Abstracted from Practical Religion, by J. C. Ryle, chapter 1.
(1) Do we ever think about our souls at all?
Thousands of English people, I fear, cannot answer that question satisfactorily. They never give the subject of religion any place in their thoughts. From the beginning of the year to the end they are absorbed in the pursuit of business, pleasure, politics, money, or self-indulgence of some kind or another. Death, and judgment, and eternity, and heaven, and hell, and a world to come, are never calmly looked at and considered.…
Election was never intended to prevent men making a diligent use of all means of grace. On the contrary, the neglect of means is a most suspicious symptom, and should make us very doubtful about the state of a man’s soul. Those whom the Holy Ghost draws He always draws to the written Word of God and to prayer. When there is the real grace of God in a heart, there will always be love to the means of grace.…
The Elect of God can only be discerned from those who are not Elect by their faith and life. We cannot climb up into the secret of God’s eternal counsels. We cannot read the book of life. The fruits of the Spirit, seen and manifested in a man’s conversation, are the only grounds on which we can ascertain that he is one of God’s Elect. Where the marks of God’s Elect can be seen, there, and there only, have we any warrant for saying “this is one of the Elect.”…
In his book ‘Coming Events and Present Duties’ (1867/1879), J.C. Ryle summarises his views on prophecy and presents a handful of sermons preached on various aspects of this subject.
Concerning the future of the Jews, Ryle states:-
Ryle develops this conviction in a sermon entitled ‘Scattered Israel to be Gathered’. Based on Jeremiah 31:10, this contains fairly standard teaching for a mid-19th-century Evangelical, and makes the following assertions:-
The word ‘Israel’ carries only three meanings in Scripture: (a) it means Jacob; (b) it means the ten northern tribes (as distinct from Judah); (c) it means the entire Jewish nation.
[The following is the substance of a lecture given at the Old Meeting House, Norwich, as one in a series of talks entitled ‘Light From Old Paths’. I am grateful to Dr John Clements for the invitation.]
J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
‘For my part, I am quite willing to be eaten of dogs for the next fifty years; but the more distant future shall vindicate me.’
Those words were spoken, not by the subject of my talk tonight, J.C.…
JC. Ryle (1817-1900) was a doughty supporter and proponent of ‘evangelical religion’ (i.e. evangelical faith).
In his celebrated work, Knots Untied, Ryle set out what he regarded as the leading features of such faith:-
“These I consider to be five in number.
a) The first leading feature of Evangelical Religion is the absolute supremacy it assigns to Holy Scripture, as the only rule of faith and practice … Show us anything plainly written in that Book, and, however trying to flesh and blood, we will receive it, believe it, and submit to it.…
Throughout his long ministry, J.C. Ryle (1817-1900) had to defend evangelical (that is to say, gospel) truth on a number of fronts. One of these concerned the threat posed by the Ritualism of the Anglo-Catholic movement.
Ian Farley reports that in 1877 Ryle identified five key teachings of the Ritualists:
They seek to turn the Communion Table into an ‘Altar’ and the Lord’s Supper into a ‘Sacrifice’ and encourage the idea of a real material presence of Christ’s body and blood, under the forms of the consecrated bread and wine.
Although one can have faith without assurance, belief without confidence, nevertheless assurance of salvation is much to be desired. It provides comfort and strength in challenging times. So writes J.C. Ryle:-