Path to Personal Piety
I recently found this excerpt from JC Ryle quoted by Nathan White. These three short paragraphs take us on a path towards personal piety. Do you desire to be a healthy Christian? If so, and I must presume that you do, then I urge you to read this quotation with open eyes. Let Ryle pierce your heart. Let the words penetrate into your inner being. Let us not be those with cold religion who were always seeing but never understanding. Hear these words:
If you desire to be a healthy Christian, consider often what your own end will be. Will it be happiness, or will it be misery? Will it be the death of the righteous, or will it be a death without hope, like that of Lot’s wife? You cannot live always; there must be an end one day. The last sermon will one day be heard; the last prayer will one day be prayed; the last chapter in the Bible will one day be read; meaning, wishing, hoping, intending, resolving, doubting, hesitating—all will at length be over. You will have to leave this world and to stand before a holy God. Oh, that you would be wise! Oh, that you would consider your latter end!
You cannot trifle forever: a time will come when you must be serious. You cannot put off your soul’s concerns forever: a day will come when you must have a reckoning with God. You cannot be always singing and dancing and eating and drinking and dressing and reading and laughing and jesting and scheming and planning and moneymaking. The summer insects cannot always sport in the sunshine. The cold chilly evening will come at last and stop their sport forever. So will it be with you. You may put off religion now and refuse the counsel of God’s ministers, but the cool of the day is drawing on when God will come down to speak with you. And what will your end be? Will it be a hopeless one, like that of Lot’s wife?
I beseech you, by the mercies of God, to look this question fairly in the face. I entreat you not to stifle conscience by vague hopes of God’s mercy, while your heart cleaves to the world. I implore you not to drown convictions by childish fancies about God’s love, while your daily ways and habits show plainly that "the love of the Father is not in you." There is mercy in God, like a river, but it is for the penitent believer in Christ Jesus. There is a love in God toward sinners which is unspeakable and unsearchable, but it is for those who hear Christ’s voice and follow Him. Seek to have an interest in that love. Break off every known sin; come out boldly from the world; cry mightily to God in prayer; cast yourself wholly and unreservedly on the Lord Jesus for time and eternity; lay aside every weight. Cling to nothing, however dear, which interferes with your soul’s salvation; give up everything, however precious, which comes between you and heaven. This old shipwrecked world is fast sinking beneath your feet; the one thing needful is to have a place in the lifeboat and get safe to shore. Give diligence to make your calling and election sure. Whatever happens to your house and property, see that you make sure of heaven. Oh, better a million times be laughed at and thought extreme in this world, than go down to hell from the midst of the congregation, and end like Lot’s wife!
In Christ alone,