Category Archives: J.C. Ryle

“Amen and Amen” by J.C. Ryle

“I have now completed my notes on St. John’s Gospel. I have given my last explanation.

I have gathered my last collection of the opinions of Commentators. I have offered for the last time my judgment upon doubtful and disputed points.

I lay down my pen with humbled, thankful, and solemnized feelings.

The closing words of holy Bullinger’s Commentary on the Gospels, condensed and abridged, will perhaps not be considered an inappropriate conclusion to my Expository Thoughts on St. John:

‘Reader, I have now set before thee thy Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, that very Son of God, who was begotten by the Father by an eternal and ineffable generation, consubstantial and coequal with the Father in all things;—but in these last times, according to prophetical oracles, was incarnate for us, suffered, died, rose again from the dead, and was made King and Lord of all things.

This is He who is appointed and given to us by God the Father, as the fulness of all grace and truth, as the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, as the ladder and door of heaven, as the serpent lifted up to render the poison of sin harmless, as the water which refreshes the thirsty, as the bread of life, as the light of the world, as the redeemer of God’s children, as the shepherd and door of the sheep, as the resurrection and the life, as the corn of wheat which springs up into much fruit, as the conqueror of the prince of this world, as the way, the truth, and the life, as the true vine, and finally, as the redemption, salvation, satisfaction, and righteousness of all the faithful in all the world, throughout all ages.

Let us therefore pray God the Father, that, being taught by His Gospel, we may know Him that is true, and believe in Him in whom alone is salvation; and that, believing, we may feel God living in us in this world, and in the world to come may enjoy His eternal and most blessed fellowship.’

Amen and Amen.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Volume 3 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1880), 472–473.

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“The Lord’s hidden servants” by J.C. Ryle

“There are some true Christians in the world of whom very little is known.

The case of Joseph of Arimathea teaches this very plainly.

Here is a man named among the friends of Christ, whose very name we never find elsewhere in the New Testament, and whose history, both before and after this crisis, is completely withheld from the Church.

He comes forward to do honor to Christ, when the Apostles had forsaken Him and fled. He cares for Him and delights to do Him service, even when dead,—not because of any miracle which he saw Him do, but out of free and gratuitous love.

He does not hesitate to confess himself one of Christ’s friends, at a time when Jews and Romans alike had condemned Him as a malefactor, and put Him to death.

Surely the man who could do such things must have had strong faith! Can we wonder that, wherever the Gospel is preached, throughout the whole world, this pious action of Joseph is told of as a memorial of him?

Let us hope and believe that there are many Christians in every age, who, like Joseph, are the Lord’s hidden servants, unknown to the Church and the world, but well known to God.

Even in Elijah’s time there were seven thousand in Israel who had never bowed the knee to Baal, although the desponding prophet knew nothing of it.

Perhaps, at this very day, there are saints in the back streets of some of our great towns, or in the lanes of some of our country parishes, who make no noise in the world, and yet love Christ and are loved by Him.

Ill-health, or poverty, or the daily cares of some laborious calling, render it impossible for them to come forward in public; and so they live and die comparatively unknown.

Yet the last day may show an astonished world that some of these very people, like Joseph, honored Christ as much as any on earth, and that their names were written in heaven.

After all, it is special circumstances that bring to the surface special Christians.

It is not those who make the greatest show in the Church, who are always found the fastest friends of Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Volume 3 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1880), 334-335. Ryle is commenting on John 19:38-42.

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“His mighty affection knows no bottom” by J.C. Ryle

“Mark the depth and width of our Lord’s sympathies and affections. The Saviour on whom we are bid to repose the weight of our sinful souls is one whose love passeth knowledge.

Shallow, skin-deep feelings in others, we all know continually chill and disappoint us on every side in this world.

But there is One whose mighty heart affection knows no bottom. That one is Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Volume 3 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1880), 312. Ryle is commenting on John 19:26-27.

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“The three crosses on Golgotha” by J.C. Ryle

“Augustine remarks, that three very different persons hung together on the three crosses on Golgotha.

One was the Saviour of sinners.

One was a sinner about to be saved.

One was a sinner about to be damned.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Volume 3 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1880), 301. Ryle is commenting on John 19:18.

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“As if in the hand of God” by J.C. Ryle

“Ambrose says, quaintly enough, that the form of the cross is that of a sword with the point downward; above is the hilt toward heaven, as if in the hand of God; below is the point toward earth, as if thrust through the head of the old serpent the devil.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Volume 3 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1880), 296. Ryle is commenting on John 19:17.

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“He shall carry you safely home” by J.C. Ryle

“Let all the world know that the Lord Christ is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. As a father pitieth his children, so He pitieth them that fear Him.

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will He comfort His people. (James 5:11; Matt. 12:20; Ps. 103:13; Isa. 66:13.)

He cares for the lambs of His flock as well as for the old sheep.

He cares for the sick and feeble ones of His fold as well as for the strong. It is written that He will carry them in His bosom, rather than let one of them be lost. (Isaiah 40:11.)

He cares for the least member of His body, as well as for the greatest.

He cares for the babes of His family as well as the grown up men.

He cares for the tenderest little plants in His garden as well as for the cedar of Lebanon. All are in His book of life, and all are under His charge. All are given to Him in an everlasting covenant, and He has undertaken, in spite of all weaknesses, to bring every one safe home.

Only let a sinner lay hold on Christ by faith, and then, however feeble, Christ’s word is pledged to him, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ He may correct him occasionally in love.

He may gently reprove him at times. But He will never, never give him up. The devil shall never pluck him from Christ’s hand.

Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of short-comings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her.

The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble, and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections.

Oh! no! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings,—to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

Who is there now among the readers of this paper that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by-and-by he should fall away? Consider, I beseech you, the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus, and be afraid no more.

Fear not to take up the cross, and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you.

If you stumble, He will raise you.

If you err, He will gently bring you back.

If you faint, He will revive you.

He will not lead you out of Egypt, and then suffer you to perish in the wilderness. He will conduct you safe into the promised land.

Only commit yourself to His guidance, and then, my soul for yours, He shall carry you safely home. Only hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and you shall never perish.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 299–300.

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“Do not linger!” by J.C. Ryle

“‘He lingered.’ (Genesis 19:16) Do not be a lingering soul.

Would you know what the times demand?—The shaking of nations,—the uprooting of ancient things,—the overturning of kingdoms,—the stir and restlessness of men’s minds—what do they say? They all cry aloud,—Christian! do not linger!

Would you be found ready for Christ at His second appearing,—your loins girded,—your lamp burning. yourself bold, and prepared to meet Him? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy much sensible comfort in your religion,—feel the witness of the Spirit within you,—know whom you have believed,—and not be a gloomy, complaining, sour, downcast, and melancholy Christian? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy strong assurance of your own salvation, in the day of sickness, and on the bed of death?—Would you see with the eye of faith heaven opening, and Jesus rising to receive you? Then do not linger!

Would you leave great broad evidences behind you when you are gone?—Would you like us to lay you in the grave with comfortable hope, and talk of your state after death without a doubt? Then do not linger!

Would you be useful to the world in your day and generation?—Would you draw men from sin to Christ, adorn your doctrine, and make your Master’s cause beautiful and attractive in their eyes? Then do not linger!

Would you help your children and relatives towards heaven, and make them say, “We will go with you”?—and not make them infidels and despisers of all religion? Then do not linger!

Would you have a great crown in the day of Christ’s appearing, and not be the least and smallest star in glory, and not find yourself the last and lowest in the kingdom of God? Then do not linger!

Oh, let not one of us linger! Time does not,—death does not,—judgment does not,—the devil does not,—the world does not. Neither let the children of God linger.

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 230–231.

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