“Rest on no other work but Christ’s work” by J.C. Ryle

“Today’s sorrow will not wipe off the score of yesterday’s sins. It is not an ocean of tears that would ever cleanse an uneasy conscience and give it peace.

Where then must a man go for pardon? Where is forgiveness to be found? There is a way both sure and plain, and into that way I desire to guide every inquirer’s feet.

That way is simply to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.

It is to cast your soul, with all its sins, unreservedly on Christ,—to cease completely from any dependence on your own works or doings, either in whole or in part,—and to rest on no other work but Christ’s work, no other righteousness but Christ’s righteousness, no other merit but Christ’s merit, as your ground of hope.

Take this course and you are a pardoned soul. “To Christ,” says Peter, “give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

“Through this Man,” says Paul at Antioch, “is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts 13:38)

“In Him,” writes Paul to the Colossians, “we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1:14)

The Lord Jesus Christ, in great love and compassion, has made a full and complete satisfaction for sin, by suffering death in our place upon the cross.

There He offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, and allowed the wrath of God, which we deserved, to fall on His own head. For our sins, as our Substitute, He gave Himself, suffered, and died,—the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty,—that He might deliver us from the curse of a broken law, and provide a complete pardon for all who are willing to receive it.

And by so doing, as Isaiah says,—He has borne our sins; as John the Baptist says,—He has taken away sin; as Paul says,—He has purged our sins, and put away sin; and as Daniel says,—He has made an end of sin, and finished trangression. (Isaiah 53:11; John 1:29; Heb. 1:3; Heb. 9:26; Dan. 9:24)

And now the Lord Jesus Christ is sealed and appointed by God the Father to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give remission of sins to all who will have it. The keys of death and hell are put in His hand. The government of the gate of heaven is laid on His shoulder. He Himself is the door, and by Him all that enter in shall be saved. (Acts 5:31; Rev. 1:18; John 10:9.)

Christ, in one word, has purchased a full forgiveness, if we are only willing to receive it. He has done all, paid all, suffered all that was needful to reconcile us to God.

He has provided a garment of righteousness to clothe us. He has opened a fountain of living waters to cleanse us. He has removed every barrier between us and God the Father, taken every obstacle out of the way, and made a road by which the vilest may return.

All things are now ready, and the sinner has only to believe and be saved, to eat and be satisfied, to ask and receive, to wash and be clean.

And faith, simple faith, is the only thing required, in order that you and I may be forgiven.

That we will come by faith to Jesus as sinners with our sins,—trust in Him,—rest on Him,—lean on Him,—confide in Him,—commit our souls to Him,—and forsaking all other hope, cleave only to Him,—this is all and everything that God asks for.

Let a man only do this, and he shall be saved. His iniquities shall be found completely pardoned, and his transgressions entirely taken away.

Every man and woman that so trusts is wholly forgiven, and reckoned perfectly righteous. His sins are clean gone, and his soul is justified in God’s sight, however bad and guilty he may have been.”

–J.C. Ryle, “Forgiveness,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 175-176.

“Grace, grace, free grace, has done it all” by J.C. Ryle

“If you have a good hope, be thankful, for it, and give God daily praise. Who has made you to differ? Why have you been taught to feel your sins, and nothingness, while others are ignorant and self-righteous?

Why have you been taught to look to Jesus, while others are looking to their own goodness, or resting on some mere form of religion? Why are you longing and striving to be holy, while others are caring for nothing but this world?

Why are these things so?

There is but one answer,—Grace, grace, free grace, has done it all. For that grace praise God. For that grace be thankful.

Go on, then, to your journey’s end, “rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:2) Go on, rejoicing in the thought that though you are a poor sinner Jesus is a most gracious Saviour, and that though you have trials here for a little season, heaven shall soon make amends for all.

Go on, wearing hope as a helmet in all the battles of life,—a hope of pardon, a hope of perseverance, a hope of acquittal in the judgment day, a hope of final glory.

Put on the breast-plate of righteousness: take the shield of faith; have your loins girt about with truth: wield valiantly the sword of the Spirit. But never forget—as ever you would be a happy Christian—never forget to put on the “helmet of hope.” (1 Thess. 5:8)

Go on, in spite of an ill-natured world, and be not moved by its laughter or its persecution, its slanders or its sneers. Comfort your heart with the thought that the time is short, the good things yet to come, the night far spent, the “morning without clouds” at hand. (2 Sam. 23:4) When the wicked man dies his expectation perishes; but your expectation shall not deceive you,—your reward is sure.

Go on, and be not cast down because you are troubled by doubts and fears. You are yet in the body: this world is not your rest. The devil hates you because you have escaped from him, and he will do all he can to rob you of peace.

The very fact that you have fears is an evidence that you feel you have something to lose. The true Christian may ever be discerned by his warfare quite as much as by his peace, and by his fears quite as much as by his hopes.

The ships at anchor at Spithead may swing to and fro with the tide, and pitch heavily in a south-eastern gale; but so long as their anchors hold the ground they ride safely, and have no cause to fear.

The hope of the true Christian is the “anchor of his soul, sure and steadfast.” (Heb. 6:19) His heart may be tossed to and fro sometimes, but he is safe in Christ. The waves may swell, and lift him up and down, but he will not be wrecked.

Go on, and “hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:13) Yet a little time, and faith shall be changed to sight, and hope to certainty: you shall see even as you have been seen, and know even as you have been known.

A few more tossings to and fro on the waves of this troublesome world,—a few more battles and conflicts with our spiritual enemy,—a few more years of tears and partings, of working and suffering, of crosses and cares, of disappointments and vexations,—and then, then we shall be at home.

The harbour lights are already in view: the haven of rest is not far off. There we shall find all that we have hoped for, and find that it was a million times better than our hopes.

There we shall find all the saints,—and no sin, no cares of this world, no money, no sickness, no death, no devil. There, above all, we shall find Jesus, and be ever with the Lord! (1 Thess. 4:17)

Let us hope on. It is worth while to carry the cross and follow Christ. Let the world laugh and mock, if it will; it is worth while to have “a good hope through grace,” and be a thorough decided Christian.

I say again,—Let us hope on.”

–J.C. Ryle, “Our Hope,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 111-113.

“A good hope is a hope that rests entirely on Jesus Christ” by J.C. Ryle

“A good hope is a hope that rests entirely on Jesus Christ.

What says St. Paul to Timothy? He says that Jesus Christ ‘is our hope.’ What says he to the Colossians? He speaks of ‘Christ in you the hope of glory.’ (1 Tim. 1:1. Coloss. 1:27)

The man who has a good hope founds all his expectations of pardon and salvation on the mediation and redeeming work of Jesus the Son of God.

He knows his own sinfulness; he feels that he is guilty, wicked, and lost by nature: but he sees forgiveness and peace with God offered freely to him through faith in Christ.

He accepts the offer: he casts himself with all his sins on Jesus, and rests on Him.

Jesus and His atonement on the cross,—Jesus and His righteousness,—Jesus and His finished work,—Jesus and His all-prevailing intercession,—Jesus, and Jesus only, is the foundation of the confidence of his soul.

Let us beware of supposing that any hope is good which is not founded on Christ. All other hopes are built on sand.

They may look well in the summer time of health and prosperity, but they will fail in the day of sickness and the hour of death. ‘Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor. 3:11)

Church-membership is no foundation of hope. We may belong to the best of Churches, and yet never belong to Christ.

We may fill our pew regularly every Sunday, and hear the sermons of orthodox, ordained clergymen, and yet never hear the voice of Jesus, or follow Him. If we have nothing better than Church-membership to rest upon we are in a poor plight: we have nothing solid beneath our feet.

Reception of the sacraments is no foundation of hope. We may be washed in the waters of baptism, and yet know nothing of the water of life.

We may go to the Lord’s table every Sunday of our lives, and yet never eat Christ’s body and drink Christ’s blood by faith.

Miserable indeed is our condition if we can say nothing more than this! We possess nothing but the outside of Christianity: we are leaning on a reed.

Christ Himself is the only true foundation of a good hope.

He is the rock,—His work is perfect.

He is the stone,—the sure stone,—the tried corner-stone.

He is able to bear all the weight that we can lay upon Him. He only that buildeth and ‘believeth on Him shall not be confounded.’ (Deut. 32:4; Isa. 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6)”

–J.C. Ryle, “Our Hope,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 94-95.

“Stick to your Bible” by J.C. Ryle

“The hope which ‘maketh not ashamed’ (Rom. 5:5) is never separate from God’s Word.

Men wonder sometimes that ministers press them so strongly to read the Bible. They marvel that we say so much about the importance of preaching, and urge them so often to hear sermons.

Let them cease to wonder, and marvel no more. Our object is to make you acquainted with God’s Word.

We want you to have a good hope, and we know that a good hope must be drawn from the Scriptures.

Without reading or hearing you must live and die in ignorance. Hence we cry, “Search the Scriptures” “Hear, and your soul shall live.” (John 5:39. Isa. 55:3.)

I warn every one to beware of a hope not drawn from Scripture. It is a false hope, and many will find out this to their cost.

That glorious and perfect book, the Bible, however men despise it, is the only fountain out of which man’s soul can derive peace.

Many sneer at the old book while living, who find their need of it when dying.

The Queen in her palace and the pauper in the workhouse, the philosopher in his study and the child in the cottage,—each and all must be content to seek living water from the Bible, if they are to have any hope at all.

Honour your Bible,—read your Bible,—stick to your Bible.

There is not on earth a scrap of solid hope for the other side of the grave which is not drawn out of the Word of God.”

–J.C. Ryle, “Our Hope,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 94.

“The greatest outlets of His glory that ever were” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“The wounds of Christ were the greatest outlets of His glory that ever were. The divine glory shone more out of His wounds than out of all His life before.

The veil was then rent in twain, and the full heart of God allowed to stream through.

It was a human body that writhed, pale and racked, upon the accursed tree.

They were human hands that were pierced so rudely by the nails.

It was human flesh that bore that deadly gash upon the side.

It was human blood that streamed from hands, and feet, and side.

The eye that meekly turned to His Father was a human eye.

The soul that yearned over His mother was a human soul.

But oh, there was divine glory streaming through all: every wound was a mouth to speak of the grace and love of God!

Divine holiness shone through. What infinite hatred of sin was there when He thus offered Himself a sacrifice without spot unto God!

Divine wisdom shone through: all created intelligences could not have devised a plan whereby God would have been just, and yet the justifies.

Divine love: every drop of blood that fell came as a messenger of love from his heart to tell the love of the fountain. This was the love of God.

He that hath seen a crucified Christ hath seen the Father.

Oh, look on the broken bread, and you will see this glory still streaming through!

Here is the heart of God laid bare,—God is manifest in flesh.

Some of you are poring over your own heart,—examining your feelings,—watching your disease. Avert the eye from all within.

‘Behold Me,—behold Me!’ Christ cries. ‘Look to Me, and be ye saved.’

Behold the glory of Christ!

There is much difficulty about your own heart, but no darkness about the heart of Christ.

Look in through His wounds; believe what you see in Him.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 472-473.

“Assure yourself that your God in Christ will never unson you” by Edward Fisher

“Whensoever your conscience shall tell you, that you have broken any of the Ten Commandments, do not conceive that the Lord looks upon you as an angry Judge, armed with justice against you.

Much less do you fear that He will execute His justice upon you, according to the penalty of that covenant, in unjustifying of you, or depriving you of your heavenly inheritance, and giving you your portion in hell fire.

No, assure yourself that your God in Christ will never unson you, nor unspouse you: no, nor yet, as touching your justification and eternal salvation, will He love you ever a whit the less, though you commit ever so many or great sins.

For this is a certain truth, that as no good either in you, or done by you, did move Him to justify you, and give you eternal life, so no evil in you, or done by you, can move Him to take it away from you, being once given.

And therefore believe it whilst you live, that as the Lord first loved you freely, so will He hereafter ‘heal your backslidings, and still love you freely,’ (Hos. 14:4).

Yea, ‘He will love you unto the end,’ (John 13:1).”

–Edward Fisher, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, as quoted in Thomas Boston, The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Explication of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, ed. Samuel M‘Millan, vol. 7 (Aberdeen: George and Robert King, 1850), 7: 353–354.

“Cleave to the Lord” by J.C. Ryle

“My last word of application shall be an affectionate exhortation to every reader of this paper who has found out the value of his soul, and believed in Jesus Christ. That exhortation shall be short and simple.

I beseech you to cleave to the Lord with all your heart, and to press towards the mark for the prize of your high calling.

I can well conceive that you find your way very narrow. There are few with you and many against you.

Your lot in life may seem hard, and your position may be difficult. But still cleave to the Lord, and He will never forsake you.

Cleave to the Lord in the midst of persecution.

Cleave to the Lord, though men laugh at you and mock you, and try to make you ashamed.

Cleave to the Lord, though the cross be heavy and the fight be hard. He was not ashamed of you upon the Cross of Calvary: then do not be ashamed of Him upon earth, lest He should be ashamed of you before His Father who is in heaven.

Cleave to the Lord, and He will never forsake you. In this world there are plenty of disappointments,—disappointments in properties, and families, and houses, and lands, and situations.

But no man ever yet was disappointed in Christ. No man ever failed to find Christ all that the Bible says He is, and a thousand times better than he had been told before.

Look forward, look onward and forward to the end! Your best things are yet to come. Time is short. The end is drawing near. The latter days of the world are upon us.

Fight the good fight. Labour on. Work on. Strive on. Pray on. Read on.

Labour hard for your own soul’s prosperity. Labour hard for the prosperity of the souls of others.

Strive to bring a few more with you to heaven, and by all means to save some.

Do something, by God’s help, to make heaven more full and hell more empty.

Speak to that young man by your side, and to that old person who lives near to your house.

Speak to that neighbour who never goes to a place of worship.

Speak to that relative who never reads the Bible in private, and makes a jest of serious religion.

Entreat them all to think about their souls. Beg them to go and hear something on Sundays which will be for their good unto everlasting life.

Try to persuade them to live, not like the beasts which perish, but like men who desire to be saved.

Great is your reward in heaven, if you try to do good to souls.”

–J.C. Ryle, “Our Souls,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 58-59.