Frances Barrett Ryland Diary: 1793

Lords day January 1793

Alas! how time runs on, more than twelve months have elapsed since I have attempted to put pen to paper, and now where shall I begin, and what shall I say – As a family we have not been entirely free from affliction, nevertheless the Lord is good and has caused his mercies towards us to abound. I have now the care and instruction of eight dear girls. This little charge employs much of my time and attention, yet if I can in the least degree subserve the interest of true religion I have a present reward. That which chiefly gives me pain is the defectiveness of my duty towards God, and that he who deserves my whole heart should find it so imperfectly devoted to his fear.

Lords day April 14 1793

Yesterday I received the painful intelligence of my Aunt B.’s death. Her health had been declining for some time, and for about ten day’s previous to her removal, she was cheifly confined to her bed. As to the state of her mind I have heard but little, yet knowing that the Lord was alsufficient and able to manifest the riches of mercy even at the eleventh hour, led me to remember her with much concern at a throne of grace. This dispensation shews me in some degree the importance of true religion, and particularly of being devoted to the fear and service of God in the early part of life.

Through mercy my health and spirits are as well as my peculiar circumstances will permit. For the most part my mind is tranquil and stayed upon God, and when indulged with the light of his countenance I am happy independent of all created good. This I find by experience that so far as the heart is given up to God, and a desire for the increase and spread of his gospel prevails just so much of real felicity do I profess and no more.

Lords day July 14 1793

O the debt of love and gratitude I owe for distinguishing mercy! I long to feel myself more entirely the Lords, and to contemplate with increasing delight the glorious excellencies of the person and work of Christ, whose atoning sacrifice for sin has laid the foundation for my pardon, and peace with God.

Herein is all my hope, here I cast anchor, and stay all my expectation for eternal bliss. Take away Christ and all my hope of future happiness is forever gone, but, faith in his precious name enables me to rejoice that when this mortal body shall put on immortality I shall triumph over death and the grave by victory obtained through the blood of his cross.

I am now daily expecting a season of trial, I desire to give myself up to God, should he be pleased to make me a joyful mother of a living and perfect child & raise me up again, may I consider the young immortal as a trust put into my hands to train up in his fear, but if he has otherwise determined, O for some clearer manifestations of divine love, that so I may leave a dying testimony to his faithfulness and truth![1] How great the privilege to be permitted to commit all our concerns with the Lord. Yes, the dear companion of my life has a full share in my affections, nor do I forget his dear child whose present and future welfare lies near my heart. May he in early life, seek, and love the Redeemer, and when we have each finished our mortal course, O that we may meet each other in heaven & unite in singing “worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive all glory & praise for ever.”

Lords day July 21 [1793]

The Lord has sustained me through another week, and I trust communicated some supply of the gracious influence of his spirit. In secret prayer have enjoyed much sweetness, I long for increasing submission to the will of God, and rejoice that my times are in his hands. To-day my soul has greatly desired the enlargement of the Redeemers Kingdom. I pity and pray for the poor Indians, Heathens, the rising generation and those who are dear to me in the ties of nature, that they all may be interested in his great salvation. That the Redeemer shall see of the travail of his soul, and his gospel be abundantly diffused among all nations and people, has filled my soul with a sacred Joy this day! O that the time, the set time to favor Zion may be near at hand, when all flesh shall behold the glory of God, and when Jesus and his salvation shall be the theme of all their songs!

Lords day Sep. 1793

The deliverance I experienced in the time of trial demands my warmest gratitude and thanks, and I trust will ever be remembered as an instance of the Lords gracious regard, and answer to prayer. I had many fears and anxieties respecting the event, but whenever I was enabled to realise the divine alsufficiency it proved a blessed means of quieting every care. Indeed the more I reflected on God as my Preserver and the Giver of all I possessed the more I enjoyed of a cheerful resignation to his Will. Thus the Lord was pleased to deal with me, and prepare me for the event that awaited me – Yes, he meant to try, and prove me by the removal of the dear Infant I had just brought forth – but in Judgment the Lord remembered mercy. My health and strength were soon recovered, for in little more than three weeks I was able to take a Journey to Bath and Bristol. Though bereaved of my sweet little girl, yet I am satisfied with what the Lord has done, it was best for me, and I trust I have been kept from the least murmuring thought, may he ever presence me in his fear, and enable me to praise and adore him for all that goodness and mercy which has followed one through life.

Lords day Decbr 15 1793

The dispensations of God, like all his other works are very intricate and wonderful, but which by degrees gradually unfold themselves to our view. It is but about 2 years ago, when I first engaged in the care and tuition of a few dear children, and which for the time more than exceeded our expectation, now that charge is to be resigned, and my dear J. R. by a singular train of divine providences is called to sustain a very important station both as a Minister and as a Tutor. The difficulties which or sometime appeared to impede our removal have at length subsided, and we arrived at Bristol on the fifth of this month with a view to our final settlement. Much kindness and attention has been shown us by our new friends since we came hither, and I trust the glory of God will ultimately be advanced, but parting from our Relations and other dear friends with whom we had been long and happily connected has been a painful task. – We have left many with whom we had often taken sweet council together, and gone up to the House of God in company – many, whose love and esteem we shall have long in remembrance – and many whose late expressions of affections, will not easily be forgotten. – My heart feels interested in whatever has to do with their present or future welfare, and shall I forget to pray, that the blessing of Jehovah may rest upon them to do them good, and to replenish them abundantly with every gift and grace of his holy Spirit. For the present they will be favoured with the services of Mr. Francis, Mr. Birt and Mr. Hinton. And O that their labours may be very successful in preaching the words of eternal life!


[1] Frances Ryland is pregnant with her first child, a girl, who will not survive.