Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Would I learn how to be contented and cheerful under all the cares and anxieties of life? What school shall I go to? How shall I attain this state of mind most easily? Shall I look at the sovereignty of God, the wisdom of God, the providence of God, the love of God?
If you want to train your children correctly, train them in the way they should go, and not in the way that they want to go.
The mother cannot tell what her tender little infant may grow up to be—tall or short, weak or strong, wise or foolish—he may be any of these things or not—it is all uncertain. But one thing the mother can say with certainty: he will have a corrupt and sinful heart. It is natural for us to do wrong. "Folly," says Solomon, "is bound up in the heart of a child" Proverbs 22:15. "A child left to himself disgraces his mother" Proverbs 29:15. Our hearts are like the earth on which we walk; leave it alone, and it is sure to bear weeds.
If, then, you want to be wise in dealing with your child, then you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will. Think for him, judge for him, act for him, just as you would for one who is weak and blind; but for pity's sake, do not allow him to pursue his own unruly tastes and inclinations. It must not be his tendencies and wishes that are favored. He does not yet know what is good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his body. You do not let him decide what he will eat, and what he will drink, and how he will be clothed. Be consistent, and deal with his mind in the same manner. Train him in the way that is scriptural and right, and not in the way that he thinks is right.
If you cannot agree with this first principle of Christian training, then it is useless for you to listen any further. Self-will is almost the first thing that appears in a child's mind; and it must be your first step to resist it.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
“There is one great work which the Lord Jesus Christ has done and finished completely. That work is the work of atonement, sacrifice, and substitution. He saw us ruined by the fall, a world of poor, lost, shipwrecked sinners.
Train them, remembering continually, the power of sin.
But you must not be discouraged and depressed by what you see. You must not think it a strange and unusual thing, that little hearts can be so full of sin. It is the only inheritance which our father Adam left us; it is that fallen nature with which we come into the world; it is that inheritance which belongs to us all. May the awareness of it make you more diligent in using every possible means which seem most likely, by God's blessing, to counteract the evil. Let it make you more and more careful, so far it lies with you, to keep your children out of the way of temptation.
Never listen to those who tell you your children are good, and well brought up, and can be trusted. Rather, remember that their hearts are always ready to burst into flame like dry tinder. At their very best, they only need a spark to ignite their evil. Parents are seldom too cautious. Remember the natural depravity of your children, and be careful.
The book "The Duties of Parents" can be found here: J.C. Ryle
Monday, January 25, 2021
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.
He sees by faith an unseen Saviour, who loved him, gave Himself for him, paid his debts for him, bore his sins, carried his transgressions, rose again for him, and appears in heaven for him as his Advocate at the right hand of God.
He sees Jesus, and clings to Him. Seeing this Saviour and trusting in Him, he feels peace and hope, and willingly does battle against the foes of his soul.
He sees his own many sins,—his weak heart, a tempting world, a busy devil; and if he looked only at them he might well despair.
But he sees also a mighty Saviour, an interceding Saviour, a sympathizing Saviour,—His blood, His righteousness, His everlasting priesthood,—and he believes that all this is his own.
He sees Jesus, and casts his whole weight on Him. Seeing Him he cheerfully fights on, with a full confidence that he will prove ‘more than conqueror through Him that loved him.’ (Rom. 8:37)”
–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 84.
It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. It is a resurrection. It is a new creation. It is a passing from death to life. It is the implanting in our dead hearts of a new principle from above.
It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with a new nature, new habits of life, new tastes, new desires, new appetites, new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears. All this, and nothing less than this is implied, when our Lord declares that we all need a ‘new birth.’
This change of heart is rendered absolutely necessary to salvation by the corrupt condition in which we are all, without exception, born. ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh.’ Our nature is thoroughly fallen.
The carnal mind is enmity against God. (Rom. 8:7.) We come into the world without faith, or love, or fear toward God. We have no natural inclination to serve Him or obey Him, and no natural pleasure in doing His will.
Left to himself, no child of Adam would ever turn to God. The truest description of the change which we all need in order to make us real Christians, is the expression, ‘new birth.’
This mighty change, it must never be forgotten, we cannot give to ourselves. The very name which our Lord gives to it is a convincing proof of this. He calls it ‘a birth.’ No man is the author of his own existence, and no man can quicken his own soul.
We might as well expect a dead man to give himself life, as expect a natural man to make himself spiritual. A power from above must be put in exercise, even that same power which created the world. (2 Cor. 4:6.) Man can do many things; but he cannot give life either to himself or to others.
To give life is the peculiar prerogative of God. Well may our Lord declare that we need to be ‘born again!’ This mighty change, we must, above all, remember, is a thing without which we cannot go to heaven, and could not enjoy heaven if we went there.
Our Lord’s words on this point are distinct and express. ‘Except a man be born again, he can neither see nor enter the kingdom of God.’ Heaven may be reached without money, or rank, or learning.
But it is clear as daylight, if words have any meaning, that nobody can enter heaven without a ‘new birth.’ A day will come when those who are not born again will wish that they had never been born at all.”
–J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1869/2012), 86-87, 88. Ryle is commenting on John 3:1-8.
A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing, and believe nothing, which is not according to the word. He must try all religious teaching by one simple test,—Does it square with the Bible?—What saith the Scripture?
I would to God the eyes of the laity of this country were more open on this subject, I would to God they would learn to weigh sermons, books, opinions, and ministers, in the scales of the Bible, and to value all according to their conformity to the word. I would to God they would see that it matters little who says a thing, —whether he be Father or Reformer,—Bishop or Arch- bishop,— Priest or Deacon,—Archdeacon or Dean. The only question is,—Is the thing said Scriptural? If it is, it ought to be received and believed. If it is not, it ought to be refused and cast aside. I fear the consequences of that servile acceptance of everything which the parson says, which is so common among many English laymen. I fear lest they be led they know not whither, like the blinded Syrians, and awake some day to find themselves in the power of Rome. Oh! that men in England would only remember for what the Bible was given them!I tell English laymen that it is nonsense to say, as some do, that it is presumptuous to judge a minister’s teaching by the word. When one doctrine is proclaimed in one parish, and another in another, people must read and judge for themselves. Both doctrines cannot be right, and both ought to be tried by the word. I charge them above all things, never to suppose that any true minister of the Gospel will dislike his people measuring all he teaches by the Bible. On the contrary, the more they read the Bible, and prove all he says by the Bible, the better he will be pleased. A false minister may say, “You have no right to use your private judgment: leave the Bible to us who are ordained.” A true minister will say, “Search the Scriptures, and if I do not teach you what is Scriptural, do not believe me.” A false minister may cry, “Hear the Church,” and “Hear me.” A true minister will say, “Hear the word of God.”
Sunday, January 24, 2021
I believe that most professing Christians are acquainted with our sermon text. The sound of it is probably very familiar to your ears, like an old tune. It is likely that you have heard it, or read it, talked of it, or quoted it, many times. Is that not true?
But, despite it being a well-known Bible verse, how little do we regard its truth! The doctrine it contains appears scarcely known, the duty it puts before us is seldom put into practice. My friends, am I not speaking the truth?
It cannot be said that the subject is a new one. The world is old, and we have the experience of nearly six thousand years to help us. We live in days when there is a mighty zeal for education. We hear of new schools rising up everywhere. We are told of new systems, and new books for the young, of every sort and description. And still for all of this, the vast majority of children are clearly not trained in the way they should go, for when they grow up, they do not walk with God.
Now how do we account for this state of affairs? The plain truth is, the Lord's commandment in our text is not regarded; and therefore the Lord's promise in our text is not fulfilled.
Friends, these things may cause you to seriously search your hearts. Permit a word of exhortation from a minister, about the right training of children. Believe me, the subject is one that should hit home to every conscience, and make every one ask himself the question, "In the matter of training children, am I doing what I am supposed to do?"
It is a subject that concerns almost everyone. There is hardly a household that it does not touch. Parents, teachers, grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters—all have an interest in it. Few can be found, I think, who might not influence some parent in the management of his family, or affect the training of some child by suggestion or advice. All of us, I suspect, can do something here, either directly or indirectly, and I wish to stir up everyone to remember this.
It is also a subject, on which everyone concerned are in great danger of falling short of their duty. This is notably a point in which men can see the faults of their neighbors more clearly than their own. They will often raise their children in the very path which they have denounced to their friends as unsafe. They will see little problems in other people's families, and overlook major ones in their own. They will have the eyesight of an eagle in detecting mistakes everywhere else, and yet be blind as bats to the fatal errors which are daily going on in their own homes. They will be wise about their brother's house, but foolish about their own flesh and blood. Here, if anywhere, we have need to suspect our own judgment. This, too, you will do well to keep in mind.
As a minister, I cannot help remarking that there is hardly any subject about which people seem so stubborn as they are about their own children. I have sometimes been absolutely astonished at the slowness of sensible Christian parents to accept the fact, that their own children are at fault, or deserve blame. There are many persons to whom I would much rather speak about their own sins, than to tell them that their children had done anything wrong.
Come now, and let me place before you a few hints about the proper training of children. May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit bless them, and make them timely words to everyone of you. Do not reject them because they are blunt and simple; do not despise them because they contain nothing new. You can be sure, that if you want to train your children for heaven, then the hints that that follow ought not to be lightly set aside.
The book "The Duties of Parents" can be found here: J.C. Ryle
Christian, look up and take comfort. Jesus has prepared a place for you, and those who follow Him shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of His hands. Look forward to that glorious dwelling He has provided; look forward in faith, for it is yours.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Friday, January 22, 2021
Forever let us thank God that the building of the one true Church is laid on the shoulders of One who is mighty. Let us bless God that it does not rest upon man. Let us bless God that it does not depend on missionaries, ministers, or committees.
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
"The heart is the part of man which God chiefly notices in religion. The bowed head, and the bended knee–the grave face and the rigid posture–the ritual response, and the formal amen–all these together do not make up a spiritual worshiper. The eyes of God look further and deeper. He requires the worship of the heart. “My son,” he says to every one of us, “Give me your heart.”
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
We live in such a beauteous and pleasant world--we are so surrounded with so much that is smiling and mirthful--that if we were not often obliged to taste of sickness or trial or disappointments--we would soon forget our heavenly home and pitch our tents permanently in this Sodom.
It is their Father's hand that chastens them! It is thus He weans their affection from things below, and fixes them on Himself. It is thus He trains them for eternity, and cuts the threads that bind their truant hearts to earth one by one.
No doubt such chastening is grievous for the time, but still it brings many a hidden grace to light, and cuts down many a secret seed of evil. We shall see those who have suffered most, shining among the brightest stars in the assembly of Heaven. "Our light affliction endures but for a moment, and it works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!" 2 Corinthians
The purest gold is that which has been longest in the refiner's furnace.
The brightest diamond is often that which has required the most grinding and polishing.
The saints are men who have come out of great tribulation--they are never left to perish in it.
The last night of weeping will soon be spent,
the last wave of trouble will have rolled over us, and
then we shall have a peace that passes all understanding!
We shall be at home forever with the Lord!
"Therefore comfort one another with these words!" 1 Thessalonians
“Let us be very careful that we never exalt any minister, or sermon, or book, or tract, or friend above the Word. Cursed be that book, or tract, or human counsel, which creeps in between us and the Bible, and hides the Bible from our eyes!” ~ J.C. Ryle