J. C. (John Charles) Ryle.

Living or dead? : a series of home truths online

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from the simplicity that is in Christ. Be care-
ful what books you read on religious subjects :
many books of this day are leavened with doc-
trines which spoil the Gospel. Examine your-
selves often whether you are standing in the
old paths. Our lost estate by nature, — our re-
covery through our Saviour's kindness and
love, — our need of regeneration and renewal,
— our justification through grace; — these are
the grand doctrines, as Paul told Titus; and
these are the points on which we must be
sound, if we would maintain good works.

5. Let us resolve to make conscience of
little things in our daily religion.

Let us not neglect little duties, — let us not
allow ourselves in little fauhs. Whatever we
may like to think, nothing is really of small
importance that affects the soul. All diseases
are small at the beginning. Many a death-bed
begins with " a little cold." Nothing that can


grow is large all at once, — the greatest sin
must have a beginning. Nothing that is great
comes to perfection in a day, — characters and
habits are all the result of little actions. Little
strokes made that ark which saved Noah.
Little pins held firm that tabernacle which was
the glory of Israel. We too are travelling
through a wilderness, — let us be like the family
of Merari, and be careful not to leave the pins
behind. (Numbers iv. 32.)

Believers, do not forget how full the Epistles
are of instruction about the particulars of
Christian life. The apostles seem to take no-
thing for granted. They do not think it suffi-
cient to say, " be holy,"^-they take care to
specify and name the things in which holiness
is shown. See how they dwell on the duties
of husbands and wives, masters and servants,
parents and children, rulers and subjects, old
people and young. See how they single out
and urge upon us industry in business, kind-
ness in temper, forgiveness in disposition,
honesty, truthfulness, temperance, meekness,
gentleness, humility, charity, patience, courtesy.


See how they exhort us to honor all men, to
govern our tongues, to season our speech with
grace, to abstain from foolish talking and jest-
ing, not to please ourselves only, to redeem the
time, to loe content with such things as we
have, and whether we eat or drink to do all in
the name of the Lord Jesus.

Brethren, some people think that to dwell on
such things is bondage ; but I believe it good
to remind you of them, — I am sure it is safe.
If the Spirit of God thought it wise to dwell so
much on them in the word, I cannot doubt it
must be wdse for us to attend to them in our
walk. It is much more easy to profess holiness
in a general way, than to carry it out in par-
ticulars ; and I fear that many talk familiarly of
santification in the lump, who know but little
of it in tlie piece.

I firmly believe that looseness about these
little things in our daily behavior, is a special
means of grieving the Spirit of God, and of
bringing upon us in consequence barrenness
and leanness of soul.


6. Let us be more active in endeavors to da
good to the world.

Surely we may all do far more for uncon-
verted souls than we have ever done yet. Many
of us, alas ! take things so quietly, that a man
might suppose every one about us was convert-
ed, and the kingdom of Christ fully set up. I
pray you let us lay aside these lazy Kabits.

Are all our friends and relations in Christ ?
Are all our neighbors and acquaintances inside
the ark ? Have all within our reach received
the truth in the love of it ? Have we asked
them all to come in ? Have we told th«m all
the way of salvation, and our own experience
that the way is good ? Have we done all that
we can ? Have we tried every means ? Is
there no one left to whom we can show Chris-
tian kindness, and offer the Gospel ? Can we
lift up our hands to God, as one by one, souls
around us are taken away, and say, " Our
eyes, O Lord, have not seen this blood, and its
loss cannot in any wise be laid at our door !"
Surely, my Brethren, grace ought to be as ac-
tive a principle in trying to spread godliness, as



sin is in trying to spread evil. Surely if we
had a tenth part of the zeal which Satan shows
to enlarge his kingdom, we should be far more
full of care for other men's souls. Where is
our mercy and compassion, if we can see dis-
ease of soul about us, and not desire to make it

Let us awake to a right understanding of
our responsibility in this matter. We complain
of the world being full of wickedness. It is so.
But do we each do our own part in trying to
make it better ? Do we act upon the old say-
ing, *^The city is soon clean when every man
sweeps before his own door?" Let us try
more to do good to all. Let us reckon it a
painful thing to go to heaven alone, — let us en-
deavor, as far as we can, to take companions
with us. Let us no longer be silent witnesses
and muffled bells. Let us warn, and beseech,
and invite, and rebuke, and advise, and testify
of Christ, on the right hand and on the left, ac-
cording as we have opportunity, — saying to
men, " Come with us, and we will do you good,
— the light is sweet, come and walk in the light


of the Lord." Let us not suppose no good is
done in this way, because our eyes do not see
it: we must walk by faith, and not by sight.
Let us not be weary in well-doing, because we
appear to labor in vain ; we may rest assured
we are in the hands of a good Master, — in due
time we shall reap if we faint not.

Activity in doing good is one receipt for
being cheerful Christians : it is like exercise to
the body, — it keeps the soul in health.

It is one great proof of love toward the Lord
Jesus, and a proof that can only be given while
we are alive. Now is the time for doing good
to others, and not hereafter. In heaven there
will be no missionary societies, no Bible so-
cieties, no visiting societies, no careless to
warn, no ignorant to instruct, no sick to minis-
ter to, no mourners to comfort, no fainting
saints to cheer. In heaven there will be love,
joy, peace, thankfulness ; but in heaven there
will be no place for faith, zeal, courage, labor
patience, — their occupation will be over : — if
ever we mean to show these graces it must be
now. Oh ! let us make haste, for the time is


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Online LibraryJ. C. (John Charles) RyleLiving or dead? : a series of home truths → online text (page 5 of 16)