Tag Archives: J. C. Ryle



“Light was the first thing called into being in the material creation (Gen. 1:3). Light about our own state is the first work in the new creation.” –J. C. Ryle, The Upper Room, Ch. 7

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The encouraging J. C. Ryle

I read J. C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on Mark with unexpected alacrity throughout, notwithstanding some equally unexpected Banner of Truth bloopers, including incorrect citations of most of the book’s Scriptural references (!). Ryle is exhortative, admonitory, illuminating, and encouraging, often in the same written breath. Following are a few outtakes I found particularly encouraging.

It is of the utmost importance to our comfort to know, that a true believer may be known by his inward warfare, as well as by his inward peace. (p. 184)

To take patiently whatever God sends, — to like nothing but what God likes, — to wish nothing but what God approves, — to prefer pain, if it please God to send it, to ease, if God does not think fit to bestow it, — to lie passive under God’s hand, and know no will but His, — this is the highest standard at which we can aim, and of this our Lord’s conduct in Gethsemane is a perfect pattern. (p. 319)

These holy women, as they walked to our Lord’s grave, were full of fears about the stone at the door. “They said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?” But their fears were needless. Their expected trouble was found not to exist. “When they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away….” A large proportion of a saint’s anxieties arise from things which never really happen…. And often, very often, we find at the end, that our doubts and alarms were groundless, and that the thing we dreaded most has never come to pass at all. (p. 355)

(I have a brilliant knack for generating this sort of dread; I have always before likened it to Jacob’s anxiety at meeting Esau at Seir, and I appreciate the example of the women at the tomb to add to my collection.)


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Mindful of my frequent failure to be thankful for what I’m given, or even to ask for that which I would like to be given, I very much appreciated this observation from J. C. Ryle:

In short, our Lord prayed always, and did not faint. Sinless as He was, He set us an example of diligent communion with His Father. His Godhead did not render Him independent of the use of all means as a man. His very perfection was a perfection kept up through the exercise of prayer.

We ought to see in all this the immense importance of private devotion. If He who was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners,” thus prayed continually, how much more ought we who are compassed with infirmity? If He found it needful to offer up supplications with strong crying and tears, how much more needful is it for us, who in many things offend daily? (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on Mark (Banner of Truth), pp. 17-18)

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