Friday, August 28, 2009

Ryle: On the regular hearing of preaching

Last week I included some of J. C. Ryle’s exhortations in the booklet "Thoughts for Young Men" on the use of the "public means of grace." Ryle continues this line of thought by commending the regular hearing of the preaching of the gospel:

I dwell on this point too, because of the strong anxiety I feel that every young man should regularly hear the preaching of Christ's gospel. I cannot tell you how important I think this is. By God’s blessing, the ministry of the Gospel might be the means of converting your soul, of leading you to a saving knowledge of Christ, of making you a child of God in deed and in truth. This would be cause for eternal thankfulness indeed. This would be an event over which angels would rejoice. But even if this were not the case, there is a restraining power and influence in the ministry of the gospel, under which I earnestly desire every young man to be brought. There are thousands whom it keeps back from evil, though it has not yet turned them unto God. It has made them far better members of society, though it has not yet made them true Christians. There is a certain kind of mysterious power in the faithful preaching of the Gospel, which tells insensibly on multitudes who listen to it without receiving it into their hearts. To hear sin cried down, and holiness cried up, to hear Christ exalted, and the works of the devil denounced, to hear the kingdom of heaven and its blessedness described, and the world and its emptiness exposed—to hear this week after week, Sunday after Sunday, is seldom without a good effect to the soul. It makes it far harder afterwards to run into any excess of riot and profligacy. It acts as a wholesome check upon a man’s heart. This, I believe, is one way in which that promise of God is made good, "My word shall not return unto Me void" (Isaiah 55:11). There is so much truth in that strong saying of Whitfield, "The Gospel keeps many a one from jail and the gallows, if it does not keep him from hell."

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
Note: Evangel article for 8/27/09

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