Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Wisdom of J. C. Ryle: An Appendix

While J. C. Ryle's The Duty of Parents interested me primarily as a corrective for modern trends in child-rearing, I was surprised to find myself engaged and inspired by other quotes in his work which often had nothing to do with raising children. So, in addition to some extra quotes on children that did not make it into the previous post, I would like to share a few other quotes from Ryle's work that I found interesting.

More advice on raising children:

A true Christian must be no slave to fashion, if he would train his child for heaven. He must not be content to do things merely because they are the custom of the world; to teach them and instruct them in certain ways, merely because it is usual; to allow them to read books of a questionable sort, merely because everybody else reads them; to let them form habits of a doubtful tendency, merely because they are the habits of the day. He must train with an eye to his children’s souls. He must not be ashamed to hear his training called singular and strange. What if it is? The time is short, — the fashion of this world passeth away. He that has trained his children for heaven, rather than for earth, — for God, rather than for man, — he is the parent that will be called wise at last.

Never listen to those who tell you your children are good, and well brought up, and can be trusted.

Fathers and mothers, you may take your children to be baptized, and have them enrolled in the ranks of Christ’s Church; — you may get godly sponsors to answer for them, and help you by their prayers; — you may send them to the best of schools, and give them Bibles and Prayer Books, and fill them with head knowledge but if all this time there is no regular training at home, I tell you plainly, I fear it will go hard in the end with your children’s souls. Home is the place where habits are formed; — home is the place where the foundations of character are laid; — home gives the bias to our tastes, and likings, and opinions. See then, I pray you, that there be careful training at home.

On human nature:

Believe me, we are not made for entire independence, — we are not fit for it.

No created being was ever meant to be idle. Service and work is the appointed portion of every creature of God.

...there is an alphabet to be mastered in every kind of knowledge...

The active moving mind is a hard mark for the devil to shoot at.

On Christian practice:

Prayer is the simplest means that man can use in coming to God. It is within reach of all, — the sick, the aged, the infirm, the paralytic, the blind, the poor, the unlearned, — all can pray. It avails you nothing to plead want of memory, and want of learning, and want of books, and want of scholarship in this matter. So long as you have a tongue to tell your soul’s state, you may and ought to pray.

Strive rather to be a living epistle of Christ, such as your families can read, and that plainly too.

And still more:

The Bible tells us that God has an elect people, — a family in this world. All poor sinners who have been convinced of sin, and fled to Jesus for peace, make up that family.

Children have ever been the bow from which the sharpest arrows have pierced man’s heart. Children have mixed the bitterest cups that man has ever had to drink. Children have caused the saddest tears that man has ever had to shed.

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