
I do rejoice that He who comforts those who are cast down has comforted you by the coming of His dear servant. The savor of his visit, I trust, still remains upon your spirit. Jesus "must needs go through Samaria" to meet with a great sinner, and astonish her by the discovery that "He knew all things that she ever did." How would she listen and wonder as He turned the black heart inside out, and set her secret and her open sins in "the light of His countenance;" but this was the prelude to His giving her the "living water." Many a "needs be" has there been since then, that He should go through certain places to meet with certain sinners, either to wound or heal. Methinks Mr. D— must needs go through your town to meet with my poor sorrowful friend, and refresh her weary soul by the way, by giving her a cup of cold water in the name of the Lord. It seems at that time that all the water was spent in your vessel, and you felt ready to die with thirst in the place where you were. May you not then, with one of old, call the name of Him who thus spoke unto you, "You God see me!" If these helps do not bring you out of bondage, they revive you in it, and strengthen you still to wait and to hope, however appearances may seem against you.

From the tenor of your two notes last received, I fear you have some return of your illness; will you tell me more particulars when you write again? My heart sympathizes with you affectionately; but at the same time, if this painful dispensation be a net the Lord has cast upon you, to draw you out of the world into His living family circle, can I wish it otherwise? Can you? If now you might have restored health, associations, and all worldly ease and delight, without Jesus, would you accept them on such terms? If with an interest in Jesus you must have bodily suffering, outward disappointment, frustrated hopes, and broken purposes, would you forego Him to get rid of them? I think not! Satan provokes you sorely to make you fret. He gets you to look at this undesired affliction, instead of waiting for the end of the Lord in it, and then you find it "hard to kick against the goads." You smart under sin and under trial, and all these things seem against you; but the Lord is overruling all to give you an expected end of peace, and not of evil. He is by these means bringing down your proud heart with labor and sorrow—but He will deliver you from your destructions. "O Israel, you have destroyed yourself—but in me is your help."

May the Lord give you true resignation of spirit, and a submissive will, which would greatly lessen the weight of your burden; and may He be please to rebuke Satan, who strengthens the unbelief of your heart, resists you at the throne of grace, and accuses you of presumption for every movement of faith towards the promise or the pardon. This I learn from some remarks in your note; for, after some little taking hold and encouragement, you directly start back affrighted as if you had laid your hand upon a portion that did not belong to you, and the Lord would certainly come forth against you for it. This is the false insinuation of unbelief and Satan to keep your soul from peace. Beware you do not nourish it, because in so doing you dishonor Him who is the Author and Finisher of faith. He gives the "heirs of promise" faith to lay hold of the promise, and He is never more honored than when they plead it against apparent rebukes, against the threats and taunts of the enemy, and against their felt discouragement and unworthiness. This is confidence in royal clemency, through royal blood; and thus the Majesty of heaven is honored by vile sinners on earth, for this is the work of His own Spirit in them.

Therefore, my beloved, "grieve not the Spirit," "resist the devil, and he will flee from you." It is he who tries to choke prayer, hinder faith, and feed unbelief. Your only successful resistance is by the "blood of the Lamb;" against that, Satan cannot stand, for it cleanses from all sin. He can bring plenty of accusations against us, and just ones; but when faith can venture them on blood divine, each fiery dart is quenched by that blood; and the self-condemned, hell-deserving sinner is "more than conqueror through Him who loved us." No wonder, then, that subtle foe strives so hard against the first buddings of faith, and will, if possible, nip the least putting forth thereof, to affright the poor soul from the only Stronghold when he cannot reach it. He shall not prevail ultimately; he shall not rob Emmanuel of one blood-bought jewel, not even of my dear hunted, harassed, desponding friend, for whom, I believe, He has paid the full price of ransom. He has said to law and justice long ago, "If she has wronged you, or owes you anything, put that on mine account; I have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it." (Philem. 18, 19) Having bought you, and paid for you, He will not lose you. And yet, though Satan shall not rob God of His right to you, he may rob your soul of present comfort; and by giving place to him, you will suffer loss experimentally.

Therefore write I thus, that by the Divine blessing your weak hands which hang down may be lifted up, your feeble knees strengthened, and you, though so lame, may not be turned out of the way of faith; but rather have the sore of unbelief healed, and be enabled to say, "Though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him." "What time I am afraid, I will trust in You." May you be encouraged to look towards Jesus, if you cannot look at Him—to hope in His salvation, if at present you cannot enjoy it, or triumph in it; and though your sins rise mountains high, presenting a new mountain every day; seek faith, more faith, in that precious blood, which, as a mighty ocean, will overtop them all. I humbly pray my precious Emmanuel to show Himself to you through the lattice, to let you see that you are graven on the palms of His hands; yes, that as the great High Priest He bears you on His heart, and on His shoulders, in the holiest place, not made with hands. And now I commend you unto Him who will "perfect that which concerns you," for He will have a desire unto the work of His own hands. I cease not to pray for you, and am looking out for the loosing of the prisoner. Adieu, my dear Miss M—.

With affectionate love, believe me, yours very sincerely,