“Almighty power and deepest sympathy meet together in one glorious person, Jesus Christ, my Lord” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us settle deeply in our minds this great truth, that Jesus Christ was verily and indeed Man. He was equal to the Father in all things, and the eternal God.

But He was also Man, and took part of flesh and blood, and was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted. He had a body like our own. Like us, He was born of a woman. Like us, He grew and increased in stature. Like us, He was often hungry and thirsty, and faint and weary. Like us, He ate and drank, rested and slept. Like us, He sorrowed, and wept, and felt. It is all very wonderful, but so it is.

He that made the heavens went to and fro as a poor weary Man on earth! He that ruled over principalities and powers in heavenly places, took on Him a frail body like our own. He that might have dwelt forever in the glory which He had with the Father, amidst the praises of legions of angels, came down to earth and dwelt as a Man among sinful men. Surely this fact alone is an amazing miracle of condescension, grace, pity, and love.

I find a deep mine of comfort in this thought, that Jesus is perfect Man no less than perfect God. He in whom I am told by Scripture to trust is not only a great High Priest, but a feeling High Priest. He is not only a powerful Saviour, but a sympathizing Saviour. He is not only the Son of God, mighty to save, but the Son of man, able to feel.

Who does not know that sympathy is one of the sweetest things left to us in this sinful world? It is one of the bright seasons in our dark journey here below, when we can find a person who enters into our troubles, and goes along with us in our anxieties,—who can weep when we weep, and rejoice when we rejoice. Sympathy is far better than money, and far rarer too.

Thousands can give who know not what it is to feel. Sympathy has the greatest power to draw us and to open our hearts. Proper and correct counsel often falls dead and useless on a heavy heart. Cold advice often makes us shut up, shrink, and withdraw into ourselves, when tendered in the day of trouble.

But genuine sympathy in such a day will call out all our better feelings, if we have any, and obtain an influence over us when nothing else can. Give me the friend who, though poor in gold and silver, has always ready a sympathizing heart.

Our God knows all this well. He knows the very secrets of man’s heart. He knows the ways by which that heart is most easily approached, and the springs by which that heart is most readily moved. He has wisely provided that the Saviour of the Gospel should be feeling as well as mighty.

He has given us one who has not only a strong hand to pluck us as brands from the burning, but a sympathizing heart on which the labouring and heavy laden may find rest. I see a marvellous proof of love and wisdom in the union of two natures in Christ’s person.

It was marvellous love in our Saviour to condescend to go through weakness and humiliation for our sakes, ungodly rebels as we are. It was marvellous wisdom to fit Himself in this way to be the very Friend of friends, who could not only save man, but meet him on his own ground.

I want one able to perform all things needful to redeem my soul. This Jesus can do, for He is the eternal Son of God. I want one able to understand my weakness and infirmities, and to deal gently with my soul, while tied to a body of death. This again Jesus can do, for He was the Son of man, and had flesh and blood like my own.

Had my Saviour been God only, I might perhaps have trusted Him, but I never could have come near to Him without fear. Had my Saviour been Man only, I might have loved Him, but I never could have felt sure that He was able to take away my sins. But, blessed be God, my Saviour is God as well as Man, and Man, as well as God,—God, and so able to deliver me,—Man, and so able to feel with me.

Almighty power and deepest sympathy meet together in one glorious person, Jesus Christ, my Lord. Surely a believer in Christ has a strong consolation. He may well trust, and not be afraid.

If any reader of this paper knows what it is to go to the throne of grace for mercy and pardon, let him never forget that the Mediator by whom he draws near to God is the Man Christ Jesus.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (Moscow, ID: Charles Nolan Publishers, 1877/2001), 238-239.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Christology, Holiness, Incarnation, J.C. Ryle, Jesus Christ, Love of God, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“Give me the cross of Christ!” by J.C. Ryle

“Let others, if they will, preach the law and morality. Let others hold forth the terrors of hell, and the joys of heaven. Let others drench their congregations with teachings about the sacraments and the church. Give me the cross of Christ!

This is the only lever which has ever turned the world upside down hitherto, and made men forsake their sins. And if this will not, nothing will. A man may begin preaching with a perfect knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, but he will do little or no good among his hearers unless he knows something of the cross.

Never was there a minister who did much for the conversion of souls who did not dwell much on Christ crucified. Luther, Rutherford, Whitefield, M’Cheyne, were all most eminently preachers of the cross. This is the preaching that the Holy Ghost delights to bless. He loves to honour those who honour the cross.

The cross is the foundation of a Church’s prosperity. No Church will ever be honoured in which Christ crucified is not continually lifted up: nothing whatever can make up for the want of the cross.

Without it all things may be done decently and in order. Without it there may be splendid ceremonies, beautiful music, gorgeous churches, learned ministers, crowded communion tables, huge collections for the poor.

But without the cross no good will be done. Dark hearts will not be enlightened, proud hearts will not be humbled, mourning hearts will not be comforted, fainting hearts will not be cheered.

Sermons about the Catholic Church and an apostolic ministry,—sermons about baptism and the Lord’s supper,—sermons about unity and schism,—sermons about fasts and communion,—sermons about fathers and saints,—such sermons will never make up for the absence of sermons about the cross of Christ.

They may amuse some: they will feed none. A gorgeous banqueting room, and splendid gold plate on the table, will never make up to a hungry man for a lack of food.

Christ crucified is God’s ordinance for doing good to men. Whenever a Church keeps back Christ crucified, or puts anything whatever in that foremost place which Christ crucified should always have, from that moment a Church ceases to be useful.

Without Christ crucified in her pulpits, a church is little better than a cumberer of the ground, a dead carcass, a well without water, a barren fig tree, a sleeping watchman, a silent trumpet, a dumb witness, an ambassador without terms of peace, a messenger without tidings, a lighthouse without fire, a stumbling-block to weak believers, a comfort to infidels, a hot-bed for formalism, a joy to the devil, and an offence to God.”

–J.C. Ryle, Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (London: Charles J. Thynne, 1898), 257-259.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Holiness, J.C. Ryle, Jesus Christ, Pierced For Our Transgressions, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Church, The Gospel

“Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?” by Lemuel Haynes

“I stand here this day, my friends and brethren, to plead for thousands of poor, perishing, dying, fellow mortals, who need the bread of life, and whose cries and distresses call for compassion.

We stand this day to plead the cause of Jesus, who sits upon the holy hill of Zion with pardon in His hands.

We plead the promises and predictions of God’s Word that may encourage your hope and trust.

Be not afraid of the haughty mandate of the prince of darkness, for it shall be made to subserve the interest of Christ’s kingdom.

Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to wrest souls from the jaws of death and hell, and to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?

To promote the felicity of the universe is the happiness of the redeemed in glory. And this spirit among Christians is heaven begun on earth.

If your hearts do not glow with holy affections towards perishing sinners, by which you are disposed to do something for their relief, then you have reason to fear and tremble that you have no inheritance among the saints in light.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “Divine Decrees: An Encouragement to the Use of Means,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 99-100.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Evangelism, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Lemuel Haynes, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, salvation, Sovereignty, The Gospel

“Come into the pulpit as one who feels the weight of eternal things” by Lemuel Haynes

“The pious preacher will endeavor to adapt his discourses to the understanding of his hearers. He will not be ambitious of saying fine things to win applause, but of saying useful things to win souls.

He will consider that he has the weak as well as the strong, children as well as adults to speak to, and that he must be accountable for the blood of their souls if they perish through his neglect. This will influence him to study plainness more than politeness.

Also he will labor to accommodate his sermons to the different states or circumstances of his hearers. He will have comforting and encouraging lessons to set before the children of God, while the terrors of the law are to be proclaimed in the ears of the impenitent.

He will strive to preach distinguishingly so that every hearer may have his portion. The awful scenes of approaching judgment will have an influence on the Christian preacher with respect to the manner in which he will deliver himself.

Such a preacher will not come into the pulpit as an actor comes to the stage to personate a feigned character or to display his talents, but as one who feels the weight of eternal things. He will not address his hearers as though judgment was a mere empty sound.

But he will address his hearers viewing eternity just before him and a congregation on the frontiers of it, whose eternal state depends upon a few uncertain moments.

Oh! With what zeal and fervor will he speak! How will death, judgment, and eternity appear as it were in every feature, and every word! Out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth will speak.

His hearers will easily perceive that the preacher is one who expects to give an account. He will study and preach with reference to a judgment to come, and deliver every sermon in some respects, as if it were his last, not knowing when his Lord will call him or his hearers to account.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 50-51.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Uncategorized

“Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching” by Lemuel Haynes

“A minister that watches for souls as one who expects to give account will have none to please but God.

When he studies his sermons, this will not be the enquiry, ‘How shall I form my discourse so as to please and gratify the humors of men, and get their applause?’ but ‘How shall I preach so as to do honor to God, and meet with the approbation of my Judge?’

This will be his daily request at the throne of grace. This will be ten thousand times better to him than the vain flattery of men. His discourses will not be calculated to gratify the carnal heart, but he will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God.

The solemn account that the faithful minister expects to give another day will direct him in the choice of his subjects. He will dwell upon those things which have a more direct relation to the eternal world.

He will not entertain his audience with empty speculations, or vain philosophy, but with things that concern their everlasting welfare. Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching.

If he means to save souls, like a skillful physician, he will endeavor to lead his patient into a view of their maladies, and then point them to a bleeding Savior as the only way of recovery. The faithful Watchman will give the alarm at the approach of the enemy, will blow the trumpet in the ears of the sleeping sinner, and endeavor to awake him.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 49-50.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Lemuel Haynes, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, salvation, The Gospel

“None but He who spoke all nature into existence can triumph over the opposition of the heart” by Lemuel Haynes

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. I would consider the agent, or who it is that effects this great work.

If we consider the state that mankind are by nature, as has been described above, we need not stand long to know who to attribute this work to. It is a work too great to attribute to men or angels to accomplish.

None but He who, by one word’s speaking, spoke all nature into existence, can triumph over the opposition of the heart. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is represented in Scripture as emanating from the Father and the Son, yet co-equal with them both.

It is God alone that slays the native enmity of the heart– that takes away those evil dispositions that govern man– takes away the heart of stone and gives a soft heart– and makes him that was a hater of God, an enemy to God, to become friendly to His divine character.

This was not wrought by any efficiency of man, or by any external motives, or by any light let into the understanding, but of God. Hence we read that those that receive Christ are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13).

And that is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Also it is God which worketh in us (Phil. 2:13).”

–Lemuel Haynes, “A Sermon on John 3:3,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 34.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Lemuel Haynes, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Regeneration, salvation, The Gospel

“Prayer on Sunday after the Sermon” by Zacharias Ursinus

“Almighty God, heavenly Father, who has promised us that whatever we ask of you in the name of Your dear Son Jesus Christ, You will surely give to us. (John 16:23)

[Hallowed be Your name]

We ask You to work in us by Your Holy Spirit, so that we may rightly know You, and sanctify, glorify, and praise You in all Your works, in which shine forth Your omnipotence, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth. Grant us also that we may so direct our whole life—thoughts, words, and deeds—that Your name is not blasphemed because of us but honored and praised.

[Your kingdom come]

Rule us also by the scepter of Your Word and the power of Your Holy Spirit that we and all men may daily more and more surrender and submit to Your Majesty. Preserve and increase Your Church. Destroy all works of the devil, and every false and wicked counsel conceived against Your holy Word. Bring to ruin Your enemies by the power of Your truth and righteousness, so that every power that raises itself against Your honor may be more and more destroyed and demolished each day, until the fullness of Your kingdom comes, when on the final day You will reveal Your glory in us and You will be all in all forevermore.

[Your will be done]

Grant also that we and all men may deny our own will and all the lust of our flesh, and without any murmuring obey Your will, which alone is good. Grant that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.

[Give us today our daily bread]

Provide us also with all our bodily needs, peace, and a good government, so that we may acknowledge that You are the only fountain of all good, and a faithful Father who cares for His children; that also our care and labor, and also Your gifts, cannot do us any good without Your blessing. Grant, therefore, that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures and put it only in You.

[Forgive us our debts]

And for the sake of the shedding of Christ’s blood, do not impute to us, poor sinners, any of our transgressions and debts, nor the evil which still clings to us, as we also find this evidence of Your grace in our hearts that we desire to wholeheartedly forgive our neighbor and increase His benefit.

[And lead us not into temptation, etc.]

And because we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand even for a moment, and moreover, our sworn enemies—the devil, the world, and our own flesh—do not cease to attack us. Will You, therefore, keep and strengthen us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may firmly resist them and not go down to defeat in this spiritual war, but remain persistent until we finally obtain the complete victory and reign together with Your Son, our Lord and Protector, Jesus Christ, in Your kingdom forevermore.

All this we ask from You, not so that we, but that You may be praised forevermore, and because You are able to do so as Almighty God, and are also willing as a faithful Father, as certainly as we wholeheartedly desire these things from You, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.”

—Zacharias Ursinus, “Palatinate Church Order (1563),” as quoted in Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present, Eds. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2018), 614-615.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Communion with God, Jesus Christ, Lord's Day Prayer, Prayer, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Church, The Gospel, Worship