Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
Okay, things are spiraling out of control… I am currently in various stages of reading “The Holy Bible” (God), “Holiness” (J.C. Ryle), “Knowing God” (J.I. Packer), “Lectures to My Students” (Spurgeon), “Sacred Marriage” (Gary Thomas), “The Reformed Pastor” (Baxter), “Practical Religion” (J.C. Ryle), and a biography of Patrick Henry titled “Lion of Liberty” (Unger) just for fun. And I start “The Gospel’s Power & Message” (Washer) next week. I have never, ever been in such a state. HOWEVER – I must admit that the way I am going about it is making it a little more manageable. Five of these are being read aloud with other people, meaning that we meet and actually do the reading together – NO HOMEWORK (huzzah!).
Here is the latest gem from Chapter 1, “Self-Inquiry”, of J.C. Ryle’s “Practical Religion”:
“Is any reader of this paper a professing believer in Christ, but a believer without much joy and peace and comfort? Take advice this day. Search your own heart, and see whether the fault be not entirely your own. Very likely you are sitting at ease, content with a little faith, and a little repentance, a little grace and a little sanctification, and unconsciously shrinking back from extremes. You will never be a very happy Christian at this rate, if you live to the age of Methuselah. Change your plan, if you love life and would see good days, without delay. Come out boldly, and act decidedly. Be thorough, thorough, very thorough in your Christianity, and set your face fully towards the sun. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset you. Strive to get nearer to Christ, to abide in Him, to cleave to Him, and to sit at His feet like Mary, and drink full draughts out of the fountain of life.”
We have been invited to plunge into the extremes of wholeheartedly loving God, and all the happiness that accompanies those extremes. Has it been a while since you assessed your entanglements with the world and what they are costing you? It has been a while for me, and I am very thankful for the reminder.