The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

Gospel wine to cheer the warrior

To Miss C., September 9, 1859.
Dearest Anne,
It seems to have been the Divine will that the children of Israel should learn war, and that those who saw it not at the entering into Canaan, should be taught it by the nations which were left unsubdued. (Judges 3:1, 2) Of course these nations would be often striving to invade the possessions and lessen the power of this favored people. Then they must fight for their privileges; and from the records of their battles we plainly see how, while trusting simply in the Lord, a mere handful of them overcame thousands of their foes; not their own sword or their own bowóbut His right hand and His holy arm brought them the victory. Doubtless all was typical of the experience of the spiritual Israel. They have nations of lusts and evils within, headed by that great and fearful captain Unbelief; and nations of snares, allurements, trials, and cares without, while Satan is the grand commander of the whole. Yet has he only a limited power, being himself under the control of the mighty Captain of Salvation, who always binds him in his attacks with this restriction, "Hitherto shall you comeóbut no further." However, as the spiritual as well as the literal Israel must learn war, you need not wonder that the armies of the aliens often beset you, and that the men of your own house rise up against you.

Remember those who by faith put to flight the armies of the aliens, and remember David, who said, "Although my house be not so with God, yet has he made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow." (2 Sam. 23:5) May you, by grace, follow the faith of these ancient worthies, "considering the end of their conversation: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever." (Heb. 13:7 ,8) Be in nothing terrified by your adversaries, since your Redeemer is mighty, the Lord Almighty is His name. What blessed promises are made to the overcomers; but how could these promises belong to us if we knew nothing of foes and fighting? These foes are overcome by the blood of the Lamb, "not by might, nor by poweróbut by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts." (Zech. 4:6)

You mention the sinking state of my health. I am very weakóbut may not be so near Home as you sometimes think. Oh, may our precious Jesus so reveal Himself that sorrow may be turned into joy by His presence, and the best wine be kept until the last, so that then both the living and the dying may lift up their eyes and see no one but Jesus only. At times I think I may not be the first of our circle to sleep in Jesus. However, it shall be well, and each shall prove, "My grace is sufficient for you." I wish that there may be much joy in the Lord, and songs of praises at my departure. He is so gracious to me, a solid rock, now that this tabernacle is trembling to the dust; a rock also that yields honey; where bread of life is given, and waters of salvation are sure. "Let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains." Isaiah 12. is a blessed song when put into the heart by the Divine Comforter. The Lord prepare us for life or death, and make us willing for either. Enrapt up in our precious Jesus, we are safe for both. Oh, seek, seek absorption in Him, and with Him; so shall the restless desires of the flesh be kept in silence by His power. (Heb. 2:20)

Let us finish with praise, for it becomes the redeemed to be thankful. "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation." "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men." (Luke 2:14) May the goodwill of Him who dwelt in the Bush rest upon you, dear Anne.

And with kind love in Him, believe me, your ever-affectionate,