Category Archives: J.C. Ryle

“Pray for the worst, the hardest, and the most unbelieving” by J.C. Ryle

“Do we know what it is to pray for ourselves? This, after all, is the first question for self-inquiry. The man who never speaks to God about his own soul, can know nothing of praying for others.

He is as yet Godless, Christless, and hopeless, and has to learn the very rudiments of religion. Let him awake, and call upon God.

But do we pray for ourselves? Then let us take heed that we pray for others also.

Let us beware of selfish prayers,—prayers which are wholly taken up with our own affairs, and in which there is no place for other souls beside our own.

Let us name all whom we love before God continually.

Let us pray for all,—the worst, the hardest, and the most unbelieving.

Let us continue praying for them year after year, in spite of their continued unbelief.

God’s time of mercy may be a distant one. Our eyes may not see an answer to our intercessions. The answer may not come for ten, fifteen, or twenty years.

It may not come till we have exchanged prayer for praise, and are far away from this world. But while we live, let us pray for others.

It is the greatest kindness we can do to anyone, to speak for him to our Lord Jesus Christ. The day of judgment will show that one of the greatest links in drawing some souls to God, has been the intercessory prayer of friends.”

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1878/2013), 116-117.

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“There will be a great change soon” by J.C. Ryle

“A desire of salvation shall come to many too late. They shall long after pardon, and peace, and the favour of God, when they can no more be had. They will wish they might have one more Sunday over again, have one more offer of forgiveness, have one more call to prayer.

But it will matter nothing what they think, or feel, or desire then: the day of grace will be over; the gate of salvation will be bolted and barred. It will be too late!

I often think what a change there will be one day in the price and estimation at which things are valued. I look round this world in which my lot is cast; I mark the current price of everything this world contains; I look forward to the coming of Christ, and the great day of God.

I think of the new order of things, which that day will bring in; I read the words of the Lord Jesus, when He describes the master of the house rising up and shutting the door; and as I read, I say to myself, ‘There will be a great change soon.’

What are the dear things now? Gold, silver, precious stones, bank notes, mines, ships, lands, houses, horses, carriages, furniture, meat, drink, clothes, and the like. These are the things that are thought valuable; these are the things that command a ready market; these are the things which you can never get below a certain price, He that has much of these things is counted a wealthy man. Such is the world!

And what are the cheap things now? The knowledge of God, the free salvation of the Gospel, the favour of Christ, the grace of the Holy Ghost, the privilege of being God’s son, the title to eternal life, the right to the tree of life, the reversion of a mansion in heaven, the promises of an incorruptible inheritance, the offer of a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

These are the things that no man hardly cares for. They are offered to the sons of men without money and without price: they may be had for nothing,—freely and gratuitously. Whosoever will may take his portion. But, alas, there is no demand for these things! They go a begging. They are scarcely looked at. They are offered in vain. Such is the world!

But a day is coming upon us all when the value of everything shall be altered.

A day is coming when banknotes shall be as useless as rags, and gold shall be as worthless as the dust of the earth.

A day is coming when thousands shall care nothing for the things for which they once lived, and shall desire nothing so much as the things which they once despised. The halls and palaces will be forgotten in the desire of a ‘house not made with hands.’

The favour of the rich and great will be no more remembered, in the longing for the favour of the King of kings. The silks, and satins, and velvets, and laces, will be lost sight of in the anxious want of the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

All shall be altered, all shall be changed in the great day of the Lord’s return. ‘Many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.'”

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1878/2013), 35-37.

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“Greater is He that is for us” by J.C. Ryle

“Our Lord Jesus Christ, as God, has almighty power. We see Him in these verses doing that which is proverbially impossible. He speaks to the winds, and they obey Him. He speaks to the waves, and they submit to His command.

He turns the raging storm into a calm with a few words,—’Peace, be still.’ Those words were the words of Him who first created all things. The elements knew the voice of their Master, and, like obedient servants, were quiet at once.

Let us mark this lesson also, and lay it up in our minds. With the Lord Jesus Christ nothing is impossible. No stormy passions are so strong but He can tame them. No temper is so rough and violent but He can change it.

No conscience is so disquieted, but He can speak peace to it, and make it calm. No man ever need despair, if He will only bow down his pride, and come as a humbled sinner to Christ.

Christ can do miracles upon the heart. No man ever need despair of reaching his journey’s end, if he has once committed his soul to Christ’s keeping. Christ will carry him through every danger.

Christ will make him conqueror over every foe. What though our relations oppose us? What though our neighbours laugh us to scorn? What though our place be hard? What though our temptations be great?

It is all nothing, if Christ is on our side, and we are in the ship with Him. Greater is He that is for us, than all they that are against us.

We learn from this passage, that our Lord Jesus Christ is exceedingly patient and pitiful in dealing with His own people. We see the disciples on this occasion showing great want of faith, and giving way to most unseemly fears.

They forgot their Master’s miracles and care for them in days gone by. They thought of nothing but their present peril. They awoke our Lord hastily, and cried, ‘carest thou not that we perish?’

We see our Lord dealing most gently and tenderly with them. He gives them no sharp reproof. He makes no threat of casting them off, because of their unbelief. He simply asks the touching question, ‘Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?’

Let us mark well this lesson. The Lord Jesus is very pitiful and of tender mercy. ‘As a father pitieth his children, even so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.’ (Psalm 103:13.) He does not deal with believers according to their sins, nor reward them according to their iniquities.

He sees their weakness. He is aware of their short-comings. He knows all the defects of their faith, and hope, and love, and courage. And yet He will not cast them off. He bears with them continually. He loves them even to the end. He raises them when they fall.

He restores them when they err. His patience, like His love, is a patience that passeth knowledge. When He sees a heart right, it is His glory to pass over many a short-coming.

Let us leave these verses with the comfortable recollection that Jesus is not changed. His heart is still the same that it was when He crossed the sea of Galilee and stilled the storm.

High in heaven at the right hand of God, Jesus is still sympathizing, still almighty, still pitiful and patient towards His people.

Let us be more charitable and patient towards our brethren in the faith. They may err in many things, but if Jesus has received them and can bear with them, surely we may bear with them too.

Let us be more hopeful about ourselves. We may be very weak, and frail, and unstable; but if we can truly say that we do come to Christ and believe on Him, we may take comfort.

The question for conscience to answer is not, ‘Are we like the angels? Are we perfect as we shall be in heaven?’ The question is, ‘Are we real and true in our approaches to Christ? Do we truly repent and believe?'”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1857/2012), 67-68. Ryle is commenting on Mark 4:35-41.

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“A symptom of spiritual disease” by J.C. Ryle

“It ought to be a settled principle in our minds, that a man’s soul is in a bad state, when he begins to regard man-made rites and ceremonies, as things of superior importance, and exalts them above the preaching of the Gospel.

It is a symptom of spiritual disease. There is mischief within. It is too often the resource of an uneasy conscience. The first steps of apostasy from Protestantism to Romanism have often been in this direction.

No wonder that St. Paul said to the Galatians, ‘Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed on you labour in vain,’ (Gal. 4:10, 11).”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1857/2012), 30. Ryle is commenting on Mark 2:23-28.

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“Studied, pondered, and prayed over” by J.C. Ryle

“If we are to use the Bible as our Lord did, we must know it well, and be acquainted with its contents. We must read it diligently, humbly, perseveringly, prayerfully, or we shall never find its texts coming to our aid in the time of need.

To use the sword of the Spirit effectually, we must be familiar with it, and have it often in our hands. There is no royal road to the knowledge of the Bible. It does not come to man by intuition.

The book must be studied, pondered, prayed over, searched into, and not left always lying on a shelf, or carelessly looked at now and then. It is the students of the Bible, and they only, who will find it a weapon ready to hand in the day of battle.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1857/2012), 31. Ryle is commenting on Mark 2:23-28.

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“Grace is the fountain of life” by J.C. Ryle

“The word ‘grace’ seems to be employed as a comprehensive description of the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Of that glorious Gospel, grace is the main feature– grace in the original scheme, grace in the execution, grace in the application to man’s soul.

Grace is the fountain of life from which our salvation flows. Grace is the agency through which our spiritual life is kept up.

Are we justified? It is by grace.

Are we called? It is by grace.

Have we forgiveness? It is through the riches of grace.

Have we good hope? It is through grace.

Do we believe? It is through grace.

Are we elect? It is by the election of grace.

Are we saved? It is by grace.

Why should I say more? The time would fail me to exhibit fully the part that grace does in the whole work of redemption.

No wonder that St. Paul says to the Romans, ‘We are not under the law, but under grace;’ and tells Titus, ‘The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men.’ (Rom. 3:24; Gal. 1:15; Eph. 1:7; 2 Thess. 2:16; Acts 18:27; Rom. 1:5; Eph. 2:5; Rom. 6:15; Titus 2:11).”

–J.C. Ryle, Knots Untied: Being Plain Statements on Disputed Points in Religion (London: William Hunt and Company, 1885), 354.

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“Make much of our Lord Jesus Christ” by J.C. Ryle

“In conclusion, I will remind you of the words the Apostle addressed to the Ephesian elders: ‘I commend you to God and to the word of His grace.’ (Acts 20:32)

We are about to part, perhaps to meet no more in this world. Let us solemnly commend one another to God, and to the word of His grace, as that which will never err, never fail us, never lead us astray.

Guided by that Word as our light and lamp, we shall at last receive an inheritance among them that are sanctified.

Above all, let us never forget the advice which Whitefield gave in one of his letters: let us ‘make much of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

There are many things of which we may easily make too much in our ministry, give them too much attention, think about them too much.

But we can never make too much of Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, “What Is Our Position,” Home Truths, seventh series (Ipswich: William Hunt, 1859), 267-268. These words were addressed to pastors at Weston-Super-Mare in August 1858.

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