Gleanings from the Inner
Life of Ruth Bryan
January 19th, Sunday.—My dear father preached
this afternoon from "God is love;" evening, "Mary has chosen that good part,
which shall not be taken away from her."
March 9th.—My dear father preached from the words,
"But where are the nine?"
March 22nd.—My father has this week, again, been
reduced very low, and little hope entertained of his recovery; but today he
has revived, and our expectations are again raised. May the Lord continue
the work He seems to have begun. The night before last, my dear father began
to think "it was all over," and that he would soon be at rest; but we would
wish, if it were possible, to keep him a little longer. May this affliction
have its due influence on my mind. Hitherto, I have been very stupid, cold,
and dead; prayer has been almost a burden; and at times all religious
exercises could have been dispensed with. O Lord, arise and shine upon my
benighted soul! arouse my sleeping powers! give me to see the multitude and
magnitude of my crimes--and to fly to Jesus Christ for refuge! Tomorrow is
the Sabbath; may the Divine blessing attend our engagements!
March 23rd.—My dear father is again very low and
weak; the Lord only knows what will be the result of this long affliction.
Talking to Mr. —, my father said, "Mercy! mercy! all is mercy on this side
of hell; it is a mercy I am out of hell." Lord, restore him, hear and
answer our prayer, if it is Your Divine will.
March 30th.—This hard heart! sometimes I cannot pray,
and, when I do try, the heavens seem as brass to my petitions; surely there
is no mercy for me. My dear, dear father gets weaker every day; he seems
still to think he shall get better—Lord, grant he may! Oh, take him not
away! leave, oh, leave me not fatherless! My father said to some friend, "I
wonder at myself; for I have been thinking that I know the happiness and
glory of heaven, and yet am not, as it were, rushing into it." At another
time he said, "I would be happy to continue to work in the vineyard, if my
Master would hire me." And must we part, my father, to meet no more? and
shall I read this when I am a desolate orphan, and my father is singing the
praises of the Lamb, and has joined the multitude which no man can number? I
fear I shall. Oh, it is almost more than nature can bear! If we might meet
at last, it would alleviate the pang; but, oh no, I fear we shall be forever
April 1st.—Yesterday, my dear father was much worse.
Kept to his bed all day. I was not at home until evening. About eight
o'clock, he was seized with violent pain, which continued, I should think,
two hours—when, enduring great agony, my dear father said, "Now for the
Fountain!" I had read to him in the early part of the evening his favorite
chapters, Psalm 51, Isaiah 43, 1 John 1 and 2. He feels much better this
morning; he said to Mr. U—, "Farewell; if I never see you again (and waved
his dear hand), I shall soar with the lark; may the Lord bless you!" Yes, my
dear father, you will soar above us all; if we do but follow, it will be
well. To Mrs. T— he said, "My dear, dear friend, whatever you do--let your
soul be your chief concern."
Thursday.—My dear father has had a restless night; he
told Mrs. C— that he now derived comfort from the truths he had preached; he
said, "I am firm as a rock. I am a poor sinner falling into the arms of
mercy. I think I may, with propriety, look HOME now." Seeing my mother weep,
he said, "Do not give way, only pray that I may wield the sword to the
last." Perhaps, this time next week, I may be an orphan! Oh, is it possible?
is it not a dream? Ah, no! it is but too true! Surely, I cannot live.
Sunday Night.—My dear father is no better; the
doctors give no more hope, but I cannot give him up. He said, when asked how
he was, "Oh, I am going full gallop home!" To several he said, "I cannot say
much, only look to Jesus, think of Jesus!" He remarked, "I could not have
thought the frame could be so much reduced, as to shut the mouth of a
Christian," alluding to his own weak frame, and inability to talk. When
anyone prays with him, he says, "Pray for strength, that I may be kept
fighting and wielding the sword to the last." My dear father said to me this
evening, "The Scripture says, 'a threefold cord is not easily broken;' but
you know it may be broken now; the Lord is about to break our threefold
cord, and then it will be a twofold one. The happiness of life consists in
unity; I commend to your care your dear mother. Make her life as happy as
you can; she has been one of the best of wives and mothers. What a comfort
it is nothing can dissolve the union between Christ and the soul." He often
repeats Hebrews 6:18. "So God has given us both his promise and his oath.
These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.
Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we
can hold on to his promise with confidence."
Monday.—My dear father no better, but rather worse.
To my mother he said, "We shall soon all see Jesus as He is." "To be a
member of Christ, His body, His flesh, and His bones, is to be an
INSEPARABLE member." "Today, Satan came in very slily, saying, 'You are not
worthy.' I answered, 'Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I
AM CHIEF,' and I was at liberty in a moment."
Tuesday.—My dear father is still alive; he laments
very much that he cannot say more now, but hopes he shall be able before he
goes. This afternoon he said to my uncle and myself, "The Lord is our King,
the Lord is our Lawgiver, and the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior; we have
affronted Him as our King, broken His law as our Lawgiver--but have access
to Him as our Savior."
Wednesday.—My dear father appears to be going very
fast; after taking some water, he said, "As cold water to a thirsty soul, so
is good news from a far country--good news of salvation to poor sinners!"
Wednesday, 23rd.—Since I last wrote, death has
entered our family. Yes, my father, my own dear father, is no more! The
funeral solemnities are over, my brother gone, and we left to mourn our
desolate condition. On Thursday, the 10th, his happy spirit took its flight,
at five minutes past eleven, in the morning. My dear father was sensible to
the last. We were both with him: about five minutes before his departure, my
mother said, "Are you happy?" He replied, "Very! I was just wishing I could
speak. Salvation is of the Lord and not from the hills and mountains of
creatures; it is solid!" His voice was failing in death, and he spoke with
much difficulty. About a minute after, my mother saying something to him, he
said, "Don't talk JUST NOW." which were the last words he spoke.
My dear father's remains were interred on Monday, the
14th, in a vault beside the pulpit--where he has so often preached.
May 4th, Sabbath.—Have attended a
prayer-meeting this morning, but without deriving benefit. I daily feel the
loss of my dear, dear father, more and more; every place reminds me of
him--whom I shall see no more. Oh, how shall I bear up under this heavy,
overpowering weight? It is indeed too true, he is gone; he has taken his
seat in the mansions of bliss; no more shall I hear his sweet voice
encouraging me to look to Jesus, and assuring me I should not be cast out.
Now that voice is silent in death, and I am indeed an orphan. May this
solemn event be sanctified to my soul's good! A bitter cup!
[Here, of necessity, a break in the Diary occurs, as a
number of pages are missing. From what follows, however, it will be seen
that her conflicts between hope and fear—her warfare between flesh and
faith—had by no means ceased. It was by a most gradual process, and only
after the most prolonged contention between faith and feelings, she was
brought to that blessed soul-establishment to which she was at length
permitted and privileged to attain. It appears that Miss Bryan formed an
attachment, in which it was difficult for her to trace the approving hand of
God; and this, without doubt, led to much of her subsequent conflict, and to
that strife between light and darkness, which is so observable in the
annexed pages. The whole, however, issued in a considerable amount of
self-knowledge, and a clearer apprehension of Christ's glorious person and
work: thus she lived to prove, that "all things work together for good to
those who love God, and who are the called according to His purpose."]