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Entries in J.C. Ryle (26)


Daily Readings - Luke 2:41-52

Daily Readings, J.C. Ryle
Luke 2:41-52

There is a lesson in this passage for all married people in the conduct of Joseph and Mary. We are told that they regularly honoured God's appointed ordinances and that they honoured them together (v.41). The distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem was great. The journey, to poor people without any means of conveyance, was troublesome and fatiguing. To leave house and home for ten days or a fortnight was no slight expense. But God had given Israel a command and Joseph and Mary strictly obeyed it. And all that they did concerning the Passover they did together. When they went up to the feast they always went side by side.

So ought it to be with all Christian husbands and wives. They ought to help one another in spiritual things and to encourage one another in the service of God. Marriage, unquestionably, is not a sacrament, as the Roman church vainly asserts. But marriage is a state of life which has the greatest effect on the souls of those who enter it. It helps them upwards or downwards. It leads them nearer to heaven or nearer to hell. We all depend much on the company we keep. Our characters are insensibly moulded by those with whom we pass our time. To none does this apply so much as to married people. Husbands and wives are continually doing good or harm to one another's souls.

Let all who are married, or think of being married, ponder these things well. Let them take example from the conduct of Mary and Joseph, and resolve to do likewise. Let them pray together, and read the Bible together, go to the house of God together and talk to one another about spiritual matters. Above all, let them beware of throwing obstacles and discouragements in one another's way about the means of grace. Blessed are those who say to their partners as Leah and Rachel did to Jacob in Genesis 31:16.


Daily Readings - John 2:1-11

J.C. Ryle, Daily Readings
John 2:1-11

How honourable in the sight of Christ is the estate of matrimony! To be present at a 'marriage' was almost the first public act of our Lord's earthly ministry.

Marriage is not a sacrament, as the church of Rome asserts. It is simply a state of life ordained by God for man's benefit. But it is a state which ought never to be spoken of with levity, or regarded with disrespect. The Prayer Book service has well described it as an 'honourable esate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, and signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his church'. Society is never in a healthy condition and true religion never flourishes in that land where the marriage tie is lightly esteemed. They who lightly esteem it have not the mind of Christ. He who 'beautified and adorned the estate of matrimony by his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee' is one who is always of one mind. 'Marriage', says the Holy Ghost by St. Paul, 'is honourable in all' (Heb. 13:4).

One thing, however, ought not to be forgotten. Marriage is a step which so seriously affects the temporal happiness and spiritual welfare of two immortal souls that it ought never to be taken in hand 'unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly, and without due consideration'. To be truly happy, it should be undertaken 'reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of God'. Christ's blessing and presence are essential to a happy wedding. The marriage at which there is no place for Christ and his disciples is not one that can justly be expected to prosper.

We learn from these verses that there are times when it is lawful to be merry and rejoice. Our Lord himself sanctioned a wedding feast by his own presence. He did not refuse to be a guest at a 'marriage in Cana in Galilee'.


Daily Readings - Matthew 1:18-25

J. C. Ryle, Daily Readings
Matthew 1:18-25 

The name Emmanuel (v.25) is given to our Lord from his nature as God manifest in the flesh. Let us take care that we have clear views of our Lord's nature and person. We should settle it firmly in our minds that our Saviour is perfect man as well as perfect God, and perfect God as well as perfect man. If we once lose sight of this great foundational truth we may run into fearful heresies. The name Emmanuel takes in the whole mystery. Jesus is 'God with us'. He had a nature like ours in all things, sin only excepted. But though Jesus was 'with us' in human flesh and blood, he was at the same time very God.

We shall often find, as we read in the Gospels, that our Saviour could be weary, hungry and thirsty, could weep, groan, and feel pain, like one of ourselvees. In all this we see the man Christ Jesus. We see the nature he took on him when he was born of  the Virgin Mary.

But we shall also find in the same Gospels that our Saviour knew men's hearts and thoughts, that he had power over devils, that he could work the mightitest miracles with a word, that he was ministered to by angles, that he allowed a disciple to call him 'my God', and that he said, 'I and the Father are one' (John 10:30) and 'Before Abraham was, I am' (John 8:58). In all this we see the eternal God. We see him 'who is over all, God blessed forever' (Rom. 9:5).

Would you have a stong foundation for your faith and hope? Then keep in constant view your Saviour's divinity. He in whose blood you are taught to trust is the almighty God. All power is his in heaven and on earth. None can pluck you out of his hand. If you are a true believer in Jesus let not your heart be troubled or afraid.

Would you have sweet comfort in suffering and trial? Then keep in constant view your Saviour's humanity. He knows the heart of a man. He can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities, temptations, hunger, tears, and pain. Trust him at all times with your sorrows. He will not despise you. He can sympathize with his people.


The Lord's hand on children

From Daily Readings, January 10, Morning. 
Luke 1:57-66

The Lord's hand was with John the Baptist (v.66). This is the blessing that we should desire for all young children. It is the best portion, the happiest portion, the only portion that can never be lost, and will endure beyond the grave. It is good to have over them the 'hand' of teachers and instructors, but it is better still to have the 'hand' of the Lord. We may be thankful if they obtain the patronage of the great and the rich, but we ought to far more care for their obtaining the favour of God. If we would have the hand of the Lord with our children we must diligently seek him for it. 


Daily Readings - Luke 1:39-45

Daily Readings - Luke 1:39-45,

Observe the benefit of fellowship and communion between believers. We read of a visit paid by the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elisabeth. We are told in a striking manner how the hearts of both these holy women were cheered, and their minds lifted up, by this interview.

We should always regard communion with other believers as an eminent means of grace. It is a refreshing break in our journey along the narrow way to exchange experience with our fellow-travellers. There are many who fear the Lord and think upon his name and yet forget to speak often one to another (Mal. 3:16). First let us seek the face of God. Then let us seek the face of God's friends.

What clear spiritual knowledge appears in the language of Elisabeth! She calls Mary 'the mother of my Lord' (v.43). The words 'my Lord' at the time they were spoken implied far more than we are apt to suppose. They were nothing less than a distinct declaration that the child who was to be born was the long-promised Messiah (Ps. 110:1), the Christ of God. Let us beware of using these words lightly. With holy reverence let them fall from our lips. There are two texts connected with the expression which should often come to our minds (I Cor. 12:3; Phil 2:11).

What high praise Elisabeth bestows upon the grace of faith! (v.45). We need not wonder that this holy woman should thus commend faith. She was well acquainted with the Old Testament. She knew the great things faith had one. What is the whole history of God's saints in every age, but a record of men and women who obtained a good report by faith?

Do we know anything of this precious faith? Do we know anything of the faith of God's elect? (Titus 1:1). Let us never rest until we know it by experience. Better a thousand times be rich in faith than rich in gold. Gold will be worthless in the unseen world to which we are travelling. Faith will be owned in that world before God the Father and the holy angels.