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Entries in J.C. Ryle (28)


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.


Daily Readings - Luke 1:5-7

From J.C. Ryle, Daily Readings, January 1

What high testimony is borne in this passage to the character of Zacharias and Elisabeth! It matters little whether we interpret this 'righteousness' as that which is imputed to all believers for their justification, or that which is wrought inwardly in believers by the operation of the Holy Spirit for their sanctification. The two sorts of righteousness are never disjoined. There are none justified who are not sanctified, and there are none sanctified who are not justificed. Suffice it for us to know that Zacharias and Elisabeth had grace when grace was very rare, and kept all the burdensome observances of the ceremonial law with devout conscientiousness when few Isralites cared for them except in name and form.

The main thing that concerns us all is the example which this holy pair hold up to Christians. Let us all strive to serve God faithfully and live fully up to our light, even as they did.

It was a heavy trial that God was pleased to lay on Zacharias and Elisabeth (v.7). The full force of these words can hardly be understood by a modern Christian. To an ancient Jew they would convey the idea of a very weighty affliction. To be childless was one of the bitterest of sorrows (1 Sam. 1:10).

The grace of God exempts no one from trouble. Let us remember this, if we serve Christ, and let us count trial no strange thing. Let us believe that a hand of perfect wisdom is measuring out all our portion, and that when God chastises us, it is to make us 'partakers of his holiness' (Heb. 12:10). If afflictions draw us nearer to Christ, the Bible and prayer, they are positive blessings. We may not think so now. But we shall think so when we wake up in another world.

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