From “Holiness” by JC Ryle(1816-1900)

For meditation.


Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)


I have had a deep conviction for many years, that practical holiness and entire self-consecration to God are not sufficiently attended to by modern Christians in this country. The subject of personal godliness has fallen sadly into the background. The standard of Christian living has become painfully low among many high professors of religion in the land. The immense importance of “adorning the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10), and not steal from them but to show that they can be fully trusted so that in every way they will make the teaching about our Saviour attractive, ESV – so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of our own saviour and making it lovely and beautiful by our daily habits and tempers — has been far too much overlooked.


Worldly people sometimes complain with reason that “religious” people, so-called, are not so amiable and unselfish and good-natured, as others who make no profession of religion. Yet sanctification, in its place and proportion, is quite as important as justification. Sound Protestant and Evangelical doctrine is useless — if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse then useless; it does positive harm. It is despised by keen-sighted and shrewd men of the world, as an unreal and hollow thing, and brings religion into contempt.


That a life of daily self-consecration and daily communion with God should be aimed at by everyone who professes to be a believer — that we should strive to attain the habit of going to the Lord Jesus Christ with everything we find a burden, whether great or small, and casting it upon Him — all this, I repeat, no well-taught child of God will dream of disputing. But surely the New Testament teaches us that we need something more than generalities about holy living, which often pierce no conscience and give no offence.


The details and particular ingredients of which holiness is composed in daily life, ought to be fully set forth and pressed on believers by all who profess to handle the subject. True holiness does not consist merely of believing and feeling — but of doing and a practical exhibition of the active and passive graces. Our tongues, our tempers, our natural passions and inclinations — our conduct as parents and children, masters and servants, husbands and wives, rulers and subjects — our dress, our employment of time, our behavior in business, our demeanor in sickness and health, in riches and poverty — all, all these are matters which are fully treated by inspired writers. They are not content with a general statement of what we should believe and feel, and how we are to have the roots of holiness planted in our hearts. They dig down lower. They go into particulars. They specify minutely, what a holy man ought to do an be in his own family, by his own fireside, if he abides in Christ.


True holiness, we surely ought to remember, does not consist merely of inward sensations and impressions. It is much more then tears, and sighs, and bodily excitement, and a quickened pulse, and a passionate feeling of attachment to our favorite preachers and our own religious party, and a readiness to quarrel with everyone who does not agree with us. It is something of “the image of Christ” which can be seen and observed by others in our private life, and habits, and character, and doings! (Romans 8:29.)