From the Writings of J. C. Ryle

Recently I’ve discovered the lively writings of J. C. Ryle, who died in the year 1900. He was the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, England, and a very motivating author. I’m currently reading his book Practical Religion. If there was room, I’m just post the whole book. Here is an excerpt:

Zeal in Christianity is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire, which is not natural to men or women. It is a desire which the Spirit puts in the heart of every believer….

This desire is so strong, when it really reigns in a person, that it impels them to make any sacrifice-to go through any trouble-to deny themselves anything-to suffer, to work, to labor, to toil, to spend themselves and be spent, and even to die-if only they can please God and honor Christ.

A zealous person in Christianity is preeminently a person of one thing. It is not enough to say that they are earnest, strong, uncompromising, meticulous, wholehearted, and fervent in spirit. They only see one thing, they care for one thing, they live for one thing, they are swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether they live, or whether they die-whether they are healthy, or whether they are sick-whether they are rich, or whether they are poor- whether they please man, or whether they give offense-whether they are thought wise, or whether they are thought foolish-whether they are accused, or whether they are praised-whether they get honor, or whether they get shame-for all this the zealous person cares nothing at all. They have a passion for one thing, and that one thing is to please God and to advance God’s glory.

If they are consumed in the very burning of their passion for God, they don’t care-they are content. They feel that, like a candle, they were made to burn; and if they are consumed in the burning, then they have only done the work for which God has appointed them. Such a person will always find a sphere for their zeal.

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