“The child of many prayers shall seldom be cast away” by J.C. Ryle

“We have first, in these verses, an example of what a parent should do when he is troubled about his children.

We are told of a man in sore distress about his only son. This son was possessed by an evil spirit, and grievously tormented by him, both in body and soul.

In his distress the father makes application to our Lord Jesus Christ for relief. “Master,” he says, “I beseech Thee look upon my son: for he is mine only child.”

There are many Christian fathers and mothers at this day who are just as miserable about their children as the man of whom we are reading.

The son who was once the “desire of their eyes,” and in whom their lives were bound up, turns out a spendthrift, a profligate, and a companion of sinners.

The daughter who was once the flower of the family, and of whom they said, “This same shall be the comfort of our old age,” becomes self-willed, worldly minded, and a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God.

Their hearts are well nigh broken. The iron seems to enter into their souls. The devil appears to triumph over them, and rob them of their choicest jewels.

They are ready to cry, “I shall go to the grave sorrowing. What good shall my life do to me?”

Now what should a father or mother do in a case like this?

They should do as the man before us did. They should go to Jesus in prayer, and cry to Him about their child. They should spread before that merciful Saviour the tale of their sorrows, and entreat Him to help them.

Great is the power of prayer and intercession! The child of many prayers shall seldom be cast away.

God’s time of conversion may not be ours. He may think fit to prove our faith by keeping us long waiting.

But so long as a child lives, and a parent prays, we have no right to despair about that child’s soul.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 245-246. Ryle is commenting on Luke 9:37-45.

“There is one foundation of hope and peace for sinners” by J.C. Ryle

“This passage shows us that the Old Testament saints in glory take a deep interest in Christ’s atoning death.

We are told that when Moses and Elijah appeared in glory with our Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration, they ‘talked with Him.’ (Luke 9:30) And what was the subject of their conversation?

We are not obliged to make conjectures and guesses about this. St. Luke tells us, ‘they spake of His decease, which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.’ (Luke 9:31)

They knew the meaning of that death. They knew how much depended on it. Therefore they ‘talked’ about it.

It is a grave mistake to suppose that holy men and women under the Old Testament knew nothing about the sacrifice which Christ was to offer up for the sin of the world.

Their light, no doubt, was far less clear than ours. They saw things afar off and indistinctly, which we see, as it were, close at hand.

But there is not the slightest proof that any Old Testament saint ever looked to any other satisfaction for sin, but that which God promised to make by sending Messiah.

From Abel downwards the whole company of old believers appear to have been ever resting on a promised sacrifice, and a blood of almighty efficacy yet to be revealed.

From the beginning of the world there has never been but one foundation of hope and peace for sinners—the death of an Almighty Mediator between God and man.

That foundation is the centre truth of all revealed religion. It was the subject of which Moses and Elijah were seen speaking when they appeared in glory. They spoke of the atoning death of Christ.

Let us take heed that this death of Christ is the ground of all our confidence. Nothing else will give us comfort in the hour of death and the day of judgment.

Our own works are all defective and imperfect. Our sins are more in number than the hairs of our heads. (Psalm 40:12)

Christ dying for our sins, and rising again for our justification, must be our only plea, if we wish to be saved.

Happy is that man who has learned to cease from his own works, and to glory in nothing but the cross of Christ!

If saints in glory see in Christ’s death so much beauty, that they must needs talk of it, how much more ought sinners on earth!”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 241-242. Ryle is commenting on Luke 9:28-36.

“Let me have one of the good solid Puritan volumes” by Charles Spurgeon

“God gave Elijah forty days’ meat at one meal. Do you, dear friends, ever get meals such as that?

I do, when I read certain books. No modern thought books give me no such meat as that. But let me have one of the good solid Puritan volumes that are so little prized nowadays, and my soul can feed upon that.

You do the same, and see whether you do not find food that will last not merely for forty days, but that will make you strong to walk before the Lord even unto the Mount of God, there to bless and adore Him forever and ever.

But, oh, the milk-and-water diet that is too often given in these times! Well may we cry, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’

Oh, to be fed once more upon the doctrines of discriminating grace!

Oh, to be told continually of the love without a beginning, love without a change, love without an end!

Oh, to hear of an atonement that is an atonement, and that does indeed put away sin,—not the kind of atonement of which many talk today, which is all mist and cloud, and which accomplishes something or nothing according as men are pleased to let it!

We want again to have meat unto life eternal, to know the great truth of union to Christ, of being in Him, and so safe before the Lord, and made well-pleasing unto the Most High. God send us back this food!

Brothers and sisters, do not be satisfied until you get it. Turn from all other tables, and say, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah? Where is that flesh that is meat indeed, and that blood which is drink indeed?’

Be content with none but Christ. Have no gospel but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. May God so satisfy the souls of His saints that they shall be able either to serve well or to suffer well!

We are only strong either in patience or in zeal as the Lord God of Elijah feeds us with the Bread which came down from heaven, the Bread of life, Christ Jesus Himself. Lord, evermore give us this Bread!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Where Is the God of Elijah?,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 44; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1898), 44: 547.