Category Archives: Old-Time Sermons

Go and Tell Jesus

Go and Tell Jesus


Octavius Winslow

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet.

On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Continue reading

Do You Confess?

This tract is a classic of Gospel Truth that readers of J. C. Ryle have come to expect from all his writings. His tracts are “pure gold.”
This tract was first published by Drummond’s Tract Depot,
Stirling, Scotland.
Do You Confess?


J. C. Ryle

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John i. 9)

The question which forms the title of this tract is at all times deeply important. Among the foundation-stones of saving religion few deserve more serious attention than “confession of sins.”

But there are occasions when circumstances give a particular importance to particular doctrines in religion. The assaults of enemies sometimes make it needful to exhibit some special truth with special distinctness. The plausible assertion of some error sometimes requires to be met by more than ordinary carefulness in showing “the thing as it is,’ in the Word. A doctrine may perhaps be in the rear-rank to-day, and to-morrow may be thrust forward by the force of events into the very front of the battle. This is the case at the present time with the subject of “confession.” Many years have passed away since men thought and talked so much as they do now about” the confession of sins.” Continue reading

Do You Believe?

Do You Believe?


J. C. Ryle

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish—but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Look at the well-known text which heads this page. Its words are probably familiar to your ears. You have very likely heard them, or read them, or quoted them, a hundred times. But have you ever considered what a vast amount of divinity this text contains? No wonder that Luther called it “the Bible in miniature!” And have you ever considered what an immensely solemn question arises out of this text? The Lord Jesus says, “Whoever believes shall not perish.” Now, reader, DO YOU BELIEVE?

Questions about religion are seldom popular. They frighten people. They oblige them to look within and to think. The insolvent tradesman does not like his books to be searched. The faithless steward does not like his accounts to be examined. And the unconverted professing Christian does not like to be asked home-questions about his soul. Continue reading

Prove All Things

You must put on the old armor, if you would not have your faith overthrown. The sufficiency of Holy Scripture, the right of private judgment, justification by faith alone—these are the three great principles to which you must always cling.

Prove All Things

by J. C. Ryle

“Prove all things—hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

You live in days when the text before your eyes is one of the first importance. The truths it contains are especially truths for the times. Give me your attention for a few minutes, and I will try to show you what I mean.

There were three great doctrines or principles which won the battle of the Protestant Reformation:

first, the sufficiency and supremacy of Holy Scripture

secondly, the right of private judgment

thirdly, justification by faith alone, without the deeds of the law.

These three principles were the keys of the whole controversy between the Reformers and the Church of Rome. Keep firm hold of them when you argue with a Roman Catholic, and your position is unassailable; no weapon that the Church of Rome can forge against you shall prosper. Give up any one of them, and your cause is lost. Like Samson, with his hair shorn, your strength is gone. Like the Spartans, betrayed at Thermopylae, you are outflanked and surrounded. You cannot maintain your ground. Resistance is useless. Sooner or later you will have to lay down your arms, and surrender at discretion. Remember this. Continue reading

Formal Religion

Nothing is so dangerous to a man’s own soul. Familiarity with the form of religion, while we neglect its reality — has a fearfully deadening effect on the conscience. It brings up by degrees a thick crust of insensibility over the whole inner man.

Formal Religion

J.C. Ryle, 1878

“Having a form of godliness — but denying the power thereof.” 2 Timothy 3:5

“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.” Romans 2:28-29

The texts which head this page deserves your serious attention at any time. I take it for granted that you have some religion. You are not an infidel. You profess and call yourself a Christian. Well, is your Christianity formal — or spiritual? Is religion with you a matter of form — or a matter of the heart? Is it form — or heart?

The question deserves especial notice in this age of the church and world. Never since the Lord Jesus Christ left the earth, was there so much formality and false profession, as there is at the present day. Now, if ever, we ought to examine ourselves, and search our religion, that we may know of what sort it is. Reader, let us find out whether our Christianity is a thing of form — or a thing of heart.   Continue reading

Sovereignty and Responsibility







APRIL 8th, 1849

Philippians 2: 12, 13. “Work out your own salvation, with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.”

To understand any passage of scripture, we must know to whom it is addressed. This is obviously addressed, in common with the whole epistle, to believers;–“to all saints in Christ Jesus, which are in Philippi.” The beginning of the 12th verse, in which our text commences, implies this. “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed; not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence; work out,” The terms, therefore, may be readily understood.

He could not mean, by working out our own salvation, devising the plan;–that is the Father’s work, and was done long ago. Not redemption or justification;–these were the Son’s work, and were accomplished in that one offering, completed when he said ‘it is finished,’ and went to plead that finished sacrifice before the throne of God. Not regeneration;–that is the Spirit’s work, and is evidently supposed to have been already wrought in those very persons;–they were saved-saints–so far, therefore, as regards regeneration, and sanctification, (in part at least,) salvation was already wrought in them. Continue reading

A Call to Prayer


J.C. Ryle, 1878

“Men ought always to pray.” Luke 18:1

“I will that men pray everywhere.” 1 Timothy 2:1

I have a question to offer you. It is contained in three words, DO YOU PRAY?

The question is one that none but you can answer. Whether you attend public worship or not — your minister knows. Whether you have family prayers or not — your relations know. But whether you pray in private or not — is a matter between yourself and God.

I beseech you in all affection, to attend to the subject which I bring before you. Do not say that my question is too close. If your heart is right in the sight of God, there is nothing in it to make you afraid. Do not turn off my question by replying that you say your prayers. It is one thing to say your prayers — and another to really pray. Do not tell me that my question is not necessary. Listen to me for a few minutes, and I will show you good reason for asking it. Continue reading