Thoughts for Young Men, J.C. Ryle 2.4
In this installment of Ryle’s Thoughts for Young Men, he continues to share his thoughts on “Special Dangers to Young Men” by considering the danger of contempt of religion.
Ryle was concerned that the young men he knew had little respect for religion. Religion, for Ryle, meant much more than the ill-defined value we assign to it today. For Ryle, when he says religion, he means the activities associated with the active Christian life. He mentions the young men have little interest in worship services, the Bible and “Prayer Books”. He recognized they didn’t care to sing or listen to preaching and lectures. Ryle said that these young men “appear ashamed of seeming to care about their souls: one would almost fancy they reckoned it a disgrace to go to heaven at all.”
Ryle challenges these young men by asking how seriously they’ve thought about their contempt of religion. The basis for Ryle’s challenge is the Authority and Reliability of Scripture. He uses God’s Word as the foundation of his warning to his audience.
Ryle’s concern is built upon the Word of God. His worldview is underwritten by Scripture. For Ryle, if someone hates the activities of God, this contempt is rooted in a hatred for the Word of God. Ryle quotes Robert South, “Men question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice of it.”
Ryle pleads for these young men to consider God’s faithfulness. He asks a series of questions pertaining to God’s perfect record of keeping his word. Because God has never failed to fulfill His word, Ryle says, “Take care, lest you be found amongst those by whom God’s word is despised.”
God’s Word must be the foundation of our lives. How Ryle ties the activities of our lives to our view of Scripture is a needed reminder for us - how we live reflects whether we believe God.
Intro created and performed by Isaac Johnson