The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

The difficulty of total self-surrender

"He knows the way that I take; when he has tried me I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10.

"The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; but the Lord tries the hearts." Proverbs 17:3.

"Whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem." Isaiah 31:9.

Mal. 3:3, 4. Psalm 103:9. 1 Cor. 10:13.

To Mrs. H., November 24, 1847.
Beloved in the Lord, companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,
Often have I thought of writing to you, and now I seem emboldened to indulge myself a little by allowing my willing spirit to blend with yours in sympathy of joy, and sorrow, and in sweet converse of Jesus.

In Him, then, my beloved Amelia, accept my first greeting upon paper, and my sincere desire that He may still lead you on in the divine life as evidently as heretofore He has; though it must still be to the rooting up and putting down of all that is of the flesh, for He has determined that no flesh shall glory in His presence. We easily assent to this in wordsóbut the Lord will have more than theoretical knowledge in His school, He will bring all who sit at His feet to the practical experience of the words they utter and the lessons they learn. This I have lately been discovering more than ever before; having, in times of glowing manifestation, said, in sincerity of heart, many warm things which the Lord has, by afflictive dispensations, put to the test, and I have found that it is one thing to say, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water," and then to step out firmly in faith; and it is another to walk on firmly and confidingly when the wind is roaring, and the waves are raging. It is one thing to feel Jesus so precious that we in faith give up our all to Him and His service; it is another for Him to claim what we have so given, as His own right; and, according to our resignment, to take away the different parts of our earthly all, and so to prove whether Himself is indeed ALL to us--or whether we only say so.

I have found Leviticus 27:28 ("However, anything specially set apart by the Lord--whether a person, an animal, or an inherited fieldómust never be sold or redeemed. Anything devoted in this way has been set apart for the Lord as holy.")--very sweet and strengthening since the Lord has been putting in His claim; for I saw that I had devoted what I have and am to the Lord in love, and that now He has called upon me to pay my vows. My happiness would be in going forward in His strength in faith; and my weakness and distraction would be in conferring with flesh and blood, seeking to hold back what I had vowed. The Lord keep you, beloved, single-eyed and simple-hearted, willing to give up the "Isaac" whom you love (Gen. 22:2) (whatever that may be) at His bidding, then you shall neither suffer lack nor loss. My mouth is still further open to you, and my heart is enlarged because your spirit is so singularly in unison with my own in waiting only upon God. It is the safe and the right way, though very contrary to the flesh, which is always in a hurry for deliverance, seeking its own things by any means; but the new man seeks the things which are Jesus Christ's, and wants deliverance in Him and according to His will, and would rather honor Him by waiting--than have the flesh eased by a lighter cross or a smoother path.

Again, beloved friend, my very soul rejoices that the dear Revealer of secrets is making known to you the "blessedness of the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Mark, "will not impute." These words have sounded through my soul by the Spirit's power with more melody than earth's softest, sweetest sounds could ever produce. They raise us high above the creature in its doings or misdoings, and give us to see our deliverance from condemnation, solely, in and through Him, the precious Lamb of God, our Surety. He was condemned for our vile, black sin, which He has put forever away by the sacrifice of Himself, so that when the iniquity is sought for upon us--it shall not be found! "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ who died, yes, rather, who is risen again."

With love in our precious Well-Beloved, I am, dear Amelia, your affectionate,