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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Voice from Christian past

"There is much in the attitude of professing Christians in this day which fills me with concern, and makes me full of fear for the future. There is an amazing ignorance of Scripture among many, and a consequent want of established, solid religion. In no other way can I account for the ease with which people are, like children, "tosses to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Eph 4:14). There is an Athenian love of novelty abroad, and a morbid distaste for anything old and regular, and in the beaten path of our forefather. Thousands will crowd to hear a new voice and a new doctrine, without considering for a moment whether what they hear is true. - There is an incessant craving after any teaching which is sensational, and exciting, and rousing to the feelings.-There is an unhealthy appetite for a sort of spasmodic and hysterical Christianity. The religious life of many is little better than spiritual dram-drinking, and the "meek and quiet spirit" which St Peter commends is clean forgotten (1 Pet 3:4). Crowds, and crying, and hot rooms, and high flown singing, and an incessant rousing of the emotions, are the only things wich many care fo.-Inability to distinguish differences in doctrine is spreading far and wide, and so long as the preacher is "clever" and "earnest", hundreds seem to think it must be all right, and call you dreadfully "narrow and uncharitable" if you hint that he is unsound!"

"After all, I am convinced that the greatest proof of the extent and power of sin is the pertinacity with which it cleaves to man even after he is converted and has become the subject of the Holy Ghost's operations. To use the language of the Ninth Article, 'this infection of nature doth remain - yea, even in them that are regenerate.' So deeply planted are the roots of human corruption, that even after we are born again, renewed, 'washed, sanctified, justified,' and made living members of Christ, these roots remain alive in the bottom of our hearts, and, like the leprosy in the walls of the house, we never get rid of them until the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved. Sin, no doubt, in the believer's heart, has no longer dominion. It is checked, controlled, mortified, and crucified by the expulsive power of the new principle of grace. The life of a believer is a life of victory, and not of failure. But the very struggles which go on within his bosom, the fight that he finds it needful to fight daily, the watchful jealousy which he is obliged to exercise over his inner man, the contest between the flesh and the spirit, the inward 'groanings' which no one knows by he who has experienced them - all, all testify to the same great truth, all show the enormous power and vitality of sin. Mighty indeed must that foe be who even when crucified is still alive! Happy is that believer who understands it, and while he rejoices in Christ Jesus has no confidence in the flesh; and while he says, 'Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory,' never forgets to watch and pray lest he fall into temptation!...No proof of the fulness of sin, after all, is so overwhelming and unanswerable as the cross and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole doctrine of His substitution and atonement. Terribly black must that guilt be for which nothing bu the bloos of the Son of God could make satisfaction. Heavy must that weight of human sin be which made Jesus groan and sweat drops of blood in agony at Gethsemane, and cry at Golgotha, 'My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?' (Matt 27:46). Nothing, I am convinced, will astonish us so much, when we awake in the resurrection day, as the view we shall have of sin, and the retrospect we shall take of our own countless shortcomings and defects. Never till the hour when Christ comes the second time shall we fully realize the 'sinfulness of sin'. Well might George Whitfield say, 'The anthem in heaven will be, What hath God wrought!'"

"'Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord...' - Hebrews 12:14...Are we holy? Shall we see the Lord? That question can never be out of season. The wise man tells us, 'There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh - a time to keep silence, and a time to speak' (Eccles. 3:4,7); but there is no time, no, not a day, in which a man ought not to be holy. Are we? That question concerns all ranks and conditions of men. Some are rich and some a re poor - some learned and some unlearned - some masters, and some servants; but there is no rank or condition in life in which a man ought not to be holy. Are we? I ask to be heard to-day about this question. How stands the account between our souls and God? In this hurrying, bustling world, let us stand still for a few minutes and consider the matter of holiness. I believe I might have chosen a subject more popular and pleasant. I am sure I might have found one more easy to handle. But I feel deeply I could not have chosen one more seasonable and profitable to our souls...Do you want to attain holiness? Do you feel this day a real heart desire to be holy? Would you be a partaker of the Divine nature? Then go to Christ. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Linger not. Think not to make yourself ready. Go and say to Him, in the words of that beautiful hymn - 'Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, flee to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace.' There is not a brick nor a stone laid in the work of our sanctification till we go to Christ. Holiness is His special gift to His believing people. Holiness is the work He carries on in their hearts, by the Spirit whom He puts within them."

"I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. but who in his sound senses can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown."

"When I speak of 'growth in grace' I only mean increase in the degree, size, strength, vigour, and power of the graces which the Holy Spirit plants in a believer's heart. i hold that every one of those graces admits of growth, preogree, and increase. I hold that repentance, faith, hope, love, humility, zeal, courage, and the like, may be little or great, strong or weak, vigorous or feeble, and may vary greatly in the same man at different periods of his life. When I speak of a man 'growing in grace', I mean simply this - that his sense of sin is becoming deeper, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, his love more extensive, his spiritual-mindedness more moarked. He feels more of it in his life. He is going on from strength to strength, from faith to faith, and from grace to grace...Now would it not be well to look within, and put to our souls a simple question? In religion, in the things that concern our peace, in the great matter of personal holiness, are we getting on? DO WE GROW?"

JC Ryle (1816-1900), "Holiness"

3 Comments:

Blogger FloydTheBarber said...

thank you

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Blogger Robin Ham said...

Ryle... what a guy. I'm taking it you didn't type that up and rather found an online version? Do you have a link? Thanks!

3:17 PM  

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