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

READER,
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

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

On the eve of All Saint’s Day, October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, Germany.

Luther’s objections focused on the practices within the Catholic Church regarding absolution; he rejected the validity of indulgences, criticizing the practice of indulgences being sold with the intent of making penance for sin a financial transaction rather than genuine contrition.

Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses was the spark that started the Protestant Reformation.

Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

  1.  When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
  3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one’s heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.
  4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.   Continue reading

Sovereignty and Responsibility

NOTES OF

A SERMON

DELIVERED BY

Rev. BASIL MANLY, D.D.

AT

PLEASANT GROVE CHURCH
FAYETTE CO., ALA.

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

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

Trying the Spirits

Trying the Spirits

Preached at Gower Street Chapel, London,
on June 18, 1865, by J. C. Philpot

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.”
1 John 4:1

Has it never struck you as a remarkable circumstance that in what are called primitive times, no, in the very days of the apostles themselves, there should spring up in the professing church a crop of men, some of whom were abandoned to the vilest sins, and others given up to believe and propagate the grossest errors and heresies? We would naturally have thought that when such manifest dangers awaited every one who professed to believe in Jesus Christ; when Christians were objects on every side of the deepest enmity and hottest persecution; when every convert carried his life as if in his hand; above all, when there was such a large outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the churches, that there would have been generally, as well as individually, both purity of doctrine and purity of life. But that such was far from the case is evident from the testimony of the New Testament Scriptures. Continue reading

Distinguishing Marks

Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God

by

Jonathan Edwards
(1703-1758)

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” [1 John 4:1]

In the apostolic age, there was the greatest outpouring of the Spirit of God that ever was; both as to his extraordinary influences and gifts, and his ordinary operations, in convincing, converting, enlightening, and sanctifying the souls of men. But as the influences of the true Spirit abounded, so counterfeits did also abound: the devil was abundant in mimicking, both the ordinary and extraordinary influences of the Spirit of God, as is manifest by innumerable passages of the apostles’ writings. This made it very necessary that the church of Christ should be furnished with some certain rules, distinguishing and clear marks, by which she might proceed safely in judging of the true from the false without danger of being imposed upon. The giving of such rules is the plain design of this chapter, where we have this matter more expressly and fully treated of than any where else in the Bible. Continue reading