Tag Archives: Old Paths

“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.

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“Hope for the lost” by J.C. Ryle

“I entreat them to seek ‘a good hope’ while it can be found. A good hope is within the reach of any man, if he is only willing to seek it. It is called emphatically in Scripture, a ‘good hope through grace.’

It is freely offered, even as it was freely purchased: it may be freely obtained, ‘without money and without price.’

Our past lives do not make it impossible to obtain it, however bad they may have been.

Our present weaknesses and infirmities do not shut us out, however great they may be.

The same grace which provided mankind with a hope, makes a free, full, and unlimited invitation:—’Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely;’—’Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find.’ (Rev. 22:17; Matt. 7:7.)

The Lord Jesus Christ is able and willing to give ‘a good hope’ to all who really want it. He is sealed and appointed by God the Father to give the bread of life to all that hunger, and the water of life to all that thirst.

‘It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.’ (Coloss. 1:19.)

In Him there is pardon and peace with God, bought by the precious blood which He shed upon the cross.

In Him there is joy and peace for any believer, and a solid, well-grounded expectation of good things to come.

In Him there is rest for the weary, refuge for the fearful, a cleansing fountain for the unclean, medicine for the sick, healing for the broken-hearted, and hope for the lost.

Whosoever feels labouring and heavy-laden with sin, whosoever feels anxious and distressed about his soul, whosoever feels afraid of death and unfit to die,—whosoever he is, let him go to Christ and trust in Him.

This is the thing to be done: this is the way to follow. Whosoever wants ‘hope,’ let him go to Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (London: Charles J. Thynne, 1898), 113–114.

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“Behold the cross of Christ” by J.C. Ryle

Are you a distressed believer? Is your heart pressed down with sickness, tried with disappointments, overburdened with cares? To you also I say this day, ‘Behold the cross of Christ.’

Think whose hand it is that chastens you; think whose hand is measuring to you the cup of bitterness which you are now drinking. It is the hand of Him that was crucified. It is the same hand which in love to your soul was nailed to the accursed tree.

Surely that thought should comfort and hearten you. Surely you should say to yourself, ‘A crucified Saviour will never lay upon me anything that is not for my good. There is a needs be. It must be well.’

Are you a believer that longs to be more holy? Are you one that finds his heart too ready to love earthly things? To you also I say, ‘Behold the cross of Christ.’

Look at the cross, think of the cross, meditate on the cross, and then go and set your affections on the world if you can. I believe that holiness is nowhere learned so well as on Calvary.

I believe you cannot look much at the cross without feeling your will sanctified, and your tastes made more spiritual. As the sun gazed upon makes everything else look dark and dim, so does the cross darken the false splendour of this world.

As honey tasted makes all other things seem to have no taste at all, so does the cross seen by faith take all the sweetness out of the pleasures of the world. Keep on every day steadily looking at the cross of Christ, and you will soon say of the world, as the poet does,—

Its pleasures now no longer please,
No more content afford;
Far from my heart be joys like these,
Now I have seen the Lord.

As by the light of opening day
The stars are all concealed,
So earthly pleasures fade away
When Jesus is revealed.

Are you a dying believer? Have you gone to that bed from which something within tells you you will never come down alive? Are you drawing near to that solemn hour, when soul and body must part for a season, and you must launch into a world unknown?

Oh, look steadily at the cross of Christ by faith, and you shall be kept in peace! Fix the eyes of your mind firmly, not on a man-made crucifix, but on Jesus crucified, and He shall deliver you from all your fears.

Though you walk through dark places, He will be with you. He will never leave you,—never forsake you. Sit under the shadow of the cross to the very last, and its fruit shall be sweet to your taste.”

–J.C. Ryle, Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (London: Charles J. Thynne, 1898), 261-262.

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“He is an unspeakable gift” by J.C. Ryle

“There is an infinite ‘fulness’ in Christ; there are in Him ‘unsearchable riches;’ there is in Him a ‘love which passeth knowledge;’ He is an ‘unspeakable gift.’ (Col. 1:19; Eph. 3:8; 3:19; 2 Cor. 9:15.)

There is no end to all the riches which are treasured up in Him,—in His person, in His work, in His offices, in His words, in His deeds, in His life, in His death, in His resurrection.”

–J.C. Ryle, Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (London: Charles J. Thynne, 1898), 436.

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