“Does any reader of this paper need a friend? In such a world as this, how many hearts there are which ought to respond to that appeal! How many there are who feel, “I stand alone.”
How many have found one idol broken after another, one staff failing after another, one fountain dried after another, as they have travelled through the wilderness of this world.
If there is one who wants a friend, let that one behold at the right hand of God an unfailing friend, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let that one repose his aching head and weary heart upon the bosom of that unfailing friend, Jesus Christ the Lord.
There is one living at God’s right hand of matchless tenderness.
There is one who never dies.
There is one who never fails, never disappoints, never forsakes, never changes His mind, never breaks off friendship.
That One, the Lord Jesus, I commend to all who need a friend.
No one in a world like this, a fallen world, a world which we find more and more barren, it may be, every year we live,—no one ever need be friendless while the Lord Jesus Christ lives to intercede at the right hand of God.
Does any reader of this paper need a priest. There can be no true religion without a priest, and no saving Christianity without a confessional.
But who is the true priest? Where is the true confessional? There is only one true priest,—and that is Christ Jesus the Lord.
There is only one real confessional,—and that is the throne of grace where the Lord Jesus waits to receive those who come to Him to unburden their hearts in His presence.
We can find no better priest than Christ. We need no other Priest.
Why need we turn to any priest upon earth, while Jesus is sealed, anointed, appointed, ordained, and commissioned by God the Father, and has an ear ever ready to hear, and a heart ever ready to feel for the poor sinful sons of men?
The priesthood is His lawful prerogative. He has deputed that office to none.
Woe be to any one upon earth who dares to rob Christ of His prerogative!
Woe be to the man who takes upon himself the office which Christ holds in His own hands, and has never transferred to any one born of Adam, upon the face of the globe!
Let us never lose sight of this mighty truth of the Gospel,—the intercession and priestly office of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I believe that a firm grasp of this truth is one great safeguard against the errors of the Church of Rome.
I believe that losing sight of this great truth is one principal reason why so many have fallen away from the faith in some quarters, have forsaken the creed of their Protestant forefathers, and have gone back to the darkness of Rome.
Once firmly established upon this mighty truth,—that we have a Priest, an altar, and a Confessor,—that we have an unfailing, never-dying, ever-living Intercessor, who has deputed His office to none,—and we shall see that we need turn aside nowhere else.
We need not hew for ourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water, when we have in the Lord Jesus Christ a fountain of living waters, ever flowing and free to all.
We need not seek any human priest upon earth, when we have a divine Priest living for us in heaven.
Let us beware of regarding the Lord Jesus Christ only as one that is dead. Here, I believe, many greatly err. They think much of His atoning death, and it is right that they should do so.
But we ought not to stop short there. We ought to remember that He not only died and went to the grave, but that He rose again, and ascended up on high, leading captivity captive.
We ought to remember that He is now sitting on the right hand of God, to do a work as real, as true, as important to our souls, as the work which He did when He shed His blood.
Christ lives, and is not dead. He lives as truly as any one of ourselves.
Christ sees us, hears us, knows us, and is acting as a Priest in heaven on behalf of His believing people.
The thought of His life ought to have as great and important a place in our souls, as the thought of His death upon the cross.”
–J.C. Ryle, “Christ’s Power to Save,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 414-415.