“I ask you, whether you are a member of the one true Church of Christ? Are you in the highest, the best sense, a ‘churchman’ in the sight of God? You know now what I mean.
I look far beyond the Church of England. I am not speaking of church or chapel. I speak of ‘the Church built upon the rock.’ I ask you, with all solemnity—Are you a member of that Church?
Are you joined to the great Foundation? Are you on the rock? Have you received the Holy Ghost? Does the Spirit witness with your spirit, that you are one with Christ, and Christ with you?
I beseech you, in the name of God, to lay to heart these questions, and to ponder them well. If you are not converted, you do not yet belong to the ‘Church on the Rock.’
Let every reader of this paper take heed to himself, if he cannot give a satisfactory answer to my inquiry. Take heed, take heed, that you do not make shipwreck of your soul to all eternity.
Take heed, lest at last the gates of hell prevail against you, the devil claim you as his own, and you be cast away for ever. Take heed, lest you go down to the pit from the land of Bibles, and in the full light of Christ’s Gospel.
Take heed, lest you are found at the left hand of Christ at last,—a lost Episcopalian or a lost Presbyterian, a lost Baptist or a lost Methodist,—lost because, with all your zeal for your own party and your own communion table, you never joined the one true Church.
My second work of application shall be an invitation. I address it to every one who is not yet a true believer. I say to you, come and join the one true Church without delay.
Come and join yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ in an everlasting covenant not to be forgotten. Consider well what I say. I charge you solemnly not to mistake the meaning of my invitation.
I do not bid you to leave the visible Church to which you belong. I abhor all idolatry of forms and parties. But I do bid you come to Christ and be saved.
The day of decision must come some time. Why not this very hour? Why not today, while it is called today? Why not this very night, ere the sun rises to-morrow morning?
Come to Him, who died for sinners on the cross, and invites all sinners to come to Him by faith and be saved. Come to my Master, Jesus Christ. Come, I say, for all things are now ready.
Mercy is ready for you. Heaven is ready for you. Angels are ready to rejoice over you. Christ is ready to receive you. Christ will receive you gladly, and welcome you among His children.
Come into the ark. The flood of God’s wrath will soon break upon the earth. Come into the ark and be safe. Come into the life-boat of the one true Church.
This old world will soon break into pieces! Hear you not the tremblings of it? The world is but a wreck hard upon a sand-bank. The night is far-spent—the waves are beginning to rise,—the wind is getting up,—the storm will soon shatter the old wreck.
But the life-boat is launched, and we, the ministers of the Gospel, beseech you to come into the life-boat and be saved. We beseech you to arise at once and come to Christ.
Dost thou ask, ‘How can I come? My sins are too many. I am too wicked yet. I dare not come.’—Away with the thought! It is a temptation of Satan. Come to Christ as a sinner. Come just as you are.
Hear the words of that beautiful hymn:—
‘Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God I come.’
This is the way to come to Christ. You should come, waiting for nothing, and tarrying for nothing.
You should come, as a hungry sinner, to be filled,—as a poor sinner to be enriched,—as a bad, undeserving sinner, to be clothed with righteousness.
So coming, Christ would receive you. ‘Him that cometh’ to Christ, He ‘will in no wise cast out.’ Oh! come, come to Jesus Christ. Come into ‘the true Church’ by faith and be saved.”
–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 320-322.