Quotes by J.C. Ryle
Personal working for souls is good. Giving money is good. But praying is best of all. By prayer we reach Him without whom work and money are alike in vain. We obtain the aid of the Holy Spirit. Money can hire workers. Universities can give learning. Congregations may elect. Bishops may ordain. But the Holy Spirit alone can make ministers of the Gospel, and raise up lay workmen in the spiritual harvest, who need not be ashamed. Never, never may we forget that if we would do good to the world, our first duty is to pray!
What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm. 119:105). The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear. They would have us believe that "they are not learned, and do not pretend to have decided opinions." The plain truth is that they are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility.
It is easy to criticize and find fault with the conduct of kings, and write furious articles against them in newspapers, or make violent speeches about them on platforms. Any fool can rip and rend a costly garment, but not every man can cut out and make one. To expect perfection in kings, prime ministers, or rulers of any king, is senseless and unreasonable. We would exhibit more wisdom if we prayed for them more, and criticized less.
They are born again of the Spirit; they all possess repentance towards God, faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ,” and holiness of life and conversion. They all hate sin, and they all love Christ… They are all led by one Spirit; they all build upon one foundation; they all draw their religion from one single book – that is the Bible. They are all joined to one great center – that is Jesus Christ. They all even now can say with one heart, “Hallelujah;” and they can all respond with one heart and voice, Amen and Amen.
To love the soul is to really love. To pet and pamper and indulge your child, as if this world was all he had to look forward to, and this life the only period of happiness—to do this is not true love, but cruelty. It is treating him like some beast of the earth, which has only one world to look to, and nothing after death. It is hiding from him that grand truth, which he ought to be made to learn from his very infancy—that the number one goal of his life is the salvation of his soul.
Remember children are born with a definite bias towards evil, and therefore if you let them choose for themselves, they are certain to choose wrong… (Their) hearts are like the earth on which we walk; leave it alone, and it is sure to bear weeds.
Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell is eternal. It must be eternal, or words have no meaning at all. “Forever and ever,” “everlasting,” “unquenchable,” “never-dying” all these are expressions used about hell, and expressions that cannot be explained away. It must be eternal, or the very foundations of heaven are cast down. If hell has an end, heaven has an end too. They both stand or fall together. It must be eternal, or every doctrine of the gospel is undermined. If a man may escape hell at length without faith in Christ, or sanctification of the Spirit, sin is no longer an infinite evil, and there was no such great need of Christ’s making an atonement. And where is the warrant for saying that hell can ever change a heart, or make it fit for heaven? It must be eternal, or hell would cease to be hell altogether. Give a man hope, and he will bear anything. Grant a hope of deliverance, however distant, and hell is but a drop of water.
We are sometimes tempted to think that we get no good by our prayers, and that we may as well give them up altogether. Let us resist the temptation. It comes from the devil. Let us believe, and pray on. Against our besetting sins, against the spirit of the world, against the wiles of the devil, let us pray on, and not faint. For strength to do duty, for grace to bear our trials, for comfort in every trouble, let us continue in prayer. Let us be sure that no time is so well-spent in every day, as that which we spend upon our knees. Jesus hears us, and in His own good time will give an answer… He may sometimes keep us long waiting…but He will never send us empty away.
Blessed be God! There shall be no sorrow in heaven. There shall not be one single tear shed within the courts above. There shall be no more disease and weakness and decay; the coffin, and the funeral, and the grave, and the dark-black mourning shall be things unknown. Our faces shall no more be pale and sad; no more shall we go out from the company of those we love and be parted asunder – that word, farewell, shall never be heard again. There shall be no anxious thought about tomorrow to mar and spoil our enjoyment, no sharp and cutting words to wound our souls; our wants will have come to a perpetual end, and all around us shall be harmony and love.
Our Lord has many weak children in his family, many dull pupils in his school, many raw soldiers in his army, many lame sheep in his flock. Yet he bears with them all, and casts none away. Happy is that Christian who has learned to do likewise with his brethren.
Sin is the cause of all the sickness, and disease, and pain, and suffering, which prevail on the earth. They are all a part of that curse which came into the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and fell. There would have been no sickness, if there had been no fall. There would have been no disease, if there had been no sin.
Nothing can altogether overthrow and destroy [the church]. Its members may be persecuted, oppressed, imprisoned, beaten, beheaded, burned; but the true church is never altogether extinguished; it rises again from its afflictions; it lives on through fire and water. When crushed in one land it springs up in another. The Pharaohs, the Herods, the Neros, have labored in vain to put down this church; they slay their thousands, and then pass away and go to their own place. The true Church outlives them all, and sees them buried each in his turn. It is an anvil that has broken many a hammer in this world, and will break many a hammer still; it is a bush which is often burning, and yet is not consumed.
It would have been well for the church of Christ, if the warnings of the Gospel had been as much studied as its promises.
Let us not fail to see in the manner of our Lord’s resurrection, a type and pledge of the resurrection of His believing people. The grave could not hold Him beyond the appointed time, and it shall not be able to hold them. A glorious angel was a witness of His rising, and glorious angels shall be the messengers who shall gather believers when they rise again. He rose with a renewed body, and yet a body, real, true, and material, and so also shall His people have a glorious body, and be like their Head. “When we see Him we shall be like Him” (1 Jn. 3:2.).
The servant of Christ must never be surprised if he has to drink of the same cup with His Lord.
I am convinced that the first step toward attaining a higher standard of holiness is to realize more fully the amazing sinfulness of sin.
A day will come when [your children] will see the wisdom of all your training. But in the meantime if you say a thing is right, it must be enough for them – they must believe you, and be content… Use every means to train them to have a habit of faith.
Prayer is the mightiest weapon that God has placed in our hands. It is the best weapon to use in every difficulty, and the surest remedy in every trouble. It is the key that unlocks the treasury of promises, and the hand that draws forth grace and help in time of need. It is the silver trumpet that God commands us to sound in all our necessity, and it is the cry He has promised always to listen to, just as a loving mother listens attentively to the voice of her child.
We need to be straitly warned, that it is no light matter whether we repent or not. We need to be reminded, that there is a hell as well as a heaven, and an everlasting punishment for the wicked, as well as everlasting life for the godly. We are fearfully apt to forget this. We talk of the love and mercy of God, and we do not remember sufficiently His justness and holiness. Let us be very careful on this point. It is no real kindness to keep back the terrors of the Lord. It is good for us all to be taught that it is possible to be lost forever, and that all unconverted people are hanging over the brink of the pit.
This is a golden rule indeed! It does not merely forbid all petty malice and revenge, all cheating and over-reaching. It does much more. It settles a hundred difficult points, which in a world like this are continually arising between man and man. It prevents the necessity of laying down endless little rules for our conduct in specific cases. It sweeps the whole debatable ground with one mighty principle. It shows us a balance and measure, by which every one may see at once what is his duty. Is there a thing we would not like our neighbor to do to us? Then let us always remember, that this is the thing we ought not to do to him. Is there a thing we would like him to do to us? Then this is the very thing we ought to do to him. How many intricate questions would be decided at once, if this rule were honestly used!
Let us watch against pride in every shape – pride of intellect, pride of wealth, pride in our own goodness, pride in our own deserts. Nothing is so likely to keep a man out of heaven, and prevent him seeing Christ, as pride. So long as we think we are something, we shall never be saved.
I know the suffering and pain which sickness entails. I admit the misery and wretchedness which it often brings in its train. But I cannot regard it as an unmixed evil. I see in it a wise permission of God. I see in it a useful provision to check the ravages of sin and the devil among men’s souls. If man had never sinned I should have been at a loss to discern the benefit of sickness. But since sin is in the world, I can see that sickness is a good. It is a blessing quite as much as a curse. It is a rough schoolmaster, I grant. But it is a real friend to man’s soul.
We must not count temptation a strange thing. "The disciple is not greater than his master, nor the servant than his lord." If Satan came to Christ, he will also come to Christians.
It is not that doing nothing is of itself so wicked; it is the opportunity it affords to evil and empty thoughts; it is the wide door it opens for Satan to throw in the seeds of bad things; it is this which is mainly to be feared.
Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell
Let all true Christians remember, that their best things are yet to come. Let us count it no strange thing, if we have sufferings in this present time. It is a season of probation. We are yet at school. We are learning patience, gentleness, and meekness, which we could hardly learn if we had our good things now. But there is an eternal holiday yet to begin. For this let us wait quietly. It will make amends for all. “Our light affliction which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).
We need not wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord’s resurrection. It is the seal and headstone of the great work of redemption, which He came to do. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt which He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle which He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our Surety and our Substitute by our Father in heaven. Had He never come forth from the prison of the grave, how could we ever have been sure that our ransom had been fully paid? (1 Cor. 15:17.) Had He never risen from His conflict with the last enemy, how could we have felt confident, that He has overcome death, and him that had the power of death, that is the devil? (Heb. 2:14.) But thanks be unto God, we are not left in doubt. The Lord Jesus really “rose again for our justification.” True Christians are “begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” They may boldly say with Paul, “Who is he that condemns – it is Christ that died, yes rather that is risen again” (Rom. 8:34. Rom. 4:25. 1 Pet. 1:3).
He gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like moist clay. He gives them a disposition at the starting-point of life to believe what you tell them, and to take for granted what you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a stranger’s. He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good. See that you do not neglect such an opportunity. Once you let it slip, it is gone forever.
Jesus hears us, and in His own good time will give an answer… He may sometimes keep us long waiting…but He will never send us empty away.
Amidst the flood of dangerous reading, I plead for my Master’s book; I call upon you not to forget the book of the soul. Do not let newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the prophets and Apostles be despised. Do not let the exciting and sensual swallow up your attention, while the edifying and the sanctifying can find no place in your mind.
When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when a sheep is happy in water, when an owl is happy in the blaze of the noonday sun, when a fish is happy on dry land – then, and not till then, will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in heaven.
Anything whereby we may glorify God is a talent. Our gifts, our influence, our money, our knowledge, our health, our strength, our time, our senses, our reason, our intellect, our memory, our affections, our privileges as members of Christ’s Church, our advantages as possessors of the Bible – all, all are talents. Whence came these things? What hand bestowed them? Why are we what we are? Why are we not the worms that crawl on the earth? There is only one answer to these questions. All that we have is a loan from God. We are God’s stewards. We are God’s debtors. Let this thought sink deeply into our hearts.
We have no right to murmur at sickness, and repine at its presence in the world. We ought rather to thank God for it. It is God’s witness. It is the soul’s adviser. It is an awakener to the conscience. It is a purifier to the heart. Surely I have a right to tell you that sickness is a blessing and not a curse, a help and not an injury, a gain and not a loss, a friend and not a foe to mankind. So long as we have a world wherein there is sin, it is a mercy that it is a world wherein there is sickness.
To be tempted is in itself no sin. It is the yielding to the temptation, and giving it a place in our hearts, which we must fear.
Idleness is the devil’s best friend. It is the surest way to give him an opportunity of doing us some harm. An idle mind is like an open door, and if Satan does not come through it himself, it is certain he will throw something in to arouse bad thoughts in us.
We have no reason to be discouraged and cast down, if the religion we profess is not popular, and few agree with us. We must remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ … “The gate is narrow.” Repentance, and faith in Christ, and holiness of life have never been fashionable. The true flock of Christ has always been small… This is “the narrow way.” Surely it is better to enter into life eternal with a few, than to go to “destruction” with a great company.
I doubt, indeed, whether we have any warrant for saying that a man can possibly be converted without being consecrated to God!… If he was not consecrated to God in the very day that he was converted and born again, I do not know what conversion means. Are not men in danger of undervaluing and underrating the immense blessedness of conversion? Are they not, when they urge on believers the “higher life” as a second conversion, underrating the length, and breadth, and depth, and height, of that great first chapter which Scripture calls the new birth, the new creation, the spiritual resurrection? I may be mistaken. But I have sometimes thought, while reading the strong language used by many about “consecration,” in the last few years, that those who use it must have had preciously a singularly low and inadequate view of “conversion,” if indeed they knew anything about conversion at all. In short, I have almost suspected that when they were consecrated, they were in reality converted for the first time.
Gradual growth in grace, growth in knowledge, growth in faith, growth in love, growth in holiness, growth in humility, growth in spiritual-mindedness – all this I see clearly taught and urged in Scripture, and clearly exemplified in the lives of many of God’s saints. But sudden, instantaneous leaps from conversion to consecration I fail to see in the Bible.
Love should be the golden thread that runs through all your actions in dealing with the child. Kindness, gentleness, tolerance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys—these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily—these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart.
Parents, determine to make your children obey you, though it may cost you a lot of trouble, and cost them many tears. Let there be no questioning, and reasoning, and disputing, and delaying. When you give them a command, let them clearly see that you expect them to do it.
Two-thirds of all the strifes, quarrels and lawsuits in the world arise from one single cause – money!
The beginning of the way to heaven, is to feel that we are on the way to hell.
Beware of self-righteousness in every possible shape and form. Some people get as much harm from their “virtues” as others do from their sins.
I firmly believe that God is testing and proving us by every case of sickness within our reach. By permitting suffering, He tries whether Christians have any feeling. Beware, lest you be weighed in the balances and found wanting. If you can live in a sick and dying world and not feel for others, you have yet much to learn.
“All things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). Nothing can be concealed from Christ. What do we think of, in private, when no man sees us? What do we think of, in church, when we seem so grave and serious? What are we thinking of at this moment, while these words pass under our eyes? Jesus knows. Jesus sees. Jesus records. Jesus will one day call us to give account. It is written that “God will judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ” (Rom. 2:16).
No created being was ever meant to be idle. Service and work is the appointed portion of every creature of God. The angels in heaven work – they are the Lord’s ministering servants, always doing His will. Adam, in Paradise, had work – he was appointed to work and take care of the garden of Eden. And man, weak, sinful man, must have something to do, or else his soul will soon get into an unhealthy state. We must keep our hands busy, and our minds occupied with something, or else our imaginations will soon ferment and breed mischief.
Doubting does not prove that a man has no faith, but only that his faith is small. And even when our faith is small, the Lord is ready to help us.
A flood of false doctrine has lately broken in upon us. Men are beginning to tell us “that God is too merciful to punish souls for ever…that all mankind, however wicked and ungodly…will sooner or later be saved.” We are to embrace what is called “kinder theology,” and treat hell as a pagan fable… This question lies at the very foundation of the whole Gospel. The moral attributes of God, His justice, His holiness, His purity, are all involved in it. The Scripture has spoken plainly and fully on the subject of hell… If words mean anything, there is such a place as hell. If texts are to be interpreted fairly, there are those who will be cast into it… The same Bible which teaches that God in mercy and compassion sent Christ to die for sinners, does also teach that God hates sin, and must from His very nature punish all who cleave to sin or refuse the salvation He has provided.
Our Lord would have us regard the crucifixion as the central truth of Christianity. Right views of His vicarious death, and the benefits resulting from it, lie at the very foundation of Bible-religion. Never let us forget this… If we are wrong here, we are ruined forever. Error on many other points is only a skin disease. Error about Christ’s death is a disease at the heart. Here let us take our stand. Let nothing move us from this ground. The sum of all our hopes must be, that “Christ has died for us.” (1 Thess. 5:10.) Give up that doctrine, and we have no solid hope at all.
Love is the one great secret of successful training. Anger and harshness may frighten them, but they will not persuade the child that you are right; and if he often sees you angry and harsh, you will soon cease to have his respect.
Teach them to obey while they are young, or else they will be protesting against God all their lives, and wear themselves out with the vain idea of being independent of His control… That child’s character in the end will be self-will, pride, and conceit. Is it any wonder that men refuse to obey their Father who is in heaven, if you allow them, when children, to disobey their father who is on earth.
Nothing I am sure has such a tendency to quench the fire of religion as the possession of money.
If you cannot give your heart to God now, how is it possible you could enjoy God’s heaven hereafter? Heaven is unceasing godliness; it is to be in the presence of God and His Christ for evermore. God is the light, the food, the air of heaven. It is an eternal Sabbath. To serve God is heaven’s employment, to talk with God is heaven’s occupation. Oh, sinners, sinners, could you be happy there? To which of all the saints would you join yourselves? By whose side would you go and sit down, with whom of all the prophets and apostles would you love to converse? Surely it would be a wearisome thing to you; surely you would soon want to go forth and join your friends outside.
We should no more tolerate false doctrine that we would tolerate sin.
I earnestly entreat all…believers to remember that they may honor God as much by patient suffering as they can by active work. It often shows more grace to sit still than it does to go to and fro, and perform great exploits.
Who can tell the misery that unbelief has brought on the world? Unbelief made Eve eat the forbidden fruit – she doubted the truth of God’s word: “You will surely die.” Unbelief made the old world reject Noah’s warning, and so perish in their sin. Unbelief kept Israel in the wilderness – it was the barricade that kept them from entering the Promised Land. Unbelief made the Jews crucify the Lord of glory – they did not believe the voice of Moses and the prophets, even though they were read to them every day. And unbelief is the reigning sin of man’s heart down to this very hour – unbelief in God’s promises – unbelief in God’s wrath and discipline – unbelief in our own sinfulness – unbelief in our own danger – unbelief in everything that runs counter to the pride and worldliness of our evil hearts.
Truly, I believe that idleness has led to more sin than almost any other habit that could be named. I suspect it is the mother of many sins of the flesh – the mother of adultery, sexual immorality, drunkenness, and many other deeds of darkness that I do not have time to name. Let your own conscience say whether I speak the truth or not. You were once idle, and immediately the devil knocked at the door and came in.
Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God’s ordering and permission. There is no such thing as “chance,” “luck” or “accident” in the Christian’s journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are “working together” for the believer’s good.
There is but one point to be settled, “What says the word of God?” Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell is real and true. It is a true as heaven, as true as justification by faith, as true as the fact that Christ died upon the cross. There is not a fact or doctrine which you may not lawfully doubt, if you doubt hell. Disbelieve hell, you unscrew, unsettle, and unpin everything in the Scripture. You may as well throw your Bible aside at once. From “no hell” to “no God” is but a series of steps. Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell will have inhabitants.
Stop being so sure that you are always right, and others wrong. Don’t trust your own opinion, when you find it contrary to that of older men, and especially to that of your own parents. Age gives experience, and therefore deserves respect.
Dear friend, if you want to train your children wisely, note well how God the Father trains His children.
Many appear to think that, once converted, they have little more to attend to, and that a state of salvation is a kind of easy chair, in which they may just sit still, lie back and be happy… Such persons lose sight of the many direct injunctions to increase, to grow, to abound more and more, to add to our faith, and the like; and in this little-doing condition, this sitting-still state of mind, I never marvel that they miss assurance.
Riches, which all desire to obtain – riches, for which men labor and toil, and become gray before their time – riches are a most perilous possession. They often inflict great injury on the soul. They lead men into many temptations. They engross men’s thoughts and affections. They bind heavy burdens on the heart, and make the way to heaven even more difficult than it naturally is.
I know not what others may think, but to me it does seem clear that heaven would be a miserable place to an unholy man. It cannot be otherwise. People may say, in a vague way, they “hope to go to heaven,” but they do not consider what they say… We must be heavenly-minded, and have heavenly tastes, in the life that now is, or else we shall never find ourselves in heaven, in the life to come.
It is hard to imagine anything more tiresome and provoking than the conduct of Thomas… But it is impossible to imagine anything more patient and compassionate than our Lord’s treatment of this weak disciple… Our Lord has many weak children in His family, many dull pupils in His school, many raw soldiers in His army, many lame sheep in His flock. Yet he bears with them all and casts none away.
One thing essential to growth in grace is diligence in the use of private means of grace. By these I understand such means as a man must use by himself alone, and no one can use for him. I include under this head private prayer, private reading of the Scriptures, and private meditation and self-examination. The man who does not take pains about these three things must never expect to grow. Here are the roots of true Christianity. Wrong here, and a man is wrong all the way through.
Many, I fear, would like glory, who have no wish for grace. They would [want to] have the wages, but not the work; the harvest, but not the labor; the reaping, but not the sowing; the reward, but not the battle. But it may not be.
The Day of Judgment will reveal strange things. The hopes of many, who were thought great Christians while they lived, will be utterly confounded. The rottenness of their religion will be exposed and put to shame before the whole world. It will then be proved, that to be saved means something more than “making a profession.” We must make a “practice” of our Christianity as well as a “profession.” Let us often think of that great day. Let us often “judge ourselves, that we be not judged,” and condemned by the Lord.
All that pleases for a while is not real pleasure.
Experience tells me that people’s hearts are seldom changed if they are not changed when young. Seldom indeed are men converted when they are old. Habits have deep roots. Once sin is allowed to settle in your heart, it will not be turned out at your bidding. Custom becomes second nature, and its chains are not easily broken.
Assurance after all is no more than a full-grown faith; a masculine faith that grasps Christ’s promise with both hands – a faith that argues like the good centurion, if the Lord “speak the word only,” I am healed. Wherefore then should I doubt? (Matt. 8:8).
There is no office so honorable as that of the preacher. There is no work so important to the souls of men. It is an office which the Son of God was not ashamed to take up. It is an office to which He appointed His twelve apostles. It is an office to which Paul in his old age specially directs Timothy’s attention. He charges him with almost his last breath to "preach the word." It is the means which God has always been pleased to use above any other, for the conversion and edification of souls. The brightest days of the Church have been those when preaching has been honored. The darkest days of the Church have been those when it has been lightly esteemed. Let us honor the sacraments and public prayers of the Church, and reverently use them. But let us beware that we do not place them above preaching.
Let us all be on our guard against the love of money. The world is full of it in our days. The plague is abroad. Thousands who would abhor the idea of worshiping Juggernaut, are not ashamed to make an idol of gold. We are all liable to the infection, from the least to the greatest. We may love money without having it, just as we may have money without loving it. It is an evil that works very deceitfully. It carries us captives before we are aware of our chains. Once let it get the mastery, and it will harden, paralyze, scorch, freeze, blight, and wither our souls. It overthrew an apostle of Christ. Let us take heed that it does not overthrow us. One leak may sink a ship. One unmortified sin may ruin a soul.
We ask that God would make us holy. It is a good request indeed. But are we prepared to be sanctified by any process that God in His wisdom may call on us to pass through? Are we ready to be purified by affliction, weaned from the world by bereavements, drawn nearer to God by losses, sicknesses, and sorrow?
Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Ghost, when He calls him to be a true believer. He not only washes him from his sins in His own blood, but He also separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart, and makes him practically godly in life. The instrument by which the Spirit effects this work is generally the Word of God… The subject of this work of Christ by His Spirit is called in Scripture a “sanctified” man.
Backsliding, generally first begins with neglect of private prayer.
Whenever a man takes upon him to make additions to the Scriptures, he is likely to end with valuing his own additions above Scripture itself.
Inability to distinguish doctrine is spreading far and wide, and so long as the preacher is “clever” and “earnest,” hundreds seem to think it must be all right, and call you dreadfully “narrow and uncharitable” if you hint that he is unsound!
All portions of Scripture…ought to be approached with deep humility and earnest prayer for the teaching of the Spirit. On no point have good people so entirely disagreed as on the interpretation of prophecy; on no point have the prejudices of one group, the dogmatism of a second and the extravagance of a third done so much to rob the church of truths which God intended to be a blessing.
True repentance is no light matter. It is a thorough change of heart about sin, a change showing itself in godly sorrow and humiliation – in heartfelt confession before the throne of grace – in a complete breaking off from sinful habits, and an abiding hatred of all sin. Such repentance is the inseparable companion of saving faith in Christ.
I ask the children of religious parents to mark well what I am saying. It is the highest privilege to be the child of a godly father and mother, and to be brought up in the midst of many prayers. It is a blessed thing indeed to be taught the gospel from our earliest infancy, and to hear of sin, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and holiness, and heaven, from the first moment we can remember anything. But, oh, take heed that you do not remain barren and unfruitful in the sunshine of all these privileges: beware lest your heart remains hard, impenitent, and worldly, notwithstanding the many advantages you enjoy. You cannot enter the kingdom of God on the credit of your parents’ religion. You must eat the bread of life for yourself, and have the witness of the Spirit in your own heart. You must have repentance of your own, faith of your own, and sanctification of your own.
Think about how much falsehood and deceit there is in the world! How much exaggeration! How many untruths are added to a simple story! How many things are left out, if it does not serve the speaker’s interest to tell them! How few there are around us of whom we can say, that we trust their word without question!
But depend on it, bad company in this life, is the sure way to procure worse company in the life to come.
Before Christ comes it is useless to expect to see the perfect church.
Let us remember, there is One who daily records all we do for Him, and sees more beauty in His servants’ work than His servants do themselves… And then shall His faithful witnesses discover, to their wonder and surprise, that there never was a word spoken on their Master’s behalf, which does not receive a reward.
Of all the evidences of the real work of the Spirit, a habit of hearty private prayer is one of the most satisfactory that can be named. A man may preach from false motives. A man may write books and make fine speeches and seem diligent in good works, and yet be a Judas Iscariot. But a man seldom goes into his closet, and pours out his soul before God in secret, unless he is serious.